writes: MSN is reporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's education policy is causing a stir ... but not all in a good way. Advocates for space exploration are noting with dismay that he'd take billions of dollars from NASA to pay for the educational programs he'd like to expand.
The shift from exploration to education came last week when Obama talked up his $18 billion education plan during a New Hampshire campaign swing. Actually, the reference to NASA comes at the end of a 15-page document laying out the details behind the plan (PDF file):
"The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years, using purchase cards and the negotiating power of the government to reduce costs of standardized procurement, auctioning surplus federal property, and reducing the erroneous payments identified by the Government Accountability Office, and closing the CEO pay deductibility loophole. ..."
writes: According to a joint investigation by series of articles in The Washington Post and
60 Minutes, a forensic test used by the FBI for decades is known to be invalid. The National Academy of Science issued a report in
2004 that FBI investigators had given "problematic" testimony to juries. The FBI later
stopped using "bullet lead analysis", but sent a letter to law enforcement officials
saying that they still fully supported the science behind it. Hundreds of criminal
defendants — some already convicted in part on the testimony of FBI experts — were
not informed about the problems with the evidence used against them in court.
Does anyone at the Justice Department even care about what effect this will have on
how the public in general (and juries in particular) regards the trustworthiness of
writes: Gramophone Magazine reports that Universal Classics and Jazz will be making its entire catalogue available for sale in DRM-free form. While Universal stresses that this will be a trial run, it certainly looks like a step in the right direction. Now, if only they'd offer downloads in formats other than mp3...Link to Original Source
writes: A Los Angeles man on Friday admitted infecting 250,000 computers and stealing the identities of thousands of people by wiretapping their communications and accessing their bank accounts. John Schiefer, 26, agreed to plead guilty to four counts of fraud and wiretap charges that could lead to a US$1.75 million fine and send him to prison for up to 60 years, the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's office said. Prosecutors said Schiefer and an unspecified number of conspirators installed malicious computer codes that acted as a wiretap on compromised computers and intercepted messages to www.paypal.com and similar Web sites. He retrieved usernames and passwords and used them to access an unknown number of bank accounts. Prosecutors said they were still investigating how much money was stolen and the number of victims.
writes: According to the New York Times, the FCC is planning to unveil new regulations for the cable market that will lower barriers to entry for independent programmers.
The rules would be aimed at stopping the growth of existing cable giants like Comcast and Time Warner, while seeking to encourage more small companies to get into the field. Also, earlier this month, the FCC struck down the practice of having exclusive contracts between cable providers and apartment owners.
All in all, this looks like a welcome infusion of competition into an otherwise stagnant market. The impact that this will have on the network neutrality debate is unclear.Link to Original Source
writes: The Maryland Senate added an ammendment to the tax code during a special session which imposes a 6% Service tax on all computer related services and activities effective Jan 1.
The Budget and Taxation Committee scrapped the expansion to real property management services and tanning, massage, physical fitness, sauna, or steam bath facilities or services that would have generated an estimated $60 million. They replaced those services with computer services, landscaping and arcades, which will generate an estimated $300 million.
The bill is facing some flak in the Senate but it's going largely unnoticed by the public since the new industries that are targeted were given no warning about the language which was inserted Wednesday.
amendment (pdf)Link to Original Source