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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the maybe-we-could-start-paying-teachers-well-instead dept.

Education 519

An anonymous reader writes "Tenure laws one of the most controversial aspects of education reform, and now the tide seems to be turning against them. A California judge has handed down a ruling that such laws are unconstitutional, depriving students of an education by sometimes securing positions held by bad teachers. The judge said, "Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." The plaintiff's case was that "California's current laws make it impossible to get rid of the system's numerous low-performing and incompetent teachers; that seniority rules requiring the newest teachers to be laid off first were harmful; and that granting tenure to teachers after only two years on the job was farcical, offering far too little time for a fair assessment of their skills." This is a precedent-setting case, and there will likely be many similar cases around the country as tenure is challenged with this new ammunition."

Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the 30-is-over-the-hill dept.

Firefox 270

Today Mozilla made Firefox 30 available, a relatively minor release after the massive redesign in version 29. According to the changelog, new features include VP9 video decoding, support for Opus in WebM, and horizontal volume control for HTML5 video and audio. Developers got support for multi-line flexboxes and hang reporting for background threads. There were also a number of security fixes. The Android version of Firefox received better support for native text selection, cutting, and copying, as well as predictive lookup for Awesomebar entries. The availability of Firefox 30 coincides with the launch of Firebug 2.0, which features an updated UI and a new debugging engine called JSD2. Significant new features include JavaScript syntax highlighting and de-minifying, improved code auto-complete, and the capability to hide or show individual Firebug panels.

Getting the Most Out of the Space Station (Before It's Too Late)

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the remember-when-we-let-our-space-program-die dept.

ISS 155

bmahersciwriter writes: NASA administrators are strategizing a push to do more science on the International Space Station in the coming years. The pressure is on, given the rapidly cooling relations between the U.S. and Russia, whose deputy prime minister recently suggested that U.S. astronauts use a trampoline if they want to get into orbit. Aiding in the push for more research is the development of two-way cargo ships by SpaceX, which should allow for return of research materials (formerly a hurdle to doing useful experiments). NASA soon aims to send new earth-monitoring equipment to the station and expanded rodent facilities. And geneLAB will send a range of model organisms like fruit flies and nematodes into space for months at a time.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Released

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the onward-and-upward dept.

Red Hat Software 231

An anonymous reader writes: Today, Red Hat unveiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, with new features designed to meet both modern datacenter and next-generation IT requirements for cloud, Linux Containers, and big data. The new version includes Linux containers (LXC), which let Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers, improved MS Active Directory / Identity Management (IdM) integration, XFS as the default file system, scaling to 500 TB (additional file system choices such as btrfs, ext{3,4} and others are available), a new and improved installation experience, managing Linux servers with OpenLMI, enhancements to both NFS and GFS2, optimized network management, bandwidth, the use of KVM Virtualization technology and more. See the complete list of features here (PDF). CentOS 7 shouldn't be lagging too far behind due to recent cooperation between Red Hat and CentOS project.

NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the complex-simple-same-thing dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 245

Reader Bruce66423 (1678196) points out skeptical-sounding coverage at the Washington Post of the NSA's claim that it can't hold onto information it collects about users' online activity long enough for it to be useful as evidence in lawsuits about the very practice of that collection. From the article: 'The agency is facing a slew of lawsuits over its surveillance programs, many launched after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information on the agency's efforts last year. One suit that pre-dates the Snowden leaks, Jewel v. NSA, challenges the constitutionality of programs that the suit allege collect information about Americans' telephone and Internet activities. In a hearing Friday, U.S. District for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court. The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States.' Adds Bruce66423: "This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long."

Britain Gets National .uk Web Address

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the actually-top-level dept.

The Internet 111

hypnosec (2231454) writes 'Starting today businesses and individuals in the UK will be able to register a new national web address (".uk") and drop their existing ".co.uk" or ".com" suffix in favour of a shorter and snappier domain name. The entire process along with the transition is being overseen by private yet not-for-profit organisation Nominet, which has already started notifying existing customers with a ".co.uk" domain of their chance to adopt a ".uk" domain. Nominet will reserve all ".uk" domain names, which already have a ".co.uk" counterparts, for the next five years offering registrants the chance to adopt the new domain and to keep cyber squatters at bay.'

$470 RepRap Derived 3D Printer Going Into Production

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the 3d-printer-for-the-rest-of-us dept.

