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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 15 declined, 4 accepted (19 total, 21.05% accepted)

+ - Another Silicon Valley Supercar 3

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "Four-and-a-half years in the making, The Coupe, billed as "the first all-electric American supercar", was revealed on August 17 of this year at the Pebble Beach Concours by Silicon Valley firm Renovo Motors. Slated for availability in late 2015, the $500K-plus car does 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and is spec'd at 500 brake horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is said to be 120 mph. The fast-charge time is 30 minutes — not surprising given the rather small 100-mile range. The car is modelled on the '64 Daytona coupe and has a Shelby chassis.

Lots of cool factor there, and lots of grunt off the line. But if you had enough money for only one supercar, would you pay more than $500K for something that only gets 100 miles per charge?"

+ - Overzealous Management Corp Removes, Impounds Bicycles Parked on Public Property

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In an instance of apparent corporate over-reaching, $50-billion Brookfield Office Properties has been cutting locks and removing bicycles from what appears to be public property in Toronto Canada.

A bicycle owner who had locked her bike to a Toronto Transit Commission sign pole just outside the city's Hudson's Bay Centre, returned 90 minutes later only to discover that it was missing, and that it had been removed by a security guard. Brookfield Properties says that the pole is on its property, while City Manager Andre Filippetti confirms that the pole is in fact on public property.

In an email statement Brookfield says:
“As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians. It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole.”

It's unclear how many bicycles in total have been removed by the company, but three had been removed on the day in question, and a security guard working for Brookfield is reported to have said that they "get several angry cyclists a day complaining about bikes being taken". It is believed that many cyclists simply assume that their bikes have been stolen — which, arguably, they have.

It will be interesting to see if Brookfield receives anything like the legal punishment that a private citizen could expect for exactly the same actions; I suspect they won't be charged, or even very much inconvenienced."

+ - Dying Veteran blasts Cheney, Bush in 'Last Letter'

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In a public letter, Iraq war veteran Tomas Young lambastes former US Vice President Dick Cheney and former US president George W. Bush for sending "hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage". Mr. Young further accuses Bush and Cheney of "egregious war crimes" and of "cowardice and selfishness".

Mr. Young, who joined the Army two days after 9/11, was critically wounded in 2004, five days into his first tour of duty in Iraq. He then suffered Anoxic Brain Injury in 2008 as a complication of his earlier injuries. After almost ten years of what sounds like a living hell, Mr. Young is now receiving hospice care in his home while he starves himself to death.

You can read an interview with Tomas Young here"
Businesses

+ - Is it time to commit to ongoing payphone availability? 1

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs.

But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones.

Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?"
Canada

+ - One more step towards loss of Canadian sovereignty

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "The latest step in implementing the Canada — US Perimeter Security Initiative will have FBI and DEA agents pursuing suspects onto Canadian soil .

The RCMP recognizes that "this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians", so they'll "take baby steps, let's start with two agencies to test the concept, let's demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work".

In related news, a discovery that if a frog is put into a pot of water and the temperature is raised slowly enough, the frog won't hop out — he'll just boil to death."
Biotech

+ - Why Monsanto didn't expect Roundup-resistant weeds 2

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "From NPR comes the story of how Monsanto thought Roundup was "a herbicide with low risk for weed resistance." The explanation seems to pretty much boil down to "we had a hell of a time creating Roundup-resistant crops, so we figured Mother Nature had little or no chance".

In the face of Monsanto's hubris, Mother Nature went ahead and made 20 strains of weeds, (so far), tolerant to glyphosate. Good for her!"

+ - ICE Propaganda: Your Tax Dollars at Work->

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "From a story on Techdirt comes this link to aa propaganda video on YouTube, starring ICE Director John Morton

Of course, the video makes no mention of the 84,000 subdomains wrongfully seized by ICE last year as part of Operation In our Sites. Equally predictably, it self-servingly equates counterfeiting with copyright violation. Don't you just love it when the government spends your money to trample on your rights, and then wastes more of it to tell you what a great job it's doing violating them?"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Anaheim schools using GPS to fight truancy->

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In an effort to help chronically truant students, the Anaheim Union High School District is using GPS as part of a program to make sure that students are where they're supposed to be, and on time. (A similar scenario in Texas was discussed on Slashdot in 2008 — http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=truancy). In addition to tracking students' whereabouts, this latest initiative also assigns them an adult coach who calls them three times each week to help keep them on track.

Indications are that such programs actually work, and that at least some students are grateful for the help. But I can't help thinking that there is something really wrong, with the educational system and/or with society itself, when we have to go to such great lengths to keep students motivated and committed to their own education."

Link to Original Source
Canada

+ - "Money for Nothing" not fit for Canadian radio-> 2

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In a move that echoes the recent sanitization of Mark Twain's works, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that the Dire Straits song 'Money for Nothing' "contravenes the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code". Twenty-five years after the song's release, it seems that a listener in St. John's, Newfoundland objected to the use of the word 'faggot' in the song's lyrics."
Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - Your Brain on Magnets-> 1

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "An Australian scientist at the University of Sidney has been experimenting with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to temporarily induce savant-like capabilities and autistic attributes in test subjects. The research has implications for intelligence enhancement, and may hold improtant clues for understanding autism."
Link to Original Source
Spam

+ - CRTC fines Bell Canada $1.3M->

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "Bell Canada has just received a fine of 1.3 million dollars from the CRTC. The fine was levied after the CRTC determined that Bell violated the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Bell's third-party telemarketers placed calls to people listed on Canada's Do Not Call List. Apparently, Bell also directly violated the legislation by placing automated telemarketing calls to prepaid cellular users.

As a victim of many unwanted Bell marketing calls, I applaud the CRTC's hard line stance. Now if we can only talk them into revoking Bell's recently granted right to apply Usage Based Billing to third-party ISP's..."

Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - Meta-research debunks medical study findings->

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "From 'the Atlantic' comes the story of John Ioannidis and his team of meta-researchers, who have studied the overall state of medical research and found it dangerously and widely lacking in trustworthiness.. Even after filtering out the journalistic frippery and hyperbole, the story is pretty disturbing. Some points made in the article:

- Even the most respected, widely accepted, peer-reviewed medical studies are all-too-often deeply flawed or outright wrong
- When an error IS brought to light and the conclusions publicly refuted, the erroneous conclusions often persist and are cited as valid for years, or even decades
- Your doctor is probably prescribing drugs, treatment, and lifestyle changes that may range from ineffectual to outright harmful
- Scientists and researchers themselves regard peer review as providing "only a minimal assurance of quality"
- These shortcomings apply to medical research across the board, not just to blatantly self-serving pharmaceutical industry studies

The article concludes by saying "Science is a noble endeavor, but it's also a low-yield endeavor...I'm not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life."

I've always been somewhat suspicious of research findings, but before this article I had no idea just how prevalent untrustworthy results were. From now on I'll take my doctor's advice with a grain of salt — or is that a questionable prescription too?"

Link to Original Source
Google

+ - Google proposes music store, music locker

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "From Billboard comes news of a Google proposal for a music download and storage locker service.

Apparently the music store would "operate like a conventional digital retailer". But in addition, (and for $25 a year), it would provide users with both the ability to have their purchases transferred directly to their lockers, and the option to let Google scan their drives for tracks that it "recognizes as music that it has licensed" to be "listed by Google as being accessible to the user from their cloud-based account". The service would also provide some social networking features, including providing playlists to other subscribers.

In the proposal, the yearly fee would be split 50/50 between Google and rights holders. 10.5% would go to music publishers, but it's not yet clear whose half of the pie this slice would be taken from.

It seems pretty clear that the recording industry won't go for this proposal as it stands. But the writing's been on the wall for long enough now, that even some industry execs may know they've been fighting an unwinnable war. And Google has already shown remarkable talent as a well-paid middle man. What do you think, Slashdotters — could Google be the next big conduit between the recording industry and the music-buying public? Or is this proposal doomed to die on the vine?"
Privacy

+ - Ghostery acquired by Better Advertising

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "In an under-reported tech story from the beginning of 2010, David Cancel, creator of the Ghostery plugin for Firefox, announced that he has sold Ghostery to a company called Better Advertising. The company bills itself as "a new type of company that helps to build trust between consumers and brands that advertise online".

Whether this is simply a pre-emptive strike in the online advertising privacy regulation battle,, or a real attempt to deal with consumers' increasing privacy concerns, it seems that Better Advertising has made a smart move in acquiring Ghostery. Now all they have to do is convince us that they aren't Evil, and won't be Evil in the future. (Google, anyone?)"
Biotech

+ - Organ damage in rats from Monsanto GMO Corn

Submitted by jenningsthecat
jenningsthecat (1525947) writes "A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats:

http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called "Roundup-ready" corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto's own raw data.

Quoting from the study's 'Conclusions' section:

"Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days."

Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time-bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!"

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