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HughPickens.com writes Jennifer Abel writes at the LA Times that according to a recent survey (PDF), over 80% of Americans says they support "mandatory labels on foods containing DNA," roughly the same number that support the mandatory labeling of GMO foods "produced with genetic engineering." Ilya Somin, writing about the survey at the Washington Post, suggested that a mandatory label for foods containing DNA might sound like this: "WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children."
The report echoes a well-known joke/prank wherein people discuss the dangers of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide" also known as hydrogen oxide and hydrogen hydroxide. Search online for information about dihydrogen monoxide, and you'll find a long list of scary-sounding and absolutely true warnings about it: the nuclear power industry uses enormous quantities of it every year. Dihydrogen monoxide is used in the production of many highly toxic pesticides, and chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions. Dihydrogen monoxide is found in all tumors removed from cancer patients, and is guaranteed fatal to humans in large quantities and even small quantities can kill you, if it enters your respiratory system. In 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public body that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter bathers from using a large public fountain. "Counting on a lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup," he arranged for signs reading: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT" to be posted on the fountain at public expense.
351 comments | 4 days ago
Saint Aardvark writes If, like me, you administer FreeBSD systems, you know that (like Linux) there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to filesystems. GEOM, UFS, soft updates, encryption, disklabels — there is a *lot* going on here. And if, like me, you're coming from the Linux world your experience won't be directly applicable, and you'll be scaling Mount Learning Curve. Even if you *are* familiar with the BSDs, there is a lot to take in. Where do you start? You start here, with Michael W. Lucas' latest book, FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials. You've heard his name before; he's written Sudo Mastery (which I reviewed previously), along with books on PGP/GnuPGP, Cisco Routers and OpenBSD. This book clocks in at 204 pages of goodness, and it's an excellent introduction to managing storage on FreeBSD. From filesystem choice to partition layout to disk encryption, with sidelong glances at ZFS along the way, he does his usual excellent job of laying out the details you need to know without every veering into dry or boring. Keep reading for the rest of Saint Aardvark's review.
75 comments | about two weeks ago
An anonymous reader writes "The FBI launched a PR counterattack against skeptics of the assertion by the US government that North Korean hackers were responsible for anonymous threats received by Sony before its scheduled premiere of the film The Interview. Sony initially cancelled the Christmas day release, but later relented after receiving extensive criticism. In a speech at a New York City cybersecurity conference hosted by Fordham University, FBI Director James Comey said that while the attackers concealed their identify by using proxy servers, on occasion they "got sloppy" and made direct connections, exposing their true IP addresses; these indicated a North Korea origin. Comey also mentioned additional corroborative evidence, including patterns matching those seen in previous attacks known to have come from North Korea, but was guarded on details. Also at the Fordham conference, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper mentioned recently meeting the Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean general in charge of cyberwarfare. Clapper emphasized Kim's belligerence and lack of a sense of humor, implying that an advance screening of "The Interview" would likely have enraged and provoked the North Korean brass."
219 comments | about three weeks ago
Nerval's Lobster writes There is no shortage of programming languages, from the well-known ones (Java and C++) to the outright esoteric (intended just for research or even humor). While the vast majority of people learn to program the most-popular ones, the lesser-known programming languages can also secure you a good gig in a specific industry. Which languages? Client-server programming with Opa, Salesforce's APEX language, Mathematica and MATLAB, ASN.1, and even MIT's App Inventor 2 all belong on that list, according to developer Jeff Cogswell. On the other hand, none of these languages really have broad adoption; ASN.1 and SMI, for example, are primarily used in telecommunications and network management. So is it really worth taking the time to learn a new, little-used language for anything other than the thrills?
242 comments | about three weeks ago
140Mandak262Jamuna writes Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweeted on christmas day what appeared to begin as a tribute to Infant Jesus, but ended up celebrating Isaac Newton. Apparently this was retweeted some 77000 times, far above his average of 3.5K retweets and caused many to be angry. He doubled down on it by tweeting about people being offended by objective truths. Then wrote a fuller explanation.