Printer 32

An anonymous reader writes "South African makerstore OpenHardware.co.za has designed and built a new RepRap-derivative 3D printer which it plans to sell for less than R5000 ($470). The first completed units are being put together now, with an eye to shipping late June. Store owner Peter van der Walt says that he designed Babybot — which has a print area equivalent to a RepRap Prusa Mendel-style machine — in order to reduce build and support costs. He's been selling various RepRap designs in kit form for two years, but as they become more popular is struggling to keep up with demand and handle returns. By sourcing more materials locally — he also designs his own controller boards — he's looking to beat the likes of RS Components and large shopping chains which have begun shipping the likes of Cubify in the country."

America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the local-weed-dealer-mines-front-yard dept.

United States 875

An anonymous reader writes, quoting Business Insider: "Eight different law enforcement agencies in Indiana have purchased massive Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP) that were formerly used in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mark Alesia reports for the Indy Star. Pulaski County, home to 13,124 people, is one of the counties that have purchased an 55,000 pound, six-wheeled patrol vehicles, from military surplus. When asked to justify the purchase of a former military vehicle, Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer told the Indy Star: "The United States of America has become a war zone."'

South African Schools To Go Textbook Free

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the no-more-pencils-no-more-books dept.

Education 76

An anonymous reader writes "South African education authorities are about to embark on an ambitious plan to take their schools textbook free, using the familiar refrain of one-tablet-per-child to do so. The education minister in Gauteng (the province which covers Johannesburg and Pretoria) has announced a plan to model new schools in the area on Sunward Park, a government school which went all-digital at the start of 2012. Other schools in the state will then follow, along with a plan to extend the project nationally."

Kids With Operators Manual Alert Bank Officials: "We Hacked Your ATM"

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the protect-ya-neck dept.

Security 378

An anonymous reader writes "Two 14-year-olds hacked a Bank of Montreal ATM after finding an operators manual online that showed how to gain administrative control. Matthew Hewlett and Caleb Turon alerted bank employees after testing the instructions on an ATM at a nearby supermarket. At first the employees thought the boys had the PIN numbers of customers. 'I said: "No, no, no. We hacked your ATM. We got into the operator mode,"' Hewlett was quoted as saying. Then, the bank employees asked for proof. 'So we both went back to the ATM and I got into the operator mode again,' Hewlett said. 'Then I started printing off documentations like how much money is currently in the machine, how many withdrawals have happened that day, how much it's made off surcharges. Then I found a way to change the surcharge amount, so I changed the surcharge amount to one cent.'"

Amazon Launches Subscription-Based Billing And Payments Service

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the time-to-pay dept.

Businesses 76

mpicpp (3454017) writes in with news about Amazon's new payments service. "The company launched a service Monday known as Amazon Payments that allows consumers to use their Amazon accounts to send and receive money and shop online at 'thousands of sites other than Amazon.' It's accessible on both desktops and mobile devices. For businesses, Amazon is selling the service as a way to take advantage of its security and user data while saving time for new customers. There's no recurring fee for retailers to use the platform, though Amazon plans to take a standard cut of 2.9% from those businesses, plus $0.30 for each transaction of $10 or more. With more than 244 million active customer accounts, Amazon already has a massive base of potential users for the service. The effort represents a new front in its assault on eBay, which owns online payments service PayPal."

NASA Names Gavin Schmidt Director of the Goddard Institute For Space Studies

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the new-boss dept.

Space 41

First time accepted submitter Graculus (3653645) writes "NASA has named Gavin A. Schmidt to head the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, a leading Earth climate research laboratory. Currently deputy director of the institute, Schmidt steps into the position left vacant after the retirement of long-time director James E. Hansen and becomes only the third person to hold the post."

Interviews: Forrest Mims Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Education 161

A while ago you had the chance to ask amateur scientist, and author of the Getting Started in Electronics and the Engineer's Mini-Notebook series, Forrest Mims, a number of questions about science, engineering, and a lifetime of educating and experimenting. Below you'll find his detailed answers to those questions.

Greenland Is Getting Darker

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the it's-not-dark-yet-but-it's-getting-there dept.

Earth 174

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Greenland's white snow is getting darker. Scientists have generally attributed that darkening to larger, slightly less white snow grains caused by warmer temperatures. But researchers have found a new source of darkening taking hold: impurities in the snow. The new darkening effect could easily add 2 centimeters to the projections of 20 cm sea level rise by 2100—and perhaps more if impurity levels grow with time."

Replicating the NSA's Gadgets Using Open Source

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the spy-on-it-yourself dept.

Privacy 47

An anonymous reader writes "Wireless security researcher Michael Ossmann asked himself: 'Could I make the gadgets that the agency uses to monitor and locate mobile phones, tap USB and Ethernet connections, maintain persistent malware on PCs, communicate with malware across air gaps, and more, by just using open source software and hardware?' In this podcast he shares his insights on what to use — and how — to duplicate hardware devices found in the ANT catalog."

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the can-we-give-you-a-ride? dept.

United States 346

An anonymous reader writes "Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko says that spies from Russia's SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June. 'It was a trick and he fell for it,' Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB's prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. 'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'"

Kim Dotcom Offers $5 Million Bounty To Defeat Extradition

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the money-talks dept.

The Almighty Buck 253

heretic108 (454817) writes "Internet mega-entrepreneur, uber-gamer and now NZ political corruption-buster Kim DotCom has posted a bounty of $5 million to anyone who can dig up any dirt which saves him from extradition to the U.S.. This bounty would be payable not only to government employees, but also to anyone who can retrieve documents clearly proving corruption in the whole prosecution process. 'We are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood', Dotcom told website Torrentfreak.com."

MIT Used Lobbying, Influence To Restore Nuclear Fusion Dream

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the you-forgot-to-bury-the-head dept.

Government 135

An anonymous reader writes in with the story of how MIT's fusion energy experiment is alive and well even though its federal funding was axed. "'In the end, it is about picking a winner and a parochial effort to direct money to MIT,' said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group. 'It's certainly a case of lawmakers bucking the president and putting their thumb on the scale for a particular project.' MIT enlisted the support of a wealthy Democratic donor from Concord and the help of an influential Washington think-tank co-founded by John Kerry. These efforts were backed by lobbyists, including a former congressman from Massachusetts, with connections to the right lawmakers on the right committees. The cast also included an alliance of universities, industry and national labs, all invested in the fusion dream. 'It's ground-breaking research that could lead an energy revolution,' [Senator Elizabeth] Warren said. 'This was not about politics. This was about good science.' The revival of MIT's project, whatever its merits, clearly demonstrated what the combination of old-fashioned Washington horse-trading and new-fangled power — both nuclear and political — can do."

After Trademark Dispute, Mexican Carriers Can No Longer Use iPhone Name In Ads

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the take-that-name-out-of-your-mouth dept.

Advertising 53

An anonymous reader writes "The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) on Thursday announced it has absolved Apple of wrongdoing in a trademark lawsuit surrounding the iPhone's infringement of a local telecommunications company marketing the phonetically identical 'iFone' brand. The logic behind the ruling was based on the difference in the two companies' markets. While iFone sells telecommunications services, Apple sells smartphones (but not actual telecommunications service). Because cellular carriers offer telecommunications services, the IMPI ruled that carriers have to remove the word 'iPhone' from all marketing materials within the next 15 days."

Scientists Race To Save Miami Coral Doomed By Dredging

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the last-chance dept.

Earth 99

An anonymous reader writes "Miami scientists are scrambling to rescue a crop of coral at the bottom of one of the world's busiest shipping channels that they say could hold clues about climate change. 'The coral, which may hold clues about how sea life adapts to climate change, is growing in Government Cut. The channel, created more than a century ago, leads to PortMiami and is undergoing a $205 million dredging project — scheduled to begin Saturday — to deepen the sea floor by about 10 feet in time for a wave of new monster cargo ships cruising through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015. Endangered coral and larger coral have already been removed by a team hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the dredging work. But the remaining coral, deemed "corals of opportunity" in Corps lingo, can be retrieved with a permit. The problem, scientists say, is they only had 12 days between when the permits were issued last month and the start of dredging, not nearly enough time to save the unusual colonies thriving in Government Cut.'"

NASA Beams Hi-Def Video From Space Via Laser

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the beam-it-down dept.

ISS 38

An anonymous reader writes "NASA successfully beamed a high-definition video 260 miles from the International Space Station to Earth Thursday using a new laser communications instrument. Transmission of 'Hello, World!' as a video message was the first 175-megabit communication for the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), a technology demonstration that allows NASA to test methods for communication with future spacecraft using higher bandwidth than radio waves." Last September, NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) showed that they could supply a lunar colony with broadband via lasers.

