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Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the muckrock-reclassified-as-terrorist-threat dept.

Privacy 89

v3rgEz (125380) writes "Collaborative investigative news site MuckRock is trying to take a national look at Stingray usage across America, and is looking for people to submit contact information for their local police departments and other law enforcement groups for a mass FOIA campaign. The submissions are free, but the site is also running a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of stamps, etc. on Beacon Reader." This comes after news broke that the federal government has been pushing for local police to avoid disclosing their use of Stringray devices.

Bill Gates To Stanford Grads: Don't (Only) Focus On Profit

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the see-your-enemies-driven-before-you-too dept.

Businesses 284

jfruh (300774) writes "The scene was a little surreal. Bill Gates, who became one of the world's richest men by ruthlessly making Microsoft one of the word's most profitable companies, was giving a commencement address at Stanford, the elite university at the heart of Silicon Valley whose graduates go on to the endless tech startups bubbling up looking for Facebook-style riches. But the theme of Gates's speech was that the pursuit of profit cannot solve the world's problems."

Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the they-were-just-here dept.

United States 347

An anonymous reader writes in with news that the IRS lost email scandal is far from over. Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) has sent a formal letter to the National Security Agency asking it to hand over "all its metadata" on the e-mail accounts of a former division director at the Internal Revenue Service. "Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment," Stockman wrote on Friday. The request came hours after the IRS told a congressional committee that it had "lost" all of the former IRS Exempt Organizations division director's e-mails between January 2009 and April 2011.

Humans Not Solely To Blame For Passenger Pigeon Extinction

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the who's-to-blame dept.

Earth 53

sciencehabit (1205606) writes When the last passenger pigeon died at a zoo in 1914, the species became a cautionary tale of the dramatic impact humans can have on the world. But a new study finds that the bird experienced multiple population booms and crashes over the million years before its final demise. The sensitivity of the population to natural fluctuations, the authors argue, could have been what made it so vulnerable to extinction.

Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the grande-school dept.

Businesses 169

mpicpp writes Starbucks baristas working through college are about to get an extra boost from their employer. The company announced it will offer both full and part-time employees a generous tuition reimbursement benefit that covers two full years of classes. The benefit is through a partnership with Arizona State University's online studies program. Employees can choose from any of more than 40 undergraduate degrees, and aren't limited to only business classes.

US Agency Aims To Regulate Map Aids In Vehicles

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the the-right-way-to-go dept.

Transportation 216

An anonymous reader writes in with news about proposed rules regarding mapping technology used in cars.Many are in favor of rules that prevent texting while driving, but in-car navigation is a murkier legal area — how do you minimize distractions without limiting the ability to get from point A to point B? Like it or not, the US government may settle that debate before long. The proposed Grow America Act would let the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set rules for dash-mounted GPS units, smartphone mapping apps and anything else you'd use for driving directions. While it's not clear what the NHTSA would do with its power, the Department of Transportation's voluntary guidelines ask for limits on eye-catching visuals (think videos) and interaction times; don't be surprised if these enter the rulebooks.

Book Review: Security Without Obscurity

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 51

benrothke (2577567) writes Having worked at the same consulting firm and also on a project with author J.J. Stapleton (full disclosure); I knew he was a really smart guy. In Security without Obscurity: A Guide to Confidentiality, Authentication and Integrity, Stapleton shows how broad his security knowledge is to the world. When it comes to the world of encryption and cryptography, Stapleton has had his hand in a lot of different cryptographic pies. He has been part of cryptographic accreditation committees for many different standard bodies across the globe. Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review.

Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the inopportunity-for-all dept.

