Democrat gun control sit-in sparks social media sensation

2016-06-24 04:22:03

A blackout of television cameras in the U.S. House Representatives during the Democrats' gun control sit-in may have spurred public interest in the protest as it forced the demonstrators to use social media to broadcast their message.Democrats leapt on Facebook Live (FB.O) and Twitter's (TWTR.N) Periscope after the cameras, controlled by the House, went dark Wednesday when presiding House officer and Republican Representative Ted Poe declared the chamber not in order during the protest.As Democrats took to alternative forms of video broadcasting, their message gained tremendous momentum from social media. On Twitter, the hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #HoldTheFloor have been tweeted at least 1.4 million times.Of the roughly 20 members of Congress who remained at the sit-in overnight, 19 of them used Facebook Live for a total combined viewership of 3 million.“It really connected with people out there,” Congressman Scott Peters told Reuters. "This whole phenomenon with [live video] struck a nerve."Peters used the application Periscope, which is connected to the social media platform Twitter, to send out video. “Without that, think about it, it would have been a caucus meeting where we talk to ourselves," he added. In remarks Wednesday outside the Capitol, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi praised how her party harnessed social media."Without you and without the technology of Periscope [the sit-in] would just be a debate in the Halls of Congress unrecorded because they turned off the microphones," Pelosi said. "But we raised our voices. They turned off the cameras and we went to Periscope." Congressman Mark Takano, who began posting live videos from the chamber to his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon and continued to throughout the night, said the social media video helped him connect with constituents."Once I got started with the live streaming I didn’t feel like I could let down the people who were following me,” said Takano. “It was a way to push out a message.”Even C-SPAN, which typically broadcasts footage recorded by the House cameras, picked up live video from four different members of Congress roughly two hours after the House cameras shut down, according to communications director Howard Mortman. It marked the first time the channel broadcast a live social media feed from the House floor. "Something interesting is happening with Facebook Live that's bringing more openness to the political process," said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in a post to his social media profile Thursday."It's a way to share anything you want with the world using just your phone." (Reporting By Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Angela Moon in New York and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Java, Java EE, Jython, Oracle, and More...: Help Move Java EE Forward

2016-06-16 19:27:05

If you recall my post entitled Java EE 8: What is the Current Status, it is apparent that the progression on Java EE has certainly slowed down over the past several months.  There are definitely some JSRs under the Java EE umbrella that have more activity than others, but Java EE as a whole has seen little to no movement forward since JavaOne 2015.  This is not something to be taken lightly by anyone in the IT industry.  Java EE is a critical part of the industry, as there are thousands of web applications that have been built using the Java EE stack.  There are probably even more applications that have not been built using the full Java EE stack, but still rely upon some of the Java EE technologies..such as the Java Persistence API (JPA) or Java Message Service (JMS). Why is it so important to move things forward?  Why not just leave things how they are and let Java EE fade away?  Plainly put, these technologies need to move forward in order to remain secure and make use of the current API technologies of today.  If one wishes to simply let Java EE stagnate, that means that all of the applications and services utilizing all or part of Java EE (much of the internet as we know it) are also stagnating, and cannot be moved forward to stay current with today's technology and security concerns. What can we do to try and help?  Move Java EE forward via the community.  If you have a few moments to spare, help move Java EE forward by sharing your expertise and contributing to one or more of the Java EE JSRs.  This can be done by joining the JCP (Java Community Process) and beginning to work on the code.  Work can be categorized in a number of can test existing code, document, debug, repair issues, or even develop features and enhancements for a Java EE 8  JSR.  Become a part of your local JUG and give a talk on Java EE 8, or get your JUG involved via the Adopt-a-JSR program and work with the JCP to help make improvements towards the Java EE 8 effort! What can you do right now?  Sign the petition that has been proposed by the Java EE Guardians group to try and persuade Oracle to begin working on Java EE 8, once again.  The Java EE Guardians are a group of individuals/JUGs that are actively involved in trying to vocalize the current status of Java EE 8, in an effort to get the community involved and to make Oracle hear or opinion.  In the end, if Oracle is not interested putting forth effort internally and moving Java EE forward, hopefully they will be open to working more with the community, and hand off some of the specifications to those who are interested. Thanks for reading the post...your time and participation is certainly appreciated!

In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria

2016-06-09 18:22:21

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama.The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease.Their goal of permanently ending transmission of the disease between humans and mosquitoes is more ambitious than the Sustainable Development Goal of ending epidemic levels of malaria by 2030.They are also supporting a push to create the world's first vaccine against a parasite.Six innovations scientists are working on are:* New insecticides: Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides used to spray inside homes and in bed nets."There is no current insecticide that doesn't show insect-resistance at the moment," said Jed Stone, a spokesman for the UK-based Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC).Indoor spraying of walls with insecticide -- which was used to wipe out malaria in the United States in the 1940s -- has fallen by 40 percent since 2012 due to resistance to older products and the high cost of newer ones. The IVCC is developing three new insecticides for use in indoor sprays and bed nets that kill insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. "The insecticides are virtually ready but it will take about five years to finally develop them," Stone said, adding that this largely involves registration with regulators. * A single-dose cure: A pill that would wipe out all parasites in the body could be available by 2019, the Gates Foundation says.Human trials of one candidate are planned following successful tests on mice, published in 2015. Existing drugs have to be taken for three days with the risk that people do not finish their medication, contributing to the development of drug-resistant malaria. They also only kill parasites at the asexual-stage where they cause fever but not at the sexual-stage where they are picked up by mosquitoes in blood.* Insecticide-treated wall liners: Scientists hope insecticide-treated wall liners, which look like wallpaper, will be more effective than spraying people's homes with insecticide every three to eight months. The wall liners kill mosquitoes that rest on them and can last for three years. Tanzania's National Institute for Medical Research is testing wall liners in 6,000 homes to see if they protect people from malaria. Results will be published in 2017.* Insecticide-embedded clothing: American soldiers have been wearing combat uniforms treated with permethrin, a synthetic insecticide, since 2010 to protect them against insect-borne diseases.The U.S. government's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will test the effectiveness of treated combat uniforms and repellent creams in July on Tanzanian soldiers who often catch malaria when working at night as peacekeepers.* A vaccine: This is a big one, given vaccines success in eliminating smallpox, polio and measles in many countries. More than 30 malaria vaccines are under development. The Mosquirix vaccine, discovered in 1987, is a decade ahead of other candidates but, to date, it only halves the number of bouts of malaria young children suffer.The World Health Organization is seeking funding for a pilot program to administer Mosquirix to 400,000 to 800,000 African children. The results will be used to make a decision on whether to use the vaccine more widely. * GM mosquitoes: Scientists have genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes by adding genes that block the development of the malaria parasite inside the insect and prevent it from being transmitted to people.Scientists have also genetically modified mosquitoes to make them infertile, so that they die out. But many are cautious about the unforeseen consequences of this."When people imagine a malaria end game scenario, GM mosquito technology would be incredibly powerful because it doesn't rely on a robust health system in order to go in and disrupt transmission of the parasite," said Martin Edlund, chief executive of Malaria No More, referring to war-torn countries like South Sudan.The International Center for Journalists and Malaria No More provided a travel grant for this report (Reporting by Katy Migiro; Editing by Katie Nguyen; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit to see more stories.)

Researchers find 39 unreported sources of major pollution: NASA

2016-06-02 17:17:37

Researchers in the United States and Canada have located 39 unreported sources of major pollution using a new satellite-based method, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.The unreported sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions are clusters of coal-burning power plants, smelters and oil and gas operations in the Middle East, Mexico and Russia that were found in an analysis of satellite data from 2005 to 2014, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday. The analysis also found that the satellite-based estimates of the emissions were two or three times higher than those reported from known sources in those regions, NASA said. Environment and Climate Change Canada atmospheric scientist Chris McLinden said in a statement that the unreported and underreported sources accounted for about 12 percent of all human-made emissions of sulfur dioxide. The discrepancy could have "a large impact on regional air quality," said McLinden, the lead author of the study published in Nature Geosciences. A new computer program and improvements in processing raw satellite observations helped researchers at NASA; the University of Maryland, College Park; Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Environment and Climate Change Canada detect the pollution, according to the U.S. space agency. The researchers also located 75 natural sources of sulfur dioxide in the form of non-erupting volcanoes that are slowly leaking the toxic gas. Although the sites are not necessarily unknown, many volcanoes are in remote locations and not monitored, so the satellite-based data is the first to provide regular annual information on these volcanic emissions, NASA said. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Von Ahn)