Rising Sea Levels Uncover Japanese War Dead In Marshall Islands

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the how-high's-the-water dept.

Earth 182

An anonymous reader writes "The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands says that, 'even the dead are affected' by climate change. From the article: 'Speaking at UN climate talks in Bonn, the Island's foreign minister said that high tides had exposed one grave with 26 dead. The minister said the bones were most likely those of Japanese troops. Driven by global warming, waters in this part of the Pacific have risen faster than the global average. With a high point just two metres above the waters, the Marshall Islands are one of the most vulnerable locations to changes in sea level.'"

Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the you-got-to-do-it,-why-can't-we dept.

Earth 322

mdsolar writes: 'Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize for understanding world trade, has proposed carbon tariffs as a way to get China to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He wrote, "China is enormously dependent on access to advanced-country markets — a lot of the coal it burns can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to its export business — and it knows that it would put this access at risk if it refused to play any role in protecting the planet. More specifically, if and when wealthy countries take serious action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, they're very likely to start imposing "carbon tariffs" on goods imported from countries that aren't taking similar action. Such tariffs should be legal under existing trade rules — the World Trade Organization would probably declare that carbon limits are effectively a tax on consumers, which can be levied on imports as well as domestic production. Furthermore, trade rules give special consideration to environmental protection. So China would find itself with strong incentives to start limiting emissions." As I read it, Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade does indeed allow us to unilaterally impose tariffs on China.'

Mesa 10.2 Improves Linux's Open-Source Graphics Drivers

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the onward-and-upward dept.

Graphics 58

An anonymous reader writes "Mesa 10.2 was introduced this week as the new shining example of what open source graphics (and open source projects in general) are capable of achieving. The latest release of this often underrepresented open source graphics driver project has many new OpenGL and driver features including a number of new OpenGL 4 extensions. The reverse-engineered Freedreno driver now poses serious competition to Qualcomm's Adreno driver, an OpenMAX implementation was added for Radeon video encoding support, Intel Broadwell support now works better, the software rasterizer supports OpenGL 3.3, and many other changes are present."

Bill Watterson (briefly) Returns To Comics

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the bats-aren't-bugs dept.

Entertainment 119

New submitter amosh writes: 'Bill Watterson was the author of the immensely popular "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip in the 80s and 90s, until he retired and removed himself entirely from the public eye. Since his retirement in 1995, he has become a recluse, and has not drawn a published daily comic strip — until now. This week, Watterson came out of exile to draw the 2nd panel of three of Stephan Pastis' "Pearls Before Swine" strips. Watterson has lost none of his style or talent, and a fourth strip — drawn by Pastis alone and published today, June 7 — is a lovely homage to Watterson's ending of Calvin and Hobbes. The Washington Post has the story of how it all happened.'

Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the jesus-loses-to-a-botanist dept.

Wikipedia 231

KentuckyFC writes: 'In 1978, the American researcher Michael Hart published The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, a book that became an international best seller. Since then, various others have published similar lists. But all suffer the same drawback: they are subjective list ultimately influenced by numerous cultural factors. Now data scientists have come up with a way to extract an objective list of the 100 most influential people in history using the network of links between biographical articles on Wikipedia and how they vary between 24 different language editions, including English, Chinese, Russian Arabic and so on. The researchers assume that people who are highly ranked in different language editions are influential across both language cultures and that the more appearances they make in different language editions, the more influential they are. But the actual ranking is done by PageRank-like algorithms that consider a biographical article important if it is pointed to by other important articles.

The resulting lists of the most influential men and women might surprise. The top PageRanked individual is Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist who developed the modern naming scheme for plants and animals, followed by Jesus. The top PageRanked women are: Elizabeth II followed by Mary (mother of Jesus). For comparison, just under half of the top 100 most influential also appear in Hart's 1978 book. But this is just the beginning. By counting the individuals from one culture that influence other cultures, the team is able to work out which cultures have dominated others. And by looking only at people born before certain dates, they can see how the influence of different cultures has waxed and waned throughout 35 centuries of recorded history.'

id Software's Original 'Softdisk' Games Open Sourced

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the free-as-in-antique-fun dept.

