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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 140 declined, 26 accepted (166 total, 15.66% accepted)

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Submission + - "US elections still vulnerable to rigging, disruption" (AP) (ap.org)

davidwr writes: The AP just released another story on the vulnerabilities of paperless voting machines.

It's nothing we haven't seen at /. before, but it's worth repeating: Common types of paperless machines simply cannot be audited or re-counted, making them an attractive target for those wanting to commit fraud.

If the main AP URL is down or paywalled, here are some alternates:




or just search your favorite news search engine for the title or the opening text: "Jill Stein’s bid to recount votes in Pennsylvania was in trouble even before a federal judge shot it down Dec. 12. That’s because the Green Party candidate’s effort stood almost no chance of detecting potential fraud or error in the vote — there was basically nothing to recount."

If this is accepted, I trust the moderator will remove the "meta" information that's useful to Firehose readers but not useful on the main page.

Submission + - POLL: What should replace the Electoral College (archives.gov)

davidwr writes: Slashdot Poll:

What should replace the Electoral College as practiced today, where it's winner-take-all-by-state in all but two states?

* It's fine the way it is, don't change a thing.

* Popular vote winner takes the White House.

* Make electoral votes automatic, eliminate the electoral college.

* Make electoral votes automatic, but have each state's electoral votes mirror that state's popular vote.

* By-Congressional-District with 2 state-wide electors like Nebraska and Maine.

* By-Congressional-District, without state-wide electors (www.fourthirtysix.com anyone?).

* Something else (specify below)

* CowyboyNeal gets to pick the President.


Too bad about the 8-option limit. I wanted to squeeze in "I'm not from your silly country, you insensitive clod" but I put in the CowboyNeal option instead.

Submission + - Ask /.: Why are American tech people paid so well?

davidwr writes: Ask Slashdot:

Why are American programmers and IT professionals paid so much when many programming and IT jobs can be outsourced overseas so easily?

If I'm a mid-career programmer looking for a job, why should I expect to be paid a whole lot more than my peer in India when applying for a job that could easily be outsourced to India? If I do get the job, why should I expect to keep it more than a year or two instead of being told "your job is being outsourced" before 2020?

Is my American education and 5-25 years of experience in the American workplace really worth it to an employer?

Should we, as an industry, lower our salary expectations — and that of students entering the field — to make us more competitive with our peers in India and similar "much cheaper labor than first world" economies? If not, what should we be doing to make ourselves competitive in ways that our peers overseas cannot duplicate?

Note — I'm not talking about jobs that can't be easily outsourced like on-site tech support or "security clearance required" positions, and I'm not talking about "rock star" or "near rock star" employees (the "top 10%" of the industry). I'm also not talking about positions that aren't almost entirely technical, such as management or sales positions.

(dis)claimer: I am an American-born, American-educated mid-career IT professional who is not currently looking for work.

Submission + - Oak Ridge National Laboratory turns CO2 to booze, er, I mean fuel (ornl.gov)

davidwr writes: The laboratory's process turns carbon dioxide into ethanol using common materials and nanotechnology. The laboratory press release is here, the paper is here.

The press release did not mention how much, if any, of the ethanol would be used for celebratory purposes.

Paper citation:

Song, Y., Peng, R., Hensley, D. K., Bonnesen, P. V., Liang, L., Wu, Z., Meyer, H. M., Chi, M., Ma, C., Sumpter, B. G. and Rondinone, A. J. (2016), High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode. ChemistrySelect. doi:10.1002/slct.201601169

Submission + - Hackers have infiltrated our power grid's control networks (lasvegassun.com)

davidwr writes: A security researcher and the Associated Press are reporting that hackers have infiltrated many of our nation's power grid networks. Exfiltrated data included engineering plans and other non-public information that could aid an attacker later as well as account credentials. Multiple companies were affected but one of the more notable ones was the energy provider Calpine.

Submission + - India bans rape documentary, BBC will air it tonight

davidwr writes: In a classic case of the Streisand effect, BBC4 will move up its scheduled broadcast of India's Daughter to 10PM Wednesday night after it was banned in India. It was originally scheduled to air this Sunday, which is International Women's Day. "The move was made after Indian authorities banned the domestic broadcast of the film and said they were also trying to prevent it from being shown worldwide."

The film is about the brutal 2012 gang rape of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year old student.

Yes, I realize that Slashdot is "news for nerds" but the attempted worldwide censorship by India and BBC4's response should strike a chord with many /. readers.

