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Submission + - The Individual Midnight Thread 40

unitron writes: Trying to figure out time zones is starting to make my brain hurt, but apparently in a bit over 6 hours somewhere on the other side of globe from Greenwich the Week of Slashcott will begin, as Midnight arrives for anyone in that zone, and then it travels west, where I will encounter it in about 23 hours.

So if we can get this thread out of the Firehose, I was thinking that, as the 10th arrives for us in our respective locations, we could leave here what may be our final farewells to Slashdot.

Until Midnight, this is our meeting place, our City Hall, our town square.

(and yes, our playground)

After that I'm not sure where we can congregate to discuss how the Slashcott's going and whether it's time to move on.

I'm going to jump the gun and lay claim to "So long and thanks for all the Karma", and perhaps someone could do a Bob Hope and re-write the lyrics to "Thanks for the Memories".

In the meantime, a bit of housekeeping.

An AC beat me to the week-long boycott idea by a couple of hours, and suggested the date range of the 10th through the 17th.

As part of a group of people familiar with the concept of beginning a count with 0 instead of 1, I really should have spotted the mistake of putting 8 days into that particular week.

So, should Slashcott Week end as the 17th begins, or do we give Dice a bonus day?

Comment FUD (Score 1) 341

I would say it is FUD. If it is a company owned computer that is controlled by others, you might risk having your employer having access to your networks. Other than that the biggest risk is theft. If a computer is stolen, you should change all your passwords anyway, including your wireless network passwords. Friends and family that use it would have access to your network anyway. I'll admit to not RTFA, but it sounds like (I am speculating, I could be wrong) the author is parroting some stuff out of a security certification study guide without really considering if it is actually a problem worth writing about. It is possible the author is anti-linux, but I doubt it considering an alternative tools is suggested. If someone is really paranoid, they could always just use a live CD/thumb drive that doesn't store anything. I am leaning towards well meaning FUD.

Comment HOAs (Score 1) 87

These are great for homeowners with HOAs that would consider rooftop panels an eye sore and not allow them. The amount of electricity a typical single family home would produce from these probably isn't impressive, but on a massive scale, this could save a lot of dead dinosaurs. For those outside of a country with strict homeowner's associations, there have been legal battles leading to foreclosures about things as silly as what color an owner paints their trim. Yes, most HOAs (in the US anyway) would not allow rooftop solar panels for aesthetic reasons.

Submission + - Homeland Security Remains Worst Fed Agency to Work For. (

DaTrueDave writes: The agency rankings from the now annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey were released yesterday and one of our most powerful departments is still the department with the lowest morale.

Given the fact that so many DHS leadership positions are filled with temporary or "acting" leaders, it's not surprising that their ranking on "Effective Leadership" dropped over three points.
Out of 300 subcomponents (individual agencies) ranked, DHS has three agencies in the bottom ten, including the agency responsible for enforcing US immigration laws inside the border, ICE.

Contrast this with an agency like NASA, which actually increased its ratings despite having to work around a tight budget due to Congressional sequestration, and furloughed employees.

What impact does this have on the US? Surely it can't be good to have such an important and powerful agency filled with employees with such low morale.

Comment PR move (Score 1) 698

This sounds like a PR move in response to the Snowden leaks. I will give them the benefit of the doubt in this case that they did actually do something worth while. One thing to consider is that if they hadn't have figured it out, someone else might have. If they think an anecdote of them doing something good as a distraction from the domestic surveillance is a bit of an insult though. For all we know, this malware attack could be the exception, and not the norm. Even if its the norm and not the exception, it still doesn't excuse the bad things they have done. IMHO, someone like Snowden leaking this information was inevitable. I think it was a bit naive to expect NDAs to contain something so questionable that I am assuming a good number of people at the NSA knew about. I think the best PR move the NSA could do right now is to suspend some of these programs for now. In the future, if they can find a way to run these programs in a way that respects constitutional protections, then they can continue. For example, if they can track users anonymously and compartmentalize who has access to what pieces of information about a mark. Considering they are trying to get rid of sysads, this makes it harder to compartmentalize because inevitably the few remaining admins have a lot more systems they control.

Submission + - R2-D2: Mall Cop

theodp writes: Q. What do you get when you cross R2-D2 with Paul Blart: Mall Cop? A. The K5 Autonomous Data Machine. "The night watchman of the future," explains the NY Times' John Markoff, "is 5 feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and looks a lot like R2-D2 – without the whimsy. And will work for $6.25 an hour." California-based Knightscope has developed a mobile robot known as the K5 Autonomous Data Machine as a safety and security tool for corporations, as well as for schools and neighborhoods. "But what is for some a technology-laden route to safer communities and schools," writes Markoff, "is to others an entry point to a post-Orwellian, post-privacy world."

Submission + - Mediterranean Sea to Possibly Become Site of Chemical Weapons Dump (

An anonymous reader writes: MEDITERRANEAN SEA (INTELLIHUB) – In what can only be described as a really bad idea, the organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is planning to destroy at least 1000 tones of the confiscated Syrian chemical weapon stockpile out at sea, which some fear will destroy delicate eco systems vital to sea and human life alike.

