Tesla Largely Responsible for Slide in US Home Solar Sales

Home solar installations in the United States are poised to fall for the first time this year, and installation data suggests that most of the slowdown is traceable to Tesla, which acquired sister company SolarCity about a year ago. For years, SolarCity was the biggest player in residential solar and the driving force behind that market’s supercharged growth.



When Tesla bought SolarCity last year, Musk called the acquisition a “no-brainer,” saying the two companies shared “the same overarching goal of sustainable energy.” But under Tesla’s ownership, the company has largely stopped its aggressive marketing campaigns and ambitious expansion. As a result, Tesla’s rooftop solar installations have fallen sharply each quarter this year compared to last.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Tesla Largely Responsible for Slide in US Home Solar Sales

More studies examine role of climate change in Hurricane Harvey

Enlarge (credit: Texas Military Department)

The story explaining the incredible flooding in Houston during Hurricane Harvey has many chapters, ranging from meteorology to the history of groundwater use and development zoning. The chapter on climate change has already had a few pages filled in, thanks to a study quickly published by MIT hurricane scientist Kerry Emanuel. This week, two complementary studies flesh the chapter out a little more.

The first paper comes from a group of scientists who have worked to rapidly analyze a number of extreme weather events over the past few years, including flooding in Europe and Louisiana last year. The general strategy for this type of undertaking is not entirely dissimilar from tracking the home run hitting of steroid-using baseball players. You can’t really know if an individual home run would have occurred sans steroids, but that’s not the point. Instead, you work out whether home runs like the one you just witnessed are generally being juiced.

In this case, the researchers were able to build on their analysis of the nearby Louisiana deluge from 2016. As in that study, they analyzed the history of rainfall measurements in the region to work out just how unusual the incredible rainfall totals from Harvey were—and whether the chances of an event like that have changed over time.

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Source: Ars Technica – More studies examine role of climate change in Hurricane Harvey

How to Support Creators You Love—For Free

The best way to support creators you love is usually to buy their work—it’s financial support and support for the idea that they can make a living from their art. But even when you don’t have a cent to spare, there’s a lot you can do to support your favorite artist’s career. (There are many kinds of creators and many…

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Source: LifeHacker – How to Support Creators You Love—For Free

Microsoft Releases a Preview of OpenSSH Client and Server For Windows 10

kriston (Slashdot user #7,886) writes: Microsoft released a preview of the OpenSSH server and client for Windows 10. Go to Settings, Apps & Features, and click “Manage optional features” to install them. The software only supports AES-CTR and chacha20 ciphers and supports a tiny subset of keys and KEXs, but, on the other hand, a decent set of MACs. It also says that it doesn’t use the OpenSSL library. That’s the really big news, here. I understand leaving out arcfour/RC4 and IDEA, but why wouldn’t MSFT include Blowfish, Twofish, CAST, and 3DES? At least they chose the CTR versions of these ciphers. (Blowfish isn’t compromised in any practical way, by the way). I prefer faster and less memory- and CPU-intensive ciphers. Still, it’s a good start. The SSH server is compelling enough to check out especially since I just started using X2GO for remote desktop access which requires an SSH server for its file sharing feature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Releases a Preview of OpenSSH Client and Server For Windows 10

Large Swathes of Southern California Are in Ruins Thanks to the Catastrophic Thomas Fire

Wildfires in California have continued to ravage large portions of the state, with the Thomas fire in southern California now entering its 13th day and claiming over 267,500 acres of land, CNN reported. The wildfire is now the third-largest in California history and is just 40 percent contained, with over 8,400…

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Source: Gizmodo – Large Swathes of Southern California Are in Ruins Thanks to the Catastrophic Thomas Fire

Elon Musk Calls Transit Expert "An Idiot" and Says Public Transport "Sucks"

The Tesla CEO went decidedly low-brow in an exchange with transportation experts this week following reports of comments in which he called public transport a “pain in the ass” and suggested the subway was a great place to bump into a murderer. Critics pounced on Musk’s description of shared transit as an unpleasant safety risk, arguing that his views were elitist, and that his vision of individualized transit is a pipe dream.



