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Submission + - Whitehouse, Google cozied up over Anti-trust suit (theintercept.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Intercept reports new emails uncovered by the Oracle-backed Campaign for Accountability show the White House met top Google lobbyists twice in the weeks before the FTC announcement. Controversially, FTC commissioners took the unusual step of overriding their staff’s recommendation to sue Google, and voted to settle the case instead, with the White House official asking Google for talking points.

Submission + - Every Month This Year Has Been the Hottest in Recorded History (vice.com)

iONiUM writes: From the article:

On Wednesday, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that July was the hottest month ever recorded on our planet, since modern record-keeping began in 1880. NASA has reached the same conclusion. July smashed all previous records.

“We should be absolutely concerned,” Sanchez-Lugo said. “We need to look at ways to adapt and mitigate. If we don’t, temperatures will continue to increase.”

Next year is expected to be slightly less intense, with the fierce El Niño we’ve been experiencing now abating. But the truth is that record-breaking temperatures, month after month, year after year, are starting to look less like an exception, more like the norm.

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

Submission + - Older Workers Adapt To New Technology Just Fine, Survey Finds (cio.com)

itwbennett writes: Those older workers in your office, you know, the one ones you think can't handle dealing with new technology? Turns out, they struggle less with technology than their millennial colleagues. A survey by London-based market research firm Ipsos Mori, sponsored by Dropbox, found that older workers are less likely to find using technology in the workplace stressful and experience less trouble working with multiple devices than the younger cohort. The reason for this might lie in all the clunky old technologies older workers have had to master over the decades. Digital Natives don't know how good they've got it.

Submission + - Net Neutrality Is Only A Start (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Net neutrality is now the law of the land in the US and Europe, but it's only a start: there are much deeper questions of open internet access that still need addressing, such as how much power should be given to private providers of what should really be a utility service. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford argues:

In the US, the net neutrality issue has been forced to bear too much weight. It stands in for a larger problem that a single law or regulation can’t address. It’s like a small white bird perched on the head of a hippo. The little bird is noticeable and interesting, but really just a side-effect of the reality of the hippo himself. And the hippo in this metaphor is the lack of competition for network access services, particularly higher-capacity services, in a fundamentally unregulated market.


Submission + - Reddit will censor you if you complain online about tmobile policies. (reddit.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: I got into a long winded battle after T-mobile charged me full service costs after they suspended my mobile service on my tablet. I complained on the forums and got into a long winded battle involving a tirade of insults. After the original post was automatically removed after 5 complaints, I resubmitted a entirely new thread only to find it only appears on my personal reddit account and not on the r/tmobile reddit forum.

Submission + - When Homeland Security went to Walmart (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: In 2010, America's third largest government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, joined forces with its largest corporation, Walmart, to fight terrorism. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out, according to a recent FOIA posted on MuckRock, a whole lot, from lingering sexual harassment scandals to amazingly on-point, if unintentional, Orwellian imagery. Read the documents here.

Submission + - FBI: Clinton approved CIA drone assassinations though unsecured personal server (salon.com)

gluesniffer writes: An explosive new report reveals just what it is that the FBI is looking to: emails in which then-Secretary of State Clinton approved CIA drone assassinations in Pakistan with her cellphone. From 2011 on, the State Department had a secret arrangement with the CIA, giving it a degree of say over whether or not a drone killing would take place. Under Sec. Clinton, State Department officials approved almost every single proposed CIA drone assassination. The emails that are at the heart of the FBI’s criminal investigation are 2011 and 2012 messages between U.S. diplomats in Pakistan and their State Department superiors in D.C., in which the officials approved drone strikes. Clinton’s aides forwarded some of these emails to her personal email account, on a private server in her home in suburban New York.

Submission + - Air Force has lost 100,000 inspector general records (thehill.com)

schwit1 writes: The Air Force announced on Friday that it has lost thousands of records belonging to the service's inspector general due to a database crash.

"We estimate we've lost information for 100,000 cases dating back to 2004," Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told The Hill in an email.

The database, called the Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS), holds all records related to IG complaints, investigations, appeals and Freedom of Information Act requests.

No mention of backups.

Submission + - Congress moves to limit civil forfeiture (dailysignal.com)

schwit1 writes: A bill now moving through both houses of Congress will place some limits on the ability of state and federal governments to confiscate private property.

The bills most important provision will be to shift the burden of proof to the government, not the citizen. However,

Unfortunately, while the DUE PROCESS Act contains many of the procedural reforms that The Heritage Foundation and a broad coalition of organizations have called for in our recent Meese Center report, “Arresting Your Property,” it does not tackle two of the most perverse aspects of forfeiture law: the financial incentives that underlie modern civil forfeiture practices and the profit-sharing programs known as “equitable sharing.”

Under federal law, 100 percent of the proceeds of successful forfeitures are retained by the federal law enforcement organization that executed the seizure. This money is available to be spent by these agencies without congressional oversight, meaning they can—and do—self-finance. This profiteering incentive is extended to state and local agencies through programs administered by the Justice and Treasury departments known as “equitable sharing,” which allow property seized at the state and local level to be transferred to federal authorities for forfeiture under federal law. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the resulting revenues to the originating agency.

Thus, federal law provides every law enforcement agency in the country with a direct financial incentive to seize cash and property—sometimes at the expense of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting actual criminals—and simultaneously encourages state and local agencies to circumvent state laws that are more protective of property rights or restrictive as to how forfeiture proceeds may be spent than the federal standard.

The simple fact is that civil forfeiture is already blatantly illegal, as per the plain words in the fifth amendment to the Constitution:

No person . . .[shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is a horrible tragedy that so few people today respect these plain words.

Submission + - Google Announces Support of The Controversial TPP (recode.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced in a blog post Friday their support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). Recode reports: "The trade agreement includes key provisions about the global passage of digital data, intellectual property and copyright — measures that have drawn criticism from both the political right and left, including several outspoken tech groups. Google's endorsement isn't axactly full-throated, but its stake clearly demonstrates another key area of support with the Obama administration, to which Google is close." Google's SVP and general counsel Kent Walker wrote: "The TPP is not perfect, and the trade negotiation process would certainly benefit from greater transparency. We will continue to advocate for process reforms, including the opportunity for all stakeholders to have a meaningful opportunity for input into trade negotiations." The company has already shown support of the TPP behind the Internet Association, which endorsed the trade agreement in March. Google joins a list of other tech titans, like Apple and Microsoft, who have shown their support as well. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the TPP a "secretive, multinational trade agreement" that will restrict IP laws and enforce digital policies that "benefit big corporations at the expense of the public." The TPP is still awaiting congressional approval after being signed in February.

Submission + - Firefox Will Soon Show You Which Tabs Are Making Noise, And Let You Mute Them

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla is working on identifying Firefox tabs that are currently playing audio. The feature will show an icon if a tab is making sounds and let the user mute the playback. It’s worth noting that while Chrome has had audio indicators for more than a year now, it still doesn’t let you easily mute tabs. The option is available in Google’s browser, but it’s not enabled by default (you have to turn on the #enable-tab-audio-muting flag in chrome://flags/).

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