Message Durability in ActiveMQ 5.X

2016-05-26 18:13:04

I get asked quite a bit to explain the basics of how ActiveMQ works with respect to how it stores messages (or doesn’t in some cases). Here’s the high-level explanation of it. Note, the context is within JMS. If you use ActiveMQ’s non-JMS clients (e.g., STOMP, AMQP, MQTT, etc.) then the behavior may be different in some cases.ActiveMQThe JMS durability guarantees are pretty strong in terms of not losing messages that are marked “persistent.” Let’s see how that applies for ActiveMQ.TopicsTopics are a broadcast mechanism. They allow us to implement publish-subscribe semantics in JMS land. However, what happens if we mark a message “persistent” and there are no subscribers? In any normal broadcast (e.g., I go downtown and start shouting about the awesomeness of ActiveMQ), if there are no subscribers (it’s 3am and there’s nobody around to hear me…. must’ve been a good night out if I'm out at 3am) then what happens? Nothing. Nobody hears it. And we move on. ActiveMQ doesn’t do anything with the message if you publish it (persistent or not persistent) and there are no subscribers (no live subscribers and no durable subscribers).ActiveMQ will only store the message if there are durable subscribers (active or inactive). For an inactive durable subscription, ActiveMQ will store messages marked “persistent” into a non-volatile store and wait for a subscriber to rejoin the subscription. At that point it will try to deliver messages.QueuesFor queues, ActiveMQ treats “persistent” messages with a simple default protocol. We basically block the main producer thread and wait for confirmation that the broker has actually gotten the message:Producer:Producer sends messageProducer blocks, waits for ACK from brokerProducer continues on if successful ACKRetries if NACK or timeout or failoverBroker:receives messagestores message to disksends back ACKFor “non-persistent” sends, the flow is different. We send in a “fire and forget” mode. The main producer thread does not get blocked and any ACK or other response happens asynchronously on the ActiveMQ Connection Transport thread:Producer sends messageProducer continues on with its thread and does not blockProducer eventually gets ACK on a separate thread than the main producer threadTransacted sends?We can increase performance of sends to the broker by batching up multiple messages to send at once. This utilizes the network as well as the broker storage more effectively. There’s an important distinction you must be aware of when sending transacted. The opening of the TX session and the closing of it (rollback/commit) are all synchronous interactions with the broker, however, the sends for each individual message during the TX window are all sent asynchronously. This is okay if everything works out because the broker batches these messages up. But what happens if there are transport errors? Or the broker runs out of space to save these messages?We need to set an ExceptionListener to watch for errors during these sends. We also need to (or should) set a client side sending “producer window” to allow us to enforce producer flow control when the broker runs out of resources. See ActiveMQ producer flow control for more.Changing the defaultsThe interesting settings on the producer that can change these behaviors:useAsyncSend - always wait for ACKs asynchronously, even in persistent sends and commitsalwaysSyncSend – force all sends (non-persistent or transactional sends included) to always wait for ACK from the brokerUsing the defaults are generally what folks want.StorageFor production usage of ActiveMQ, I recommend the shared-storage approach at the moment. In this case, we need to be aware of what’s happening at the storage layer to understand ActiveMQ’s guarantees.ActiveMQ by default will implement JMS durability requirements which basically states messages that get stored must survive crashes. For this, we by default will do a “fsync” on the filesystem. Now what happens on each system will be dependent on what OS, network, storage controller, storage devices, etc you use. This is the same you’d expect for any type of database that needs to persistently store messages and is not ActiveMQ-specific, per se.When we write to the ActiveMQ transaction journal we need to ask the OperatingSystem to flush the journal to disk with a call to fsync. Basically what happens is we force the OS to write back the page-file cache it uses to cache file changes to the storage medium. It also encourages the storage medium to do what it needs to do (depends on implementation) to “store” the data to disk:Some storage controllers have their own cache that needs to be flushed. The disk drives have their own caches, etc. Some of these caches are backed by battery and may write-back at their own time intervals, etc. For you to understand the durability of your messages running through ActiveMQ, you should understand the guarantees of your storage layer.ConsumersFinally the last piece of the puzzle is how we deliver/dispatch messages to consumers and how they acknowledge. The ActiveMQ JMS libraries handle all of this for you, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not you’re going to lose messages.Messages get dispatched to consumers up to a certain “prefetch” buffer that lives on the consumer. This helps speed up message processing by having an available cache of messages on the consumer ready to process and then refill this cache as the consumer consumes them. In ActiveMQ these prefetched messages are denoted as “in flight” in the console. At this point it’s up to the consumer to process these messages and ACK them. (this will depend on the ack modes… the default of auto ack will send the ACK as the consumer gets the message.. for more important message processing you may wish to use “client” ack where the client explicitly says when to ack the message, i.e., after it’s completed some processing).If the consumer fails for some reason, any of the non-ack’d messages will be redelivered to another consumer (if available) and follow the same processing as above. The broker will not remove the message from its indexes until it gets an ACK. So this includes failures at both the consumer and network level. If there are errors at either of these levels even after a consumer as “successfully processed” (note, this is very use-case specific what “successfully processed” means), and the broker does not get the ack, then it’s possible the broker will re-send the message. In this case you could end up with duplicates on the consumer side and will probably want to implement an idempotent consumer. For scaling up messaging producers/consumers, you’ll want to have idempotent consumers in place anyway.Last thing to note: JMS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ONCE AND ONLY ONCE PROCESSING of a message without the use of XA transactions. JMS guarantees once and only once delivery insofar it can mark messages as being “redelivered” and have the consumer check that, but the consumer is responsible for how many times it should be allowed to process (or filter out with idempotent consumer).

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