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Submission + - Wikipedia Comments Destroyed by a Few Highly Toxic Users (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A joint study carried out by researchers from Alphabet's Jigsaw and the Wikimedia Foundation has analyzed all user comments left on Wikipedia in 2015 in order to identify how and why users launch in personal attacks, one of the many faces of online abuse. A closer look at the data revealed that 34 "highly toxic users" were responsible for almost 9% of all personal attacks on the site.

"By comparing these figures, we see that almost 80% of attacks come from the over 9000 users who have made fewer than 5 attacking comments," the research team noted, something that's somewhat normal, as everybody tends to get mad at one point or another. "However, the 34 users with a toxicity level of more than 20 are responsible for almost 9% of attacks. Thus, while the majority of Wikipedia’s attacks are diffused infrequent attackers, significant progress could be made by moderating a relatively small number of frequent attackers," researchers concluded.

Submission + - Electronic lenses - better than progressive lenses or bifocals? 3

mmell writes: University of Utah scientists have created a prototype electronic lens which uses several technologies to customize the lens optics focusing on whatever the wearer is looking at.

Not unlike the "oil lenses" in Frank Herbert's Dune series of novels, the electronic lens (a transparent LCD) can have its index of refractivity modified by application of a small electric current. While I can conceive many uses for this technology (in spacecraft instruments, webcams/handicams, handheld binoculars and telescopes for example), these were developed as a replacement for the progressive lenses — a.k.a., bifocals — which are worn by many with less than perfect eyesight. Many eyeglass wearers don't tolerate bifocals well and I wonder if the adaptive optics in this prototype could relieve them of the need to carry multiple pairs of glasses?

Whether they prove cost effective for the role of eyeglasses or not (and I can see no reason why they shouldn't), the applications for this technology seem quite diverse and potentially even revolutionary. I wonder how long it will be before these are more than just a prototype?

Submission + - Soyuz launches successfully from French Guiana (nasaspaceflight.com)

schwit1 writes: A Russian Soyuz rocket, built for Arianespace and launched from French Guiana, successfully placed a commercial satellite in geosynchronous orbit on Friday.

The launch has some significance. First, it was the first time a Soyuz rocket placed a payload into geosynchronous orbit. Second, the payload was the first satellite built by a German company in more than 25 years

Finally, and most important, it demonstrated that at least one configuration of the Soyuz rocket is still operational as Russia investigates the corrupt practices at the company that has been building upper stage engines for both its Soyuz and Proton rockets.

Submission + - Lost Doctor Who classic returns as an animation on November 5th. (doctorwhotv.co.uk)

BigBadBus writes: The lost 1966 Doctor Who story "The Power of the Daleks" is to be released as an animation from the BBC; the episodes will be "broadcast" one at a time from November 5th (the 50th anniversary of its one and only UK transmission) and for the next five days with a DVD release coming later on in the month. The BBC has previously animated episodes if it meant completing a story with only one or two installments missing; they had also done this with a lost show from the "Dad's Army" sitcom and had inquired of Dr Who fans if they would be willing to pay for animations of completely lost stories. This still leaves 97 live action episodes to find; the last were in 2013.

Submission + - Fukushima to get "ice walls" to stop ground and sea water contamination (nytimes.com)

KindMind writes: The New York Times reports that Japan is freezing the ground around the Fukushima nuclear plant to stop the flow of groundwater and seawater contamination. From the article: "Built by the central government at a cost of 35 billion yen, or some $320 million, the ice wall is intended to seal off the reactor buildings within a vast, rectangular-shaped barrier of man-made permafrost. If it becomes successfully operational as soon as this autumn, the frozen soil will act as a dam to block new groundwater from entering the buildings."

Submission + - Is it time for a new audio format for recording? 4

tezbobobo writes: Why isn't recording information embedded in recorded audio files? When I edit a photo in Photoshop Lightroom the RAW file usually contains information about the camera, lens, location, and settings used. When I import a WAV from my field recorder the software is completely oblivious to the recorder used and the microphone. I can't even tell the software to compensate for a certain mic with profiles. So, it it time for some new standards?

Submission + - SPAM: Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order 3

mdsolar writes: The world's next energy revolution is probably no more than five or ten years away. Cutting-edge research into cheap and clean forms of electricity storage is moving so fast that we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point.

The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the 'Holy Grail' of energy policy.

You can track what they are doing at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). There are plans for hydrogen bromide, or zinc-air batteries, or storage in molten glass, or next-generation flywheels, many claiming "drastic improvements" that can slash storage costs by 80pc to 90pc and reach the magical figure of $100 per kilowatt hour in relatively short order.

“Storage is a huge deal,” says Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary and himself a nuclear physicist. He is now confident that the US grid and power system will be completely "decarbonised" by the middle of the century.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Attacking Ransomware By Watching The Filesystem (phys.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware — what hackers use to encrypt your computer files and demand money in exchange for freeing those contents — is an exploding global problem with few solutions, but a team of University of Florida researchers says it has developed a way to stop it dead in its tracks.

The answer, they say, lies not in keeping it out of a computer but rather in confronting it once it's there and, counterintuitively, actually letting it lock up a few files before clamping down on it.

