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+ - Documentary on Erds-Bacon closes in on its Kickstarter goal->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The intersection between pop culture and nerd culture can be narrowed down to one number: The number of steps between any given person and both prolific actor Kevin Bacon and prolific science paper author Paul Erds. Now the steps for a documentary to find (or create) the lowest Erds-Bacon is about to be one shorter as the film Erds-Bacon closes in on its Kickstarter goals, with just over 24 hours left to go."
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+ - Two years of data on what military equipment the Pentagon gave to local police->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear."
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+ - San Jose police apologize for hiding drone program, halt until further review->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "As part of MuckRock's Drone Census, the San Jose twice denied having a drone in public records requests — until the same investigation turned up not only a signed bid for a drone but also a federal grant giving them money for it. Now, almost a full year after first denying they had a drone, the department has come clean and apologized for hiding the program, promising more transparency and to pursue federal approval for the program, which the police department had, internally, claimed immunity from previously."
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+ - FBI studied how much drones impact your privacy, & then marked it secret

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "When federal agencies adopt new technology, they're required by law to do Privacy Impact Assessments, which is exactly what the FBI did regarding its secretive drone program. The PIAs are created to help the public and federal government assess what they're risking through the adoption of new technology. That part is a little trickier, since the FBI is refusing to release any of the PIA on its drone project, stating it needs to be kept, er, private to protect national security."

+ - Comcast executives appear to share cozy relationships with regulators->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "A month before Comcast's announcement of a $45B takeover of rival Time-Warner, Comcast's top lobbyist invited the US government's top antitrust regulators to share the company's VIP box at the Sochi Olympics. A Freedom of Information Act request from Muckrock reveals that the regulators reluctantly declined, saying "it sounds like so much fun" but the pesky "rules folks" would frown on it, instead suggesting a more private dinner later."
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+ - Red sneakers and hoodies: The surprising upside of standing out->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The casual outfit that Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg sported in front of elegantly dressed bankers and investors just before his company went public generated much clamor in the media. While some observers judged the young entrepreneur’s choice to wear his typical hoodie and jeans on such an official occasion as a mark of immaturity, others defended it as a sign of boldness that helped spread publicity about the deal. The research seems to be on Zuck's side: Dressing down might help you get ahead in many environments."
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+ - Citing "Terrorism," Illinois spent $250k on Stingray to fight regular crime

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "New documents released on MuckRock show the Illinois State Police crying "Terrorist" in order to get funding and approval for a $250,000 Stingray cell snooping system, even though, as Mike Masnick at Techdirt notes, the technology is being used to fight regular crime. The ToS on the device actually prevent officers from seeking a warrant to use it, because doing so would disclose the device's use to the courts. MuckRock currently has a crowdfunding campaign to fund similar requests across the country."

+ - Even in digital photography age, high schoolers still flock to the darkroom->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "In the age of camera-equipped smart phones and inexpensive digital cameras, many high schoolers have never seen a roll of film or used an analog camera — much less developed film and paper prints in a darkroom. Among those that have, however,
old school development has developed a serious cult following, with a number of high schools still finding a dedicated audience for the dark(room) arts."

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+ - Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray usage across America

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Collaborative investigative news site MuckRock is trying to take a national look at Stingray usage across America, and is looking for people to submit contact information for their local police departments and other law enforcement groups for a mass FOIA campaign. The submissions are free, but the site is also running a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of stamps, etc. on Beacon Reader."

+ - With cheeky first tweet, @CIA comes to life--now it just needs to use email->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "With a bit of self-effacing spy humor, the CIA joined Twitter with a couple tweets and promises to disclose #unclassified information going forward. Unfortunately, this comes as the CIA still requires those filing FOIAs to mail or fax their requests in rather than use email or even a web portal, as more and more agencies are increasingly doing. The FOIA filers at MuckRock have a run down on just how hard it is to get declassified info, hashtag or no, out of America's most prominent spy agency."
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+ - Echelon Everywhere: Local police increasingly rely on secret surveillance->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant (subscription required) for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata.""
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+ - 50 years later, MIT looks back at AI and networking pioneer Project MAC

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Fifty years ago, a major project that ultimately seeded much of today’s computer technology was created at MIT: Project MAC, and the Multics operating system initiative within the project. Daniel Dern interviews some of the key figures involved in the pioneering project, looking at how one laboratory helped spawn Ethernet, AI, and dozens of tech companies and other innovations that took ideas from the lab to the personal computer."

+ - The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Taxpayers in the United States spend $139 billion a year on scientific research, yet much of this research is inaccessible not only to the public, but also to other scientists. This is the consequence of an exploitative scientific journal system that rewards academic publishers while punishing taxpayers, scientists, and universities. Fortunately, cheap open-access alternatives are not only possible, but already beginning to take root, as this article explores in-depth."
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