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Education

How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System? 715

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-a-scale-1-10 dept.
theodp writes "'You go to these charters,' gushed Bill Gates in 2010, 'and you sit and talk to these kids about how engaged they are with adults and how much they read and what they think about and how they do projects together.' Four years later, Gates is tapping his Foundation to bring charter schools to Washington State, doling out grants that included $4.25 million for HP CEO Meg Whitman's Summit Public Schools. So what's not to like? Plenty, according to Salon's The Truth About Charter Schools, in which Jeff Bryant delves into the dark side of the charter movement, including allegations of abuse, corruption, lousy instruction, and worse results. Also troubling Bryant is that the children of the charter world's biggest cheerleaders seem never to attend these schools ('A family like mine should not use up the inner-city capacity of these great schools,' was Bill Gates' excuse). Bryant also cites Rethinking Schools' Stan Karp, who argues that Charter Schools Are Undermining the Future of Public Education, functioning more like deregulated 'enterprise zones' than models of reform, providing subsidized spaces for a few at the expense of the many. 'Our country has already had more than enough experience with separate and unequal school systems,' Karp writes. 'The counterfeit claim that charter privatization is part of a new 'civil rights movement', addressing the deep and historic inequality that surrounds our schools, is belied by the real impact of rapid charter growth in cities across the country. At the level of state and federal education policy, charters are providing a reform cover for eroding the public school system and an investment opportunity for those who see education as a business rather than a fundamental institution of democratic civic life. It's time to put the brakes on charter expansion and refocus public policy on providing excellent public schools for all.'"

Comment: Re:That's overly simplistic - population density k (Score 1) 569

by RalphWigum (#45286375) Attached to: Why Is Broadband More Expensive In the US Than Elsewhere?
Can you answer this WITHOUT YELLING?:

Which scenario has the greater cost/revenue benefit? (thus allowing for lower costs to consumer):

1) Wiring up and connecting 5 towns in a 100 square mile radius, each with a population of 10,000 people. That line you run out to each town services 10,000 people each!

2) Wiring up and connecting 5 towns in a 100 square mile radius, each with a population of 1,000 people. That same line to each line only services 1,000 people.

Both scenarios require similar amounts of infrastructure in place, but one scenario offsets the cost with more revenue. If you can do that, you can lower the cost per customer... Higher population density = more revenue/cost.

Comment: Re:That's overly simplistic - population density k (Score 1) 569

by RalphWigum (#45263481) Attached to: Why Is Broadband More Expensive In the US Than Elsewhere?
Except France's small villages are extremely close to each other.

France (not including it's territories) spans 213,010 square miles and has a population of 63,460,000. A population density of 297.92 people per square mile.

Comparatively, If you take the US state I live in and an adjoining state (Arizona and New Mexico), they span a combined 235,587 square miles (comparable to France) and host a combined population of 8,638,538. A population density of 36.6 per square mile. And like France, there are only a few large cities (large is relative).

Comment: Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (Score 1) 122

There is actually an even easier way to do this:

1) Make the Tax flat.. no exceptions for any "type" including food, health.

2) Only tax new goods and services: used car-> no tax

3) At a local level figure out what a family/person pays for the bare necessities: enough food, rent, basic healthcare, transportation costs etc.. every month (Have them publish the formula). Then figure the amount of tax there would be on that. Electronically transfer that amount every month in the form of a prebate to everyone.

Keep in mind that at this point you are taxing consumption, and not income so the idea of "wealthier" people paying a lower effective tax rate only applies if you reintroduce income (or somehow "wealth") into the equation. (Remember: income != wealth != consumption)

Poorer people are less likely to buy a BRAND NEW house, or car and so pay no tax on it. They are less likely to buy that $18 bowl of granola or $50 t-shirts. If someone wants to buy caviar for all there meals... they pay tax on it and the prebate probably won't cover even a slight bit of it. Politicians can still monkey with the prebate amounts, but as it would be law/amendment I cannot see how to permanently and in perpetuity fix the law as untouchable. However, once you stop taxing income, it becomes harder to track income (I think this is a good thing)
Government