Musk said that “public transport is painful. It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to end?” Musk further said that using public transit meant rubbing shoulders with “like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer… that’s why people like individualized transport, that goes where you want, when you want.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Elon Musk Calls Transit Expert “An Idiot” and Says Public Transport “Sucks”

Amazon Prime Could Face Investigation over Delivery Complaints

In the UK, Amazon could face an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority over complaints that its premium service is failing to deliver on time in the run-up to Christmas. “If you paid for delivery by a certain date or time and the delivery arrives late, this is a breach of contract. If it was essential that your goods were delivered on time, you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.”



Amazon Prime claims to offer “unlimited one-day delivery” but customers have contacted the advertising regulator to say it is falling short of what is promised. A spokeswoman for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: “We have received a handful of complaints. We are considering whether to launch an investigation.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Amazon Prime Could Face Investigation over Delivery Complaints

Photosynthesis before oxygen may have kept the early Earth warm

Photosynthesis. (credit: Petr Pakandl / WikiCommons)

“The so-called ‘faint young Sun paradox’ has long been a topic of debate because its resolution bears important ramifications for the basic factors structuring climate regulation and the long-term habitability of Earth and Earth-like exoplanets.” So begins Chris Reinhard’s new paper in Nature.

Reinhard is a Principal Investigator at the Alternative Earths Team of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, which has a goal of “unraveling the evolving redox state of Earth’s early atmosphere as a guide for exoplanet exploration” and eventual habitability.

The paradox at issue is that, three billion-ish years ago, our Sun was about 25-percent dimmer than it is today. Yet geological records suggest that the Earth was even warmer then than it is now. Most solutions to the paradox figure that there must have been high levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Two big questions are related to that, though: which gasses, and what sort of processes put them there? Geological, chemical, and biological factors have all been suggested, with a different mix of gasses depending on the cause.

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Source: Ars Technica – Photosynthesis before oxygen may have kept the early Earth warm

Joseph Kahn's Unused Justice League Dark Designs Are Fabulous

The status of Justice League Dark, a potential DCEU movie spotlighting the more supernatural side of the DC universe, is pretty up in the air. Directors have come, directors have left, and though it still appears to be on the Warner Bros. slate, we couldn’t tell you what’s happening with it in clear detail.

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Source: Gizmodo – Joseph Kahn’s Unused Justice League Dark Designs Are Fabulous

Trump Administration Prohibits CDC Policy Analysts From Using the Words 'Science-Based'

Long-time Slashdot reader hey! writes: On Friday the Washington Post reported that the Trump Administration has forbidden the Centers for Disease Control from using seven terms in certain documents: “science-based”, “evidence-based”, “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” and “fetus”. It’s important to note that the precise scope and intent of the ban is unknown at present. Scientific and medical personnel as of now have not been affected, only policy analysts preparing budgetary proposals and supporting data that is being sent to Congress. So it is unclear the degree to which the language mandates represent a change in agency priorities vs. a change in how it presents itself to Congress. However banning the scientifically precise term “fetus” will certainly complicate budgeting for things like Zika research and monitoring.

According to the Post’s article, “Instead of ‘science-based’ or ‘evidence-based,’ the suggested phrase is ‘CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” The New York Times confirmed the story with several officials, although “a few suggested that the proposal was not so much a ban on words but recommendations to avoid some language to ease the path toward budget approval by Republicans.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Trump Administration Prohibits CDC Policy Analysts From Using the Words ‘Science-Based’

Amazon's Running Better Casper Discounts Than Casper Ever Has, Today Only

Today only, Amazon’s running big discounts on the iconic Casper mattresses; much larger than you’d ever see on Casper’s own website. The queen is down to $760, which is $190 off, and other sizes have similarly sizable discounts. You’ll also get the same 10 year warranty and 100 night trial period that you’d enjoy if…

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Source: Gizmodo – Amazon’s Running Better Casper Discounts Than Casper Ever Has, Today Only

For 8 Days, Windows Bundled a Password Manager with a Critical Plugin Flaw

A Google researcher discovered that a Windows 10 image came bundled with a third-party password manager, Keeper, which includes a browser plugin flaw allowing malicious websites to steal passwords. While his copy was an image meant for developers, redditors noted that they received the vulnerable copy of Keeper after clean re-installs of regular copies and even a brand-new laptop.



