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Submission + - DNA confirms cause of 1665 London's Great Plague

JThaddeus writes: The BBC reports that a 17th Century mass grave uncovered in London confirms the identity of the bacteria responsible for the Great Plague of 1665-1666. "Testing in Germany confirmed the presence of DNA from the Yersinia pestis bacterium — the agent that causes bubonic plague — rather than another pathogen." The grave contains approximately 3,500 skeletons. Teeth were removed from some of the skulls, and their pulp tested at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Positive results were found in 5 of 20 individuals tested. It is estimated that the Great Plague killed nearly one quarter of London's population (then about 350,000). The article also adds, "To reassure anyone worried whether plague bacterium was released from the excavation work or scientific analysis, it doesn't survive in the ground."

Comment KDE just didn't work (Score 1) 267

I had good luck with SuSE and OpenSUSE running KDE 3, but KDE4 was a disaster. Right away, things failed, like being unable to write to an iPod 5 or below. As upgrades came along, things got worse--spurious console errors, UI elements not drawing, etc. The final straw was KDE4's "semantic search technology" which never worked on any machine I tried, and which I blame for rendering 12+ years of email totally unsearchable other than by find and grep in a terminal session (maybe Nepomuk was not it; maybe it was other lousy bit of software; the results were that all attempts to index mail died).

When my home Dell box died, I took is as a sign. I'd never liked Gnome, so after 15 years of Linux as my personal OS and longer as my work OS, I went back to Mac. There are things I miss about Linux, but with my Macs stuff just works. I certainly don't miss KDE. And my mail is once again searchable.

Comment Get ready (Score 1) 701

Get ready.
Outboard personnel, stand up.
Inboard personal, stand up.
Hook up.
Check static lines.
Check equipment.
Sound off for equipment check.
Stand in the door.

Since my day, the Army has changed "Stand in the door" to "Stand by." The former had meaning for C-130s, but not C-141s and helicopters.

Submission + - The JavaScript juggernaut rolls on (

JThaddeus writes: An article in TechWorld Australia summarizes the latest opinions on JavaScript from ThoughtWorks: "There is no end in sight to the rise of JavaScript... 'I think JavaScript has been seen as a serious language for the last two or three years; I think now increasingly we’re seeing JavaScript as a platform,' said Sam Newman, ThoughtWorks’ Global Innovation Lead." The article touches on new additions to JavaScript tools, techniques, and languages built on Javascript. As the fuller report (PDF) says, "The ecosystem around JavaScript as a serious application platform continues to evolve. Many interesting new tools for testing, building, and managing dependencies in both server- and client-side JavaScript applications have emerged recently."

Submission + - Starbucks Phone App Stores Password Unencrypted (

JThaddeus writes: The Daily Caller reports a serious security flaw in the Starbucks phone app: "Starbucks confirmed late Tuesday that anyone could access the unencrypted data stored on the official Starbucks app simply by connecting the phone to a computer – bypassing lock screen or PIN security features with no hacking or jailbreaking necessary." The linked report is for iOS. No mention of Android, but do you think it is any different?

Submission + - Frog Sacrificed to LADEE Launch (

JThaddeus writes: One of the close-up cameras watching the LADEE launch caught the image of another frog sacrificed to science, and in a far more spectacular way than in your high school biology class: "... a new picture which has been released by NASA of the LADEE launch also featured an intruder a small frog which unfortunately was at a wrong place. The picture of the amphibian seen clearly silhouetted against the Minotaur 5 rocket smoke is not a fake and this has been confirmed by NASA." Follow this link to see the photo.

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