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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

dcblogs Must read? Great read - yes (796 comments)

David Hackett Fisher's Paul Revere's Ride

about a year ago
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Drawings of Weapons Led To New Jersey Student's Arrest

dcblogs Re:I would not jump to conclusions.... (630 comments)

If this kid was acting crazy in high school in the 1970s, my generation, he would have been sent to the principals office and possibly suspended. If the drawings were any good, the principal might have encouraged the kid to think about mechanical engineering as a career path. But today, the cops are involved, the local newspaper does a story, and screwed up kid makes national news. That, I think, is part of the problem.

about 2 years ago
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27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

dcblogs We will need police everywhere now (2987 comments)

Our culture is crashing. What is going on is just unimaginable.

about 2 years ago
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Solar Panels For Every Home?

dcblogs Re:Don't forget housing and condo boards (735 comments)

Our condo board, which I'm on, would likely welcome solar panels on the roof. You should organize a few folks in your building, do the research, and volunteer to help prepare a complete proposal. What often happens, is some resident will have a why-aren't-we-doing-this brainstorm, and then leave it to the condo board to do the work. As far as satellite dishes go, I agree with you. Our board has legacy rules about them, but there's been no push by residents to change them. But if you try calling the condo board members names, I'm sure they'll change the rules.

about 2 years ago
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

dcblogs Re:I Disagree, It Is Important to Remind People (623 comments)

Offended? Plz. Hardly. IRepeating the same headline year after year about the same trend misinforms the public about the gravity of the problem. The problem, as you point out, is that people don't get the basics, so why compound the problem with lousy reporting?

about 2 years ago
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

dcblogs Enough with the new 'record levels' of C02 (623 comments)

I love an alarmist, panic-in-the-streets, headless-man-found-in-topless-bar, headlines as much as the next guy, but the Keeling Curve has been hitting 'record levels' every year since the late 1950s.

about 2 years ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

dcblogs Who is Dawkins? (1152 comments)

The existential questions that Dawkins wants to answer don't have answers. Life's beauty stems in part from its mysteries. A better, more informed writer on these matter is Karen Armstrong.

about 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

Who moderates this crap anyway? "Score 5 for, Insightful."

more than 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

This is a canard. Oh the media's spineless, everything it publishes is spoonfed, etc. That's just garbage. The real problem is we too many people don't want to think critically anymore; who would rather whine than ask questions or participate. They outsource responsibility for civic engagement to other people. That's why they don't notice that there are many, many reporters who are committed to discovering the truth and who take risks to do so.

more than 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:childish swine (257 comments)

Feel free to compare the United States to any other nations they express a serious interest in from a military, economic, or overall political standpoint. Try living in both nations for five years apiece. Then report back on your findings, provided you have the spine to actually try this for yourself.

And the point of this is what?

more than 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

It's a reckless, amoral organization, that doesn't care who it hurts, doesn't care if it gets blood on its hand, and could care less about the fate of the people who supply its documents. What the world needs, and still has plenty of, are people of good moral character, who will fight for what's right, who will take stands, and who will take risks. I have way more respect for the three young women of Pussy Riot and what they have accomplished than anything Wikileaks has done.

more than 2 years ago
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Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable?

dcblogs Re:Quality and quantity (285 comments)

Who cares about lower quality? The quality of the bandwidth will almost always exceed the quality of the crap on cable. And unless you have something like FIOS, you will get better picture quality with over the air broadcast. The HD is stunning compared to the compressed and degraded signal cable serves up.

more than 2 years ago
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Senator Pushes For Tougher H-1B Enforcement

dcblogs Re:Article is wrong (262 comments)

The story is correct, but the Slashdot blurb confused the two. The Senate is considering a bill approved by the House to eliminate the per country caps on green cards. Sen. Grassley put a hold on that bill, but is attempting to work out a compromise. He will allow removal of the green cap limit in exchange for giving the Labor Dept. more power to conduct audits on H-1B use.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?

dcblogs Sony NEX either C-3 of N5 (569 comments)

