I am the maintainer of the Epoch Init System, a single threaded Linux init system with non-intrusiveness in mind, and I'm preparing to release 2.0. It's mostly a code cleanup release, but while I'm at it, I thought I'd ask the Soylent community what features they'd like to see. I'm open to all good ideas, but I'm wary of feature creep, so as a result, I won't consider the following:
* multithreaded/parallel services, because that goes against design goals of simplicity and harms customizability
* mounting support or networking support; it's an init system, use busybox if you need a mount command.
So what do soylentils want to see in the next release of the Epoch Init System?
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are studying a mysterious ecosystem at one of the world's deepest undersea hydrothermal vents to get clues about what life could be like on other planetary bodies, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa, which has a subsurface ocean. At the vents tiny shrimp are piled on top of each other, layer upon layer, crawling on rock chimneys that spew hot water. "You go along the ocean bottom and there's nothing, effectively," says Max Coleman. "And then suddenly we get these hydrothermal vents and a massive ecosystem. It's just literally teeming with life." Bacteria, inside the shrimps' mouths and in specially evolved gill covers, produce organic matter that feed the crustaceans. The particular bacteria in the vents are able to survive in extreme environments because of chemosynthesis, a process that works in the absence of sunlight and involves organisms getting energy from chemical reactions. In this case, the bacteria use hydrogen sulfide, a chemical abundant at the vents, to make organic matter. The temperatures at the vents can climb up to a scorching 842 degrees Fahrenheit (450 degrees Celsius), but waters just an inch away are cool enough to support the shrimp. The shrimp are blind, but have thermal receptors in the backs of their heads.
According to the exobiologists, these mysterious shrimps and its symbiotic bacterium may hold clues "about what life could be like on other planetary bodies." It's life that may be similar—at the basic level—to what could be lurking in the oceans of Europa, deep under the icy crust of the Jupiter moon. According to Emma Versteegh "whether an animal like this could exist on Europa heavily depends on the actual amount of energy that's released there, through hydrothermal vents." Nobody is seriously planning a landing mission on Europa yet. But the European Space Agency aims to launch its JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission (JUICE) to make the first thickness measurements of Europa's icy crust starting in 2030 and NASA also has begun planning a Europa Clipper mission that would study the icy moon while doing flybys in a Jupiter orbit.
Verizon's attempt at technology journalism has seemingly been halted, as its widely mocked news site hasn't published anything new in more than three weeks.
The site, SugarString is bankrolled by Verizon Wireless and got off to a rocky start when its editor, Cole Stryker, was seeking out reporters and told prospective candidates that the site would not write about spying and net neutrality.
Sugarstring has fallen silent ever since the Daily Dot broke the news of the site's self-censorship on October 29th.
A couple questions are raised here -- the first is, knowing that techies are overwhelmingly pro-privacy and pro-information, why would such a corporation embark on such a foolhardy endeavour? The next question is, how did they manage to make a site more horrible than Beta?
Chris Beard, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, announced in his blog Wednesday, 11 November 2014, that they were ending their 10-year relationship with Google. As of December, they begin a five-year "strategic partnership" with Yahoo.
For those wondering why the switch, The Verge has an interesting take on it:
In tech, little things can have big consequences — in this case, a tiny search bar. Last night, Firefox made a surprising announcement: after 10 years with Google as its default search engine, it would be handing the tiny search bar over to Yahoo. On the face of it, it's a strange move. If you're looking for almost anything on the internet, Google is a much better way to find it than Yahoo is. But that small search bar isn't just a feature, it's a business. And it’s a business that reveals how Mozilla and Google could increasingly be at odds with each other.
[We touched on this in a recent story about Firefox's expanding search options, but this aspect seems significant enough to merit specific attention. -LaminatorX]
Wences Casares, founder and CEO of Xapo, a Bitcoin storage company, has posted another gentle guide to Bitcoin. Rather than a wide-ranging FAQ (like this one), Casares tackles the overriding question in many people's minds: why should the world take the word of Bitcoiners that their "currency" will eventually win broad acceptance as a means of exchange around the world?
Casares goes over the main attributes of currency systems that historically have proven successful. Rather than start with copper coins or gold nuggets, he changes things up a bit by introducing us to the Micronesian island of Yap, where residents used stones for money; his LinkedIn piece reads like a business book parable but was apparently based on actual history. The stones worked, says Casares, because they were scarce (to the islanders), durable, came in different size denominations for convenience, and could be easily exchanged in commerce.
The Center for American Progress reports:
It's official, TV is moving online. Fewer customers are buying cable packages and more are opting for lower-cost options that let them watch movies and television shows wherever they want--at an airport or in a coffee shop.
But there are more than 100 online services, from Netflix to Hulu, that allow customers to watch all their favorite episodes of The Simpsons at any time they want. Meanwhile, big broadcast and cable companies have struggled to compete with [the] mobile-ready entertainment market, clamoring for customers' attention.
[On November 10,] the Motion Picture Association of America joined the pack with a new site called WheretoWatch, a sort of online search engine where customers can type in the name of a movie or TV show and find out exactly where they can watch it legally. Users can search by title, genre, year it was produced or released, MPAA rating (PG or R), and whether it's online, on DVD or in theaters.
