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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75" - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 8:12md writes Ezekiel J. Emanuel, director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health, writes at The Atlantic that there is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. "It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic." Emanuel says that he is isn't asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening his life but is talking about the kind and amount of health care he will consent to after 75. "Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won't actively end my life. But I won't try to prolong it, either." Emanuel says that Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. "I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Konstantinos Margaritis: EfikaMX updated wheezy and jessie images available

Planet Debian - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 7:38md

A while ago, I promised to some people in forum that I would provide bootable armhf images for wheezy but most importantly for jessie with an updated kernel. After a delay -I did have the images ready and working, but had to clean them up a bit- I decided to publish them here first.

So, here are the images: (559MB) (635MB)

SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 7:29md
Zothecula writes The internet has become a critical means of communication during humanitarian crises and a crucial everyday tool for people around the world. Now, a Portuguese company wants to make sure everyone has access to it. Quarkson plans to use SkyOrbiter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to transmit internet access "to every corner of the world."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jan Schmidt: Mysterious Parcel

Planet GNOME - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:51md

I received a package in the mail today!

Everything arrived all nicely packaged up in a hobby box and ready for assembly.

Lots of really interesting goodies in the box!

After a little while, I’ve got the first part together.

The rest will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, have fun guessing what it is, and enjoy this picture of a cake I baked on the weekend:

See you later!

Google Partners With HTC For Latest Nexus Tablet - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:47md
Rambo Tribble writes The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is partnering with HTC for its upcoming 9-inch Nexus tablet. Shunning larger manufacturers like Samsung, speculation is that Google is trying to mitigate the effects of market dominance by one firm. When asked for comment, a Google spokesperson only responded, "There's room for many partners to do well and to innovate with Android."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Friendly Reminder: Do Not Place Your IPhone In a Microwave - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:29md
Nerval's Lobster writes Placing your iPhone in the microwave will destroy the phone, and possibly the microwave. While that might seem obvious to some people, others have fallen for the "Wave" hoax making its way around online. The fake advertisement insists that the new iOS 8 allows users to charge their iPhones by placing them in a "household microwave for a minute and a half." Microwave energy will not charge your smartphone. To the contrary, it will scorch the device and render it inoperable. If you nuke your smartphone and subsequently complain about it online, people will probably make fun of you. (If you want a full list of things not to place in a microwave, no matter how pretty the flames, check this out.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Luis de Bethencourt: Now Samsung @ London

Planet GNOME - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:22md

I just moved back to Europe, this time to foggy London town, to join the Open Source Group at Samsung. Where I will be contributing upstream to GStreamer and WebKit/Blink during the day and ironically mocking the local hipsters at night.

After 4 years with Collabora it is sad to leave behind the talented and enjoyable people I've grown fond of there, but it's time to move on to the next chapter in my life. The Open Source Group is a perfect fit: contribute upstream, participate in innovative projects and be active in the Open Source community. I am very excited for this new job opportunity and to explore new levels of involvement in Open Source.

I am going to miss Montreal. It's very particular joie de vivre. Will miss the poutine, not the winter.

For all of those in London, I will be joining the next GNOME Beers event or let me know if you want to meet up for a coffee/pint.

Luis de Bethencourt: Now Samsung @ London

Planet UBUNTU - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:18md

I just moved back to Europe, this time to foggy London town, to join the Open Source Group at Samsung. Where I will be contributing upstream to GStreamer and WebKit/Blink during the day and ironically mocking the local hipsters at night.

After 4 years with Collabora it is sad to leave behind the talented and enjoyable people I've grown fond of there, but it's time to move on to the next chapter in my life. The Open Source Group is a perfect fit: contribute upstream, participate in innovative projects and be active in the Open Source community. I am very excited for this new job opportunity and to explore new levels of involvement in Open Source.

I am going to miss Montreal. It's very particular joie de vivre. Will miss the poutine, not the winter.

For all of those in London, I will be joining the next GNOME Beers event or let me know if you want to meet up for a coffee/pint.

Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 6:05md
KentuckyFC writes It's not just star systems and galaxies that have habitable zones--regions where conditions are suitable for life to evolve. Astrophysicists have now identified the entire universe's habitable zones. Their approach starts by considering the radiation produced by gamma ray bursts in events such as the death of stars and the collisions between black holes and so on. Astrobiologists have long known that these events are capable of causing mass extinctions by stripping a planet of its ozone layer and exposing the surface to lethal levels of radiation. The likelihood of being hit depends on the density of stars, which is why the center of galaxies are thought to be inhospitable to life. The new work focuses on the threat galaxies pose to each other, which turns out to be considerable when they are densely packed together. Astronomers know that the distribution of galaxies is a kind of web-like structure with dense knots of them connected by filaments interspersed with voids where galaxies are rare. The team says that life-friendly galaxies are most likely to exist in the low density regions of the universe in the voids and filaments of the cosmic web. The Milky Way is in one of these low density regions with Andromeda too far away to pose any threat. But conditions might not be so life friendly in our nearest knot of galaxies called the Virgo supercluster."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Charles Butler: Juju + Digital Ocean = Awesome!

Planet UBUNTU - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 5:35md

Syndicators, there is a video above that may not have made it into syndication. Visit the source link to view the video.

Juju on Digital Ocean, WOW! That's all I have to say. Digital Ocean is one of the fastest cloud hosts around with their SSD backed virtual machines. To top it off their billing is a no-nonsense straight forward model. $5/mo for their lowest end server, with 1TB of included traffic. That's enough to scratch just about any itch you might have with the cloud.

Speaking of scratching itches, if you haven't checked out Juju yet, now you have a prime, low cost cloud provider to toe the waters. Spinning up droplets with Juju is very straight forward, and offers you a hands on approach to service orchestration thats affordable enough for a weekend hacker to whet their appetite. Not to mention, Juju is currently the #1 project on their API Integration listing!

In about 11 minutes, we will go from zero to deployed infrastructure for a scale-out blog (much like the one you're reading right now).

Links in Video:

Juju Docean Github -
Juju Documentation -
Juju CharmStore -
Kapil Thangavelu -
The Juju Community Members on DO -

Text Instructions Below:


  • A Recent Ubuntu Installation (12.04 +)
  • A CreditCard (for DO)
Install Juju sudo add-apt-repository ppa:juju/stable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install juju Install Juju-Docean Plugin sudo apt-get install python-pip sudo pip install juju-docean juju generate-config Generate an SSH Key ssh-keygen cat ~/.ssh/ Setup DO API Credentials in Environment vim ~/.bashrc

You'll want the following exports in $HOME/.bashrc


Then source the file so its in our current, active session.

source ~/.bashrc Setup Environment and Bootstrap

vim ~/.juju/environments.yaml

Place the following lines in the environments.yaml, under the environments: key (indented 4 spaces) - ENSURE you use 4 spaces per indentation block, NOT a TAB key.

digitalocean: type: manual bootstrap-host: null bootstrap-user: root Switch to the DigitalOcean environment, and bootstrap juju switch digitalocean juju docean bootstrap

Now you're free to add machines with constraints.

juju docean add-machine -n 3 --constraints="mem=2g region=nyc3" --series=precise

And deploy our infrastructure:

juju deploy ghost juju deploy mysql juju deploy haproxy juju add-relation ghost mysql juju add-relation ghost haproxy juju expose haproxy

From here, pull the status off the HAProxy node, copy/paste the public-address into your browser and revel in your brand new Ghost blog deployed on Digital Ocean's blazing fast SSD servers.

Caveats to Juju DigitalOcean as of Sept. 2014:

These are important things to keep in mind as you move forward. This is a beta project. Evaluate the following passages for quick fixes to known issues, and warnings.

Not all charms have been tested on DO, and you may find missing libraries. Most notably python-yaml on charms that require it. Most "install failed" charms is due to missing python-yaml.

A quick hotseat fix is:

juju ssh service/# sudo apt-get install python-yaml exit juju resolved -r service/#

And then file a bug against the culprit charm that it's missing a dependency for Digital Ocean.

While this setup is amazingly cheap, and works really well, the Docean plugin provider should be considered beta software, as Hazmat is still actively working on it.

All in all, this is a great place to get started if you're willing to invest a bit of time working with a manual environment. Juju's capable orchestration will certainly make most if not all of your deployments painless, and bring you to scaling nirvana.

Happy Orchestrating!

Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences? - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 5:23md
An anonymous reader writes I wanted to get your opinion on who should pay the costs associated with attending conferences. In the past, I've covered costs associated with attending some local (in town) conferences, but despite claims to be willing to cover some costs associated with conferences, training, and certifications, my requests have been denied. The short version is I would like to attend a national conference, hosted in Las Vegas, and that while specific to a technology, it is what 90% of my day is related to so its directly work related. My employer has declined to pay some of the costs associated with the conference, but has said if I pay my way, they will pay for the training associated with it. Since this is a pretty hot technology, I'm very interested in getting certified and appreciate their offer. I should add that I work for a public entity and due to some fairly public issues, we have enjoyed record levels of funding the past couple of years. We know that they cannot afford to continue so we're about to start a multi-year decrease in our budget. My current thoughts are: First, I was working for a company where we faced potential layoffs, getting as close as to within 24 hours of one. Even just having some job security is extremely appreciated. Second, I work in a WONDERFUL environment. They aren't clock punchers, its about getting the job done. We're not micromanaged and have freedom to try new things. For the public sector, I know those are rare things and I appreciate them. Third, I work on a very talented team. I am probably the weakest member, so for me its a perfect learning/growth opportunity. Finally, its not my employer saying the conference isn't important, its looking at the bottom line and that we are a public entity so its not like we can easily raise more money. Tough decisions must be made. For this particular conference, I decided to try and save up my own money. Unfortunately, my personal life has gotten in the way, so I've resorted to begging. My problem with this is I hate begging, but what am I going to do for future conferences? So should I re-think my acceptance of my employers policy and start looking for a new job? Obviously, it is a personal decision, but I don't have a mentor or close friends to act as sounding boards, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 4:42md
An anonymous reader writes "Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes at The Week, "If you ask most people what science is, they will give you an answer that looks a lot like Aristotelian 'science' — i.e., the exact opposite of what modern science actually is. Capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. And science is something that cannot possibly be understood by mere mortals. It delivers wonders. It has high priests. It has an ideology that must be obeyed. This leads us astray. ... Countless academic disciplines have been wrecked by professors' urges to look 'more scientific' by, like a cargo cult, adopting the externals of Baconian science (math, impenetrable jargon, peer-reviewed journals) without the substance and hoping it will produce better knowledge. ... This is how you get people asserting that 'science' commands this or that public policy decision, even though with very few exceptions, almost none of the policy options we as a polity have have been tested through experiment (or can be). People think that a study that uses statistical wizardry to show correlations between two things is 'scientific' because it uses high school math and was done by someone in a university building, except that, correctly speaking, it is not. ... This is how you get the phenomenon ... thinking science has made God irrelevant, even though, by definition, religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them. ... It also means that for all our bleating about 'science' we live in an astonishingly unscientific and anti-scientific society. We have plenty of anti-science people, but most of our 'pro-science' people are really pro-magic (and therefore anti-science). "

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Update: Mangalyaan's Main Engine Test Fired, Maven In Orbit - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 4:21md
William Robinson writes Before the spacecraft is scheduled to enter Mars orbit, Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) scientists reignited the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft's main engine for four seconds as a trial. The liquid apogee motor (LAM) engine has been idle for about 300 days since the spacecraft left the Earth's orbit on a Martian trajectory on December 1, 2013. The short-duration test was to ensure that the engine is in good shape for the 24-minute crucial maneuver on Wednesday." In other Mars mission updates, NASA's Maven spacecraft arrived at Mars late Sunday after a 442 million-mile journey that began nearly a year ago.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Carlos Garnacho: GNOME 3.14 approaching

Planet GNOME - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 4:05md

With 3.14 almost out of the door, it seems like a good opportunity to blow the cobwebs of this blog and highlight some shiny new features I was involved in during this cycle:

Gesture support in GTK+

It’s finally happening :), GTK+ 3.14 brings in infrastructure to handle gestures. Maybe the word “gesture” is automatically associated to “multitouch”, but actually this infrastructure is meant to deal with all kinds of pointer/touch input, and as such is used fairly intensively now within GTK+ itself, so even mouse users will be unknowingly using this.

