mdsolar writes "The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today released transcripts and audio recordings made at the NRC Operations Center during last year's meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The release of these audio recordings comes at the request of the public radio program 'BURN: An Energy Journal,' and its host Alex Chadwick. The recordings show the inside workings of the U.S. government's highest level efforts to understand and deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis as the reactors meltdown. In the course of a week, the NRC is repeatedly alarmed that the situation may turn even more catastrophic. The NRC emergency staff discusses what to do — and what the consequences may be — as it learns that reactor containment safeguards are failing, and that spent fuel pools are boiling away their cooling water, and in one case perhaps catching fire."
redletterdave writes "Business networking site LinkedIn acquired Rapportive on Wednesday, which is a Gmail add-on that provides information about your social contacts as you e-mail them. The deal was reportedly already in place by Dec. 8, but Rapportive confirmed the acquisition on Wednesday in its company blog. Rapportive, which is still available over Gmail, adds an e-mailer's social networking accounts, including their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and overlays the information over open messages and e-mail drafts. Neither Rapportive nor LinkedIn would release the financial details of the acquisition, but sources close to the situation say the deal closed in the 'low teens' of millions of dollars."
eldavojohn writes "As the presidential race heats up, the smear ads on TV are also increasing. But Microsoft isn't going to site idly by and let the politicians engage in all that song and dance — and Microsoft really does employ both song and dance. Their Youtube channel appears to be slowly transforming from trade show videos and launches into a marketing attack or propaganda campaign that only targets Google (both videos I've watched seemed to have nothing positive about Microsoft in them). Under a month ago, they launched a spoof called GMail man, a creepy guy that flips through all your GMail and serves up super personal ads that are wrong (although they never say if Hotmail engages in targeted marketing). And a few days ago Googlighting shows up to spread fear and uncertainty about Google Docs. Most amusing to this viewer was that I found no such trace of 'Googlighting' on Bing's video service."
First time accepted submitter El Fantasmo writes "I work in public education, K-12, for a small, economically shaky, low performing school district. What are some good or effective tactics for getting budget controllers to stop bypassing the IT boss/department? We sometimes we end up with LOW end MS Win 7 Home laptops, that basically can't get on our network (internet only) or be managed. The purchaser refuses to return them for proper setups. Unfortunately, IT is currently under the 'asst. superintendent of curriculum and instruction,' who has no useful understanding of maintaining and acquiring IT resources and lets others make poor IT purchasing decisions, by bypassing the IT department, and dips into IT funds when their pet project budgets run low. How can this be reversed when you get commands like 'make it work' and the budget is effectively $0?"
First time accepted submitter RenderSeven writes "Manufacturing.net reports that U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement. AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it's also available in France. Consumers put one end of the canister in their mouths and breathe in, releasing a fine powder that dissolves almost instantly."
An anonymous reader writes "The KWin window manager maintainer for KDE is looking at removing the legacy OpenGL 1.0 renderer from the KWin code-base due to the costs of supporting legacy hardware. This means dropping support for non-GL2+ graphics cards, which are all over six years old, but in the process would mean that for now there is no longer any support for the AMD Catalyst driver on the KDE desktop. Due to driver bugs, AMD's proprietary Catalyst software only works well with the GL1 renderer even though their latest hardware supports OpenGL 4."
mattr writes "Japan's Obayashi Corp. has announced plans to build a space elevator by 2050. They are famous for wrecking skylines with the over-sized bullet train station in Kyoto, the world's tallest self-supporting tower Tokyo Sky Tree and just recently, the beginnings of the Taipei Dome. It will take a week at 200 kph for your party of 30 to reach the 36,000-km-high terminal station, while the counterweight [swings along at] 96 km high, a quarter of the way to the Moon."
dcblogs writes "The European Commission last week said it is doubling its multi-year investment in the push for exascale computing from €630 million to €1.2 billion (or the equivalent of $1.58 billion). They are making this a priority even as austerity measures are imposed to prevent defaults. China, meanwhile, has a five-year plan to deliver exascale computing between 2016-20 (PDF). The Europeans announced the plan the same week the White House released its fiscal year 2013 budget, which envisions a third year of anemic funding to develop exascale technologies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy science budget asked for nearly $91 million in funding for the efforts in the current fiscal year; it received $73.4 million. DOE science is trying for about $90 million for exascale for 2013. There's more funding tucked in military and security budgets. The U.S. wants exascale around 2018, but it has yet to deliver a plan or the money for it."
New submitter egparedes points out a post dissecting webOS and highlighting the things it did right, in the hopes that developers for other mobile operating systems will use them as inspiration. Quoting: "webOS isn't quite dead yet. It's just being open-sourced, which, when it happens to commercial software, often turns out to be the digital equivalent of being reanimated as a walking corpse in a George Romero movie. ... Of course, it's not assured that this is the end of webOS. Maybe open-sourcing it will be the best thing that ever happened to webOS. But maybe it just means that HP doesn't care anymore, and that webOS won't receive much attention anymore. This would be unfortunate, because webOS is one of the few current mobile operating systems that are actually a joy to use. It's been hurt by HP's incompetent management, rather than any egregious faults of its own. The least we can do now is to keep its best ideas alive, even if webOS itself won't make it."
An anonymous reader writes "In hopes of protecting the children of California from the ravages of violent video games, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to push through a law that would fine retailers $1000 for each infraction of selling a violent game to an underage child. However, in the wake of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, California is now forced to pay the legal fees of all parties to the tune of two million dollars."
OverTheGeicoE writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been examining the White House's proposed budget for Department of Homeland Security for 2013, and they point out that it doesn't include any money for additional airport body scanners for TSA. Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment? Does the executive branch finally understand the questionable safety and effectiveness of these devices? Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?"
caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."
The Bad Astronomer writes "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing '2012 Climate Strategy' document stating that Heartland wants to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science.' Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."
nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed Ubuntu running on a smartphone — but the open source developer hasn't squashed the full desktop onto a tiny screen. Instead, the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side, picking which to surface depending on the form factor. When a device — in the demo, it was a Motorola Atrix — is being used as a smartphone, it uses Android. When it's docked into a laptop or desktop setup, the full version of Ubuntu is used. Files, apps and other functionality such as voice calls and texting are shared between the two — for example, if a text message is sent to the phone when it's docked, the SMS pops up in Ubuntu, while calls can be received or made from the desktop." ZDnet has pictures; ExtremeTech has a story, too, including some words from Canonical CEO Jane Silber.
theodp writes "'As a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm,' boasts the billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, 'we raise philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then use those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.' One recipient of the NewSchools' largesse is The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which received a $5,300,000 NewSchools 'investment', as well as a $1,425,000 grant from NewSchools donor Bill Gates. One way that Noble Street College Prep has been transforming education, reports the Chicago Tribune, is by making students pay the price — literally — for breaking the smallest of rules (sample infractions). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Noble after a FOIA filing revealed the charter collected almost $190,000 in discipline 'fees' — not 'fines' — last year from its mostly low-income students, saying the ironically exempt-from-most-district-rules charter school gets 'incredible' results and parents don't have to send their children there. Beyond the Noble case, some are asking a bigger question: Should billionaires rule our schools?"