romanval sends word that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will become the new chairman of the subcommittee that oversees NASA and government scientific research. Cruz has both spoken in favor of NASA and attempted to cut its budget, but he's most notable for his opposition to the science supporting climate change. From the article: His vociferous opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and his support of extreme budget cuts could spell trouble for NASA's less prominent programs, such as its own climate research and sophisticated supercomputers. His role on the front lines of the 2013 government shutdown, which critics say had lasting negative effects on public safety, NASA research and EPA scientists' ability to visit contaminated sites, also suggests at best a narrow focus on NASA's largest projects and at worst a disregard for agencies that require science funding.
New submitter dislikes_corruption writes: "Stopping the recently announced plan by the FCC to end net neutrality is going to require a significant outcry by the public at large, a public that isn't particularly well versed on the issue or why they should care. Ryan Singel, a former editor at Wired, has written a thorough and easy to understand primer on the FCC's plan, the history behind it, and how it will impact the Internet should it come to pass. It's suitable for your neophyte parent, spouse, or sibling. In the meantime, the FCC has opened a new inbox (email@example.com) for public comments on the decision, there's a petition to sign at whitehouse.gov, and you can (and should) contact your congressmen."
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Oracle is gearing up for a fight with officials in Oregon over its role developing an expensive health insurance exchange website that still isn't fully operational. In a letter obtained by the Oregonian newspaper this week, Oracle co-president Safra Catz said that Oregon officials have provided the public with a 'false narrative' concerning who is to blame for Cover Oregon's woes. In the letter, Catz pointed out that Oregon's decision to act as their own systems integrator on the project, using Oracle consultants on a time-and-materials basis, was 'criticized frequently by many'. And as far as Oracle is concerned, 'Cover Oregon lacked the skills, knowledge or ability to be successful as the systems integrator on an undertaking of this scope and complexity,' she added."
thundergeek (808819) writes "I am the sole sysadmin for nearly 50 servers (win/linux) across several contracts. Now a Change Advisory Board (CAB) is wanting to manage every patch that will be installed on the OS and approve/disapprove for testing on the development network. Once tested and verified, all changes will then need to be approved for production. Windows servers aren't always the best for informing admin exactly what is being 'patched' on the OS, and the frequency of updates will make my efficiency take a nose dive. Now I'll have to track each KB, RHSA, directives and any other 3rd party updates, submit a lengthy report outlining each patch being applied, and then sit back and wait for approval. What should I use/do to track what I will be installing? Is there already a product out there that will make my life a little less stressful on the admin side? Does anyone else have to go toe-to-toe with a CAB? How do you handle your patch approval process?"
An anonymous reader writes "If Windows XP were a photocopier, Microsoft would have a duty to deal with competitors who sought to provide aftermarket support. A new article in the Michigan Law Review argues that Microsoft should be held to the same duty, and should be legally obligated to help competitors who wish to continue to provide security updates for the aging operating system, even if that means allowing them to access and use Windows XP's sourcecode."
DTentilhao (3484023) writes "The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format (ODF) as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: 'Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement.'"
An anonymous reader writes "As if the automated take downs on Youtube weren't already bad enough, today fans of the popular open source 3D software Blender were greeted by a copyright take down notice for their third open movie, Sintel, despite it being released under a Creative Commons license: 'This video contains content from Sony Pictures Movies & Shows, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.' It is believed that the takedown was a result of Sony Electronics adding Sintel to their official 4k demo pool."
cold fjord writes in with some bad news for the people using water fluoridation to pacify the public and install a new world government. "About half of American adults believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory, according to new survey results. (paywalled, first page viewable) Some conspiracy theories have much more traction than others ... three times as many people believe U.S. regulators prevent people from getting natural cures as believe that a U.S. spy agency infected a large number of African Americans with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). J. Eric Oliver, the study's lead author from University of Chicago, said people may believe in conspiracy theories because they're easier to understand than complex medical information. ... Some 49 percent of the survey participants agreed with at least one of the conspiracies. In fact, in addition to the 37 percent of respondents who fully agreed that U.S. regulators are suppressing access to natural cures, less than a third were willing to say they actively disagreed with the theory. — One of the conspiracy theories, that the U.S. created HIV, was created for an active disinformation campaign by the Soviet Union against the U.S. as a form of political warfare during the Cold War, and still gets repeated."
theodp writes "Over at Slate, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter argues that Google's anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content, which is bad for artists and bad for consumers. The screed is Sutter's response to an earlier anti-copyright rant in Slate penned by a lawyer who represents Google and is a Fellow at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute chaired by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt that receives funding from Schmidt and Google. 'Everyone is aware that Google has done amazing things to revolutionize our Internet experience,' writes Sutter. 'And I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Google are very nice people. But the big G doesn't contribute anything to the work of creatives. Not a minute of effort or a dime of financing. Yet Google wants to take our content, devalue it, and make it available for criminals to pirate for profit. Convicted felons like Kim Dotcom generate millions of dollars in illegal revenue off our stolen creative work. People access Kim through Google. And then, when Hollywood tries to impede that thievery, it's presented to the masses as a desperate attempt to hold on to antiquated copyright laws that will kill your digital buzz. It's so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who's the friend of the young everyman. Don't kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment. It is a multibillion-dollar information portal that makes dough off of every click on its page and every data byte it streams. Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content? Nope. You're just another revenue resource Google can access to create more traffic and more data streams. Unfortunately, those streams are now pristine, digital ones of our work, which all flow into a huge watershed of semi-dirty cash. If you want to know more about how this works, just Google the word "parasite."'"
