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Submission + - How We'll Program 1000 Cores - and Get Linus Ranting, Again ( 1

vikingpower writes: For us developers, 2015 got kick-started, mentally, by a Linus Torvald rant about parallel computing being a bunch of crock. Although Linus' rants are deservedly famous for the political incorrectness and ( often ) for their insight, it may be that Linus has overseen Gustafson's Law, which states that parallelization becomes more efficient with larger problem sizes viz. with larger data sets. Back in 2012, the High Scalability blog already ran a post pointing towards new ways to think about parallel computing, especially the ideas of David Ungar, who thinks in the direction of lock-less computing of intermediary, possibly faulty results that are updated often. At the end of this year, we may be thinking differently about parallel server-side computing than we do today.

Submission + - John Oliver on Climate Change: 'You Don't Need People's Opinions On A Fact'

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post about how late night host John Oliver addresses the imbalance in how news shows handle the “debate” there on climate change. According to Oliver the standard procedure is to fire up a panel with someone who believes the warnings about troublesome climate trends pitted against a skeptic. To represent just how vastly climate change “believers”/scientists outnumber the skeptics, Oliver hauled in 97 scientists to oppose the three climate-change skeptics. The bigger crowd shouted down the skeptics. Oliver also skewered polling questions regarding climate change. An April Gallup poll found that 25 percent of respondents were “solidly skeptical” of global warming. Who cares? asked Oliver, though he used different, less family newspaper-friendly language. “That doesn’t matter. You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact,” says Oliver. “You might as well have a poll asking which number is bigger — 15 or 5?” All scientists and media outlets should heed the “advice to climate scientists on how to avoid being swift-boated,” from History professor Juan Cole: “Any broadcast that pits a climate change skeptic against a serious climate scientist is automatically a win for the skeptic, since a false position is being given equal time and legitimacy.”

Submission + - Slashdot's new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant (

Slashdot’s new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant
Flashy revamp seeks to draw new faces to the community—at the cost of the old.

by Lee Hutchinson — Feb 12 2014, 6:55pm RST
In the modern responsive Web Three Point Oh Internet, Slashdot stands like a thing frozen in time—it's a coelacanth stuck incongruously in an aquarium full of more colorful fish. The technology news aggregator site has been around since 1997, making it positively ancient as websites are reckoned. More importantly, Slashdot's long focus on open source technology news and topics has caused it to accrete a user base that tends to be extremely technical, extremely skilled, and extremely opinionated.

That user base is itself the main reason why Slashdot continues to thrive, even as its throwback interface makes it look to untrained eyes like a dated relic. Though the site is frequently a source of deep and rich commentary on topics, the barrier for new users to engage in the site's discussions is relatively high—certainly higher than, say, reddit (or even Ars). This doesn't cause much concern to the average Slashdot user, but tech job listing site (which bought Slashdot in September 2012, along with Sourceforge and a number of other digital properties) appears to have decided it's time to drag Slashdot's interface into the 21st century in order to make things comfortable for everyone—old and new users alike.

And the Slashdot user base is not pleased.

Change for change’s sake?

Slashdot's interface has been modified a few times over the years, and each time there has been some amount of protest. However, no prior redesign has included as many sweeping alterations as the Slashdot Beta. In 2006, a major interface update that brought rounded edges to many of the site's visual elements and stuffed JavaScript under the hood caused major upset—the engineering- and programming-focused Slashdot community is collectively not a fan of change for change's sake.

The rage over the new Slashdot Beta, though, makes any previous instances of interface outrage look positively pedestrian. This time, the upset isn't over JavaScript or rounded corners, but over what many Slashdot users see as a removal of the site's most vital features.

Submission + - Ars Technica Reviews /. Beta (

TFlan91 writes: "In the modern responsive Web Three Point Oh Internet, Slashdot stands like a thing frozen in time—it's a coelacanth stuck incongruously in an aquarium full of more colorful fish. The technology news aggregator site has been around since 1997, making it positively ancient as websites are reckoned. More importantly, Slashdot's long focus on open source technology news and topics has caused it to accrete a user base that tends to be extremely technical, extremely skilled, and extremely opinionated." ...

"For most sites, a redesign isn't a big deal—Ars has certainly had its share, and we will have more as we evolve. But Slashdot is unique in that there is no other place on the Internet with quite the same mix of entrenched knowledge and personalities. The user base skews heavily toward developers, and unlike StackExchange or other, newer communities, this community has been allowed to ossify for more than a decade. Programmers—and most of the core active Slashdot community are programmers to the bone—don't like it when their tools are changed for no reason, and slapping a fresh coat of paint onto the front of the site without delivering any obvious value to those core users isn't going to work."

Submission + - Stop Trying To "Innovate" Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse (

FuzzNugget writes: Ars Technica brings the hammer down on the increasing absurdities plaguing laptop keyboards, from the frustrating to the downright asinine "adaptive keyboard" of the new Lenovo X1 Carbon. When will laptop manufacturers finally perform a much needed cranialrectalectomy instead of needlessly reinventing the wheel with every new generation?

Submission + - NSA Collects 200 Million Text Messages Per Day (

ilikenwf writes: A new release from the files obtained by Edward Snowden have revealed that the NSA collects millions of text messages per day. These are used to gain travel plans, financial data, and social network data. The majority of these texts and data belong to people who are not being investigated for any crime or association. Supposedly, "non-US" data is removed, but we all know that means it is sent to a partner country for analysis, which is then sent back to the NSA.

Submission + - Edward Snowden's coworker refutes NSA claims (

wannabegeek2 writes: check for dupes.

in an article which purportedly was carefully verified, a former coworker states that the NSA's current PR blitz amounts to a smear campaign against Mr. Snowden. Further, he describes him as a genius among genius's, who was given the access he needed by the NSA, and did not need to steal or dupe his coworkers to obtain passwords to accomplish his task.

