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Government

Debt Reduction Super Committee Fails To Agree 954

Posted by timothy
from the spend-all-you-want-they'll-print-more dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "VOA reports that the latest effort to cut the U.S. government's debt apparently has ended in failure as leaders of the special 12-member debt reduction committee plan to announce that they failed in their mandate from lawmakers to trim the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the collapse of the effort. 'Our Democratic friends were never able to do the entitlement reforms,' said Republican Senator Jon Kyl. 'They weren't going to do anything without raising taxes.' Democratic Senator Patty Murray, one of the committee's co-chairs, says that the Republicans' position on taxes was the sticking point. 'The wealthiest Americans who earn over a million a year have to share too. And that line in the sand, we haven't seen Republicans willing to cross yet,' Now in the absence of an agreement, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs are set to take effect starting in January, 2013, and the lack of a deal will deprive President Barack Obama of a vehicle for extending a payroll tax cut and insurance benefits for unemployed Americans, which expire at the end of the year." (Though the official deadline for the committee's hoped-for plan is tomorrow — the 23d — they were to have provided it for review 48 hours prior.)
Christmas Cheer

Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts? 377

Posted by timothy
from the lump-of-coal-doesn't-fit dept.
First time accepted submitter Jeng writes "I'm planning on sending flash drives to friends and family as stocking stuffers. Rather than just send a blank drive, I'm looking for what good useful free software that I can load on it — from system utilities and encryption software to fun little games." We've asked similar questions before, but software keeps getting better, and so do the prices on flash drives. So what would you give as a gift this holiday season?
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: When and How To Deal With GPL Violations? 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-or-i'll-say-stop-again dept.
jd writes "There are many pieces of software out there, such as seL4 (kindly brought to my attention by another reader), where the vendor has indeed engineered something that they're entitled to Close Source, but where their closed-source license includes the modifications to GPLed software such as the Linux kernel. Then there's a second type of behavior. Code Sourcery produced two versions of their VSIPL++ image processing library — one closed-source, one GPLed. It was extremely decent of them. When Mentor Graphics bought Code Sourcery, they continued developing the closed-course one and discontinued, then deleted, the GPL variant. It's unclear to me if that's kosher, as the closed variant must contain code that had been GPLed at one point. Here's the problem: complaining too much will mean we get code now that maybe four or five people, tops, will actually care about. It will also make corporations leery of any other such work in future, where that work will be of greater value to a greater number of people. So, the question I want to ask is this: When is it a good time to complain? By what rule-of-thumb might you decide that one violation is worth cracking down on, and another should be let go to help encourage work we're never going to do ourselves?"
Idle

Dutch Psychologist Faked Data In At Least 30 Scientific Papers 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-it-first-you-don't-succeed-make-it-up dept.
Attila Dimedici writes "A professor at Tilburg University has been caught using fake data in over 30 scientific papers. Diederik Stapel's latest paper claimed that eating meat made people anti-social and selfish. Other academics were skeptical of his findings and raised doubts about his research. Upon investigation it was discovered that he had invented the data he used in many of his papers and there is a question as to whether or not he used faked data in all of his published work."
Businesses

How Can I Justify Using Red Hat When CentOS Exists? 666

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-litte-help-please dept.
Bocaj writes "I recently spec'd out a large project for our company that included software from Red Hat. It came back from the CIO with everything approved except I have to use CentOS. Why? Because 'it's free Red Hat.' Personally I really like the CentOS project because it puts enterprise class software in the hands of people who might not otherwise afford it. We are not those people. We have money. In fact, I questioned the decision by asking why the CIO was willing to spend money on another very similar project and not this one. The answer was 'because there is no free alternative.' I know this has come up before and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but this is still a very persistent issue. Our CIO is convinced that technical support for any product is worthless. He's willing to spend money on 'one-time' software purchases, but nothing that is an annual subscription. There is data to support that the Red Hat subscription is cheaper that many other up-front paid software products but not CentOS. The only thing it lacks is support, which the CIO doesn't want. Help?"
Transportation

Tesla Model S: 0-60 In 4.5 Seconds 426

Posted by timothy
from the mind-the-headwinds dept.
thecarchik writes "We already know a lot about the all-electric 2012 Tesla Model S sedan — but at a press event ahead of tonight's exclusive VIP event at the former Toyota NUMMI facility in Fremont, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla was making a faster Model S for those with a sporty side. Cutting the brisk 0-60 time of the standard Model S from 5.6 second to under 4.5 seconds, the sportier version features the same 85 kilowatt-hour, 300 miles-per-charge battery pack found in the 2012 Model S Signature series. 'That's quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera],' joked Musk. 'Not bad for an electric luxury sedan.' But if you thought 300 miles was the maximum range a Tesla Model S could do, you'd be wrong."
The Almighty Buck

