Freshly Exhumed writes: Mark Zee of OpsGroup, an entity that provides airlines and aircraft operators worldwide with critical flight information, has had enough of the NOTAM system of critical information notices to aviators, decrying that it has become 'absolutely ridiculous. We communicate the most critical flight information, using a system invented in 1920, with a format unchanged since 1924, burying essential information that will lose a pilot their job, an airline their aircraft, and passengers their lives, in a mountain of unreadable, irrelevant bullshit.'
Freshly Exhumed writes: Ken White at Popehat has updated the Prenda Law saga today with news of the downfall of one of the principals: 'Back in December the feds charged Steele and Hansmeier with an array of federal crimes arising from a scheme that has now been identified and decried by federal courts across the country. And today John Steele pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of that indictment — mail fraud in violation of 18 USC 1341 and money laundering in violation of 18 USC 1956(h). Upon entry of judgment after his sentencing, John Steele will be a convicted felon with a federal fraud conviction. His career as a lawyer — or, more generally, as a gainfully employed person — is over.' Still to come is the case of Steele's colleague and partner, Paul Hansmeier.
Freshly Exhumed writes: RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has levelled a blistering memo obtained by the CBC on how critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since Shared Services Canada took over tech support for the entire government five years ago. Not only that, the memo says, the duration of each outage has increased by 98 per cent. "Its 'one size fits all' IT shared services model has negatively impacted police operations, public and officer safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system," reads the memo. A list of specific incidents includes an 11-hour network computer outage on Jan. 18 that downed every Mountie's BlackBerry, affected dispatching, and prevented the RCMP and 240 other police forces from accessing the Canadian Police Information Centre database.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Researchers in the Chemistry and Physics Departments at Duke University have found that CH4 (Methane) is almost exclusively produced when rhodium nanoparticles are mildly illuminated in ultraviolet LED light, yielding a seven-fold increase in the CH4 production rate over dark conditions, while only a slight increase in simultaneous CO production was detected. No other carbon-containing product was observed, making this photocatalytic process an enticing possible solution for the reduction of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere while simultaneously producing methane for fuel and industrial use. Rhodium is commonly used in automobile catalytic converters.
Freshly Exhumed writes: News on Hackaday today informs that the famous HAARP antenna array is to be brought back into service for experiments by the University of Alaska. Built in the 1990s for the US Air Forceâ(TM)s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, the array is a 40-acre site containing a phased array of 180 HF antennas and their associated high power transmitters. Its purpose it to conduct research on charged particles in the upper atmosphere.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Hunters in a remote community in Nunavut are concerned about a mysterious "pinging" sound, sometimes also described as a "hum" or "beep," in Fury and Hecla Strait throughout the summer. Paul Quassa, a member of the legislative assembly, says whatever the cause, it's scaring the animals away. "That's one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it's a polynya,...and this time around, this summer, there were hardly any." Internal correspondence between sources in the Department of National Defence suggest submarines were not immediately ruled out, but were also not considered a likely cause. "We've heard in the past of groups like Greenpeace putting in some kinds of sonars in the seabed to get the sea mammals out of the way so Inuit won't be able to hunt them," Quassa said. These rumours, though persistent, have never been substantiated, and Greenpeace denies the assertion.
Freshly Exhumed writes: In a paper submitted to EuroSys ’16, researchers claim to have identified four major performance bugs in the Linux scheduler (PDF) that result in cores sitting idle while runnable processes remain queued, causing large performance and energy inefficiencies. Reassuringly, they have not just identified the problems but are also presenting their results and tools for Linux scheduler improvement over on GitHub.
Freshly Exhumed writes: A Vancouver journalist has demonstrated how the new $194-million Compass-card fare system can be hacked to gain free access to SkyTrain. CTV's Jon Woodward ran an expired, paper Compass ticket by his smartphone, showing how this simple act could open the closed fare gate at a SkyTrain system. This is accomplished with the help of NFC technology, which rewrites the data on the ticket. TransLink announced in 2010 that it had selected San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems and IBM as its supplier of a new smart-card-operated fare-gate system. Cubic's lobbyists included a former TransLink CEO and project manager.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Jonas 'Sortie' Termansen has announced a small, new, self-hosting x86-based operating-system aimed at being a clean and modern POSIX implementation, called: Sortix 1.0. Project features, goals, and decisions can be seen here, with links to screenshots available. Interestingly, early development took place under the GPL v2 and v3 licenses, yet with Sortix 1.0 the license has been changed to the ISC License. Time will tell whether that is a fortuitous decision or not.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Telemarketers in Canada and the USA have essentially been bypassing eachnation's do-not-call registry by basing their efforts from the other or from off-shore locations, while cross border spam remains rampant. Now the CRTC, Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, announced today it has signed a partnership agreement with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States to fight against spam and calls from pesky telemarketers. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) consists of all unsolicited telecommunications, unsolicited commercial email (spam), and other “illegal electronic threats” that cover anti-spam laws in the United States and Canada.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Redox OS, a project on GitHub aimed at creating an alternative OS able to run almost all Linux executables with only minimal modifications, is to feature a pure Rust ecosystem, which they hope will improve correctness and security over other OSes. In their own words, 'Redox isn't afraid of dropping the bad parts of POSIX, while preserving modest Linux API compatibility.' They also level harsh criticisms at other OSes, saying '...we will not replicate the mistakes made by others. This is probably the most important tenet of Redox. In the past, bad design choices were made by Linux, Unix, BSD, HURD, and so on. We all make mistakes, that's no secret, but there is no reason to repeat others' mistakes.' Not stopping there, Redox documentation contains blunt critiques of Plan 9, the GPL, and other mainstays.