December 22nd, 2014 12:00 View Comments
First time accepted submitter Andrio writes In an unprecedented decision, an Argentine court has ruled that the Sumatran orangutan ‘Sandra’, who has spent 20 years at the zoo in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, should be recognized as a person with a right to freedom. The ruling, signed by the judges unanimously, would see Sandra freed from captivity and transferred to a nature sanctuary in Brazil after a court recognized the primate as a “non-human person” which has some basic human rights. The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal.” A similar case involving chimpanzees failed to provide “non-human person” status here in the U.S. earlier this month.
December 22nd, 2014 12:16 View Comments
December 22nd, 2014 12:32 View Comments
An anonymous reader writes The TSA has gathered an impressive pile of confiscated weapons this year. In early November the agency had already discovered 1,855 firearms at checkpoints. In addition to guns, they’ve also collected machetes, hatchets, swords, giant scissors, brass knuckles, cannonballs, bear repellent and, this past October, an unloaded cannon. “Maybe someone has a lucky inert grenade they brought back from some war, or a nice cane was given to them and they forgot that the thing is actually a sword,” said Jeff Price, author of Practical Aviation Security, “It’s the people that are carrying stuff like chainsaws that make me wonder.”
December 22nd, 2014 12:10 View Comments
An anonymous reader writes Researchers say that the different colors of the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park are caused by human contamination. From the article: “Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus. If Yellowstone National Park is a geothermal wonderland, Grand Prismatic Spring and its neighbors are the ebullient envoys, steaming in front of the camera and gracing the Internet with their ethereal beauty. While the basic physical phenomena that render these colorful delights have long been scientifically understood—they arise because of a complicated interplay of underwater vents and lawns of bacteria—no mathematical model existed that showed empirically how the physical and chemical variables of a pool relate to their optical factors and coalesce in the unique, stunning fashion that they do.”
December 22nd, 2014 12:48 View Comments
An anonymous reader writes South Korea’s nuclear operator has been targeted in a cyber-attack, with hackers threatening people to ‘stay away’ from three of the country’s nuclear reactors should they not cease operations by Christmas. The stolen data is thought to be non-critical information, and both the company and state officials have assured that the reactors are safe. However, KHNP has said that it will be conducting a series of security drills over the next two days at four power plants to ensure they can all withstand a cyber-attack. The hacks come amid accusations by the U.S. that North Korea may be responsible for the punishing hack on Sony Pictures. Concerns have mounted that Pyongyang may initiate cyber strikes against industrial and social targets in the U.S. and South Korea.
December 22nd, 2014 12:04 View Comments
An anonymous reader points out this story at The Atlantic about new research and approaches in the science of discipline. “At the end of a gravel road in the Chippewa National Forest of northern Minnesota, a group of camp counselors have gathered to hear psychotherapist Tina Bryson speak about neuroscience, mentorship, and camping. She is in Minnesota by invitation of the camp. Chippewa is at the front of a movement to bring brain science to bear on the camping industry; she keynoted this past year’s American Camping Association annual conference. As Bryson speaks to the counselors gathered for training, she emphasizes one core message: At the heart of effective discipline is curiosity—curiosity on the part of the counselors to genuinely understand and respect what the campers are experiencing while away from home….She is part of a progressive new group of scientists, doctors, and psychologists whose goal is ambitious, if not outright audacious: They want to redefine “discipline” in order to change our culture. They want to rewrite—or perhaps more precisely said, rewire—how we interact with kids, and they want us to understand that our decisions about parenting affect not only our children’s minds, but ours as well. So, we’re going to need to toss out our old discipline mainstays. Say goodbye to timeouts. So long spanking and other ritualized whacks. And cry-it-out sleep routines? Mercifully, they too can be a thing of the past. And yet, we can still help our children mature and grow. In fact, people like Bryson think we’ll do it better. If we are going to take seriously what science tells us about how we form relationships and how our mind develops, we will need to construct new strategies for parenting, and when we do, says this new group of researchers, we just may change the world.”
December 22nd, 2014 12:20 View Comments
dcblogs writes Texas Instruments says it has developed electronics capable of taking small amounts of power generated by harvested sources and turning them into a useful power source. TI has built an efficient ‘ultra-low powered’ DC-to-DC switching converter that can boost 300 to 400 millivolts power to 3 to 5 volts. To power wearables, the company says it has demonstrated drawing energy from the human body by using harvesters the size of wristwatch straps. It has worked with vibration collectors, for instance, about the same size as a key. It is offering this technology as a means to power sensors in Internet of Things applications, as well as to augment battery power supplies in wearables.
December 22nd, 2014 12:45 View Comments
An anonymous reader writes Author Graeme Reynolds found his novel withdrawn from Amazon because of excessive use of hyphens. He received an email from Amazon about his werewolf novel, High Moor 2: Moonstruck, because a reader had complained that there were too many hyphens. “When they ran an automated spell check against the manuscript they found that over 100 words in the 90,000-word novel contained that dreaded little line,” he says. “This, apparently ‘significantly impacts the readability of your book’ and, as a result, ‘We have suppressed the book because of the combined impact to customers.’”
December 22nd, 2014 12:35 View Comments
itwbennett writes “Without naming the group responsible, the Tor project warned that it could face attempts to incapacitate its network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers called directory authorities. These servers guide Tor users on the list of distributed relays on the network that bounce communications around. ‘We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use,’ wrote ‘arma’ in a post Friday on the Tor project blog. The ‘arma’ developer handle is generally associated with project leader Roger Dingledine. There were no reports of a seizure by late Sunday. The project promised to update the blog and its Twitter account with new information.”
December 22nd, 2014 12:51 View Comments
An anonymous reader writes The Telegraph reports, “GCHQ has lost track of some of the most dangerous crime lords and has had to abort surveillance on others after Edward Snowden revealed their tactics … The spy agency has suffered “significant” damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organized criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor. Intelligence officers are now blind to more than a quarter of the activities of the UK’s most harmful crime gangs after they changed their communications methods in the wake of the Snowden leaks. One major drug smuggling gang has been able to continue flooding the UK with Class A narcotics unimpeded for the last year after changing their operations. More intense tracking of others has either been abandoned or not started because of fears the tactics are now too easy to spot and will force the criminals to “go dark” and be lost sight of completely.”