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Journal Journal: Impress...


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Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii 251

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several meters before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. 'This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat,' the Johns Hopkins University professor told BBC News. 'Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat.' It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
Data Storage

Optimizing Linux Use On a USB Flash Drive? 137

Buckbeak writes "I like to carry my Linux systems around with me, on USB flash drives. Typically, SanDisk Cruzers or Kingston HyperX. I encrypt the root partition and boot off the USB stick. Sometimes, the performance leaves something to be desired. I want to be able to do an 'apt-get upgrade' or 'yum update' while surfing but the experience is sometimes painful. What can I do to maximize the performance of Linux while running off of a slow medium? I've turned on 'noatime' in the mount options and I don't use a swap partition. Is there any way to minimize drive I/O or batch it up more? Is there any easy way to run in memory and write everything out when I shut down? I've tried both EXT2 and EXT3 and it doesn't seem to make much difference. Any other suggestions?"

Comment Re:Ug. Not Christie Whitman (Score 1) 3

Thanks, didn't know how NJ felt about her enviro record.

The main things I remember were that 3 times in 2001, Whitman's EPA announced a plan to implement a campaign promise from the Bush 2000 platform, and each time the White House quickly issued a retraction (of both the plan and the plank). It was Mercury, CO2, and one other issue I forget.

But the gripping hand is that Whitman would probably rather keep running the RLC, which makes it an even BETTER idea for Obama to ask her first, before reluctantly turning to RFK Jr.


Submission + - Scientists Search for Worst Sound in the World

Hugh Pickens writes: "Recent research into sounds that drive people crazy ranks nails on a chalkboard well below several other sounds says Trevor J. Cox of the Acoustics Research Centre at the University of Salford. Cox's web site allows people to rate their reactions to 34 repellent or disgusting sounds. After thousands of responses, vomiting is in the lead while other top offenders are crying babies, microphone feedback and a dentist's drill. The blackboard screech comes in at No. 16. Cox suggested in the journal Applied Acoustics early this year that the reaction to vomiting might be partly related to an inborn desire to avoid sick people and thus infection, but that cultural and etiquette factors might also be involved. Earlier research had suggested that the blackboard response might come from "a vestigial reflex related to the warning cries of monkeys," Cox noted, but expressed doubt about such a link suggesting alternative explanations for study, involving dissonant frequencies or a link between what is heard and imagining what nail scraping would feel like. "This research has been fascinating in gaining an insight into why people are repulsed by certain sounds — and how this differs by gender, age and nationality. This is so important because noise significantly affects our quality of life" says Cox."

Submission + - Windows XP lives, thanks to Linux (

CWmike writes: "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols puts his thumb on what really happened to spur Microsoft's change of mind on sparing Windows XP: The smashing success of Asus and others' Linux-powered UMPCs and mini-notebooks caught Microsoft completely by surprise. It turned out people wanted inexpensive, hard-working Linux laptops rather than overpriced, underpowered Vista PCs. If anyone thought this was a flash in the pan, that Asus just hit it lucky once, they haven't been paying attention. Intel is putting big bucks into its Atom family of processors, which have been designed for UMPCs, or as Intel would have it, MIDs. Intel has encouraged both the computer makers and the Linux companies in its Moblin initiative to run desktop Linux. The Linux companies have picked up on this. Canonical, Ubuntu's dad company, has come up with an UMPC-specific version of Ubuntu 8.04, the latest version of this popular Linux distribution, for Intel Atom UMPCs. At Computex, by my count, more than a dozen new UMPCs were announced both from vendors you've never heard of and from big name companies like Acer and Asus. You can also expect to see Dell releasing its 'mini-Inspiron' with Ubuntu by June's end."

