derekmead writes "It only took 40 years. And yes, Washington still disputes Hanoi's claim that up to 4 million Vietnamese suffered contact with the defoliant, which was dumped en masse in a U.S. air campaign to scorch away the dense jungle cover under which guerilla fighters hid. But the AP reports that the U.S. is finally set to start cleaning up the mess. The numbers are staggering: Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed some 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and a galaxy of other herbicides on nearly a quarter of former South Vietnam. The defoliant ate through about 5 millions acres – a tract comparable in size to Massachusetts – of forest. An additional half-million acres of crops were decimated."
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Ian Lamont writes "LendInk, a community for people interesting in using the lending features of the Kindle and Nook, has been shut down after some authors mistakenly thought the site was hosting pirated ebooks. The site brought together people who wanted to loan or borrow specific titles that are eligible for lending, and then sent them to Amazon or BarnesAndNoble.com to make the loans. Authors and publishers who were unaware of this feature of the Kindle and Nook, and/or mistakenly assumed the site was handing out pirated copies, were infuriated. LendInk's hosting company received hundreds of complaints and shut the site down. LendInk's owner says: 'The hosting company has offered to reinstate Lendink.com on the condition that I personally respond to all of the complaints individually. I have to say, I really do not know if it is worth the effort at this point. I have read the comments many of these people have posted and I don't think any form of communication will resolve the issues in their eyes. Most are only interested in getting money from me and others are only in it for the kill. They have no intentions of talking to me or working this out. So much for trying to start a business and live the American Dream.'"
chill writes "People have been discussing the raid on the Dotcom mansion for months, but now more details and video footage of that morning have begun to emerge from the trial. From the article: 'At 6.46am on January 20, the raid was underway. The helicopter carrying members of the elite special tactics group flew into the Coatesville home of Dotcom. "Ground units, Gates are open," someone says into the radio. Dotcom's pregnant wife their three children, some guests and about a dozen staff were also there. All is quiet below. Within seconds four armed members of the special tactics group ran towards the main door. The helicopter immediately took off. The main justification for using it at all was that Dotcom's security staff could have stopped police vehicles at the gates. But as the chopper flew out, ground forces were already arriving just seconds behind.'"
First time accepted submitter sohmc writes "Some time ago, Google admitted that the biggest threat was not other search engines but services like Siri. However, Google just bridged that gap with Google Voice Search, already available in Jelly Bean, but also available via downloadable app. Google also submitted this app to the iOS App Store and is currently waiting approval. However, Slashdotters are no doubt recalling to mind the 'Google Voice' fiasco, in which Apple refused to allow it to appear, saying that it replaces a native function. It wasn't until Apple was brought before Congress to answer questions on how it approves or rejects apps that Google Voice was brought in."
mvdwege writes "In the thread on the most depressing sci-fi, there were hundreds of posts but merely four mentions of John Brunner, dystopian writer par excellence. Now, given the normally U.S. libertarian bent of the Slashdot audience, it is understandable that an outright British Socialist writer like Brunner would get short shrift, but it got me thinking: what Sci-fi writers do you know that are, in your opinion, vastly underappreciated?"
itwbennett writes "One blog post at a time, SUSE is revealing its plan for getting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) to boot on machines with UEFI Secure Boot. The short version: 'For now, it seems, SLES will implement an approach similar to that used by Fedora,' writes Brian Proffitt. '[Director of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Olaf] Kirch's first blog entry on Tuesday merely introduced the problem of UEFI Secure Boot. Today's blog only specified the use of the shim bootloader.' Just dying to know what's next? Tune in to the SUSE blog."
An anonymous reader writes "A U.S. government report released on Tuesday says the Federal Communications Commission needs to update its guidelines for limiting cell phone radio-frequency exposure. The limit was set in 1996 to an exposure rate of 1.6 watts per kilogram, and has not been updated since. The report does not advocate in favor of any particular research, and actually points out that the limit could possibly be raised, but says the FCC's rules have not kept pace with recent studies on the subject one way or the other. An executive for The Wireless Association said, 'The FCC has been vigilant in its oversight in this area and has set safety standards to make sure that radio frequency fields from wireless phones remain at what it has determined are safe levels. The FCC's safety standards include a 50-fold safety factor and, as the FCC has noted, are the most conservative in the world.'"
gollum123 sends this excerpt from CNN: "The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said. In addition, the seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said. U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. And the past 12 months have been the warmest of any such period on record, topping a mark set between July 2011 and this past June. Every U.S. state except Washington experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, NOAA reported."
lga writes "Valve announced today in a press release that they are expanding Steam beyond games and will start to deliver other software. This means that Steam will compete directly with Microsoft's Windows Store and perhaps explains some of Gabe Newell's disdain for Windows 8. The ability to save documents to Steam Cloud space also brings Valve into competition with the likes of Dropbox and Skydrive. According to the press release, 'The Software titles coming to Steam range from creativity to productivity. Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you.'"