"Our system is more of an early-warning system. It doesn't prevent the ransomware from starting ... it prevents the ransomware from completing its task ... so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that's on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom," said Nolen Scaife, a UF doctoral student and founding member of UF's Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research.
Scaife is part of the team that has come up with the ransomware solution, which it calls CryptoDrop.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-e...

Submission + - We need a better Private Browsing Mode (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: Many browsers have some type of 'private' browsing. The settings aren't enough, though, to offer real protection.

As this writer says, Chrome's Incognito Mode "doesn't offer strong protection at all," and Firefox's Private Browsing with Tracking Protection — while stronger than Chrome — is an all-or-nothing option. "You can’t turn it off for sites you trust, but have it otherwise enabled by default."

Every single link to non-trusted websites should open, by default, in a Private/Incognito window. C'mon, browser makers, get this done.


Submission + - Why Google Stores Billions of Lines of Code in a Single Repository (acm.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Google proves that distributed version control systems can't replace centralized ones. The centralized approach to source control has served Google well for more than 16 years, and today the vast majority of Google's software assets continues to be stored in a single, shared repository.

The Google codebase includes approximately one billion files and has a history of approximately 35 million commits spanning Google's entire 18-year existence. The repository contains 86TB of data, including approximately two billion lines of code in nine million unique source files.

Submission + - Dubai to build world's lowest cost solar plant (bizled.co.in)

Nishamalhotra writes: Dubai has announced that it will build a gigantic 800 MW solar plant, and the key highlight is that the plant will produce electricity at the most reasonable cost of 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. This means that Dubai is set to welcome the world’s lowest cost solar plant, surpassing the ever-dominant coal plant, which is the cheapest alternative as of now.

Submission + - Oracle may have stopped funding and development efforts on Java EE (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: ArsTechnica is reporting that Oracle has quietly pulled funding and development efforts away from Java EE, the server-side Java technology that is part of hundreds of thousands of Internet and business applications. Java EE even plays an integral role for many apps that aren't otherwise based on Java, and customers and partners have invested time and code. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened, but the implications are huge for Java as a platform.

Submission + - The Languages Which Almost Became CSS (eager.io)

zackbloom writes: In fact, it has been a constant source of delight for me over the past year to get to continually tell hordes (literally) of people who want to – strap yourselves in, here it comes – control what their documents look like in ways that would be trivial in TeX, Microsoft Word, and every other common text processing environment: “Sorry, you’re screwed.”

— Marc Andreessen 1994

Submission + - Data Can Help Fix America's Overcrowded Jails, Says White House (cnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The White House launched a program called the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) initiative to help reduce the population of jails. It will allow states to better divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and keep low-risk defendants out of jail while they await trial. The DDJ program could help alleviate the cost and congestion facing many of America's local jails, which costs local governments nearly $22 billion a year for minor offenses and low-level non-violent misdemeanors. Every year, 11 million people move through America's local jails. In local jails, 64 percent of people suffer from mental illness, 68 percent have a substance abuse and 44 percent suffer from chronic health problems, according to the White House. Seven states and 60 communities committed to DDJ. The plan is to use data collected on individuals who are often in touch with the police, emergency departments and other services and link them to health, behavioral health and social services within the community. Law enforcement and first responders will also be trained in how to deal with people experiencing mental health issues to better direct them to the proper services. The administration is developing a toolkit that will guide jurisdictions toward the best practices, policies and programs that have been successful in DDJ communities. DDJ will also put in place pre-trial assessment tools to determine whether the individual can safely return to society while awaiting trial without having to post bond.

Submission + - A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France (theatlantic.com)

schwit1 writes: In February 1990, thanks to a 15-year-old boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski, footsteps echoed through the chambers of Bruniquel Cave for the first time in tens of thousands of years.

Recognizing the site’s value, they brought in archaeologist Francois Rouzaud. Using carbon-dating , Rouzaud estimated that a burnt bear bone found within the chamber was 47,600 years old, which meant that the stalagmite rings were older than any known cave painting. It also meant that they couldn’t have been the work of Homo sapiens. Their builders must have been the only early humans in the south of France at the time: Neanderthals.

The discovery suggested that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for. They wielded fire, ventured deep underground, and shaped the subterranean rock into complex constructions. Perhaps they even carried out rituals; after all, there was no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave, so what else were the rings and mounds for? After drilling into the stalagmites and pulling out cylinders of rock, the team could see an obvious transition between two layers. On one side were old minerals that were part of the original stalagmites; on the other were newer layers that had been laid down after the fragments were broken off by the cave’s former users. By measuring uranium levels on either side of the divide, the team could accurately tell when each stalagmite had been snapped off for construction.

Their date? 176,500 years ago, give or take a few millennia.

“When I announced the age to Jacques, he asked me to repeat it because it was so incredible,” says Verheyden. Outside Bruniquel Cave, the earliest, unambiguous human constructions are just 20,000 years old. Most of these are ruins—collapsed collections of mammoth bones and deer antlers. By comparison, the Bruniquel stalagmite rings are well-preserved and far more ancient.

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