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Comment Re:Is this news going to bring them more business (Score 1) 164

More interesting though might be a labor claim that Best Buy might have against these employees

I read about this a couple of months ago but in the context of employees suing Best Buy because they were suffering PTSD due to the nature of the images they were being compelled to view on their customers' computers and their medical plan didn't cover it.

Submission + - Lessons from Canada's scientific resistance (

Lasrick writes: Andrew Nikiforuk, a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, has a smart piece outlining what the United States science community can do to combat expected attacks from the Trump administration on federal funding for research projects that examine the environmental impacts of industries such as mining and oil drilling. Nikiforuk seeks lessons from the years when the Canadian government, led by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff. Great read.

Submission + - Iron-age potters accidentally recorded Earth's magnetic field strength

Solandri writes: We've only been able to measure the Earth's magnetic field strength for about 2 centuries. During this time, there has been a gradual decline in the field strength. In recent years, the rate of decline seems to be accelerating, leading to some speculation that the Earth may be losing its magnetic field — a catastrophic possibility since the magnetic field is what protects life on Earth from dangerous solar radiation. Ferromagnetic particles in rocks provide a long-term history which tells us the poles have flipped numerous times. But uncertainties in dating the rocks prevents their use in understanding decade-scale magnetic field fluctuations.

Now a group of archeologists and geophysicists have come up with a novel way to produce decade-scale temporal measurements of the Earth's magnetic field strength from before the invention of the magnetometer. When iron-age potters fired their pottery in a kiln to harden it, it loosened tiny ferromagnetic particles in the clay. As the pottery cooled and these particles hardened, it captured a snapshot of the Earth's magnetic field. Crucially, the governments of that time required pottery used to collect taxed goods (e.g. a portion of olive oil sold) to be stamped with a royal seal. These seals changed over time as new kings ascended, or governments were completely replaced after invasion. Thus by cross-referencing the magnetic particles in the pottery with the seals, researchers were able to piece together a history of the Earth's magnetic field strength spanning from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE. Their findings show that large fluctuations in the magnetic field strength over a span of decades are normal.

Comment Re:Funny thing... (Score 1) 229

But what does it have to do with my phones capability to record a call?

If you can hear it, you can record it.

I record most of my calls. At work I use a Nexxtech telephone recorder similar to this this. I plug the 3.5 mm jack in to my Tascam DR-07 digital recorder. When I place or receive a call I just press record then log the call details along with the file name when it ends.

If a call comes in on my cell that I want to record I ask the caller to wait while I put them on speakerphone then use the Tascam's built in mics to record the conversation.

If you don't have a stand-alone recorder, a laptop with built-in mic and/or audio input and something like Audacity will do nicely as well.

If your phone lacks the ability to record conversations, either because it doesn't have speakerphone capabilities or can not work with a device like the one I linked to above, I would replace the phone. Cordless phones can be problematic as they emit rf that can be picked up by the recorder but a cordless with speakerphone either on the base station or handset should work with a digital recorder with built-in mics.

The biggest challenge with recording calls is keeping track of all them so you can find the relevant one in the future. I hacked together a simple PHP/MySQL application I host on my personal site that I use to log calls but a spreadsheet works well too. It's also helpful to begin recordings with whatever detail you can provide prior to dialling or answering. That way you just have to listen to the first few seconds of your recording to find out what the call is about.

If the laws where you live prevent you from recording a conversation you are participating in I would say you have significantly bigger problems than your phone's hardware capabilities.

I keep written notes of meetings, I keep my old notebooks, I keep a (semi) daily journal, I archive emails, appointment calendars and task lists as well as text messages and all other forms of written communications. I see no reason why I should not be able to record any conversation I am part of. If a person asks me to not share what was talked about with others, the existence of a recording has no relevance to that. If I can remember it, there is a record.

As far as calls with companies go, I can't remember the last time a call to or from a business or government agency didn't include the disclaimer that "for quality control and training purposes, this call may be monitored or recorded." I always reply that it most certainly is.

In general I don't record personal calls with friends or my wife, since it's unlikely I will need a record of those calls in the future. But they *are* being recorded, of that I have no doubt. All calls are recorded by various agencies and companies. I have no control over that. What I can do is keep my own record of my calls, just in case the need ever arises for me to know what exactly was said.

As long as you take reasonable precautions to safeguard these recordings - as you would your written communications - I can not see why there would be a problem with it.

Submission + - TurboTax sells access to your data (

rcharbon writes: I had the apparently naive expectation that I’d retain some small scrap of privacy by using the TurboTax desktop app instead of the web version. However, their failure to keep a certificate revocation list up to date revealed that Intuit installs third-party cookies from Neustar, an ad service that “provides audience insights that increase online advertising relevancy through the power of verified offline consumer data.”

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 769

Downside : a normal coffee brew process generates 6-12 cups of Joe.

I guess we could all switch to a press ... but that's a bit messy and requires a stand alone heating method (I've not the space to keep a proper tea kettle on my office desk)

I've been using single cup coffee makers like this Black & Decker Brew 'n Go for years. No mess, no fuss, just pour a cup full of fresh water from your cup in to the reservoir, add a couple scoops of fresh ground coffee to the filter basket and hit the go button.

You get a fresh cup of coffee without the waste of those empty "pods," and no DRM to boot.


A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back 253

AthanasiusKircher writes "Environmental and health concerns about atrazine — one of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S. — have been voiced for years, leading to an EU ban and multiple investigations by the EPA. Tyrone Hayes, a Berkeley professor who has spearheaded research on the topic, began to display signs of apparent paranoia over a decade ago. He noticed strangers following him to conferences around the world, taking notes and asking questions aimed to make him look foolish. He worried that someone was reading his email, and attacks against his reputation seemed to be everywhere; search engines even displayed ad hits like 'Tyrone Hayes Not Credible' when his name was searched for. But he wasn't paranoid: documents released after a lawsuit from Midwestern towns against Syngenta, the manufacturer of atrazine, showed a coordinated smear campaign. Syngenta's public relations team had a list of ways to defend its product, topped by 'discredit Hayes.' Its internal list of methods: 'have his work audited by 3rd party,' 'ask journals to retract,' 'set trap to entice him to sue,' 'investigate funding,' 'investigate wife,' etc. A recent New Yorker article chronicles this war against Hayes, but also his decision to go on the offensive and strike back. He took on the role of activist against atrazine, giving over 50 public talks on the subject each year, and even taunting Syngenta with profanity-laced emails, often delivered in a rapping 'gangsta' style. The story brings up important questions for science and its public persona: How do scientists fight a PR war against corporations with unlimited pockets? How far should they go?"

Submission + - SPAM: Looming Slashdot changes

An anonymous reader writes: Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators — only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors — only discuss Beta
[spam URL stripped] — Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention. -----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: [spam URL stripped]
Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: [spam URL stripped]
Alternative Slashdot: [spam URL stripped] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106))

Join IRC Freenode ##altslashdot

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