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Links 25/11/2012: Fedora Progress, GMO Misses

Posted in News Roundup at 10:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Boid Twitter client ends official development, goes open source
  • Web Browsers

  • Open Access/Content

    • Why all pharmaceutical research should be made open access

      I recently had lunch with as staunch an advocate for open access as you’ll ever meet (I won’t name him, because it would be rude to attribute casual remarks to him without permission). We were talking about plans to mandate free and open publication of publicly funded scientific research. In the USA, there’s the Federal Public Research Act, and in the UK, there’s the coalition government’s announcement that publicly funded research should be made available at no cost, under a Creative Commons licence that permits unlimited copying.

      We’d been talking about Ben Goldacre’s excellent new book, Bad Pharma, in which Goldacre documents the problem of “missing data” in pharmaceutical research (he says about half of the clinical trials undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry are never published). The unpublished trials are, of course, the trials that show the pharma companies’ new products in unflattering lights – trials that suggest that their drugs don’t

  • Programming

    • ARM Cortex-A15 Exynos5 Compiler Benchmarks

      The benchmarks in this article are of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS loaded up on the Samsung Chromebook with the Linux 3.4 kernel. The GCC 4.6.3 compiler was compared to GCC 4.7.2 with a number of C, C++, and Fortran benchmarks. The same compiler flags were maintained within the test profiles during the benchmarking process. In a future article will be LLVM/Clang compiler benchmarks as well as performance results from the Cortex-A15 compiler tuning.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • European companies ‘using emissions trading to subsidise overseas rivals’
    • More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show

      More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed.

    • Should I Reuse or Recycle My Old Computer?

      The decision to reuse or recycle an old desktop computer takes some consideration, but letting an old PC turn to electronic waste should never be an alternative.

    • Are You 28 Yet? No? Then You Have Never Seen a Cooler-Than-Average Month

      Blogging about climate change, or anything, can get repetitive fast. The reports come out and the news is tweaked, maybe, but familiar—the Arctic is still melting, average global temperatures are still rising, the oceans are still acidifying. This was the warmest month record ever recorded. No, this one was. No this. This.

    • It’s Only a Mystery to Marco Rubio… The Sea Eats Miami

      After the 1992 super-hurricane Andrew, South Florida was in a state of shock, similar to coastal New Jersey and New York today. Andrew was a compact, category five hurricane. In South Dade where the impact was strongest, the morning after the storm, sun and blue skies prevailed. The strike zone looked like a bomb had gone off.

      Civic leaders quickly rallied under the proud banner, “We Will Rebuild”. How would South Florida rebuild? the blue ribbon panel asked. Twenty years later, the coastal areas of New Jersey and New York are facing a similar question after Superstorm Sandy. This time, the answers may be very different.

      Twenty years ago in Florida, talk of sea level rise and climate change was in the margins. The subject had a place in the corner, where Chicken Little’s nursed their wounds, far from sight and off the political radar.

  • Finance

    • The Giant Lie Trotted Out by Fiscal Conservatives Trying to Shred Social Security

      Trying to convince the public to cut America’s best-loved and most successful program requires a lot of creativity and persistence. Social Security is fiscally fit, prudently managed and does not add to the deficit because by law it must be completely detached from the federal operating budget. Obviously, it is needed more than ever in a time of increasing job insecurity and disappearing pensions. It helps our economy thrive and boosts the productivity of working Americans. And yet the sharks are in a frenzy to shred it in the upcoming “fiscal cliff” discussions.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • From Russia With PR

      Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC’s web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum.

      The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its “ambitious modernization strategy” and “enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption.” One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that “Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent.”

  • Censorship

    • Outrage at India arrests over Facebook post

      The arrest of two women on Monday over a comment on Facebook has sparked off widespread anger in India.

      One of the women had criticised the shutdown of Mumbai in her post, after the death of politician Bal Thackeray, while the other “liked” the comment.

      The women, accused of “promoting enmity between classes”, were released on bail after appearing in court.

  • Privacy

    • Student expelled for refusing to wear RFID tracking chip badge

      After a student protested a pilot RFID tracking system in San Antonio, lawyers are now moving to stop expulsion.

      John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez was expelled from her high school after protesting against a new pilot program which tracks the precise location of all attending 4,200 students at Anson Jones Middle School and John Jay High School, according to Infowars.

    • Training spies in the era of cybersecurity

      Students learn how to rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives.

  • GMO

    • Armyworms Develop Resistance to Genetically Modified Corn

      A second species of worm has evolved to withstand pesticides in genetically modified crops, the latest escalation of the natural arms race spurred on by GMOs. “Armyworms” — so called because their infestation of fields resembles a military onslaught — were able to eat DuPont-Dow corn containing a pesticide protein without adverse effects, according to a field trial conducted in Florida this year.

    • Corporate Giant Comes Out Against GMOs

      It has come to our attention that Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States, has advised its members against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food.

      In its Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Kaiser suggested membership limit exposure to genetically modified organisms.

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