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+ - Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes ""In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, in New Mexico.

Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.

"It was the wrong kitty litter," says , a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.

It turns out there's more to cat litter than you think. It can soak up urine, but it's just as good at absorbing radioactive material.

"It actually works well both in the home litter box as well as the radiochemistry laboratory," says Conca, who is not directly involved in the current investigation.

Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste. Dump it into a drum of sludge and it will stabilize volatile radioactive chemicals. The litter prevents it from reacting with the environment.

And this is what contractors at were doing as they packed Cold War-era waste for shipment to the dump. But at some point, they decided to make a switch, from clay to organic.

"Now that might sound nice, you're trying to be green and all that, but the organic kitty litters are organic," says Conca. Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste.

"They actually are just fuel, and so they're the wrong thing to add," he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up "sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb."

After it arrived at the dump, it burst.""

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Comment: Loved the original (Score 2) 457

by talexb (#46933651) Attached to: Favorite Star Wars Movie?

The summer of '77 was awesome, and the hot ticket was this new movie called Star Wars.

I saw it from about the fourth row, looking up at a screen that was gigantic, and I was mesmerized because the special effects were so advanced for the time. The storyline wasn't awesome, but it was certainly entertaining. With Alec Guiness, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in the cast, the story moved along nicely.

Episode V was still pretty good, but I think the movies went downhill from there.

+ - Windows XP Black Market-> 1

Submitted by NicknamesAreStupid
NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) writes "As Whoever57 pointed out, there are some who will still get support for Microsoft Windows XP — the 'haves'. However, most will be the 'have nots'. Anytime you have such market imbalance, there is opportunity. Since Microsoft clearly intends to create a disparity, there will certainly be those who defy it. What will Microsoft do to prevent bootleg patches of XP from being sold to the unwashed masses? How will they stop China from supporting 100 million bootleg XP users? And how easily will it be to crack Microsoft's controls?

How big will the Windows XP patch market be?"

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Comment: Go for it -- but keep your eyes open (Score 4, Insightful) 263

by talexb (#46336421) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

This sounds like a great opportunity that comes at a small cost.

Keep in mind that joining a startup is something that will be rewarding on a couple of levels. You can help guide the technical vision, get to know a good group of people working together on something great.

You also have to keep your feet on the ground. Don't let common sense be overwhelmed by your local Reality Distortion Field. Don't let your mind wander off about what colour of Lamborghini you're going to buy with your stock options.

And I hope you left your previous company on good terms -- you never know when you'll meet up with that organization or those people again. The world is a surprisingly small place.

Comment: Re:Encountered this kind of thing ... (Score 2) 204

by talexb (#45407889) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking

Yeah, and guess what happens to the person ranked terrible? Here's one of the replies:

  • They gave me nothing to work on at the end, things they knew I couldn't do while others couldn't do them either. I had automation skills while another couple of people did not. They still got rid of me after rigging my performance review twice in a row while discrediting me for my accomplishments. It was so incredibly obvious and demoralizing. Meanwhile they replace you with a fresh college grad ONLY. If you looked at the age of people they fired over 10 years vs hired/and those who left with the threat of being fired for example those who got a 4 and knew they would get a 5 ranking the following would have a huge age discrimination lawsuit!!!! It would be a one two knockout punch! If you get fired at Microsoft and collect unemployment, they do not contest it in fear of being sued. So they pseudo fire you for "perf" reasons when in fact its a forced bs curve.


+ - Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Collapses and Dies at the Controls

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "NBC reports that flying instructors at Humberside Airport, near the city of Hull in northeast England, told a passenger who had never flown before how to land a four-seater Cessna 172 after the pilot collapsed and died at the controls. "It's a fantastic feeling, knowing I have achieved something and probably saved somebody's life," said flight instructor Rory Murray. "I think without any sort of talk down he would have just gone into the ground and that would have been the end of it." Passenger John Wildey explained to air traffic controllers that he had no flying experience and that the pilot could not control the plane. "It came down with a bump, a bump, a bump, hit the front end down, I heard some crashing and it's come to a halt," said Stuart Sykes. "There were a few sparks and three or four crashes, that must have been the propeller hitting the floor. Then it uprighted again and it came to a stop." Roads around the airport were closed while two incoming flights to the airport, from Scotland and the Netherlands, were delayed as a result of the incident. The passenger took four passes of the runway, and there were cheers from the control tower when it finally came to a halt on the ground. "For somebody who is not a pilot but has been around airfields and been a passenger on several occasions to take control is nothing short of phenomenal," said Richard Tomlinson. "He made quite a good landing, actually," added Murray. “He didn't know the layout of the airplane. He didn't have lights on so he was absolutely flying blind as well.”"

+ - Microsoft Launches $100k Bug Bounty Program

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "After years of saying that the company didn’t need a bug bounty program, Microsoft is starting one. The company today will announce the start of a new program that will pay security researchers up to $100,000 for serious vulnerabilities and as much as $50,000 for new defensive techniques that help protect against those flaws.

Microsoft security officials say that the program has been a long time in development, and the factor that made this the right time to launch is the recent rise of vulnerability brokers. Up until quite recently, most of the researchers who found bugs in Microsoft products reported them directly to the company. That’s no longer the case.

The system that Microsoft is kicking off on June 26 will pay researchers $100,000 for a new exploit technique that is capable of bypassing the latest existing mitigations in the newest version of Windows."

+ - AMD's low-powered 64-bit ARM chips->

Submitted by corando
corando (2785235) writes "AMD on Tuesday shared initial details on its 64-bit ARM chips, code-named Seattle, which will have up to 16 CPU cores. The chips will be up to four times faster and more power efficient than the quad-core Opteron X-series chips, which draw up to 11 watts of power and are based on the x86 architecture.

While these are targeted for servers, one has to wonder if phones and tablets are next?"

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+ - Police waste 30 minutes each per day waiting for computers to boot up->

Submitted by girlmad
girlmad (2404748) writes "The Met Police in London has revealed that officers have to wait 30 minutes every day for their machines to turn on and be ready to use. It's not surprising, considering that the Met assistant commissioner has admitted that the IT systems the police are using date as far back as the 1970s."
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+ - IBM Uses Roomba Robots To Plot Data Centre Heat ->

Submitted by judgecorp
judgecorp (778838) writes "IBM is using robots based on iRobot Create, a customisable version of the Roomba vaccum cleaner, to measure temperature and humidity in data centers. The robot looks for cold zones (where cold air may be going to waste instead of being directed to the servers) and hotspots (where the air circulation may be breaking down. IBM is putting the robots to commercial use at partners — while EMC is at an early stage on a strikingly similar project."
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Comment: Same as Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Score 1) 623

by talexb (#43851051) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?

I also learned on the same model of Teletype as those famous guys.

It was Fall 1973 at MacDonald High School in the West Island, and we Grade 10s had access to a PSBGM [1] system over a 110 baud modem. Under watchful eye of Mr. Seddon, we programmed in BASIC and his own invention, MALASIM [2], with its own instruction set. You could also sign up for time after school, and the fights for the time slots were sometimes violent. (You know you're a geek when ..)

The first major code I actually saw written on this platform was a program that my Dad wrote, to see how the distribution of blood types changed over generations. He's an actuary, so being able to simulate something was fascinating for him. Conway's Game of Life (as first seen in the pages of Scientific American) was also fascinating to him.

Part of my early fascination in programming was reading through the entire BASIC manual, trying to understand all of the available syntax. Thus, when our assignment was to format our output, I used an IMAGE statement (PRINT USING ..), and was able to get very fine control for an invoicing assignment. Two of the four terms in Grade 11 I got perfect, but due to PSBGM's lame report card application, they'd only left two digits for marks, so it had to be recorded as a 99.

Good times.

1. Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal.
2. MAchine LAnguage SIMulator. It may have been MALASYM, I don't remember.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan