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Submission + - First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live (

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first US reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1--and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Submission + - CIA-Backed Surveillance Tool 'Geofeedia' Was Marketed To Public Schools (

An anonymous reader writes: An online surveillance tool that enabled hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agencies to track and collect information on social media users was also marketed for use in American public schools, the Daily Dot has learned. Geofeedia sold surveillance software typically bought by police to a high school in a northern Chicago suburb, less than 50 miles from where the company was founded in 2011. An Illinois school official confirmed the purchase of the software by phone on Monday. In the fall of 2014, the Lincolnshire-Prairie School District paid Geofeedia $10,000 to monitor the social media posts of children at Adlai E. Stevenson High School. “We did have for one year a contract with Geofeedia,” said Jim Conrey, a spokesperson for Lincolnshire-Prairie School District. “We were mostly interested in the possibility of trying to prevent any kind of harm, either that students would do to themselves or to other students.” Conrey said the district simply wanted to keep its students safe. “It was really just about student safety; if we could try to head off any potential dangerous situations, we thought it might be worth it,” he said. Ultimately, the school found little use for the platform, which was operated by police liaison stationed on school grounds, and chose not to renew its subscription after the first year, citing cost and a lack of actionable information. “A lot of kids that were posting stuff that we most wanted, they weren’t doing the geo-tagging or making it public,” Conrey said. “We weren’t really seeing a lot there.” The school’s experience, added Conrey, was that more often than not students would approach school administrators with sensitive issues, as opposed to the school unearthing problems affecting students using Geofeedia. “Quite frankly, we found that it wasn’t worth the money,” Conrey said.

Submission + - Apple refused to join Open Compute Project, so the entire networking team quit (

mattydread23 writes: Great story about the Open Compute Project from Business Insider's Julie Bort here, including this fun tidbit: "[Apple's networking] team was responsible for building a network at Apple that was so reliable, it never goes down. Not rarely. Never....Building a 100% reliable network to meet Apple's exacting standards was no easy task. So, instead of going it alone under Apple's secrecy, the Apple networking team wanted to participate in the revolution, contributing and receiving help. But when the Apple team asked to join OCP, Apple said 'no.' 'The whole team quit the same week,' this person told us."

Submission + - NFL Patriots coach Belichick hates MS Surface (

turkeydance writes: Patriots coach Bill Belichick thinks Microsoft’s Surface tablet makes his job harder. So hard in fact that he’s "done with the tablets" and is converting back to paper pictures, Belichick told reporters on a conference call today, according to Fox Sports.

Submission + - Comcast Sued For Misleading, Hidden Fees (

An anonymous reader writes: Back in 2013 Comcast began charging customers what it called the "Broadcast TV Fee." The fee, which began at $1.25 per month, has jumped to $6.50 (depending on your market) in just three years. As consumers began to complain about yet another glorified rate hike, the company in 2014 issued a statement proclaiming it was simply being "transparent," and passing on the cost of soaring programmer retransmission fees on to consumers. There's several problems with Comcast's explanation. One, however pricey broadcaster retransmission fees have become (and keep in mind Comcast is a broadcaster), programming costs are simply the cost of doing business for a cable company, and should be included in the overall price. Comcast doesn't include this fee in the overall price because sticking it below the line let's the company falsely advertise a lower rate. Inspired by the banking sector, this misleading practice has now become commonplace in the broadband and cable industry. Whether it's CenturyLink's $2 per month "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" or Fairpoint's $3 per month "Broadband Cost Recovery Fee," these fees are utterly nonsensical, and inarguably false advertising. And while the FCC can't be bothered to take aim at such misleading business practices, Federal class action lawsuit filed this week in California is trying to hold Comcast accountable for the practice. Plaintiffs from seven states — including New Jersey, Illinois, California, Washington, Colorado, Florida and Ohio — have sued Comcast alleging consumer fraud, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. What's more, the fee has consistently skyrocketed, notes the lawsuit. Comcast initially charged $1.50 when the fee first appeared back in 2013, but now charges upwards of $6.50 more per month in many markets — a 333% increase in just three years.

Submission + - SPAM: Attempts to Frame Assange as a Pedophile and Russian spy 1

Okian Warrior writes: Earlier today the website DailyKos reported on a smear campaign plot to falsely accuse Julian Assange of pedophilia. An unknown entity posing as an internet dating agency prepared an elaborate plot to falsely claim that Julian Assange received US$1M from the Russian government and a second plot to frame him sexually molesting an eight year old girl.

Here is the description of the plot from Mr Assange’s legal team.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - CO2 to Ethanol in one step with cheap catalyst (

networkBoy writes: Boffins at ORNL have discovered a simple and cheap catalyst that can take CO2 dissolved in solution with water and at room temperature convert it to ethanol with 60%+ yields. They envision it as a way to store surplus power from green energy plants and then burning it to fill in lulls in supply.

Submission + - Despite Obama's pledge to make govern. more open, report says secret laws abound ( 1

schwit1 writes: The Justice Department has kept classified at least 74 opinions, memos and letters on national security issues, including interrogation, detention and surveillance, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Also still classified are between 25 and 30 significant opinions issued between 2003 and 2013 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secretive federal court that interprets the law governing foreign intelligence-gathering inside the United States.

And at the State Department, 807 international agreements signed between 2004 and 2014 have not been published.

