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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System? 389

An anonymous reader points out this opinion piece by professor Adam Grant that questions how useful the current college application system is and suggests some alternate methods to gather information about candidates. The college admissions system is broken. When students submit applications, colleges learn a great deal about their competence from grades and test scores, but remain in the dark about their creativity and character. Essays, recommendation letters and alumni interviews provide incomplete information about students' values, social and emotional skills, and capacities for developing and discovering new ideas. This leaves many colleges favoring achievement robots who excel at the memorization of rote knowledge, and overlooking talented C students. Those with less than perfect grades might go on to dream up blockbuster films like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg or become entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs.

The Average Consumer Thinks Data Privacy Is Worth Around 65 Cents 128

chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost is reporting today on the findings of an ENISA study that looked at whether consumers would pay more for goods in exchange for more privacy. The answer — 'Sure...just not much more.' The report (PDF): 'Study on Monetizing Privacy: An Economic Model for Pricing Personal Information' presents the findings of a laboratory study in which consumers were asked to buy identical goods from two online vendors: one that collected minimal customer information and another that required the customer to surrender more of their personal information to purchase the item, including phone number and a government ID number. The laboratory experiment showed that the majority of consumers value privacy protections. When the prices of the goods offered by both the privacy protecting and the privacy violating online retailers were equal, shoppers much preferred the privacy protecting vendor. But the preference for more privacy wasn't very strong, and didn't come close to equaling consumers' preference for lower prices. In fact, consumers readily switched to a more privacy-invasive provider if that provider charged a lower price for the same goods. How much lower? Not much, researchers discovered. A discount of just E0.50 ($0.65) was enough to sway consumers away from a vendor who would protect the privacy of their personal data."

Microsoft Issuing Unusual Out-of-Band Security Update 156

wiredmikey writes "In a rare move, Microsoft is breaking its normal procedures and will issue an emergency out-of-band security update on Thursday to address a hash collision attack vulnerability that came into the spotlight yesterday, and affects various Web platforms industry-wide. The vulnerability is not specific to Microsoft technologies and has been discovered to impact PHP 5, Java, .NET, and Google's v8, while PHP 4, Ruby, and Python are somewhat vulnerable. Microsoft plans to release the bulletin on December 29, 2011, at 10:00 AM Pacific Time, and said it would addresses security vulnerabilities in all supported releases of Microsoft Windows. 'The impact of this vulnerability is similar to other Denial of Service attacks that have been released in the past, such as the Slowloris DoS or the HTTP POST DoS,' said security expert Chris Eng. 'Unlike traditional DoS attacks, they could be conducted with very small amounts of bandwidth. This hash table multi-collision bug shares that property.'"

Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners 357

An anonymous reader sends this quote from a story at NPR about the accelerated deployment of new scanning machines at airports: "Fifty-two of these state-of-the-art machines are already scanning passengers at 23 US airports. By the end of 2011, there will be 1,000 machines and two out of every three passengers will be asked to step into one of the new machines for a six-second head-to-toe scan before boarding. About half of these machines will be so-called X-ray back-scatter scanners. They use low-energy X-rays to peer beneath passengers' clothing. That has some scientists worried. ... The San Francisco group thinks both the machine's manufacturer, Rapiscan, and government officials have miscalculated the dose that the X-ray scanners deliver to the skin — where nearly all the radiation is concentrated. The stated dose — about .02 microsieverts, a medical unit of radiation — is averaged over the whole body, members of the UCSF group said in interviews. But they maintain that if the dose is calculated as what gets deposited in the skin, the number would be higher, though how much higher is unclear."

"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first." -- Arthur Miller