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Submission + - Radioactive material stolen in Iraq raises security fears (

mdsolar writes: Iraq is searching for "highly dangerous" radioactive material stolen last year, according to an environment ministry document and seven security, environmental and provincial officials who fear it could be used as a weapon if acquired by Islamic State.

The material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop computer, went missing in November from a storage facility near the southern city of Basra belonging to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford WFT.N, the document seen by Reuters showed and officials confirmed.

A spokesman for Iraq's environment ministry said he could not discuss the issue, citing national security concerns.

Submission + - Judge rules research chimps are not 'legal persons' (

sciencehabit writes: A state judge in New York has dealt the latest blow to an animal rights group’s attempt to have chimpanzees declared “legal persons.” In a decision handed down this morning, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe ruled that two research chimps at Stony Brook University are not covered by a writ of habeas corpus, which typically allows human prisoners to challenge their detention. The Nonhuman Rights Project, which brought the lawsuit in an attempt to free the primates, has vowed to appeal.

Submission + - Indian Scientists Significantly More Religious Than UK Scientists (

An anonymous reader writes: Rice University reports, "Indian scientists are significantly more religious than United Kingdom scientists, according to the first cross-national study of religion and spirituality among scientists. ... The surveys and in-depth interviews with scientists revealed that while 65 percent of U.K. scientists identify as nonreligious, only 6 percent of Indian scientists identify as nonreligious. In addition, while only 12 percent of scientists in the U.K. attend religious services on a regular basis — once a month or more — 32 percent of scientists in India do. Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice’s Autrey Professor of Sociology and the study’s principal investigator, said the U.K. and India data are being released simultaneously because of the history between the U.K. and India. She noted that their differences are quite interesting to compare. “India and the U.K. are at the same time deeply intertwined historically while deeply different religiously,” Ecklund said. “There is a vastly different character of religion among scientists in the U.K. than in India – potentially overturning the view that scientists are universal carriers of secularization.” Despite the number of U.K. scientists identifying themselves as nonreligious, 49 percent of U.K. survey respondents acknowledged that there are basic truths in many religions. In addition, 11 percent of U.K. survey respondents said they do believe in God without any doubt, and another 8 percent said they believe in a higher power of some kind. Ecklund noted that although the U.K. is known for its secularism, scientists in particular are significantly more likely to identify as not belonging to a religion than members of the general population."

Submission + - US Army Sending Elements Of 1st Infantry Division HQ To Iraq (

An anonymous reader writes: Stars and Strips reports, "The 1st Infantry Division headquarters will deploy to Iraq soon as the U.S. military steps up its campaign against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon said Thursday. It will be the first division headquarters assigned to Iraq since U.S. forces withdrew from the country at the end of 2011. About 500 soldiers from the Fort Riley, Kan.-based division will be heading for the Middle East next month with about 200 of them going to Iraq ... “They’re going to provide command and control of the ongoing advise-and-assist effort in support of Iraqi and peshmerga forces. And they’re going to continue to help us all degrade and destroy ISIL,” Kirby told reporters, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms. The new headquarters personnel will be working out of the joint operations centers in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Irbil, as well as the Iraqi defense ministry."

Submission + - Does "Scientific Consensus" deserve a bad reputation? (

nerdyalien writes: From the article: Fiction author Michael Crichton probably started the backlash against the idea of consensus in science. Crichton was rather notable for doubting the conclusions of climate scientists—he wrote an entire book in which they were the villains—so it's fair to say he wasn't thrilled when the field reached a consensus. Still, it's worth looking at what he said, if only because it's so painfully misguided:

As a STEM major, I am somewhat bias towards "strong" evidence side of the argument. However, the more I read literature from other somewhat related fields i.e. psychology, economics and climate science; the more I felt that they have little opportunity in repeating experiments, similar to counterparts in traditional hard science fields. Their accepted theories are based on limited historical occurrences and consensus among the scholars. Given the situation, should we consider "consensus" as accepted scientific facts ?

Submission + - Icy Jupiter moon may be actively recycling its surface (

sciencehabit writes: Europa, the intriguing ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter, may be resurfaced through plate tectonics, scientists have discovered. The result would make Europa the only known body in the solar system besides Earth with plate tectonics, a process in which cold giant platters of crustâ"or in this case, iceâ"float around on top of warmer, more viscous layers in the bodyâ(TM)s interior. The discovery also makes the moon more interesting in the search for extraterrestrial life, because the recycling action of plate tectonics would provide an important way to exchange chemicals between the surface and the water ocean that lies beneath the moonâ(TM)s ice cap.

Submission + - Female Pedophila Far More Prevalent Than Commonly Thought (

An anonymous reader writes: The National Post reports, "Eight to 16% of the male population has been abused sexually in youth. Most at risk are poor, fatherless boys 13 and younger. A significant number of child sex abusers – estimates range between five and twenty percent – are women. ... But many people – even professional therapists – resist the very notion that women can harbor such instincts. A 1984 study reported that “pedophilia ... does not exist at all in women.” ... The instinctive discomfort people feel regarding female pedophilia can be located in two sources. One is the universal image of the female as the “nurturing” sex. But even harder to combat is an ideology, currently dominant in our culture, in which men are associated with violence and women with victimhood. Any suggestion that women are as capable of predatory sexual behavior as men is viewed as social heresy. The ramifications of this sex-specific dogma can be seen in the double standards for men and women – notably in cases of domestic violence, but also in cases of child abuse – routinely applied by law enforcement and social services in assessing the veracity of victims."

Submission + - Analysis Of The War Of 1812 Finds Same Failures That Led To 9/11 (

An anonymous reader writes: io9 reports, "This month is the 200th anniversary of the British capture of Washington, DC, and the torching of the White House. How did this disaster happen, despite ample warnings? A CIA analyst who pored through historical documents blames the same types of intelligence failures that preceded Pearl Harbor and September 11th. ... CIA analyst William Weber addresses this very question in a study published in the most recent issue of Studies In Intelligence. ... Weber's study is sort of an historical version of the "9/11 Commission Report," which pointedly faulted U.S. officials for a "failure of imagination" that kept them from understanding and anticipating the al Qaeda threat. "

Submission + - Python 3.4 released (

gadfium writes: Python 3.4 is the latest version of the Python programming language. It doesn't change the language itself, but adds new library features, bug fixes and security improvements.

Submission + - Shroud of Turin May Have Been Created By Earthquake (

An anonymous reader writes: The Telegraph reports, "The Turin Shroud may not be a medieval forgery after all, after scientists discovered it could date from the time of Christ. ... a new study claims that an earthquake in Jerusalem in 33AD may have not only created the image but may also have skewed the dating results. The Italian team believes the powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquake would have been strong enough to release neutron particles from crushed rock. This flood of neutrons may have imprinted an X-ray-like image onto the linen burial cloth, say the researchers. In addition, the radiation emissions would have increased the level of carbon-14 isotopes in the Shroud, which would make it appear younger. ... Carpinteri's team have hypothesized that high-frequency pressure waves generated in the Earth's crust during earthquakes are the source of such neutron emissions. The scientists base the idea on research into piezonuclear fission reactions which occur when brittle rock is crushed under enormous pressure."

Submission + - Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate On February 12: Snowden Was Justified? (

An anonymous reader writes: The Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) debate on February 12th, 5:45 PM CST — "Snowden Was Justified," should be of considerable interest to the Slashdot community. Podcasts and streaming video will be available, and it will be carried on many NPR stations. From the site: "Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?"

Arguing For:
Daniel Ellsberg — Fmr. U.S. Military Analyst & Pentagon Papers Whistleblower
Ben Wizner — Legal Adviser to Edward Snowden & Attorney, ACLU

Arguing Against
Andrew C. McCarthy — Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Contributing Editor, National Review
Ambassador R. James Woolsey — Fmr. Director, CIA & Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Submission + - Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry (

An anonymous reader writes: The Washington Post reports, "In the past several decades, the number of private and recreational pilots across the country has plummeted, as has the number of small aircraft being manufactured — trends that some say have been accelerated by increasingly strict federal regulations. If the decline continues, it will spell trouble for entrepreneurs ... Since 1980, the number of pilots in the country has nosedived from about 827,000 in 1980 to 617,000, according to the Frederick, Md.-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. During about the same period, data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in Washington show that production of single-engine planes plunged from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700."

Submission + - The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (

An anonymous reader writes: Activities, technologies, equipment, or other matters regarding the US Department of Defense are a common topic on Slashdot, both as stories and in discussions. Despite that we seldom see stories regarding the senior leadership of DoD as we do for technologists, the political branches, and lately the NSA. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under both Presidents Bush and Obama, has released a rather biting memoir of his tenure as SecDef. The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt: "... despite everyone being "nice" to me, getting anything consequential done was so damnably difficult—even in the midst of two wars. I did not just have to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq and against al Qaeda; I also had to battle the bureaucratic inertia of the Pentagon, surmount internal conflicts within both administrations, avoid the partisan abyss in Congress, evade the single-minded parochial self-interest of so many members of Congress and resist the magnetic pull exercised by the White House, especially in the Obama administration, to bring everything under its control and micromanagement. Over time, the broad dysfunction of today's Washington wore me down, especially as I tried to maintain a public posture of nonpartisan calm, reason and conciliation. ... difficulties within the executive branch were nothing compared with the pain of dealing with Congress. Congress is best viewed from a distance—the farther the better—because up close, it is truly ugly. I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country." — More at The Washington Post

Submission + - China's largest payment provider's data breach

An anonymous reader writes: According to this story in quartz China’s version of Paypal lost a huge trove of user data, and didn’t notice for years the breach of about 20 gigabytes of user data stolen from the Chinese online giant Alibaba’s payments unit was sold to other e-commerce firms and market research companies in 2010. It wasn’t until 2012 that company officials suspected information had been stolen; in November 2013 police charged an employee in Alipay’s technical staff with stealing the information, as well as a man with another e-commerce firm who bought the data. (The going rate was reportedly 500 yuan ($82) per 30,000 items of the data haul.) Funny no one in internet picked this story although it affects more then 200 million users on payment service. If this happens in US or other country the company will collapse almost, but again in China due to local protection the company is not just surviving but thriving.

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