The Sony NEX C-3 or N5 are mirrorless large sensor camera -- the sensors are as big as you'll find on many DSLRS -- in a compact body. It's menu system is designed to be simple. You can use it as a pure point-and-shoot and still get DSLR quality photos, but the camera has most of the same controls you'll find on DSLR. It has an interchangeable lens system and is 16 megapixels. (Megapixels do matter if you plan to make prints beyond 8x10s.). There's no through the lens viewer, but that doesn't bother me at all. I've been taking photos since the era of the Nikkormat and do not miss viewfinders.

about 3 years ago
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Skynet Becomes Aware, Launches Nuclear Attack

dcblogs Skynet is yesterday (274 comments)

At least Skynet was self-aware, unlike our amazing network of coal fired plants and other carbon generating emissions that will slowly cook and flood the planet.

more than 3 years ago
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Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Supports Wikileaks

dcblogs Re:I can't believe anyone is surprised (464 comments)

No, the difference is that last year alone 72 journalists killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalist, with 52 of them murdered. WikiLeaks isn't a journalistic organization; it's just a filter. Don't make the comparison.

more than 3 years ago
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Blockbuster Files For Bankruptcy

dcblogs Re:I'll miss them (390 comments)

They just closed the Bockbuster in my DC neighborhood. So, I bought a blu ray DVD player that supports Netflix, Amazon. I wish Blockbuster had closed a year ago.

more than 4 years ago
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DTV Transition - One Year Later

dcblogs Re:Worse Reception. (431 comments)

I now love my antenna. The hi-def reception is better than compressed meatloaf served up via Comcast's pipes. Monthly cost: $0. Priceless. If the antenna's not working for you, try a different one. Placement matters. Roof versus indoors. See how it's working for your neighbors.

more than 4 years ago
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Is Anyone Buying T-Mobile's Googlephone?

dcblogs Re:T-Mobile's network is useless (454 comments)

read the fine print in t-mobile's coverage map; If don't mind standing outdoors to make a call in many areas, coverage is pretty good.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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Security experts believe the Internet of Things will be used to kill someone

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  2 hours ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Imagine a fleet of quad copters or drones equipped with explosives and controlled by terrorists. Or someone who hacks into a connected insulin pump and changes the settings in a lethal way. Or maybe the hacker who accesses a building's furnace and thermostat controls and runs the furnace full bore until a fire is started. Those may all sound like plot material for a James Bond movie, but there are security experts who now believe, as does Jeff Williams, CTO of Contrast Security, that "the Internet of Things will kill someone. Today, there is a new "rush to connect things" and "it is leading to very sloppy engineering from a security perspective," said Williams. Similarly, Rashmi Knowles, chief security architect at RSA, imagines criminals hacking into medical devices, recently blogged about hackers using pacemakers to blackmail users, and asked: "Question is, when is the first murder?""
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HP's former CEO Carly Fiorina explores GOP presidential run

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  2 days ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who has never held public office and was fired from her HP job in 2005, is considering a run for president. And why not? Fiorina has experience running a firm, HP, now ranked 17th on the Fortune 500 list, and ran a credible campaign as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in California in 2010. There are some two dozen potential candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential field, but Fiorina is the only woman so far."
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Does being first still matter in America?

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a week ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "At the supercomputing conference, SC14, this week, a U.S. Dept. of Energy offical said the government has set a goal of 2023 as its delivery date for an exascale system. It may be taking a risky path with that amount of lead time because of increasing international competition. There was a time when the U.S. didn't settle for second place. President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous "we choose to go to the moon" speech in 1962, and seven years later a man walked on the moon. The U.S. exascale goal is nine years away. China, Europe and Japan all have major exascale efforts, and the government has already dropped on supercomputing. The European forecast of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was so far ahead of U.S. models in predicting the storm's path that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was called before Congress to explain how it happened. It was told by a U.S. official that NOAA wasn't keeping up in computational capability. It's still not keeping up. Cliff Mass, a professor of meteorology at the University of Washington, wrote on his blog last month that the U.S. is "rapidly falling behind leading weather prediction centers around the world" because it has yet to catch up in computational capability to Europe. That criticism followed the $128 million recent purchase a Cray supercomputer by the U.K.'s Met Office, its meteorological agency."
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U.S. sets sights on 300 petaflop supercomputer

