×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

plover Re:Wake me when they solve the infrastructure prob (277 comments)

Infrastructure has to be built one sale at a time. Tesla is demonstrating one way to do it with their supercharger network, with trickle chargers in the home, and supercharging stations scattered around the country, trying to bridge gaps in coverage.

A hydrogen infrastructure will look different, because pressurized hydrogen isn't as ubiquitous as electricity. They might have better luck with a regional approach, selling commuter cars in one city, and building up an infrastructure there just to prove it can be done. This could go hand-in-glove with a partnership with a rental car company, where your car price comes with discounted rentals for cross country trips. They might even be able to start with some fleet approaches: delivery vans, local taxi services, city government inspectors, etc. Get a few vehicles out there first, then expand into the consumer market. Once the hydrogen delivery trucks start making rounds to carry fuel to the fleet terminals, it's not a stretch to get them delivering to consumer facing refueling stations.

Or maybe hydrogen delivery service stations could be provided in a novel format, like a standard shipping container. Build a tank and pump system into a steel box, and make arrangements with a company like BP to drop one in the parking lot of an existing refueling station whenever you sell a car that's not within 10 miles of an existing station. BP may like drilling for oil, but their primary business is selling vehicle fuel. This is an opportunity that doesn't bypass them, like home charging stations do.

The one thing that would be likely to fail would be to take billions of dollars of investment, and build a national network of thousands hydrogen refueling stations before the arrival of millions of hydrogen consumers.

2 days ago
top

In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

plover Re:In a Self-Driving Future--- (453 comments)

In suburban-heavy US metropolitan regions, Zipcars haven't made inroads yet because the sources and destinations of people are not close to each other. Suburbs are all houses (sources of people) but have no shops, factories, or businesses (no destinations). If my neighborhood was to have a successful zipcar garage that served everyone, it would have to contain as many cars as there are nearby residents, and it would still be emptied quite early in the mornings. The urban centers have few residents who would commute away from the city to work, and would not provide a demand for the tens of thousands of cars that would arrive every morning.

If the cars were self-driving, they'd be able to return to the suburbs to provide many trips per day. More trips per car means fewer cars are needed.

3 days ago
top

Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

plover Re:Moat? Electric fence? (212 comments)

"Hey, Joe, now that we've finished surrounding the Capitol building lawns with mines, we've still got a bunch of extra mines. What should we do with them?"

"They're not extra. They said ring the building, so the plans are to mine the walks and driveways, too. Maybe if they wrote the policy better, they'd have thought to add an access route."

about a week ago
top

The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses To "Convert Average Citizens"

plover Re:What? (105 comments)

This is the same thing that every company big enough to do public relations at all does, except it's being described using inflammatory terminology.

That's what I was thinking. If they are getting real people to agree with their position and sign up with their on-line site, how would that make their individual choices illegitimate? How could that be painted as "astroturf" when it's clearly legitimate support?

Look at the other side. If I worked for a railroad that operated thousands of tanker cars that ship oil across the country, I might go to the stop-the-oil-pipeline.org site and pledge my support. As a railroad, I burn thousands of gallons of oil to ship millions of gallons of crude. I have no interest in protecting the environment, yet here I am, signing up. It's not because I'm an environmentalist, it's because I don't want the competition to take away my business. Where is the story claiming this makes the environmentalists an astroturf organization? There isn't one, because it's not.

Why isn't this story looking into the CRM software in use by the environmentalists? Perhaps their bias is a bit too evident.

about a week ago
top

Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

plover Re:Impossible to build purely evil robots? (327 comments)

Isn't an atomic bomb just a very, very simple robot?

while (altitude() > TARGET_ALTITUDE)

        sleep(1);
explode();

And yes, it is impossible to determine if that algorithm will ever terminate.

A "good" compiler should throw an error and refuse to compile it, because the function's return can never be reached. An "evil" compiler will spit out an ignorable warning, but let you build your bomb. That implies we need to use evil compilers to program the Kill-O-Bots.

about a week ago
top

Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

plover Re:By the same logic (327 comments)

So how many humans have to die before recognizing the AED is faulty? If it's a subtle fault, it might be delivering a barely ineffective treatment, and confused with an unsaveable patient. The THERAC 25 failure was a bit more dramatic, but it still killed many patients.

