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How NASA Defended Its Assembly Facility From Hurricane Katrina

/. - 2 hours 32 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Tomorrow marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's arrival in New Orleans. Though that time was filled with tragedy, there were survival stories, and a new article gives an insider's account of how NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility weathered the storm. Michoud was their key fuel tank production location, and if it had been lost, the space program would have gone off the rails. A 17-foot levee and a building with four water pumps capable of moving 62,000 gallons per minute stood between the storm and catastrophe for NASA's launch capabilities. "Water was merely the primary concern of the first 24 hours; Hurricane Katrina left its mark on the facilities even if Michoud was the rare speck of land to escape flooding. Roofs were lost to strong winds, one building even blew out entirely. External Tank 122 took some damage." Members of the "ride out" team spent much of the next month at Michoud, working long days to inspect and repair issues caused by the water. They maintained the facility well enough that it became a base for members of the military doing search and rescue operations. Amazingly, they did it all without any injuries to the team, and NASA didn't miss a single tank shipment.

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Historic and Pervasive Corruption With DuPont Reveals Premeditated Poisoning of the World

Soylent New - 2 hours 55 min ago

Ever more the light seems to be shining in dark spots, and the cockroaches scatter. The Huffington Post reveals today that DuPont has knowingly been poisoning a small farm and community for decades, desperately trying to dump and hide the environmental, social, and medical fallout of their chemical C8. Despite their efforts, the scandal behind C8 cannot be so easily pushed down inside a landfill and forgotten like a painfully produced Atari video game. From the TFA:

That May, a group of DuPont executives gathered at the company's Wilmington headquarters to discuss the C8 issue. According to the minutes, attendees discussed recently adopted plans to cut C8 emissions at Washington Works, such as adding scrubbers to vents that spewed the chemical into the air. But they decided to scrap these initiatives. The additional expense was not "justified," the executives concluded, since it wouldn't substantially reduce the company's liability. "Liability was further defined as the incremental liability from this point on if we do nothing as we are already liable for the past 32 years of operation," the minutes read. "From a broader corporate viewpoint the costs are small."

One might think we would have learned our lessons from poisoning the world with lead, but clearly these executives never got the memo. Quite strange, given they're from the same company. I'm almost speechless at the scope of the harm and damage, knowingly and premeditatively, performed against all of humanity worldwide. The Chinese government announced today the arrests, and more than likely inevitable executions, of a score of executives and officials responsible for the Tianjin port explosions.

At what point does the harm that executives, in companies such as DuPont, meet thresholds high enough to discuss special prosecutions and the death penalty? When even China, who lacks a strong history of supporting human rights and consumer protections, recognizes that some executives and officials need to be "criminally detained" and ultimately dealt with, when can we in the so-called civilized Western societies perform the same? We've yet to even slow DuPont down.

[More after the Break]

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French Woman Gets €800/month For Electromagnetic-Field 'Disability'

/. - 3 hours 14 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: If you were dismayed to hear Tuesday's news that a school is being sued over Wi-Fi sickness, you might be even more disappointed in a recent verdict by the French judicial system. A court based in Toulouse has awarded a disability claim of €800 (~$898) per month for three years over a 39-year-old woman's "hypersensitivity to electromagnetic waves." Robin Des Toits, an organization that campaigns for "sufferers" of this malady, was pleased: "We can no longer say that it is a psychiatric illness." (Actually, we can and will.) The woman has been living in a remote part of France's south-west mountains with no electricity around. She claims to be affected by common gadgets like cellphones.

