Layzej writes: Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recently confessed at an 8000 member strong meeting that she is scared to death "we are sliding back into a dark era." She stated that she is "profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms." Her remarks are backed by a recently published Union of Concerned Scientists report, that chronicles the methods used by corporate businesses to harass individual scientists, ghost-write scientific articles to raise doubts about government research, and undermine the use of science to form government policy. Discover Magazine gives specific examples such as the Heartland Institute's recently revealed plan to subvert public science education, as well as the offer by the the American Enterprise Institute of $10,000 a pop to each scientists or economists who was willing to write op-eds or essays critiquing the IPCC climate report — before it was even published. The AAAS meeting was "set against a background of an entire intellectual discipline that realises that it, and its practitioners, are now under sustained attack."
MarcAuslander writes: I just got an email from paypal. Yes, it's really from paypal. And it tells me to click on an embedded link and log in! The link is legitimate. What are they trying to teach me?
"PayPal recently posted a new Policy Update. You can view this Policy Update by logging in to your PayPal account. To log in to your account, go to https://www.paypal.com/ and enter your member log in information. Once you are logged in, look at the Notifications section on the top right side of the page for the latest Policy Updates."
ananyo writes: A cut-and-paste job by a PhD student has embroiled co-author C. N. R. Rao — science adviser to India’s Prime Minister — in controversy.
The paper, by Rao and materials scientist Saluru Baba Krupanidhi at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, along with two of their students — Basant Chitara and L. S. Panchakarla — explored the use of reduced graphene oxide and graphene nanoribbons as infrared photo detectors and was published online by Advanced Materials in July last year (abstract http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201101414). But three sentences in the introduction and a description of an equation had been copied verbatim from a paper published in Applied Physics Letters in April 2010 (abstract http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3415499), with the source referenced. The controversy has led to a degree of introspection in India where some postgraduate students don't regard cutting and pasting a sentence here or there into a paper as scientific plagiarism.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AP reports that global competition is squeezing lemons out of the market and forcing automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles so with few exceptions, cars are so close on reliability that it's getting harder for companies to charge a premium. "We don't have total clunkers like we used to," says Dave Sargent, automotive vice president with J.D. Power. In 1998, J.D. Power and Associates found an industry average of 278 problems per 100 vehicles but this year, the number fell to 132. In 1998, the most reliable car had 92 problems per 100 vehicles, while the least reliable had 517, a gap of 425 but this year the gap closed to 284 problems. It wasn't always like this. In the 1990s, Honda and Toyota dominated in quality, especially in the key American market for small and midsize cars. Around 2006, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler were heading into financial trouble and shifted research dollars from trucks to cars after years of neglect and spent more on engineering and parts to close the gap. Meanwhile Toyota's reputation was tarnished by a series of safety recalls, and Honda played conservative with new models that looked similar to the old ones. Now it's "very hard to find products that aren't good anymore," says Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of the Edmunds.com automotive website. "In safety, performance and quality, the differences just don't have material impact.""
The Bad Astronomer writes: "The White House released its proposed NASA budget for FY13, and while much of it remains the same from last year, one particular program got devastating news: Mars exploration got a crippling $226 million cut, more than 38% of its budget. This means killing two future missions outright and threatening others. The reasons for this are complex, including huge cost overruns on James Webb Space Telescope and the Curiosity Mars rover, but it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America."
techgeek0279 writes: "Cloud computing is one of the hot new trends in the world of tech. Touted as a better way to backup and access data, the cloud is the centerpiece of media services like Spotify. However, the recent FBI raid on Megaupload shows the limitations of cloud computing as those who relied heavily upon the felled data storage site are finding out."
fostytou writes: The NFL issued a DMCA takedown of a Chrysler ad from last night's superbowl. This caused an incredible amount of lost viewership as well as losing ranking on most-viewed lists which can often offer millions of future advertising at no cost to the advertiser. The potential cost to Chrysler is significant.
The obvious parallel to SOPA / ACTA is exactly why these types of bills must be considered very carefully.
Orome1 writes: "Contrary to conventional thinking that large bandwidth cyber attacks wreak the most damage on enterprises, security experts at Radware instead found that bigger problems usually come in small packages. The findings of the company's report bust several myths about the way the industry views the impact of DDoS attacks. In particular, it challenges the belief that while a cyber attack may feel catastrophic at the time, most organization may never experience an intense attack. A smaller, less intensive attack (76 percent of the attacks surveyed were under 1 Gbps, 32 percent less than 10Mbps) can cause more damage than DDoS attacks that gobble ten times the amount of bandwidth."
Barence writes: "Apple has recklessly convinced Mac owners that they don't need to worry about security, according to PC Pro's Davey Winder. Encouraged by Apple's advertising, only a fifth of Mac owners believe their computers are vulnerable to attack, even though security experts believe OS X is less secure than Windows 7, and that modern malware targets the user rather than the OS. As Trend Micro's director of security research, Rik Ferguson, points out "the fact that that user base is largely unprepared and the computers themselves largely unprotected only increases the attractiveness"."
silentbrad writes: The Recording Industry Association of America found itself in an unusual position this week: opposing an anti-piracy bill that's gaining momentum in Congress... the RIAA argues the bill won't be effective at shutting down rogue sites. The trade group warns of "indefinite delays" as claims of infringement are investigated. And it complains that the process envisioned by OPEN would allow for "endless submissions by parties such as Google," further gumming up the process. All the while, the alleged rogue site would be able to continue operating. The RIAA also warns that the need to hire an attorney to navigate the ITC's arcane legal process will "put justice out of reach for small business American victims of IP theft." The trade group complains that sites aren't held responsible for the infringing activities of their users, a rule the trade group says "excuses willful blindness and outright complicity in illegal activity." RIAA also says it's "virtually impossible" to prove that a site infringed willfully, as OPEN requires.