Education 293

theodp (442580) writes AP Computer Science is taught in just 10% of our high schools," lamented The White House last December as President Obama kicked off CSEdWeek. "China teaches all of its students one year of computer science." And the U.S. Dept. of Education has made the AP CS exam its Poster Child for inequity in education (citing a viral-but-misinterpreted study). But ignored in all the hand-wringing over low AP CS enrollment is one huge barrier to the goal of AP-CS-for-all: College Board materials indicate that the average 11th grader's combined PSAT/NMSQT score of 96 in reading and math gives him/her only a 20%-30% probability of getting a score of '3' on the AP CS exam (a score '4' or '5' may be required for college credit). The College Board suggests schools tap a pool of students with a "60-100% likelihood of scoring 3 or higher", so it's probably no surprise that CS teachers are advised to turn to the College Board's AP Potential tool to identify students who are likely to succeed (sample Student Detail for an "average" kid) and send their parents recruitment letters — Georgia Tech even offers some gender-specific examples — to help fill class rosters.

Why the Moon's New Birthday Means the Earth Is Older Than We Thought

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the just-measure-the-depth-of-the-mold dept.

Moon 98

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes You're likely familiar with the theory of how the Moon formed: a stray body smashed into our young Earth, heating the planet and flinging debris into its orbit. That debris coalesced and formed the Moon. The impact theory still holds, but a team of geochemists from the University of Lorraine in Nancy, France has refined the date, finding that the Moon is about 60 million years older than we thought. As it turns out, that also means the Earth is 60 million years older than previously thought, which is a particularly cool finding considering just how hard it is to estimate the age of our planet.

Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the cornering-the-market dept.

Bitcoin 281

An anonymous reader writes Ars Technica reports that for the first time in Bitcoin's five-year history, a single entity has repeatedly provided more than half of the total computational power required to mine new digital coins, in some cases for sustained periods of time. It's an event that, if it persists, signals the end of crypto currency's decentralized structure."

Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over FISA Surveillance Documents

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the let-me-take-a-look-at-those dept.

Government 184

itwbennett (1594911) writes "In a victory for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is suing to make the DOJ release information about surveillance on U.S. citizens, a California judge on Friday ordered the Department of Justice to produce 66 pages of documents for her review. The judge said the agency failed to justify keeping the documents secret and she will decide whether the documents, including one opinion and four orders by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), were improperly withheld from the public."

Russian RD-180 Embargo Could Boost American Rocket Industry

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the all-hail-the-comeback-of-american-caviar-and-vaccum-tubes dept.

Businesses 179

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes According to a Saturday story in the Los Angeles Times, the recent revival of tensions between the United States and Russia, not seen since the end of the Cold War, may provide a shot in the arm for the American rocket engine industry. Due in part in retaliation for economic sanctions that were enacted in response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Russia announced that it would no longer sell its own RD-180 rocket engines for American military launches. This has had American aerospace experts scrambling to find a replacement. The stakes for weaning American rockets off of dependency on Russian engines could not be starker, according to Space News. If the United States actually loses the RD-180, the Atlas V would be temporarily grounded, as many as 31 missions could be delayed, costing the United States as much as $5 billion. However SpaceX, whose Falcon family of launch vehicles has a made in the USA rocket engine, could benefit tremendously if the U.S. military switches its business from ULA while it refurbishes its own launch vehicles with new American made engines.

British Army Turns To Oculus Rift To Take the Sting Out of Battlefield Trauma

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the playing-operation-did-wonders dept.

Medicine 23

Dimetrodon (2714071) writes British consultancy Plextek has just announced the world's first immersive medical training system for the military using the Oculus Rift. The virtual reality technology will be used to simulate pre-hospital care on the battlefield, requiring trainees to "negotiate and prioritise" clinical needs while under virtual fire.

Expedia To Accept Bitcoin

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the only-stability-is-volatility dept.

Bitcoin 87

An anonymous reader writes With the debacle of Mt. GoX, Bitcoin's future was looking a little murky. But in a significant mainline acceptance, Expedia has said they will begin accepting Bitcoins as a form of payment. At first, they will accept it for hotel bookings only, will accept it only in USA, and also will not be holding Bitcoins for any length of time — converting it to dollars as soon as they can. But, quoting Emily Spaven, managing editor of Bitcoin news site CoinDesk, as told to the BBC, the move was "brilliant news" and it "brings digital currency further into the consciousness of the mainstream." So you can't quite fly to Galt's Gulch to your newly Bitcoiin-purchased real estate without switching currencies.

