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Submission + - NASA Satellite Finds Unreported Sources of Toxic Air Pollution

__roo writes: Using a new satellite-based method, scientists at NASA, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and two universities have located 39 unreported and major human-made sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions. The unreported emission sources, found in the analysis of satellite data from 2005 to 2014, are clusters of coal-burning power plants, smelters, oil and gas operations found notably in the Middle East, but also in Mexico and parts of Russia. In addition, reported emissions from known sources in these regions were – in some cases – two to three times lower than satellite-based estimates. NASA's Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Home Page contains current and archived satellite images and analysis.

Submission + - Yahoo Discloses Contents of National Security Letters (

msm1267 writes: Yahoo today disclosed the contents of three National Security Letters it has received since 2013, the first time a company has made such a disclosure since the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act.

Under the law, the FBI is now required to periodically whether non-disclosure around National Security Letters remains appropriate.

“We believe this is an important step toward enriching a more open and transparent discussion about the legal authorities law enforcement can leverage to access user data,” said Chris Madsen, Yahoo’s head of global law enforcement, security and safety.

Two of the letters, one from the FBI’s Dallas office on Aug. 1, 2013 and the other from its Charlotte office May 29, 2015, demand the target of the investigation’s name, address and length of service with Yahoo for all services and accounts.

The remaining letter from the FBI’s Dallas office dated March 29, 2013 also requires Yahoo turn over electronic communications transactional records, which include “existing transaction/activity logs and all electronic (email) header information.”

Submission + - Jeff Bezos, of and Blue Origin, wants to move heavy industry to space (

MarkWhittington writes: SpaceX’s Elon Musk wants to settle Mars. To be sure, Musk’s rival, Jeff Bezos, CEO of both Blue Origin and, thinks that is pretty cool too. But he has just as an ambitious vision for the future. He would like to move all heavy industry into space, according to Recode. The Earth would be rezoned for residential and light commercial use.

Submission + - Liberal Arts majors best for a tech team (

DavidHumus writes: The founder of blogs about a change of heart he's had based on his experience over the past several years. He used to think — and preach — that "... the demand for quality computer programmers and engineers ... [means] we need more students with computer-science and engineering degrees." However, he has since concluded "...that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best-performing software developers and technology leaders."

Submission + - Hackers Who Stole $45 Million Via Lurk Trojan Arrested In Russia

An anonymous reader writes: The Kaspersky security research group reports that it has aided Russian police in the arrest of 50 hackers who stole more than $45 million by the use of the Lurk Trojan. The infection was initiated by the user merely visiting an affected web-site, including 'leading media and news sites', according to Kaspersky. The Lurk Trojan uses digital steganography, and encrypts URLs into image files by manipulating individual pixels, with the ultimate aim of initiating a downloader — and it runs entirely in RAM, avoiding any potential blockade from conventional anti-virus products.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Do You Want A 'Smart TV'?

kheldan writes: Yesterday We read about how Samsung is planning on 'upgrading' the firmware in their smart TVs so they will inject ads into your video streams. This raises the question yet again: Why do you even need a 'smart TV' in the first place? We live in an age where media-center computers and DVRs are ubiquitos, and all your TV really needs to be is a high-def monitor to connect to these devices. Even many smartphones have HDMI connectivity, and a Raspberry Pi is inexpensive and can play 1080 content at full framerate. None of these devices are terribly expensive anymore, and the price jump from a non-smart TV to a smart TV makes it difficult to justify the expense. Also, remember previous articles posted on the subject of surveillance many of these smart TVs have been found guilty of. So I put it to you, denizens of Slashdot: Why does anyone really want a 'smart TV'?

Submission + - Quantum mechanics is the only reason the Sun (and 95% of stars) shine

StartsWithABang writes: Inside the nuclear furnace of the Sun, protons and other atomic nuclei are compressed together into a tiny region of space, where the incredible temperatures and energies try to overcome the repulsive forces of their electric charges. At a maximum temperature of 15 million K, and with a long-tailed (Poisson) distribution of energies at the highest end, we can compute how many protons are energetic enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier. That number is exactly zero. When you consider that 95% of stars are less massive and reach lower core temperatures than our Sun, the problem appears to be even bigger. Yet we’re saved by quantum mechanics, where spread-out wavefunctions can overlap, and nuclear fusion as we know it can proceed. At a fundamental level, it’s only the quantum nature of our Universe that enables the stars to shine at all.

Submission + - FCC emphasizes that users of authorized wireless gear must obey rules (

alphadogg writes: Just because your wireless equipment is authorized for use by the FCC doesn't mean you can do whatever the heck you please with it, according to a new enforcement advisory issued by the commission. This would apply to things like WiFi hotspot blocking or setting up pirate radio stations. While the advisory might appear to be stating the obvious, an FCC spokesman elaborates that "the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is taking proactive measures to decrease the number of complaints about the use of authorized equipment in a manner that is not compliant with their authorizations. Reducing complaint volume helps us handle those that do come in in a timely manner. The issue is an ongoing, steady problem."