Would we accept the same levels of failure from the Kill-O-Bot 2000? We already fire missiles into crowds of people or convoys in order to take out a single high value target. If the Kill-O-Bot was more specific than a missile, but less than perfect, isn't it still a better choice?

about a week ago
top

Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

plover Re:Easy... (327 comments)

Well on the plus side, it will kill off 90% of Redditors.

Depends on how it identifies 'neckbeards'.

about a week ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

plover Re:don't worry about it (178 comments)

It's an anti-TARDIS card -- it's smaller on the inside.

about two weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

plover Re:Obvious guy says (223 comments)

Came here to say exactly this. Focus on your adventure. Coding will be here when you get back.

about two weeks ago
top

Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

plover Re:Soylent blue is managers! MAAAANAGGGERSS!! (204 comments)

And what are we supposed to do with these incompetents if we can't promote them out to management?

Where do you think executives come from.

You'd be surprised how much damage an incompetent executive can do. It may not be immediate, but it poisons an organization systemically. A bad boss can be fired. Firing a bad exec may not remove the toxins fast enough for the organization to recover.

about two weeks ago
top

333 Km/h Rocket-Powered Bicycle Sets New Speed Record

plover Re:bike? (51 comments)

How is this a bike and not a motorcycle?

It's neither. It is a rocket that happens to have two wheels hanging beneath it, and Wile E. Coyote hanging onto a crossbar above it.

about two weeks ago
top

A/C Came Standard On Some Armored Dinosaur Models

plover Re:That's not how air conditioning works (34 comments)

What, you're saying swamp coolers don't qualify as A/C? They may not use the traditional compression/expansion cycle, but they certainly do cool an area. And a mucosal surface like the nasal cavity would provide plenty of evaporation to further expel heat from the body. (Although I suspect that the dinosaurs in TFA used swamp cooling primarily in its most literal sense of "hey, let's stand in the swamp because it's cooler".)

The study postulates that dinosaurs' nasal cavities acted as heat exchangers. Without a heat exchanger, your traditional A/C wouldn't work, either. I wouldn't quibble with this categorization.

My biggest gripe is the article misused the term "model" when it clearly meant genus or species.

about two weeks ago
top

Report: Federal Workers, Contractors Behind Half of Government Cyber Breaches

plover Re:is this really news? (61 comments)

I believe that in almost all sectors, users are the primary entree into the protected network, either via phishing or other social engineering. You could probably replace the word Government in the phrase "government cyber breeches" with healthcare, financial services, social networking, retail, non-profit, etc.

Social engineering will always work as long as humans have access to the data and systems. There are steps sys admins can take that can limit or mitigate the damage, but the bottom line is that if people need to access the data, then other people will be able to exploit them.

Heavy handed security often isn't the panacea it's advertised as, because ordinary users will find ways to deal with it. Do you make them change passwords daily? They'll resort to keeping a file of daily passwords. Do you make them fill out a big form to request access to a system? They'll request access to a dozen, in hopes that they will stumble across the correct one, and so won't have to repeat the ordeal; out of the dozen departments they request access from, some may approve the inappropriate request. Or some department head will proclaim "grant everything to my department, because I don't want to waste our time with all these expensive little requests." All of these can be exploited even in the best of situations.

about two weeks ago
top

Espionage Campaign Targets Corporate Executives Traveling Abroad

plover Re:marketing (101 comments)

If you think this is an attempt at marketing, you should recognize they're doing a terrible job at it. Read page 3 of the PDF above, the section titled "Executive Summary". That is not even close to an executive summary, and wouldn't explain jack to any of the executives I work with.

