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Submission + - Australian Prime Minister Thinks Kids Should Not Code-> 4 4

Gob Gob writes: The Prime Minister of Australia has come out and ridiculed an opposition policy aimed at denying teaching kids to code:

'the Prime Minister said. "He said that he wants primary school kids to be taught coding so they can get the jobs of the future. Does he want to send them all out to work at the age of 11? Is that what he wants to do? Seriously?"

Arguably software development practices can be better group educational tools than maths, literacy and art as a software project can draw on coders, artists, organisers and others with different interests and backgrounds. Is teaching coding and technology from a young age an enabler for your community or should it be discouraged until the twilight years of schooling / collage?
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Submission + - UK Goes Full Orwell: Snooper's Charter, Encryption Backdoors, Speech Suppression->

An anonymous reader writes: The old joke goes "George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, not a 'how to' manual." But that joke is increasingly less funny as the UK really seems to be doing everything it can to put in place Orwell's fictitious vision — just a few decades later. Right after the election a few weeks ago, we noted the government's plan to push forward with its "extremist disruption orders" (as had been promised). The basic idea is that if the government doesn't like what you're saying, it can define your statements as "extremist" and make them criminal. Prime Minister David Cameron did his best Orwell in flat out stating that the idea was to use these to go after people who were obeying the law and then arguing that the UK needed to suppress free speech... in the name of protecting free speech. Really.
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Submission + - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.


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Submission + - FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband->

jfruh writes: The FCC's Lifeline program subsidizes phone service for very poor Americans; it gained notoriety under the label "Obamaphone," even though the program started under Reagan and was extended to cell phones under Clinton. Now the FCC is proposing that the program, which is funded by a fee on telecom providers, be extended to broadband, on the logic that high-speed internet is as necessary today as telephone service was a generation ago.
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Submission + - Demographers Says Older, Better Educated Women Are Having More Children

HughPickens.com writes: The Economist reports that based on an analysis of census data the proportion of all women who reach their mid-40s without ever having a child has fallen, but the decline is sharpest among the best-educated women. In 1994, 35% of women with a doctoral degree aged 40 to 44 were childless; by last year, this had fallen to 20%. Their families are bigger, too. In 1994, half of women with a master’s degree had had two more or more children. By last year, the figure was 60%. Why might older, better-educated women be having more children? Partly because access to education has widened—and so women who were always going to have children are spending more time in college. Another reason is that fertility treatment has improved dramatically, and access to that, too, has widened. Older women who, in the past, wanted children but were unable to have them are now able to.

But according to demographer Philip Cohen this does not explain the entire leap. Social changes in the nature of marriage seem to be driving the change. Whereas marriage was once near-universal and unequal, in recent decades it has become a deliberate option and more equal. Well-educated women have been able to form strong relationships with similarly brainy men, in which both parents earn and both do some child care. Getting an education and having a career are no longer always a barrier to having children; sometimes, they make it easier. Also as more career-minded women have had children, they have become powerful enough to demand time off from their employers. Although America has no national system of paid maternity leave, many professional firms now offer paid maternity leave—Ernst & Young, an accountancy firm, offers 39 weeks to its employees, for example. Meanwhile poorer women have had little luck of that sort. "Iif I’m a lower-income woman," says Stephanie Coontz, "do I want to hitch myself to a guy who may become just another mouth to feed?”

Comment Pointless ... (Score 1) 520 520

So either make a requirement that all food additives follow guidelines to provide "safe levels of consumption and health benefits" or let consumers and corporations work it out on their own. Targeting individual food products is as productive as targeting individual financial products or individual companies in regulation. It just creates more work ... oh; nevermind, figured that out.

Comment Re:Amended quote (Score 2) 743 743

I'm more worried that they're saying he was "brilliant." Those actions are trivial. I'm disappointed that's all he had to do to get that info.

Agree with his actions or not, anyone who declared him anything more than "some sysadmin who took some liberties with his access" shouldn't be in charge of gathering, investigating or protecting anyone's sensitive data.

THIS.

I came to post the same thing. This is like calling a child that signs their parents name on a school note as "brilliant". Sysadmin has access to everything, it's like saying the locksmith is "brilliant" for opening the door.

I once had a network admin compliment me for "hacking" into his server when I copied a file there for him.

My coworker and I laughed and pointed out that it's not hacking when you know root. Granted I'd just complained I my user account was denied access so I can understand the confusion.

Anecdotal proof that even among IT workers sometimes sysadmin privileges are mysterious.

Comment Re:the study seems defeatist (Score 1) 926 926

This must be modded up by others that didn't RTFA ...

articles like this that just throw in the proverbial towel arent helping. We need competent nutritional education and responsible industry to start offering food that is both nutritious and healthy. Yet as with most industries the change often comes from the consumer, and its often met half-hearted and begrudgingly.

The author would agree with you that we need competent nutritional education and the point is that rather than throw in the towel because it's a complicated issue we need to do something.

He prescribes more research and updating public policy based on current research.

Also: the consumer is only 1/2 the problem. Food companies spend millions advertising junk food, which increases consumer demand for said food, creating an artificial feedback loop. We could create a similar feedback loop for healthy (i.e. non-junk) food but doing so is costly. Not just in terms of advertising dollars.

There's lost profits when selling healthy food at a lower margin than junk food.
There's lost profits when people no longer need to purchase health care products/services due to weight related illness.
There's lost tax money on junk food vs. healthy food (in some countries.)

We've created an economic feedback loop that encourages unhealthy lifestyles - it pays better.

Note: I do not think (nor have I seen evidence of) a conspiracy. I'm talking about economic forces that we can take control over if we wish. It will take many different groups working together to achieve this goal. Consumers, government, and industry need to work together and against the economic incentives.

Comment Re:Three choices, pick one. (Score 1) 986 986

3. Fight back - I'm talking violence here.

I know how melodramatic that all sounds, and a few years ago I would have never imagined myself realistically making such a statement - not in a million years.
 

Not only does this sound melodramatic you only need to look to Syria/Egypt/Libya to see how bad of an idea violence is.

I fail to understand why so many Americans have given up on our representative Republic. You want to fight back, go vote (and get your friends to vote) for someone who will work to change the system. And when they're corrupted vote in someone else. And keep voting out corrupted politicians until the expense of corrupting them outweighs the benefit.

It will take work (you might say "eternal vigilance") but currently America has the government we deserve.

Look into http://pandaunite.org/

Comment Re:Very suspicious (Score 1) 147 147

It was Chicago 'economics' that did Detroit in.

As a resident of the Chicago metropolitan area I'm curious what you consider 'Chicago economics.'

If you're referring to corruption that's a problem as old as civilization itself. Crediting Chicago with originating it does little but boost the already over-inflated egos of Chicago politicians.

Comment Pattent Officers (Score 1) 175 175

I imagine with a little extra funding the USPTO could hire folks like Joel in order to find prior art for these patents.

The issue, as always with government services, is funding.

Perhaps we should consider a frequent filer fine. That would avoid increasing the costs for small businesses or independent engineers.

Alternately we could decide as a society that all of us chipping in some more money each year to improve the USPTO is a reasonable sacrifice to make, but that strikes me as less likely and it punishes the many for the sins of the few.

Living on Earth may be expensive, but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.

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