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+ - Los Angeles Police Officers Suspected of Tampering with Their Monitoring System 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "An internal audit conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in March revealed that 'dozens of the [voice] transmitters worn by officers in Southeast Division were missing or damaged.' In the summer of 2013, this same division was found to have mysteriously lost 45% of the antennae placed on their cars to pick up the signals sent by their voice transmitters. The Southeast Division of the LAPD covers an area that has 'historically been marred by mistrust and claims of officer abuse.' For decades, the LAPD had been closely monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice, but a federal judge in 2013 decided to end that practice after being assured by the LAPD and city officials that the LAPD sufficiently monitors itself via dash-cams and voice transmitters. A formal investigation is currently being conducted to determine whether or not police officers intentionally subverted mandatory efforts to monitor and record their patrols."

+ - It's Time to Plug the Loopholes in Pipeline Regulation

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Congresswoman Janice Hahn writes in the Daily Breeze that thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled onto a residential street in Wilmington, California when an idle pipeline burst in a residential neighborhood, wreaking havoc on the lives of families who live in the community. "With a noxious smell and the sounds of jackhammers engulfing the community, the residential neighborhood turned into a toxic waste site in less than an hour," says Hahn. "The smell was nauseating and unbearable. Extensive drilling on the street is causing damage to driveways and even cracking tile flooring inside homes. Residents have seen their lawns die within a two-week span and they worry that the soil may be toxic. Several residents have suffered from eye irritation, nausea, headaches and dizziness due to the foul oil odor, including an elderly woman who has lived in Wilmington for more than 20 years." The 10-inch pipeline is owned by Phillips 66, who initially said it was almost positive that the company was not to blame for the leak and declined to elaborate on why the unused 10-inch pipeline was filled with crude oil. Hahn says current loopholes in pipeline regulation are inexcusable and has called for a congressional hearing to examine regulations for pipeline safety and plans to introduce legislation that will specifically require that all abandoned or idle pipelines are routinely inspected. "The Wilmington community deserves answers and support from Phillips 66 and handing out gift cards and breakfast burritos to the residents is not in any way a substitute for transparency and accountability to the community," concludes Hahn. "This oil spill could have been prevented. With prudent oversight, we can make sure that the industries our communities rely on are also good neighbors and ensure that an incident like this never happens again.""

+ - It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience into the Science Classroom

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "“Roughly one in three American adults believes in telepathy, ghosts, and extrasensory perception,” wrote a trio of scientists in a 2012 issue of the Astronomy Education Review. “Roughly one in five believes in witches, astrology, clairvoyance, and communication with the dead (PDF). Three quarters hold at least one of these beliefs, and a third has four distinct pseudoscientific beliefs.” Now Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in Forbes Magazine that it’s time to bring pseudoscience into public schools and universities. “By incorporating examples of pseudoscience into lectures, instructors can provide students with the tools needed to understand the difference between scientific and pseudoscientific or paranormal claims,” say Rodney Schmaltz and Scott Lilienfeld.

According to Schmaltz and Lilienfeld, there are 7 clear signs that show something to be pseudoscientific: 1. The use of psychobabble – words that sound scientific and professional but are used incorrectly, or in a misleading manner. 2. A substantial reliance on anecdotal evidence. 3. Extraordinary claims in the absence of extraordinary evidence. 4. Claims which cannot be proven false. 5. Claims that counter established scientific fact. 6. Absence of adequate peer review. 7. Claims that are repeated despite being refuted. Schmaltz and Lilienfeld recommend incorporating examples of pseudoscience into lectures and contrasting them with legitimate, groundbreaking scientific findings. For example, professors can expound upon psychics and the tricks they use to fool people or use resources such as the Penn & Teller program "Bullshit".

But teachers need to be careful or their worthy efforts to instill critical thinking could backfire. Prior research has shown that repeating myths on public fliers, even with the intention of dispelling them, can actually perpetuate misinformation. “The goal of using pseudoscientific examples is to create skeptical, not cynical, thinkers. As skeptical thinkers, students should be urged to remain open-minded,” say Schmaltz and Lilienfeld. "By directly addressing and then refuting non-scientific claims, science educators can dispel pseudoscience (PDF) and promote scientific skepticism, while avoiding the unhealthy extremes of either uncritical acceptance or cynicism.""

+ - Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Patent Troll 1

Submitted by tor528
tor528 (896250) writes "Patent troll Personal Audio has sued top podcasters including Adam Carolla and HowStuffWorks, claiming that they own the patent for delivery of episodic content over the Internet. Adam Carolla is fighting back and has started a Fund Anything campaign to cover legal fees. From the Fund Anything campaign page: "If Adam Carolla loses this battle, then every other Podcast will be quickly shut down. Why? Because Patent Trolls like Personal Audio would use a victory over Carolla as leverage to extort money from every other Podcast.. As you probably know, Podcasts are inherently small, owner-operated businesses that do not have the financial resources to fight off this type of an assault. Therefore, Podcasts as we know them today would cease to exist."

James Logan of Personal Audio answered Slashdotters' questions in June 2013.
Links to the patent in question can be found on Personal Audio's website.
The EFF filed a challenge against Personal Audio's podcasting patent in October 2013."