Study: Deforestation Depletes Fish Stocks

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the stuff-runs-downhill dept.

Earth 69

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes Adding to the well-known fish-killing effects deforestation has in increasing turbidity and temperature in streams, a study published in Nature Communications, (abstract, PDF access), demonstrates deforestation causes a depletion of nutrients in associated lake aquatic ecosystems and, as a consequence, impacted fish stocks. Lead author Andrew Tanentzap is quoted as saying, 'We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources.' This has troubling implications, as 'It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans ...' Additionally, this may have significance in regard to anadromous species, such as salmon, which help power ocean ecosystems. The BBC offers more approachable coverage.

Nominet Compromising UK WHOIS Privacy, Wants To See Gov't-Issued ID

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the cat-detector-vans-are-on-the-way dept.

Privacy 71

ktetch-pirate (1850548) writes Earlier this week, Nominet launched the .uk domain to great fanfare, but hidden in that activity has been Nominet's new policy of exposing personal domain owners' home addresses. Justification is based on a site being judged "commercial," which can mean anything from a few Google ads or an Amazon widget, to an email subscription box or linking to too many commercial sites, according to Nominet reps. In the meantime though, they want your driving license or passport to ensure "accuracy" because they "want to make things safe."

Amaya Gaming Buys PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker For $4.9 Billion

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the clearing-the-table dept.

Businesses 52

Dave Knott (2917251) writes Montreal-based gaming company Amaya Gaming Group Inc. has agreed to purchase privately held Oldford Group, the owner of online poker websites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion. The deal marks the end of a remarkable story that began when Isai Scheinberg, an Israeli-Canadian former IBM computer programmer, founded PYR Software in Toronto and started building PokerStars, which eventually became the largest online poker site in the world. But in 2011, federal prosecutors in Manhattan launched a massive crackdown against online poker in the U.S., indicting Scheinbeg, suing PokerStars and shutting down the U.S. operations of the company for operating an illegal gambling business. In 2012, PokerStars struck a $731 million settlement with federal prosecutors that also saw the company acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker. However, reentering the vital U.S. market has proved difficult, and in the end, it started to make sense for the Scheinbergs to sell. The Scheinbergs will not remain with PokerStars in any capacity after the current deal closes. In a statement announcing the deal, Amaya said it believes the "transaction will expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into regulated markets in which Amaya already holds a footprint, particularly the U.S.A."

Man Arrested For Parodying Mayor On Twitter Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the and-how-will-this-play-out dept.

Censorship 163

mpicpp (3454017) writes with an update from Ars Technica to this story: "The Illinois man who made headlines when he was detained for parodying the town's mayor on Twitter sued the Peoria politician and local police, claiming on Thursday that his civil rights were violated. As part of the April raid, the authorities seized the mobile phone and laptop of the 29-year-old prankster, Jonathan Daniel, and reviewed their contents, which he says was in violation of his First Amendment rights. Daniel, the operator of the @peoriamayor handle shut down by Twitter after the city threatened a lawsuit, was initially accused of impersonating a public official in violation of Illinois law. The authorities never lodged charges, however."

Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the only-reading-it-for-the-articles dept.

Books 34

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining four copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research.

Canadian Supreme Court Delivers Huge Win For Internet Privacy

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the getting-a-lot-done-now-that-the-Habs-lost dept.

Canada 112

An anonymous reader writes For the past several months, many Canadians have been debating privacy reform, with the government moving forward on two bills involving Internet surveillance and expanded voluntary, warrantless disclosure of personal information. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada entered the debate and completely changed the discussion, issuing its long-awaited R. v. Spencer decision, which examined the legality of voluntary warrantless disclosure of basic subscriber information to law enforcement. Michael Geist summarizes the findings, noting that the unanimous decision included a strong endorsement of Internet privacy, emphasizing the privacy importance of subscriber information, the right to anonymity, and the need for police to obtain a warrant for subscriber information except in exigent circumstances or under a reasonable law.

NVIDIA Is Better For Closed-Source Linux GPU Drivers, AMD Wins For Open-Source

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the best-of-different-worlds dept.

