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XKCD author invents time traveling book

by TheodoreSeeber at Quality: 

No, not quite what you'd expect, but it shows the power of the online bookseller pre-order.  XKCD comic author Randal Munroe announced a new popular science book, What If on his blog on Monday.  

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SpaceX getting it's legs.

by whitehat at Quality: 

As previously covered, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the fifth Dragon spacecraft on the third operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. On SpaceFlightNow's Tracking Page the mission is listed to launch March 16.

An important part of this launch will be testing it's legs for a possible return of the first stage for possible reuse.

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Radiolab: Neither Confirm Nor Deny

by DerekRhodes at Quality: 

How a sunken nuclear submarine, a crazy billionaire, and a mechanical claw gave birth to a phrase that has hounded journalists and lawyers for 40 years and embodies the tension between the public’s desire for transparency and the government’s need to keep secrets. 

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Doc Searles on our open vs. closed future

by d2 at Quality: 

Over at Linux Journal, Doc Searles talks about the conflict between content (Hollywood) and open source (Silicon Valley), and it's importance to the tinkering, hacking future.

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The Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

Fritz passes on: An Indian school dropout and inventor has invented a low-cost sanitary pad and its manufacturing machine which now provides a self-supporting business for many women. He did it against the wishes of everyone around him, even grossing out his own mum. BBC tells the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the "Menstrual Man". There's more coverage in the Pune (India) Mirror.

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DRM refuses to die - now coming to a coffee machine near you

by FatPhil at Quality: 

I'm sure, even if freshly ground is our preference, we're all familiar with single-serve coffee capsule machines. In an effort to recreate past decades, Keurig (Green Mountain Coffee Roasters), have decided that their capsules will contain DRM, to prevent third-party, often re-fillable, capsules from being used.

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Physicists Discover Way to Create"Most Puzzling Particle in the Universe"

by kevinwheelock at Quality: 

Top quarks are the heaviest and among the most puzzling elementary particles. They weigh even more than the Higgs boson – as much as an atom of gold – and only two machines have ever produced them: Fermilab’s Tevatron and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. There are several ways to produce them, as predicted by the theoretical framework known as the Standard Model, and the most common one was the first one discovered: a collision in which the strong nuclear force creates a pair consisting of a top quark and its antimatter cousin, the anti-top quark.

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Earth's oldest rock found in Australia.

by AutoMagically at Quality: 

From the article:

Ancient zircon crystals discovered in Western Australia have been positively dated to 4.374 billion years, confirming their place as the oldest rock ever found on Earth, according to a new study.

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Record breaking lunar impact.

by AutoMagically at Quality: 

From the article: 

A meteorite with the mass of a small car crashed into the Moon last September, according to Spanish astronomers. The impact, the biggest seen to date, produced a bright flash and would have been easy to spot from the Earth. The scientists publish their description of the event in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Mt. Gox offline and may have lost 350 million USD in bitcoin

by forand at Quality: 

There are confirmed accounts that Mt.Gox, which shutdown withdraws in early February, has closed and may have had around USD$350 million dollars stolen using a method which allowed the thieves to change transactions .

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Ruby 2.1.1 released

by Kurt Werle at Quality: 

Today, Feb. 24th, is the 21st anniversary of Ruby, so we happily announce a new patch release of Ruby 2.1, Ruby 2.1.1.

Ruby 2.1 has many improvements including speedup without severe incompatibilities. You can use this on Rails and some applications, and get more comfortable experience.

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Acetaminophen use during Pregnancy linked to ADHD

by ScottCooperDotNet at Quality: 

The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, has found that use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for HKDs [hyperkinetic disorders] and ADHD-like behaviors in children. More than half of all mothers in the study reported acetaminophen use while pregnant.

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Safari, Charter, and no doubt others are fixed now.

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

The way I read the RFC, relative URLs with schemes, of the form "http:/a/b" or "https:/a/b", are legal just like relative URLs without schemes like "/a/b". And relative URLs without schemes work everywhere. Relative URLs with schemes work on Chrome and Firefox.

But Safari and Charter's transparent proxy don't agree. Which broke this site for some users. And thus I fixed it so that full URLs are sent with protocol, host name, and path, no relative URLs.

So, did I hit some poorly-known and poorly-implemented corner of the HTTP RFCs, or am I reading them wrong?

There is still some programming to be done before I _promote_ this site. Pretty few users on hand until then. Hold on, it should get better.

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Safari Broken

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

Safari doesn't like relative links with schemes, while Firefox and Chrome do. It looks to me like Safari isn't following the RFC, but I will fix this by Monday evening.

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What Will Happen to California This Summer?

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

Many people don't realize yet that California's worst-ever drought now in progress is going to a full-scale disaster this summer. California gets its water mostly from mountain snowpack deposited in the winter, that melts throughout the summer. Water is piped from Northern California to Southern, where there are many water-import-dependent farms on what would otherwise be dry prairie or desert. This year, there is essentially no snowpack so far, and Southern California farmers have been told by the state that they won't get any water. Many farmers have responded in what is probably the only sensible way: by seeding no crops this year.

California is the largest farm state in the U.S. Food cost around the nation can be expected to skyrocket. Idling of so many farms will put more people out of work. Last years tremendous fires might end up looking small compared to this year, and the economic effect of that will be huge, too. Effects will ripple to all of California's industries, and to the nation.

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Anonymous Cowards and the Broken Windows Theory

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

Pretty much everyone can get an anonymous email account these days, for example on gmail, and post on weblogs using a handle. You are no more identifiable that way than if you post as an anonymous coward on Slashdot. However, you can build a reputation and people know that they are talking to one particular anonymous person rather than the generic "Anonymous Coward" who is many people.

The problem with Anonymous Cowards as on Slashdot is that with no reputation, it is very tempting to act as a vandal. There is no penalty but down-moderation, and the vandal knows that some portion of readers will still click on the title of a down-modded posting from curiousity (or perhaps even because they enjoy wallowing in dirt). Thus, the vandal is rewarded with readership.

The Broken Windows Theory is a well-tested criminological theory of the norm-setting and signalling effect of vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. A car left with a broken window is much more likely to be put on blocks and its wheels removed in a short time. A similar car with no broken window is likely to be untouched. Applying this to blogs, if vandals are allowed to make a mess, more vandals will be incented to do so.

I think this explains why Slashdot has always been so scruffy. If you look at yesterday's article there about the death of a well-thought-of programmer, there are some wildly inappropriate comments. The behavior of the people who write there follows what they read, and the norm is for anonymous people to write any stupid offensive thing. So, the people with handles will write that way too.

This is a place for you to be better, and thus there are no ACs.

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Dropbox announces government data request principles

by stonedot at Quality: 

In an e-mail sent to users today, Dropbox announced upcoming updates to their terms of service and privacy policies. Of particular interest, however, is their clear stance on governmental information requests. They claim to be fighting for more precise disclosures and against blanket requests, and to keep from having to install back doors. Of course it is encouraging to hear these things. But how, as users, can we be sure that this isn't just talk?

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Reviving Groklaw

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

I want Groklaw back.

PJ gave us more than we ever had any right to ask of her and put up with some serious abuse. She's retired from this, that is final. Farewell.

However, it makes zero sense that we've gone since August without anyone credible stepping up to operate another Groklaw. We need what that site did.

I was never a significant Groklaw author and am the wrong person to lead this. I can lend a hand, whatever credibility I have, resources, etc. I work on legal issues of Open Source all day and sometimes have to recuse myself from discussing them. I have already lost big bucks because an expert witness client felt that my blog writing would make me impeachable on the stand.

What shall we do? Who do we need? What software? What resources?

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Please try login and registration again

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

Those of you who have been having trouble with login and/or registration, please try it again now. Any problems, email bruce at perens dot com.

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Adding FQ_CODEL to Servers to Fight Bufferbloat

by Bruce Perens at Quality: 

FQ_CODEL (pronounced "Coddle") is a new, knobs-free routing queue discipline that fights bufferbloat. Bufferbloat causes chaotic and laggy network performance, and right now it's everywhere so it's worth fighting. Here's how I've set it up on my Linux servers.

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