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Submission + - Careful, we might nuke you: The consequences of rejecting a nuclear no-first-use (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Since developing nuclear weapons in 1945, the United States has maintained the right to use them first against another country, regardless of whether that country launched a nuclear attack at the US. Over the past several months President Obama has considered changing that “first-use” optional policy to one under which the US declares that it will only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack, a 'no-first-use' posture. Press reports now assert that key members of the president’s cabinet all opposed the move, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the no-first-use debate, but unfortunately, there may be negative consequences for raising the issue publicly and then rejecting it. Nuclear security expert James Doyle explains what those consequences are.

Submission + - Clinton's IT contractor sought help removing to/from addresses on arcived emails (thegatewaypundit.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An employee with Platte River Networks, the company in charge of Hillary Clinton’s home server, who was granted immunity from Obama’s Department of Justice in their investigation of Clinton, reportedly asked for assistance in July 2014 from Reddit users on how to purge emails and how to strip VIP’s email address from “a bunch of archived emails":

"Hello all- I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email that I have both in a live Exchange mailbox, as well as a PST file. Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out. I am not sure if something like this is possible with PowerShell, or exporting all of the emails to MSG and doing find/replaces with a batch processing program of some sort. Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?"

Submission + - Carl Malamud's fight to make public info public has now landed him in court (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: For some 25 years, Carl Malamud has been fighting for open internet and government—from encouraging activists to download huge numbers of paywall-blocked federal court documents to publishing state annotated codes online and petitioning the Republic of India to do the same. He's on a lonely mission to capitalize on the internet’s potential for spreading information, and now, it's landed him in court: today, he's headed to DC to defend himself in two separate lawsuits.

Submission + - The government vs the people of Louisiana

schwit1 writes: During the recent flooding in Louisiana, it was repeatedly the government vs ordinary citizens as people scrambled to deal with the disaster.

The government was repeatedly in the way and working to prevent people from helping themselves. In fact, it often seemed more interested in collecting fees and paperwork than allowing people to be rescued or homes to be rebuilt.

Submission + - Continuing progress on "In Situ Resource Utilization" for space exploration. (arxiv.org) 2

RockDoctor writes: Many Slashdot readers will have heard of Robert Zubrin with his plans for launching self-contained rocket fuel plants to Mars to convert 1kg of hydrogen (supplied from Earth) to 18kg of oxygen/ methane to be used as rocket fuel to return explorers to Earth. This is an example of Utilizing (using) In Situ (already there) Resources (Mars' CO2 atmosphere) to reduce launch costs (masses) from Earth to achieve desired aims in space exploration at more affordable costs.

In 2013, the Journal of Aerospace Engineering ran a special volume on "In Situ Resource Utilization" with 20 papers on the subject. (These are paywalled, unless you know of tools like Sci-Hub to read the work paid for by your taxes.)

Yesterday, one of the editors of that special volume, Philip Metzger (a NASA planetary scientist specialising in the properties of Lunar soils) released a paper on Arxiv expanding on his contribution to that 2013 volume and detailing a roadmap for humanity to take gain control of the Solar System in order to solve problems on Earth. In the 2013 paper, Dr Metzger asserted (with working) that

bootstrapping can be achieved with as little as 12 t landed on the Moon during a period of about 20 years. [ I know it's Slashdot but RTFAFFS ! ...] The industry grows exponentially because of the free real estate, energy, and material resources of space. The mass of industrial assets at the end of bootstrapping will be 156 t with 60 humanoid robots or as high as 40,000 t. [...] Within another few decades with no further investment, it can have millions of times the industrial capacity of the United States. Modeling over wide parameter ranges indicates this is reasonable, but further analysis is needed.

The 2016 Arxiv paper produces some of the results of that further analysis, concentrating in particular on the need to develop a "water economy [..] to manufacture rocket propellant" from in situ resources on the Moon and later the asteroids.

The 2013 paper's abstract ends with one of the milder understatements in history.

"This industry promises to revolutionize the human condition."

Without doubt, Slashdot will contribute much heat and little light from typing hordes who haven't read either paper to dilute their ignorance, but analyses like this are not, as frequently described, the work of "space nutters" but realistic possibilities. Realistic until the author sees the fatal stumbling block to all such dreams :

"It will require a sustained commitment of several decades to complete."

— a level of dedication that humans have not shown themselves capable of for centuries, even for their highest achievement to date, war.

Submission + - Cops are finding sneaky new ways to catch texting drivers (nypost.com)

schwit1 writes: It can wait

State police in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have been known to patrol in a tractor-trailer so they can sit up high and spot drivers texting behind the wheel. In Bethesda, Maryland, a police officer disguised himself as a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers. In two hours last October, police gave out 56 tickets. And in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, south of Boston, an officer regularly tools around town on his bicycle, pedals up to drivers at stoplights and hands them $105 tickets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates nearly 3,500 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in the mainland US and Puerto Rico in 2015, up from almost 3,200 in 2014. The number of deaths in which cellphones were the distraction rose from 406 in 2014 to 476 in 2015.

But many safety advocates say crashes involving cellphones are vastly underreported because police are forced to rely on what they are told by drivers, many of whom aren’t going to admit they were using their phones.