How the U.S. Sequester Will Hurt Science and Tech 522

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-are-politicians-bad-at-politicianizing dept.
Later today, the U.S. government will enter the sequestration process, a series of across-the-board budget cuts put into place automatically because U.S. politicians are bad at agreeing on things. "At that moment, somewhere in the bowels of the Treasury Department, officials will take offline the computers that process payments for school construction and clean energy bonds to reprogram them for reduced rates. Payments will be delayed while they are made manually for the next six weeks." The cuts will directly affect science- and tech-related spending throughout the country. Tom Levenson writes, '[s]equester cuts will strike bluntly across the scientific community. The illustrious can move a bit of money around, but even in large labs, a predictable result will be a reduction in the number of graduate student and post – doc slots available — and as those junior and early-stage researchers do a whole lot of the at-the-bench level research, such cuts will have an immediate effect on research productivity. The longer term risk is obvious too: fewer students and post-docs mean on an ongoing drop from baseline in the amount of work to be done year over year.' The former director of the National Institute of Health says it will set back medical science for a generation. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has laid out how the cuts will affect the U.S. space program. He said, "The Congress wasn’t able to do what they were supposed to do, so we’re going to suffer." The sequester will also prevent billions of dollars from flowing into the tech industry. This comes at a time when there's a pressing need in the tech sector for professionals versed in the use of Linux, and salaries for those workers are on the rise.

Comment: Re:Thanks for the concern (Score 3, Informative) 341

by RalphWigum (#42483415) Attached to: Adrian Lamo Explains His Decision To Expose Bradley Manning
Here you go:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1358063/I-was-one-of-the-Talibans-torturers-I-crucified-people.html

"Basically any form of pleasure was outlawed," Mr Hassani said, "and if we found people doing any of these things we would beat them with staves soaked in water - like a knife cutting through meat - until the room ran with their blood or their spines snapped. Then we would leave them with no food or water in rooms filled with insects until they died.

"We always tried to do different things: we would put some of them standing on their heads to sleep, hang others upside down with their legs tied together. We would stretch the arms out of others and nail them to posts like crucifixions.

Comment: Re:Gingrich & Huckabee Weigh In (Score 1) 1168

by RalphWigum (#42340443) Attached to: School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games

Comment: And the seed is planted... (Score 3, Insightful) 398

by RalphWigum (#41860143) Attached to: Why Does a Voting Machine Need Calibration?
For either/both sides to call shenanigans when the vote does not go their way. I wonder if someone has done a study on the amount of press voter fraud gets vs. party election outcome and if there is as stark of a difference as I perceive. And if people really think that one party only wins when they "cheat", does that just reinforce myopic visions of political views (i.e. Most people think the way I do and so the only explanation is fraud)?
Spam

+ - End of the line for Spamcop?

Submitted by fl!ptop
fl!ptop (902193) writes "Since about the middle of June, spam reporting tool Spamcop has been under what appears to be a very well coordinated and executed DDoS attack. As a paying member of many years, I've been experiencing unusually long delays, 404's, proxy errors, gateway timeouts, and other strange errors when trying to submit spam reports. There is a very long thread in the 'general' forum discussing the issue. Like some of the commentators, I'm wondering how a company with resources like Cisco (owner of Spamcop) could let this problem persist for so long. Admin posts to the discussion thread keep indicating the problem is fixed, there's a big backlog, it should be working, etc. but that's not the case from my point of view (and may others). Could it be because Cisco doesn't care about the service anymore and are not giving it their full attention? Is this the beginning of the end for Spamcop?"
Space

+ - Space Worms Live Long and Prosper->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "A microscopic worm used in experiments on the space station not only seems to enjoy living in a microgravity environment, it also appears to get a lifespan boost. This intriguing discovery was made by University of Nottingham scientists who have flown experiments carrying thousands of tiny Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to low-Earth orbit over the years. It turns out that this little worm has genes that resemble human genes and of particular interest are the ones that govern muscle aging. Seven C. elegans genes usually associated with muscle aging were suppressed when the worms were exposed to a microgravity environment. Also, it appears spaceflight suppresses the accumulation of toxic proteins that normally gets stored inside aging muscle. Could this have implications for understanding how human physiology adapts to space?"
Link to Original Source
Hardware

