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Science

Bill Nye Explains That the Flooding In Louisiana Is the Result of Climate Change (qz.com) 252

Reader mspohr writes: Our favorite science guy has an interview (and video) in Quartz where he explains how Louisiana flooding is due to climate change:
"As the ocean gets warmer, which it is getting, it expands," Nye explained. "Molecules spread apart, and then as the sea surface is warmer, more water evaporates, and so it's very reasonable that these storms are connected to these big effects."
The article also notes that a National Academy of Sciences issued a report with the same findings: "Scientists from around the world have concurred with Nye that this is exactly what the effects of climate change look like, and that disasters like the Louisiana floods are going to happen more and more. According to a National Academy of Sciences report published earlier this year, extreme flooding can be traced directly to human-induced global warming. As the atmosphere warms, it retains more moisture, leading to bouts of sustained, heavy precipitation that can cause floods."

Power

New Mexico Nuclear Accident Ranks Among the Costliest In US History (latimes.com) 308

mdsolar quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: When a drum containing radioactive waste blew up in an underground nuclear dump in New Mexico two years ago, the Energy Department rushed to quell concerns in the Carlsbad desert community and quickly reported progress on resuming operations. The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department's credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste. But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. The Feb. 14, 2014, accident is also complicating cleanup programs at about a dozen current and former nuclear weapons sites across the U.S. Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for the dump are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere, state officials said in interviews. "The direct cost of the cleanup is now $640 million, based on a contract modification made last month with Nuclear Waste Partnership that increased the cost from $1.3 billion to nearly $2 billion," reports Los Angeles Times. "The cost-plus contract leaves open the possibility of even higher costs as repairs continue. And it does not include the complete replacement of the contaminated ventilation system or any future costs of operating the mine longer than originally planned."

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 1) 442

No, they're not dropping that veneer.

Saying you compete with someone, isn't the same as saying you're the same kind of business. e.g. courier bikes, courier pigeons, telegrams and email can all compete with one another, but work differently and might have really good reasons for being regulated differently.

(BTW, I'm not taking a position about how Uber should or shouldn't be regulated; I'm just saying that there is nothing about their reaction which implies they're admitting anything.)

Bitcoin

'SingularDTV' Will Use Ethereum For DRM On A Sci-Fi TV Show (rocknerd.co.uk) 77

It's "an epic sci-fi adventure about the human race's journey into a theoretical technological Singularity." Or is it an "entertainment industry boondoggle...part DRM snake oil marketing, part pseudo-Bitcoin scam and part sincere Singularitarian weirdness?" Long-term Slashdot reader David Gerard writes: SingularDTV is an exciting new blockchain-based entertainment industry startup. Their plan is to adapt the DRM that made $121.54 for Imogen Heap, make their own completely pre-mined altcoin and use that to somehow sell two million views of a sci-fi TV show about the Singularity. Using CODE, which is explicitly modeled on The DAO ... which spectacularly imploded days after its launch. There's a white paper [PDF], but here's an analysis of why these schemes are a terrible idea for musicians.
'Singular' will be a one-hour adventure/drama "that explores the impact technology will have on the future of our planet and how it will shape the evolution of our human race," set in the years 2021 to 2045, "as an unprecedented technological revolution sweeps over the world..."
Twitter

Twitter Announces New Blocking and Filtering Features (wired.co.uk) 117

Twitter just began rolling out "new ways to control your experience," promising the two new features "will give you more control over what you see and who you interact with on Twitter." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from Wired UK: First up, notification settings will allow those using Twitter on the web or on desktop to limit the notifications they receive for @ mentions, RTs, and other interactions to just be from people they follow. The feature can be turned on through the notifications tab. Twitter is also expanding its quality filter -- also accessible through notifications. "When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior," the company's product manager Emil Leong said in a blog post.

In December 2015, the company changed its rules to explicitly ban "hateful conduct" for the first time, while back in February last year, Twitter's then-CEO Dick Costolo admitted the network needed to improve how it handled trolls and abuse. In a leaked memo he said: "I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing."

Meanwhile, the Twitter account of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales was hacked on Saturday.
Earth

Every Month This Year Has Been the Hottest In Recorded History (vice.com) 407

Slashdot reader iONiUM quotes an article from Vice that calls attention to the fact that record-setting temperatures in July are just part of the story: On Wednesday, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that July was the hottest month ever recorded on our planet, since modern record-keeping began in 1880. NASA has reached the same conclusion. July smashed all previous records... "We should be absolutely concerned," [NOAA climatologist] Sanchez-Lugo said. "We need to look at ways to adapt and mitigate. If we don't, temperatures will continue to increase"...

But the truth is that record-breaking temperatures, month after month, year after year, are starting to look less like an exception, more like the norm.

In fact, CityLab reports that the earth has now experienced 14 consecutive months of unprecedented hotness. Although July stands out, Vice notes that "each consecutive month in 2016 has broken its own previous record (May was the hottest May, April the hottest April, etc.)..."

