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+ - As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "After rising rapidly for decades, the number of people behind bars peaked at 1.62 Million in 2009, has been mostly falling ever since down, and many justice experts believe the incarceration rate will continue on a downward trajectory for many years. New York, for example, saw an 8.8% decline in federal and state inmates, and California, saw a 20.6% drop. Now the WSJ reports on an awkward byproduct of the declining U.S. inmate population: empty or under-utilized prisons and jails that must be cared for but can’t be easily sold or repurposed. New York state has closed 17 prisons and juvenile-justice facilities since 2011, following the rollback of the 1970s-era Rockefeller drug laws, which mandated lengthy sentences for low-level offenders. So far, the state has found buyers for 10 of them, at prices that range from less than $250,000 to about $8 million for a facility in Staten Island, often a fraction of what they cost to build. “There’s a prisoner shortage,” says Mike Arismendez, city manager for Littlefield, Texas, home of an empty five-building complex that sleeps 383 inmates and comes with a gym, maintenence shed, armory, and parking lot . “Everybody finds it hard to believe.”

The incarceration rate is declining largely because crime has fallen significantly in the past generation. In addition, many states have relaxed harsh sentencing laws passed during the tough-on-crime 1980s and 1990s, and have backed rehabilitation programs, resulting in fewer low-level offenders being locked up. States from Michigan to New Jersey have changed parole processes, leading more prisoners to leave earlier. On a federal level, the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Before 2010, the U.S. prison population increased every year for 30 years, from 307,276 in 1978 to a high of 1,615,487 in 2009. “This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration,” says Natasha Frost. "People don’t care so much about crime, and it’s less of a political focus.""

+ - Hong Kong protesters use a mesh network to organise->

Submitted by wabrandsma
wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from New Scientist:

Hong Kong's mass protest is networked. Activists are relying on a free app that can send messages without any cellphone connection.

Since the pro-democracy protests turned ugly over the weekend, many worry that the Chinese government would block local phone networks.

In response, activists have turned to the FireChat app to send supportive messages and share the latest news. On Sunday alone, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong, its developers said. FireChat relies on "mesh networking", a technique that allows data to zip directly from one phone to another via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ordinarily, if two people want to communicate this way, they need to be fairly close together. But as more people join in, the network grows and messages can travel further.

Mesh networks can be useful for people who are caught in natural disasters or, like those in Hong Kong, protesting under tricky conditions. FireChat came in handy for protesters in Taiwan and Iraq this year."

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+ - DARPA image technology would move way beyond X-Rays ->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "Getting a better view inside mostly dense objects like corrosion in aircraft wings and welds on ships or even gunpowder hidden in suitcases are just a few of the applications researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are hoping to develop with a new program called Intense and Compact Neutron Sources (ICONS)."
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+ - Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you’re a Grooveshark user, you should probably start backing up your collection. In a decision released Monday, the United States District Court in Manhattan has found Grooveshark guilty of massive copyright infringement based on a preponderance of internal emails, statements from former top executives, direct evidence from internal logs, and willfully deleted files and source code."
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+ - Calling Mr Orwell, rejigged executive order makes collecting data not collecting->

Submitted by sandbagger
sandbagger (654585) writes "'...it is often the case that one can be led astray by relying on the generic or commonly understood definition of a particular word.' Specifically words offering constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. TechDirt looks at the redefinition of the term collection as redefined by Executive Order 12333 to allow basically every information dragnet, provided no-one looks at it. "Collection" is now defined as "collection plus action." According to this document, ot still isn't collected, even if its been gathered, packaged and sent to a "supervisory authority." No collection happens until examination. It's Schroedinger's data, neither collected nor uncollected until the "box" has been opened. This leads to the question of aging off collected data/communications: if certain (non) collections haven't been examined at the end of the 5-year storage limit, are they allowed to be retained simply because they haven't officially been collected yet? Does the timer start when the "box" is opened or when the "box" is filled?"
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+ - People Will Do Anything For Free Wi-Fi

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new Wi-Fi investigation conducted on the streets of London shows that consumers carelessly use public Wi-Fi without regard for their personal privacy. In the experiment, which involved setting up a ‘poisoned’ Wi-Fi hotspot, unsuspecting users exposed their Internet traffic, their personal data, the contents of their email, and even agreed to an outrageous clause obligating them to give up their firstborn child in exchange for Wi-Fi use."

