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

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) 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.”"

Comment: Re:Who supports it (Score 1) 60

by nmr_andrew (#48814339) Attached to: Exploring Some Lesser-Known Scripting Languages

Sure you can write readable and maintainable Perl.

But most people don't.

the problem is "developers" that have never had to maintain someone else's code often enough to understand the value of readability and maintainability.

The same is true of Python (and most other languages for that matter).

Comment: Re:My guess (Score 1) 130

by nmr_andrew (#48814239) Attached to: PC Shipments Are Slowly Recovering

I did exactly the same with a Core Duo iMac at work. Just replaced a 2006 vintage Mac this past summer, so ~8 years old.

Not to imply that Apple has never released a less than stellar model, but Macs have generally held on better/longer than PCs, it's never been that uncommon to see them last at least 6-7 years, and at that point it's less an upgrade because the old computer stopped working than because the new ones are now "enough" better.

Comment: Re:Schedule D?! (Score 1) 450

True, but only if the capitals gains and/or dividends for the mutual fund in that particular year exceed a certain threshold (or, as the reply above mentioned, you have certain classes of investments which trigger automatic reporting). Off the top of my head I don't recall what threshold is, but it's been quite a few years since I had to fill out Schedule D, which wasn't really all that complicated.

+ - Google sees biggest search traffic drop since 2009 as Yahoo gains ground->

Submitted by helix2301
helix2301 (1105613) writes "Google's grip on the Internet search market loosened in December, as the search engine saw its largest drop since 2009. That loss was Yahoo's gain, as the Marissa Mayer-helmed company added almost 2% from November to December to bring its market share back into double digits. Google's lead remains overwhelming, with just more than three-quarters of search, according to SatCounter Global Stats. Microsoft's Bing gained some momentum to take 12.5% of the market. Yahoo now has 10.4%. All other search engines combined to take 1.9%."
Link to Original Source

+ - Scientists Develop New Class of Antibiotics - from Dirt

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Drug resistant strains of many diseases are emerging faster than new antibiotics can be made to fight them with drug-resistant bacteria infecting at least two million people a year in the United States and killing 23,000. Now Denise Grady reports at the NYT that scientists have developed a new method, which extracts drugs from bacteria that live in dirt, that has yielded a powerful new antibiotic, teixobactin, that was tested in mice and easily cured severe infections, with no side effects. Better still, the drug works in a way that makes it very unlikely that bacteria will become resistant to it. And the method developed to produce the drug has the potential to unlock a trove of natural compounds to fight infections and cancer — molecules that were previously beyond scientists’ reach because the microbes that produce them could not be grown in the laboratory.

The new research is based on the premise that everything on earth — plants, soil, people, animals — is teeming with microbes that compete fiercely to survive. Trying to keep one another in check, the microbes secrete biological weapons: antibiotics. “The way bacteria multiply, if there weren’t natural mechanisms to limit their growth, they would have covered the planet and eaten us all eons ago,” says Dr. William Schaffner. The problem is that about 99 percent of the microbial species in the environment are bacteria that do not grow under usual laboratory conditions (PDF). But the researchers have found a way to grow them using a process that involves diluting a soil sample and placing it on specialized equipment. Then, the secret to success is putting the equipment into a box full of the same soil that the sample came from. “Essentially, we’re tricking the bacteria,” says Dr. Kim Lewis. Back in their native dirt, they divide and grow into colonies. Once the colonies form, the bacteria are “domesticated,” and researchers can scoop them up and start growing them in petri dishes in the laboratory.

Experts not involved with the research say the technique for isolating the drug had great potential. They also say teixobactin looked promising, but expressed caution because it has not yet been tested in humans. “What most excites me is the tantalizing prospect that this discovery is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Mark Woolhouse. “It may be that we will find more, perhaps many more, antibiotics using these latest techniques.”"

+ - Ansel Adams Act Would Allow Photographs in Public Spaces-> 1

Submitted by davidannis
davidannis (939047) writes "Photographers have been harassed for taking pictures in public places since 9/11. One was arrested for participating in an Amtrak contest. The park service is charging fees. Representative Steve Stockman (R, Texas) addresses the problem with the Ansel Adams Act which he introduced today. It says "It is contrary to the public policy of the United States to prohibit or restrict photography in public spaces, whether for private, news media, or commercial use." The act prohibits government agencies from prohibiting photography for National Security Reasons without a court order, from charging photographers fees, and prohibits equipment from being confiscated.