An executive summary for this paper should read like this:

"We have documented a sophisticated espionage ring that is targeting the laptop computers of upper level executives who travel to Southeast Asia. The attackers are using WiFi attacks, compromising hotel networks, compromising hotel business center computers, and tricking the executives into installing malware. Hotel staff are often complicit in either providing access to the attackers, notifying the attackers when the rooms are unoccupied, or by providing a distraction to the executive. They are stealing intellectual property, contacts, notes, schedules, and passwords. They are implanting keyloggers. They are tracking the executive's movements around the globe. They are installing custom malware to gain further access once the compromised computer is brought inside the corporate firewall. They are using sophisticated cryptography to hide their malware and their exfiltration activities. And they are carefully maintaining the compromised computers to ensure continued access for sustained, multi-year attacks."

That's an executive summary.

about two weeks ago
top

What People Want From Smart Homes

plover Re:Nothing. (209 comments)

Knowing my luck, when I'd use my Internet-connected Clapper to turn off the last light when going to bed it'd start playing anti-gonorrhea ads due to the poorly programmed ad-personalization algorithm.

Perhaps it's better programmed than you think. Your wife called...

about three weeks ago
top

What People Want From Smart Homes

plover Re:Nothing. (209 comments)

You can certainly get some home automation systems that are cloud-optional. I have a Vera, which is an (overpriced) DD-WRT box, and it doesn't need internet access. You can get to it from outside the house via VPN, or you can use their SSL site to access it if you want. It runs the lights, sensors, and stuff like that. There are some proprietary devices with local interfaces of varying quality.

Some closed source devices want to phone home, just not to your home. Honeywell, Samsung, Craftsman, they don't have a locally accessible interface. You might want to avoid them.

I built mine initially to control greenhouse lighting, and liked it so much I put it in the rest of my house.

about three weeks ago
top

Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart

plover Re:They're probably correct (273 comments)

When you were in school, Leibnitz hadn't yet invented his Calculus, so there wasn't as much STEM to learn.

I know, I'll get off your lawn.

about three weeks ago
top

Another Election, Another Slew of Voting Machine Glitches

plover Re:Marked Paper Ballots FTW (388 comments)

The eletronic machines would not have it if they used actual physical buttons.
They would not have this issue if the program was on a ROM chip.
Not a problem if the voting machines had a internal encrypted flash memory.
No glitch if used the two first on this list
And that could be solved by software as well.

But for some reason diebold think that they should do all this stupid flashy show instead of actually designing something actually reliable and safe.

Which ROM chip is it? Which crypto key did it use? Did it encrypt properly? How do I see what's in the flash?

Paper suffers from none of those problems.

about three weeks ago
top

New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

plover Re:Old saying (249 comments)

Selective Availability wasn't a separate signal; it was the encryption of the least significant bits of the satellite's position found in the C/A data. Only a military grade receiver had the keys to decrypt the signals, allowing the receiver to understand the precise location of the satellite, allowing for a more accurate computation.

The "4th signal" the GP may have been referring to is WAAS, the Wide Area Augmentation System. It's a set of precisely surveyed ground stations that continually measure the amount of timing error they're receiving (generally due to atmospheric interference), which is sent back up to the satellites and included in a set of correction data. It was added to serve the FAA in providing accurate altitude and approach data for aircraft that work at all airports. But it's not a separate signal, it's part of the data sent by each satellite. It's effective, and it's cheap - the receiver doesn't need a separate radio to receive DGPS data.

Unlike WAAS, DGPS data does not go back to the satellite. It is transmitted directly by the ground stations to the user receivers. Its a completely different signal, carried on a terrestrial frequency.

about three weeks ago
top

Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card

plover Re:Good (126 comments)

Assuming you're an American, your passport's cover is built with a mesh that is already RF dampening. It can't be read unless it's open. Even a fairly narrow crack can permit reading, so carry it someplace that will keep it closed.

The good thing about RFID readers is that the readers are very reliable. They don't have fragile electrical contacts that can get corroded, mechanically damaged, or electronically damaged by static electricity. They don't require a scanner that can get dirty and fail to read. They don't require a mag stripe head that can pick up embedded abrasives causing it to scratch following stripes. They don't have any moving parts that might break. The reason you might care about that lower maintenance costs us taxpayers less, and means fewer "out-of-order" lines at the border.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

top

Supervalu Becomes Another Hacking Victim

plover plover writes  |  about 3 months ago

plover (150551) writes "Supervalu (NYSE:SVU) is the latest retailer to experience a data breach, announcing today that cybercriminals had accessed payment card transactions at some of its stores.