+ - Web Magna Carta: WWW inventor calls for 'online bill of rights'

Submitted by ltorvalds11
ltorvalds11 (3774511) writes "Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web has spoken out against world governments and corporations, which he says are seeking to control the web for their own gain. He called for a revolutionary bill of rights to guaranty the web’s independence.

"If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life," Berners-Lee spoke at London’s ‘Web We Want’ festival, which discussed the future of the internet and its guidelines.
"If a government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power."
"There have been lots of times that it has been abused, so now the Magna Carta is about saying...I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship," Berners-Lee said at the Web We Want Festival According to his comment, the only information that should be kept off the web relates to things that were illegal before the web, and remain illegal now – such as “child pornography, fraud, telling someone how to rob a bank,” and the like."

+ - UK Conservative Party Proposes Police Vetting Of "Extremist" Posts->

Submitted by Jahta
Jahta (1141213) writes "Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, under the new Extremist Disruption Orders.

There are also plans to allow judges to ban people from broadcasting or protesting in certain places, as well as associating with specific people. The plans — to be brought in if the Conservatives win the election in May — are part of a wide-ranging set of rules to strengthen the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy."

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+ - Bringing Back Quality Science Kits->

Submitted by Harris-Educational
Harris-Educational (578170) writes "Big Box Stores and others have "science kits" but in many cases they are cheap, throw-away, with poor (if any) instructions. Most are not made in the USA. Parents will spend $50+ on a video game but what about spending $50+ on a quality and inspiring educational experience (and sharing that experience with their children). Some kids today are lucky and are able to play with micro-controllers, PC's on a chip, and 3D printers but how many of them know the basics and can troubleshoot a circuit when something goes wrong? Do they really understand their technological building blocks?

Harris Educational (a small "Maker Business") is working to change all that for the better by launching 'Reinventing Science' kits that hearken back to the great science kits of the 50's and 60's like those made by A.C. Gilbert, REMCO, and others. One example is "Reinventing Edison: Build your own Light Bulb" in which experimenters work with a vacuum chamber and build a working incandescent light bulb like Edison and Swan did. These kits won "Best in Class" and an "Editor's Choice" awards at World Maker Faire in New York last week and will be on display again on October 4th and 5th at Maker Faire Atlanta. In addition to Harris Educational's Kickstarter (also working to raise money to launch an educational maker space in Burlington NC) Harris Educational is also a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made awards Is our society ready to invest again in quality hands-on STEM education like it did during the Space Race?"

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+ - Mining Bitcoin with pencil and paper

Submitted by ndato
ndato (3482697) writes "Ken Shirriff decided to see how practical it would be to mine Bitcoin with pencil and paper. It turns out that the SHA-256 algorithm used for mining is pretty simple and can in fact be done by hand. Not surprisingly, the process is extremely slow compared to hardware mining and is entirely impractical.

Doing one round of SHA-256 by hand took 16 minutes, 45 seconds. At this rate, hashing a full Bitcoin block (128 rounds) would take 1.49 days, for a hash rate of 0.67 hashes per day."

+ - Earth Has 52 Percent Fewer Wild Animals Today Than in 1970

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Since 1970, more than half of the world's population of wild vertebrate animals have died off, according to a biennial report from the World Wildlife Fund.
The organization's "Living Planet Report" studies the populations of more than 10,000 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. According to the study, 52 percent of the overall total population of wild animals died between 1970 and 2010."

+ - Japanese Phone Company Wants To Buy Dreamworks Animation->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Softbank is the scrappy number three mobile phone company in Japan, and, since it bought Sprint last year, fills a similar niche in the United States. Dreamworks Animation has produced hits like "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" but has never matched its rival Pixar. They seem to make an unlikely pair, but that hasn't stopped Softbank from trying to buy the animation studio."
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+ - Dear Apple, pay tax or we'll sue you->

Submitted by gbjbaanb
gbjbaanb (229885) writes "The EU is to decry Apple's tax arrangements with Ireland, Luxembourg and Holland tomorrow, stating that their tax deals amount to "illegal state aid". Penalties if found guilty are massive fines (probably still less than if Apple had paid the 'expected' amount of tax). It suggests an interesting way of making companies pay tax, and I imagine Google, Microsoft et al will be next if this case succeeds."
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