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Submission + - Bacteria discovered that both eats and excretes pure electrons

Presto Vivace writes: Biologists discover electric bacteria that eat pure electrons rather than sugar, redefining the tenacity of life

Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons. These bacteria yet again prove the almost miraculous tenacity of life — but, from a technology standpoint, they might also prove to be useful in enabling the creation of self-powered nanoscale devices that clean up pollution. Some of these bacteria also have the curious ability to form into ‘biocables,’ microbial nanowires that are centimeters long and conduct electricity as well as copper wires — a capability that might one day be tapped to build long, self-assembling subsurface networks for human use.

Submission + - Is the time over the code websites from scratch?

thomawack writes: As a designer I always do webdesign from scratch and put them into CMSMS. Frameworks are too complicated to work into, their code usually too bloated and adaptable online solutions are/were limited in options. Also despite I know my way around html/css, I am not a programmer. My problem is, always starting from scratch create menus, forms and now everything responsive too, it has become too expensive for most customers. I see more and more online adaptive solutions that seem to be more flexible nowadays, but I am a bit overwhelmed in checking everything out because there are so many solutions around. Is there someting your readers can recommend? Be it an online adaptive website or a CMS that works similar, which are very flexible but bring a good basis / templates?

Submission + - Illinois Says Rule-Breaking Students Must Give Teachers Their Facebook Passwords->

derekmead writes: School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.

The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.

A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Parents Investigated for Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

HughPickens.com writes: The WaPo reports that Danielle and Alexander Meitiv in Montgomery County Maryland say they are being investigated for neglect after letting their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter make a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. “We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” says Danielle. The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world. “The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” says Danielle. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”

On December.20, Alexander agreed to let the children walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well. Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them. Alexander said he had a tense time with police when officers returned his children, asked for his identification and told him about the dangers of the world. The more lasting issue has been with Montgomery County Child Protective Services which showed up a couple of hours later. Although Child Protective Services could not address this specific case they did point to Maryland law, which defines child neglect as failure to provide proper care and supervision of a child. “I think what CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing,” says Alexander. “We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with.”

Submission + - Google Launches its GoDaddy Killer

HughPickens.com writes: Kieren McCarthy reports at The Register that Google has finally launched a domain-name shop, providing a clean and simple management interface that will put Google in direct competition with market leader GoDaddy. Google became an ICANN-accredited registrar back in 2005, and it first told of its Google Domains plans in June 2014. Domains will cost between $12 to $30 to register, and $12 a year to renew. Google's offering will include support for a number of standard features, like free private registration, free email forwarding to your Gmail inbox, free domain forwarding, support for up to 100 sub-domains, and support for the growing number of new domain endings (like .guru and .club) that are now emerging.

There had been speculation that Google would offer domains from its own registry (.google) for free. That, combined with free hosting, email, cloud storage, chat services and domain management, could see the company up-end the registrar market in a similar way to what it did with Gmail and the hosted email world. For its part, GoDaddy has been a target of ire for many in the tech community since GoDaddy officially voiced its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Bill in 2012. Although GoDaddy later recanted its position, thousands of domain owners switched registrars in protest.
User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm a trendlagger [LONG] 5 5

When people complain about Facebook, for example, I have basically no idea what they're talking about, because I've never been on it. I avoided Myspace, and Linkedin, and whatever else. The good thing about being very late to jump on trends is that you can avoid some entirely. I'm glad I'm not on any of those services because I've heard (later on that) they're sleazy.

FASHION

Submission + - Male sperm count in Western industrialized countries dropping at alarming rate-> 2 2

An anonymous reader writes: There have been a number of studies over the past 15-20 years, which suggest that sperm counts in man are on the decline. Since these changes are recent and appear to have occurred internationally, it has been presumed that they reflect adverse effects of environmental or lifestyle factors on the male rather than, for example, genetic changes in susceptibility. If the decrease in sperm counts were to continue at the rate that it is then in a few years we will witness widespread male infertility. To date it remains unknown why this is happening and the available preventative measures, which can be taken to avoid a continuation of this trend, are not common knowledge.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - US CTO tries to wean the White House off floppy disks 2 2

schnell writes: MIT grad and former Google exec Megan J. Smith is the third Chief Technical Officer of the United States and its first woman in the position created five years ago by President Obama. But, as a New York Times profile points out, while she fights to wean the White House off BlackBerries and floppy disks, and has introduced the President to key technical voices like Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf to weigh in on policy issues, her position is deliberately nebulous and lacking in real authority. The President's United States Digital Service initiative to improve technology government-wide is run by the Office of Management and Budget, and each cabinet department has its own CIO who mandates agency technical standards. So can a position with a direct line of access to the President but no real decision-making authority make a difference?

Submission + - Laws for thee but not for me....-> 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: In a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s top court found that a police officer who mistakenly interprets a law and pulls someone over hasn’t violated their Fourth Amendment rights.

If a police officer reasonably believes something is against the law, they are justified in initiating a traffic stop, says the U.S. Supreme Court. The problem? According to North Carolina traffic law, only one tail light needs to be functional. That means the initial stop, justified on these grounds, would have been illegal — and so would the seizure of the cocaine found in Heien’s car

“The result is a system in which “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for citizens facing conviction, but police can use their own ignorance about the law to their advantage,” notes the legal brief on the case by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including American Civil Liberties Union and Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Although this was a traffic stop, imagine this applied to computer search & seizure. Suddenly, you could be facing "reasonable belief" that you committed a crime.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this will enable a Police State.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - How Amazon's Book Subscriptions Are Changing the Writing Industry->

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon is now offering an ebook subscription service — $9.99/month gets you access to 700,000 titles, but self-published and traditionally published. The funds are gathered up, Amazon takes its cut, and the rest is divided up based on how many times a given book was read. Some authors like it, and some don't, but John Scalzi pointed out that this business model is notable for being different from how the writing industry has been in the past: "[T]he thing to actively dislike about the Kindle Unlimited 'payment from a pot' plan is the fact that it and any other plan like it absolutely and unambiguously make writing and publishing a zero-sum game. In traditional publishing, your success as an author does not limit my success — the potential pool of money is so large as to be effectively unlimited, and one’s payment is independent of any other purchase a consumer might make, or what any other reader might read. ... In the traditional publishing model, it’s in my interest to encourage readers to read other authors, because people who read more buy more books — the proverbial tide lifts all boats. In the Kindle Unlimited model, the more authors you and everyone else reads, the less I can potentially earn. And ultimately, there’s a cap on how much I can earn — a cap imposed by Amazon, or whoever else is in charge of the 'pot.'"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - How a Massachusetts man invented the global ice market

An anonymous reader writes: A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it’s history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the “Ice King of the World.” What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston’s backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we’re missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor’s big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry.

Submission + - This is why you're always getting lost->

sciencehabit writes: Have you ever stared at a map on your phone, utterly confused, as your GPS cryptically directed you to “head east”? It turns out that the entorhinal region of the brain—an area best known for its role in memory formation—may be at least partly to blame for your poor sense of direction. According to a study published online today in Current Biology, this brain region may help humans decide which direction to go to reach a destination. In the study, participants explored a virtual, square room with four unique objects in each corner and different landscapes on each of the four walls. Once they were familiar with the environment, the volunteers had to navigate a series of paths from one corner to another while the researchers monitored their brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. The entorhinal region has long been known to help people identify which direction they’re facing already, but to plan a route, navigators must also imagine the direction of their destination. The study showed that this brain region likely also has a role in decisions about which directions to face next to get where we want to go. And as the participants imagined their way through the virtual room, the researchers found that the strength of the signal from this region was directly related to navigational performance.
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