Submission + - Is Apache OpenOffice finally on the way out? (apache.org)

JImbob0i0 writes: After almost another year without a release and another major CVE leaving users vulnerable for that year the Chairman of the Project Management Committee has started public discussions on what it will entail to retire the project, following the Apache Board showing concern at the poor showing.

It's been a long battle which would have been avoided if Oracle had not been so petty. Did this behaviour actually help get momentum in the community underway though? What ifs are always hard to properly answer.

Hopefully this long drawn out death rattle will finally come to a close and the wounds with LibreOffice can heal with the last few contributors to AOO joining the rest of the community.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is anyone concerned that Men Die 5 Years earlier than Women? (cnn.com) 1

BuckB writes: So many stories lately about Women's Equality Day, Breast Cancer, and even the best places to live (for women — answer, Hawaii). However, there really are no headlines, stories, or even articles about men's mortality rates. Do people not know, not care, or just accept it as a fact that men, for example, die seven years before women in the idolized Hawaii or ridiculed DC?

Submission + - Something "Unexpected" Happened When Seattle Raised The Minimum Wage

schwit1 writes: The latest research comes from the University of Washington which researched the impact of Seattle's recent minimum wage hike on employment in that city (as background, Seattle recently passed legislation that increased it's minimum wage to $11 per hour on April 1, 2015, $13 on January 1, 2016 and $15 on January 1, 2017). "Shockingly", the University of Washington found that Seattle's higher minimum wages "lowered employment rates of low-wage workers" (the report is attached in its entirety at the end of this post).

Yet, our best estimates find that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers. This negative unintended consequence (which are predicted by some of the existing economic literature) is concerning and needs to be followed closely in future years, because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance. Finally, we find only modest impacts on earnings. The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged. Of course, we are talking about the average result.



More specifically, we find that median wages for low-wage workers (those earning less than $11 per hour during the 2nd quarter of 2014) rose by $1.18 per hour, and we estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was to increase these workers’ median wage by $0.73 per hour. Further, while these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point decrease in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed. While these low-wage workers increased their quarterly earnings relative to prior years, the estimated impact of the Ordinance on earnings is small and sensitive to the choice of comparison region. Finally, for those who kept their job, the Ordinance appears to have improved wages and earnings, but decreased their likelihood of being employed in Seattle relative other parts of the state of Washington.

Still not convinced? How about a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that finds that "higher minimum wage results in some job loss for the least-skilled workers—with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested."

Submission + - DNC Creates 'Cybersecurity Board' Without Any Cybersecurity Experts (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Democratic National Committee has created a "cybersecurity advisory board" to improve its cybersecurity and to "prevent future attacks." Politico reports: "'To prevent future attacks and ensure that the DNC's cybersecurity capabilities are best-in-class, I am creating a Cybersecurity Advisory Board composed of distinguished experts in the field,' interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile wrote in a memo. 'The Advisory Board will work closely with me and the entire DNC to ensure that the party is prepared for the grave threats it faces — today and in the future.' Members include Rand Beers, former Department of Homeland Security acting secretary; Nicole Wong, former deputy chief technology officer of the U.S. and a former technology lawyer for Google and Twitter; Aneesh Chopra, co-founder of Hunch Analytics and former chief technology officer of the U.S.; and Michael Sussmann, a partner in privacy and data security at the law firm Perkins Coie and a former Justice Department cybercrime prosecutor." What's surprising is that none of these members are cybersecurity experts. Techdirt reports: "If the goal of the board was to advise on cybersecurity policy, then the makeup of it is at least slightly more understandable, but that's not goal. It's to actually improve the cybersecurity of the DNC. Even if the goal were just policy, having someone with actual technology experience with cybersecurity would be sensible."

Submission + - Microsoft will use Windows 10 UWP to kill game vending competitors like Steam (pcgamer.com) 2

slashdot_commentator writes: In an interview with Edge Magazine, Tim Sweeney is claiming that future updates to Windows 10 could serve to erode the usefulness of third-party applications and storefronts like Steam.

Sweeney states, "The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP, then they phase out Win32 apps. If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform. It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones."

"Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken. They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan, but they’re certainly trying."

Submission + - It's November, 2016 - for whom do you vote?

DavidHumus writes: There appears to be a distinct political slant on /. but what is it, exactly? We should have a poll, preferably near the day of the US presidential election, where slashdotters vote for their candidate of choice. Since we're not all Americans or non-felons, the poll should allow us to indicate whether we actually can vote in this election and if we will (or did, depending on when the poll runs) vote.

Submission + - Due process is under assault in America (washingtonexaminer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Due process isn’t the sexiest part of the Constitution. It doesn’t get all the attention like the First or Second Amendments. But it is so incredibly important to the foundation of our country that it’s painful to see the hits it’s been taking these past few years.

The latest attempt has been incredibly direct, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., declaring that “due process is what’s killing us right now.” Manchin’s comments came in response to the Orlando terrorist attack that killed 49 people and injured 53 more. Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Manchin said that due process was keeping legislators from banning those on the Terrorist Watch List from purchasing guns.

“The problem we have, and really the firewall we have right now, is due process,” Manchin said Thursday. “It’s all due process.”

Darn that pesky due process and its constitutional protections!

Manchin is just the latest pol to advocate trampling on Americans’ constitutional rights. On Wednesday, a number of pols told my colleague Joel Gehrke that the presumption of innocence was unnecessary when government seeks to deprive someone of a constitutional right.

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