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The Case For Teaching Ignorance 234

HughPickens.com writes: In the mid-1980s, a University of Arizona surgery professor, Marlys H. Witte, proposed teaching a class entitled "Introduction to Medical and Other Ignorance." Far too often, she believed, teachers fail to emphasize how much about a given topic is unknown. "Textbooks spend 8 to 10 pages on pancreatic cancer," said Witte, "without ever telling the student that we just don't know very much about it." Now Jamie Holmes writes in the NY Times that many scientific facts simply aren't solid and immutable, but are instead destined to be vigorously challenged and revised by successive generations. According to Homes, presenting ignorance as less extensive than it is, knowledge as more solid and more stable, and discovery as neater also leads students to misunderstand the interplay between answers and questions.

In 2006, a Columbia University neuroscientist named Stuart J. Firestein, began teaching a course on scientific ignorance after realizing, to his horror, that many of his students might have believed that we understand nearly everything about the brain. "This crucial element in science was being left out for the students," says Firestein."The undone part of science that gets us into the lab early and keeps us there late, the thing that "turns your crank," the very driving force of science, the exhilaration of the unknown, all this is missing from our classrooms. In short, we are failing to teach the ignorance, the most critical part of the whole operation." The time has come to "view ignorance as 'regular' rather than deviant," argue sociologists Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey. Our students will be more curious — and more intelligently so — if, in addition to facts, they were equipped with theories of ignorance as well as theories of knowledge.

Two US Marines Foil Terrorist Attack On Train In France 467

hcs_$reboot writes: A heavily armed gunman opened fire aboard a packed high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris late Friday afternoon, wounding several passengers before he was tackled and subdued by two Americans Marines. The assault was described as a terrorist attack. President Barack Obama has expressed his gratitude for the "courage and quick thinking" of the passengers on a high-speed train in France, including U.S. service members, who overpowered the gunman. Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, paid tribute to the Marines as he arrived at the scene, and said "Thanks to them we have averted a drama. The Americans were particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances."

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 2) 751

In addition to what I said above, there's another growing demographic that's sort of the elephant in the room here: The basement dweller who spends his days playing World of Warcraft while his parents work. I've seen a lot of these, and IMO they're the biggest cause of the obesity epidemic. If you give these people free money, believe me, they don't move on unless they are literally evicted. I'm sure you guys have heard the horror stories about video game addiction where such and such person loses their job, their wife, and their house, while they were playing video games.

A term used in parts of Europe, heavily in Japan (especially within the last 10 years or so), but that's virtually non-existent in the US is "NEET" -- "Not in Education, Employment, or Training (school)". There's a little bit of overlap with the Hikikomori.

The take-away is that we really do have to consider there there's a higher case of actual psychological dysfunction associated with these groups (including "Failure-to-launch" Millennials in the US, etc...) . Whether it's caused by, exacerbated by, or simply correlates with the unemployment is almost beside the point -- once afflicted, any social policy for "fixing" the problem needs to take this into account.


Google Announces a Router: OnHub 275

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced they're working with TP-LINK to build a new router they call OnHub. They say it's designed for the way we tend to use Wi-Fi in 2015, optimizing for streaming and sharing in a way that older routers don't. The router has a cylindrical design and comes with a simple, user-friendly mobile app. They say, "OnHub searches the airwaves and selects the best channel for the fastest connection. A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance. You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favorite show — gets the fastest speed." The device will cost $200, it supports Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave, and 802.15.4, and it will automatically apply firmware updates.

Comment Re:Way to encourage responsible disclosure. (Score 1) 87

Two years? That's outrageous. Any vendor that takes that long to patch their holes *deserves* to get zero-day'd.

Newsflash: Fixing a problem like this in the field is harder than making a git commit and telling people to recompile.

Also, only a dipshit with no ethics equates "vendor" with "customer" when life or limb is on the line.