I recently created a fresh Windows 10 VM with a pristine image from MSDN, and found that a password manager called “Keeper” is now installed by default. I’m not the only person who has noticed this. I assume this is some bundling deal with Microsoft. I’ve heard of Keeper; I remember filing a bug a while ago about how they were injecting privileged UI into pages. I checked, and, they’re doing the same thing again with this version.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – For 8 Days, Windows Bundled a Password Manager with a Critical Plugin Flaw

Ars Technica System Guide: December 2017

Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

In classic Ars system guides, we assumed that everybody wants the same thing out of a computer—the only question is how much you spend. And in that case, the beloved “Budget Box / Hot Rod / God Box” classifications made a lot of sense.

In this latest era of the guide, though, I’d like to branch out a little. System builds are getting more and more task-focused and specific—and that’s not a bad thing. The modern geek doesn’t just have one computer per household, or even one computer per geek.

So in our first guide for 2017, we’re going to look at three separate systems anybody might want: the Thriftstation, the Workstation, and the Battlestation. They still range from least to most expensive, but they also have distinctly different foci. The Thriftstation makes a great silent HTPC (home theater) or unobtrusive, low-cost general-purpose machine. The Workstation steps things up and aims at serious office work, medium design work, and/or light gaming. And the Battlestation gets serious about FPS (c’mon) and pwning noobs.

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Source: Ars Technica – Ars Technica System Guide: December 2017

Windows 10 Bundled a Password Manager with a Security Flaw

An anonymous reader writes: A Google security researcher has found and helped patch a severe vulnerability in Keeper, a password manager application that Microsoft has been bundling with some Windows 10 distributions this year… “This is a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password,” Tavis Ormandy, the Google security researcher said, pointing out that the password manager was still vulnerable to a same vulnerability he reported in August 2016, which had apparently been reintroduced in the code. Based on user reports, Microsoft appears to have been bundling Keeper as part of Windows 10 Pro distributions since this past summer.

The article reports that Keeper issued a fix — browser extension version 11.4 — within less than 24 hours.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Windows 10 Bundled a Password Manager with a Security Flaw

Dr. Seuss and Star Trek mashup comic isn’t fair use after all, judge says

Enlarge / This is a page from Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, which Dr. Seuss Enterprises claims infringes its copyright. (credit: ComicMix)

A judge has allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the creators of Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!—a nearly page-for-page remix of the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Star Trek. This judgment reverses an earlier ruling.

After receiving a new court filing, US District Judge Janis Sammartino found that ComicMix, the company behind the new work, could not so easily have the case dismissed.

“Thus, after again weighing the fair use factors, the Court finds Defendants’ fair use defense fails as a matter of law,” Judge Sammartino wrote in a December 7 order.

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Source: Ars Technica – Dr. Seuss and Star Trek mashup comic isn’t fair use after all, judge says

Mir Had A Wild Year From Nearly Being Killed Alongside Unity 8 To Growing With Wayland

It was a heck of a year for Ubuntu’s Mir display server from it starting off as the display server to the now-abandoned Unity 8 desktop and it surviving Canonical’s cancelling of the Unity/convergence projects to now not only being fitted for IoT use-cases but gaining Wayland support with hopes some will use it as a Wayland compositor. This also went from Mir 1.0 nearly being released and back to the drawing board to Canonical now hiring more Mir developers and adding Mir to other Linux distributions: what a wild ride 2017 has been for this controversial project…

Source: Phoronix – Mir Had A Wild Year From Nearly Being Killed Alongside Unity 8 To Growing With Wayland

Ben Heck's super glue gun: Designing a better enclosure

Karen and Ben break out the pencils and go back to the drawing board to redesign their super glue gun. After changing the auto stand in response to feedback from the element14 Community, the team is looking at how best to fit together the extrude…

Source: Engadget – Ben Heck’s super glue gun: Designing a better enclosure

Glibc 2.27 Lands Yet More Performance Optimizations

Earlier this month I wrote how Intel engineers have been busy with continuing to tune glibc’s performance with FMA and AVX optimizations. That work has continued but also other architectures continue tuning their GNU C Library performance ahead of the expected v2.27 update…

Source: Phoronix – Glibc 2.27 Lands Yet More Performance Optimizations