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'Ingenious' Experiment Closes Loopholes In Quantum Theory

/. - 3 hours 57 min ago
Annanag writes: A Bell experiment in the Netherlands has plugged loopholes in the theory of quantum mechanics using a technique called entanglement swapping to combine the benefits of using both light and matter. It's Nobel-Prize winning stuff. Quoting: "Experiments that use entangled photons are prone to the ‘detection loophole’: not all photons produced in the experiment are detected, and sometimes as many as 80% are lost. Experimenters therefore have to assume that the properties of the photons they capture are representative of the entire set. ... [In the new work], researchers started with two unentangled electrons sitting in diamond crystals held in different labs on the Delft campus, 1.3 kilometers apart. Each electron was individually entangled with a photon, and both of those photons were then zipped to a third location. There, the two photons were entangled with each other — and this caused both their partner electrons to become entangled, too. This did not work every time. In total, the team managed to generate 245 entangled pairs of electrons over the course of nine days. The team's measurements exceeded Bell’s bound, once again supporting the standard quantum view. Moreover, the experiment closed both loopholes at once: because the electrons were easy to monitor, the detection loophole was not an issue, and they were separated far enough apart to close the communication loophole, too."

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Boeing Demonstrates Drone-Killing Laser

/. - 4 hours 39 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Boeing has successfully tested a new weapon system that tracks unmanned aircraft and shoots them down with a laser. The system is surprisingly small — it can be transported in a few medium-sized boxes, and two techs can set it up in minutes. The laser needs just a few seconds of continuous to set a drone aflame, and the tracking gimbal is precise enough to target specific parts of a drone. "Want to zap the tail so it crashes and then you can go retrieve the mostly intact drone and see who is trying to spy on you? Can do. Think it's carrying explosives and you want to completely destroy it? No problem." The laser is controlled with custom targeting software that runs on a laptop, with help from an Xbox 360 controller. Boeing expects the laser system to be ready for sale in the next year or two.

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Computers Can Predict Schizophrenia Based on How a Person Talks

Soylent New - 4 hours 41 min ago

Most of the time, people don't actively track the way one thought flows into the next. But in psychiatry, much attention is paid to such intricacies of thinking. For instance, disorganized thought, evidenced by disjointed patterns in speech, is considered a hallmark characteristic of schizophrenia. Several studies of at-risk youths have found that doctors are able to guess with impressive accuracy—the best predictive models hover around 79 percent—whether a person will develop psychosis based on tracking that person's speech patterns in interviews.

A computer, it seems, can do better.

That's according to a study published Wednesday by researchers at Columbia University, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in the Nature Publishing Group journal Schizophrenia. They used an automated speech-analysis program to correctly differentiate—with 100-percent accuracy—between at-risk young people who developed psychosis over a two-and-a-half year period and those who did not. The computer model also outperformed other advanced screening technologies, like biomarkers from neuroimaging and EEG recordings of brain activity.

The article does not elaborate on how the transcripts are produced.

Original Submission

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German Intelligence Traded Citizen Data For NSA Surveillance Software

/. - 5 hours 23 min ago
An anonymous reader sends news that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, was so impressed with the NSA's surveillance software that they were willing to "share all data relevant to the NSA's mission" in order to get it. "The data in question is regularly part of the approved surveillance measures carried out by the BfV. In contrast, for example, to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BfV does not use a dragnet to collect huge volumes of data from the Internet. Rather, it is only allowed to monitor individual suspects in Germany -- and only after a special parliamentary commission has granted approval. ... Targeted surveillance measures are primarily intended to turn up the content of specific conversations, in the form of emails, telephone exchanges or faxes. But along the way, essentially as a side effect, the BfV also collects mass quantities of so-called metadata. Whether the collection of this data is consistent with the restrictions outlined in Germany's surveillance laws is a question that divides legal experts."

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Chrome To Freeze Flash Ads On Sight From September 1

/. - 6 hours 5 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Shaun Nichols from the Register reports that unimportant Flash content will be click-to-play by default in Google Chrome from September 1. He writes, "Google is making good on its promise to strangle Adobe Flash's ability to auto-play in Chrome. The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out 'many' Flash ads in the process. Netizens can right-click over the security-challenged plugin and select 'Run this' if they want to unfreeze an ad. Otherwise, the Flash files will remain suspended in a grey box, unable to cause any harm nor any annoyance."

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London Calling: Two-Factor Authentication Phishing from Iran

Soylent New - 6 hours 20 min ago

The Citizen Lab describes an elaborate phishing campaign against targets in Iran's diaspora, and at least one Western activist. The ongoing attacks attempt to circumvent the extra protections conferred by two-factor authentication in Gmail, and rely heavily on phone-call based phishing and "real time" login attempts by the attackers. Most of the attacks begin with a phone call from a UK phone number, with attackers speaking in either English or Farsi.

