Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - WV buys $22K routers with stimulus, puts them in small schools (

DesScorp writes: "The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia has purchased hundred of enterprise class routers from Cisco at over $22,000 dollars apiece via federal stimulus money. The stimulus cash was intended to spread broadband coverage. The problem is that the routers are overkill, and are being placed in small schools and libraries with just a handful of users. The West Virginia Office of Technology warned that the purchase was "grossly oversized" for the intended uses, but the purchase went through anyway. Curiously, the project is being headed up not by the state's usual authorities on such matters, but by Jimmy Gianato, West Virginia's Homeland Security Chief. In addition to the $24 million contract signed with Verizon Network Integration to provide the routers and maintenance, Gianato asked for additional equipment and services that tacked an additional $2.26 million to the bill. Perhaps the worst part is that hundreds of the routers are sitting in their boxes, unused, two years after the purchase."

Submission + - 'Gaia' scientist backpeddles on climate change (

DesScorp writes: "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the "Gaia Theory" and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing "“before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says:

"“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added."

Lovelock still belives the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."


Submission + - Homeland Security raids... a flea market ( 1

DesScorp writes: "The Baltimore Sun reports on a raid at a flea market for counterfeit merchandise and pirated music/movies. The catch? The raid was carried out by the Department of Homeland Security.Further, they've been planning this for some time. " Nicole Navas, a public affairs specialist with the Department of Homeland Security, said sports apparel, musical recordings and cosmetics were among the items under scrutiny in the 2 1/2-year-long investigation."

What in the world makes this a homeland security issue? Like the TSA, these actions from Homeland Security point to a future of unlimited expansion to authority beyond the original scope of these federal agencies."

The Internet

Submission + - Has the infamous Goatse guy been found? ( 1

DesScorp writes: "If you were on Slashdot in the late 90's and early 2K's, then you've probably been "Goatse'd". Someone posts a link about a supposedly innocuous subject, you click, and suddenly you're looking at something you didn't think was humanly possible. Goatse'ing was a form of RickRolling, only with a "What has been seen cannot be unseen" aspect. For years, people have speculated: "Who IS that guy?". Was he some otherwise normal guy... a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, that just had some very kinky personal tastes? It was noted that in his pic, he wore a wedding band. Was this the guy sitting next to you in church?

Adrian Chen at Gawker claims to have found the man responsible, and describes the process of how the Internet's first truly infamous meme began, and how it spread."


Submission + - Public Radio International retracts Apple story, admits fraud (

DesScorp writes: "PRI, the produces of NPR's popular "This American Life" have completely retracted their story about conditions in Foxconn's factory that makes Apple products, releasing this statement:

This American Life has retracted this story because we learned that many of Mike Daisey's experiences in China were fabricated. We have removed the audio from our site, and have left this transcript up only for reference. We produced an entire new episode about the retraction, featuring Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz, who interviewed Mike’s translator Cathy and discovered discrepancies between her account and Mike’s, and New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who has reported extensively on Apple. Ira also re-interviewed Mike Daisey to learn why he misled us.

The episode in question had been the most popular in the history of the program. Mike Daisey defended himself by saying he uses "fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story.""

Submission + - Heartland claims "science memo" is a fake (

DesScorp writes: "Following the earlier story about the UK Guardian obtaining secret memos from The Heartland Institute concerning the suppression of science education, the institute has replied that the "smoking gun" memo the Guardian has is a fake:

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact. We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions. The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

Heartland also says that some genuine documents were stolen:

The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

So... who is telling the truth here?"


Submission + - NASA to cut Mars mission (

DesScorp writes: "Faced with budget cuts, and forced to choose between deep space observation or a mission to Mars, CBS reports that NASA will kill most of its Mars exploration programs. Sources in NASA say that of the $300 million being cut from the space agency's budget, two-thirds were for a joint US-EU program for Martian exploration. NASA spokesman David Weaver said that, just like the rest of the federal government, the space agency has to make “tough choices and live within our means.”"

Submission + - The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows (

DesScorp writes: "A story from UK's Guardian reports on a study of ice levels from the Himalayas area, and finds that no significant melting has occurred, despite earlier predictions of losses of up to 50 billion tons of ice. "The very unexpected result was the negligible mass loss from high mountain Asia, which is not significantly different from zero", said Professor Jonathan Bamber, who also warns that 8 years simply isn't enough time to draw conclusions. "It is awfully dangerous to take an eight-year record and predict even the next eight years, let alone the next century," he said."

Submission + - Columbus blamed for Little Ice Age (

DesScorp writes: "Science News reports on a story where scientists blame the little ice age on the discovery of the "new world", and the native depopulation and deforestation that resulted. "Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate, says Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford University." The story notes that the pandemics in the Americas were possibly an example of human climate manipulation predating the Industrial Revolution, though isotope measurements used during research have much uncertainty, so "that evidence isn't conclusive"."
The Internet

Submission + - Turkey to impose new Internet controls (

DesScorp writes: "Beginning in August, the Turkish government will mandate that all ISP's implement a new web filtering regime, under the auspices of protecting Turkish children. The Turkish government calls the program "Safe Use of the Internet". Many in the country fear that the program is the opening salvo in an outright attempt to censor the web in Turkey. "We are concerned that the government [will] enforce and develop a censorship infrastructure," said Law Professor Yamman Akdeniz at Bilgi University in Istanbul. The article notes that Turkey already bans more websites than any country in Europe."

Submission + - World's last typewriter factory closes (

DesScorp writes: "The last factory in the world manufacturing typewriters has ceased operations. Godrej and Boyce shut down their Mumbai plant. They're down to around 200 machines in stock... most are Arabic models... and plan mainly to service India's government and military sector in the near future, both of which still heavily rely on typewriters."

Submission + - The end of the "Age of Speed" (

DesScorp writes: ""The human race is slowing down", begins an article in the Wall Street Journal that laments the state of man's quest of aerial speed: we're going backwards. With the end of the Space Shuttle program, man is losing it's fastest carrier of human beings (only single use moonshot rockets were faster). "The shuttles' retirement follows the grounding over recent years of other ultrafast people carriers, including the supersonic Concorde and the speedier SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. With nothing ready to replace them, our species is decelerating—perhaps for the first time in history", the article notes. Astronauts are interviewed, and their sadness and dissapointment is apparent. In the 60's and 70's, it was assumed that Mach 2+ airline travel would one day be cheap and commonplace. And now it seems that we, and our children, will fly no faster than our grandparents did in 707's. The last major attempt at faster commerical air travel... Boeing's Sonic Cruiser... was abandoned and replaced with the Dreamliner, an airliner designed from the ground up for fuel efficiency."

Submission + - Bastardi's Wager (

DesScorp writes: "AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has a challenge for climate scientists. He wants one or more of their rank to accept a bet about temperature trends in the coming decade. Bastardi is making specific predictions. "The scientific approach is you see the other argument, you put forward predictions about where things are going to go, and you test them,” he says. “That is what I have done. I have said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.” Bastardi’s challenge to his critics — who are legion — is to make their own predictions. And then wait. Climate science, he adds, “is just a big weather forecast.” Bastardi's challenge is reminiscent of the famous Simon-Ehrlich Wager, where the two men made specific predictions about resource scarcity in the 80's."

Submission + - Australian police investigating Julian Assange (

DesScorp writes: "The AP reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being investigated by Australian police for possible violations of the law. Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland states that there are "potentially a number of criminal laws" that Assange may have violated. Defense Minister Stephen Smith said that a cross-government committee was trying to determine how much damage to national security could have been done. "This is an act which again one has no option but to absolutely condemn it. It potentially puts national security interests and it puts the safety and welfare of individuals at stake", Smith stated. The article noted that the United States government had warned the Australian government of the coming leaks"

Submission + - WikiLeaks: WMD's were found in Iraq ( 3

DesScorp writes: "Wired reports that among the latest batch of war documents that WikiLeaks released included documentation showing that various quantities of banned WMD's were found in Iraq well into 2008, though in much smaller quantities than the Bush Administration feared. Almost all were chemical or biological agents (or technologies used to make them), and years into the Iraq War, the concern shifted to Al Qaeda and their insurgent allies acquiring and using the leftover agents against US allied forces. Among the weapons that were found were 155 mm shells with mustard gas. Other documents deal with the capture of "foreign agents" helping the insurgents in an attempt to use leftover chemical weapons."

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