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Earth

Climate Change Will Stir 'Unimaginable' Refugee Crisis, Says Military (theguardian.com) 327

Citing military experts, The Guardian is reporting that if the rise in global warming is held under 2 degrees Celsius, there still could be a major humanitarian crisis to sort out. From the report: Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of "unimaginable scale," according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the "new normal." The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required. "Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century," said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. "Weâ(TM)re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people."

Comment India just tried to go almost completely cashless (Score 4, Informative) 258

Overnight and without warning, the government banned bills worth more than about $1.50. The result has been an absolute disaster:

97% of the Indian economy is cash-based. With 88% of all outstanding currency no longer usable, the economy is coming to a standstill. The daily-wage laborer, who leads a hand-to-mouth existence in a country with GDP per capita of a mere $1,600, no longer has work, as his employer has no cash to pay his wages. His life is in utter chaos. He is not as smart as Modi — despite the fact that Modi has no real life experience except as a bully and perhaps in his early days as a tea-seller at a train-station. He has no clue where his life is headed from here.

These people are going hungry, and some have begun to raid food shops. People are dying for lack of treatment at hospitals. Old people are dying in the endless queues. Some are killing themselves, as they are unable to comprehend the situation and simply don’t know what to do. There are now hundreds of such stories in the media.

Small businesses are in shambles, and many will probably never recover. The Hindu wedding season has just started and people are left with unusable banknotes. Their personal and family lives are now an utter disaster.

Banks and ATMs are running out of what little cash their is shortly after they open.

The Almighty Buck

South Korea To Kill the Coin in Path Towards 'Cashless Society' (cnbc.com) 258

The central bank in South Korea, one of the world's most technologically advanced and integrated nations, is taking a major step in getting rid of coins in the nation in what is an attempt to become a cashless society. The first step is to get rid of the metal, a feat authorities hope to achieve by 2020. From a report on FT: The Bank of Korea on Thursday announced it will step up its efforts to reduce the circulation of coins, the highest denomination of which is worth less than $0.50. As part of the plan it wants consumers to deposit loose change on to Korea's ubiquitous "T Money" cards -- electronic travel passes that can be used to pay for metro fares, taxi rides and even purchases in 30,000 convenience stores. The proposals are just the latest step for a nation at the forefront of harnessing technology to make citizens' lives more convenient. Online shopping is the norm, as are mobile payments for the country's tech-savvy millennials. South Korea is already one of the least cash-dependent nations in the world. It has among the highest rates of credit card ownership -- about 1.9 per citizen -- and only about 20 percent of Korean payments are made using paper money, according to the BoK. But while convenience is at the crux of the central bank's plan, there are other considerations. The BoK spends more than $40m a year minting coins. There are also costs involved for financial institutions that collect, manage and circulate them.

Submission + - International Authorities Cooperate To Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet

plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named 'Avalanche', estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis.

"The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800 000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked."

Submission + - Not one, not two, but three undersea cables cut in Jersey (cloudflare.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Sometime before midnight Monday (UK local time) a ship dropped its anchor and broke, not one, not two, but three undersea cables serving the island of Jersey in the English Channel. Jersey is part of the Channel Islands along with Guernsey and some smaller islands. These things happen and that’s not a good thing. The cut was reported on the venerable BBC news website. For the telecom operators in Jersey (JT Global) this wasn’t good news. However looking at the traffic from Cloudflare’s point of view; we can see that while the cable cut removed the direct path from London to Jersey, it was replaced by the backup path from Paris to Jersey. The move was 100% under the control of the BGP routing protocol. It's a relief that there's a fallback for when these unpredictable events happen.

Comment Re: The "hour" or "week" thing is flawed. (Score 1) 88

Any sign that it's working? If they only offer that one hour per year what do they do next? With no followup the kids will be teased with something they can't do in their school. The old line about kids asking about math - "Will we ever use this?" is mild compared to "Hey kids! Here's something you could use to make six figures and change the world! Now, run along. We'll give you "what most schools offer" - nothing - plus another hour of it a year from now!" As for teachers, when the first teacher nets were rolled out decades ago, TENet being one of the most robust first ones, they found that most of the teachers went online and average of 20 min a day in the first year, and it was mostly from home - as they didn't have 20 minutes to spare inside the school day. The idea that teachers will somehow find a way to shoehorn meaningful tech learning into their classrooms without standards or curriculum is not a reliable path forward.

