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Comment: Replace the first-past-the-post voting system (Score 1) 694

The first-past-the-post (or plurality) voting system used in most public elections in the United States is arguably the worst possible choice of voting systems because it favors two parties, is relatively easy to manipulate, is relatively easy to gerrymander, wastes votes, and has resulted in a dysfunctional congress. It should be replaced in all elections with a superior system (e.g., Approval voting, a Condorcet method, Majority Judgment, or Range voting).

Comment: Public funding of elections (Score 1) 694

As it stands now, members of congress apparently spend 40 to 60% of their time *on the job* seeking campaign donations. This raises reasonable doubt as to their true constituency. Public funding of all elections would eliminate this source of potential corruption at a cost that is much less than the benefit to society.
Censorship

+ - Google TV censors political ads->

Submitted by Jewfro_Macabbi
Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) writes "Last week, the Jill Stein for President campaign placed over a hundred thousand dollars worth of airtime on cable TV nationally and in select markets across the country. The ads were scheduled to air September 4th through September 6th. Yesterday Google, which served as a broker for national satellite and cable television ad placements, informed Jill Stein's campaign that they were censoring the campaign's ads due to "inappropriate language." (The ads in question can be viewed here: http://www.jillstein.org/first_tv_ad_campaign).

The ads comply with FCC regulations regarding appropriate content, and federal law prohibits broadcasters from censoring ads submitted by candidates for public office."

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Piracy

+ - Most Torrent Downloaders Are Monitored, Study Finds->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead (2466858) writes "A new study from Birmingham University in the U.K. found that people will likely be monitored within hours of downloading popular torrents by at least one of ten or more major monitoring firms. The team, led by security research Tom Chothia, ran software that acted like a BitTorrent client for three years and recorded all of the connections made to it. At SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy this week, the team announced that they found huge monitoring operations tracking downloaders that have been up and running for at least the entirety of their research. According to the team's presentation (PDF), monitors were only regularly detected in Top 100 torrents, while monitoring of more obscure material was more spotty.

What’s really mysterious is who all of the firms are. Chothia’s crew found around 10 different monitoring entities, of which a few were identifiable as security companies, copyright firms, or other torrent researchers. But six entities could not be identified because they were masked through third party hosting. Now, despite firms focusing mostly on just the top few searches out there at any given time, that’s still a massive amount of user data to collect and store. Why? Well, if a reverse class-action lawsuit were feasible, those treasure troves of stored data would be extremely valuable."

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NASA

+ - 35 years later, Voyager 1 is heading for the stars->

Submitted by
DevotedSkeptic
DevotedSkeptic writes "Thirty-five years after leaving Earth, Voyager 1 is reaching for the stars.

Sooner or later, the workhorse spacecraft will bid adieu to the solar system and enter a new realm of space — the first time a manmade object will have escaped to the other side.

Perhaps no one on Earth will relish the moment more than 76-year-old Ed Stone, who has toiled on the project from the start.

"We're anxious to get outside and find what's out there," he said.

When NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 first rocketed out of Earth's grip in 1977, no one knew how long they would live. Now, they are the longest-operating spacecraft in history and the most distant, at billions of miles from Earth but in different directions.

Wednesday marks the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch to Jupiter and Saturn. It is now flitting around the fringes of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble. This hot and turbulent area is created by a stream of charged particles from the sun.

Outside the bubble is a new frontier in the Milky Way — the space between stars. Once it plows through, scientists expect a calmer environment by comparison.

When that would happen is anyone's guess. Voyager 1 is in uncharted celestial territory. One thing is clear: The boundary that separates the solar system and interstellar space is near, but it could take days, months or years to cross that milestone.

Voyager 1 is currently more than 11 billion miles from the sun. Twin Voyager 2, which celebrated its launch anniversary two weeks ago, trails behind at 9 billion miles from the sun."