The Minneapolis-based company said it had "experienced a criminal intrusion" into the portion of its computer network that processes payment card transactions for some of its stores. There was no confirmation that any cardholder data was in fact stolen and no evidence the data was misused, according to the company.

The event occurred between June 22 and July 17, 2014 at 180 Supervalu stores and stand-alone liquor stores. Affected banners include Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy."

Link to Original Source
top

Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover plover writes  |  1 year,11 days

plover (150551) writes "The Seattle Times reports "the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch."

So far they have posted 20 models on the site, with the promise of much more to come."
top

Why iFingerprinting Makes You Legally Unsafe

plover plover writes  |  about a year ago

plover (150551) writes "Mark Rasch, an attorney specializing in privacy and security law, has taken a look at using the iPhone's fingerprint access to protect your privacy. He believes that you can sometimes be compelled by a court to provide your password to unlock an encrypted file, depending on the circumstances. But you can always be compelled to provide your fingerprints, and that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed there is no Fifth Amendment protection against it. That means if you lock your phone with only a fingerprint, the government will almost certainly be able to compel you to unlock it. If you lock it with a passcode, there's a chance you can refuse to provide it under the Fifth Amendment.

The new iPhone 5s’s biometric fingerprint scanner can actually put consumers (or merchants, for that matter) in a worse position legally than the previous four-digit PIN. In fact, the biometric can open the contents of a consumer’s phone and any linked payment systems, accounts or systems—including contacts, email and documents—less legally protected than the simple passcode. This is because the law may treat the biometric (something you are) differently from a password (something you know).

"

Link to Original Source
top

FinSpy Commercial Spyware Abused By Governments

plover plover writes  |  more than 2 years ago

plover (150551) writes "The NY Times has this story about FinSpy, a commercial spyware package sold "only for law enforcement purposes" being used by governments to spy on dissidents, journalists, and others, and how two U.S. computer experts, Morgan Marquis-Boire from Google, and Bill Marczak, a PhD student in Computer Science, have been tracking it down around the world."
top

Iran Admits Stuxnet Impacted Their Nuclear Program

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article in the Guardian,

Ahmadinejad admitted the worm had affected Iran's uranium enrichment. "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," the president said. "They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that, and today they are not able [to do that] anymore."

"

Link to Original Source
top

Jury awards $1.5 million to Capitol Records

plover plover writes  |  about 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "In the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case that never ends, a Minneapolis jury has awarded Capitol Records $1.5 million dollars.

Thomas-Rasset is expected to appeal and it the case could wind its way to the Supreme Court."

Link to Original Source
top

Ars Technica Forums Abused by Phishers

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Some Ars Technica members received phishing attempts purporting to be from SunTrust this morning. Here's the posting on the Ars forum explaining what happened.

It seems that many users received phishing attempts to Ars only email addresses this morning. We're working on it and will update this post when we find something out.

We believe that our previous forum provider has some exploit that allows people to send messages to private email addresses through their servers. Every report we've seen has originated at one of their web front ends. If we are correct, your email addresses have not been compromised. It's obviously pretty bad to be getting phishing attempts forwarded through someone else, but not quite as bad as if an email DB had been jacked or something.

We have emails out to them. There's a chance we won't hear back for a couple of hours since they're on pacific time, but we're doing what we can.

That's got to be one stupid phisherman to try phishing from the members of Ars Technica."

top

US Admits Most Piracy Estimates Are Bogus

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article on Ars Technica, the GAO admitted that the estimates of the impact of piracy have no basis in fact.

After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded that it is "difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts."

"
top

Senate Votes to Replace Aviation Radar With GPS

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "The U.S. Senate today passed by a 93-0 margin a bill that would implement the FAA's NextGen plan to replace aviation radar with GPS units. It will help pay for the upgrade by increasing aviation fuel taxes on private aircraft. It will require two inspections per year on foreign repair stations that work on U.S. planes. And it will ban pilots from using personal electronics in the cockpit. This just needs to be reconciled with the House version and is expected to soon become law. This was discussed on Slashdot a few years ago."
Link to Original Source
top

Do your developers have local admin rights?

