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Submission + - SpaceX to launch first reused Falcon 9 booster (arstechnica.com)

wbr1 writes: Ars Technica reports — This evening, nearly a full year after it first launched a payload into orbit, a Falcon 9 booster will attempt a second launch. Some might call this a "used" or "reused" rocket, but in a wonderful marketing euphemism, SpaceX has characterized the booster as "flight proven."

The launch window opens 6:27pm ET (11:27pm UK) today, and extends for two and a half hours. After launch SpaceX will attempt to land the booster on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Should weather (which appears good) or a technical issue force a delay today, a backup launch window opens on Saturday, at 6:27pm.

Submission + - Verizon to Force AppFlash Spyware on Android phones

saccade.com writes: Verizon is joining with the creators of a tool called "Evie Launcher" to make a new app search / launcher tool called AppFlash, to be installed on all Verizon phones running Android. The app provides no functionality to users beyond what Google Search does. It does, however, give Verizon a steady stream of metrics on your app usage and searches. A quick glance at the AppFlash privacy policy confirms this is the real purpose behind it:

We collect information about your device and your use of the AppFlash services. This information includes your mobile number, device identifiers, device type and operating system, and information about the AppFlash features and services you use and your interactions with them. We also access information about the list of apps you have on your device. ... AppFlash information may be shared within the Verizon family of companies, including companies like AOL who may use it to help provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places, including non-Verizon sites, services and devices.

Submission + - Prominent Drupal and PHP dev kicked from the Drupal project over Gor beliefs (techcrunch.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last week the Drupal community erupted in anger after its leader, Dries Buytaert, asked Larry Garfield, a prominent Drupal contributor and long-time member of the Drupal and PHP communities, “to leave the Drupal project.” Buytaert claims he did this "because it came to my attention that he holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project.". A huge furor has erupted in response — not least because the reason clearly has much to do with Garfield’s unconventional sex life. Buytaert made his post in response after Larry went public, outing himself to public opinion.

Submission + - Ubuntu Linux 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' Final Beta now available for download (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, the Final Beta of Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' becomes available for download. While it is never a good idea to run pre-release software on production machines, Canonical is claiming that it should be largely bug free at this point. In other words, if you understand the risks, it should be a fairly safe. Home users aside, this is a good opportunity for administrators to conduct testing prior to the official release next month.

"The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of the Ubuntu 17.04 Desktop, Server, and Cloud products. Codenamed 'Zesty Zapus', 17.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs," says Adam Conrad, Canonical.

Submission + - Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films (llnl.gov)

Eloking writes: The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever.

For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films' content before it's lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. To date, the team has located around 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing. Around 4,200 films have been scanned, 400 to 500 have been reanalyzed and around 750 have been declassified. An initial set of these declassified films — tests conducted by LLNL — were published today in an LLNL YouTube playlist (link is external).

Submission + - Proposed US Law Would Allow Employers to Demand Genetic Testing (businessinsider.com)

capedgirardeau writes: A little-noticed bill moving through the US Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by US law, including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a 'workplace wellness' program.

Submission + - Australian Farmers Switch To Diesel Power As Electricity Prices Soar (abc.net.au)

connect4 writes: Local irrigators council representative, Dale Hollis, says right now, irrigators have two options. "They have to switch off the pumps and go back to dryland [cropping], and that impacts upon the productivity of the region and impacts on jobs" he said. "The second option is to go off the grid and look at alternatives."There are plenty of farmers installing panels, but many growers irrigate at night and can't afford the millions of dollars it could take to buy battery storage."

That's pushing many of them back to a dirtier option. "Right now, diesel stacks up" Mr Hollis said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister claims the country faces an energy crisis, while Tesla claims they could solve the entire problem in less than 100 days, and they have form.

Submission + - Prenda Saga Update: John Steele Pleads Guilty, Admits Entire Scheme

Freshly Exhumed writes: Ken White at Popehat has updated the Prenda Law saga today with news of the downfall of one of the principals: 'Back in December the feds charged Steele and Hansmeier with an array of federal crimes arising from a scheme that has now been identified and decried by federal courts across the country. And today John Steele pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of that indictment — mail fraud in violation of 18 USC 1341 and money laundering in violation of 18 USC 1956(h). Upon entry of judgment after his sentencing, John Steele will be a convicted felon with a federal fraud conviction. His career as a lawyer — or, more generally, as a gainfully employed person — is over.' Still to come is the case of Steele's colleague and partner, Paul Hansmeier.

Submission + - The quack behind the MSG scare is still stoking fear for profit (theoutline.com)

citadrianne writes: Russell Blaylock — “No stranger to scare mongering for profit,” as the health journalist David Despain wrote — has hitched his wagon of books and nutritional supplements to just about every medical conspiracy theory that has come along, with a remarkable ability to appeal to both the extreme right and extreme left. He’s anti-vaxx. He’s anti-GMO. He has written that elderly patients were euthanized under Obamacare and told InfoWars that fluoride in drinking water is a eugenics program that causes ADHD. He has claimed in at least one lecture that that poor nutrition is part of an Illuminati agenda to make people violent and reduce the global population. ...