Feds Call Full-Tilt Poker a 'Global Ponzi Scheme' 436

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may dept.
blair1q writes "Popular (and heavily advertised) poker website Full-Tilt Poker was sued today by the U.S. government, following an investigation that revealed it to be a massive Ponzi Scheme. The principals in the company set up a complicated system to direct funds from subscribers' poker accounts into their own bank accounts. This was in contravention of their own claim that users' money was untouched. Players' accounts amounted to $390 million, but the company only has $60 million in the bank, having over time distributed $440 million to its own directors and executives."
Biotech

Gene Therapy May Thwart HIV 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the genes-need-to-talk-about-their-feelings-too dept.
sciencehabit writes "Over the past few years, a man living in Berlin, Timothy Brown, has become world famous as the first — and thus far only — person to apparently have been cured of his HIV infection. Brown's HIV disappeared after he developed leukemia and doctors gave him repeated blood transfusions from a donor who harbored a mutated version of a receptor the virus uses to enter cells. Now, researchers report promising results from two small gene-therapy studies that mimic this strategy, hinting that the field may be moving closer to a cure that works for the masses."
Earth

Atlas Takes Heat For Melting Glacier Claim 429

Posted by Soulskill
from the cooler-heads-will-prevail dept.
dtjohnson writes "The 'Times Atlas of the World' claims, while publicizing its newest edition, that global warming has turned 15 percent of Greenland's former ice-covered land 'green and ice-free.' Now, however, scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute say those figures, based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, are wrong. 'Recent satellite images of Greenland make it clear that there are in fact still numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands,' they say in a letter that has been sent to the Times. Others have pointed out that if 15 percent of Greenland ice cover had been lost, then sea levels would have risen by 1 meter... which has not happened. Perhaps yet another climate controversy is brewing." An update to the Sciencemag.com story pinpoints the probable source of the error: a 2001 map from the NSIDC illustrates Greenland's central ice sheet without showing any of the peripheral glaciers. The Atlas editors may have seen this map and misinterpreted it. Says the article, "Now glaciologists are left trying to figure out how not understate the importance of the extent glacial ice melt, while at the same time correcting the error."
Education

Google Pulls Plug On Programming For the Masses 236

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hacking-is-cancelled dept.
theodp writes "Google has decided to pull the plug on Android App Inventor, which was once touted as a game-changer for introductory computer science. In an odd post, Google encourages folks to 'Get Started!' with the very product it's announcing will be discontinued as a Google product. The move leaves CS Prof David Wolber baffled. ' In the case of App Inventor,' writes Wolber, 'the decision affects more than just your typical early adopter techie. It hurts kids and schools, and outfits like Iridescent, who use App Inventor in their Technovation after-school programs for high school girls, and Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab, which teaches app building to kids in Oakland California. You've hurt professors and K-12 educators who have developed new courses and curricula with App Inventor at the core. You've hurt universities who have redesigned their programs.' Wolber adds: 'Even looking at it from Google's perspective, I find the decision puzzling. App Inventor was a public relations dream. Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups — this is good press for a company continually in the news for anti-trust and other far less appealing issues. And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not, App Inventor was a small team of just 5+ employees! The Math doesn't make sense.'"
Mars

NASA Announces Discovery of Salty Water On Mars ... Maybe 204

Posted by timothy
from the why-don't-they-just-taste-it? dept.
Today's promised mystery announcement from NASA has finally been made: dotancohen writes "A NASA orbiter has found possible evidence for water on the surface of Mars that flows seasonally. The water likely would be salty, in keeping with the salty Martian environment." Adds an anonymous reader: "Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring, NASA says, and repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere." You can find more on the claimed find at NASA TV.
Earth

Followup: Anti-Global Warming Story Itself Flawed 536

Posted by Soulskill
from the science-plus-politics-equals-news dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "As posted earlier on Slashdot, a Forbes Op/Ed claims there is a 'gaping hole in global warming' theories, based on a recent paper. However, both the Forbes article and the paper on which it's based are themselves seriously flawed. The paper has been excoriated by climate scientists, saying the model used is 'unrealistic' and 'incorrect,' and the author has a track record of using bad models to make incorrect conclusions."
NASA

New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models 954

Posted by timothy
from the but-scientists-love-models dept.
bonch writes "Satellite data from NASA covering 2000 through 2011 cast doubt on current computer models predicting global warming, according to a new study. The data shows that much less heat is retained by carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere than is assumed in current models. 'There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans,' said Dr. Roy Spencer, a co-author of the study and research scientist at the University of Alabama." Note: the press release about the study is somewhat less over the top.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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