Officials for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board have recommended a nationwide lowering of the blood-alcohol level considered safe for operating a car. The threshold is currently 0.08% — the NTSB wants to cut that to 0.05%. "That's about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 lbs., two for a 160 lb. man. More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the board's staff. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped, the report said. NTSB officials said it wasn't their intention to prevent drivers from having a glass of wine with dinner, but they acknowledged that under a threshold as low as .05 the safest thing for people who have only one or two drinks is not to drive at all. ... Alcohol concentration levels as low as .01 have been associated with driving-related performance impairment, and levels as low as .05 have been associated with significantly increased risk of fatal crashes, the board said."
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Deathspawner writes "There's little that's more frustrating than being a legal customer and getting screwed over by the company you're supporting. If there's a perfect example of this, it's with Microsoft's OS and its millions of customers that have had to ring its tech support lines for activation help. Recently, a Techgage writer got bit by an issue with Windows 8 — caused by Microsoft itself — and wasn't even able to call to fix it. Microsoft has two problems to solve here: it needs online chat support (like most large companies in 2013) and it definitely needs an activation system that doesn't make things difficult for its legal customers on a too-regular basis."
mallyn writes "This is an article about a search engine that is designed to look for devices on the net that are not really intended to be viewed and used by the general public. Devices include pool filters, skating rink cooling system, and other goodies. 'Shodan runs 24/7 and collects information on about 500 million connected devices and services each month. It's stunning what can be found with a simple search on Shodan. Countless traffic lights, security cameras, home automation devices and heating systems are connected to the Internet and easy to spot. Shodan searchers have found control systems for a water park, a gas station, a hotel wine cooler and a crematorium. Cybersecurity researchers have even located command and control systems for nuclear power plants and a particle-accelerating cyclotron by using Shodan. ... A quick search for "default password" reveals countless printers, servers and system control devices that use "admin" as their user name and "1234" as their password. Many more connected systems require no credentials at all — all you need is a Web browser to connect to them.'"
Last week you had a chance to ask co-founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures, Nathan Myhrvold, questions before his live Q&A. Below you'll find his answers to a few of the highest rated. Make sure you come back today from 12-12:30pm PDT (3-3:30pm ET, 19:00-19:30 GMT) to ask him whatever you like in real time. We'll have a new story for your questions at that time.
Bennett Haselton writes "Recently I wrote an article about what I considered to be the sorry state of cooking instructions on the web (and how-to instructions in general), using as a jumping-off point a passage from Evgeny Morozov's new book To Save Everything, Click Here. My point was that most "newbie" instructions never seemed to get judged by the basic criteria by which all instructions should be judged: If you give these instructions to a group of beginners, and have them attempt to follow the instructions without any additional help from the author, what kind of results do they get? The original title of my article was "Better Cooking Through Algorithms," but due to some confusion in the submission process the title got changed to "Book Review: To Save Everything, Click Here" even though, as multiple commenters pointed out, it didn't make much sense as a "book review" since it only mentioned a short passage from the actual book. This article, on the other hand, really is intended as a review of The 4-Hour Chef, even though the article only covers a similarly tiny fraction of the book's 671-page length. That's because even before buying the book, I was determined to review it according to a simple process: Try three recipes from the book. Follow the directions step by step. (If any direction is ambiguous, then follow what could be a plausible interpretation of the directions.) My estimation of the quality of the book, as an instructional cooking guide for beginners, is then determined by the quality of the food produced by my attempt to follow the directions. (I've done this so many times for so many "beginner cookbooks," that I've probably lost my true "beginner" cook status in the process — which means that the results obtained by a real beginner using The 4-Hour Chef, would probably be a little worse than what I achieved.)" Read on for the rest of Bennett's Thoughts
Hugh Pickens writes writes "It's been said that social graces may be just as important as intelligence and engineering prowess to success as an astrophysicist or computer engineer. But how do you take someone who's grown up in the world of pocket protectors and get them thinking about suits, bow ties and the proper way to hold a wine glass. Now Jennifer Lawinski reports that MIT's Charm School just celebrated its 20th birthday with classes in alcohol and gym etiquette, how to dress for work and how to visit a contemporary art museum. 'We're giving our students the tools to be productive members of society, to be the whole package,' says Alana Hamlett. 'It gets them thinking about who they are and what their impact and effect is, whether they're working on a team in an engineering company, or in a small group on a project, or interviewing for a job.' At this year's Charm School students were free to drop in and participate in any of the 20-minute mini-courses being offered that day and students who participated in 10 of the mini-courses were awarded doctorates of charm. Computational biology graduate student Asa Adadey said the free meal was a draw and said he learned in one mini-course not to cut up all his meat at once before eating it. 'Who knows? Down the line I may find myself at a formal dinner.'"
New submitter jeditobe writes "Aleksey Bragin reported that starting in February he would be a lecturer at the Moscow State Technical University teaching the operating system course. He said that he intends to incorporate ReactOS into the lab work so that students would have the opportunity to work on an actual operating system. He also intends to translate and upload the slides he will use for class for others to see." (Bragin is the Project Coordinator for ReactOS.)
SternisheFan sends this quote from ZDNet: "Software that allows Windows apps to run on Android devices was demoed at the Fosdem 2013 open source conference this weekend. The demo by Alexandre Julliard, one of the original developers of Wine, showed Wine running on an emulated Android environment. Phoronix reports the performance of Wine on Android to be 'horrendously slow' but says these problems were attributed to it running on an emulated environment rather than a native Android OS. ... The makers claim it bypasses many performance and memory penalties of other methods for simulating computing environments, such as running virtual machines, by translating Windows API calls into POSIX calls on the fly. The Android OS predominantly runs on ARM-based devices today, and a separate demo at the Fosdem conference showed Wine running on ARM-based hardware. There was no news on when support for ARM-based devices or Android will be added to a publicly available Wine release."
It looks like the recent success of Linux gaming has caught Blizzard's eye. According to "a reliable source at the company" 2013 will be the year that "at least one of their very popular titles will see a release for Ubuntu Linux." From the article: "It's been a poorly-kept secret that Blizzard has a native Linux client of World of Warcraft. As recently as 2011, the World of Warcraft Linux client was still being maintained internally. The client has been around for years and done by their own developers as a form of testing for the popular MMORPG currently offered on Windows and Mac OS X. As for why they haven't released the client, it's come down to "targeting a specific version of the platform" with Linux being "unstandardized" due to the many different distributions. There's still some fundamental problems with gaming on Linux. With World of Warcraft working generally fine under Wine as well, the company is further unmotivated to officially support a Linux build of the game."
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes this week with his favorite novelty science gift items for 2012. Levitation engines, puzzles, optical illusions brought to life, and all of the tips and tricks he's found for getting the products to work correctly. Decorative, whimsical, and not too expensive — except for the items that have earned it by being pretty amazing. Read on for the details, and be sure to mention other good possibilities (Just 14 shopping days left until Christmas) in the comments below.
An anonymous reader writes "After having Wine to run Windows binaries on Linux, there is now the Darling Project that allows users to run unmodified Apple OS X binaries on Linux. The project builds upon GNUstep and has built the various frameworks/libraries to be binary compatible with OSX/Darwin. The project is still being worked on as part of an academic thesis but is already running basic OS X programs."
ndogg writes "Netflix now works on Linux... sort of. The folks at iheartubuntu have figured out a way to get Netflix to run on the Windows version of Firefox using Wine (with a number of custom patches) and Silverlight. They plan on releasing packages for it all soon. Currently, it seems they have only had success with 32-bit, while compiling for 64-bit is tricky."
theodp writes "Ever get carded by your FedEx guy? You will. Several writers at GeekWire had just unboxed, uncorked and polished off their first bottle of Amazon wine, only to have their buzz killed by the need to cover Steven Sinofsky's unexpected exit from Microsoft. With the caveat that per-order shipping charges will discourage those watching their pennies from ordering single bottles of inexpensive wine, GeekWire gave the overall Amazon wine buying experience a thumbs-up." Since Amazon-owned Woot's been selling wine for a while, it may be a stretch to call it new for Amazon, but their main site is known to many more people.
