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Submission + - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

HughPickens.com writes: Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?"
The Internet

Submission + - AP now charging bloggers for content reproduction (icopyright.net)

oahazmatt writes: After sending cease-and-desist letters to the Drudge Retort and offering an apology and a promise for a solution, the Associated Press is now charging bloggers per word for the reproduction of AP-generated content. It starts at $12.50 for 5 to 25 words and climbs from there. (Incidentally, this information was paraphrased from a non-AP reporter, so no need to break out the credit card.)
Space

Submission + - Pioneer anomaly seems 70% real (planetary.org)

Tablizer writes: The so called "Pioneer Anomaly" is a slight acceleration of the now-defunct Pioneer probes that doesn't match gravity models, suggesting a mysterious force. Researchers have been subtracting out known forces, such as power-cell heat, to isolate the mysterious portion.

Pioneer Anomaly Project Director Slava Turyshev presented preliminary results of the thermal modeling efforts at a meeting of the American Physical Society. ...The magnitude of the Pioneer Anomaly is so very tiny that it could conceivably result from the uneven radiation of heat from the spacecraft...Turyshev reported that the [heat] model can generate an acceleration that amounts to about 30% of the Anomaly for that distance [25AU] from the Sun.

Linuxcare

Submission + - Valve's SOURCE Engine coming to linux?

Ravalox writes: "Proprietor of some of today's most popular PC games Valve Software may be adding something more substantive to the turning rumor mill, scuttlebutt at Phoronix, perennial favorite linux publication, is that there is an earnest effort to make the SOURCE Engine run natively in linux. Though the Source engine's predecessor, GoldSrc, which in turn was based on the original Quake engine, was able to render both OpenGL and Direct3D. The Source Engine is designed to be highly modular, and this is hopefully how the OpenGL support will be introduced, which is needed for any Linux or Mac OS X support. http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=source_linux&num=1"
United States

Submission + - New book based on proof of election rigging (witnesstoacrime.com) 3

Troy Seman writes: "Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, who provided the material for fully one third of Bobby Kennedy's Rolling Stone article "Was The 2004 Election Stolen" ( http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen ) is the ONLY guy to actually look at the evidence of election rigging in Ohio. He now has a book out based on his analysis of over 30,000 photographs of ballots signature books, and poll books. He basically proves, once and for all, that over a dozen counties in Ohio in 2004 were rigged in advance and on election night. The evidence is absolutely damning. Follow up studies show rigging continuing in 2006 in Ohio as well as records destruction. Phillips not only proves the election rigging but can also show several mechanisms that were used, a couple of which show collusion at levels of government higher than the county level and therefore indicate conspiracty. He's got a website up for the book at http://www.witnesstoacrime.com/"
Software

Submission + - Who thinks Firehose software is working right? 6

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "I find the Firehose software to be infuriating. It seems to have no 'stickiness' but constantly reverts to other views and searches than what I was looking at. I'm about ready to give up on it unless they tell me they recognize it's dumb and are doing something to make it work right. Am I the only one who feels this way?"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Valve's Source engine to be ported on Linux (phoronix.com)

DrYak writes: "Phoronix has received informations confirming that Valve is indeed porting its very popular Source engine to the Linux platform. There have been rumors since last year that Valve may be serious about porting Source games to Linux after Valve Software began seeking a senior software engineer with the responsibility of porting Windows-based games to the Linux platform. (as mentioned recently on /.)
They also have confirmation that Postal III — which uses Valve's Source Engine — would be supported on Linux (as well as on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac).

Until now compatibility layers such as Wine and CodeWeaver's CrossOver have been the only solution for Linux players, and Phoronix mentions that Valve's Orange Box compilation of Source-based games is among the top ranking vote for CrossOver, thus showing that there's indeed a market for Valve's game on Linux

Linux gamers worldwide start to rejoice."

Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun's VP: Solaris-Linux Code Sharing Inevitable (abclinuxu.cz)

tykev writes: "Sun's Rich Green, the VP for software, contends code sharing between Solaris and Linux will happen: 'I think, in the long term, that is where we're going to end up. It's inevitable and it's a great thing.' Green, who led both the Solaris and Java teams in Sun and negotiated the Sun-Microsoft settlement in 2004, also talks about Sun's other open source activities and its recent acquisitions of MySQL and Innotek (makers of VirtualBox)."
The Internet

Submission + - Unusual Spike in IE Market Share, Firefox Drops (hitslink.com)

Violin Apprentice writes: Mozilla Metrics blog previously wrote about an anomaly in April's data of browser market share where IE (and later found Windows XP, as well) usage significantly increased while Firefox has dropped (both Opera and Safari showed looses too). In an update, they linked to an alert by Net Applications claiming that anomaly was caused by "a massive marketing campaign that only worked on Internet Explorer" on undisclosed websites. The whole incident raises some interesting questions about market share statistics manipulation and to what extent it can be abused to please some Get-the-Facts-type marketing departments.
Education

Submission + - Choosing a first-year CS language?

An anonymous reader writes: Our university's CS program is looking at alternatives to C++ for early (100-level) courses. We love C++, but syntax tends to get in the way when covering the basics. We are looking for: Easy to learn, good documentation, OSS, encourages good practices (so VB is out). I'd especially like to hear university experiences from both professors and students. We really like Python (my vote), but are having issues with some of the documentation. We are taking a look at Ruby and C#, but would like to hear your experiences.
Programming

Submission + - Choosing a first-year CS language? 9

AnonU writes: Our university's CS program is looking at alternatives to C++ for early (100-level) courses. We love C++, but syntax tends to get in the way when covering the basics. We are looking for: Easy to learn, good documentation, OSS, encourages good practices (so VB is out). I'd especially like to hear university experiences from both professors and students. Python was a prime contender (and my vote), but the core library documentation is a big problem for too many evaluators. PHP and its really good documentation are covered in our web courses. Other than that, we'd really like to hear your experiences.
Microsoft

Submission + - Is OLPC Dying ?

An anonymous reader writes: First Mary Lou Jepsen left to pursue her own spinoff company. Then Ivan Krsti, chief of security and creator of Bit Frost left citing philosphical difference: "OLPC undertook a drastic internal restructuring coupled with what, despite official claims to the contrary, is a radical change in its goals and vision from those that were shared with me when I was invited to join the project". Now Walter Bender has left saying he has "decided to take some time to reflect on how I can best contribute going forward to the goal of giving children around the world opportunities for a quality learning experience." However, OLPCnews states, from un-named sources, that "that Nicholas Negroponte is close to abandoning Sugar and Linux in favor of Microsoft XP, to spur sales of the XO laptop." and that is the reason that Walter Bender has walked away from the OLPC organization. So can the OLPC dream survive these personnel losses and changes of directions?
Security

Submission + - NSA to Offer a Secure Platform for Outside Use

Pickens writes: "The National Security Agency is spearheading a team of intelligence agencies and information technology vendors in an effort toward broader use of secure multilevel workstations based on High Assurance Platform (HAP) standards and specifications. NSA expects to approve outside use of HAP systems this year, allowing adoption by federal agencies that handle unclassified data in addition to private companies and eventually individuals. Ed Hammersla, chief operating officer at Trusted Computer Solutions. says the virtual computing features in HAP can strengthen security and provide electricity savings for agencies and companies. "For example, companies that operate electricity grids and pipelines have become concerned that their general business-side computers, such as the mainframes used for accounting, could provide pathways for insiders to drill through to the supervisory control and administration (SCADA) systems that regulate their networks." HAP's virtualization features and NSA's work could even lead to greatly upgraded household computers. "An individual user could create a secure zone for sensitive personal financial information while allowing less-trusted systems to access other parts of a home computer," Hammersla added."
Government

Submission + - Church of Scientology violates Federal Law (rapidshare.com) 5

FreedomToThink writes: "This is a very long story I'm sure the editors will have fun with, but I couldn't see how to cut it down at all.