Comment Re: Do they really ignore them? (Score 2) 124

Oh, so you're manually inspecting the self signed certificate every time you visit your website? If not, then how do you know nobody is intercepting your communication, making your self signed certificate as useless as having no encryption at all.

No, and he didn't imply that. Here are several situations, in increasing order of security.

1) The connection is not encrypted or signed. No certs exist. Nobody knows who they're talking to. An active attacker on the network between the two parties, can proxy and impersonate each side. A passive attacker, someone who just gets copies of the traffic, while they can't impersonate, can at least read what everyone is saying. No warning.(?!)

2) The connection is encrypted, but with unknown parties' public keys. Certs exist but are essentially worthless. An active attacker on the network between the two parties, can proxy and impersonate each side. A passive attacker, someone who just gets copies of the traffic, can't read anything. DANGER! DANGER! FREAK OUT!!

3) The connection is encrypted, and if you believe certain faceless parties who are totally unaccountable to you and who you don't know anything about, you think you probably know the other side's identity. Active attackers can't do anything, unless they're active enough to coerce or trick the CA. Passive attackers can't read anything. No warning.

4) The connection is encrypted just like above, but the CA pinky-swears that they really tried hard to make sure. Green URL bar.

5) As case 3 or 4, but multiple CAs, which might be hard for a single attacker to simultaneously coerce or trick, have all signed the cert. We don't have this in our browsers yet; it's early 1990s level tech that we're still waiting for.

6) As case 3 but the user has verified the identity through a different channel. No trusted introducer was needed. The cert need not be signed at all, or might be signed by the user himself. No warning, but also no green URL bar. (Yet, this is the very best-possible case, definitely more secure than any other.)

See anything wrong here? Scenarios 1 and 2 have their warning severities reversed. (And there's also a UI defect at high degrees of security, too, but that's less important.) This trains the use to think of warnings as not necessarily meaning increased severity or risk. A user will adjust to this by ignoring warnings. This is bad communication, and it's making us all a little stupider.

What you should do is add your known self signed certificate to your local certificate store, which means that the warnings will stop

He's talking about a situation where it's not known. Adding it to the local store would be inappropriate. That would be an attempt to treat scenario 2 as scenario 6, just to get around a UI bug. It'd be much better to just fix the bug.

Comment Payoff table shows whose guys they are (Score 1) 272

Maybe they're our guys, maybe they're not.

Country A is full of citizens, businesses, and government orgs which routinely depend on working computers and networks. Country B is similar, but a little behind, because they're not as wealthy.

Both countries' citizens, businesses and government orgs pretty much run the same code. Same OSes, same big applications, etc.

For the most part, everyone's computers run pretty badly, and outages and various fuckup are frequent. Criminals in both countries are very happy with the situation. Both countries have a pretty easy time with espionage, but a nearly impossible problem with counter-espionage. Everyone can attack, but hardly anyone seems to be able to defend.

Well, they're about the same, but not exactly. In Country B, due to the lower tech, more people use cash, more things are done low-techy, etc. Computer crime isn't quite as easy there. Fewer government systems (both civilian and military) are vulnerable to cyber-attack simple because they're not as computerized. Fewer businesses depend on networks. The airlines' schedules in Country B are run by a guy who has a big notebook, but Country A has an airline schedule that's run in some datacenter.

A group of nerdy people figure out part of the problem with everyone's fucked up computers. Turn out, there are bugs in popular software. Sometimes the symptoms just happen (bad luck) and sometimes they are exploited by adversaries.

The nerds have to make a decision: "Do we tell software industry about the bugs and have them fixed, so that everyone (both our country and the other country) get a defense advantage? Or do we not talk about the bugs, thereby preserving everyone's attack advantage?"

The group of nerds chooses the latter, opting to not have the bugs fixed.

Tell me this: judging from the nerds' actions, which country do you infer they working for? Who has more to win or lose from the computers continuing to work so badly?

Comment Leprechaun at Rio (Score 1) 180

I wish they still made those Warwick Davis Leprechaun movies. They could totally have an olympics one, where he dissolves some gold thief in the pool. OMFG, gold thief! The Leprechaun could be in the olympics, and he's pissed that other contestants are winning "his" gold medals. It's perfect; the movie writes itself.

But the last two (no, the last three, but especially the "Hood" ones) totally sucked, so I understand why they don't make 'em anymore. My friends and I were so pissed that the "Hood" ones sucked; within just a few minutes of trying to get over our disappointment after watching the first one, were were making up limerick-raps way better than anything in the movie. Those bastards put in so little effort in the end, and why they made "back 2 tha hood" I can't begin to imagine. Sigh.

So anyway, Warwick, tell your agent that you're up for doing another, but only if they'll do a good job, like in Leprechaun 3 (total classic, best of the series!).

Comment Re:Misleading? (Score 1) 122

By defining "own" a thing that doesn't exist, you reduced the expressive power of language. That has negative utility.

In other words: even if you're right, that's a totally fuckwitted thing to do.

"Own" has meaning that is independent of whether or not you having permanently secured the asset from all possible attacks.

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