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Submission + - Two anti-fracking/anti-oil industry environmental papers retracted (retractionwatch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two environmental papers, one claiming increased air pollution near fracking sites and the second claiming that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused air contamination, have now both been retracted because of “crucial mistakes.”

According to the corresponding author of both papers, Kim Anderson at Oregon State University, the journal plans to publish new versions of both papers in the next few days. In the case of the fracking paper, the conclusions have been reversed — the original paper stated pollution levels exceeded limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lifetime cancer risk, but the corrected data set the risks below EPA levels.

The fracking paper received some media attention when it was released, as it tapped into long-standing concerns about the environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which extracts natural gas from the earth. A press release that accompanied the paper quoted Anderson as warning: “Air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognized health hazard to people living near them.”

Both papers, published in Environmental Science and Technology, were retracted on the same day (June 29), both due to mistakes in reported levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pollutants released from burning oil, gas, and other organic matter.

They say that the errors were due to an “honest spreadsheet error.”

Submission + - FBI Director: Guccifer Admitted He Lied About Hacking Hillary Clinton's Email

blottsie writes: The Romanian hacker known as Guccifer, real name Marcel Lehel Lazar, admitted to the FBI that he lied to the public when he said he repeatedly hacking into Hillary Clinton's email server in 2013, FBI Director James Comey testified before members on Congress on Thursday.

Lazar told Fox News and NBC News in May 2016 about his alleged hacking. Despite offering no proof, the claim caused a huge stir, including making headline news on some of America's biggest publications, which offered little skepticism of his claims.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is It Ever OK to Quit Without Giving Notice? 3

HughPickens.com writes: Employees and employers alike have the right under at-will employment laws in almost all states to end their relationship without notice, for any reason, but the two-week rule is a widely accepted standard of workplace conduct. However Sue Shellenbarger writes at the WSJ that a growing number of workers are leaving without giving two weeks’ notice. Some bosses blame young employees who feel frustrated by limited prospects or have little sense of attachment to their workplace. But employment experts say some older workers are quitting without notice as well. They feel overworked or unappreciated after years of laboring under pay cuts and expanded workloads imposed during the recession. One employee at Dupray, a customer-service rep, scheduled a meeting and announced she was quitting, then rose and headed for the exit. She seemed surprised when the director of human resources stopped her and explained that employees are expected to give two weeks’ notice. “She said, ‘I’ve been watching ‘Suits,’ and this is how it happens,’ ” referring to the TV drama set in a law firm.

According to Shellenbarger, quitting without notice is sometimes justified. Employees with access to proprietary information, such as those working in sales or new-product development, face a conflict of interest if they accept a job with a competitor. Employees in such cases typically depart right away—ideally, by mutual agreement. It can also be best to exit quickly if an employer is abusive, or if you suspect your employer is doing something illegal. More often, quitting without notice “is done in the heat of emotion, by someone who is completely frustrated, angry, offended or upset,” says David Lewis, president of OperationsInc., a Norwalk, Conn., human-resources consulting firm. That approach can burn bridges and generate bad references. Phyllis Hartman says employees have a responsibility to try to communicate about what’s wrong. “Start figuring out if there is anything you can do to fix it. The worst that can happen is that nobody listens or they tell you no."

Submission + - Federal court rules a farmer plowing his land violates Clean Water Act

An anonymous reader writes: A federal court has ruled that a farmer in California is violating the Clean Water Act by plowing his own property.

The court ruled that the company violated the Clean Water Act by plowing its property, even though the Act exempts normal farming practices. And, the implementing regulations state that plowing is never even subject to the Act, so long as it does not convert wetlands to dry land. Since no wetlands were lost or reduced in acreage by the plowing in this case, the court’s decision amounts to a rule that you may not plow in federally regulated wetlands without an Army Corps permit, the clear exemptions to the contrary notwithstanding.

The court also reversed an earlier ruling in the case and held that although the Corps ordered Duarte Nursery to halt all activity in any area of its property that could be considered waters of the U.S. on its property, the company did not sufferanydeprivation of its property. On this basis, the court then ruled that Duarte Nursery’s due process rights have not been violated by being ordered not to farm its property for the last three years.

More here. Even though the Supreme Court has twice told the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers that their interpretation of the Clean Water Act is wrong and overreaching, the agencies continue to use their interpretation to fine and restrict the actions of farmers and private property owners. In this case, they are forbidding a farming company from farming their property under Clean Water Act regulations, even though the law specifically exempts farming from Clean Water Act regulations and the Supreme Court has also ruled that interpretation of the law by these agencies is wrong.

What makes this worse is that a California federal court has agreed with the agencies, even though the Supreme Court has previously ruled otherwise. It is as if the lower federal court in California have decided they don’t need to follow the rulings of the higher court.

Submission + - SPAM: 100 Nobel laureates sign letter accusing Greenpeace of "crimes against humanity"

schwit1 writes: More than 100 Nobel laureates have come together to sign a letter accusing Greenpeace of "crimes against humanity" for the environmental group's anti-scientific stand against genetically modified organisms, in particular the group's effort to stop the use of a kind of rice aimed at eradicating vitamin A deficiency, a scourge that has killed millionsin the last decade and blinded tens of millions more. The victims, according to the World Health Organization, are mostly children and pregnant mothers.