On the eve of the Ides of March protest, from the source of the recent 'Anonymous' submitted CCHR leak on wikileaks, comes this message

"Dear $cientology,You attempt injunctions.I respond.Shall we continue the game? Much Love, DEEP CLAM"

Included was yet another PDF this time including yet more emails leaked from a Church of Scientology front group.

Vote Rigging?

From: "Mike Kaplan" <mkaplan@tampabay.rr.com>
To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
Subject: Fw: RE-ELECT FRANK HIBBARD, MAYOR OF CLEARWATER
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 11:53:07 -0400

See below. Everyone in Clearwater MUST vote. Every vote will be needed to be
sure Hibbard gets re-elected. The alternative is Rita Garvey who is an SP.

— Original Message —
From: Shelly <mailto:shelly.bauer@Earthlink.net> Bauer
To: Shelly Bauer <mailto:shelly.bauer@earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 8:09 AM
Subject: RE-ELECT FRANK HIBBARD, MAYOR OF CLEARWATER

DO YOUR PART
RE-ELECT FRANK HIBBARD
MAYOR OF CLEARWATER
VOTE!!!
JANUARY 29TH
TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED!

Lunch with your preferred Presidential candidates for a high price?

ONE SEAT LEFT

I have arranged a private one-hour luncheon with Ron Paul on 11/28 in St.
Pete when he will be in town for the CNN/YouTube Republican debate.

This luncheon is reserved for $1000+ donors to Ron Paul's presidential
campaign. 19 people so far have paid and confirmed and will have the honor
and pleasure of having lunch and communicating with Ron Paul directly.


From the head of the "Non Proffit" CCHR Bruce Wiseman

Go the the HELP committee website. The link is here.
http://help.senate.gov/About.html
Here you will see the names of the Committee members on the left hand
side
of the page. Please go to the individual websites of the Republican =
members
(this will take just a bit of leg work on your part by putting their =
name
into Google) and calling their office or sending a fax to them (email is =
the
least effective) stating your opposition to S. 1375 The Mother's Act.


Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

An OCMB (Operation Clambake Message Board)regular adds :

I downloaded myself a copy and started looking through them. I found an interesting one on pages 47-48.
http://rapidshare.com/files/99292051/CCHRLeak3.pdf.html

Karin Pouw of OSA of CofS writes a message.
It's forwarded by Michael Genung. He's the guy who runs ACSR, Association for Citizens Sociel Reform. http://www.citizensforsocialreform.org/ ["CSR Background and Philosopy: CSR was founded in 2001 by a group of Scientologists and other like-minded individuals concerned with the escalating social ills in society. CSR's purpose is to work with in the field of public policy to bring about more effective and humane solutions to these social ills of illiteracy, criminality substance abuse and general decay of character."]

Then it's forwarded by Doyle Mills, of LEAF fame (Letters to the Editor Attack Force).
Then it's forwarded by Mary C. (possibly one of two Mary C's I'm thinking of, but unsure).
Then it's forwarded by Mike Kaplan, another person who runs an email list and forwards CCHR type stuff to CofS members.

If that ain't stringing a line from the CofS to CCHR and the CofS front group ("grassroots") movements, then I don't know what is!


Apologies in advance as the Enturbulation servers will not be up to a slashdotting so the Coral Cache link is here Enturbulation Discussion (already cached for you)

ANYONE CAN REPORT TAX FRAUD DIRECTLY TO THE IRS : http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106778,00.html It does require that you print out and mail in an actual hardcopy, but it does not require you to identify yourself.

Just a casual user passing on a message from the Enturbulation forum, this is already out there, there's no reason to attack the messenger."

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