AMD 185

An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix last week tested 65 graphics cards on open source drivers under Linux and the best result was generally with the open source AMD Radeon drivers. This week they put out a 35-graphics-card comparison using the proprietary AMD/NVIDIA drivers (with the other 30 cards being too old for the latest main drivers) under Ubuntu 14.04. The winner for proprietary GPU driver support on Linux was NVIDIA, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given that Valve and other Linux game developers are frequently recommending NVIDIA graphics for their game titles while AMD Catalyst support doesn't usually come to games until later. The Radeon OpenGL performance with Catalyst had some problems, but at least its performance per Watt was respectable. Open-source fans are encouraged to use AMD hardware on Linux while those just wanting the best performance and overall experience should see NVIDIA with their binary driver."

Man Behind Hacks of Bush Family and Other Celebs Indicted In the US

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the bet-you-wish-you'd-stood-in-bed dept.

Crime 65

New submitter criticalmass24 writes: 42-year-old Marcel Lehel Lazar, better known as Guccifer, the hacker that gained unauthorized access to email and social network accounts of high-profile public figures, has been charged in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, "[F]rom December 2012 to January 2014, Lazar hacked into the e-mail and social media accounts of high-profile victims, including a family member of two former U.S. presidents, a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a former presidential adviser. After gaining unauthorized access to their e-mail and social media accounts, Lazar publicly released his victims’ private e-mail correspondence, medical and financial information, and personal photographs. The indictment also alleges that in July and August 2013, Lazar impersonated a victim after compromising the victim’s account." The full indictment can be read online.

US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the enjoy-your-windfall dept.

Bitcoin 232

ClownP writes with news that the U.S. Marshals Service is selling off 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that were seized when the Silk Road website was shut down. At current exchange rates, they're worth around $17-18 million. The coins will be auctioned off in nine blocks of 3,000 coins, plus one block with the remainder. The USMS said that the first deadline for bidders will be 9am Eastern Time on June 16, 2014. All bidders must complete the government's Bidder Registration Form, which requires that you provide a copy of a government-issued ID as well as a $200,000 deposit sent by wire transfer from an American bank. The government added that the highest bidder will win, and he or she cannot finance its payment in installments — the winner must pay the full amount in cash. The USMS added one final stipulation. "The USMS will not sell to any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht, and bidders will be required to so certify," the USMS stated.

Open-Source Hardware For Neuroscience

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the freeing-things-up dept.

Medicine 41

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "The equipment that neuroscientists use to record brain signals is plenty expensive, with a single system costing upward of $60,000. But it turns out that it's not too complicated to build your own, for the cost of about $3000. Two MIT grad students figured out how to do just that, and are distributing both manufactured systems and their designs through their website, Open Ephys. Their goal is to launch an open-source hardware movement in neuroscience, so researchers can spend less time worrying about the gear they need and more time doing experiments."

US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the clear-skies dept.

Google 82

itwbennett (1594911) writes The U.S. government has lifted a long-standing restriction that meant companies like Google and Microsoft didn't have access to the most accurate pictures taken by imaging satellites. Satellite operator DigitalGlobe said that it received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce this week to sell sharper images to its clients. Until now, satellite operators like DigitalGlobe were prevented by law from selling images to foreign or commercial organizations in which features smaller than 50 centimeters were visible. The restriction was meant to ensure that foreign powers didn't get access to satellite images that were too good.

New Evidence For Oceans of Water Deep In the Earth

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the there-is-water-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean dept.

Earth 190

techtech (2016646) writes Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico report evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the United States. Though not in the familiar liquid form—the ingredients for water are bound up in rock deep in the Earth's mantle—the discovery may represent the planet's largest water reservoir. This research was published in Science.

NASA Forming $3M Satellite Communication, Propulsion Competition

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the win-big dept.

NASA 9

coondoggie (973519) writes NASA took the next step in forming a large-scale, $3 million competition to build advanced propulsion and communications technologies for small, inexpensive satellite systems known as cubesats. The Cubesat Lunar Challenge will be broken up into two areas: propulsion and communication while in orbit around the moon. In Request For Information published this week, NASA said the two challenges would provide competitive opportunities for a variety of competition teams to deploy cubesats on a NASA or third-party provided launch.

