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Submission + - Deploying Solar in California's Urban Areas Could Meet Demand Five Times Over (

Lucas123 writes: About 8% of terrestrial surfaces in California have been developed, ranging from cities and buildings to park spaces. If photovoltaic panels, along with concentrating solar power, were more effectively deployed in and around those areas, it could meet between three and five times what California currently uses for electricity, according to a new study. The study from the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that using small- and utility-scale solar power in and around developed areas could generate up to 15,000 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours) of energy a year using photovoltaic technology, and 6,000TWh of energy a year using concentrating solar power technology. "Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact," post-doctoral environmental earth scientist Rebecca Hernandez said.

Submission + - What If We Lost the Sky? writes: Anna North writes in the NYT that a report released last week by the National Research Council calls for research into reversing climate change through a process called albedo modification: reflecting sunlight away from earth by, for instance, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere. But such a process could, some say, change the appearance of the sky — and that in turn could affect everything from our physical health to the way we see ourselves. “You’d get whiter skies. People wouldn’t have blue skies anymore.” says Alan Robock.“Astronomers wouldn’t be happy, because you’d have a cloud up there permanently. It’d be hard to see the Milky Way anymore.”

According to Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, losing the night sky would have big consequences. “When you go outside, and you walk in a beautiful setting, and you just feel not only uplifted but you just feel stronger. There’s clearly a neurophysiological basis for that," says Keltner adding that looking up at a starry sky provides “almost a prototypical awe experience,” an opportunity to feel “that you are small and modest and part of something vast.” If we lose the night sky “we lose something precious and sacred.” “We’re finding in our lab that the experience of awe gets you to feel connected to something larger than yourself, see the humanity in other people,” says Paul K. Piff. “In many ways it’s kind of an antidote to narcissism.” And the sky is one of the few sources of that experience that’s available to almost everybody: “Not everyone has access to the ocean or giant trees, or the Grand Canyon, but we certainly all live beneath the night sky.”

Alan Robock says one possible upside of adding aerosols could be beautiful red and yellow sunsets as “the yellow and red colors reflect off the bottom of this cloud.” Robock recommends more research into albedo modification: “If people ever are tempted to do this, I want them to have a lot of information about what the potential benefits and risks would be so they can make an informed decision. Dr. Abdalati says that deploying something like albedo modification is a last-ditch effort adding that “we’ve gotten ourselves into a climate mess. The fact that we’re even talking about these kinds of things is indicative of that.”

Submission + - Fake Komodia root SSL certs in use by over +100 companies (

Billly Gates writes: Lenovo and Superfish are not the only companies who used the fake root SSL certificates by Komodia to spy and decrypt network traffic. Komodia advertises its products including a SSL-digestor to rid the obtrusive thing we call encryption and security. So far game accelerators are mentioned as some have seen these certs installed with Asus lan accelerator drivers.

Submission + - What Do Old Techies Do After They Retire? writes: Peter T. Kilborn writes in the NYT about the generation of the baby boomer programmers, engineers, and technical people who are now leaving the bosses, bureaucracies, commutes and time clocks of their workaday careers to tackle something consuming and new, whether for material reward or none at all. “Retirement gives them the opportunity to flex their experience,” says Dr. William Winn speaking of a postchildhood, postfamily-rearing, “third age” of “productive aging” and “positive aging.” Nancy K. Schlossberg calls men and women who exploit the skills of their old jobs “continuers" and those who take up something new “adventurers.” Continuers and adventurers make up the vigorous end of Dr. Schlossberg’s retirement spectrum, opposite those she calls “retreaters” who disengage from life and “spectators” who just watch.

