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Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."
The Almighty Buck

Device Protects Day Traders From Emotional Trading 260

Philips Electronics, a Netherlands-based company, has come up with a device designed to protect day traders from emotionally based trading decisions. The Rationalizer measures your galvanic skin response and lets you know when you are under stress. An online trader can then take a "time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions," according to the company. This may have come too late for us, but at least future generations won't have to live through the horror of angry day trading.

Comment Teaching the use of an HRM is valuable. (Score 1) 950

While your privacy concerns may be worth exploring, I have the feeling that this situation is quite innocent. The HRM is an extremely valuable tool when exercising, and it is worth knowing how to use it properly. In short, if you are not hitting a target heart rate, you may not be exercising effectively. If you exceed a certain limit, you may be doing yourself actual harm. At some point, a school may even be able to make the argument that this reduces their liability.

Comment You can work it in... (Score 2, Informative) 865

I've been in your shoes...even made it to 300lbs before I made some changes. [1] Eat small to medium size meals 6 times a day. It's not about quantity of a single feeding, but quality of what you eat and how often you eat. Split food into groups - protein, carbs, fats, vegetables. One serving of each at every meal, 6 times a day. (About every 3 hours.) Just get in the habbit of slaming it down at your desk during those 10 minute slash dot breaks. [2] Buy an adjustable bench. Not a bench/rack/whatever combo, just a padded bench. You should be able to adjust the bench to lay flat, and to 45 degrees up. If it can do 90 degrees up, better, but not necessary. This should cost about $100. [3] Get you a decent set of adjustable dumbells that allow you to dial up a weight with slip on, slip off plates. A good set will run about $400 - $500 dollars but is well worth it. It should allow weights between 10 and 60 lbs or so. [4] Buy a $30 book on weight training to learn good technique. The Schwartzeneger encylopedia is a good one. [5] At this point, you've spent about $600, less than a yearly gym membership and have something that fits in your place, even if it's a 1 room flat. You can work out on your terms. [6] Work out 3 to 4 times a week for 45 minutes. No more, no less. You should do 15 - 20 sets of a variety of exercises with 30 seconds to 2 minutes rest between sets. [7] You can do flys, pullovers, presses, and abs from the bench. You can have dumbells in hand and step from the floor to the bench to work legs, or dumbel between feet and extend. If you do this - only asking for a 2.5 hour comittment per week here - you will be exercising effectively and go through some amazing changes. Me? I lost 100lbs and now do inclined benches at over 315 lbs. The personal trainers ask me for help.

Natural Gas "Cleaning" Extracts Valuable Waste Carbon 73

Al writes "There's been a lot of focus on "clean coal" lately, but a Canadian start-up called Atlantic Hydrogen is developing a way to make natural gas more environmentally friendly. The process involves using a plasma reactor to separate hydrogen and methane in the gas. The procedure also turns carbon emissions into high-purity carbon black, a substance that is used to make inks, plastics and reinforced rubber products. Utility companies could potentially sell the carbon black, making the process more financially attractive."

Mandriva 2009 Spring Released 96

Frederik writes "Mandriva just released the 2009 Spring version of its distribution. Highlights of this new version include vastly improved boot times thanks to Speedboot, KDE 4.2.2, GNOME 2.26.1, XFCE 4.6 and LXDE desktop environments, a completely rewritten Mandriva Security Centre and improved firewall and network configuration tools, OLPC Sugar environment, QT Creator development environment, Songbird audio player, ext4 support and many more. Check out the release tour and release notes for more information or immediately start downloading it."

Comment Have done some extensive testing... (Score 5, Informative) 357

For a prior employer, I had set up a process to qualify flash media for use in embedded products. There's a couple of different failure modes you are likely to see.

First off, when the actual flash media itself wears out, it takes longer and longer to erase individual sectors.

A flash device such as a USB stick or a CF card is slight more complicated because it has something known as an FTL (Flash Translation Layer). The FTL has the job of implementing the virtual media to flash sector translations, implementing wear leveling, and handling the awkward page erases. (Multiple sectors in a page, but you can only erase full pages.)

The FTL obviously must store some mapping information in the media in addition to your data.

If you start writing flash media, and time those writes, you see an initial rapid growth in the write timing that evetually levels off as the FTL tables swell to their constant operational size.

The over all flash write speed will level off to some average value that follows slow growth over a very very long tail as the media wears.

Early flash chips supported about 10,000 erases per page, and modern chips shipped by Samsung and others support a couple million erases per page. When you consider this is spread over say 4GB of media, you can understand that tail is very very long and flash media are probably comperable to hard drives in their MTBF these days.

Secondly, when flash actually does begin to fail, the media itself tends to exhibit a small number of different symptoms.

The flash may stat to show occasional data corruption when read. You might also have instances where data persists in the media only so long as power is applied. And then of course you have the fact that erases take longer and longer to achieve. Eventually erases or programming start timing out occasionaly.

With the FTL between you and the flash, you don't directly observe these effects. Presumably the FTL is smart enough to try and re-map your data elsewhere. In most cases there's ECC to attempt correction of moderately corrupted data. The real killers are when the data fails to persist after power cycling, when ECC fails to recover critical FTL data tables, or when there are no more spare sectors to re-map data too.

Those first two critical errors are likely to produce the lightbulb effect where your flash card or USB stick one day simply fails to come up when probed after device insertion. In more rare cases, the lack of spares may show up as some sort of reported write failure in your kernel logs assuming the flash device reports proper IDE/ATAPI/??? error data.

One final note -- please don't leave your USB stick inserted in the PC as you power it off! USB ports supply power and use a FET device to control that power. When you turn off the PC, the gates float and significant leakage current goes to the USB device. Some of the cheaper USB drives lack a key resistor that bleads this current away and protects the flash memory chips. This leads to data corruption. I have seen the FTL break in such sticks simply by doing POR on the PC.

Oh...almost forgot. When you put you flash stick through the washer and dryer, always use fabric softner or Bounce strips to reduce the static. :-)

Comment Spectral Methods & Perturbations (Score 1) 260

You might take a look at what some of the astrophysics people are doing. At Northwestern they were using spectral methods to study the environment near event horizons.

In my own research modeling systems of laser cavities, non-linear absorbers/emitters and so forth, it was sometimes useful to start with the system and add the obstacle through a perturbation.

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