Wednesday News: Another Pratchett tribute, new tech habits in Snowden’s wake, DC pulls “Batgirl” art, and cocoa quarantine
In the Discworld novel Going Postal, Sir Terry, who died aged 66 on Thursday, wrote about the way that the murder of an operator of a semaphore tower, John Dearheart, was marked by his colleagues.
His name was included in admin messages (known as overhead) sent around the semaphore or “clacks”, network prefixed with three control characters, GNU, that kept it circulating forever.
In a similar way, many net server and website administrators are adding the text “X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett” to the headers their machines share with every computer that requests web pages from them. –BBC
The respondents to this survey who knew about the government monitoring programs were asked if they had changed the way they used a variety of communications and information tools since they had learned about the government’s programs.
18% of the Americans who are aware of the surveillance programs say they have changed the way they use their email accounts “somewhat” or a “great deal.”
17% say they have changed the way they use search engines.
15% say they have changed the way they use social media.
15% say they have changed the way they use their cell phones.
13% say they have changed the way they use mobile apps.
13% say they have changed the way they use text messages.
9% say they have changed the way they use their landline phone. –Pew Internet
The “Batgirl” #41 variant quickly received criticism for highlighting a dark period in the character’s history, especially when juxtaposed with the current youthful, more optimistic direction of the series under the creative team of co-writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr. Multiple websites ran editorials critical of the image, and the hashtag #changethecover drew dozens of posts on Twitter and Tumblr asking DC to not release the variant. –Comic Book Resources
Every plant in these greenhouses has some kind of special power. One might be resistant to a fungus. Another might produce lots of fruit. Cocoa producers all over the world want and need these plants. But, there are those potential threats.
Cocoa is unusually susceptible to disease. Every year, a third of the crop is destroyed by fungi and pests with names like “Witches’ Broom,” “Frosty Pod Rot” and “Vascular-streak dieback.” . . .
Now imagine that a farm in Ghana produces a super-plant, with pods that contain twice as many beans as a normal cocoa tree. Every chocolate producer in the world would want a cutting. But, if those cuttings contained a fungus or pest currently found only in Ghana, the entire chocolate industry could come crashing down.
That’s where the International Quarantine Centre in rural England comes in. –NPR