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "U.S. officials Friday announced plans to spend $325 million on two new supercomputers, one of which may eventually be built to support speeds of up to 300 petaflops. The U.S. Department of Energy, the major funder of supercomputers used for scientific research, wants to have the two systems – each with a base speed of 150 petaflops – possibly running by 2017. Going beyond the base speed to reach 300 petaflops will take additional government approvals. If the world stands still, the U.S. may conceivably regain the lead in supercomputing speed from China with these new systems. How adequate this planned investment will look three years from now is a question. Lawmakers weren't reading from the same script as U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when it came to assessing the U.S.'s place in the supercomputing world. Moniz said the awards "will ensure the United States retains global leadership in supercomputing." But Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) put U.S. leadership in the past tense. "Supercomputing is one of those things that we can step up and lead the world again," he said."
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Hypocrisy and White House connections help IT outsourcing firms

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The liberal group Center for American Progress (CAP) advocates restricting the use of H-1B visas by offshore outsourcing firms. Its recommendations are designed to get offshore outsourcing firms to hire more U.S. workers and curb their ability to move jobs out of the U.S. That stance didn't stop one of the center's board members, Carol Browner, from being as a director at Infosys, the Bangalore, India-based IT services firm that is one of the largest users of the H-1B visa. Why would Browner, who served as an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy from 2009 to 2011, take a position as an Infosys director? CAP backs policies that would hurt outsourcing firms such as Infosys which rely on large numbers of workers on temporary work visas."
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New book argues automation is making software developers less capable

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Nicholas Carr, who stirred up the tech world with his 2003 essay, IT Doesn't Matter in the Harvard Business Review, has published a new book, The Glass Cage, Automation and Us, that looks at the impact of automation of higher-level jobs. It examines the possibility that businesses are moving too quickly to automate white collar jobs. It also argues that the software profession's push to "to ease the strain of thinking is taking a toll on their own [developer] skills." In an interview, Carr was asked if software developers are becoming less capable. He said, "I think in many cases they are. Not in all cases. We see concerns — this is the kind of tricky balancing act that we always have to engage in when we automate — and the question is: Is the automation pushing people up to higher level of skills or is it turning them into machine operators or computer operators — people who end up de-skilled by the process and have less interesting work?I certainly think we see it in software programming itself. If you can look to integrated development environments, other automated tools, to automate tasks that you have already mastered, and that have thus become routine to you that can free up your time, [that] frees up your mental energy to think about harder problems. On the other hand, if we use automation to simply replace hard work, and therefore prevent you from fully mastering various levels of skills, it can actually have the opposite effect. Instead of lifting you up, it can establish a ceiling above which your mastery can't go because you're simply not practicing the fundamental skills that are required as kind of a baseline to jump to the next level.""
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Computer scientists say meme research doesn't threaten free speech

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, five of the nation's top computing research organizations defended a research grant to study how information goes viral. The groups were responding to claims that the government-funded effort could help create a 1984-type surveillance state. The controversy arises over a nearly $1 million research grant to researchers at Indiana University (IU) to investigate "why some ideas cause viral explosions while others are quickly forgotten," particularly on Twitter. The groups, which include Computing Research Association, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Association for Computing Machinery, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and USENIX Association, all countered the claims by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who heads the science committee, that the effort, known as Truthy, attacks free speech. "We do not believe this work represents a threat to free speech or a suppression of any type of speech over the internet," the letter said. "The tools developed in the course of this research are capable of making no political judgments, no prognostications, and no editorial comments, nor do they provide any capability for exerting any control over the Twitter stream they analyze," the wrote. The controversy over Truthy may be just another sign of the ongoing deterioration between the science community and lawmakers over basic research funding as well as the science itself."
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If Ebola's a problem here, just imagine it in India

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "As the U.S. has discovered, it just takes a few cases of Ebola to turn things upside down. Months into the outbreak in West Africa, federal and state officials are still fighting over quarantine policies and travel bans, and reacting in disruptive fashion to the threat. But an Ebola outbreak in India, for instance, could create problems in the U.S. because of its role as a major IT services provider. "Ebola cases showing up in urban India area would be a nightmare," said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis for Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to areas in need of help. Dense populations, living in slums with poor sanitation and inadequate medical help, would complicate an Ebola fight. Everest Group, an outsourcing research firm said, that in India, IT organizations often make bus transportation available to team members, and it’s easy to imagine an Ebola-related scenario in which bus transportation is shut down. Working from home may not be an option, since lack of connectivity and security concerns "often make working remotely from homes not possible," said Marvin Newell, a partner at Everest. Craig Wright, a partner at outsourcing consulting firm Pace Harmon, said that a valid response to any such Ebola outbreak would be similar to a tsunami, "where access to facilities and resources within a region may be denied for an extended period of time.""
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Inexplicably, Feds set to destroy H-1B records

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 1 month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a notice posted last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, "are temporary records and subject to destruction" after five years, under a new policy. There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers. The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker. "Throwing information away is anathema to the pursuit of knowledge and akin to willful stupidity or, worse, defacing Buddhist statues," said Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. "It undermines our ability to evaluate what the government does and, in today's world, retaining electronic records like the LCA is next to costless," he said. The cost of storage can't be an issue for the government's $80 billion IT budget: A full year's worth of LCA data is less than 1GB."
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Automation arrives at restaurants, but not because of minimum wage hikes

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire ," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options."
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IBM's chip business sale to UAE investor firm to get U.S. security review

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "IBM is an officially sanctioned trusted supplier to the U.S. Defense Dept., and the transfer of its semiconductor manufacturing to GlobalFoundries, a U.S.-based firm owned by investors in Abu Dhabi, will get U.S. scrutiny. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams, who authored a report last year for an industry group about U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and national security, said regulators will have to look closely. "I don't want cast aspersions unnecessarily on Abu Dubai — but they're not Canada," said Adams "I think that the news that we may be selling part of our supply chain for semiconductors to a foreign investor is actually bad news.""
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Property forfeiture used H-1B cases; feds target 'gorgeous contemporary'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In an H-1B fraud case in Texas, the U.S. is using forfeiture laws to try and extract a heavy price from the defendants. The government's complaint list of the items it's seeking through forfeiture. It includes a large, spacious house in Frisco, Texas, with a home movie theater, gym, large windows and soaring ceilings on a palm tree landscaped property. It's described in a real estate video as "gorgeous." The government has used forfeiture laws in other H-1B cases. In 2011, it sent one man to prison for six months and imposed nearly $300,000 in forfeiture penalties in a New Jersey H-1B fraud case. In August, a California man forfeited $100,000 arising out of his H-1B visa fraud scheme."
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In 2001 the tech industry employed 6.5 million, today it's at 6.3 million

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In 2001, the tech industry employed 6.5 million people. That year remains the tech industry's employment peak. Tech industry employment reached 6.3 million in the first half of this year, a gain of 118,800 jobs, up 1.9% compared to the first half of 2013. That's below the 3.7% growth rate overall for private-sector employers, according to new data from TechAmerica Foundation."
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Society is hostile to science, tech, says VC Peter Thiel

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, billionaire investor and author, says "we live in a financial, capitalistic age, we do not live in a scientific or technological age. We live in a period were people generally dislike science and technology. Our culture dislikes it, our government dislikes it. The easiest way to see "how hostile our society is to technology" is to look at Hollywood. Movies "all show technology that doesn't work, that ... kills people, that it is bad for the world," said Thiel. He argues that corporations and the U.S. government are failing at complex planning."
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Former Infosys recruiter says he was told not to hire U.S. workers

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "A lawsuit by four IT workers alleging that outsourcing firm Infosys favored hiring Indian workers over U.S. workers now includes an account from a former Infosys recruiter about the alleged practice. It includes accounts by Samuel Marrero, who worked in Infosys's talent acquisition unit from 2011 until May 2013, of meetings with executives at the India-based IT services firm. Marrero and other recruiters "frequently complained" to higher-ups at Infosys during these weekly calls that many of the highly qualified American candidates they had presented were being rejected in favor of Indian prospects. In response to one of these complaints, Infosys' global enterprise lead allegedly said, "Americans don't know shit," according to the lawsuit. Infosys has denied allegations that it discriminates."
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One in three jobs will be taken by software or robots by 2025, says Gartner

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025," said Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's research director at its big Orlando conference. "New digital businesses require less labor; machines will make sense of data faster than humans can," he said. Smart machines are an emerging "super class" of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, both the physical and the intellectual kind. Machines, for instance, have been grading multiple choice test for years, but now they are grading essays and unstructured text. This cognitive capability in software will extend to other areas, including financial analysis, medical diagnostics and data analytic jobs of all sorts, says Gartner. "Knowledge work will be automated.""
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Patent issued for biometric pressure grip mouse

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Defense contractor Raytheon has received a patent for mouse that has a biometric pressure grip. It believes the pressure grip, as a form of authentication, will be particularly hard to defeat because it works from a neurological pattern versus a physical pattern, such as a facial scan. "It's not just how much pressure you exert on the mouse itself, but it's also the x-y coordinates of your position," said Glenn Kaufman said, a cybersecurity engineer, about his invention. The approach was inspired by similar pressure grips used in smart guns."
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Supercomputing upgrade produces high-resolution storm forecasts

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "A supercomputer upgrade is paying off for the U.S. National Weather Service, with new high-resolution models that will offer better insight into severe weather. This improvement in modeling detail is a result of a supercomputer upgrade in the summer of 2013. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the weather service, put into production two new IBM supercomputers, each 213 teraflops, running Linux on Intel processors. These systems replaced 74-teraflop, four-year old systems. More computing power means systems can run more mathematics, and increase the resolution or detail on the maps from 8 miles to 2 miles."
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U.S. may be falling behind in cyber-physical system research

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The White House has identified cyber-physical system research and development as a “national priority” that could boost U.S. productivity. But federal spending is telling a different story. A major source of research dollars is the National Science Foundation (NSF). It will fund more than $40 million in cyber-physical systems research in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended Tuesday. This amounts to about 0.5% of the approximately $7 billion the U.S. spends on basic research through this agency. It has spent, in total, $200 million in this area since 2009. Separately, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is deeply involved in standards and data formats, is running its cyber-physical program on $4.3 million. A NIST report found that the European Union “is already investing $343 million per year for 10 years to pursue ‘world leadership’ through advanced strategic research and technology development related to CPS" (cyber-physical systems). That includes $199 million in public funds and $144 million in private funds"
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Scotland independence seen as 'cataclysmic'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Scotland is not a major high-tech employment center, but it has good universities and entrepreneurial energy. About 70,000 people work in tech out of a total workforce of about 2.5 million, or about 3%. By contrast, financial services accounts for about 15% of employment in Scotland. But passions are high. "Honest, I've never been so scared in my life," said Euan Mackenzie about the prospect of separating from the U.K. He runs a 16-employee start-up, 1partCarbon, in Edinburgh, a platform that builds medical systems. "For tech start-ups, funding will be tougher to find and more expensive, there will be no local banks, access to EU markets and the freedom of movement will be curtailed," said Mackenzie. "As someone who enjoys risk and new opportunities, my company will remain in Scotland and make the best of whichever side prevails on Thursday, but the effect of independence on tech start-ups and the whole Scottish economy will be cataclysmic," he said."
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Journals

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dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  more than 6 years ago I am a reporter at Computerworld. I also run a blog about blogs in Washington DC, dcblogs.com And someday I may return to a place I really love, Guam, but today it exist only as a blog for me, guamblog.com

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