Classic Games (Games) 100

An anonymous reader writes "The original games developed by John Carmack, John Romero, and Adrian Carmack at Softdisk, where the legendary programmers originally met and went on to start id Software, have been open-sourced under the GPLv2. The games are now owned by Flat Rock Software and the open-source titles available are Catacomb, The Catacomb, Catacomb 3D, Catacomb Abyss, and Hovertank3D. The oldest of these games are written in Borland Turbo Pascal while the others are in Borland C++. The source-code can be downloaded from GitHub."

Open Source Robot OS Finds Niches From Farms To Space

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the why-not-linux-oh-wait dept.

Operating Systems 36

jfruh (300774) writes "Blue River Technology built a robot named LettuceBot that uses computer vision to kill unwanted lettuce plants in a field. Rather than build their creation from scratch, they built off of the Robot Operating System, an open source OS that, in the words of one engineer, 'allowed only a few engineers to write an entire system and receive our first check for service in only a few months.' With ROS robots starting to appear everywhere, including the International Space Station, it looks like open source may be making huge strides in this area."

Astronomers Solve Puzzle of Mysterious Streaks In Radio Images of the Sky

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the smudges-on-the-lens dept.

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes 'Back in 2012, astronomers constructed an array of 256 radio antennas in the high deserts of New Mexico designed to listen for radio waves produced by gamma ray bursts, one of the most energetic phenomena in universe and thought to be associated with the collapse of a rapidly rotating stars to form neutron stars and black holes. The array generates all sky images of signals produced in the 25 MHz to 75 MHz region of the spectrum. But when researchers switched it on, they began to observe puzzling streaks across the sky that couldn't possibly be generated by gamma ray bursts. One source left a trail covering more than 90 degrees of the sky in less than 10 seconds. This trail then slowly receded to an endpoint which glowed for around 90 seconds. Now the first study of these transient radio signals has discovered that they are almost certainly produced by fireballs as they burn up after entering the Earth's atmosphere. The conclusion comes after the researchers were able to match several of the radio images with visible light images of fireballs gathered by NASA's All Sky Fireball Network. That solves the mystery but not without introducing another to keep astrophysicists busy in future. The question they're scratching their heads over now is how the plasma trails left by meteors can emit radio waves at this frequency.'

Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Education 139

theodp writes 'Politico reports that parents have mobilized into an unexpected political force to fight the data mining of their children, catapulting student privacy to prominence in statehouses. Having already torpedoed the $100 million, Bill Gates-funded inBloom database project, which could have made it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies, the amateur activists are now rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. "The Education Department," writes Stephanie Simon, "lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?" Leonie Haimson, a NY mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy says, "Every parent I've talked to has been horrified. We just don't want our kids tracked from cradle to grave." For their part, ed tech entrepreneurs and school reformers are both bewildered by and anxious about the backlash — and struggling to craft a response, having assumed parents would support their vision: to mine vast quantities of data for insights into what's working, and what's not, for individual students and for the education system as a whole. "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn, a co-founder an education think tank."

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the start-calling-it-word-engineering dept.

Education 325

An anonymous reader writes "A new report from the Modern Language Association focuses on the decline of Ph.D. programs in the humanities over the past several years. "These programs have gotten both more difficult and less rewarding: today, it can take almost a decade to get a doctorate, and, at the end of your program, you're unlikely to find a tenure-track job." According to the report, 40% of new Ph.D.s won't be able to find tenure-track jobs, and many of the rest won't manage to receive tenure at all. "Different people will tell you different stories about where all the jobs went. Some critics think that the humanities have gotten too weird—that undergrads, turned off by an overly theoretical approach, don't want to participate anymore, and that teaching opportunities have disappeared as a result. ... Others point to the corporatization of universities, which are increasingly inclined to hire part-time, 'adjunct' professors, rather than full-time, tenure-track ones, to teach undergrads. Adjuncts are cheaper; perhaps more importantly, they are easier to hire." The MLA doesn't want to reduce enrollments, but they think the grad school programs should be quicker to complete and dissertations should be shorter and less complex."

Cable Companies Use Astroturfing To Fight Net Neutrality

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the if-you-can't-trust-huge-corporations-who-can-you-trust dept.