681 comments | about a month ago
An anonymous reader writes Developer Jonathan Rudenberg has discovered and pointed out a glaring security hole in Docker's system. He says, "Recently while downloading an 'official' container image with Docker I saw this line: ubuntu:14.04: The image you are pulling has been verified
I assumed this referenced Docker's heavily promoted image signing system and didn't investigate further at the time. Later, while researching the cryptographic digest system that Docker tries to secure images with, I had the opportunity to explore further. What I found was a total systemic failure of all logic related to image security.
Docker's report that a downloaded image is 'verified' is based solely on the presence of a signed manifest, and Docker never verifies the image checksum from the manifest. An attacker could provide any image alongside a signed manifest. This opens the door to a number of serious vulnerabilities." Docker's lead security engineer has responded here.
73 comments | about a month ago
New submitter st1lett0 writes: Now and in years past, electronic engineers and hobbyists alike have enjoyed the classic 1972 April Fool's joke by Signetics of the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory chip. Now it seems that the previously anonymous practical joker has identified himself and stepped forward with new information to correct and complete the story.
100 comments | about a month and a half ago
jfruh writes Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told a conference on surveillance at the Cato Institute that Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA spying shocked the company's engineers — who then immediately started working on making the company's servers and services more secure. Now, after a year and a half of work, Schmidt says that Google's services are the safest place to store your sensitive data.
281 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes "A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals. Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled "Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations." Rather, it's a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology."
100 comments | about a month and a half ago
MojoKid writes Since the release of its Surface Pro 3 tablet, Microsoft has pushed their new slate hard. It's as if the company wanted it to overwrite that part of our memory that recalls the Surface RT and its monumental losses. This past August, we saw the company make a big move by deploying a boatload of Surface Pro tablets to every team in the NFL, gratis. All season so far, coaches and even players have made use of them to plan their next course-of-action, and for the most part, they seemed to be well-received. Unlike some of the products Microsoft tries to get us to adopt, the Surface Pro 3 really is a solid tablet / convertible. Unfortunately, at least where the CNN political team is concerned, Microsoft hasn't won over a few anchors, like they have in NFL, when they were supplied with brand-new Surface Pros. In recent shots captured and tweeted about, a Surface Pro 3 can be seen acting as an "iPad stand," and quite an expensive one. As humorous as this is, it might not seem that interesting if it were just one correspondent who pulled that stunt. Let's be honest, some people just like their iPads. That wasn't the case, though. There were at least two commentators using an iPad on the same set, despite having the Surface right in front of them and seemingly hiding it behind Microsoft's darling Windows 8 slate.
236 comments | about 3 months ago
sciencehabit writes "Science has announced the 12 finalists for its annual "Dance Your PhD" contest. Among the finalists are dances about nanofibers and explosions, fusion implosions at the National Ignition Facility, and the science of tornadoes. A panel of esteemed scientists, artists, and educators are judging the finalists now to choose the winners. The winners and audience favorite will be announced on 3 November.
19 comments | about 3 months ago
An anonymous reader writes "Ok, bear with me now. I know this is not PC Mag 2014 review of hosting services. I am thinking of getting a parody website up. I am mildly concerned about potential reaction of the parodee, who has been known to be a little heavy handed when it comes to things like that. In short, I want to make sure that the hosting company won't flake out just because of potential complaints. I checked some companies and their TOS and AUPs all seem to have weird-ass restrictions (Arvixe, for example, has a list of unacceptable material that happens to list RPGs and MUDS ). I live in U.S.; parodee in Poland. What would you recommend?"
115 comments | about 3 months ago
SchrodingerZ writes: In November of this year, the 42nd Expedition to the International Space Station will launch, and the crew has decided to embrace their infamous number. NASA has released an image of the crew mimicking the movie poster for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a film released in 2005, based on a book with the same name by Douglas Adams. Commander Butch Wilmore stands in the center as protagonist Arthur Dent, flight engineer Elena Serova as hitchhiker Ford Prefect, flight engineer Alexander Samokutyayev as antagonist Humma Kavula, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as Trillian, and flight engineers Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov as two-headed galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox. The robotic "Robonaut 2" also stands in the picture as Marvin the depressed android. Cristoforetti, ecstatic to be part of this mission stated, "Enjoy, don't panic and always know where your towel is!" Wilmore, Serova and Samokutyayev blasted off September 25th for Expedition 41, the rest of Expedition 42 will launch November 23rd.