Submission + - UK Tribunal says UK-US surveillance illegal

davidwr writes: The Guardian reports that the UK's Investigative Powers Tribunal has ruled against some aspects of the GCHK/NSA survellance that took place from 2007-2014, saying it "breached human rights law." It goes on to say that the current way things are happening is legal. To read more, go to the IPT's list of judgments page and scroll to the bottom. Or just go straight to the linked PDFs: Liberty_Ors_Judgment_6Feb15.pdf and Liberty-Order6Feb15.pdf

Submission + - Unexplained out-of-band WIndows DVD patch

davidwr writes: Microsoft released September 2014 update for DVD playback in Windows 7 SP1

as an out-of-band "Important" update yesterday without explaining why it was rushed instead of waiting two weeks.

Microsoft knows that patching annoys system administrators and others and typically doesn't do out of band updates without a good reason. Unlike the recent out-of-band Russian Time Zone update, there isn't an obvious to be a "you must install this by a certain date or something will break" reason to rush this.

Does anyone know why Microsoft didn't either 1) wait two weeks or 2) provide a clearer explanation of why this is important enough to push out early?


Submission + - 30+ year old minor drug charge keeps Canadian contest winner from Super Bowl (www.cbc.ca) 3

davidwr writes: It's not "your rights ONline" but a Canadian who won an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans couldn't get past US Customs because he got busted with 2 grams of pot back in 1981, when he was 19 years old.

With Toronto and other Canadian cities having tech hubs, this "zero tolerance" is probably already having an impact on technology companies who have employees or contractors with ancient criminal records and who can't send them to US industry events.


Submission + - Congress, at Last Minute, Drops Requirement to Obtain Warrant to Monitor Email (allgov.com) 1

davidwr writes: Before passing the Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act, the Senate dropped an amendment which would require the feds to get warrants before looking at mail older than 6 months that is stored on a 3rd-party server.

This means the status quo, dating from the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, remains.

The Military

Submission + - Dolphins With Friggin' Lasers^H^H^H^H^H^HPistols (en.rian.ru)

davidwr writes: OK, it's not sharks with lasers, but Reuters reports the Ukranians are training their dolphin killing machines to use knives and pistols.

The other country training dolphins to take over the world before they leave and thank us for all the fish? The United States.

I for one welcome our aquatic mammalian overlords.


Submission + - Turn your computer off? Maybe not: Your RAM may still be foresicly copyable. (alphagalileo.org)

davidwr writes: Stravroula Karayianni, Vasilios Katos, and Christos K. Georgiadis describe a way to recover passwords from RAM in a computer that's been turned off but which still has electrical power connected to it. They rely on the fact that in many computers, if you "turn off" the computer but still leave battery or A/C power connected, the RAM continues to be powered and is just as "fresh" as the moment you thought you turned off your computer. Their paper, "A framework for password harvesting from volatile memory," will appear in the journal Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 4, Nos. 2/3, pp. 154-163.

Submission + - What is a reasoanble immigration policy for highly-trained workers?

davidwr writes: What are a reasonable temporary-worker or immigration-visa rules to apply to workers whose skills would likely to quickly net them a "top 20th percentile wages" (about $100,000) job in the American workplace if they were allowed to work in the is country?

Should the visa length be time-limited? Should it provide for a path to permanent residency? Should the number be limited and if so, how should we decide what the limit should be?

Note: The people affected are already likely eligible for special work-permit programs, but these programs may have quotas, time limits, prior-job-offer-requirements, and other restrictions. I'm asking /. what they think the limits and restrictions, if any, should be.

I'm assuming normal rules to keep out certain criminals, spies, terrorists, and other "undesirable aliens" will remain as is. These issues are beyond the scope of this question.

Submission + - Hot pigs on the loose (yahoo.com)

davidwr writes: Oak Ridge has radioactive frogs (YUM!) and now Germany has hot hogs on the hoof (DO NOT EAT!). 'The German boars roam in forests nearly 950 miles (1,500 kilometers ) from Chernobyl. Yet, the amount of radioactive cesium-137 within their tissue often registers dozens of times beyond the recommended limit for consumption and thousands of times above normal.' 'Cesium also accumulates over time in the soil, which makes boars most susceptible They snuffle through forest soil with their snouts and feed on the kinds of mushroom that tend to store radioactivity, Environment Ministry spokesman Thomas Hagbeck said.' 'Japan's Fukushima plant has so far not leaked nearly as much radiation as Chernobyl...' So far???

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