While dozens of the 107 Nobel Prize-winning signers are in fields such as physics and economics with little specific relevance to the safety of GMO foods or efforts to fight deadly global health threats, 41 of the Nobel laureates hold the distinction for their work in medicine. They represent Nobel winners from virtually every year from 1989 to 2014.

In the past, Greenpeace has blithely ignored the views of scientists, such as those convened by the National Academy of Sciences, who have repeatedly found genetically-modified food perfectly safe for humans and the environment.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - New Clues Suggest Pluto Really Does Have an Ocean (seeker.com)

astroengine writes: Numerical simulations of Pluto's geology have provided new evidence that the dwarf planet is sporting its very own subsurface ocean. "Thanks to the incredible data returned by New Horizons, we were able to observe tectonic features on Pluto's surface, update our thermal evolution model with new data and infer that Pluto most likely has a subsurface ocean today," said lead author and graduate student Noah Hammond, of Brown University. "What New Horizons showed was that there are extensional tectonic features, which indicate that Pluto underwent a period of global expansion. A subsurface ocean that was slowly freezing over would cause this kind of expansion."

Submission + - FBI Orders Teachers To Report Students Who Question Government (anonews.co) 1

An anonymous reader writes: New federal guidelines have just been introduced across the country, and what they mandate is quite disturbing to civil libertarians. The FBI has now instructed high schools across the nation to report students who in any way criticize government policies and what the report phrases as "western corruption."

The FBI is interested in determining — as part of some warped "pre-crime" program — who might become potential future terrorists.

Submission + - Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler secretly inserts telemetry code into binaries (infoq.com) 4

edxwelch writes: Reddit user "sammiesdog" discovered recently that the Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler was inserting calls to a Microsoft telemetery function into binaries.
"I compiled a simple program with only main(). When looking at the compiled binary in Ida, I see a calls for telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger. I can not find documentation for these calls, either on the web or in the options page."
Only after the discovery did Steve Carroll, the dev manager for Visual C++, admit to the feature and posted a work around. The "feature" is to be removed in Update 3 of the product.

Cloud

Submission + - US Government Says You Don't Own Your Cloud Data so We Can Access It At Any Time (eff.org) 2

jest3r writes: Yesterday the EFF filed a brief proposing a process for the Court in the Megaupload case to hold the government accountable for the actions it took (and failed to take) when it shut down Megaupload's service and denied third parties access to their property. Many businesses used Megaupload's cloud service to store and share files not related to piracy. The government is calling for a long, drawn-out process that would require individuals or small companies to travel to courts far away and engage in multiple hearings just to get their own property back. The government's argument that you lose all your property rights by storing your data on the cloud could apply to Amazon's S3 or Google Apps or or Apple iCloud services as well.
Censorship

Submission + - Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest (nytimes.com) 1

eldavojohn writes: On September 14th a PDF report titled "Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945" penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website.
Idle

Submission + - Buddhist monk is the world's happiest man (nydailynews.com)

concealment writes: "Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience.

The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — "never reported before in the neuroscience literature", Davidson said.

The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe.

Research into the phenomenon, known as "neuroplasticity," is in its infancy and Ricard has been at the forefront of ground-breaking experiments along with other leading scientists across the world."

Your Rights Online

Submission + - RIAA Failed To Disclose Expert's Lobbying History to "Six-Strikes" Partners (torrentfreak.com)

concealment writes: "A month before the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy plan goes live in the U.S., the responsible Center of Copyright Information (CCI) is dealing with a small crisis. As it turns out the RIAA failed to mention to its partners that the “impartial and independent” technology expert they retained previously lobbied for the music industry group. In a response to the controversy, CCI is now considering whether it should hire another expert to evaluate the anti-piracy monitoring technology."
Medicine

Submission + - A 3D Printer for Vaccines (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Geneticist J. Craig Venter told attendees at the recent Wired Health Conference in New York City that his scientific team is working on what he calls “a 3D printer for DNA, a 3D printer for life.” Such a device—which Venter also refers to as a “biological teleporter”—could be used to instantly produce vaccines, medications or biological materials anywhere in the world simply through the transfer of a digital file.
Technology

Submission + - SD card survives real-life disaster test (stuff.co.nz)

An anonymous reader writes: A newly-wed couple lost their digital camera and SD card in the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. The SD card survived flooding with silt and exposure to the weather for 20 months embedded in a gravel driveway. Amazingly, all 2.5 Gb of photos have recently been recovered. Sadly the digital camera did not fare so well. Even more interesting is that the SD card was from by a budget supplier, kudos to Adata!

Submission + - Oops! Sorry, we got it all wrong, IMF says (herald.ie) 1

daem0n1x writes: Ireland, Greece and Portugal have been under draconian austerity measures after they have been forced to ask financial rescue from the IMF, in the aftermath of the 2008 bank crash. The results of these austerity measures are well known: Recession, unemployment and general social and economic meltdown.
After all this pain and suffering, the IMF suddenly finds a gigantic flaw in the formulas used to calculate the economic effects of austerity.
Well, at least they stepped forward to recognise they screwed up. But is it in still time for European and global economies to recover?
How is it possible that worldwide economic policies be conducted by such flawed systems? Numerous economists have been warning about this for years, but they faced deaf ears. Sounds familiar? Yes, just like before the subprime bubble bust.

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