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+ - Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest? 1

Submitted by onproton
onproton (3434437) writes "The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn’t the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated bend closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to “public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done.” Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity."

+ - Facebook Wants You to Vote Tuesday

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Six years in the making, Facebook's get-out-the-vote tool — a high-profile button that proclaims "I'm Voting" or "I'm a Voter" — will on Tuesday give many of the social network's more than 150 million American users a gentle but effective nudge to vote. "If past research is any guide," writes Micah L. Sifry in Mother Jones, "up to a few million more people will head to the polls partly because their Facebook friends encouraged them. Yet the process by which Facebook has developed this tool — what the firm calls the 'voter megaphone' — has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook's ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company's actions can affect the voting behavior of its users." Sifry adds, "There may be another reason for Facebook's lack of transparency regarding its voting promotion experiments: politics. Facebook officials likely do not want Republicans on Capitol Hill to realize that their voter megaphone isn't a neutral get-out-the-vote mechanism. It's not that Facebook uses this tool to remind only users who identify themselves as Democrats to vote — though the company certainly has the technical means to do so. But the Facebook user base tilts Democratic." So, it's probably worth mentioning again that Facebook caught flack last summer for deliberately experimenting on users' emotions without their consent. And just last June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC put out a call for "pissed off Data Scientists" to data mine critical legislative districts and "growth hack" ways to motivate "registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform.""

+ - It's Time to Revive Hypercard

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "HyperCard, an application program and programming tool released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987, represented the ‘computing for the people’ philosophy that enabled users to go past the pre-built software that came on their machines, and to program and build software of their own. "Mac users could use Hypercard to build their own mini-programs to balance their taxes, manage sports statistics, make music – all kinds of individualized software that would be useful (or fun) for individual users." Now Jer Thorp writes that the end of HyperCard left a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled – a space for an easy to use, intuitive tool that will once again let average computer users make their own tools. According to Throp, this type of plain-language programming makes sense, particularly in an application that was designed specifically for non-programmers. "I find the largest concern for learners to be not with the conceptual hurdles involved in writing a program, but with obscure and confusing syntax requirements. I would love to be able to teach HyperTalk to my students, as a smooth on-road to more complex languages like JavaScript, Java or C++." By putting the tools of creation into the hands of the broader userbase, we would allow for the creation of ultra-specific personalized apps that, aside from a few exceptions, don’t exist today."

HyperTalk wasn’t just easy, it was also fairly powerful. Complex object structures could be built to handle complicated tasks, and the base language could be expanded by a variety of available external commands and functions (XCMDs and XFCNs, respectively), which were precursors to the modern plug-in. But ultimately, HyperCard would disappear from Mac computers by the mid-nineties, eclipsed by web browsers and other applications which it had itself inspired. The last copy of HyperCard was sold by Apple in 2004. "One thing that's changed in the intervening decades is that the hobbyist has largely gone by the wayside. Now you're either a user or a full-fledged developer, and the gulf is wider than ever," writes Peter Cohen. "There's really nothing like it today, and I think the Mac is lesser for it.""

+ - Google's Doubleclick ad servers exposed millions of computers to malware->

Submitted by wabrandsma
wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from The Verge:
Last night, researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google's DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying "our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Amazon Purchases .buy Domain for $4.6 Million

Submitted by onproton
onproton (3434437) writes "Amazon outbid Google at the ICANN auction this week for the top-level domain .buy, to which it now has exclusive rights, paying around 4.6 million for the privilege. Google was also reportedly outbid for the .tech domain, which went for around $6.7 million. No word yet on Amazon's plans for the new domain suffix, but it's probably safe to say amazonsucks.buy will be added to Amazon's collection of reserved anti-Amazon URLs."

Comment: Re:No, they don't cause weight gain (Score 1) 294

by onproton (#47939665) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance
There have been numerous studies linking artificial sweeteners to both obesity and altered metabolic states, however some of the studies in question may be self-fulfilling prophesies. For example, of course individuals that consume "diet," or no-calorie products are more likely to be overweight, that is likely why they consume them. That being said, there is still significant evidence that these products can indeed cause weight gain, though there is not enough to conclude much more than, "it's worth looking into."

Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 1) 294

by onproton (#47939427) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Comment: Re:What about Pro-Biotics, though? (Score 2) 294

by onproton (#47939327) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

+ - Apple claims iOS 8 is beyond its ability to extract data from under a warrant->

Submitted by saloomy
saloomy (2817221) writes "Apple wants to make clear that it wants nobody snooping around in your private information, not even the police.

The company on Wednesday night said that its latest software system, iOS 8, included deep protection of the information stored on Apple mobile devices. So deep, in fact, that the company says it has become technically impossible for it to respond to government warrants asking for customer information like photos, email, messages, contacts, call history and notes, to be extracted from devices."

Link to Original Source

+ - Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Submitted by onproton
onproton (3434437) writes "The journal Nature released a study today that reveals a link between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and the development of glucose intolerance, a leading risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, citing a critical alteration of intestinal bacteria. Paradoxically, these non-caloric sweeteners, which can be up to 20,000 times sweeter than natural sugars, are often recommended to diabetes patients to control blood glucose levels. Sugar substitutes have come under additional fire lately from studies showing that eating artificially sweetened foods can lead to greater overall calorie consumption and even weight gain. While some, especially food industry officials, remain highly skeptical of such studies, more research still needs to be done to determine the actual risks these substances may pose to health."

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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