Submission + - IT layoffs at insurance firm are a 'never-ending funeral' (

dcblogs writes: The IT layoffs at MassMutual Financial Group will happen over a period of many months, and it's going to be painful for employees. Employees say they are training overseas workers via Web conferencing sessions. There are contractors in the office as well, some of whom may be working on temporary H-1B visas. Employees say they notice more foreign workers in the hallways. Approximately 100 employees are affected. The employees are angry but can't show it. A loss of composure, anything other than quiet acquiescence, means risking two weeks of severance pay for each year on the job. But maintaining composure is hard to do. "I know a few people that are probably close to a breakdown," said one IT employee.

Submission + - SPAM: Ancient anti-inflammatory drug salicylic acid has canc

johncarr044 writes: Scientists have identified a new pathway by which salicylic acid — a key compound in the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs aspirin and diflunisal — stops inflammation and tumor growth in cancer. Both salicylic acid and diflunisal suppress two key proteins that help control gene expression throughout the body. By inhibiting these proteins, the two drugs block the activation of other proteins involved in inflammation and cell growth, including one linked to leukemia.
Link to Original Source

Comment Doable (Score 1) 146

I'm a writer.

As such, there are times when I really need to get away from everyone and everything so I can totally immerse myself in just writing. Doing this while camping is wonderful. Or, sometimes just jumping on the bike with the computer in a daypack so I can park my butt in some shady spot in a park forest is good enough.

While writing and programming share the same mental processes, they have different demands on a computer. Programming is going to be much more demanding on a computer than writing prose. The MacBook Air is certainly at the top of the heap when it comes to low power consumption, but if you are programming some pretty heavy stuff that could drain the battery faster than the work I am doing now. That could greatly reduce your working time if you are completely off grid in the woods. That could be enough to impair your productivity and nix your project.

Power comes first. Without power, nothing else will work. As mentioned above, those big, portable solar panels are a very good idea. Free energy when there is enough sunlight. On any mostly sunny day, one panel should easily be enough to keep a MacBook Air chugging away all day. Even on a mostly cloudy day, the larger panels might be able to provide enough juice to keep you going. But this will also dictate your location. You need clear access to the sun. If you are in deep forest, it won't work. This means camping in a meadow or on the shore of a lake. A plus side here is when the sun goes down, you will have a wonderful view of the starry sky above. (Great for recharging your batteries!) If you are on a lake and are inclined to fishing, there you go.

Connectivity is important to you. It is for me, too, as a writer because often I need to jump online to reference various subjects. This means, you won't really be doing any "deep forest" camping, where you are truly away from all aspects of civilization. A lot of family and national forest campgrounds now supply power to campsites. That solves the power issue. One extension cord and surge protector power strip and you are ready to get everything done while you sit by the fire. Some of these campgrounds really suck. They are overrun and poorly maintained. But there are others that are truly gems! Sure there are other people around, but I find that kind of adds to the ambience. I do enjoy hearing the soft voices echoing in the trees. The sound of distant laughter. The smell of campfire smoke wafting on the wind. The campsites in the older campgrounds are well surrounded by trees and shrubs, so you really can't see one site from the next. This guarantees your privacy and isolation if you need it. You have to hunt for these gems. When you find them, you may find them quite enjoyable. The added services do make life a lot more pleasant while camping, and you can maintain your full technical capacity without hinderance.

You can set up your smart phone briefly as a hotspot for your online sessions. If you are only on for short periods during the day, this shouldn't press your data plan limits. For those who have very heavy data needs, it would probably be cheaper to buy a cellular modem and connect to that than it would to tether to your phone.

Another mention above was to use an RV. You can use a small trailer, too. Much more economical. With a larger trailer called a "Toy Box", you could also pack a motorcycle in along to use as your get around vehicle when you want to get away from the campsite for a change of scenery. A trailer or RV offers protection from the elements. I'm convinced I am the incarnation of a rain god, as the moment I pitch a tent, the rain starts falling. It also allows for better security for your equipment. Sure, a crowbar could get past a locked camper door, but most of the losers who skulk around campsites to steal things are looking for easy pickings and don't want to work for their booty.

You'll notice that my suggestions start with deep woods camping and move closer to civilization. But how you implement things depends on how you mix these elements together. One of my cousins purchased a chunk of land up in Maine. He parked a trailer in the center of his property, connected up a solar panel and a windmill to generate power, and added a composting toilet to the site. He can live off-grid for extended periods until he needs to go to town to get food and supplies. Owning your own land means there are no problems with restrictions of being on public land or being worried you might be on private property and possibly invoke the wrath of the landowner. The only flaw in my cousin's setup nowadays is that his property is isolated enough that he gets no signal for telecommunications. He bought it long before smartphones existed, so that wasn't a consideration way back then.