Network 142

An anonymous reader sends a report from Vice which alleges that a trade group for internet service providers is building support for its crusade against net neutrality by funding opinion pieces and letters that masquerade as legitimate public sentiment. 'A disclosure obtained by VICE from the National Cable and Telecom Association (NCTA), a trade group for ISPs, shows that the bulk of Broadband for America's recent $3.5 million budget is funded through a $2 million donation from NCTA. Last month, Broadband for America wrote a letter to the FCC bluntly demanding that the agency "categorically reject" any effort toward designating broadband as a public utility. It wasn't signed by any internet consumer advocates, as the Sununu-Ford letter suggests. The signatures on the letter reads like a who's who of ISP industry presidents and CEOs, including AT&T's Randall Stephenson, Cox Communications' Patrick Esser, NCTA president (and former FCC commissioner) Michael Powell, Verizon's Lowell McAdam, and Comcast's Brian Roberts. Notably, Broadband for America's most recent tax filing shows that it retained the DCI Group, an infamous lobbying firm that specializes in creating fake citizen groups on behalf of corporate campaigns.'

The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the dirty-money dept.

The Almighty Buck 398

theodp (442580) writes '"It is hard to imagine any more heinous way of earning money than by benefiting from racism," writes Rick Cohen, who argues that Donald Sterling and the NBA owners are being unjustly enriched by Sterling's racism, which led to the $2 billion sale of the L.A. Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, a record-high sum for an NBA team. "Indeed, the only losers in the Sterling affair are the players," adds the NY Times. "What held promise as a possible D-Day in the N.B.A., a day when N.B.A. owners stood up to be counted and voted Donald Sterling out of the league, instead turned into a great day for the status quo." Forbes contributor Robert Wood speculates that if he plays his cards right, Sterling's windfall could be tax-free.'

Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

NASA 267

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes 'Earlier this week, attempts to cut NASA's budget were defeated, and it looks like the largest space agency in the world will actually be getting nearly a 2% budget increase overall. While common news outlets are touting this as a great budget victory, the reality is that this is shaping up to be just another year of pathetic funding levels, putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold. A sobering read for anyone who hasn't realized what we could be doing.'

Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the time-to-fly dept.

Canada 417

Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes 'Canada is poised to buy 65 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, sources familiar with the process told Reuters. A detailed, 18-month review of Canada's fighter jet needs has concluded that the government should skip a new competition and proceed with the C$9 billion ($8.22 billion) purchase, three sources said. When the F-35 purchase was first proposed, Canadians were alarmed by the colossal price tag, and also that no fly-off competition had been conducted or was planned. This latest news is sure to rekindle criticism that the RCAF's requirements seem to have been written after the fact to match the F-35's capabilities (or lack thereof)."

How FBI Informant Sabu Helped Anonymous Hack Brazil

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the working-for-the-man dept.

United States 59

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes 'A year after leaked files exposed the National Security Agency's efforts to spy on citizens and companies in Brazil, previously unpublished chat logs obtained by Motherboard reveal that while under the FBI's supervision, Hector Xavier Monsegur, widely known by his online persona, "Sabu," facilitated attacks that affected Brazilian websites.The operation raises questions about how the FBI uses global Internet vulnerabilities during cybercrime investigations, how it works with informants, and how it shares information with other police and intelligence agencies.

After his arrest in mid-2011, Monsegur continued to organize cyber attacks while working for the FBI. According to documents and interviews, Monsegur passed targets and exploits to hackers to disrupt government and corporate servers in Brazil and several other countries. Details about his work as a federal informant have been kept mostly secret, aired only in closed-door hearings and in redacted documents that include chat logs between Monsegur and other hackers. The chat logs remain under seal due to a protective order upheld in court, but in April, they and other court documents were obtained by journalists at Motherboard and the Daily Dot.'

FTC Lobbies To Be Top Cop For Geolocation

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the king-of-the-hill dept.

United States 39

chicksdaddy (814965) writes 'As the U.S. Senate considers draft legislation governing the commercial use of location data, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking Congress to make it — not the Department of Justice — the chief rule maker and enforcer of policies for the collection and sharing of geolocation information, the Security Ledger reports.

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee for Privacy, Technology that the Commission would like to see changes to the wording of the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014 (LPPA) . The LPPA is draft legislation introduced by Sen. Al Franken that carves out new consumer protections for location data sent and received by mobile phones, tablets and other portable computing devices. Rich said that the FTC, as the U.S. Government's leading privacy enforcement agency, should be given rule making and enforcement authority for the civil provisions of the LPPA. The current draft of the law instead gives that authority to the Department of Justice.

