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Submission + - SPAM: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl

schwit1 writes: It was a nuclear disaster four times worse than Chernobyl in terms of the number of cases of acute radiation sickness, but Moscow’s complicity in covering up its effects on people’s health has remained secret until now.

We knew that in August 1956, fallout from a Soviet nuclear weapons test at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan engulfed the Kazakh industrial city of Ust-Kamenogorsk and put more than 600 people in hospital with radiation sickness, but the details have been sketchy.

After seeing a newly uncovered report, New Scientist can now reveal that a scientific expedition from Moscow in the aftermath of the hushed-up disaster uncovered widespread radioactive contamination and radiation sickness across the Kazakh steppes.

The scientists then tracked the consequences as nuclear bomb tests continued — without telling the people affected or the outside world.

The report by scientists from the Institute of Biophysics in Moscow was found in the archive of the Institute of Radiation Medicine and Ecology (IRME) in Semey, Kazakhstan. “For many years, this has been a secret,” says the institute’s director Kazbek Apsalikov, who found the report and passed it on to New Scientist.

More nuclear bomb tests were conducted at Semipalatinsk than anywhere else in the world during the 1950s and early 1960s. Western journalists have reported since the breakup of the Soviet Union on the apparent health effects on villagers downwind of the tests. And some recent studies have estimated radiation doses using proxies such as radioactivity in tooth enamel.

The newly revealed report, which outlines “the results of a radiological study of Semipalatinsk region” and is marked “top secret”, shows for the first time just how much Soviet scientists knew at the time about the human-health disaster and the extent of the cover-up.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:if it were cheaper, yes. (Score 2) 331

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to be cheaper than live animal derived meat. Consider the price of soybean milk compared to cows' milk. I'm guessing that it must be cheaper to grow and milk ( ;-) ) soybeans than to raise and milk cows, but that doesn't show up in the price of the final product.

Submission + - US Secretary of Defense: Climate Change National Security Issue (propublica.org)

omaha393 writes: Secretary of Defense James Mattis identified climate change as a national security risks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to unpublished comments sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary Mattis joins several scientific and policy experts as well as the Pentagon Study urging action to address climate change. While Secretary Mattis’ position seems at odds with other members of the White House cabinet, this is hardly the first time Mattis has offered contrary opinions on major policy decisions. Other members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have changed their tones on the subject, now supporting the evidence that man-made climate change is real and may pose a threat to national security. How climate change will be addressed under the new administration remains to be seen, as advisors the White House have indicated the administration intends to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and the recently revealed "budget blueprint" seeks to slash funding to climate change alleviation.

Submission + - Firefox 52 forces pulseaudio, dev claims that telemetry is essential (mozilla.org) 3

jbernardo writes: While trying to justify breaking audio on firefox for several linux users by making it depend on pulseaudio (and not even mentioning it in the release notes), Anthony Jones, who claims, among other proud achievements, to be "responsible for bringing Widevine DRM to Linux, Windows and Mac OSX", informs users that disabling telemetry will have consequences — "Telemetry informs our decisions. Turning it off is not without disadvantage."
The latest one is, as documented on the mentioned bug, that firefox no long has audio unless you have pulseaudio installed. Many bug reporters suggest that firefox telemetry is disabled by default on many distributions, and also that power users, who are the ones more likely to remove pulseaudio, are also the ones more likely to disable telemetry.
As for the pulseaudio dependence, apparently there was a "public" discussion on google groups, and it can be seen that the decision was indeed based on telemetry.
So, if for any reason you still use firefox, and want to have some hope it won't be broken for you in the future, enable all the spyware/telemetry.

Submission + - Biological version of malware reverses antibiotic resistance in TB (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: As the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis has frighteningly become resistant to one drug after another, scientists for years have searched for new compounds that will stop the pathogen before it kills. Now, in a novel twist, researchers have found a way to recruit help from none other than Mycobacterium tuberculosis itself to make the deadly pathogen susceptible to an existing tuberculosis (TB) drug that it has learned to dodge. It's like a biological version of “malware,” says co–senior author Benoit Déprez of the University of Lille in France. In effect, he says, the approach activates a previously silent system that, when coupled with a TB drug, instructs the bacteria to self-destruct.

Submission + - US Federal Budget Proposal Cuts Science Funding (documentcloud.org)

hey! writes: The US Office of Management and Budget has released a budget "blueprint" which outlines substantial cuts in both basic research and applied technology funding.

The proposal includes a whopping 18% reduction in National Institutes of Health medical research. NIH does get a new 500 million fund to track emerging infectious agents like Zika in the US, but loses its funding to monitor those agents overseas.

The Department of Energy's research programs also get an 18% cut in research, potentially affecting basic physics research, high energy physics, fusion research, and supercomputing. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) gets the ax, as does the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program which enabled Tesla to manufacture its Model S sedan.

EPA loses all climate research funding, and about half the research funding targeted at human health impacts of pollution. The EnergyStar program is eliminated Superfund funding is drastically reduced. The Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes cleanup programs are also eliminated, as is all screening of pesticides for endocrine disruption.

In the Department of Commerce, Sea Grant is eliminated, along with all coastal zone research funding. Existing weather satellites GOES and JPSS continue funding, but JPSS-3 and -4 appear to be getting the ax. Support for transfer of federally funded research and technology to small and mid-sized manufacturers is eliminated.

NASA gets a slight trim, and a new focus on deep space exploration paid for by an elimination of Earth Science programs.

You can read more about this "blueprint" in Nature, Science, and the Washington Post, which broke the story.

Submission + - Work-life balance: Cryptographer fired by BAE for having dying wife 2

mdecerbo writes: A new lawsuit by cryptographer Don Davis against multinational defense giant BAE Systems highlights the fact that companies are free to have their boasts about "work-life balance" amount to nothing but idle talk.

The Boston Globe reports that his first day on the job, Davis explained that his wife had late-stage cancer. We would work his full work day in the office, but if he was needed nights or weekends, he'd want to work from home. His supervisor was fine with it, but Human Resources fired him on the spot after four hours of employment.

The lawsuit raises interesting questions, such as whether employment law requires corporations to have the sort of common decency we expect from individuals. But what I want to know is, if BAE Systems loses this lawsuit, will they prevent future ones by making their "work-life balance" policy say simply: We own you, body and soul?

Comment Re:Well Geek Squad didn't plant the child porn (Score 1) 164

I think you're looking for this:

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/sep/07/greatinterviews1

Richard Nixon: "Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."

Or maybe this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-interview-transcript.html

".. the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest."

Submission + - BBC ending shortwave transmissions from Thailand (ap.org)

MrCodswallop writes:

Last November, the BBC announced it would beam regular Korean-language broadcasts to North Korea, but it was not clear whether the loss of the Thai transmission site might affect those plans. The U.S.-government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Asia already target North Korea.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Help with amateur digital forensics 7

elocinanna writes: Long-time reader, first-time writer. My friend was abused as a child by a family member, including but not limited to the creation of illegal videos. There's reason to believe she wasn't the only one involved and also that he shared illegal materials with others.

The same friend will be visiting the abuser's house soon and will have access to his computers. We don't need to find evidence exactly, but just enough to make a tip-off to the police worthwhile. I've suggested she looks for file-sharing programmes and Onion browser as things which might suggest there's evidence hidden away somewhere, and try to access emails for forum accounts etc.

Given a day with such a person's computer, what would you search for? We know how to search for *.jpeg, but assuming he's careful, what else can we do? Thank you.

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