Take all the suggestions and put together the different pieces that you like and try and find the right balance for yourself and your needs.

Comment Re:Mirrored RAID is Probably Your Best Choice For (Score 1) 251

One thing I should mention about SSDs is that I have a couple of thumb drives that have been sitting around untouched for years that are still usable and the files are still readable. The only one that doesn't work is one that was sacrificed to a very powerful magnet in a demonstration of how vulnerable flash drives are to magnetic fields. So, perhaps an SSD drive will be more stable than I suspected.

Comment Mirrored RAID is Probably Your Best Choice For Now (Score 1) 251

Get a large-capacity, multi-disk drive housing and set it up as a mirrored RAID. Over time, as each drive fails, all you have to do is swap out the failed disk and the RAID will re-mirror the data to the new disk. This is the most robust perpetual storage option. It is possible that the magnetic fields on the disks can fade over time if left in an unpowered state. The biggest downside is that the RAID is onsite, and if there is a catastrophic event such as a fire or a flood, the drive could be destroyed. A RAID is what I am currently using for my longterm, permanent storage needs. I've lost a couple of files to bit rot, nonetheless.

Optical media storage is decent for long-term storage, but there is evidence to suggest that these disks break down over twenty to thirty years and become unreadable. So, bit rot is still an issue with optical media. However, they offer the advantage of being able to store the data in a stable medium without any power required and are easily portable to safe locations. Also, newer disk technology developed in recent years is more stable than older disks.

At the moment, I don't consider SSDs as a reliable long-term storage. All it takes is one cosmic ray to flip a critical memory cell and your drive becomes unreadable. Also, when disconnected from power the charges fade over time and in as little as a few years the drives could just erase themselves. The advantage they offer is being small, lightweight and easily portable.

The important thing to remember is that technology is changing all the time, and there are newer and better alternatives on the horizon that answer the shortcomings of each of the above solutions. The biggest problem with any long term storage is bit rot, where random bits get flipped or erased over time. Storage technology companies are striving to improve all the time, so the choices available to you will also continue to improve.

Comment Sniping Commentary (Score 3, Informative) 165

"Luckily for libraries, they're safe for now because they still beat Kindle Unlimited and its competitors in at least one category: content you want to read.

There is so much wrong with that backhanded insult that there is no "content you want to read" among self-published books.

Currently, the top bestsellers lists contain more self-published authors than authors represented by publishing houses. Self-publishing authors are outselling traditionally published authors and are .

The OP's comment comes from the misnomer that self-publishing is the last bastion of a writer whose writing was so bad, he couldn't get it accepted. The reality is the cartel of the Big-5 publishing companies have been artificially keeping the number of authors on the market artificially small so they could better control the markets in terms of product availability and price controls.

The advent of digital publishing has given authors a way to get around the market controls of big-industry publishing. Even traditionally published authors such as Barry Eisler and H.M. Ward have walked away from the publishing houses and turned to self-publishing. The work coming out of self-published authors is incredible. Hugh Howey's dystopian science fiction Wool would probably have never seen the light of day if not for self-publishing and his books have sold millions of copies. There are other yet-to-be discovered authors such as William D. Richards Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody or Michael Patrick Hicks Convergence who are turning out real page turners with gripping stories and excellent writing.

Yeah, there is some crap out there (published as a joke; read the description; the author, Phronk, is a satirist and pretty damned funny). If you are unsure about a book by a self-published author, just download the free sample of their work and see how it reads before you buy. Many authors with a series of books offer the first book free—if you don't like it, you aren't out any money. If you do, then you've got a whole series to buy.

Many independent writers take their craft very seriously. They employ a team of editors, proof readers, and a cover artist or two to ensure that the reader is going to get the best reading experience possible. If they weren't putting so much work into assuring the quality of their work was there, the self-publishing movement would have collapsed years ago. Instead, because of the commitment to quality by the authors, the self-publishing movement has been growing in strength, variety, and quality. Self-published authors gain no support from advance payments, no corporate backing, and no financial assistance. They are not subsidized by monies from other authors (as is a practice in traditional publishing). Instead, they make 100% of their incomes from direct sales to readers. If they weren't doing the proper Q.A. on their books, their livelihoods would be unsustainable.

So, don't go listening to big-publishing shills trying to shoot down the first real competition they've ever faced. There is plenty of excellent reading to be found among self-publising writers, contrary to what the O.P. alludes. And as far as public libraries are concerned, independent writers are huge supporters of libraries, unlike big-industry publishers who try to milk money from municipalities by over-charging libraries for books and ebooks.

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