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Submission + - BMW's Plug-In Hybrid X5 Prototype Surfaced Yesterday, In Camouflage

cartechboy writes: Tesla got us past the "electric cars are nerdy" stage, but the first electric BMW--the i3 hatchback--is a European-style city car, not a big, practical American-style hauler for 4-5 people and their stuff. And the i3 doesn't say "BMW" to most people either. So how 'bout an X5 crossover that plugs in, runs all electrically for your short trips, and can still take you cross-country as a plug-in hybrid? It won't be here for 18 months, but the first U.S. drive report is out.

Submission + - Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants to "Fix" the Second Amendment (washingtonpost.com) 1

CanHasDIY writes: In his yet-to-be-released book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, John Paul Stevens, who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court for 35 years, believes he has the key to stopping the seeming recent spate of mass killings — amend the Constitution to exclude private citizens from armament ownership. Specifically, he recommends adding 5 words to the 2nd Amendment, so that it would read as follows:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

What I find interesting is how Stevens maintains that the Amendment only protects armament ownership for those actively serving in a state or federal military unit, in spite of the fact that the Amendment specifically names "the People" as a benefactor (just like the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth) and of course, ignoring the traditional definition of the term militia. I'm personally curious as to what his other 5 suggested changes are, but I guess we'll have towait until the end of April to find out.

Submission + - Assange makes statement to end wishtleblowers witchunt. (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: After a statement from a window at an upper floor from the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange "... called on US President Barack Obama to "do the right thing" and for his government to "renounce its witch hunt against Wikileaks"." as reported by the BBC.

Submission + - Assange Case: US "Does Not Recognise" International Law Re Diplomatic Assylum (foreignpolicy.com) 1

TrueSatan writes: Despite previously stating that it would not involve itself in the UK vs Equador dispute regarding Assange the US State Department declared today that the United States does not believe in the concept of ‘diplomatic asylum' as a matter of international law.

Following Equador's action in the Organisation of American States the US issued the following statement, "The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law," the office of Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a Friday statement. "We believe this is a bilateral issue between Ecuador and the United Kingdom and that the OAS has no role to play in this matter."

  This is directly contrary to previous US positions where it has given diplomatic assylum to dissidents of other regimes for instance Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty who was granted refuge in the US embassy in Budapest Oct '56 -May '71.

Medicine

Submission + - Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation says Ethicist

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a "moral obligation" as it makes them grow up into "ethically better children" and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. "Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?" writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. "So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality." Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. "Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.""
Programming

Submission + - Which NoSQL Database Should You Use (infoworld.com) 1

snydeq writes: "Andrew Oliver provides a succinct overview to help interested developers figure out where to begin with the growing number of NoSQL data stores available today. 'Part of the reason there are so many different types of NoSQL databases lies in the CAP theorem, aka Brewer's Theorem. The CAP theorem states you can provide only two out of the following three characteristics: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance. Different datasets and different runtime rules cause you to make different trade-offs. Different database technologies focus on different trade-offs. The complexity of the data and the scalability of the system also come into play. Another reason for this divergence can be found in basic computer science or even more basic mathematics. Relational databases are based on relational algebra, which is more or less an outgrowth of set theory. Relationships based on set theory are effective for many datasets, but where parent-child or distance of relationships are required, set theory isn't very effective. You may need graph theory to efficiently design a data solution. In other words, relational databases are overkill for data that can be effectively used as key-value pairs and underkill for data that needs more context. Overkill costs you scalability; underkill costs you performance."
Science

Submission + - New discovery reveals Antarctica had a rainforest 52 million years ago (tech-stew.com) 1

techfun89 writes: "Scientists drilling into the seabed off Antarctica revealed that a rainforest grew in the icy continent 52 million years ago. Scientists warn that Antarctica could be ice-free again within decades. This new discovery is published in the journal Nature.

Kevin Welsh, an Australian scientist who was with the 2010 expedition, said that analysis of sediment cores containing fossil pollen showed it was "very warm" 52 million years ago, at 20 degrees Celsius (68 F). "There were forests existing on the land, there wouldn't have been any ice, it would have been very warm."

Higher levels of carbon dioxide are thought to be the major reason for ice-free conditions during the period. The CO2 estimates were between 990 to a couple of thousand parts per million.

The current CO2 level is 395 ppm and the most extreme predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) see Antarctica being ice free by the end of the century."

Games

Submission + - What Happens to Your Used Games? (ign.com)

silentbrad writes: From IGN: "GameStop’s bosses are obviously tired of hearing about how used games are killing gaming, about how unfair they are on the producers of the games who get nothing from their resale. One astonishing stat is repeated by three different managers during presentations. 70 percent of income consumers make from trading games goes straight back into buying brand new games. GameStop argues that used games are an essential currency in supporting the games business. The normal behavior is for guys to come into stores with their plastic bags full of old games, and trade them so that they can buy the new Call of Duty, Madden, Gears of War. GameStop says 17 percent of its sales are paid in trade credits. The implication is clear — if the games industry lost 17 percent of its sales tomorrow, that would be a bad day for the publishers and developers."

Submission + - 400,000 American homes have dumped pay-TV so far this year (bgr.com)

redkemper writes: More than 400,000 American homes have cut the cord and ditched their cable and satellite pay-TV services since the start of 2012. The figure includes 169,000 subscribers shed by Time Warner Cable last quarter, marking the service provider’s tenth consecutive quarter of customer losses. It also includes the 52,000 net subscribers DirecTV lost this past quarter, and 176,000 customers who left Comcast...

Submission + - U.S. IPv6 Usage Grows to 3 Million Users (enterprisenetworkingplanet.com)

darthcamaro writes: There is a myth that IPv6 is only for those in Asia, but that's not true. According to new data discussed this week at an IETF conference, there are more IPv6 users in the U.S than anywhere else in the world — coming in at 3 million.

"I think you're used to us standing up and saying 'woe is me, woe is me, v6 isn't happening," George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) said. "But it is actually happening, these are not trivial numbers of people that are now using IPv6 on a routine basis."


Microsoft

Submission + - UEFI Secure Boot and Linux: Where Things Stand (itworld.com) 2

itwbennett writes: "Assuming that Microsoft doesn't choose to implement Secure Boot in the ways that the Linux Foundation says would work with Linux, there 'will be no easy way to run Linux on Windows 8 PCs,' writes Steven Vaughan-Nichols. Instead, we're faced with three different, highly imperfect approaches: Approach #1: Create UEFI Secure Boot keys for your particular distribution, like Canonical is doing with Ubuntu. Approach #2: work with Microsoft's key signing service to create a Windows 8 system compatible UEFI secure boot key, like Red Hat is doing with Fedora. Approach #3: Use open hardware with open source software, an approach favored by ZaReason CEO Cathy Malmrose."

Submission + - NSA Mimics Google, Pisses Off Senate (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a bizarre turn of events, the Senate would prefer that the DoD use software not written by the government for the government.

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