Dr. Stephen Barrett, a retired psychiatrist who runs the website QuackWatch, told me that fact-checking individual claims from someone like Blaylock is basically impossible. Instead, he suggested following a list of common quackery warning signs. One of the biggest warning signs is selling herbs or dietary supplements, especially when they’re packaged with claims that everyone should take them. “Many people are prescribed Vitamin D or B-12 by doctors,” Barrett said. “But anyone who says that everyone’s health would be improved by their vitamins should be avoided.” But does the snake oil salesman believe his own pitch? Barrett was reluctant to speculate. However, he said most conspiracy nut doctors are probably truly representing their beliefs. Belief in alternative medicine doesn’t necessarily correlate with education, according to a 1998 survey of alternative medicine patients published in JAMA. In fact, more educated people were more likely to use alternative medicines.

Submission + - SPAM: Look Inside the SpaceX Capsule That Will Take Two Beyond the Moon

schwit1 writes: The inside of the capsule could be Pan-Am from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but if it works, the execution will be pure D.D. Harriman.

SpaceX has shared scant details about its newly announced plan to send private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year.

The company hasn't disclosed the space tourists' identities or said how much they'll pay for the chance to buzz the moon and go far beyond before returning to Earth. Nor did SpaceX say exactly what training the tourists will undergo or how they will occupy themselves during the week or so between lift-off from Kennedy Space Center's near Cape Canaveral, Florida and their return to Earth.

But no matter what, the tourists are in for an experience almost beyond imagining.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Tesla Drivers Are Guinea Pigs for Flawed Self-Driving Software (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: If you're a Tesla owner and would like to beta test the company's self-driving features, that'll cost you anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Plenty of drivers are shelling out the cash for that privilege—but the software is far from perfect. Drivers who spoke with Mark Harris at Backchannel have reported wild zig-zagging across lanes and unsettling closeness to trucks on the road, among other problems. Says one driver, “I’m actively using Autopilot because all that stuff gets fed back to Tesla. I’m just holding my breath hoping that we all get through this alive.”

Submission + - How I Stopped Trying to Upgrade My Life (backchannel.com) 3

mirandakatz writes: In our upgrade-obsessed world, it’s easy to conclude that happiness comes from new and shiny things. As Google X's Hans Peter Brondmo writes, that sort of thinking is wrong. At Backchannel, he details his path toward accepting "Life 1.0," rather than constantly chasing the next upgrade. He writes, "My perceived need for an upgrade was driven by data that reinforced, everywhere I turned, that upgrades are it. More, newer, ever-shinier things will make you even happier. Upgrade your life to Life 7.0 and THAT will bring you the joy and happiness you think others have. I mostly knew it was bullshit, but when the stimuli is overwhelming and it’s continuously training your learners that upgrades in their many forms lead to greater happiness, then after a while it messes with your algorithms, skewing your truth and values."

Submission + - Brianna Wu Is A Harsh Mistress (washingtontimes.com) 2

Applehu Akbar writes: A transgender-issues activist and Democratic candidate for Congress says the advent of the space tourism industry could give private corporations a “frightening amount of power” to destroy the Earth with rocks because of the Moon’s military importance.
Brianna Wu, a prominent “social justice warrior” in the “Gamergate” controversy who now is running for the House seat in Massachusetts’ 8th District, suggested in a since-deleted tweet that companies could drop rocks from the Moon.
“The moon is probably the most tactically valuable military ground for earth,” the tweet said. “Rocks dropped from there have power of 100s of nuclear bombs.”

Submission + - SPAM: Risk Of Cascadia Quake Elevated As Puget Sound 'Slow Slip' Event Begins 1

schwit1 writes: On Wednesday, the semi-annual "slow slip" event began, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) at the University of Washington. The event happens about every 14 months deep underneath the Puget Sound area and is essentially a slow earthquake that takes place over the course of two weeks.

During a slow-slip event, after 14 months of moving eastward, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate stalls and moves westward, which puts stress on the Cascadia subduction zone.

Seismologists often refer to this as a "straw that broke the camel's back" scenario.

"It's loading up the edge of the lock zone of the Cascadia subduction zone more rapidly than normal tectonic processes would do," explained Bill Steele, director of communications at the PNSN. "You're getting seven months of strain accumulation applied to the back edge of the fault over a week."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Malaysian Police: VX nerve gas killed N Korea leader's brother in airport attack (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Malaysian police have announced their finding that Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jon Un, was killed by assassins using VX nerve gas in an attack in the busy Kuala Lumpur airport. Malaysian authorities plan to decontaminate the airport and other sites visited by the attackers. Police are holding the two female attackers, one of whom was affected by the chemical agent, as well as two other men. They are seeking seven more North Koreans connected to the case. VX is the most toxic of the nerve gasses and the UN has declared it a weapon of mass destruction. The manufacture and stockpiling of more than 100 grams of VX per year is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. It has no commercial uses. The Malaysian police are trying to discover if it was smuggled into their country, or manufactured there. The Malaysian government has recalled its ambassador to North Korea for consultation. North Korea is blaming the death of Kim Jong Nam on Malaysia. North Korea is believed to have major stockpiles of chemical weapons, and is alleged to conduct experiments on prisoners and social undesirables.

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