The LPPA updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to take into account the widespread and availability and commercial use of geolocation information provided. LPPA requires that companies get individuals' permission before collecting location data off of smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices, and before sharing it with others.

It would prevent what Franken refers to as "GPS stalking," preventing companies from collecting location data in secret. LPPA also requires companies to reveal the kinds of data they collect and how they share and use it, bans the development, operation, and sale of GPS stalking apps and requires the federal government to collect data on GPS stalking and facilitate reporting of GPS stalking by the public.'

High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the gaming-the-game dept.

The Almighty Buck 382

hype7 (239530) writes 'The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article on how finance is increasingly abstracting itself — and the gains it makes — away from the creation of value in the real world, and how High Frequency Trading is the most extreme version of this phenomenon yet. From the article: "High frequency trading is a different phenomenon from the increasing focus on short term returns by human investors. But they're borne from a similar mindset: one in which financial returns are the priority, independent of whether they're associated with something innovative or useful in the real world. What Lewis's book demonstrated to me isn't just how "bad" HFTs are per se, but rather, what happens when finance keeps walking down the path it seems to be set on — a path that involves abstracting itself from the creation of real-world value. The final destination? It will enter a world entirely of its own — a world in which it is fighting to capture value that is completely independent of whether any is created in the first place."'

AT&T Charges $750 For One Minute of International Data Roaming

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the canadian-dollars-count dept.

AT&T 321

reifman (786887) writes 'Last week, AT&T shut down my data service after I turned roaming on in Canada for one minute to check Google maps. I wasn't able to connect successfully but they reported my phone burned through 50 MB and that I owed more than $750. Google maps generally require 1.3 MB per cell. They adamantly refused to reactivate my U.S. data service unless I 'agreed' to purchase an international data roaming package to cover the usage. They eventually reversed the charges but it seems that the company's billing system had bundled my U.S. data usage prior to the border crossing with the one minute of international data roaming.'

A Year After Snowden's Disclosures, EFF, FSF Want You To Fight Surveillance

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the why-make-it-easy-for-'em? dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 108

Today, as the EFF notes, marks one year from Edward Snowden's first document leaks, and the group is using that as a good spur to install free software intended to make it harder for anyone (the NSA is certainly not the first, and arguably far from the worst) to spy on your electronic communications. Nowadays, that means nearly everything besides face-to-face communication, or paper shipped through the world's postal systems. Reader gnujoshua (540710) highlights one of the options: 'The FSF has published a (rather beautiful) infographic and guide to encrypting your email using GnuPG. In their blog post announcing the guide they write: "One year ago today, an NSA contractor named Edward Snowden went public with his history-changing revelations about the NSA's massive system of indiscriminate surveillance. Today the FSF is releasing Email Self-Defense, a guide to personal email encryption to help everyone, including beginners, make the NSA's job a little harder.'" Serendipitous timing: a year and a day ago, we mentioned a UN report that made explicit the seemingly obvious truth that undue government surveillance, besides being an affront in itself, chills free speech. (Edward Snowden agrees.)

Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the now-come-up-with-some-slogans dept.

Businesses 158

First time accepted submitter Randy Davis (3683081) writes 'A report from Forbes says that Sprint buying T-mobile for $32 billion is almost done. This will clearly rock the top two telecommunication companies in the U.S., Verizon and AT&T. The news report also said that T-mobile will give up 67% share in exchange of 15% share of the merged company. Officials of both Sprint and T-Mobile are confident that FCC will approve this deal since AT&T's $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV got approved.' One reason for that confidence: "The predominant feeling is that combined T-Mobile and Sprint will be able to offer greater competition to Verizon and AT&T , ranked first and second respectively in the U.S. market. It will also give Sprint greater might in the upcoming 600 megahertz spectrum auction, especially since part of it excludes both Verizon and AT&T from bidding."

InforWorld puts the potential price even higher, and points out that the deal could still fall apart.

SpaceX Landing Video Cleanup Making Progress

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the from-worse-to-bad dept.

Bug 54

Maddog Batty (112434) writes 'The fine people at the NASA Space Flight Forum are making good progress on restoring the corrupted landing video reported earlier. It worth looking at the original video to see how bad it was and then at the latest restored video. It is now possible to see the legs being deployed, the sea coming closer and a big flame ball as the rocket plume hits the water. An impressive improvement so far and it is still being actively worked on so further refinements are likely.' Like Maddog Batty, I'd suggest watching the restored version first (note: the video is lower on the page), to see just what a big improvement's been made so far.

Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the keep-on-trucking dept.

Canada 363

Jabrwock (985861) writes 'One of the biggest limitations on lithium battery-powered electric cars has been their range. Last year Israeli-based Phinergy introduced an "aluminum-air" battery. Today, partnering with Alcoa Canada, they announced a demo of the battery, which is charged up at Alcoa's aluminum smelter in Quebec. The plant uses hydro-electric power to charge up the battery, which would then need a tap-water refill every few months, and a swap (ideally at a local dealership) every 3,000km, since it cannot be recharged as simply as Lithium. The battery is meant to boost the range of standard electric cars, which would still use the Lithium batteries for short-range trips. The battery would add about 100 kg to an existing Tesla car's battery weight.'

Life Sentences For Serious Cyberattacks Proposed In Britain

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the do-not-pass-go dept.

United Kingdom 216

Bismillah (993337) writes 'The British government wants life in prison for hackers who cause disruption to computer networks, resulting in loss of life or threat to the country's national security. From the article: "The UK government will seek to amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act "to ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause. Currently, the law provides for a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment for those who commit the offence of impairing a computer. A new, aggravated offence of unauthorised access to a computer will be introduced into the Computer Misuse Act by the government, carrying far longer sentences."'

UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the for-our-eyes-only dept.

United Kingdom 240

hazeii (5702) writes in with news about a secret trial set to take place in England. 'A major terrorism trial is set to be held entirely in secret for the first time in British legal history in an unprecedented departure from the principles of open justice, the court of appeal has heard. The identities of the two defendants charged with serious terror offences are being withheld from the public, and the media are banned from being present in court to report the forthcoming trial against the two men, known only as AB and CD.'

Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the earth-plus-plastic dept.

Earth 123

sciencehabit (1205606) writes 'Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii. The new material--which the researchers are calling a "plastiglomerate"--may be becoming so pervasive that it actually becomes part of the geologic record.'

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the not-going-to-happen dept.

Mars 206

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes 'The National Research Council issued its report on the future of space exploration. The report stated that the "horizon goal" for any program of space exploration in the near term (i.e. the next two decades) is a Mars surface expedition. It also stated that the current NASA program, which includes a mission that would snag an asteroid, put it in lunar orbit, and visit it with astronauts is inadequate to meet that goal.

The report gave two reasons for its critique of the current NASA program. First the asteroid redirect mission would not create and test technologies necessary to conduct a crewed Mars mission. Second, NASA projects essentially flat budgets for the foreseeable future. Any space exploration program worthy of the name will cost considerably more money, with five percent increases in NASA funding for a number of years.'

Testing 65 Different GPUs On Linux With Open Source Drivers

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the line-'em-up-and-knock-'em-down dept.

Graphics 134

An anonymous reader writes "How good are open source graphics drivers in 2014 given all the Linux gaming and desktop attention? Phoronix has tested 65 different GPUs using the latest open source drivers covering Intel HD Graphics, NVIDIA GeForce, AMD Radeon, and AMD FirePro hardware. Of the 65 GPUs tested, only 50 of them had good enough open source driver support for running OpenGL games and benchmarks. Across the NVIDIA and AMD hardware were several pages of caveats with different driver issues encountered on Linux 3.15 and Mesa 10.3 loaded on Ubuntu 14.04. Intel graphics on Linux were reliable but slow while AMD's open-source Linux support was recommended over the NVIDIA support that doesn't currently allow for suitable graphics card re-clocking. Similar tests are now being done with the proprietary Linux drivers."

$10k Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At Planes Goes Nationwide

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the video-your-friends-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Shark 264

coondoggie writes: "The FBI today said it was making national a pilot program it tried out in 12 locations earlier this year that offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. According to the FBI, the pilot locations have seen a 19% decrease in the number of reported laser-to-aircraft incidents. Those locations included: Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia."

How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the pesky-citizens-ruining-revenues dept.

Stats 286

jfruh (300774) writes "Ben Wellington is a New Yorker and city planner with an interest in NYC Open Data, the city's online open government initiative. One thing he noticed in this vast dataset was that just two fire hydrants in the city generated tens of thousands of dollars a year in tickets. The sleuthing by which he figured out why is a great example of how open government data can help citizens in concrete ways."

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