The OPCW claims the plan is “technically feasible” and is apparently willing to risk ecological disaster to destroy the toxic contents of the weaponry in or above the sea. Members of the press were told, the “group is considering whether to destroy the chemical weapons in the ocean, either on a ship or by loading them onto an offshore rig”, reported, RT.[1] If the operation is approved for a green light, the Mediterranean Sea appears as if it will be the drop point. The MV Cape Ray would be conducting the transport, according to reports.

Most of the Syrian’s chemical weapons supply is expected to be removed from the country into international custody by the year’s end. All of the remaining contents are scheduled to be removed by mid-2014. also reported, “OPCW Director General Ahmet Umzucu said in a statement that the plan was a “clear road map” to meet the aforementioned deadline.

“This next phase will be the most challenging, and its timely execution will require the existence of a secure environment for the verification and transport of chemical weapons,” he said. “Continuing international support and assistance for this endeavor will remain crucial.”

When Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said no to the request – citing “no capacity of any kind pertaining to the transport and technological processes involved” – he outlined many of the same problems that the OPCW and UN must now consider.

Any action will certainly need to be more intricate than when the Japanese government destroyed weapons leftover from World War II in 2004-2006. In doing so, the Japanese set up a disposal plant on a floating platform.

The Syrian weapons will produce liquid waste that those Japanese weapons did not. It also makes hydrolysis, a neutralization process that involves adding water to the chemical, much less likely.

“If you use hydrolysis or incineration, there will be liquid waste,” Ralf Trapp, an independent chemical disarmament specialist, told Reuters. “So there will be problems with regard to environmental pollution that need to be addressed.”[1]

Which ever way you slice it, the eco systems of the Mediterranean Sea would be at risk if the chemical stockpile was indeed destroyed in the waters. According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) “The Mediterranean is an enclosed sea with the world’s second highest percentage of endemic species, including the Posidonia sea grass and the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal.

Species also include 28 cetaceans, the 100-million year old loggerhead turtle, and the commercially important blue-fin tuna and swordfish.
Currently, less than 1% of the Mediterranean Sea is protected.

We are working to establish marine and coastal protected areas to protect the most important regions for biodiversity. We promote fisheries management systems which do not adversely affect marine productivity. We also try to ensure that measures against pollution agreed in international conventions, such as the Barcelona Convention, are endorsed and implemented.

WWF Mediterranean works at a pan-Mediterranean level, and also focuses efforts on marine regions in Croatia , Libya , Morocco , Tunisia and Turkey. [...]

The Mediterranean hosts several endangered marine species:

*The monk seal (Monachus monachus), of which about 350 – 400 now survive in the world.

*The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the 100-million year old loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), which nest on Mediterranean beaches.

*18 cetacean species, of which seven can be observed throughout the year: the pilot whale, fin whale, sperm whale, common dolphin, striped dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and the Risso’s dolphin.

the endemic sea-grass Posidonia oceanica , which plays a crucial role in coast protection by acting as a buffer to currents and waves.[4]
Environmental activists will likely soon emerge protesting the proposed actions of the OPCW.

Comment Underwater Basket Weaving (Score -1, Offtopic) 187

//Lame attempt at sleep deprived humor
So if i put some paintings in that underwater basket i made in school Ill get smarter? I get it know. The more underwater baskets you can weave to hold art that you were taught to appreciate the more art you can store. The more art you can store the smarter you will probably be...

Comment Re:Let's see (Score 1) 381

Mod this up. The Snowden leaks have revealed some morally and legally questionable behavior by the US government, but there are some things that would be best to keep secret that actually are in the best interest of everyone in the world. For example, if the NSA knows how to cryptoanalyze AES or PGP, the methods used getting into the hands of criminals would be bad for everyone.

Submission + - Corliss Online Group Financial magazine - The real role models of the global eco

duaneporture writes: Obviously, not all countries can run trade surpluses at the same time. In fact, the successful economies' superlative growth performance has been enabled by other countries' choice not to emulate them.

In fact, while Germany did undertake some reforms, so did others, and its labor market does not look substantially more flexible than what one finds in other European economies.
A big difference, however, was the turnaround in Germany's external balance, with annual deficits in the 1990's swinging to a substantial surplus in recent years, thanks to its trade partners in the eurozone and, more recently, the rest of the world. As the Financial Times' Martin Wolf, among others, has pointed out, the German economy has been free-riding on global demand

Read more:

Submission + - Cow Farts Have 'Larger Greenhouse Gas Impact' Than Previously Thought ( 2

Philip Ross writes: A new study of methane emissions finds that the U.S. is spewing 50 percent more methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere than the Environmental Protection Agency previously assumed. Several factors contribute to the accumulation of methane gas in Earth’s atmosphere, such as the burning of fossil fuels and leaks from oil and gas refining and drilling, but one contender stands out above the rest as particularly repugnant: cow farts.

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