theodp writes "Back in the day, getting traction for a new programming language was next to impossible. First, one needed a textbook publishing deal. Then, one needed a critical mass of CS profs across the country to convince their departments that your language was worth teaching at the university level. And after that, one still needed a critical mass of students to agree it was worth spending their time and tuition to learn your language. Which probably meant that one needed a critical mass of corporations to agree they wanted their employees to use your language. It was a tall order that took years if one was lucky, and only some languages — FORTRAN, PL/I, C, Java, and Python come to mind — managed to succeed on all of these fronts. But that was then, this is now. Whip up some online materials, and you can kiss your textbook publishing worries goodbye. Manage to convince just one of the new Super Profs at Udacity or Coursera to teach your programming language, and they can reach 160,000 students with just one free, not-for-credit course. And even if the elite Profs turn up their nose at your creation, upstarts like Khan Academy or Code Academy can also deliver staggering numbers of students in a short time. In theory, widespread adoption of a new programming language could be achieved in weeks instead of years or decades, piquing employers' interest. So, could we be on the verge of a programming language renaissance? Or will the status quo somehow manage to triumph?"
An anonymous reader writes "Mexico has so far slaughtered eight million chickens and vaccinated 66 million more in an effort to contain a bird flu outbreak in the west of the country, officials said Tuesday. The country's agriculture ministry had identified the diseased chickens during the vaccination process in the Los Altos region of Jalisco state, which led to the destruction of the H7N3-carrying birds."
colinneagle writes "Living in the U.S., one of my greatest regrets is that I can't watch BBC video with iPlayer. If I were living in the U.K., I'd feel the same away about not being able to watch shows on Hulu. But, with a Web proxy or a virtual private network (VPN) and an IP address in a country where the content is available, you can watch these shows. Technically, it's easy to set your browser up to use a Web proxy or VPN software. With a Web proxy and Windows XP, for example, you just go to Internet Options, click the Connections tab, and then click LAN Settings. Next, under Proxy server you click to select the 'Use a proxy server for your LAN' check box. Finally, you enter the IP address of the proxy server and in the Port box, type the IP number that is used by the proxy server for client connections—that's usually 8080. It's usually pretty simple to do that in any browser and operating system. There are also programs, such as Proxy Switchy, for Chrome that makes it easy to switch from one proxy to another in a single session. When you use a proxy, though, all your traffic is still open to network administrators. If you want to visit another country and watch their TV in privacy, you'll need a VPN."
whitroth tips a story at The Atlantic by James Kwak, who bemoans the poor quality of software underpinning so many important industries. He points out that while user-facing software is often well-polished, the code running supply chains, production lines, and financial markets is rarely so refined. From the article: "The underlying problem here is that most software is not very good. Writing good software is hard. There are thousands of opportunities to make mistakes. More importantly, it's difficult if not impossible to anticipate all the situations that a software program will be faced with, especially when — as was the case for both UBS and Knight — it is interacting with other software programs that are not under your control. It's difficult to test software properly if you don't know all the use cases that it's going to have to support. There are solutions to these problems, but they are neither easy nor cheap. You need to start with very good, very motivated developers. You need to have development processes that are oriented toward quality, not some arbitrary measure of output."
wiredmikey writes "Despite its significant user base within enterprises, BlackBerry devices have managed to stay off the radar for malware writers. That may be ending, as four new Zeus-in-the-mobile (Zitmo) samples targeting BlackBerry users in Germany, Spain, and Italy have been found. Zitmo, which hit Android devices back in July 2011, refers to a version of the Zeus malware that specifically targets mobile devices. Denis Maslennikov, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, also identified a new Zitmo variant for Android using the same command and control (C&C) numbers as the BlackBerry versions. While previous Android variants have been primitive, the latest .apk dropper, which shows up as an app 'Zertifikat,' looks 'more similar to "classic" Zitmo,' he said. When executed, it displays a message in German that the installation was successful, along with an activation code. The Android sample also included a self-issued certificate that indicates it was developed less than a month ago."
TheNextCorner writes "With more data moving into the cloud, there is an increasing danger of data loss when one of these cloud computing data centers fails. Hurricanes pose a real threat to infrastructure located in Virginia and North Carolina, where Google, Apple & Facebook have opened large data centers. 'Where would the most damaging hit be? It's debatable, but the most detrimental hit may be in Virginia. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has one of their major centers in Northern Virginia. ... In a study involving millions of people, a third of those surveyed reported visiting a website every day that used Amazon's infrastructure. In 2011, Amazon's S3 cloud stored 762 billion objects. It's possible that Amazon's cloud alone holds an entire 1% of the Internet.' Could a category 5 Hurricane become a problem for these cloud data centers and take down parts the Internet?"