The attacks point to extensive knowledge of the targets' activities, and share infrastructure and tactics with campaigns previously linked to Iranian threat actors. The researchers have documented a growing number of these attacks, and have received unconfirmed reports of targets and victims of highly similar attacks, including in Iran. The report includes extra detail to help potential targets recognize similar attacks. The report closes with some security suggestions, highlighting the importance of two-factor authentication.

Original Submission

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Study: More Than Half of Psychological Results Can't Be Reproduced

/. - 6 hours 48 min ago
Bruce66423 writes: A new study trying to replicate results reported in allegedly high quality journals failed to do so in over 50% of cases. Those of us from a hard science background always had our doubts about this sort of stuff — it's interesting to see it demonstrated — or rather, as the man says: 'Psychology has nothing to be proud of when it comes to replication,' Charles Gallistel, president of the Association for Psychological Science. Back in June a crowd-sourced effort to replicate 100 psychology studies had a 39% success rate.

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Ask Slashdot: Advice On Enterprise Architect Position

/. - 7 hours 34 min ago
dave562 writes: I could use some advice from the community. I have almost 20 years of IT experience, 5 of it with the company I am currently working for. In my current position, the infrastructure and applications that I am responsible for account for nearly 80% of the entire IT infrastructure of the company. In broad strokes our footprint is roughly 60 physical hosts that run close to 1500 VMs and a SAN that hosts almost 4PB of data. The organization is a moderate sized (~3000 employees), publicly traded company with a nearly $1 billion market value (recent fluctuations not withstanding). I have been involved in a constant struggle with the core IT group over how to best run the operations. They are a traditional, internal facing IT shop. They have stumbled through a private cloud initiative that is only about 30% realized. I have had to drag them kicking and screaming into the world of automated provisioning, IaaS, application performance monitoring, and all of the other IT "must haves" that a reasonable person would expect from a company of our size. All the while, I have never had full access to the infrastructure. I do not have access to the storage. I do not have access to the virtualization layer. I do not have Domain Admin rights. I cannot see the network. The entire organization has been ham strung by an "enterprise architect" who relies on consultants to get the job done, but does not have the capability to properly scope the projects. This has resulted in failure after failure and a broken trail of partially implemented projects. (VMware without SRM enabled. EMC storage hardware without automated tiering enabled. Numerous proof of concept systems that never make it into production because they were not scoped properly.) After 5 years of succeeding in the face of all of these challenges, the organization has offered me the Enterprise Architect position. However they do not think that the position should have full access to the environment. It is an "architecture" position and not a "sysadmin" position is how they explained it to me. That seems insane. It is like asking someone to draw a map, without being able to actually visit the place that needs to be mapped. For those of you in the community who have similar positions, what is your experience? Do you have unfettered access to the environment? Are purely architectural / advisory roles the norm at this level?

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Li-Fi in the ER

Soylent New - 7 hours 51 min ago

Imagine if you could eliminate the tangle of wires that snake across a hospital patient's body so machines can monitor his or her vital signs. Sounds like a great idea. But wirelessly transmitting data from the patient to the machines cluttering hospital rooms creates the risk of electromagnetic interference. So one group of researchers in South Korea is proposing that some machines use Li-Fi instead.

The team used visible light communications, also known as Li-Fi, to transmit readings from an electroencephalograph (EEG) over a distance of about 50 centimeters. "It's a very much friendlier means of transmitting biomedical signals in a hospital," says Yeon Ho Chung, an engineer at Pukyong National University in Busan. The group described their work in the IEEE Sensors Journal.

Li-Fi would benefit places that experience a lot of interference from crowded wifi nodes as well, as long as there are no side effects.

Original Submission

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LTE Over Wi-Fi Spectrum Sets Up Industry-wide Fight Over Interference

Soylent New - 9 hours 24 min ago

A plan to use Wi-Fi airwaves for cellular service has sparked concerns about interference with existing Wi-Fi networks, causing a fight involving wireless carriers, cable companies, a Wi-Fi industry trade group, Microsoft, and network equipment makers.

Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US plan to boost coverage in their cellular networks by using unlicensed airwaves that also power Wi-Fi equipment. While cellular carriers generally rely upon airwaves to which they have exclusive licenses, a new system called LTE (Long-Term Evolution)-Unlicensed (LTE-U) would have the carriers sharing spectrum with Wi-Fi devices on the unlicensed 5GHz band.

Verizon has said it intends to deploy LTE-U in 5GHz in 2016. Before the interference controversy threatened to delay deployments, T-Mobile was expected to use the technology on its smartphones by the end of 2015. Wireless equipment makers like Qualcomm see an opportunity to sell more devices and are integrating LTE-U into their latest technology.

Is this a blessing for cell phone users, a curse for those who have to manage wifi networks, or a move that could backfire on telecommunication companies as cell service-over-wifi becomes ubiquitous and threatens their network advantage?

Original Submission

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ISRO Successfully Launches Satellite Into Geostationary Orbit

/. - 9 hours 32 min ago
vasanth writes: Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) on Thursday cleared all doubts on its cryogenic capabilities, successfully launching the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D6), placing GSAT-6, a 2,117kg communication satellite in orbit. The GSLV D-6 is the second consecutive successful launch of the GSLV series with indigenous cryogenic upper stage. ISRO had on January 5, 2014 launched GSLV D-5, after a similar attempt failed in 2010. For the country, ISRO perfecting the cryogenic engine technology is crucial, as precious foreign exchange can be saved by launching communication satellites on its own. Currently ISRO flies its heavy communication satellites by European space agency Ariane. ISRO has already perfected its Polar Launching Vehicle for launching lighter satellites, with decades of success stories. It has already put 45 foreign satellites of 9 nations into orbit. ISRO is to put 9 satellites in space using the PSLV launcher for the United States in 2015-2016.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Social Media Urged to Rethink Autoplay Videos After Virginia Killings

Soylent New - 11 hours 1 min ago

UK politicians and have urged Twitter and Facebook to change the default behavior of autoplaying videos following the spread of footage showing the shooting of a WDBJ-TV reporter and cameraman:

MPs have called on Twitter and Facebook to take action after many users were confronted with autoplaying videos of the murder of a US TV news crew. The footage was suspected to have been posted by the murderer on Wednesday. Because the sites have set video to play automatically by default, many people saw the video without choosing to when it was shared into their feeds.

A parliamentary group said the firms should ensure that users are warned about graphic content before it plays. The chair of the cross-party Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (Pictfor) said that both social media sites should automatically sift for such content. "Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others have already worked together with government and regulators to prevent people being exposed to illegal, extremist content, using both automatic and manual techniques to identify footage. Social media, just like traditional media, should consider how shocking other content can be, and make sure consumers are warned appropriately," Matt Warman told the BBC.

The Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness added: "For victims, friends and families it's important to make sure that, in an online world without a watershed, users know what they're about to see and have a reasonable opportunity to stop it." He said that, while users can change their own settings to stop videos auto-playing, Facebook and Twitter "need to be aware that one size does not fit all". He said: "Many people who are ordinarily happy that videos play will have seen shocking footage by accident, without warning of its graphic nature."

Original Submission

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Ocean Cleanup Project Completes Great Pacific Garbage Patch Research Expedition

/. - 11 hours 56 min ago
hypnosec writes: The reconnaissance mission of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, dubbed the Mega Expedition by Ocean Clean, has been concluded. The large-scale cleanup of the area is set to begin in 2020. The primary goal of the Mega Expedition was to accurately determine how much plastic is floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This was the first time large pieces of plastic, such as ghost nets and Japanese tsunami debris, have been quantified. “I’ve studied plastic in all the world’s oceans, but never seen any area as polluted as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” said Dr. Julia Reisser, Lead Oceanographer at The Ocean Cleanup. “With every trawl we completed, thousands of miles from land, we just found lots and lots of plastic.”

