Idle

San Francisco's Public Works Agency Tests Paint That Repels Urine 201 201

monkeyzoo writes: San Francisco is testing an ultra-water-repellant paint on wallls in areas fraught with public urination problems. The paint is designed to repel the urine and soil the offender's pants. "It's supposed to, when people urinate, bounce back and hit them on the pants and get them wet. Hopefully that will discourage them. We will put a sign to give them a heads up," said Mohammad Nuru, director of the San Francisco public works. A Florida company named Ultra-Tech produces the super-hydrophobic oleophobic nano-coating that was also recently used with success on walls in Hamburg, Germany [video] to discourage public urination. Signs posted there warn, "Do not pee here! We pee back!"
Education

Computer Science Enrollments Match NASDAQ's Rises and Fall 67 67

dcblogs writes: In March 2000, the NASDAQ composite index reached a historic high of 5,048, at just about the same time undergrad computer science enrollments hit a peak of nearly 24,000 students at PhD-granting institutions in the U.S. and Canada, according to data collected by the Computing Research Association in its most recent annual Taulbee Survey. By 2005, computer science enrollments had halved, declining to just over 12,000. On July 17, the NASDAQ hit its highest point since 2000, reaching a composite index of 5,210. In 2014, computer science undergrad enrollments reached nearly, 24,000, almost equal to the 2000 high. Remarkably, it has taken nearly 15 years to reach the earlier enrollment peak.
Science

The Science and Politics Behind Colony Collapse Disorder; Is the Crisis Over? 174 174

iONiUM writes: An article at the Globe and Mail claims that there is no longer any Honeybee crises, and that the deaths of the Honeybees previously was a one-off, or possibly non-cyclical occurrence (caused by neonics or nature — the debate is still out). The data used is that from Stats Canada which claims "the number of honeybee colonies is at a record high [in Canada]." Globally, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization says that "worldwide bee populations have rebounded to a record high." The story reports: "I have great news for honey lovers everywhere. The Canadian honeybee industry is thriving. Despite those headlines about mass die-offs and and killer pesticides, the number of honeybee colonies is at a record high. Last year, according to Statistics Canada, nearly 700,000 honeybee colonies produced $200-million worth of honey. Bee survival rates have rebounded even in Ontario, which was hard hit by unusually high winter die-offs."
The Courts

Uber Faces $410 Million Canadian Class Action Suit 245 245

farrellj writes: A class action suit has been filed by the Taxi and Limo drivers and owners in the Province of Ontario in Canada against Uber, demanding CAN$400 million in compensatory damages, $10 million in punitive damages. They claim Uber is violating the Ontario Highway Traffic Act that covers taxis and limos, and has caused them to lose money. They also seek an injunction against Uber operating in Ontario. "This protectionist suit is without merit," Uber said in a statement. "As we saw from a recent court ruling in Ontario, Uber is operating legally and is a business model distinct from traditional taxi services."
Australia

Studies Find Genetic Signature of Native Australians In the Americas 103 103

Applehu Akbar writes: Two new research papers claim to have found an Australo-Melanesian DNA signal in the genetic makeup of Native Americans, dating to about the time of the last glacial maximum. This may move the speculation around the Clovis people and Kennewick man to an entirely new level. Let's hope that it at least shakes loose some more funding for North American archaeology. Ars reports: "The exact process by which humanity introduced itself to the Americas has always been controversial. While there's general agreement on the most important migration—across the Bering land bridge at the end of the last ice age—there's a lot of arguing over the details. Now, two new papers clarify some of the bigger picture but also introduce a new wrinkle: there's DNA from the distant Pacific floating around in the genomes of Native Americans. And the two groups disagree about how it got there."
EU

Data Store and Spying Laws Found Illegal By EU Court 64 64

WillAffleckUW writes: The EU High Court found the United Kingdom's data retention (and subsequent storage and analysis) and surveillance laws to be illegal throughout the EU, which subsequently would be an argument in courts in Australia and Canada against their own spy laws. This effectively brings back the rule of law that all EU citizens have a right to privacy that is at the Bill of Rights level, not an easily short-circuited legal basis.

"The judges identified two key problems with the law: that it does not provide for independent court or judicial scrutiny to ensure that only data deemed 'strictly necessary' is examined; and that there is no definition of what constitutes 'serious offenses' in relation to which material can be investigated." It is uncertain that this would apply to U.S. spy laws, as a right of privacy is only inferred by U.S. high courts and is not written into constitutions as it is in the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
United States

What Will Happen When Cascadia Subduction Zone Slips 265 265

Noryungi writes: The New Yorker has published a chilling account of what would happen in the case of a major earthquake (roughly magnitude 9.0) inevitably striking the Cascadia subduction. "Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely." Most of the west coast of the U.S. and Canada is at risk, from Vancouver all the way down to Los Angeles and beyond. Most of the states and cities within this region are woefully under-prepared for a large earthquake. Scientists peg the odds at 1-in-3 for a quake within the next 50 years, and 1-in-10 for a really powerful one.
Crime

Vancouver Area Teen Sentenced To 16 Months For Swatting 331 331

An anonymous reader writes: A 17-year-old from the Vancouver area in Canada has been sentenced to 16 months in youth custody and 8 months under supervision in the community after pleading guilty to 23 charges including criminal harassment, public mischief, extortion and uttering threats. The teenager was responsible for a number of swatting calls across the United States and Canada — mostly of female gamers. The judge told him, "It appears that when real life became too hard you retreated into the online world and became increasingly socially isolated. While you may think you enjoyed greater success in the online world, that success was an illusion. You were left with severely limited social skills and a significant educational deficit."
Advertising