These gesture objects are of course readily available for applications too. Individually, these are quite simple in essence, but can be easily stitched together to compound higher-level behavior. So far, eog and evince (and by extension gnome-documents) have bitten the bullet and now handle some of the gestures you’d expect on touchscreens there, the API documentation and HowDoI are available for anyone wanting to follow.

Gesture support in gnome-shell

Just to feed the cabal claiming that gnome-shell is designed for tablets, I also managed this cycle to add gesture infrastructure in mutter, so it is able to pre-process touch events before applications do, these events are then handled through ClutterGestureActions, or “rejected” and eventually handled by the application. This has been put to use in gnome-shell, making some actions readily available through multitouch.

Edge swipes

Showing the overview

Switching workspaces

Switching apps in a workspace

Note: Recorded with the help of this, bug #732367 is yet another 3.16 todo item…

Freebase support in libgdata

This one feature has certainly went underpublicited, and I found myself with little time to make use of it :(, but I nonetheless find that very interesting things can be done with this. Freebase is a community-maintained knowledge base (currently backed by Google), as seen on its homepage it is extremely wide in topics (some better covered than others), and has a very well defined ontology, think of it as a companion to Tracker on the web.

There are dedicated methods for the most usual ways to query data (search, lookup on topic…), but additionally Freebase offers a powerful MQL query method. MQL is very analogous to SPARQL, with the main difference that it’s based on JSON. All together allows for querying in very creative ways from very various data, a few examples being:

  • The mandatory “query for movie/album info” example, actually these topics are the best covered.
  • Fetching stock images for movies/cities/landmarks/directors/…, you name it.
  • Looking up monuments close to a geolocation.
  • Getting direct links to Wikipedia, in your language.

Looking forward for 3.15

It is almost time to celebrate, but I evidently won’t sit twiddling my thumbs :), a few items I’d like to tackle on the next cycle are:

  • During the 3.14 cycle I got briefly started on adding optional gesture integration to GtkStack and a new “tabs” widget, now it sounds like a good time to resume. I would also like to make gestures used integrally for event handling in GTK+ (we’re already just a few widgets away from that goal)
  • There’s a few gaps still left to solve on handling touchpad gestures, which I’d like to get closed ASAP, at least for touchpads handling >2 fingers on X11.
  • Improving gnome on Wayland. I merely got started this cycle adding DnD/clipboards support to GTK+ and bringing touchscreen behavior on mutter more or less on par to X11’s. There’s a few input details that need shuffling so they’re done in the same place on X11/wayland (pointer cursor visibility, device mapping…), and I hope the timing to be right to bring in a sort of tablet support (libinput and wayland protocol details have been shaping up despite my times on, most times off help, thanks Peter, Lyude, Jason et al!), I will be putting my hacking efforts wherever it’s necessary to make this happen.
  • WebKitGTK+ could be definitely made friendlier on touchscreens, additionally to the DOM touch event support it already does, it would be great to handle touch scroll/pinch/zoom as you can see in other pure GTK+ apps now.

Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 4:01md
ygslash writes Michael Wolff at USA Today has a long list of the many stakeholders in the net neutrality debate, and what each has to gain or lose. The net neutrality issue has made its way into the mainstream consciousness, thanks to grassroots activism and some help from John Oliver on HBO. But it's not as simple as just net neutrality idealists versus the cable companies or versus the FCC. One important factor that has raised the stakes in net neutrality is the emergence ("unanticipated" by Wolff, but not by all of us) of the Internet as the primary medium for distribution of video content. And conversely, the emergence of video content in general and Netflix in particular as by far the most significant consumers of Internet bandwidth. So anyone involved in the distribution of video content has a lot to gain or lose by the outcome of the net neutrality struggle.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

DDoS attackers turn fire on ISPs and gaming servers - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 3:44md DDoS attackers seem to have switched their attention from banks to gaming hosts, ISPs and even enterprises, half-year figures from Chinese mitigation vendor NSFOCUS have confirmed.

Snowden: New Zealand Is Spying, Too - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 3:43md Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden warned New Zealanders in a media blitz on Monday that all of their private emails, phone calls and text messages are being spied on despite government denials.

Kickstarter Lays Down New Rules For When a Project Fails - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 3:20md
An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post, Kickstarter announced several updates to its terms of use for projects. From the article: "Kickstarter has iterated on its policies several times since it launched in 2009, with the most recent wave of revisions surrounding the site's transition from only posting projects cleared by the staff to clearing all projects that meet a basic set of criteria. Even still, some projects lack clear goals, encounter setbacks, or fail to deliver, like the myIDkey project that has burned through $3.5 million without yet to distributing a finished product. The most recent terms revision is timely: on Thursday, science fiction author Neal Stephenson announced that a game he Kickstarted in 2012 with $526,000 in funding was officially canceled."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 2:38md
mdsolar writes with an update on the People's Climate March. More than 400,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Paolo Borelli: 3.14 almost there

Planet GNOME - Hën, 22/09/2014 - 2:08md

First of all an apology to all the people who commented on the previous post: as you can see I do not blog often and when I logged into wordpress today I found a lot of comments waiting in the moderation queue for which I did not receive the notification mail…

This week GNOME 3.14 will get released, and once again I am astonished by the amount of work that went into this version: little by little every rough edge is getting polished and the increasingly good feedback we receive from users is a welcome change :-)

GNOME 3 made some bold design choices, some were huge leap forwards (and other more blasoned environments are playing catch-up) other were more controversial, but one of the fundamental differences with the past is that we try things and we are willing to evaluate their success and iterate the design even in radical ways, instead of having every little detail set in stone once it is merged. Even more exciting are the glimpses of the future: wayland support getting ready, gesture support merged in GTK, a better developer story materializing in the form of a proper SDK and new development tools like the GTK inspector, and much more.

For what it concerns myself, I have to admit that this time I did not manage to do that much code-wise, I guess my biggest achievement for this cycle, was to bring the ephemeral Lapo to GUADEC… and by bring I mean “physically drive to Strasbourg” :-)

Apart from that, I still managed to sneak in a couple of small “Sunday Afternoon” hacks, for instance Clocks now has a nifty gnome-shell search provider.


The rest of my time was mostly spent trying to keep up with reviewing patches and giving feedback to all the great contributors to gedit: I am lucky to be part of such a great project with long time contributors sticking around and new talented ones getting involved all the time.

Speaking of gedit,  after the major changes of 3.12, 3.14 has been a cycle focused on stabilization and polishing. Overall the revised user interface got mostly positve feedback.. I for one, as a heavy gedit user, adapted to the new UI without problems. 3.14 will have a few incremental changes, that among other things try to address some of the issues pointed out by Jim Hall’s usability study presented at GUADEC: “Open” will be a single button removing the dichotomy between the open dialog and recent files and providing quick search among recent files. “Save” now uses a text label since it turns out a lot of people did not grok the icon (and no, I am not going back to the floppy image!) and the view menu has been reorganized and now uses a popover. With regard to the “Open” button, we know things are not perfect yet, search among recent is great, but when the “cache misses”, going through a double step is painful… we already have a few ideas on how to improve that next cycle, but for now I can vividly recommend to try the “quickopen” plugin, one of the hidden gems of gedit, which already provides some of the things we would like to integrate in the next iteration.

Another aspect we (and by “we” I mean Jesse and Nacho) focused on, is to revive our cross-platform effort: not only both the Windows and OSX port have been updated, but they were also substantially improved. The even more important aspect is that a lot of this work was done at the GTK level and all application developers targeting these platforms will benefit from it. In this regard a large thank you goes to Руслан Ижбулатов (LRN on IRC) who has been tirelessly fixing issues on Windows.

These ports try to properly blend into their respective environment, and this was done with relatively little effort, a proof that some of the design decisions we took in the architectural changes we made last cycle were correct. We would very much welcome patches to do the same kind of integration work for Unity and other environments, though we’ll have to strike a good balance between integration with the environment and keeping a single design identity, providing a consistent user experience to users that use gedit across different platforms.

Code also evolved under the hood: Sébastien continued in his great effort to push code from gedit to gtksourceview, and after the search API that he tackled during last year GSOC, this time he landed the rework of file loading and saving. This work is particularly important because it will be leveraged by Christian for Builder, a project I am extremely excited about, not only because we really need a tool to improve the the developer experience on GNOME, but also for its symbiotic relation with gedit, with code and design concept that are going to be shared.






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