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+ - Can the Internets Haz its Own Political Party?

Submitted by Strangely Familiar
Strangely Familiar (1071648) writes "The IParty Democrats is running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to create a political party on the democratic side analogous to the Tea Party. The IParty lists preserving Internet freedoms as one of its main goals. This includes limiting NSA overreach, support for encryption everwhere, and of course net neutrality. (link). The IParty also seeks to increase anti-trust enforcement (e.g. peventing Comcast/Time Warner merger), and use internet forums modeled on Slashdot to increase constituent input. Have the democrats and republicans done enough to protect the Internet, or is there a need for a new party?"

+ - Cobol Forever!->

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "Interesting article in Computerworld about Cobol's die hard fans which include large companies with millions of lines in Cobol code which they keep up to date even though there is a dwindling supply of Cobol coders. One example is Blue Cross:
"The healthcare insurer processes nearly 10% of all healthcare claims in the U.S., and uses six top-of-the line IBM zEnterprise EC12 systems running millions of lines of optimized Cobol to process 19.4 billion online healthcare transactions annually. Its custom-built claims processing engine has been thoroughly modernized and kept up to date, says BCBS of SC vice president and chief technology officer Ravi Ravindra. "It was always in Cobol, and it always will be."
"Cobol was designed to handle transactional workloads, and for large-scale transaction processing it still can't be beat..."
"Some 23 of the world's top 25 retailers, 92 of the top 100 banks, and the 10 largest insurers all entrust core operations to Cobol programs running on IBM mainframes"
So... should we all start learning Cobol?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Hemp fibres make better supercapacitors than graphene->

Submitted by biodata
biodata (1981610) writes "BBC News is reporting findings published in the journal ACS Nano by Dr David Mitlin's group from Clarkson University, New York.
"We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price — and we're doing it with waste."
"The hemp we use is perfectly legal to grow. It has no THC in it at all — so there's no overlap with any recreational activities."
Dr. Mitlin's team took waste hemp stems and recycled the material into supercapacitors with performance as good, or better, than those built from graphene, at a fraction of the raw materials cost."

Link to Original Source

+ - Veep Joe Biden Briefs U.S. Governors on H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Back in 2012, Computerworld blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his ignorance of the H-1B temporary work visa program. But Joe's got his H-1B story and he's sticking to it, characterizing the visa program earlier this month in a speech to the National Governors Association as "apprenticeships" of sorts that companies provide to foreign workers to expand the Information Technology industry only after proving there are no qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree."

+ - Protect Your Android Phone By Killing All Its Crapware->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Like Windows, Android has built a dominant market share because any hardware manufacturer can license it — and as they did with Windows, those manufacturers are loading up Android devices with their own proprietary crapware. Although the process is a bit convoluted, you can get this crapware off your phone — and in doing so you'll actually make the device more secure."
Link to Original Source

+ - Moser Lamps Illuminate Homes Without Using Electricity

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Gibby Zobel reports at BBC on Alfredo Moser, a Brazilian mechanic, whose invention illuminates over one million homes during the day without electricity — using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach. So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-liter plastic bottle. "Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn't turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better," Moser adds. "You fix the bottle in with polyester resin. Even when it rains, the roof never leaks — not one drop." While A 50 Watt light bulb running for 14 hours a day for a year has a carbon footprint of nearly 200kg CO2, Moser lamps emit no CO2 and the plastic bottles are up-cycled in the local community, so no energy is needed to gather, shred, manufacture and ship new bottles. Following the Moser method, MyShelter started making the lamps in June 2011. They now train people to create and install the bottles, in order to earn a small income. The idea has really taken off in the Philippines, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and electricity is unusually expensive, with 140,000 homes now fitted with Moser lamps. The idea has also caught on in about 15 other countries, from India and Bangladesh, to Tanzania, Argentina and Fiji. "Alfredo Moser has changed the lives of a tremendous number of people, I think forever," says Illac Angelo Diaz. "Whether or not he gets the Nobel Prize, we want him to know that there are a great number of people who admire what he is doing.""

+ - Too Many Smart People Chasing Too Many Dumb Ideas 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In The Unexotic Underclass, C.Z. Nnaemeka argues that too many smart people are chasing too many dumb ideas. "What is shameful," writes Nnaemeka, "is that in a country with so many problems, with such a heaving underclass, we find the so-called 'best and brightest,' the 20-and 30-somethings who emerge from the top American graduate and undergraduate programs, abandoning their former hangout, Wall Street, to pile into anti-problem entrepreneurship." Nnaemeka adds, "It just looks like we’ve shifted the malpractice from feeding the money machine to making inane, self-centric apps. Worse, is that the power players, institutional and individual — the highflying VCs, the entrepreneurship incubators, the top-ranked MBA programs, the accelerators, the universities, the business plan competitions have been complicit in this nonsense." And while it may not get you invited to the White House, Nnaemeka advises entrepreneurs looking for ideas to "consider looking beyond the city-centric, navel-gazing, youth-obsessed mainstream" and instead focus on some groups that no one else is helping."

+ - The STEM Myth->

Submitted by hessian
hessian (467078) writes "As the EPI report lays bare, the common wisdom about our STEM problem is mistaken: we are not facing a shortage of STEM-qualified workers. In fact, we appear to have a considerable STEM surplus. Only 63 percent students graduating with a STEM degree are able to find STEM jobs. Beyond that, if there was an actual shortage of STEM workers, basic supply and demand would predict that the wages of STEM workers would be on the rise. Instead, wages in S sTEM fields have not budged in over a decade. Stagnant wages and low rates of STEM job placement strongly suggest we actually have an abundance of STEM-qualified workers.

The EPI report tends to focus on the relevance of these findings to guest worker programs and other immigration issues. The tech industry has long suggested that it cannot find STEM workers in America and therefore needs immigration changes that will enable it to bring in more workers from abroad. Skeptics have rebuffed that the tech industry really is just interested in cheaper STEM labor and that its proclamations about a dearth of STEM-qualified domestic workers is just a convenient cover story. This report provides ammunition to the latter camp to say the least."

Link to Original Source

+ - Lenovo Denies Me Windows 7 SP1 Unless I Pay.-> 1

Submitted by zoltandulac
zoltandulac (1990938) writes "So, I tried to install Windows 7 SP1 on my Lenovo G560, but the update says I need to update my Graphics Driver. Tried to do that, but Intel's update says I need to go through the vendor. When I went to Lenovo's support site, it didn't have the latest driver, so I called Lenovo. They said they I had to pay $120-$179 to get the update (!) even though there is an update for the driver from Intel and it's Lenovo's fault I cannot upgrade. I include my conversation with the support rep below (if I sound angry, it's because I am). Anyone know if there is anything else I can do? Is this standard practice? Am I overreacting?"
Link to Original Source

+ - WIMPs found?->

Submitted by mknewman
mknewman (557587) writes "Between 2006 and 2008 about four dozen physicists buried 19 Germanium-based detectors and 11 silicon-based detectors deep in a mine in Minnesota. They believed the Germanium detectors might be just right to capture the rare, but theoretically possible collision between a WIMP and an atomic nucleus. The silicon detectors were just there to confirm the result — i.e. if a Germanium detector recorded such a collision and a silicon detector did not, that would be good evidence for a WIMP.

After taking their data for three years the scientists got a ho-hum result — the Germanium detectors recorded two events, when on average they would have expected to see 0.9 events during the time period. This was not statistically significant, and moreover, they later concluded these events were attributable to the leakage of electrons.

Since the primary detectors showed no significant results, data collected by the silicon detectors, which could only detect WIMPs up to a mass of about 15 GeV were not analyzed.

Then, after some considerations, the physicists came to believe that maybe the WIMPs weren’t really, really big. So they went back and studied the silicon detector data and found three events, when they would have expected just 0.7 events during the time period of data taking. This is statistically significant.

So they published their results on Monday (see paper). Based upon their statistical analysis, they are 99.8 percent sure they have observed some WIMPs at a mass of about 8 GeV. But in particle physics, certainty doesn’t come until they are 99.9999 percent sure."

Link to Original Source

+ - Secrets of FBI Smartphone Surveillance Tool Revealed in Court Fight->

Submitted by concealment
concealment (2447304) writes "The actions described by Rigmaiden are much more intrusive than previously known information about how the government uses stingrays, which are generally employed for tracking cell phones and are widely used in drug and other criminal investigations.

The government has long asserted that it doesn’t need to obtain a probable-cause warrant to use the devices because they don’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages and operate like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information.

The government has conceded, however, that it needed a warrant in his case alone — because the stingray reached into his apartment remotely to locate the air card — and that the activities performed by Verizon and the FBI to locate Rigmaiden were all authorized by a court order signed by a magistrate."

Link to Original Source

+ - Aaron Swartz Prosecution Team Threatened And Harassed

Submitted by twoheadedboy
twoheadedboy (2025278) writes "Members of the legal team responsible for prosecution of Aaron Swartz have claimed they received threatening letters, emails and some had their social network accounts hacked following the suicide of the Internet freedom activist. Following Swartz's death, his family and friends widely lambasted the prosecution team, who were accused of being heavy-handed in their pursuit of the 26-year-old. He was facing trial for alleged copyright infringement, accused of downloading excessive amounts of material from the academic article resource JSTOR. US attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, who headed up the prosecution, and another lead prosecutor Stephen Heymann have reportedly become the target of “harassing and threatening messages” and their personal information, including home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends, was posted online. Heymann also received a postcard with a picture of his father’s head in a guillotine."

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