+ - Student creates world's fastest shoe with a printer->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Engineer and designer Luc Fusaro from the Royal College of Art in London has developed the prototype of a running shoe that can be uniquely sculpted to any athlete’s foot. It’s as light as a feather too, weighing in at 96 grams. The prototype is aptly named, Designed to Win, and is 3D printed out of nylon polyamide powder, which is a very strong and lightweight material. The manufacturing process uses selective laser sintering (SLS), which fuses powdered materials with a CO2 laser to create an object. This process means 3D scans can be taken of the runner’s foot so as to ensure the show matches the shape perfectly. Fusaro can also change the stiffness of the soles according to the athlete’s physical abilities.

The shoe can improve performance by 3.5%, meaning a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds, which is a huge time saving relatively speaking. Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shows on."

Link to Original Source

+ - Full-Color Holograms Send Geeks Running to Kickstarter->

Submitted by
paulonline3d
paulonline3d writes "Few things can elicit an uncontrollable "happy giggle" from geek-types like the talk of holograms. That's why a DIY Full-Color Hologram Kit project on Kickstarter has Stuff Magazine reporting: "Our geek senses are tingling, and our wallets are begging to be opened. That's right, another geek-worthy Kickstarter project has been picked up by our gadget radars." The successfully funded Kickstarter hologram project will provide the crucial hologram-quality lasers that are necessary for red, green, and blue holograms, taking advantage of the latest laser diode developments from pico projectors. A $235 pledge gets you one of the complete full-color hologram kits."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Residential intrusion detection

Submitted by GodfatherofSoul
GodfatherofSoul (174979) writes "For the past 5 years that I've been in my house, I've noticed what I would call nuisance attempts to either peer into or enter my home. Before I secured my window wells and trimmed back some shrubs, I'd noticed on many occasions the covers would be completely removed *windows remain secure). Before I installed a motion sensor light, I'd find my backyard gates unlatched.

The last "hole" is my garage door opener. Very frequently when I've left the house for extended periods (over 24 hours), I'll come home to find the remote key pad with the cover open as if it were used. I've rigged the garage door before and I don't think anyone has ever entered through it, but I don't doubt someone has been plugging in random numbers trying to get in.

I'm in a good neighborhood with nosey neighbors, so I don't expect more than "industrious" teenagers at work. But, I would like to surreptitiously see who's doing it without them seeing me. I'm on a typical residential street, so I don't have options like a wildlife camera. Again, I'm not interested in installing some whole-house security camera system. What I want is a localized system that I can put in place to detect when someone is at the keypad using it and preferably record that content while I'm away. Any ideas, Slashdotters?"
Security

+ - US warns users of new Citadel ransomware hit ->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "The nasty Trojan known as Citadel malware, which is based on Zeus, has typically been used to extort money from online banking users, but a new variant is making the rounds that tries to get your money by saying you looked at child porn sites and must pay a violation fee to the U.S. Department of Justice. This variation, called Reveton, lures the victim to a drive-by download website, at which time the ransomware is installed on the user's computer, says the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is displayed warning the user they have violated United States Federal Law."
Link to Original Source
Wireless Networking

+ - Spectrum segment for medical devices opened by FCC->

Submitted by
sarfralogy
sarfralogy writes "The average doctor’s phone and computer are likely both wireless — and soon many of his or her patients can be as well.
The FCC announced on May 24 that it’s assigning 40 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum for wireless medical tracking devices, called medical body area devices, or MBANs. This will be on a shared basis with, would you believe test pilots in the defense and aerospace sectors? It’s true. The announcement caps several years of negotiations between the FCC; two major manufacturers of medical monitors, General Electric and Phillips; and the flight industry’s Aerospace and Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council."

Link to Original Source

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