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Science

Killer Whales Caught On Tape Speaking Dolphin 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the losing-the-accent dept.
sciencehabit writes Two years ago, scientists showed that dolphins imitate the sounds of whales. Now, it seems, whales have returned the favor. Researchers analyzed the vocal repertoires of 10 captive orcas, three of which lived with bottlenose dolphins and the rest with their own kind. Of the 1551 vocalizations these seven latter orcas made, more than 95% were the typical pulsed calls of killer whales. In contrast, the three orcas that had only dolphins as pals busily whistled and emitted dolphinlike click trains and terminal buzzes, the scientists report in the October issue of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The findings make orcas one of the few species of animals that, like humans, is capable of vocal learning (video)—a talent considered a key underpinning of language."

Comment: Re:So, it has come to this. (Score 1) 740

by w_dragon (#48088379) Attached to: Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job
That's interesting. Here in Ontario it's the opposite, people are almost always let go without cause and given at least the minimum severance required by law so they won't sue. I'm not a business owner, but I think the employment insurance payments are set based only on an employee's pay. Fascinating how much small differences in similar government programs can affect behavior.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 3, Interesting) 392

You haven't worked much as a developer. Having built systems used by tens of millions of users I guarantee you that every time Amazon rolls out an update to the store or cloud software there's an ops person biting their nails hoping the system doesn't die. When Google released Gmail they only allowed each user to invite a certain number of friends in order to slowly ramp up the system. Writing any software that is made to have millions of users on day one is really fucking hard.

On top of that steps 2 and 3 require interacting with external systems who may also not be able to handle load well, and probably use a combination of buggy and poorly documented interfaces, and step 5 requires reading a bill so long that the people who voted for it didn't bother to read it. You're grossly trivializing the problem.

Comment: Re:Standards (Score 1) 152

by w_dragon (#47822331) Attached to: Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?
It's worse than that. Large companies will lobby government to make sure that not only government contractors must be certified on the standard, so must anyone who sells to certain regulated industries. Want to sell to airlines or food processors, even if it's non-critical software? Hope you're certified.
United Kingdom

UK Prisons Ministry Fined For Lack of Encryption At Prisons 74

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-like-prisoners-are-people-anyway dept.
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes The Guardian reports that the UK Information Commissioner has levied a fine of £180,000 on the Ministry of Justice for their failure to encrypt data held on external hard drives at prisons. The fine is nominal — one part of government fining another is rather pointless, but it does show that there's a little bit of accountability. Of course it's interesting to consider the dangers of this hopefully old way of storing backups; but the question of whether we do a lot better now is quite pointed. To make matters worse, one of the unencrypted backup hard drives walked away.

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 3, Informative) 190

by w_dragon (#47725529) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?
The only places you need quick-charge station are places where people will be traveling long distances. Most of the time people will charge overnight at home. Most highways have areas where you could easily build a huge lot with rapid chargers. I suspect the larger issue most places will be finding and transporting enough power to charge perhaps hundreds of cars at one time.
Power

EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-new-member-of-the-x-men-per-100,000-normals dept.
mdsolar sends this news from Forbes: Both proponents and opponents of nuclear power expect the Environmental Protection Agency in coming months to relax its rules restricting radiation emissions from reactors and other nuclear facilities. EPA officials say they have no such intention, but they are willing to reconsider the method they use to limit public exposure—and the public's level of risk.

At issue is a 1977 rule that limits the total whole-body radiation dose to any member of the public from the normal operation of the uranium fuel cycle—fuel processing, reactors, storage, reprocessing or disposal—to 0.25 millisieverts per year. (This rule, known as 40 CFR part 190, is different from other EPA regulations that restrict radionuclides in drinking water and that limit public exposure during emergencies. Those are also due for revision.) "We have not made any decisions or determined any specifics on how to move forward with any of these issues. We do, however, believe the regulation uses outdated science, and we are thinking about how to bring the regulation more in line with current thinking," said Brian Littleton, a chemical engineer with EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air."

Comment: Re:What about on the ground? (Score 1) 468

On the ground this could be easily solved in a number of ways. When a plane goes off-course where it shouldn't be, however, the last-ditch attempt to communicate by the fighters that intercept is a standard set of hand signals. That could be a problem if they can't see the pilots.

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