Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 4 min 26 sec ago

Oklahoma Earthquakes Are a National Security Threat

Sun, 25/10/2015 - 1:25pm
An anonymous reader writes: A Bloomberg article makes the case that the U.S. must consider the earthquake situation in Oklahoma a national security threat. The town of Cushing, OK is small — fewer than 10,000 people. But enough oil is stored there at times to eclipse the entire U.S. daily usage. "The oil in Cushing props up the $179 billion in West Texas Intermediate futures and options contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange." In the wake of the September 11th attacks, government officials posted guards near the giant storage facilities; they're that important to the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, the rising seismic activity in Oklahoma is putting those tanks at risk. The article argues that if a terrorist attack would threaten national security, so must an equally devastating natural disaster. This raises major questions for the legality of fracking, which has been linked to the increased number of earthquakes striking Oklahoma over the past decade. "Last month the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees oil and gas, ordered wells within three miles to shut down entirely and those between three and six miles from the town to reduce their volume by 25 percent."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS Wi-Fi Assist

Sun, 25/10/2015 - 12:22pm
An anonymous reader writes: A class-action suit has been filed against Apple in U.S. District Court over Wi-Fi Assist being turned on by default in iOS 9. Wi-Fi Assist is designed to switch to cellular data when a user is trying to perform an action over the internet on a poor Wi-Fi signal. This has the natural side effect of using cellular data. Since iOS 9 turned it on for many users, they weren't necessarily expecting that extra use, causing some of them to exceed their data caps. A former Apple employee who was in a leadership position for Mac OS X Wi-Fi software has commented on the issue, saying that the Wi-Fi Assist mess was unavoidable given how Apple's management treats that part of the business. Quoting :"[O]ne particular directorial edict which I pushed back against at the end of my tenure sticks out as not just particularly telling, but deeply misguided: 'Make it self-healing.' Self healing in this context meaning that the networking system, Wi-Fi in particular, should try to correct problems that caused the network to fail, which, if you have spent any time trying to diagnose networking issues is a clear misunderstanding of the issues involved. ... Asking the devices which connect to this vast complex network of networks to detect, and then transparently fix problems in the infrastructure without the permission of the administrators is, well, it's absolutely the pinnacle of buzzword driven product management. Real pointy-haired boss territory."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Engineers Create the Blackest Material Yet

Sun, 25/10/2015 - 9:32am
schwit1 writes: Researchers have created the least reflective material ever made, using as inspiration the scales on the all-white cyphochilus beetle. The result was an extremely tiny nanoparticle rod resting on an equally tiny nanoparticle sphere (30 nm diameter) which was able to absorb approximately 98 to 99 percent of the light in the spectrum between 400 and 1,400nm, which meant it was able to absorb approximately 26 percent more light than any other known material — and it does so from all angles and polarizations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Comet Lovejoy Giving Away Alcohol

Sun, 25/10/2015 - 6:13am writes: Comet Lovejoy lived up to its name by releasing large amounts of alcohol as well as a type of sugar into space, according to new observations by an international team. The discovery marks the first time ethyl alcohol, the same type in alcoholic beverages, has been observed in a comet. The finding adds to the evidence that comets could have been a source of the complex organic molecules necessary for the emergence of life. 'We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,' said Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, France, lead author of a paper on the discovery published Oct. 23 in Science Advances. The team found 21 different organic molecules in gas from the comet, including ethyl alcohol and glycolaldehyde, a simple sugar. Comets are frozen remnants from the formation of our solar system. Scientists are interested in them because they are relatively pristine and therefore hold clues to how the solar system was made. Most orbit in frigid zones far from the sun. However, occasionally, a gravitational disturbance sends a comet closer to the sun, where it heats up and releases gases, allowing scientists to determine its composition.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.