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More Than Half of Australians Training for Soon-to-be-extinct Careers

Soylent New - 12 hours 39 min ago

The article comes out of the Australian press, but unless there's something truly unique about the Australian job market, it's almost certainly true elsewhere as well: a recent study shows more than half of young Australians are receiving college education to persue careers that will soon no longer exist. Thank robotics, industry consolidation, and the nature of the markets for the shrinking number of ways you will some day be able to earn a living.

There's a flip side to the debate, of course: there are certainly new things coming that haven't even been invented yet, that will provide job opportunities. But the trick is positioning yourself appropriately to take advantage of the new chances.

The not-for-profit group, which works with young Australians to create social change, says the national curriculum is stuck in the past and digital literacy, in particular, needs to be boosted. Foundation chief executive Jan Owen says young people are not prepared for a working life that could include five career changes and an average of 17 different jobs.

She says today's students will be affected by three key economic drivers: automation, globalisation and collaboration. "Many jobs and careers are disappearing because of automation," Ms Owen said. "The second driver is globalisation — a lot of different jobs that we're importing and exporting. And then thirdly collaboration which is all about this new sharing economy."

How does one future-proof his/her life and career?

Original Submission

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NeXTBSD, aka FreeBSD-X

Soylent New - 14 hours 11 min ago

FreeBSD hackers Jordan Hubbard and Kip Macy surprised an audience of Bay Area FreeBSD Users in August 2015 by laying out their version for a new architecture, based vaguely on BSD but with a microkernel and an event-driven framework consisting of something like libdispatch and launchd. Those are big changes if you are familiar with what FreeBSD has looked like for all of its life.

The good news is, this doesn't mean the destruction of the FreeBSD we all know and love. In fact, Hubbard, who is also the CTO of ixSystems (developers of FreeNAS and PCBSD, both products derived from FreeBSD) aren't aiming to impact FreeBSD but rather change the fundamental architecture of ixSystems' own products.

The slide deck walks you through the proposed, new architecture. Better still, watch the talk yourself.

As a FreeBSD fan, I'm glad they're treating this as a separate product and not hacking up the FreeBSD source tree; that gives us time to see how this shakes out.

Original Submission

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Inside the Booming, Unhinged, and Dangerous Malvertising Menace

/. - 14 hours 29 min ago
mask.of.sanity writes: The Register has a feature on the online malicious advertising (malvertising) menace that has become an explosively potent threat to end-user security on the internet. Experts say advertising networks and exchanges need to vet their customers, and publishers need to vet the third party content they display. Users should also consider script and ad blockers in the interim. From the article: "Ads as an attack vector was identified in 2007 when security responders began receiving reports of malware hitting user machines as victims viewed online advertisements. By year's end William Salusky of the SANS Internet Storms Centre had concocted a name for the attacks. Since then malvertising has exploded. This year it increased by more than 260 percent on the previous year, with some 450,000 malicious ads reported in the first six months alone, according to numbers by RiskIQ. Last year, security firm Cyphort found a 300 percent increase in malvertising. In 2013, the Online Trust Alliance logged a more than 200 percent increase in malvertising incidents compared to 2012, serving some 12.4 billion malvertisement impressions."

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Biohackers Are Now Using CRISPR

Soylent New - 27 August 2015 - 11:13pm

The advent of enzyme complex CRISPR/Cas9 has ushered in a new age of genetic manipulation—it could help us cure diseases or resuscitate extinct species. One of CRISPR’s big advantages is that it’s much easier to use than its predecessors. So easy, in fact, that amateur biohackers are using it in their experiments, according to a report from Nature News.

It’s natural to be nervous about this. CRISPR is a powerful tool that scientists don’t fully understand, and it can have unintended consequences even when used cautiously. Ever since April, when a team of Chinese researchers published their findings after using CRISPR to change the genes of human embryos, the discussion has reached a fever pitch. Experts have been discussing the issue of consent (embryos can’t consent to having their genes manipulated, and the effects could be passed down for generations), the consequences of introducing an unintended change, and the effects on the ecosystem should a genetically manipulated animal break free from the lab.


Wikipedia: CRISPR and Cas9.

Article at Nature

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