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "I work as a developer for a Very Large American Corporation. We are not an IT company, but have a large IT organization that does a lot of internal development. In my area, we do Windows development, which includes writing and maintaining code for various services and executables. A few years ago the Info Security group removed local administrator rights from most accounts and machines, but our area was granted exceptions for developers. My question is: do other developers in other large companies have local admin rights to their development environment? If not, how do you handle tasks like debugging, testing installations, or installing updated development tools that aren't a part of the standard corporate workstation?"
top

Wal-mart Hacked in 2006, Details in Wired

plover plover writes  |  more than 5 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Kim Zetter of Wired documents an extensive hack of Wal-Mart that took place in 2005-2006. She goes into great detail about the investigation and what the investigators found, including that the hackers made copies of their point-of-sale source code, and that they ran l0phtCrack on a Wal-Mart server.

Wal-Mart uncovered the breach in November 2006, after a fortuitous server crash led administrators to a password-cracking tool that had been surreptitiously installed on one of its servers. Wal-Mart’s initial probe traced the intrusion to a compromised VPN account, and from there to a computer in Minsk, Belarus.

Wal-mart has long since fixed the flaws that allowed the compromise, and confirmed that no customer data was lost in the hack."

top

Ex-CIO Blames Microsoft For Security Breach

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.2 million credit card numbers earlier this year as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

"None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

"
top

Hannaford's CIO Blames Data Breach on Microsoft

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.5 million credit card numbers as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

Homa has become a fan of simplification in battling security. "We used a lot of Linux," Homa said. "None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

Would he counsel other CIOs to avoid Microsoft like the plague? "That's what I'd do. If you limit your exposure to Microsoft, you're going to be in a more secure environment," he said, adding that Microsoft's philosophy is decentralized, forcing IT to manage more points. That means more license fees for Microsoft and more potential security gotchas for the CIO. "Hence, you see my aversion to Microsoft."

"

Link to Original Source
top

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this Star Tribune story, police, with the court's permission, attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect's motorcycle and tracked his activity to the site of a theft. On Monday the thief pled guilty and was sentenced to five years."
top

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

plover (150551) writes "
Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.
In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood."

Journals

top

PC Invader Costs Ky. County $415,000

plover plover writes  |  more than 5 years ago The Washington Post is reporting a complex hack and con job resulting in the theft of $415,000 from Bullitt County, Kentucky. The story is fascinating, and is filled with detailed information regarding the theft.

top

Warner Music about to sing a new tune?

plover plover writes  |  about 7 years ago Warner Music Group's CEO Edgar Bronfman sounds like he's publicly acknowledging what we've known all along: consumers like the iPod, the music business has changed, and that the music industry was wrong to attack their own customers. Might this speech mark the start of the end of the insanity?

top

Game time!

plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago Thanks to this posting, Rupert and I are now playing a game: Find the highest Google maps route distance to great circle distance ratio.

Rupert started it with this:

Fairbanks to St. Petersburg.
Great circle distance: 3,840 miles
Google directions distance: 9,631 miles
My score: 2.508

I answered by stretching his route slightly: Kantishna Station, Alaska to Skarsvag, Norway. It's a pretty long journey no matter how you look at it.

Google's route: 10,411 miles
Great circle distance: 3,141 miles
It has a score of only 3.315, but it'll take 34 days to make the journey!

This one seemed like a good North American entry:
Google's route
gets a score of 3.7.

But North America is tricky. Just about every goat and Jeep trail is mapped, and we Americans cannot abide straight lines that aren't paved. Rupert's still managed to find some good ones: Route to distance gives a very respectable 5.6.

I've headed over to the Balkans, where the maps are usefully short on detail. Here's my latest entry. Lecce, Italy to Tirane, Albania: Route to great circle.

1267 km by Google, 216 km straight arc. Score is 5.866.

It's kind of a pain because you have to snarf the lat/lon from Google's URL and adapt it to the great circle calculator, but it's fun to exploit holes in Google's map coverage.

top

YASS - Yet Another Story Submission

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.