39 comments | about 4 months ago
alphadogg (971356) writes At Harvard University's Sanders Theater this evening, a collection of the most off-the-wall, bizarre and lurid scientific efforts of the past year will be dubiously honored with an Ig Nobel Prize. The Ig Nobels are awarded annually by Improbable Research, an organization devoted to scientific education that publishes the Annals of Improbable Research magazine six times a year. Past honorees have included:*A study about homosexual necrophilia in ducks; Competitive analysis of breakfast cereal sogginess; The discovery that dung beetles can navigate using the Milky Way galaxy. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. EST, and can be viewed online for free here.
30 comments | about 4 months ago
leob (154345) writes In case you haven't noticed yet, the 23rd International Obfuscated C Code Contest is now in progress. A pre-announcement was made on Twitter in the end of August; the online submission tool is now available until 2014-Oct-19 18:17:16 UTC.
14 comments | about 4 months ago
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Researchers have harnessed that heat from a computer CPU to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify DNA in a blood sample. The team developed software that cycles the temperature of the CPU to drive PCR's three distinct steps.The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite that causes Chagas disease. They hope their technique will lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries." (Always good to put waste heat to a practical purpose.)
27 comments | about 5 months ago
New submitter Petrut Malaescu writes: Last year Mercedes introduced an intelligent Lane Assist system to its S-class, which is cataloged as a Level 1 "Function-specific Automation" system. In other words, hands and feet must always be on the controls. But a clever driver discovered that all it takes to keep the car in Lane Assist mode is a soda can taped to the steering wheel. It's enough to trigger the steering wheel sensor that's supposed to detect the driver's hands. Obviously, it's not a good idea to try this on a busy highway.
163 comments | about 6 months ago
An anonymous reader writes with good news for everyone who loves Strong Bad.Back in April, Homestar Runner got its first content update in over four years. It was the tiniest of updates and the site went quiet again shortly thereafter, but the Internet's collective 90s kid heart still jumped for joy...The site's co-creator, Matt Chapman, popped into an episode of The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show to chat about the history of Homestar — but in the last 15 minutes or so, they get to talking about its future. The too-long-didn't-listen version: both of the brothers behind the show really really want to bring it back. The traffic they saw from their itty-bitty April update suggests people want it — but they know that may very well be a fluke. So they're taking it slow.
57 comments | about 7 months ago
theodp (442580) writes Over at Alarming Development, Jonathan Edwards has an interesting rant entitled Developer Inequality and the Technical Debt Crisis. The heated complaints that the culture of programming unfairly excludes some groups, Edwards feels, is a distraction from a bigger issue with far greater importance to society.
"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a programmer you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way." Edwards concludes with a call to action, "The web triumphalists love to talk about changing the world. Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to build web apps. Disrupt web programming! Who's with me?" Ed Finkler, who worries about his own future as a developer in The Developer's Dystopian Future, seconds that emotion. "I think about how I used to fill my time with coding," Finkler writes. "So much coding. I was willing to dive so deep into a library or framework or technology to learn it. My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."
608 comments | about 7 months ago
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes Internet slang: Do you use it? If so, do it AYOR (at your own risk), because the FBI knows exactly what you're saying thanks to the agency's insane list of "Twitter shorthand." Rather than just rely on Urban Dictionary or a Google search, the agency has compiled an 83 page list of more than 2,800 acronyms. The FBI responded to a FOIA request with one of the most illegible scans of a document you'll ever see, embedded on a CD — so maybe the agency isn't all that up on its technology, or maybe it's just doing its best to KTAS (keep this a secret). Please use one of your favorites in a grammatical sentence referencing current events, and/or your favorite food, to help build up the corpus.
124 comments | about 7 months ago