Comment The "hour" or "week" thing is flawed. (Score 3, Insightful) 88

It's like having "book hour" or "music hour" once a year. At our school the kids get 2 periods per week for tech (straight coding, sure, or movie making, or web, or animation or embedding code into robotics, or Arduino or AR or etc...) and then can articulate that with other subjects. One hour is barely even inspiring, especially if there is not a structure to keep it going, and in this case history repeats: IIRC Seymour Papert said having a computer in every classroom back in the 80s was like having one piece of toilet paper in each room of your house. It's not hurting anything per se but it's a lot more useful if brought together in the right time and place.
Earth

Sea Ice In Arctic and Antarctic Is At Record Low Levels This Year (cnn.com) 313

dryriver quotes a report from CNN: For what appears to be the first time since scientists began keeping track, sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic are at record lows this time of year. "It looks like, since the beginning of October, that for the first time we are seeing both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice running at record low levels," said Walt Meier, a research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who has tracked sea ice data going back to 1979. While it is too early to know if the recent, rapid decline in Antarctic sea ice is going to be a regular occurrence like in the Arctic, it "certainly puts the kibosh on everyone saying that Antarctica's ice is just going up and up," Meier said. The decline of sea ice has been a key indicator that climate change is happening, but its loss, especially in the Arctic, can mean major changes for your weather, too. The report notes that air temperatures in the Arctic have been exceeding 35 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) above average, while "sea ice in the northern latitudes is at a lower level than ever observed for this time of the year." October and November is when the Arctic region typically gains ice. This year, air temperatures are staying much warmer and closer to the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. What's more is that water temperatures in the Arctic Ocean are several degrees above average, as a result of having less sea ice.
China

China Says Terrorism, Fake News Impel Greater Global Internet Curbs (reuters.com) 143

China's ambitions to tighten up regulation of the Internet have found a second wind in old fears -- terrorism and fake news. Chinese officials and business leaders speaking at the third World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen last week called for more rigid cyber governance, pointing to the ability of militants to organize online and the spread of false news items during the recent U.S. election as signs cyberspace had become dangerous and unwieldy. From a report on Reuters: Ren Xianling, the vice minister of China's top internet authority, said on Thursday that the process was akin to "installing brakes on a car before driving on the road." Ren, number two at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), recommended using identification systems for netizens who post fake news and rumors, so they could "reward and punish" them. The comments come as U.S. social networks Facebook and Twitter face a backlash over their role in the spread of false and malicious information generated by users, which some say helped sway the U.S. presidential election in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Social Networks

Snopes.com Editor on Fake News: Social Media Is Not the Problem (backchannel.com) 624

"Honestly, most of the fake news is incredibly easy to debunk because it's such obvious bullshit..." says Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of the fact-checking at Snopes.com. "It's not social media that's the problem. People are looking for somebody to pick on." mirandakatz shared this article from Backchannel: The problem, Binkowski believes, is that the public has lost faith in the media broadly -- therefore no media outlet is considered credible any longer. The reasons are familiar: as the business of news has grown tougher, many outlets have been stripped of the resources they need for journalists to do their jobs correctly. "When you're on your fifth story of the day and there's no editor because the editor's been fired and there's no fact checker so you have to Google it yourself and you don't have access to any academic journals or anything like that, you will screw stories up," she says.
I found this article confusing. Snopes seemed to be trying to steer the conversation back to erroneous stories from "legitimate publications," which erode the public trust in all mainstream outlets. (Which I guess then over time hypothetically makes people more susceptible to fake news stories on Facebook.) But her earlier remarks suggest it's not really credibility that's lacking there -- it's the absence of someone convenient to pick on. So what is the problem? Is it the news media's lack of credibility? Algorithms that disproportionately reward alarming stories? A human tendency to seek information that confirms our pre-existing biases? What do Slashdot readers think is causing what this article describes as "our epidemic of misinformation"?

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