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Comment: Another school shooting averted. (Score 4, Funny) 250

by Elyjah (#46801881) Attached to: L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

I approve of this decision. Someone finally thought of the children; just think how many lives were saved! Science is dangerous, and definitely has no place in our schools. Clearly, the children that built these have some severe mental problems, and all right-thinking people know their parents must be fat, conservative tea-baggers. The kind of violence exhibited by these devices cannot be tolerated. This is exactly why children should not be allowed to think for themselves in school; they are too unpredictable.

I'm glad we were able to stop these domestic terrorists before they killed anyone.

Earth

VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-did-you-have-for-lunch-when-you-wrote-those-papers dept.
RoccamOccam sends news that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Michael Mann, a climate scientist notable for his work on the "hockey stick" graph, does not have to turn over the entirety of his papers and emails under Freedom of Information laws. Roughly 1,000 documents were turned over in response to the request, but another 12,000 remain, which lawyers for the University of Virginia say are "of a proprietary nature," and thus entitled to an exemption. The VA Supreme Court ruled (PDF), "the higher education research exemption's desired effect is to avoid competitive harm not limited to financial matters," and said the application of "proprietary" was correct in this case. Mann said he hopes the ruling "can serve as a precedent in other states confronting this same assault on public universities and their faculty."
NASA

NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-water dept.
William Robinson (875390) writes "A new study from researchers at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has proposed the "water world" theory as the answer to our evolution, which describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis called 'submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life' the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture."
Earth

Solar Lull Could Cause Colder Winters In Europe 320

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Since September of last year scientists have been wondering what's happening to the Sun. It's supposed to have reached the peak of its 11-year cycle, but sunspot and flare activity remains much quieter than expected. Experts now think the recent cold snap that hit North America and the wet weather that hit part of Europe might be linked to the eerie quietness of the Sun. According to the BBC, solar activity hasn't been this low in 100 years, and if activity keeps dropping, it may reach levels seen during the 'Maunder Minimum,' an 'era of solar inactivity in the 17th Century [which] coincided with a period of bitterly cold winters in Europe.' It wouldn't have a big effect on global temperatures, just regional ones. Why? The sun's UV output drops during these lulls, and the decreased amount of UV light hitting the stratosphere would cause the jet stream to change course. Prof. Mike Lockwood says, 'These are large meanders in the jet stream, and they're called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia. These are what we call a cold snap... a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that's quite likely what we'll see as solar activity declines.'"
Censorship

Snowden Seeks International Help Against US Espionage Charges 351

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-you-gonna-call?! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Edward Snowden is calling for international help to persuade the U.S. to drop its espionage charges against him. Snowden said he would like to testify before the U.S. Congress about National Security Agency surveillance and may be willing to help German officials investigate alleged U.S. spying in Germany. Snowden is quoted as saying that the U.S. government 'continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense.' He continues, 'I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior.'"
Businesses

Obamacare Could Help Fuel a Tech Start-Up Boom 671

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the communist-healthcare-would-have-helped-more dept.
dcblogs writes "The arrival of Obamacare may make it easier for some employees to quit their full-time jobs to launch tech start-ups, work as a freelance consultant, or pursue some other solo career path. Most tech start-up founders are older and need health insurance. 'The average age of people who create a tech start-up is 39, and not 20-something,' said Bruce Bachenheimer, who heads Pace University's Entrepreneurship Lab. Entrepreneurs are willing to take on risks, but health care is not a manageable risk, he said. 'There is a big difference between mortgaging your house on something you can control, and risking going bankrupt by an illness because of something you can't control,' said Bachenheimer. Donna Harris, the co-founder of the 1776 incubation platform in Washington, believes the healthcare law will encourage more start-ups. 'You have to know that there are millions of Americans who might be fantastic and highly successful entrepreneurs who are not pursuing that path because of how healthcare is structured,' said Harris"
Government

NSA Can Spy On Data From Smart Phones, Including Blackberry 298

Posted by timothy
from the ask-not-how-you-can-spy-on-your-country dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a report from Spiegel Online that the U.S. government "has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, [and] devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. The United States' National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. ... The documents state that it is possible for the NSA to tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been." As a bonus, the same reader points out a Washington Post report according to which "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases ... In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
Politics

Anonymous' "OpIsrael" Has Little Impact 136

Posted by timothy
from the hard-target dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Times Of Israel and AlArabiya.net report that the planned and announced April 7th attack by Anonymous failed to frustrate the Israeli government or its citizens. The country's national Cyber Bureau quipped 'So far it is as was expected, there is hardly any real damage,' Ben Yisrael said. 'Anonymous doesn't have the skills to damage the country's vital infrastructure. And if that was its intention, then it wouldn't have announced the time of attack. It wants to create noise in the media about issues that are close to its heart,' he said."
The Internet

Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid? 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-we-also-stop-using-'cyber'-as-a-prefix dept.
frank_adrian314159 writes "In an article titled 'Stop Pretending Cyberspace Exists,' Salon writer Michael Lind notes that 'Some ideas make you dumber the moment you learn of them. One of those ideas is the concept of "cyberspace."' He says that analogizing cyberspace as a real place leads to an inability to think logically about laws, rules, and how and when the governments could or should intervene to regulate the Internet. He states that such a debate is essential, but that an '[invasion of] a mythical Oz-like kingdom called cyberspace is just as dopey' when talking about governments and corporations taking a larger role in online communications. Is Lind right? Does the notion of cyberspace make the debate over its governance less fruitful?"
Encryption

WW2 Pigeon Code Decrypted By Canadian? 158

Posted by timothy
from the pinned-down-send-fries-and-gravy dept.
Albanach writes "At the start of November Slashdot reported the discovery of a code, thought to be from the Second World War, found attached to the leg of a pigeon skeleton located in an English chimney. Now a Canadian by the name of Gord Young claims to have deciphered the message in less than 20 minutes. He believes that the message is comprised mostly of acronyms."
Microsoft

Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes 768

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the finding-common-interests dept.
Master Of Ninja writes "After the ongoing row about companies not paying a fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, and with companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google being in the headlines, focus has now turned to Microsoft. Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal, there has been outrage on how companies are avoiding paying their fair share of tax generated in the country." And over here in the U.S., dstates sent in news of Google getting caught doing something similar: "Bloomberg reports that Google is using Bermuda shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes worldwide. By routing payments and recording profits in zero-tax havens, multinational companies have been avoiding double digit corporate taxes in the U.S. and Europe. Congressional hearings were held in July on the destructive consequences of off-shoring profits. Why aren't the U.S. and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens that are effectively stealing from the U.S. and European treasuries by allowing profits that did not result from activities in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to be recorded as occurring there?"
Mars

NASA: Curiosity Has Found Plastic On Mars 293

Posted by samzenpus
from the mars-needs-organic-polymers dept.
dsinc writes "Last week Curiosity was able to use its SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) device to confirm the discovery. A robotic arm with a complex system of Spectral Analysis devices was able to vaporize and identify gasses from the sample, concluding that it is in fact plastic. How plastic formed or ended up on the Martian surface is quite an exciting mystery that sparks many questions. The type of plastic sampled as we know so far can only be formed using petrochemicals, meaning not only that there could possibly be a source of oil on the Red Planet, but that somehow it got turned into plastic. Even more interesting is that oil or petrochemicals used to create this type of plastic are only known to come from ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae, which geochemical processes convert into oil pointing to the earthshaking evidence that there was once life on mars. 'Right now we have multiple working hypotheses, and each hypothesis makes certain predictions about things like what the spherules are made of and how they are distributed,' said Curiosity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University. 'Our job as we explore Matijevic Hill in the months ahead will be to make the observations that will let us test all the hypotheses carefully, and find the one that best fits the observations.'" Update: Yes, it's a hoax
Games

World of Warcraft Character Becomes Campaign Issue 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the by-my-axe! dept.
Dr. Gamera writes "Maine state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz plays World of Warcraft. The opposing party in Maine has issued a press release attacking her for her Level 85 Orc Assassination Rogue. From the article: 'In an unusual press release issued Thursday, the Maine GOP attacked Lachowicz for a “bizarre double life” in which she’s a devotee of the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft. In the game, she’s “Santiaga,” an "orc assassination rogue" with green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears.' Her incumbent, much to his credit, rejects the attack as 'mudslinging politics.'"

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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