For example, 75-year-old Seth R. Goldstein, with four degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from MIT and retired for thirteen years, still calls himself an engineer. But where he was previously a biomedical engineer with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda with 12 patents, he now makes kinetic sculptures in his basement workshop that lack any commercial or functional utility. But his work, some of which is on display at the Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, has purpose. Goldstein is pushing the envelope of engineering and hoping to stir the imaginations of young engineers to push their own envelopes. For example "Why Knot?” a sculpture Goldstein constructed, uses 10 electric motors to drive 10 mechanisms to construct a four-in-hand knot on a necktie that it wraps around its own neck. Grasping, pulling, aligning and winding the lengths of the tie, Mr. Knot can detect the occasional misstep or tear, untie the knot and get it right. Unlike Rube Goldberg’s whimsical contraptions, Mr. Goldstein’s is no mere cartoon. It works, if only for Mr. Knot.

According to Kilborn, people like Goldstein don't fit the traditional definition of retirement, which according to Webster's Dictionary means the "withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life. Retirement implies that you're just leaving something; it doesn't reflect that you're going to something," says Schlossberg. "But it is really a career change. You are leaving something that has been your primary involvement, and you are moving to something else."

Submission + - Researchers design bionic leaf capable of converting sunlight into liquid fuel (

hypnosec writes: Artificial leaf created waves the moment it was announced by Daniel Nocera back in 2011 and his latest research, published in PNAS, involves utilising hydrogen from this artificial leaf, carbon dioxide from another source and feeding it to bacterium Ralstonia eutropha to create liquid fuel. The new system involves using the “artificial leaf” to split water into hydrogen and oxygen; carbon dioxide from another source and a bacterium Ralstonia eutropha engineered to convert carbon dioxide plus hydrogen into the liquid fuel isopropanol.

Submission + - Paramedics use Google Translate while Delivering Baby

myatari writes: Maria Herlihy at the Corkman writes that Irish paramedics transporting a pregnant Congolese woman to a maternity hospital in Cork had to use some quick thinking when the mum-to-be went into labour en-route. The two paramedics (neither of whom had Swahili as a language) fired up Google Translate to communicate via English-Swahili and successfully delivered baby girl 'Brigid' (named after an Irish Saint no less!). The first page of the linked article is free, the rest are behind a paywall. Disclaimer: one of the paramedics is my brother.

Submission + - Dating apps a potential corporate vulnerability in BYOD (

An anonymous reader writes: IBM claims to have discovered exploitable vulnerabilities in 26 out of 41 smartphone dating apps available on Google’s Android mobile platform – and that 50 per cent of BYOD devices in the companies surveyed have dating apps installed on them. The report states that users have a higher level of trust in messages and interactions that take place on installed mobile apps than they would with similar communications over email, but that this level of confidence is not justified by the apps’ security performance. The threats identified are all in the ‘medium to high’ category of security risks, and include the potential to activate the end-user’s microphone remotely and leak GPS data, posing risks to private and corporate security.

Submission + - Apple Invests $848 Million Into Solar Farm (

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is making a huge investment in solar energy, sending $848 million to First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project. The deal will supply Apple with energy for 25 years. Construction of the new 2,900-acre solar farm will start this summer and finish by the end of 2016. Apple's share of the energy produced will be about 130 megawatts, while another 150 MW will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric. "The iPhone maker already powers all of its data centers with renewable energy. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, has advocated taking more steps to combat climate change."

Submission + - VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features

jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update on the VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development and features that are coming for VLC 2.2 along with VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.

Submission + - New Multi-Purpose Backdoor Targets Linux Servers

An anonymous reader writes: A new multi-purpose Linux Trojan that opens a backdoor on the target machine and can make it participate in DDoS attacks has been discovered and analyzed by Dr. Web researchers, who believe that the Chinese hacker group ChinaZ might be behind it. "First, Linux.BackDoor.Xnote.1 sends information about the infected system to the server. It then goes into standby mode and awaits further instructions. If the command involves carrying out some task, the backdoor creates a separate process that establishes its own connection to the server through which it gets all the necessary configuration data and sends the results of the executed task," the researchers explained.

Submission + - ownCloud Server 8 released (

An anonymous reader writes: The ownCloud community, developing the world’s most popular open source file sync and share software, today released ownCloud Server 8.0 With more than 2 million users worldwide, ownCloud installs easily on a web server, enabling anyone to host their own file sync and share software while using their own storage (and/or cloud storage if they choose), instead of relying on third parties with files stored outside of their control.

Submission + - Will Elementary School Teachers Take the Rap for Tech's Diversity Problem?

theodp writes: Citing a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (free to Federal employees), the NY Times reports on how elementary school teachers' pro-boy biases can discourage girls from math and science. "The pipeline for women to enter math and science occupations narrows at many points between kindergarten and a career choice," writes Claire Cain Miller, "but elementary school seems to be a critical juncture. Reversing bias among teachers could increase the number of women who enter fields like computer science and engineering, which are some of the fastest growing and highest paying. 'It goes a long way to showing it's not the students or the home, but the classroom teacher's behavior that explains part of the differences over time between boys and girls,' said Victor Lavy, an economist at University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper." Although the study took place in Israel, Lavy said that similar research had been conducted in several European countries and that he expected the results were applicable in the United States.

Submission + - AMA from Jason Pyeron @ CipherShed (a TrueCrypt fork) (

jpyeron writes: In 2014, in response to the discontinuation of the TrueCrypt project, I joined a group of developers to pick up the torch. Our fork is called CipherShed, and our goals are to revive the TrueCrypt codebase, close its many security holes, and transition it to an OSI approved license.

I joined this project because the existing enterprise Full Disk Encryption products are terrible and untrustworthy; I never again want to hear on the news that peoplesâ(TM) information was compromised because of a stolen laptop.

There are many in the community, including my peers at CipherShed, that canâ(TM)t afford me their trust because my 20-year programming career happens to have included several stints of U.S. government work.

I understand the need for this healthy skepticism, especially in today's climate of nation-sponsored hacking and heads of state spouting anti-digital-rights rhetoric, and so I want to take this opportunity to engage with /r/netsec and the broader crypto community and answer any questions you may have about my background, the CipherShed project in general, CipherShed source code, or anything else you'd like to upvote.

Submission + - Bidding war between networks, sports leagues will increase price of cable TV (

Trachman writes: It appears that the cable tv bill is guaranteed to be a victim of inflation. According to the Washington Post article, ESPN and TNT have signed a new $2.6 billion annual contract to carry National Basketball Association games. All of it will have to be paid by cable subscribers. Let's do a simple math here: let's assume there is a 100 Million households in USA who have cable service, which amounts to $260 of costs, per year, attributable to each subscriber, or approx $22 per month. Of course, some of the expenses are reimbursed by advertisers, but the amount is staggering.

The word is that such a record amount will increase monthly bill? Or perhaps more people will be encourage to disconnect "zombie box"

Submission + - White House Deputizes Zuck's Tech Billionaire PAC to Implement Executive Action

theodp writes: On Friday, the White House announced steps it would be taking to implement the President's Executive action on immigration in cities across the country, which includes turning to Mark Zuckerberg's tech billionaire-backed PAC to help the nation's mayors get it done. "Cities have taken significant steps to defend and prepare for the implementation of the President's executive actions on immigration," reads the White House Fact Sheet, "which will strengthen border security, hold potentially millions of undocumented immigrants accountable, and boost wages and our economy. Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) and Cities for Citizenship are two initiatives helping to organize mayors to partner with business, faith, and law enforcement officials; and host information sessions. Over the next few weeks, in partnership with the National Immigration Forum,, and CUIA, mayors will host over 14 informational sessions in cities across the country including Phoenix, AZ, Boston, MA and Austin, TX." The White House announcement comes just days after Senator Jeff Sessions, who blasted "Master of the Universe" Zuckerberg over immigration last fall, was named to Chair the Senate Panel on Immigration.

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The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen