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Education

Is Going To an Elite College Worth the Cost? 391

Pickens writes "Jacques Steinberg writes in the NY Times that the sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Researchers say that alumni of the most selective colleges earn, on average, 40 percent more a year than those who graduated from the least selective public universities, as calculated 10 years after they graduated from and found that 'attendance at an elite private college significantly increases the probability of attending graduate school, and more specifically graduate school at a major research university.' But other researchers say the extent to which one takes advantage of the educational offerings of an institution may be more important, in the long run, than how prominently and proudly that institution's name is being displayed on the back windows of cars in the nation's wealthiest enclaves."
The Military

Mystery 'Missile' Identified As US Airways Flight 808 335

sean.peters writes "The mystery missile discussed on Slashdot Tuesday? It was US Airways 808 from Honolulu to Phoenix. An amateur sleuth checked the time against airline schedules, then the following day, checked out a webcam that was trained in the appropriate direction. He found the exact same contrail at the time AWE808 was coming over. The author deals persuasively with a number of objections to his argument."
The Military

Military Uses 'Bat-Hook' To Tap Power From Lines 282

Zothecula writes "As soldiers are fitted out with more and more electrical sytems to extend their capabilities, they become increasingly dependent on the power needed to run them. Since soldiers in the field don't always have ready access to an electrical outlet when they need to top up the batteries, the US Air Force has developed a device that taps directly into the electricity flowing through overhead power lines ... a kind of bat-hook for real-life superheroes."
Earth

China Now Halting Shipments of Rare Earth Minerals To US 738

blackraven14250 writes with news that China, after putting at least a temporary stop to rare earth exports to Japan, is now doing the same with exports to the US; according to the linked article, this is in response to recent US promises to investigate certain Chinese trade practices.
Privacy

The Intimate Social Graph 21

jamie tips an article by Slashdot vet Keith Dawson about the uncertain state of privacy protection for one-to-one online communications through social sites and services. Quoting: "The privacy of these communications is protected mainly under a law — ECPA, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act — dating from 1986 and crafted for then-existing email (think Compuserve and Prodigy) and emerging cellular networks. This law is an increasingly poor fit for modern and emerging communication modalities. Email stored on servers is treated differently depending on whether or not the user has read a particular message; and messages older than 6 months in storage enjoy different protection than newer messages. In attempting to apply the ECPA to social networking media, courts have interpreted users' privacy rights in a variety of ways. ... One shortcoming of the ECPA is that it does not require email, search engine, cloud computing or social networking sites to report how many requests for private data they get from authorities. Whatever the number, it almost certainly dwarfs the number of real-time online intercepts (wiretap, pen register, and trap and trace orders), for which statistics must be kept."

186,000 Miles per Second. It's not just a good idea. IT'S THE LAW.

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