Submission + - Leaked Documents Detail al-Qaeda's Efforts To Fight Back Against Drones (

An anonymous reader writes: The Washington Post reports, "Al-Qaeda’s leadership has assigned cells of engineers to find ways to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack U.S. drones ... In July 2010, a U.S. spy agency intercepted electronic communications indicating that senior al-Qaeda leaders had distributed a “strategy guide” to operatives around the world advising them how “to anticipate and defeat” unmanned aircraft. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported that al-Qaeda was sponsoring simultaneous research projects to develop jammers to interfere with GPS signals and infrared tags that drone operators rely on to pinpoint missile targets. Other projects in the works included the development of observation balloons and small radio-controlled aircraft, or hobby planes, which insurgents apparently saw as having potential for monitoring the flight patterns of U.S. drones... Al-Qaeda has a long history of attracting trained engineers ... Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, holds a mechanical-engineering degree ... In 2010, the CIA noted in a secret report that al-Qaeda was placing special emphasis on the recruitment of technicians and that “the skills most in demand” included expertise in drones and missile technology. "

Submission + - The How and Why of BlackBerry's Collapse (

CowboyRobot writes: The company once stood at the top of the market. Tens of millions of professionals carried their devices, which were the envy of the office and the industry. But then Blackberry made a few key missteps and just this week announced that it is exploring strategic options, including an outright sale of the company to investors or other third parties. BlackBerry is close to the end of the road and desperately seeking an escape route. What the heck happened? For starters, they were wrong to ignore the significance of the iPhone when it was launched, while also spending too many resources on their Playbook tablet which was too little too late, completely overshadowed by the iPad. Additionally, Blackberry was too slow to see the risks involved with BYOD, and then delaying Blackberry 10 as long as they did was the final nail.

Submission + - The Security Industry Isn't Helping Beleagured Tibetans (

judgecorp writes: Tibetan activists are under cyber attack, and they say the security industry is not helping. The attacks are on a massive scale using fresh flaws, while the industry sells solutions suitable for attacks which use known exploits. Worse, at least one security firm effectively used the Tibetans' plight to its own advantage — its fake honeypot "Tibetan protest" site, built for the sole purpose of gathering information, actually fooled some genuine activists

Submission + - Danish politician Trine Bramsen bashes nerds 3

Hymer writes: Trine Bramsen of the danish Socialdemokratiet posted her opinion on nerds which can be cooked down to: "If nerds dropped their white socks and learned to speak so normal people can understand them then maybe we caffe latte drinking bimbos will be interested in them".
Trine posted this on one of the most nerdy sites in Denmark,, which is driven by the Danish Engineer Society (IDA) and counts people like PHK of FreeBSD/Varnish fame as members.
The story has now been mentioned on several Danish media and Trine got proper response from nerds of all sexes (and their spouses).
Trine is the draftsman on IT and telecommunications for her party, which makes the case rather surrealistic.

The link is of course in danish.

Submission + - Climate Strategist: UN's Carbon Markets Will Fail (

An anonymous reader writes: The United Nations this week announced that it is opening two carbon market offices in Bogota and Manila as part of the UN-run Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). But in a blog, Boyd Cohen, climate strategist and former proponent of carbon markets, says emissions trading is not the answer. Cohen calls carbon markets "an unreliable tool to finance carbon reduction," notes that the UN's CDM projects take too long to get off the ground to be successful, and blames CDM and carbon markets for the collapse of his company CO2 IMPACT. Further, he says, cities can best finance carbon reduction through collaboration with the private sector.

Submission + - Google starts sending adverts as emails to Gmail users ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Back in May, Google rolled out an update to Gmail that it marketed as “a new inbox.” What it did was to split the email you receive into categories and then display them in different tabs. The Gmail redesign wasn’t just to help users, though. It turns out Google has decided to introduce a new form of advertising because of it, one that you could view as being much more intrusive than before.

Some users have started noticing that in the Promotions tab new emails are appearing that they haven’t singed up to receive. These emails as marked as “Ad” under the sender name. A little further investigation reveals they are actually Google adverts packaged as emails.

Submission + - Christian Right Fights Porn In The Dorm 2

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Supporters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbyist group, gathered Wednesday to discuss the organization’s latest crusade: the elimination of pornography on college campuses. A 2001 study conducted by scholars at Texas A&M revealed that while 56% of men admit to using the Internet to access sexual explicit materials, 72% of college-aged men readily say the same. The prevalence of porn on campuses hasn’t defeated Dr. Patrick Fagan, Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute and Wednesday’s speaker.

Fagan compared modern American society to “pagan Rome,” claiming that the proliferation of sexual deviancy in our country is a direct threat to the “people-forming institutions” of family, church, and school. He considers the matter of paramount importance to civilization as a whole. “Sexual intercourse, like atomic energy, is a powerful agent for good if channeled well, but for ill if not.

So, sexual intercourse, like atomic energy . . . not in my backyard . . . ?

Christian organizations have pointed fingers at everything from technology to politics when it comes to porn. In a 2013 fact sheet without footnotes or citations, a Christian vendor of Internet filtering software called Covenant Eyes claims that 24% of smartphone users store pornographic material on their mobile devices. The organization says that 79% of porn performers have used marijuana, and “politically liberal people” are 19% more likely to look at porn than others.

Linda Williams, a professor film studies and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, begs to differ. She and college educators around the country have used pornography as a teaching tool and a basis for classroom discussion. “I do believe pornography reveals a great deal about who we are as Americans,” Williams told TIME.

. . . maybe that doesn't apply to Hentai . . .

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