sandbagger writes "It looks like technical writers won't be unemployed any time soon. According to a recent study reported on by the LA Times, 11% of Americans thought HTML was a sexually-transmitted disease. The study, by coupon site VoucherCloud, involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older. 27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect, and 23% thought MP3 was a Star Wars robot. The participants were not told that the study was specifically looking into their knowledge of tech terms. They were presented with both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions. 18% identified 'Blu-ray' as a marine animal, and 15% thought 'software' was comfortable clothing."
New submitter josh itnc writes "In a move that is sure to put a wedge between HP and their customers, today, HP has issued an email informing all existing Enterprise Server customers that they would no longer be able to access or download service packs, firmware patches and bug-fixes for their server hardware without a valid support agreement in place. They said, 'HP has made significant investments in its intellectual capital to provide the best value and experience for our customers. We continue to offer a differentiated customer experience with our comprehensive support portfolio. ... Only HP customers and authorized channel partners may download and use support materials. In line with this commitment, starting in February 2014, Hewlett-Packard Company will change the way firmware updates and Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) on HP ProLiant server products are accessed. Select server firmware and SPP on these products will only be accessed through the HP Support Center to customers with an active support agreement, HP CarePack, or warranty linked to their HP Support Center User ID and for the specific products being updated.' If a manufacturer ships hardware with exploitable defects and takes more than three years to identify them, should the consumer have to pay for the vendor to fix the these defects?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jon Healey writes in the LA Times that a new lawsuit against the Gawker Media site Defamer for linking to an infringing copy of an unreleased screenplay should send chills down the spines of every reporter who writes about copyright issues. Tarantino had kept the script for his ensemble western The Hateful Eight unpublished, but someone obtained a copy and posted it online. In its piece, Defamer quoted only a brief excerpt and a short summary published earlier that day by the Wrap. But it also included two links to the leaked screenplay on a file-sharing site called AnonFiles. In a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Tarantino's lawyers say they repeatedly asked Gawker Media to remove the links, to no avail. John Cook, Gawker's editor, responded with a post that rebuts the complaint's most damaging allegations, saying Defamer had no involvement whatsoever in the leak or the script's posting online. Cook also quotes Tarantino's comments last week to Deadline Hollywood, in which the filmmaker said he likes having his work online for people to read and review. 'Reporters often assume that providing links to items of public interest is perfectly aboveboard, even if the items themselves aren't. If this case goes to trial, it could help clarify what links simply can't be published legally, regardless of the news value,' writes Healey. 'I'm not arguing that what Gawker did was legal — that's a judge's decision. I'm just saying that there's a journalistic reason for Gawker to do what it did, and those of us who write about copyrights struggle often with the question of how to report what seems newsworthy without crossing a line that's drawn case by case.'"
theodp writes "Valleywag reports on legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins' WSJ op-ed on class tensions, in which the KPCB founder and former HP and News Corp. board member likens criticism of the techno-affluent and their transformation of San Francisco to one of the most horrific events in Western history. 'I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich,"' Perkins writes. 'There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay...This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?"'"
New submitter hymie! writes "Nagios is a commonly used IT tool that monitors computers, networks, and websites. It supports the use of plug-ins, many of which were developed independently by the community. Holger Weiß, formerly of nagios-plugins.org, announced that 'Yesterday, the DNS records [of nagios-plugins.org] were modified to point to web space controlled by Nagios Enterprises instead. This change was done without prior notice. To make things worse, large parts of our web site were copied and are now served (with slight modifications) by Nagios. Again, this was done without contacting us, and without our permission. This means we cannot use the name 'Nagios Plugins' any longer.' Further discussion is available in a Bugzilla thread."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jay Frank writes that the big four music distributors and their sister publishers (Sony, Warner, UNI and EMI) make 15% more per year, on average, from paying customers of streaming services like Spotify or Rdio than it does from the average customer who buys downloads, CDs or both. Each label makes 'blanket license' deals with Streaming services with advances in the undisclosed millions, which is virtually the same as selling music in bulk; they receive these healthy licensing fees to cover all activity in a given period rather than allowing Streaming services to 'pay as they go.' 'Artists are up in arms, many are opting out of streaming services,' writes Frank. 'Lost in that noise is a voice that is seldom heard: that of the record companies. There's good reason for that: they're making more money from streaming and the future looks extremely bright for them.' The average 'premium' subscription customer in the U.S. was worth about $16 a year to a major record company, while the average buyer of digital downloads or physical music was worth about $14. Thus, year over year, the premium subscriber was worth nearly 15% more than the person who bought music either digitally or physically."