Adblock Plus Reduces University's Network Traffic By 25 Percent 327 327

Mickeycaskill writes: Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada claims it cut 25% of its network traffic (40% of video traffic) by deploying Adblock Plus across its internal network. The study tested the ability of the Adblock Plus browser extension (PDF) in reducing IP traffic when installed in a large enterprise network environment, and found that huge amounts of data transfer were saved by blocking web-based advertisements and video trailers. The experiment was carried out over a period of six weeks. Disclaimer: the study was funded by Adblock Plus.
Privacy

When a Company Gets Sold, Your Data May Be Sold, Too 92 92

An anonymous reader writes: A new report points out that many of the top internet sites have language in their privacy policies saying that your private data might be transferred in the event of an acquisition, bankruptcy sale, or other transaction. They effectively say, "We won't ever sell your information, unless things go bad for us." 85 of the top 100 websites in the U.S. (ranked by Alexa), had this sort of language, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hulu, and LinkedIn. (RadioShack did this recently.) "The potential ramifications of the fire sale provisions became clear two years ago when True.com, a dating site based in Plano, Tex., that was going through a bankruptcy proceeding, tried to sell its customer database on 43 million members to a dating site based in Canada. The profiles included consumers' names, birth dates, sexual orientation, race, religion, criminal convictions, photos, videos, contact information and more. Because the site's privacy policy had promised never to sell or share members' personal details without their permission, Texas was able to intervene to stop the sale of customer data, including intimate details on about two million Texans." But with this new language, users no longer enjoy that sort of protection. Only 17 of the top 100 sites even say they will notify customers of the data transfer. Only a handful allow users to opt out.
United States

US Military To Develop Star Wars-Style Hoverbikes With British company 108 108

New submitter amalcolm writes: The U.S. military may soon be zooming around on Star Wars-style hoverbikes. U.K. based Malloy Aeronautics has joined forces with Survice Engineering to develop the vehicles for the Department of Defense. "The Department of Defense is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles," said Mark Butkiewicz, who works for Survice. "It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it's not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset."
Space

Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Slated To Resume 65 65

After an earlier halt to the work of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope" (and subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report: The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution. The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India. Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.
Canada

Canadian Government Servers Compromised By Anonymous 79 79

An anonymous reader writes: There was a cyber-attack on Wednesday by the activist group Anonymous, aimed at the Canadian government. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says no personal information was compromised. Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attack in protest against the recent passing of the government's anti-terror Bill C-51. "Today, Anons around the world took a stand for your rights. Do we trade our privacy for security? Do we bow down and obey what has become totalitarian rule? Don't fool [yourselves]. The Harper regime does not listen to the people, it acts only in [its] best interests." the group wrote in an online post.
Censorship

France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally 337 337

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning. France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU 'Right To Be Forgotten' (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google. And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...
Weinstein's page links to the paywalled WSJ coverage; you might prefer The New York Times or Politico. Related: a court in Canada, according to TechDirt, would like to do something similar, when it comes to expanding its effect on Google results for everyone, not just those who happen to live within its jurisdiction.
Businesses

Bell Media President Says Canadians Are 'Stealing' US Netflix Content 408 408

iONiUM writes: Today the Bell Media president claimed that Canadians are "stealing" U.S. Netflix, saying the practice is "stealing just like stealing anything else." She went on to say that it is socially unacceptable behavior, and "It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix. Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don't do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they're stealing." Of course, I'm sure the fact that Bell Media profits from Canadian content has nothing to do with these remarks.
Android

LG Arbitrarily Denying Android Lollipop Update To the G2 In Canada? 131 131

Lirodon writes: Its funky rear-mounted buttons may have left critics divided, but the LG G2 is still a pretty capable Android device. While it has gotten an update to Android 5.0 "Lollipop" in some major markets (including the United States, of course), one major holdout is Canada. Reports are surfacing that LG's Canadian subsidiary has decided not to release the update for unknown reasons. But, what about custom ROMs? Well, they handled that too: they have refused to release Lollipop kernel source for the Canadian variant of the device. It is arbitrary actions like this that cause Android's fragmentation problems. A curious note, LG has not specifically made reference to the bugs other users have been having with the update.
The Courts

Blackberry Defeats Typo In Court, Typo To Discontinue Sales of Keyboard 67 67

New submitter juniorkindergarten writes: Blackberry and Typo have reached a final settlement that effectively ends Typo selling its iPhone keyboard accessory. Blackberry took Typo to court for twice for patent infringement over the copying of Blackberry's keyboard design. Blackberry and Typo first battled it out in court, with Typo losing for copying the Blackberry Q10 keyboard design. Typo redesigned its keyboard, and again Blackberry sued them for patent infringement. The final result is that Typo cannot sell keyboards for screens less than 7.9", but can still sell keyboards for the iPad and iPad air. Exact terms were not disclosed.
Education

Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others 220 220

Vadim Makarov writes: Fifteen Chinese nationals living in the U.S. have been charged with creating an elaborate scheme to take U.S. college entrance exams on behalf of students. For the past four years, the accused provided counterfeit Chinese passports to impostors, who sneaked into testing centers where they took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and others, while claiming to be someone else, according to a federal grand jury indictment. Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan for Homeland Security Investigations of Philadelphia said: "These students were not only cheating their way into the university, they were also cheating their way through our nation's immigration system."
Medicine

Live Anthrax Shipped Accidentally To S Korea and US Labs 67 67

New submitter hamsterz1 writes: U.S. Officials say that the military mistakenly sent live anthrax to laboratories in nine states and an air base in South Korea, after apparently failing to properly inactivate the bacteria. Four lab workers in the United States and up to 22 overseas have been given precautionary medical treatment. The CDC is investigating the incident and Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren says, "Out of an abundance of caution, [the Defence Department] has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation."