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S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake 1040

Last friday Moody's S&P announced that they had downgraded the U.S.'s credit rating (leading to a pretty huge discussion on Slashdot I might add). Since then more interesting news has come out, suraj.sun writes "In a document provided to Treasury on Friday afternoon, Standard and Poor's (S&P) presented a judgment about the credit rating of the U.S. that was based on a $2 trillion mistake. After Treasury pointed out this error — a basic math error of significant consequence — S&P still chose to proceed with their flawed judgment by simply changing their principal rationale for their credit rating decision from an economic one to a political one. S&P incorrectly added that same $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction to an entirely different baseline where discretionary funding levels grow with nominal GDP over the next 10 years. Relative to this alternative baseline, the Budget Control Act will save more than $4 trillion over ten years — or over $2 trillion more than S&P calculated. S&P acknowledged this error — in private conversations with Treasury on Friday afternoon and then publicly early Saturday morning. In the interim, they chose to issue a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating."
The Courts

Gov't Database Errors Leading To Unconstitutional Searches? 272

Wired is running a story about a case the Supreme Court will be hearing on Tuesday that relates to searches based on erroneous information in government databases. In the case of Herring vs. US 07-513, the defendant was followed and pulled over based on a records indicating he had a warrant out for his arrest. Upon further review, the local county clerk found the records were in error, and the warrant notification should have been removed months prior. Unfortunately for Herring, he had already been arrested and his car searched. Police found a small amount of drugs and a firearm, for which Herring was subsequently prosecuted. Several friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed to argue this case, some calling for "an accuracy obligation on law enforcement agents [PDF] who rely on criminal justice information systems," and others defending such searches as good-faith exceptions [PDF].

A Hippocratic Oath For Scientists 366

grrlscientist writes "In response to what appears to be a growing problem of scientific misconduct, a group of people at the Institute of Medical Science at University of Toronto in Canada wrote a scientist's version of the Hippocratic oath. This oath (which is cited in the story) was recited by all graduate students in the biological sciences at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year." This blogger argues that merely reciting an oath is not going to help much when "...the corruption in 'science' is systemic. It is due to corporate science being run according to a business model instead of in accordance to an educational paradigm. It is due to unrestrained corporate greed combined with a tremendous disparity in power and income..."
The Almighty Buck

Is 'Corporate Citizen' an Oxymoron? 373

theodp writes "Citing expert testimony from a recent House Science Subcommittee hearing on Globalizing Jobs and Technology, The Economic Populist challenges the conventional wisdom that maximizing profits should be a corporation's only responsibility, suggesting it's time for the US to align its corporations to the interests of the nation instead of vice versa. Harvard's Bruce Scott warns that today's global economy is much like the US in the later 19th century, when states competed for funds generated by corporations and thus raced to the bottom as they granted generous terms to unregulated firms. Sound familiar, Pennsylvania? How about you, Michigan?"

26 Common Climate Myths Debunked 998

holy_calamity writes to mention that New Scientist is revealing the truth behind the '26 most common climate myths' used to muddy the waters in this ongoing heated debate. "Our planet's climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic creatures in the oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors. Yet despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with increasingly serious consequences."

Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!

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