Federal law enforcement officers or private contractors shall not seize any photographic equipment or their contents or memory cards or film, and shall not order a photographer to erase the contents of a camera or memory card or film.

"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Cyptowall is very sophisticated (Score 2) 181

by nmr_andrew (#48757725) Attached to: Inside Cryptowall 2.0 Ransomware

Exactly. I've been doing the same for more than the last decade, except using a second workstation as the backup device (as opposed to NAS).

If the backup machine is on the same LAN, I export the drive (or directories) to be backed up read-only, mount them on the backup read-only, and copy using rsync

If the machine is in a different location, I share a key pair and pull what I want backed up using rsync (over ssh) from the backup machine

This is fairly bulletproof, and in no way can anything running on the original host modify the backup, aside from possibly replacing a changed file.

+ - Unbundling cable TV: be careful what you wish for

Submitted by schnell
schnell (163007) writes "Consumers have long complained about the practice of "bundling" cable services and forcing customers to pay for channels they don't want — and an increasing number of "cord cutters" are voting with their wallets. But an article in the New York Times suggests that if cable companies are finally forced to unbundle their services it may actually result in higher prices and worse service. From the article: "there’s another, more subjective dimension in which the rise of unbundled cable service may make us worse off. It’s possible for a market to become more economically efficient while becoming less pleasant for consumers. For a prime example, head to your nearest airport.""

Comment: Re:Irony. (Score 1) 250

by nmr_andrew (#48697783) Attached to: How Amazon's Ebook Subscriptions Are Changing the Writing Industry
Many authors would probably be more than happy to receive anywhere near $3.99 per reader. While the per book numbers may be a bit better earlier on during hardcover sales, I really doubt an author gets half of the cost of a $7.99 paperback after taking into account editing, printing, marketing, distribution, retailer markup, etc. Perhaps there are a very small number of authors who can negotiate that sort of deal, but most can't.

Comment: Re:close (Score 1) 73

by nmr_andrew (#48661403) Attached to: Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity
AFAIK, most (perhaps all?, I can't think of an exception) states are still 0.08%, although more and more have reduced limits for new/underage drivers. There are some groups pushing to lower this to 0.05% or even lower, though. Which IMO becomes a problem. I don't condone drunk driving, but lets not lower the limit to the point where a single beer or glass of wine with a meal will put you over.

Comment: Re:Private? (Score 1) 67

by nmr_andrew (#48574805) Attached to: BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

Peered file sharing will work fine for the parts that are common to everyone, like background images, javascript libraries, CSS, etc. Actual user specific data and operations, like bank account balances, I can't really picture going through hosts other than the customer and the bank, but that's probably a miniscule fraction of the data transferred.

That sounds sort of like I'd expect something of this sort to work, but there has to be more to it. All of those things mentioned as "common to everyone", with the possibility of some larger JS libraries or Java applets, are already fairly small (or at least can be, anyone using a 4+ MB image for their background should be summarily executed). I'd expect the overhead of noting the request, sending the torrent data, then having the local browser connect to multiple peers would actually INCREASE the total amount of bandwidth consumed.

Now, something like this makes some sense if links to download large images, videos, game updates, or whatnot point to a torrent instead of a large, locally hosted file, but in that case, I don't see how a "torrent-based browser" is any better than a stock browser with a built-in BT client.

+ - Fedora 21 Released-> 2

Submitted by linuxscreenshot
linuxscreenshot (3888545) writes "The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the release of Fedora 21, ready to run on your desktops, servers and in the cloud. Fedora 21 is a game-changer for the Fedora Project, and we think you're going to be very pleased with the results. As part of the Fedora.next initiative, Fedora 21 comes in three flavors: Cloud, Server, and Workstation. The Fedora Workstation is a new take on desktop development from the Fedora community. Our goal is to pick the best components, and integrate and polish them. This work results in a more polished and targeted system than you've previously seen from the Fedora desktop.

Here are screenshots for Fedora 21 GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE"

Link to Original Source

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