+ - Russian Army Spetsnaz Special Forces Teams Arrested Operating In Ukraine-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Examiner reports, "The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed March 16 the arrest of a group of Russians in the Zaporizhzhia (Zaporozhye) region of Ukraine. The men were armed with firearms, explosives and unspecified 'special technical means'. This follows the March 14 arrest ... of several Russians dressed black uniforms with no insignia, armed with AKS-74 assault rifles and in possession of numerous ID cards under various names. One of which was an ID card of Military Intelligence Directorate of the Russian armed forces; commonly known as 'Spetsnaz'. ... Spetsnaz commandos operating in eastern Ukraine would have the missions encompassing general ground reconnaissance of Ukrainian army units ... missions they may perform preparatory to a Russian invasion would be planting explosives at key communications choke points to hinder movement of Ukrainian forces; seizing control of roads, rail heads, bridges and ports for use by arriving Russian combat troops; and possibly capturing or assassinating Ukrainian generals or politicians in key positions ... Spetsnaz also infiltrate themselves into local populations ... Once in place they begin ‘stirring the pot’ of ethnic and political strife with the goal of creating violent clashes usually involving firearms and destabilizing local authority." — More at Forbes, The Daily Beast and The New Republic."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Ukraine-Russia Cyberwar Has Already Begun ->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Ground troops may be flexing their muscles in Crimea while they await marching orders, but cyber and information attacks between Russia and Ukraine are already underway.

Friday, a group of unidentified men took control of a series of communication centers in Crimea. Maintained by Ukrtelecom JSC, Ukraine's telecom provider, the facilities are essential to linking Crimea with the rest of Ukraine. With the hubs knocked out, landline, mobile, and internet services were severed, with almost no coverage available. It is unclear exactly who was responsible for these attacks, but considering their sophisticated and clandestine nature, it is reasonable to assume they were carried out by professionals.

On the other side of the border, RT—the news channel formerly known as Russia Today and funded by the state—had its website hacked on Sunday morning, with the word 'Nazi' not so stealthily slipped into headlines. Highlights included “Russian senators vote to use stabilizing Nazi forces on Ukrainian territory,” and “Putin: Nazi citizens, troops threatened in Ukraine, need armed forces' protection.” RT was quick to notice the hack, and the wordplay only lasted about 20 minutes."

Link to Original Source

+ - Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology is a Science 2

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Americans have always had a strange fascination with astrology. First Lady Nancy Reagan famously employed the services of an astrologer after the assassination attempt on her husband. Now UPI reports that according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific." Younger respondents, in particular, were the least likely to regard astrology as unscientific, with 58% of the youngest group (18 — 24) saying that astrology is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific" (PDF). What's most alarming is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk. Among respondents in the 25 — 44 age group 49% of respondents in the 2012 survey said astrology is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific," up from 36% in 2010. So what's behind this data? The lead author of the report chapter in question, public opinion specialist John Besley of Michigan State University, cautions that we should probably wait for further data "to see if it's a real change" before speculating. But, he admits, the apparent increase in astrology belief "popped out to me when I saw it.""

+ - 25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul to the Walmart Store

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Among the billionaires who helped Bill Gates pave the way for charter schools in WA was Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The Walton Family Foundation spent a whopping $158+ million in 2012 on what it calls "systemic K-12 education reform," which included $60,920,186 to "shape public policy" and $652,209 on "research and evaluation." Confirming the LA Times' speculation about its influence, the Walton Foundation issued a press release Wednesday boasting it's the largest private funder of charter school "startups", adding that it has supported the opening of 1 in 4 charter schools in the U.S. since 1997 through its 1,500 "investments." But as some charter school kids have learned the hard way, what the rich man giveth, he can also taketh away. For the time being, though, it looks like America's going to continue to depend on the tax-free kindness of wealthy strangers to educate its kids. For example, while it was nice to see the value of Shop Class recognized, the White House on Monday called on businesses, foundations and philanthropists to fund proposed "Maker Spaces" in schools and libraries. Hey, when the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program for kids of low-income families in the President's hometown, don't look for things to change anytime soon."

+ - CmdrTaco: Anti-Beta Movement a "Vocal Minority"-> 30

Submitted by Antipater
Antipater (2053064) writes "The furor over Slashdot Beta is loud enough that even outside media has begun to notice. The Washington Post's tech blog The Switch has written a piece on the issue, and the anti-Beta protesters aren't going to be happy about it. The Post questioned Slashdot founder Rob Malda, who believes the protests are the work of only a vocal minority or readers: "It's easy to forget that the vocal population of a community driven site like Slashdot might be the most important group, but they are typically also the smallest class of users." The current caretakers of Slashdot need to balance the needs of all users with their limited engineering resources, Malda argues — noting wryly, "It ain't easy.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Slashdot Beta: Because They Hate You 3

Submitted by boolithium
boolithium (1030728) writes "People on here are missing the point of the Beta roll out. The elimination of the existing user base is not a side effect, it is a feature. Slashdot as a brand has value, but as a site has limited commercial appeal. The users are the kids at the lunch table, where not even the foreign exchange students want to sit. Nobody ever got laid from installing NetBSD.

Once they are finished with their nerd cleansing, they can build a new Slashdot. A sexier Slashdot. A Slashdot the kids can dance to.

They aren't ignoring you. They are exterminating you."

Neutrinos are into physicists.

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