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Last updated 21 Dec, 11:50 PM

BBC News - Home

Ambulance wait times 'may increase' - Target times for ambulances to reach some seriously ill patients in England could be lengthened, a document leaked to the BBC shows.

Driver attacks French pedestrians - A driver shouting "God is great" in Arabic runs down pedestrians in the French city of Dijon, injuring 11, French media say.

Actress Billie Whitelaw dies aged 82 - Acclaimed actress Billie Whitelaw, who starred on stage and screen and worked in close collaboration with Samuel Beckett, dies in London.

US mulls putting NK on terror list - The US is considering putting North Korea back on its terrorism sponsors list, President Barack Obama says, after a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

Elton John and David Furnish marry - Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish convert their civil partnership to a marriage - with the musician documenting the day on the Instagram website.

The Register

<i>Reg</i> man misses worker riot and Police vs. Army firefight in Indonesia - Batam is an electronics-making free trade zone in flux Where your kit gets made On November 20th, I visited the Indonesian island of Batam. And about an hour after I left, a protest by local workers over the minimum wage just about turned into a riot.…

VMware says anyone - not just EMC - can play with its best bits - ScaleIO kernel links are through public API, not an exclusive back door Ever since VMware launched the virtual storage appliance back in 2011, observers have wondered if the company’s storage efforts hurt its parent EMC’s business.…

Now Obama seeks China's help to halt alleged Nork HACK ATTACKS - Sony saga: Kim Jong Un threatens 'cyber warfare' US president Barak Obama has looked to an unlikely source of help to stop further alleged cyber attacks from North Korea: his administration has reportedly asked China to take action against the perpetrators.…

Purple glistening plasma, you say? Orion plummets back to Earth - *Cough* A 'naut's view. *Cough* Vid NASA has released video images of its Orion spaceship as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere earlier this month.…

Brit thesp Kate Winslet eyes lead female role in Steve Jobs biopic – report - Near, far, wherever you are. iBelieve the heart does go on British actor Kate Winslet has reportedly entered talks with Universal to play the lead female role in the biopic of Apple supremo Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.…

New Scientist - Online news

Racing refraction: Who reached the North Pole first? - Peary or Cook? The bending of sunlight has helped to reveal who bent the truth in a century-old debate about which explorer was the first to the North Pole (full text available to subscribers)

The real Oompa-Loompas: Microbes that make chocolate - Fungi, bacteria and yeasts are the unsung heroes of chocolate production. Managing these little helpers better could keep the future for chocoholics sweet (full text available to subscribers)

Pearls of wisdom: The truth behind common sayings - A watched pot never boils and the early bird does catch the worm, but you can teach old dogs new tricks (full text available to subscribers)

FBI says North Korea hacked Sony – what's the proof? - The FBI says North Korea forced Sony to cancel the release of Seth Rogan's film The Interview. But security experts are sceptical

Birds build snow tunnels for fun - Groups of common redpolls seem to be having fun while burrowing in the snow, but the behaviour may also help them survive in the Arctic

Hacker News

“Warning: Do Not use my mirrors/services until I have reviewed the situation” - Comments

A Spaniard in Samarkand, 1404 (2012) - Comments

Scientists Find Evidence of Viking Presence in Arctic Canada - Comments

“Committed on 22 May 1981” - Comments

Is_computer_on_fire() (2000) - Comments

Slashdot

The Magic of Pallets - HughPickens.com writes Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a "unit load"—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn't see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—"the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere," according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo. To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. "According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours." Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

26 Foot Long Boat 3D Printed In 100,000 Different Pieces - First time accepted submitter Talk Prizes writes Hung-Chih Peng, a Taiwanese artist, has decided to 3D print a boat measuring 26 feet in length. The piece, called "The Deluge – Noah's Ark" is a twisted wrecked boat which he had to 3D print in 100,000 different pieces and then glue it all together. "...The Deluge is Peng’s way of showing the inability that humans have exhibited in rectifying uncontrollable catastrophic challenges. Climate change, ecological crises, and environmental pollution are all changes that this planet is facing, yet seemingly humans do not have a way to correct these problems. The work is meant as a metaphor for showing the battle being waged by Mother Nature on the accelerated development of industrialized civilization." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority - lpress writes Cuba first connected to the Internet in 1996 through a Sprint link funded by the US National Science Foundation. A year later the Cuban government decided to contain and control it. Now they say the Internet is a priority. If so, they need a long term plan, but they can get started with low cost interim measures. There is virtually no modern infrastructure on the island, but they could aggressively deploy satellite technology at little cost and, where phone lines could support it, install DSL equipment. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic - jones_supa writes Trafi, the Finnish Pilots' Association and STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority have launched a joint campaign against air traffic interference with the title "Lasers Are Not Toys". Ilkka Kaakinen from Trafi says that laser pointers interfering with air traffic is a real problem in Finland. "We receive reports of several cases of laser interference every month and every one of them is potentially dangerous", Kaakinen says. Last year, 60 cases of laser pointer interference were reported in Finland, and the figure for this year was at 58 in November. Despite the continuing interference, only one person has been caught misusing a laser pointer in this way in Finland. That single person was not convicted of a crime, as the court was not able to establish intent. Kaakinen says that other countries hand down severe punishments for interfering with air traffic, even years-long stretches in prison. He also reminds that it is important for users of laser pointers to understand that the devices are not toys, and that children should be warned of the potential danger in using them irresponsibly – or ideally, not given one at all. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves - An anonymous reader writes In a series of tweets the hacker collective Anonymous says they will release "The Interview" to the masses if Sony won't. A few of the tweets read: "Seriously @Sony we warned you. We infiltrated your systems long before North Korea. We thought you'd take it as a warning and fix your s@#t." and "We're not with either side, we just want to watch the movie too and soon you too will be joining us. Sorry, @SonyPictures." Read more of this story at Slashdot.