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The Military

+ - Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda 'Within Reach'

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Newly installed Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, says the United States was “within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda” and that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Panetta, who rarely spoke on the record as CIA director, offered few details to bolster his assessment but intelligence officials say that computer files retrieved from Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, showed that the organization was in dire need of money and struggling under persistent American drone strikes on its leadership. “I think now is the moment,” says Panetta. “I do believe that if we continue this effort, we can really cripple Al Qaeda as a threat to this country.”"

+ - SPAM: Cisco helps China keep an eye on its Citizens

Submitted by doperative
doperative (1958782) writes "Western companies including Cisco Systems Inc. are poised to help build an ambitious new surveillance project in China — a citywide network of as many as 500,000 cameras that officials say will prevent crime but that human-rights advocates warn could target political dissent ..

An examination of the Peaceful Chongqing project by The Wall Street Journal shows Cisco is expected to supply networking equipment that is essential to operating large and complicated surveillance systems, according to people familiar with the deal."

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Idle

+ - Duke Nukem Forever Finally Released->

Submitted by lazarus
lazarus (2879) writes ""Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which publishes the game, launched in Europe and Australia on Friday. The game debuts on Tuesday in the U.S., Canada and Mexico for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PCs.

Despite the long wait, the game launched to tepid reception from critics. The website Metacritic.com, which aggregates reviews, gave the Xbox 360 version a score of 55 out of 100. The game did better on the PC with a "metascore" of 76 out of 100. There is no score currently available for the PS3 version.""

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Microsoft

+ - FAFSA Website does not support Linux->

Submitted by Horizontal_Mode
Horizontal_Mode (1970618) writes "I was thinking about going back to college for the 2011-2012 year and upon beginning my application I was told browsers on Linux were unsupported. You can get around it by changing your User Agent string, but I'm not sure I want to "lie" while applying for money. I guess the Microsoft tax applies to Federal Student Aid as well. Grrr"
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+ - U.S. Navy *that* close to on-ship laser cannons->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Office of Naval Research and industry partner Northrop Grumman said they successfully tested for the first time an on-board laser defense system known as the Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD), using it to destroy a small target vessel. The test actually accomplished several other benchmarks, including integrating MLD with a ship’s radar and navigation system, and firing an electric laser weapon from a moving platform at-sea in a humid environment."
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Medicine

Americans Less Healthy, But Outlive Brits 521

Posted by timothy
from the cross-cultural-croaking-comparison dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this intriguing snippet: "Older Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And Americans age 65 and older — while still sicker than their English peers — had a lower death rate than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography."
Transportation

+ - Does Towing an Electric Car Recharger Make Sense?->

Submitted by thecarchik
thecarchik (1520545) writes "If you listen to the ad executives trying to sell the 2011 Chevrolet Volt there’s one big problem with electric cars: they don’t go as far on a charge as a gas car can on a tank of fuel.
While it’s true that electric cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Coda Sedan may provide more than enough range per charge for the majority of users we do get asked time and time again what happens when you need to go further? Enter the unimaginatively named Electric Motors and Vehicles Company (EMAV) with its two-along Power Regeneration Unit (PRU). Looking a little like a shrunken camping trailer, the PRU holds a 70 kilowatt-hour battery pack along with a small gasoline-powered generator. Theoretically, this could extend the range of cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf by several hundred miles."

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Programming

How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming? 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-gunpoint-is-not-a-valid-answer dept.
CurtMonash writes "Nontechnical people — for example marketers or small business owners — increasingly get the feeling they should know more about technology. And they're right. If you can throw up a small website or do some real number-crunching, chances are those skills will help you feed your family. But how should they get started? I started a thread with the question on DBMS2, and some consistent themes emerged, including: Learn HTML + CSS early on; Learn a bit of SQL, but you needn't make that your focus; Have your first real programming language be one of the modern ones, such as PHP or Python; MySQL is a good vehicle to learn SQL; It's a great idea to start with a project you actually want to accomplish, and that can be done by modifying a starter set of sample code (e.g., a WordPress blog); Microsoft's technology stack is an interesting alternative to some of the other technology ideas. A variety of books and websites were suggested, most notably MIT's Scratch. But, frankly, it would really help to get more suggestions for sites and books that help one get started with HTML/CSS, or with MySQL, or with PHP. And so, techie studs and studdettes, I ask you — how should a non-techie go about learning some basic technological skills?"

+ - Slashdot is Dying, New York Times Confims It-> 12

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is running a story about how Slashdot has dropped in popularity compared to other news sites in social web space. Quote: "Why is Slashdot almost irrelevant to the social media community? It used to be the biggest driver of traffic to tech web sites, but now it hardly delivers any traffic at all to them. We explore some of the reasons, including input from our own community.""
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Education

What's Wrong With the American University System 828

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-enough-belushi dept.
ideonexus writes "The Atlantic has an excellent interview with Andrew Hacker — co-author with Claudia Dreifus of a book titled Higher Education? — covering everything that's wrong with the American university system. The discussion ranges from entrenched tenured professors more concerned with publishing and parking spaces than quality teaching; to 22-year-old students with unrealistic expectations that some company will put them in a management position after graduating with six-figures of debt; to football teams siphoning money away from academic programs so that student tuitions must increase to compensate. It really lays out the farce of university culture and reminds me of everything I absolutely despised about my college life. Dreifus is active in the comments section of the article as well, lending to a fantastic discussion on the subject."
Mars

New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-them-doggies-rollin dept.
wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."
Input Devices

BlindType — the Amazing Keyboard of the Future 125

Posted by kdawson
from the do-what-i-mean dept.
kkleiner writes "BlindType has created a new touchscreen keyboard program of the same name that changes size, orientation, and position to match your wandering fingers as they type. BlindType also features some of the most impressive typing correction software I've ever seen. The result is a practical touchscreen interface that knows what you meant to type, even if you make mistakes. Lots of them. In fact, you can type without looking at the screen at all."
Crime

+ - Attacking the edges of secure Internet traffic->

Submitted by crimeandpunishment
crimeandpunishment (1754306) writes "It may have been the scariest presentation at this week's Black Hat conference. Researchers say even if you're using secure connections to banks and other sensitive websites, criminals can still spy on you....by sniffing around the edges of encrypted traffic. Robert Hansen and Josh Sokol told a roomful of security experts the problem is the way Web broswers handle SSL encryption technology. They outlined two dozen problems they found, and said all major browsers are affected by at least some of the issues. Hansen said "This points to a larger problem — we need to reconsider how we do electronic commerce"."
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+ - What's Wrong With the American University System->

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "Highly recommended interview with Andrew and Claudia Hacker, authors of Higher Education?, covering everything that's wrong with the American university system, from entrenched tenured professors more concerned with publishing and parking spaces than quality teaching, 22 year-old students with unrealistic expectations that some company will put them in a management position after graduating with six-figures of debt, while football teams siphon even more money away from academic programs so that student tuitions must increase to compensate for them. It really lays out the farce of University culture and reminds me of everything I absolutely despised about my college life.

One of the author's is very active in the comments section of the article as well, lending to a fantastic discussion on the subject."

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The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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