Tator Tot writes "Grape pomace, the mashed up skins and stems left over from making wine and grape juice, could serve as a good starting point for ethanol production, according to a new study (from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry). Due to growing interest in biofuels, researchers have started looking for cheap and environmentally sustainable ways to produce such fuels, especially ethanol. Biological engineer Jean VanderGheynst at the University of California, Davis, turned to grape pomace, because winemakers in California alone produce over 100,000 tons of the fruit scraps each year, with much of it going to waste."
madsdyd writes "I am a long-time user of Linux (since 1997) and have not been using Windows since 1998. All PCs at home (mine, wife's, kids') run Linux. I work professionally as a software developer with Linux, but the Windows installs at my workplace are quite limited, so my current/working knowledge of Windows is almost nil. At home we have all been happy with this arrangement, and the kids have been using their Nintendos, PS2/3's and mobile phones up until now. However, my oldest kid (12) now wants to play World of Warcraft and League of Legends with his friends. I have spent more hours than I like to admit getting this to work with Wine, with limited success — seems to always fail at the last moment. I considered an Apple machine, but they seem to be quite expensive. So, I am going to bite the bullet, and install Windows 7 on a spare Lenovo T400 laptop, which I estimate will be able to run both Windows 7 and the games in question." Read on for more about the questions this raises, for someone who wants to ensure that a game-focused machine stays secure.
wiredmikey writes "Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, after much buzz, today released the recipe for White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter, two brews made right on site at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. According to Kass, the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds, as far as they know. "George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there's no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition)," Kass wrote in a blog post. The recipe can be found here along with a short video 'Inside The White House Beer Brewing' which shows the brewing in process. Your tax dollars hard at work yet again!"
Qedward writes "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has objected to a variety of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) ranging from .porn and .sexy to .wine and .bar and .bible, according to records of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The organisation said in June it had received 1930 applications for gTLD 'strings,' of which 911 came from North America and 675 from Europe. Saudi Arabia's Communication and Information Technology Commission, the IT and communications regulator, has objected to the .gay string and asked ICANN to refuse the application for the new gTLD. 'Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion,' CITC said. 'The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures,' it added."
An anonymous reader writes "While President Putin was touring the area of Seliger Youth Forum, Marat Karatov demonstrated what can only be described as a fair amount of daring when he called out to the president and requested to present ReactOS to him. Putin agreed, and the project has now presented ReactOS to two successive Russian presidents. Putin responded to the presentation by stating he would think on it."
dartttt writes with word that "Blizzard has banned all Linux users who are playing Diablo III on Linux using Wine." Reader caranha adds that these users have been flagged as "using cheating programs," and that replies from Blizzard support staff so far have upheld these bans. Update: 07/03 16:57 GMT by S :An official response from a Blizzard Community Manager indicates they don't ban people for using Linux. As with most reports of game bans, we have only the word of random gamers that they were banned for the reason they say they were banned.
cold fjord writes "Red wine is a popular marinade for meat, but it also may become a popular treatment for creating iron-based superconductors as well (Link to academic paper): 'Last year, a group of Japanese physicists grabbed headlines around the world by announcing that they could induce superconductivity in a sample of iron telluride by soaking it in red wine. They found that other alcoholic drinks also worked — white wine, beer, sake and so on — but red wine was by far the best. The question, of course, is why. What is it about red wine that does the trick? Today, these guys provide an answer — at least in part. Keita Deguchi at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and a few buddies, say the mystery ingredient is tartaric acid and have the experimental data to show that it plays an important role in the process. ... It turns out the best performer is a wine made from the gamay grape — for the connoisseurs, that's a 2009 Beajoulais from the Paul Beaudet winery in central France.'"