In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood.

top

On the date of my birth:

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago helicobacter has launched a /. meme. Go to wikipedia and type in the month and day (no year) of your birth. Pick out three interesting events, two births and a death, and post them in your journal.

EVENTS:

  • 1986 - Halley's Comet is visible in the night sky as it passes in its 76-year orbit around the sun.
  • 1962 - Ranger 3 is launched to study the moon. The space probe later missed the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
  • 1802 - The U.S. Congress passes an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol; eventually this becomes the Library of Congress. It's a geek thing.

BIRTHS:

  • 1961 - Wayne Gretzky, Canadian hockey player, coach, and team owner.
  • 1918 - Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator (d. 1989.) I only picked Ceausescu because I remember how much the Romanians enjoyed executing him.

DEATHS:

  • 1997 - Jeane Dixon, American astrologer (b. 1904.) And she never saw it coming!

top

Merry [Christmas|Hannukah|Kwanzaa|Yule|.*] to you!

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I just wanted to wish all of you well this holiday season. I know some of you aren't religious folk (neither am I), but that won't stop me from hoping for happiness for you now and in the coming year.

And money, too. Yeah, I may as well wish for something practical for you all while I'm at it.

So have a happy new year and I hope you get money! :-)

top

Another submission: this year's Ig Nobles have been awarded

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Here's the text I submitted. It's probably already been submitted, but hey, they're likely to publish at least one of them (and if Zonk has anything to do with it, they're likely to publish ALL of them! :-)

The BBC is reporting on this years winners of the Ig Noble awards, honoring science achievements that "cannot, or should not, be reproduced". For example, this years winner for Medicine was the inventor of Neuticles, rubber replacement testicles for neutered dogs.

top

Submitted an interesting story

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Here's my submission:

In the story Hacker Hunters, BusinessWeek Online documents how the Secret Service turned a member of the ShadowCrew and was able to arrest dozens of the members of the phishing ring.

From the article: "Law enforcement officials are often loath to reveal details of their operations, but the Secret Service and Justice Dept. wanted to publicize a still-rare victory. So they agreed to reveal the inner dynamics of their cat-and-mouse chase to BusinessWeek. The case provides a window into the arcane culture of cybercriminals and the methods of their pursuers."

I thought it was a fascinating read, anyway.

top

Another submission, and it's not a dupe!

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This is the text I submitted under the heading "Vex, a New Robot Kit available at Radio Shack Soon"

While Lego Mindstorms are fine for creating autonomous toy robots, there's still a lack of kits for constructing larger, sturdier do-it-yourself remote controlled robots. Enter Vex, an Erector/Meccano-style robotics construction kit. According to PCMagazine, (beware, popunder ads) Radio Shack is set to roll these out to consumers beginning in May. No computer control (yet) but they sure look fun!

So, if the story gets rejected, you still might want to check them out. I can't wait!

top

Another midnight, another submission

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best Buy to Eliminate Rebates

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (free registration required,) "In response to customer complaints, Best Buy, the world's largest electronics retailer, promised today to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years."

Can it be that we're finally nearing the end of one of the most hated marketing ploys of all? What is the world coming to?

top

I'm hopeful about this submission!

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one is actually news.

plover writes: Because of Congressional legislation passed quietly in 2003, the Air Force Space Command will no longer distribute space surveillance data via NASA. There was supposed a three year transitional period where the data was to be made available via a NASA web site, but earlier this month their transitional server went down hard, and NASA has decided to not rebuild it. (It was scheduled to be shut down on 31 March 2005 anyway.)

The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track website. Part of the agreement to obtaining data from their site is that you agree to not redistribute their data.

Of course, amateurs are still free to redistribute their observations, including those of classified satellites.

top

Another rejected story prepared

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Well, I keep trying. Here's the latest scoop.

According to Reuters, the chairman of Apex was arrested in China. Chinese officials have confirmed the arrest, but have not made the charges known yet. A supplier recently came forward revealing Apex owed them $4.3 million, and fraud charges are suspected. Apex is a maker of inexpensive DVD players that are widely known for the ablility to turn off their region codes.

top

New submission prepared for rejection

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one was titled "SCO sales tanking?"

