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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 29 declined, 17 accepted (46 total, 36.96% accepted)

+ - South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution from Standards

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved new science standards for students except for one clause: the one that involves the use of the phrase 'natural selection.' Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, argued against teaching natural selection as fact, when he believes there are other theories students deserve to learn. Fair argued South Carolina's students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy. Hopefully they're going to teach the controversy of gravity and valence bonds too. After all, they're just theories."

+ - South Carolina Education Oversight Committee Removes Evolution from Standards

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved new science standards for students except for one clause: the one that involves the use of the phrase 'natural selection.' Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, argued against teaching natural selection as fact, when he believes there are other theories students deserve to learn. Fair argued South Carolina's students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy. Hopefully they're going to teach the controversy of gravity and valence bonds too. After all, they're just theories."

+ - Surveillance Cameras, Hazmat Squads, Bomb-sniffing Dogs, etc. for the Super Bowl 1

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "The New York Police Department has quietly installed about 200 temporary surveillance cameras in midtown Manhattan to help spot trouble along 'Super Bowl Boulevard,' a 13-block street fair on Broadway that's expected to draw large crowds during the windup to the game. The temporary cameras for the Super Bowl festivities will supplement a system of thousands of permanent cameras covering midtown and Wall Street that the NYPD monitors from a command center in lower Manhattan. The department has pioneered analytical software that allows it to program the cameras to detect suspicious activity, such as a bag or other objects left in one place for a long time. Hazmat and bomb squads will be on standby. Others officers will patrol with bomb-sniffing dogs. Still more will watch from rooftops and from police helicopters. At a recent security briefing at the stadium, police chiefs and other officials said success will be measured in part by how well authorities conceal all the concern over potential threats."

+ - 16GB Smartphones Have Between 12.6GB and 8.6GB of Available Memory

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "All smartphones use a notable chunk of their advertised memory for operating system and uninstallable apps/resources. In a comparison of 16GB phones, it was shown that that available memory ranges from 12.6GB for the iPhone 5c (79% of advertised) to 8.56GB for the Samsung Galaxy S4 (54% of advertised). Two mitigating factors are that some phones (including the Galaxy S4) have slot-expandable RAM (though Android restricts what that can be used for) and that phones larger than 16GB have a larger percentage of advertised memory. Regardless; is it really fair to sell a 16GB phone that has half as much available memory?"

+ - Mobile device data consumption may outstrip capacity gains

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "A study of over one million subscribers in a 'Tier 1' European market and another one million subscribers in an unnamed developing market, found 4G devices such as the latest iPhones and iPads crowding the lists of top consumers of download and upload data. 'The faster the speeds that mobile operators provide, the more consumers swallow it up and demand more,' says the author of the study. 'One would expect a honeymoon period in which early adopters test their toys. But for 4G users to consistently exhibit behavior 10 times more extreme than 3G users well after launch constitutes a seismic shift in the data landscape.'"

+ - Genetic convergent evolution: stunning gene similarities among diverse animals

Submitted by Toe, The
Toe, The (545098) writes "It has long been understood that completely different animals can end up with very similar traits (convergent evolution), and even that genes can converge. But a new study shows an unbelievable level of convergence among entire groups of genes. The study shows that animals as diverse as bats and dolphins, which independently developed echolocation, converge in nearly 200 different genomic regions concentrated in several 'hearing genes'. The implications are rather deep, if you think about it, delving into interesting limitations on diversity or insights into the potential of DNA. And perhaps more importantly, this finding goes a long way toward explaining why almost aliens in the universe look surprisingly identical to humans (though still doesn't explain why they all speak English)."
Microsoft

+ - What is Microsoft Office doing with URL clicks?

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "In Microsoft Word or Excel (Mac or Windows, most versions), try clicking on a hyperlinked URL, and you will encounter a long delay and then see a message indicating "word is preparing to load this document" (or in Excel, you see "opening," and a percentage which slowly climbs). Now that's pretty interesting, because in any other application, when you click a URL, that's a system call that immediately loads that URL in the user's preferred browser. So why does Microsoft take such an ungodly amount of time to "process" something which needs no processing? And what, pray tell, are they doing with all that processing? Shall I bust out the tinfoil hat, or are they just incredibly bad programmers? Well I mean, is it just the latter, or both?"
Privacy

+ - Domestic surveillance drones on the rise->

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Predator drones have now racked up over 10,000 hours of airtime in the U.S., largely for immigration enforcement. Homeland Security reports that drone operations lead to the apprehension of 4,865 undocumented immigrants and 238 drug smugglers in the past six years. Compare that to 327,577 illegal migrants caught at the southwest border in fiscal 2011. The only limits on their surveillance are FAA regulations keeping them away from crowded urban areas, and this is for safety reasons, not privacy. While the drones cannot see through windows, they certainly see a lot of what goes on in the (former) privacy of peoples' yards. The article cites Michael Kostelnik from the Office of Air and Marine for the Border Protection service saying he's never been challenged in Congress about the appropriate use of domestic drones. 'Instead the question is: Why can't we have more of them in my district?'"
Link to Original Source
NASA

+ - NASA announces deep-space ship design->

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Today NASA announced its imaginatively named Space Launch System or SLS: 'The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth's orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.' News stories abound, some focusing on the Saturn V-like heavy lifter, some on the elements borrowed from the Space Shuttle."
Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - What's the least activity needed to extend life?

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Of particular concern to couch potatoes, gamers, and anyone who spends an inordinate amount of time sitting and staring at a screen: a new study entitled " Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study." The conclusion: 92 minutes of moderate activity a week can extend your life by three years."
Microsoft

+ - MS: No Windows Phone 7 Tablets. Tablets Are PCs.

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Windows used to own practically the entire tablet market, prior to the launch of the iPad. Today Microsoft manages to hold about 1%. While Microsoft makes a phone operating system, Windows Phone president Andy Lees stated that consumers 'want to be able to do the sort of things they do on a PC on a tablet.' Therefore, Windows Phone 7 isn't for tablets. But not to worry, Windows 8 will be for tablets and will deprecate Windows Phone as well. Just wait a year or so."
Networking

+ - 'Internet of things' to be open sourced 1

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Earlier this week, Dutch-based NXP Semiconductors announced its GreenChip, which for the cost of about US$1.00, enables every light bulb to have its own wireless IP address. NXP has subsequently announced it is to make its JenNet-IP, ultra-low-power, IEEE 802.15.4-based, wireless network layer software available under an Open Source license in Q4, 2011. This may open the door to standardization in smart home technology."
Security

+ - Epsilon info breach was your fault

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "The e-mails are going out in earnest now explaining the Epsilon security breach which may have affected, well, most people. The amazing part of the story is the tone of the letters from banks. The letters from Chase and Citi, both say effectively: "your data was stolen, here's what you should do to protect your data." They then go into a litany of minor data hygiene practices, failing to point out they themselves did not vet their vendor's security practices. There is no claim of culpability for bad security policy nor any indication that they will try to do better in the future. In other words, no reason why you should trust them with your data (and this response is sadly commonplace). Interestingly, while the banks take this tone, the letters from retailers such as Kroger and Brookstone do at least talk about trying to do better in the future."
Censorship

+ - US Ed Dept demanding principals censor more 3

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students. Under the new interpretation of civil rights laws, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb “harassment” of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation among a few youths. When children are concerned, where is the line between protection and censorship?"

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