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Security

+ - Is it time to knock infected PCs off the internet?-> 1

Submitted by
nk497
nk497 writes "Malware could block your access to the internet – but in some cases by those on the right side of the security fence, who are deploying tactics such as blocked ports, letters in the mail and PCs quarantined from the net to combat the most damaging threats. The DNS Changer clean up saw some PCs prevented from accessing the web. Should such tactics be used more often to prevent malware from spreading — or is that taking security a step too far?"
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Crime

+ - Firefox, Opera Allow Phishing by Data URI Claims New Paper->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "A student at the University of Oslo, Norway has claimed that Phishing attacks can be carried out through the use of URI and users of Firefox and Opera are vulnerable to such attacks. Malicious web pages can be stored into data URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) whereby an entire webpage’s code can be stuffed into a string, which if clicked on will instruct the browser to unpack the payload and present it to the user in form of a page. This is where the whole thing gets a bit dangerous. In his paper, Phishing by data URI [PDF], Henning Klevjer has claimed that through his method he was able to successfully load the pages on Firefox and Opera. The method however failed on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer."
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Education

+ - Khan Academy Pilot Educators on Khan Academy

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In what may surprise Khan Academy backers Google and Bill Gates, educators from the Los Altos School District where KA was initially piloted and implemented have responded to some recent KA critiques with a blog entry which notes, 'Teachers in our district have determined that the greatest value of the Khan Academy lies, not in the videos, but in the exercise modules and data generated as students work practice problems.' Not too surprisingly, when it comes to revolutionizing student learning, teachers are bullish on teachers. 'Key to this revolution are the Los Altos teachers,' the educators conclude. 'Teachers in our district are highly valued for their pedagogical perspective, content knowledge, experience, and creative abilities. When district administrators put tools in the hands of teachers and give them room to work, amazing things happen for students. Tools will come and go, but it's the teachers who create meaningful learning experiences that challenge students to grow.'"
Hardware

+ - Photonics Computing Promises Real quantum Computing ->

Submitted by
judgecorp
judgecorp writes "The Quantum Photonics group at Bristol University is leading a group which claims to have cracked room temperature quantum computing at commercial scales, by using optical waveguides. Photons exhibit quantum properties at room temperature, and recent developments in silicon waveguides provide the components for real quantum chips, which could be in real devices within a very few years."
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Security

+ - Metropolitan Police issued an urgent warning about a new ransom malware->

Submitted by
thn
thn writes "that is in circulation. Ransomware (also referred to in some cases as cryptoviruses, cryptotrojans or cryptoworms) comprises a class of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed.

Read more at http://thehackernews.com/2012/09/new-ransom-malware-infecting-computers.html"

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Google

+ - Google Extends Patent Search to Prior Art - I wonder why?->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "As well as buying up patents to defend itself against the coming Apple attack on Android, Google is also readying its own technology. It has extended its Patent Search facility to include European patents and has added a Prior Art facility.
The new Prior Art facility seems to be valuable both to inventors and to the legal profession. In order to be granted a patent the inventor has to establish that it is a novel idea — and in the current litigious environment companies and their lawyers might want to show that patents should not have been granted. My guess is that this is one Google facility that won't be closing any time soon as one of its main users is likely to be Google."

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Printer

+ - 3D printing on the micrometer scale->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "Three-dimensional printers are popping up everywhere these days. Some are small enough to fit in a briefcase and others are large enough to build print houses, but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology are going for the microscopic. Earlier this year, the university built a 3D printer that uses lasers to operate on a tiny small scale. Now they're refining the technique to enable precise placement a selected molecule in a three-dimensional material. This process, called “3D-photografting,” can potentially be used to create a “lab on a chip” or artificially grow living tissue."
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Encryption

+ - Calculating the Cost of Full Disk Encryption->

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "Is full disk encryption (FDE) worth it? A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute shows that the expected benefits of FDE exceed cost by a factor ranging from four to 20, based on a reduction in the probability that data will be compromised as the result of the loss or theft of a digital device.

"After doing all of the math, Ponemon found that the cost of FDE on laptop and desktop computers in the U.S. per year was $235, while the cost savings from reduced data breach exposure was $4,650.""

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