It's much like the days before Soylent News ie. like an anthill has been kicked; chaos, with uncoordinated swarming over the problem space. To summarize what was discussed in the last 18 hours : there seem to be systemd-less Jessie ISOs already available e.g. Exe GNU/Linux and Refracta. Someone tested systemd boot speed and discovered there's no difference, at least on default installs. There were offers of server space, and a discovering of important dependencies eg. GIMP depending on libpulse0 -> libsystemd-id128-0, discussion of GUI environments without dependency issues e.g. LXDE/LXQt, automatic package building infrastructure e.g. USE="-pulse -systemd". For those considering a move to FreeBSD there seems to be an Apple-sponsored systemd-alike being pushed by some. There was also some dreaming about the intermediate to long term e.g. if people really want the features of a launchd or systemd (or upstart or...) there could be an opportunity for an end to the SysV/BSD init split, but of course that would require years of work, consensus building and helicopter cat-herding — maybe it isn't even impossible. The #debianfork chat channel is on Freenode.
 Story was submitted at: 2014-11-20 03:12:49 UTC.
Reuters is reporting that one of the Cuban doctors who was sent to Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola. The doctor has been in Sierra Leone since October as a member of a group of 165 doctors and nurses that are part of a Cuban team of 256 medical professionals sent to West Africa to treat patients caught up in an epidemic that has infected more than 14,000 people and killed more than 5,000 of them.
In another post, Reuters reported:
The doctor, Felix Baez, 43, cannot recall any mistake in procedure that could have led to him catching the virus from a patient, said Jorge Perez, director of the tropical diseases hospital where Cuban doctors train for their Ebola missions.
Baez is a specialist in internal medicine, with little infectious disease experience. The Cuban doctors and nurses follow the training and recommendations of the World Health Organization, and wear protective, full-body suits when treating Ebola patients with strict procedures on how to remove them. They trained for their mission for three weeks in Cuba and another 15 days upon arriving in West Africa.
The Cuban claim that unlike doctors from other countries, they would treat any infected doctors in the field under the same condition as their Ebola patients "until they recover or die" quickly fell by the wayside, as plans were made to move the doctor to Geneva for treatment. Even prior to flying to Geneva, Dr Baez has been placed in the care of British doctors.
Sea-stars on the West Coast are dying at an unprecedented and alarming rate. This most recent outbreak was discovered in Washington in 2013 and continues to confound Ecologists.
New research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has linked the wasting disease to a virus that has been found in sea-stars since the 1940s. Which raises the question of what would cause this recent, explosive outbreak?
Vance and BYU colleagues Bonnie Anderson and Brock Kirwan carried out the experiment to better understand how people deal with online security risks, such as malware. They found that people say they care about keeping their computers secure, but behave otherwise—in this case, they plowed through malware warnings.
“We see these messages so much that we stop thinking about them,” Vance said. “In a sense, we don’t even see them anymore, and so we often ignore them and proceed anyway.”
Are you involved in a github or bitbucket project or have one of your own? Share it here and lets see if we can spark some collaboration.
If anyone is interested in keeping up-to-date with progress on the slashcode that drives SN and other member repos, check out #github on irc.sylnt.us.
For several decades, astronomers have found and studied gravitational lenses: systems in which light from a distant source is bent as it passes a massive object, so that we see several images (magnified and distorted) of that source. The light from each image takes a different path to reach us, which can cause one image to vary before or after another; the lag in time between images, together with the redshifts of the source and the lensing object, can yield accurate distances.
Today's Astronomer's Telegram, number 6729, announces a very special gravitational lens: one which produces multiple images of a supernova! Supernovae are luminous enough to be seen at great distances (the host of this one is at z=1.49, very far away), and they rise and fall strongly in brightness over just a few weeks or months. This combination should allow astronomers to measure very accurate time lags between the three bright images of the supernova and use that information as a strong check on our understanding the size, age, and expansion rate of the universe.
Mozilla announced a change to their strategy for Firefox search partnerships. They are ending the practice of having a single global default search provider. Instead, the default search provider would be determined by location in the following ways:
Google - together with Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other (depending on location) will continue to be a pre-installed search option. While not a default search provider, Google is not fully out - they will continue to power the Safe Browsing and Geolocation features of Firefox.
The NYT reports that the largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square stands eight stories tall and is nearly as long as a football field, spanning the entire block from 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway and contains nearly 24 million LED pixels, each containing tiny red, blue and green lights. At a going rate of more than $2.5 million for four weeks, the megascreen ranks as one of the most expensive pieces of outdoor ad real estate on the market. A digital art exhibition by the critically acclaimed Universal Everything studio collective will animate the screen until November 24, when Google will take over as the exclusive, debut advertiser with a campaign that runs through the New Year. Size matters in Times Square,” said Harry Coghlan. “Sometimes it just comes down to wanting to stand out, and it comes down to ego.”
One of the oldest forms of advertising, billboards are attracting new attention as digital displays allow for new levels of real-time interactivity. Each day, more than 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to enter the Times Square “bow tie,” where Seventh Avenue intersects with Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets. “People go to the Grand Canyon to see the most visually stunning natural canyon in the world” says Tim Tompkins. “They come to Times Square to see the most digitally striking canyon in the world.”
TV-over-the-Internet startup Aereo has filed for bankruptcy, bringing to a close its long-running copyright battle with US television networks. The filing comes at a time when there actually had been a bright spot on the policy horizon for Aereo. The FCC is set to consider whether some types of online streaming should be considered cable systems.
Aereo was created to use a system of using tiny, dime-sized antennas to send broadcast TV signals over the Internet. By renting one antenna and separate storage space to each customer, the company hoped to remain within the bounds of copyright law, despite not having permission from the television networks for its transmissions.
The fight was waged in federal courts around the country. The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled in Aereo's favor, but the decision was overturned this summer by the Supreme Court. Aereo ceased doing business shortly thereafter.
Letter to Aereo customers: https://aereo.com