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+ - NASA's About To Release a Mother Lode of Free Software-> 1

Submitted by David Hume
David Hume (200499) writes "From Gizmodo:

Next week, NASA will release a massive software catalog with over 1,000 projects. It's not the first time the space agency's released code, but it is the first time they've made it so easy. The breadth and variety of the software projects that NASA's about to give away are difficult to express. It's not just a bunch of algorithms and star-finding software, though stuff like that is in there. The crazy geniuses that land rovers on Mars are actually releasing code for ultra high-tech NASA stuff like rocket guidance systems and robotics control software.

The catalog will go live in PDF form on April 10, but that's only the beginning. A print version will follow on May 21, and in the months after that, NASA will develop a fully searchable database and a software repository. The code is free for anyone to use, though some applications are restricted for government use only. Everything is organized into 15 broad subject matter categories, from autonomous systems to vehicle management.

"

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+ - NASA to Catalog and Release Its Open Source Codes

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "By the end of next week, NASA will release a master catalog of over 1,000 software projects it has conducted over the years and will provide instructions on how the public can obtain copies of the source codes. NASA's goal is to eventually 'host the actual software code in its own online repository, a kind of GitHub for astronauts.' Since these are open source codes, anyone can use them for private or commercial purposes without having to pay royalties or copyright fees. Scientists not affiliated with NASA have already adapted some of NASA's software. 'In 2005, marine biologists adapted the Hubble Space Telescope’s star-mapping algorithm to track and identify endangered whale sharks. That software has now been adapted to track polar bears in the arctic and sunfish in the Galapagos Islands.' The Hubble Space Telescope's scheduling software has reportedly also been used to schedule MRIs at hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services. The possibilities could be endless."
Education

+ - Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age->

Submitted by
David Hume
David Hume writes "The Los Angeles Times has a story entitled Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age, about the two-year University of Tulsa Cyber Corps Program. About "85% of the 260 graduates since 2003 have gone to the NSA, which students call "the fraternity," or the CIA, which they call "the sorority."" "Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security." According to the University of Tulsa website, two programs — the National Science Foundation's Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Information Assurance Scholarship Program — provide scholarships to Cyber Corps students."
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Comment: Re:Who would have thought... (Score 5, Insightful) 252

by David Hume (#40995179) Attached to: Widely Used Antibacterial Chemical May Impair Muscle Function

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, has a book chapter coming out that addresses this danger. Prof. Teleb's draft chapter on Medicine, Convexity, and Opacity from his upcoming book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, can be found at:

http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/medicine.pdf

While the entire chapter is worth a read, at page 389 he observes:

The “do you have evidence” fallacy, mistaking evidence of no harm for no evidence of harm, is similar to the one of misinterpreting NED (no evidence of disease) for evidence of no disease. This is the same error as mistaking absence of evidence for evidence of absence, the one that tends to affect smart and educated people, as if education made people more confirmatory in their responses and more liable to fall into simple logical errors.

That may have been the case here. That is, for years no evidence of harm was mistaken for evidence of no harm.

More generally, Prof. Taleb argues at page 376:

Simple, quite simple decision rules and heuristics emerge from this chapter. Via negativa, of course (by removal of the unnatural): resort to medical techniques when the health payoff is very large (say, saving a life) and visibly exceeds its potential harm, such as incontrovertibly needed surgery or lifesaving medicine (penicillin). It is the same as with government intervention. This is squarely Thalesian, not Aristotelian (that is, decision making based on payoffs, not knowledge). For in these cases medicine has positive asymmetries —convexity effects— and the outcome will be less likely to produce fragility. Otherwise, in situations in which the benefits of a particular medicine, procedure, or nutritional or lifestyle modification appear small—say, those aiming for comfort—we have a large potential sucker problem (hence putting us on the wrong side of convexity effects).

Open Source

+ - "Buy no Evil" Android App->

Submitted by David Hume
David Hume (200499) writes "Haaretz is reporting that "Israeli bloggers have recently released a new Android application geared toward informing users whether or not their potential purchases were manufactured in one of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank." The Buy No Evil Android app is free. (Bar code download) As reported in the LiveLeak article, "New app makes boycotting West Bank settlements a touch easier," the bloggers behind the new application are Noam Rotem, Itamar Shaltiel, and Boris Boltianski, who run the "Activism is Open-Source" (English) blog. The message announcing the app states, "Buying a product means supporting the producer, and while we do not advocate a consumer ban, we do believe that people should be aware of which manufacturers they support.""
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Comment: Anonymous Iran (Score 1) 333

by David Hume (#28426677) Attached to: Mass Arrests of Journalists Follow Iran Elections

It seems to me that helping them communicate (setting up proxies, opening more tor exit nodes, etc) is helpful, but not particularly open to cries of puppetry. Plenty of people are doing exactly that, and I think it's wonderful that there are simple things a quiet geek can do to help out a bit. Of course, detractors can always claim that open communication is a Western ideal, but it's become quite clear that a lot of Iranians want it as well.

Agreed.

See Anonymous Iran.
http://iran.whyweprotest.net/

Interesting video:
Anonymous Message to Iranian Government.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hUFv5c4lFg&

Censorship

+ - Man attacked in Ohio for providing Iran proxies -> 1

Submitted by David Hume
David Hume (200499) writes "electronicmaji is reporting on the Daily Kos that the individual known as ProtesterHelp (see also here) was attacked in Ohio for providing network security for Twitterers in Iran, setting up private networks to provide secure proxies, calling for media networks to remove the Iranians Twiterers information from their broadcast, and providing counter-intelligence services (including Basiji and Army Locations) within the Twitter community. ProtesterHelp was allegedly attacked by a group of men while walking to class in Ohio. The men, who appeared to ProtesterHelp to be either Iranian or Lebanese, drove up besides him and threw rocks at him while shouting, "Mousavi Fraud." ProtesterHelp further reported that his personal information has been leaked, and is currently being spread both online and inside of Iran amongst the government. For updates see #iranelection."
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Censorship

Church of Scientology On Trial In France 890

Posted by kdawson
from the speaking-truth-to-fraud dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that a trial has opened in Paris that could shut down Scientology in France. The organization stands accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain. Scientology does not have the status of a religion there, as it does in the US, and anti-cult groups have pursued it vigorously over more than 30 years. The current case is based on complaints filed by two women in December 1998 and July 1999. Three other former members who had initially joined the complaint have withdrawn after "reaching a financial arrangement with church officials." If convicted, the seven top Scientologists in France face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of €1M. The Church of Scientology-Celebrity Centre and its Scientology Freedom Space bookshop not only face a much larger fine but also run the risk of being shut down completely.
Businesses

+ - Is age discrimination a problem in IT?->

Submitted by
David Hume
David Hume writes "In the published decision in Brian Reid v. Google, Inc., the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District reinstated an employment age discrimination claim against Google. Brian Reid, 52, was employed as an engineer at Google. In Reid's only written performance review while employed at Google, he was described as having 'an extraordinarily broad range of knowledge concerning Operations, Engineering in general and an aptitude and orientation towards operational and IT issues.' The review went on to state that Reid was 'very intelligent,' 'creative,' and 'a problem solver.' Reid's performance rating indicated he 'consistently [met] expectations.' Despite this, he was allegedly referred to as an 'old man,' an 'old guy,' an 'old fuddy-duddy.' and told his ideas were 'too old to matter.' People joked that that the CD jewel case office placard should be an 'LP' instead of a 'CD.' Eventually, Reid was moved into a new position developing a graduate program to retain engineers. Reid was then terminated from the engineering department because he was not a 'cultural fit.' Reid filed a lawsuit against Google for age discrimination. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Google on the age discrimination claim. Reid appealed. On appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed. The Court of Appeal noted that it was undisputed that Reid 'was performing competently in the position he held, both in the Operations and Engineering Departments, and as head of the newly created graduate program.' The Court of appeal concluded 'that Reid produced sufficient evidence that Google's reasons for terminating him were untrue or pretextual, and that Google acted with discriminatory motive such that a factfinder would conclude Google engaged in age discrimination. Accordingly, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment as to the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh causes of action.' As a result, the case was remanded to the trial court for trial on the merits. Hence the quetion, is age discrimination a problem in IT? Is it really the case that one can be 'very intelligent,' 'creative,' and 'a problem solver," but be fired because one is not a 'cultural fit' due to one's age?"
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - Age Discrimination Claim Against Google Reinstated->

Submitted by
David Hume
David Hume writes "In the published decision in Brian Reid v. Google, Inc., the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District reinstated an employment age discrimination claim against Google. Brian Reid, 54, was employed as an engineer at Google, where he was allegedly referred to as an "old fuddy-duddy" and told his ideas were "too old to matter." He was moved into a new position developing a graduate program to retain engineers. Reid was then terminated from the engineering department because he was not a "cultural fit." Reid filed a lawsuit against Google for age discrimination. The trial court granted Google's motion for summary summary judgment on the age discrimination claim. On appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed. The Court of Appeal noted that it was undisputed that Reid "was performing competently in the position he held, both in the Operations and Engineering Departments, and as head of the newly created graduate program." Id., at 11. The Court of appeal concluded "that Reid produced sufficient evidence that Google's reasons for terminating him were untrue or pretextual, and that Google acted with discriminatory motive such that a fact finder would conclude Google engaged in age discrimination. Accordingly, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment as to the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh causes of action." Id. at 25. As a result, the case was remanded to the trial court for trial on the merits."
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Google

+ - Patent fuels Google mobile phone rumours->

Submitted by
David Hume
David Hume writes "According to the Los Angeles Times, 'The Google Phone is like the Roswell UFO: Few outsiders know if it really exists, but it's got a cult following.' 'The vision: mobile-phone service offered free of monthly charges to consumers willing to put up with advertising. The goal: for Google to broker advertising on mobile phones the way it has on the Web. The fear: Wireless carriers worry that Google will muscle its way into the young market and capture their wireless advertising dollars.' Somewhat contrary to the Los Angeles Times article, according to the Telegraph, 'Google has filed a patent for a mobile payment processing system, as rumours that the search giant is planning to launch a mobile phone reach fever pitch.' The technology blog GigaOm lists 'Five Facts About Google Phone' including '1.Google Phone is based on a mobile variant of Linux, and is able to run Java virtual machines.' The Boston Globe reports that 'Rich Miner, a Google executive sometimes described as the company's vice president of wireless but officially a 'technical staff member,' has shown Google's new mobile phone to a handful of Boston entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, some of whom have signed nondisclosure agreements and some of whom haven't.'"
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