Submission + - Extreme IT: On front lines in Afghanistan, Iraq (

CWmike writes: "You think your work life's stressful? Try getting a network restored after it's been brought down by a mortar attack — in 110-degree heat. That's life in Iraq and Afghanistan for the members of the U.S. military in charge of communications, networks and other IT systems. The desert environment presents its own challenges; throw in a war, and you've got a situation that taxes both the equipment and the men and women who maintain it. Talk about some pimped out vans: "We actually have several vans that we interconnect together. So the network control center, the data warehouse, is in one van; I have the control facility for circuit routing in a second van of about the same size; I've got a phone switch in another van; I've got a monitoring center in yet another van." Meanwhile, on the opposite "extreme", see Ch-Ch-Chatting with the IT manager at the South Pole."

Submission + - SPAM: New fingerprint detection technology

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Researchers at the University of Leicester, UK, working with Northamptonshire Police, have found a new technique for identifying fingerprints on metal. This method will enable forensic scientists to 'visualise fingerprints' even after the print itself has been removed. What is even more interesting is that this technology could 'enhance — after firing — a fingerprint that has been deposited on a small calibre metal cartridge case before it is fired.' As said the lead researcher, 'For the first time we can get prints from people who handled a cartridge before it was fired.' They add that 'cases dating back decades could be reopened because the underlying print never disappears.' But read more for additional details and references."

Submission + - SPAM: Feds encrypt 800,000 laptops; 1.2 million to go

alphadogg writes: U.S. government agencies are scrambling to plug up one of their biggest security holes: sensitive information such as names, addresses and social security numbers stored on laptops, handhelds and thumb drives. In the last year, agencies have purchased 800,000 licenses for encryption software through the federal Data at Rest (DAR) Encryption program, which is run jointly by the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Who thinks Firehose software is working right? 6

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "I find the Firehose software to be infuriating. It seems to have no 'stickiness' but constantly reverts to other views and searches than what I was looking at. I'm about ready to give up on it unless they tell me they recognize it's dumb and are doing something to make it work right. Am I the only one who feels this way?"
Operating Systems

Submission + - VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta Supports DX9 Shader 2 (

Buzzkillins writes: "Quickly gaining in popularity in the Mac community is the use of virtualization applications, which allow users to run Windows in a "virtual" session within the Mac OS. While not quite as stable as Boot Camp or as fast, the convenience of simultaneous OS access is quite a boon. The two main players in this field are Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac and VMware Fusion. One of the primary reasons why someone would want Windows on their Mac is to have access to Windows games. Unfortunately, virtualization's Achilles Heel has been the lack of strong DirectX support. The tide might finally be starting to turn, however. VMware has just released the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1, which includes "experimental" DirectX 9 Shader Model 2 support."
The Military

Submission + - SPAM: US tactical satellite plan scrutinized

coondoggie writes: "Developing low-cost small, rapidly deployable tactical satellites is a US Department of Defense priority but the agency's ability to pull off such advancement faces a multitude of challenges. That was the main conclusion of a report issued last week by the Government Accountability Office that noted that in fiscal year 2008 alone, DOD expects to spend over $22 billion dollars on space systems. Despite this investment, senior military commanders have reported shortfalls in tactical space capabilities in each recent major conflict over the past decade, the GAO said. On the flip side however, the GAO also praised the DoD for some of the advances it has made in getting some of its low-cost efforts off the ground. For example, on the research and development side, DOD has launched one of its diminutive spacecraft known as TacSat satellites. TacSats are small experimental satellites intended to quickly provide a capability that meets an identified need — and has begun developing several others, the GAO said. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - New attack exploits 'unexploitable' Oracle inputs (

Trailrunner7 writes: is reporting that database security supergenius David Litchfield has found a way to manipulate common Oracle data types that were thought to be safe and inject arbitrary SQL commands. The new method shows that you can no longer assume any data types are safe from attacker input, regardless of their location or function. "In conclusion, even those functions and procedures that don't take user input can be exploited if SYSDATE is used. The lesson here is always, always validate and prevent this type of vulnerability getting into your code. The second lesson is that no longer should DATE or NUMBER data types be considered as safe and not useful as injection vectors: as this paper has proved, they are," he writes.

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Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!