US Pushing Local Police To Keep Quiet On Cell-Phone Surveillance Technology

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the all-you-debaters-are-welcome dept.

Government 253

schwit1 (797399) writes with this story from the Associated Press, as carried by Yahoo News: The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned. Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment. Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the not-yet-part-of-every-smartphone dept.

Education 172

New submitter fffdddooo (3692429) writes I know it's something that people used to ask every few years, but answers get old so quickly. I'm an electronics teacher, and I'm wondering if it's possible to find some oscilloscope (and why not spectrum analyser?) for recommending to my students, to be able to work at home. I'm thinking of something near $50-$70. Two or three years ago, I'm sure the answer was No, but nowadays? The same reader points out two options spotted on Amazon: one that's "very cheap but Khz" (it's also a kit that requires assembly), and another that aims to be capable of 20MHz, 2-channel operation. What's out there, he'd like to know, that's not junk?

Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the buyer's-market dept.

Patents 139

ectoman (594315) writes Proponents of patent reform in the United States glimpsed a potential victory late last year, when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, designed to significantly mitigate patent abuse. Just months ago, however, the Senate pulled consideration of the bill. And since then, patent reform has been at a standstill. In a new analysis for Opensource.com, Mark Bohannon, Vice President of Corporate affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat, explains three reasons why. "For this year, at least," he writes, "the prospect of addressing abusive patent litigation through Congressional action is on ice"—despite the unavoidable case for reform.

Mozilla To Sell '$25' Firefox OS Smartphones In India

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the prosperity-sensors dept.

Cellphones 82

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes Mozilla, the organisation behind the Firefox browser, has announced it will start selling low-cost smartphones in India within the "next few months". Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the firm's chief operating officer suggested the handsets, which will be manufactured by two Indian companies, would retail at $25 (£15) [note: full article paywalled]. They will run Mozilla's HTML5 web-based mobile operating system, Firefox OS. The firm already sells Firefox-powered phones in Europe and Latin America. Firefox OS has come a long way even in the year since we saw a tech demo at Linux Fest Northwest.

The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the doing-the-paperwork dept.

United States 173

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes The government cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant, an appeals court ruled today, in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent memory. "In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy," the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."

Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the blood-2.0 dept.

Medicine 172

Zothecula (1870348) writes According to the World Health Organization, over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute. It would be able to be stored at room temperatures for up to two years, which would allow it to be distributed worldwide without the need for refrigeration and make it immediately accessible at the site of natural disasters.

Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the my-collection-of-AOL-CDs-will-appreciate-nicely dept.

DRM 116

jfruh writes: "For many tech-savvy folks, it may come as surprise that physical media like DVD and Blu-Ray still generate more movie revenue than streaming services. But PriceWaterhouse Coopers is predicting that the the lines will cross in 2017 as physical media sales and rentals decline; already, fully half of those revenues come from supermarket Redbox kiosks. Still, there are signs that physical media won't vanish entirely, including the obsessive needs of collectors and the music industry's increasing suspicions of digital sales."

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the first-time-for-everything dept.

United States 932

An anonymous reader writes "For the first time in United States political history, the House Majority Leader has been defeated in his primary election. Long time Republican congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by 10 percentage points in the Virginia primary by Republican Tea Party challenger Dave Brat. This shocking defeat is likely to upset the political balance of power in the United States for years to come."

Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the libertarian-fantasies dept.

EU 507

Graculus (3653645) writes with news that, as threatened, cab drivers in several European cities mounted a protest against Uber today. From the article: "Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that's rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods. Traffic snarled in parts of Madrid and Paris today, with a total of more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Berlin blocking tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don't need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece." The Guardian covered the London protest, which ended peacefully 3 p.m..

Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the i-blame-the-schools dept.

Earth 387

bricko sends this news from The University of Texas at Austin: Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Soulskill posted about 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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."

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