Submission + - VeraCrypt Security Audit Reveals Many Flaws, Some Already Patched ( 1

Orome1 writes: VeraCrypt, the free, open source disk encryption software based on TrueCrypt, has been audited by experts from cybersecurity company Quarkslab. The researchers found 8 critical, 3 medium, and 15 low-severity vulnerabilities, and some of them have already been addressed in version 1.19 of the software, which was released on the same day as the audit report.

Submission + - SPAM: 12 year old spent weeks making this stop motion video

An anonymous reader writes: A 12 year old spent almost two months making this stop motion animation for her favorite book series: EJ12 Girl Hero — a junior adventure series that empowers young girls with the confidence to be the best they can be, to let girls know they can be the scientist, the astronaut, or the explorer — not just the sidekick.

The video is a pure demonstration of a child's creativity, dedication, passion & persistence — something all of us can always aim to have more of. The overwhelmingly positive outpouring of hundreds of comments, encouragement and support when otherwise hostile & negative has been an amazing experience to share with her, seeing her confidence soar and seeing the inspiration and influence she and her video have had on other families, parents, teachers, kids and strangers — I wanted you to enjoy it also.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Orbital ATK Returns To Flight With Successful Antares Launch To Space Station (

An anonymous reader writes: The Orbital ATK Antares rocket – the same rocket that exploded on its way to the International Space Station two years ago – returned to flight today with a much-anticipated launch. Lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Antares rocket is now on its way to deliver the Cygnus spacecraft filled with over 5,000 pounds of cargo to crew members aboard the ISS. Today’s launch was particularly special for Orbital ATK, a company contracted by NASA to deliver 66,000 pounds of cargo to the ISS through 2018. After their Antares rocket exploded during a launch in 2014, destroying thousands of pounds of experiments and cargo bound for the space station, Orbital ATK worked for two years to upgrade that rocket and prepare for its return to flight. Today, the Orbital ATK was finally able to fly Cygnus on top of their own rocket again. The RD-181-equipped Antares rocket carried Cygnus, which housed science experiments and supplies for the ISS crew, for their fifth operational cargo resupply mission for NASA. Along with crew supplies, spacewalk equipment and computer resources, Cygnus will bring over 1,000 pounds of science investigations to the five crew members on the ISS. One of those experiments is Saffire-II, the second Saffire experiment to be conducted inside Cygnus in order to study realistic flame propagation in space. Cygnus will spend over a month attached to the ISS. In late November, the spacecraft will be filled with about 3,000 pounds of trash and then released to begin its descent back to Earth. During reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft, along with trash and Saffire-II, will be destroyed.

Submission + - Julian Assange Under Investigation For Grooming Of 8-Year-Old Girl? ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: While details are only beginning to trickle out, it appears that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is accused of (Google Cache) having groomed an 8-year-old girl for sex while her family was on vacation in the Bahamas, sending lewd images of himself performing oral sex on a camera, and sending "unlawful obscenity materials of a child pornographic nature" to her. The case is stated to be under investigation by the Royal Bahamas Police (RBPF Reference: Sgt Ferguson 1705 RBPF Thompson Boulevard), and relayed to the UN by, a dating site running a UN-sponsored project (KATIA) to develop tools for rape screening. Initially having partnered with Assange as a #HeForShe Ambassador, the group severed ties with Assange when the case came to light and filed a brief with the UN requesting that his UNWGAD ruling be overturned (claiming threats of retaliation from Assange for doing so). Days later, the UN site decredentialed So far, Assange has not responded to the claims and no explanation for the delisting has been forthcoming.

Submission + - How We Teach CS Should Be Independent Of Who We Are Teaching

theodp writes: "For many years I have been part of discussions about how to diversify computing," writes CS Prof Valerie Barr over at the ACM, "particularly about how we recruit and retain a more diverse cohort of CS students. I wholeheartedly support this goal, and spend a considerable amount of my effort as chair of ACM-W helping to drive programs that focus on one aspect of this diversification, namely encouraging women students to stay in computing. Of late I have become very concerned about how some elements of the diversity argument are being expressed and then implemented in teaching practices. A shorthand has developed that often comes out as two problematic claims: Problem 1. Women are motivated by social relevance, so when we teach them we have to discuss ways in which computing can contribute to the social good. Problem 2. Students from underrepresented minorities (URM) respond to culturally relevant examples, so when we teach them we have to incorporate these examples into course content. [...] As we continue efforts to diversify computing, we cannot afford to paint any group in a monochromatic way. We have to embrace the richness of today's student population by making what we teach meaningful and relevant to them. There are women who want to geek out about hard-core tech, and there are men who care deeply about computing for the social good. There are students of all genders and ethnic and racial backgrounds who will be happy with an old-fashioned lecture, and those who will thrive on active learning with examples drawn from a range of cultures and application areas. [...] We have to teach everybody differently. If we pretend that all women students are the same, and all URM students are the same, and all Asian and white male students are the same, then we will never adequately address the blind spots and weaknesses in instruction and curriculum development that have led to our current situation."

Submission + - Feds Walk Into A Building, Demand Everyone's Fingerprints To Open Phones

An anonymous reader writes: Forbes reports that the Department of Justice was issued a search warrant to gather the fingerprints of all the people present at a California residence, including residents and visitors.
The memorandum included "authorization to depress the fingerprints and thumbprints of every person who is located at the SUBJECT PREMISES during the execution of the search and who is reasonably believed by law enforcement to be the user of a fingerprint sensor-enabled device that is located at the SUBJECT PREMISES and falls within the scope of the warrant."

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