Fitbit Wants To Help Corporations Track Employee Health 206

jfruh writes: Fitbit is pitching its iconic fitness trackers to businesses as a tool to save money on health care costs. Many companies have wellness programs to encourage workers to exercise more, and Fitbit will help employers quantify (and monitor) employee progress. “We think virtually every company will incorporate fitness trackers into their corporate wellness programs,” Fitbit CFO Bill Zerella said

Comment Re:We are rapidly getting to a point where it's... (Score 1) 161

Whistle-blowing is releasing information. Without it, your consolation prize is a hat made of tinfoil and a ruined reputation.

Whistle-blowing is releasing information about the internal process, and *PERHAPS* demonstrating it opaquely. Not releasing the exploit itself.

Releasing an exploit down the road may be ethical for a generic security issue or bug. Not when lives are on the line.

Comment Re:We are rapidly getting to a point where it's... (Score 1) 161

It seems to me that it is similar to a whistle-blower, than the security through obscurity model of not releasing the information.

I question your ability to know that no one is actively doing this. Proving a negative is difficult at best.

I'm all for whistle-blowing. But if sufficient results are not achieved, the response should be *more whistle-blowing*... NOT releasing the information.

The latter may (may!) be ethically justified in other situations; not here.

Comment Re:We are rapidly getting to a point where it's... (Score 1) 161

This is the kind of problem that doesn't get solved unless you have people demanding answers on mass.

Absolutely correct.

If your answer to "How do we get people demanding answers en masse?" is "demonstrate to unethical 12 year olds how to easily kill people", then allowing the aforementioned dead people as a cause for more action, then you should probably re-evaluate your ethics.

Find another way besides treating "Crashing a car" the same way you treat "crashing a computer"

Frankly, I'd put this more along the lines of the folks who DoS'd 911 PNAPs. The fact that its possible doesn't excuse your doing it, and doesn't excuse intentional efforts to make it easier for others to do so.

Comment We are rapidly getting to a point where it's... (Score 1, Insightful) 161

... unethical to be releasing detailed information on an exploit.

It doesn't matter that the argument is that "Without exposure, car companies won't fix it!"... At the moment, no one is actively *doing* this or using this exploit. Simply being told that it's possible should be the limits of what an ethical hacker should release.

The cost-benefit analysis going into the value judgement of a release of more details for hacks is VERY different from the analysis of some HTTP flaw or kernel bug. Actual lives are at risk, and the ability of your work to be used to cause accidents and kill people by remote control changes things.


Google Is Restructuring Under a New Company Called Alphabet 235

Mark Wilson writes: Sundar Pichai is the new CEO of Google as the company undergoes a huge restructuring. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are moving to a new company called Google Alphabet which will serve as an umbrella company for Google and its various projects. Google itself is being, in Page's words, "slimmed down" and the change is quite an extraordinary one. Page quotes the original founders' letter that was written 11 years go. It states that "Google is not a conventional company", and today's announcement makes that perfectly clear. There's a lot to take in...Google Alphabet is, essentially, the new face of Google. Page chose to make the announcement in a blog post that went live after the stock markets closed. This is more than just a rebranding, it is a complete shakeup, the scale of which is almost unprecedented.
The Internet

Hacker Shows How To Fabricate Death Records 46

wiredmikey writes: Hackers the Def Con gathering in Las Vegas on Friday got schooled in how to be online "killers." A rush to go digital with the process of registering deaths has made it simple for maliciously minded folks to have someone who is alive declared dead by the authorities. The process of having someone officially stamped dead by getting a death certificate issued typically involves a doctor filling out one form and a funeral home filling out another, according to Rock's research. Once forms are submitted online, certificates declaring the listed person legally dead are generated. A fatal flaw in the system is that people can easily pose as real doctors and funeral directors.

Tesla's Creepy 'Solid Metal Snake' Robotic Charger Slithers Its Way Into Model S 109

bigwophh writes: Last year, Elon Musk hinted at a new product that Tesla Motors was working on in its research lab. What Musk described seemed creepy at the time, especially considering that he had just recently shown off "The D" at an evening press event. "By the way, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall and connects like a solid metal snake," said Musk. We didn't think much else about this intriguing contraption given the precious little details that Musk provided at the time. But fast forward seven months and we now have video of the serpent-like charger in action.

"Pok pok pok, P'kok!" -- Superchicken