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Crime

Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the red-light-red-light dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The former CEO of Redflex, a major red light camera vendor, and John Bills, former Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Transportation, have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago. According to the indictment, a friend of Bills was hired as a contractor and paid $2 million. Much of that money was then kicked back to Bills, who also got a Mercedes and a condominium via Redflex employees. The defendants are facing 23 counts including: mail fraud, wire fraud, and bribery. Each fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years."

Comment: Re:The drugs are terrible (Score 1) 199

by mr_mischief (#47681497) Attached to: Involuntary Eye Movement May Provide Definitive Diagnosis of ADHD

Not all ADHD folks are hyperactive. The "H" is common but not universal. Poor sleep can definitely cause a loss of ability to focus, though. It can also contribute to risk of stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and a lot of other problems. I wouldn't doubt that hyperactivity could be among those.

Government

The Billion-Dollar Website 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-what-you-paid-for-minus-a-billion-dollars dept.
stoborrobots writes: The Government Accountability Office has investigated the cost blowouts associated with how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) handled the Healthcare.gov project. It has released a 60-page report entitled Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management, with a 5 page summary. The key takeaway messages are:
  • CMS undertook the development of Healthcare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices...
  • [The task] was a complex effort with compressed time frames. To be expedient, CMS issued task orders ... when key technical requirements were unknown...
  • CMS identified major performance issues ... but took only limited steps to hold the contractor accountable.
  • CMS awarded a new contract to another firm [and the new contract's cost has doubled] due to changes such as new requirements and other enhancements...
United States

Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office 327

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'll-do-it-later dept.
McGruber writes An internal investigation by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found that some of its 8,300 patent examiners repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in and many were receiving bonuses for work they did not do. While half of the USPTO's Patent Examiners work from home full time, oversight of the telework program — and of examiners based at the Alexandria headquarters — was "completely ineffective," investigators concluded. The internal investigation also unearthed another widespread problem. More than 70 percent of the 80 managers interviewed told investigators that a "significant" number of examiners did not work for long periods, then rushed to get their reviews done at the end of each quarter. Supervisors told the review team that the practice "negatively affects" the quality of the work. "Our quality standards are low," one supervisor told the investigators. "We are looking for work that meets minimal requirements." Patent examiners review applications and grant patents on inventions that are new and unique. They are experts in their fields, often with master's and doctoral degrees. They earn at the top of federal pay scale, with the highest taking home $148,000 a year.

Comment: Re:catch has gotten more specific, skill not chang (Score 1) 146

by mr_mischief (#47633933) Attached to: The ESports Athletes Who Tried To Switch Games

I'm not so sure I agree. When you practice out routes and sideline routes your whole career counting on push-out rules and then suddenly being pushed out means you're out of bounds for the catch, that's massive. An out route can't go as far out, and a sideline route has to be further in from the sideline. It's probably a bigger change than going from NCAA football with the one-foot rule to the NFL with the two-foot rule.

The reply rules made what counts as a catch a lot more strict, but a good solid catch with control of the ball was always the goal. Thayt didn't change too much other than getting incomplete passes more accurately called. The push-out rule changing OTOH changed how the routes are run on the same size field.

Comment: Plus is primarily centralized account management (Score 1) 114

by mr_mischief (#47599503) Attached to: Google+ Photos To Be Separated From Google+

Google Plus is only incidentally a social network. It was designed to merge and centrally manage the YouTube, Picasa, GMail, et al accounts. It's been quite effective. The stream was an easy add-on goal and an additional selling point for consumers. Circles offer a nice benefit and are being used now not just for the Plus stream but to notify people about one another's activities on the other sites like YouTube.

Science

Extracting Audio From Visual Information 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-the-bag-says dept.
rtoz writes Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag (video) photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

One way to make your old car run better is to look up the price of a new model.

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