The SCO Group reported their fourth quarter income on Tuesday, and according to The Register, this quarter's earnings are down to $10.08 million, compared to $24 million last year. Their licensing revenue is virtually non-existant, at only $120,000 compared to $10 million to Q4 in 2003. Darl's statement to stockholders began by reporting 'Fourth Quarter achievements demonstrate continued progress at SCO.' I guess progress doesn't imply direction...

top

Quick, a story that hasn't been rejected yet

plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago I submitted this story this afternoon.

'Researchers are saying that caffeine withdrawal should now be classified as a psychiatric disorder' states Sid Kirchheimer at WebMD. In this article he examines a new study that shows caffeine withdrawal produces symptoms that render a person so dysfunctional that it should be classified as a psychiatric disorder. (The article also takes great pains to say "don't panic.") Caffeine withdrawal is nothing new to me, but having it ranked as a "disorder" does trouble me a bit.

Lets see if they can set a new land-speed record in story rejection...

top

Another story submission (quick before it's rejected)

plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago NewScientist.com is running a story that NASA is going to use two helicopter stunt pilots to catch a sample capsule that will be ejected by the Genesis spacecraft. Genesis has been collecting solar gases for the last couple of years, and the scientists need to retrieve it quickly to preserve the samples.

top

Story submission (not rejected yet)

plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago Here's the scoop I submitted:

The New York Times is running this story (privacy violations required) discussing the new trend towards global movie premieres, and how this model leads to less piracy. Finally, the movie studios are trying something intelligent to combat piracy, rather than lawsuits.

top

plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago The new sig,
John
Karma: Fair and Balanced (mostly affected by a Fox News lawsuit)

is in honor of Fair and Balanced Day on the Internet (August 15th.) which I found from this link from BoingBoing.

The story is Fox News is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." As if anybody who watches Fox News would a) read Al Franken ANYTHING; and b) be literate enough to actually read at all. None of those people have enough neurons to connect the two anyway.

I think the whole thing is a Fox marketing ploy just to get their slogan out. It's certainly the first time I've ever even heard that they have one.

top

Obituary column

plover plover writes  |  more than 12 years ago JADNT, AT&T Globalyst S40, 1995 - 2002.

We are saddened to announce the passing of JADNT, whose electrons were returned to a lower energy state on Friday, October 25, 2002.

JADNT was a workhorse server. It began life as an evaluation candidate for an enterprise server, but was replaced early on as it was recognized as too small to perform the required duties. It was moved to its home in JADs cubicle where its dual Pentium Pro horsepower was quickly put to use in reducing compile times. As the software it supported was obsoleted, it took on other tasks where it quietly but efficiently monitored the status of other machines, provided a historical development platform, and constantly served up a variety of utility tools and command scripts.

JADNT fought bravely in its last few remaining hours, the spindle of drive 4 noisily attempting to cooperate with the SCSI controller's pleas to spin, while drive 1 was attempting to recover from a massive bit hemorrhage induced by a power failure on Monday evening at 5:30.

Tuesday morning, technicians attempted to perform an organ transplant. The donor S40 had been removed from life support and kept in storage for over a year, but by the time the drives had been removed and brought to the fourth floor it was too late to save the ailing JADNT. Both weakened drives had lost motor control leaving JADNT in a BIOS coma, gasping for a boot sector. On Friday morning, accompanied by faithful friends, the decision to pull the plug was made.

We will all fondly remember JADNT's famous lizards, and are saddened at the senseless loss of such data as troops.mov, the immensely useful and popular swiper and even its network attached Handspring cradle.

JADNT is survived by CDGU5, D2094REG2010 and JAD2K. It was preceded in death by CAMELOT, JOHN0S2 and 4680JAD. An open case viewing will be held throughout the weekend. Interment will be next week in a closet on third floor, where it is hoped that its RAID cage may some day help restore health to other Globalyst S40s.

top

I now have a better sig

plover plover writes  |  more than 12 years ago It won't get our company's IP address banned, either, Rupert.

John
Karma: Excellent (mostly affected by bribing CowboyNeal)

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?