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United States

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment 1236

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the invest-in-crossbows dept.
CanHasDIY (1672858) writes "In his yet-to-be-released book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, John Paul Stevens, who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court for 35 years, believes he has the key to stopping the seeming recent spate of mass killings — amend the Constitution to exclude private citizens from armament ownership. Specifically, he recommends adding 5 words to the 2nd Amendment, so that it would read as follows: 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.'

What I find interesting is how Stevens maintains that the Amendment only protects armament ownership for those actively serving in a state or federal military unit, in spite of the fact that the Amendment specifically names 'the People' as a benefactor (just like the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth) and of course, ignoring the traditional definition of the term militia. I'm personally curious about his other 5 suggested changes, but I guess we'll have to wait until the end of April to find out."
The Almighty Buck

Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-government-money-can-buy dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about money and politics that is sure to shock no one."It's no surprise that Comcast donates money to members of Congress. Political connections come in handy for a company seeking government approval of mergers, like Comcast's 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal and its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). But just how many politicians have accepted money from Comcast's political arm? In the case of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held the first congressional hearing on the Comcast/TWC merger yesterday, the answer is all of them."
Australia

Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the slow-it-down dept.
angry tapir (1463043) writes "The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), a government financial watchdog, is reportedly contemplating the idea of implementing a 500 millisecond delay on trades in an effort to put the brakes on high-frequency trading. ASIC last year knocked back the idea and stated that fears about HFT were overblown. However, in a government inquiry today representatives of the organization said the idea of a 'pause' is still on the table."
Government

Under Revised Quake Estimates, Dozens of Nuclear Reactors Face Problems 152

Posted by timothy
from the inspector-gadget-robot-arms dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the United States, including the operator of Indian Point 2, in Buchanan, N.Y., have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake that revised estimates say they might face, according to industry experts. As a result, the reactors' owners will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components. Those are generally sturdier than assumed in licensing documents, but owners of some plants may be forced to make physical changes, and are likely to spend about $5 million each just for the analysis."
Patents

Judge Overrules Samsung Objection To Jury Instructional Video 232

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sure-patenting-boxes-is-legal dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh on Sunday overruled Samsung Electronics' objections to showing jurors a recent instructional video on how patents work, ahead of a trial in a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung. The new video, called 'The Patent Process: An Overview for Jurors,' was developed by the Federal Judicial Center to provide jurors with an introduction to the patent system. Samsung's objection is to several scenes in which Apple products are depicted and used (and, by extension, seen as patentable and innovative)."
Media

New York Public Library Releases Over 20,000 Hi-Res Maps 25

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everyone-loves-maps dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Finally, you don't have to raise your voice over a group of whisperers in the New York Public Library to get a better view of its map collection. Actually, you don't even need to visit the place at all. Over 20,000 maps and cartographic works from the NYPL's Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division have been uploaded and made downloadable for the public.

'We believe these maps have no known U.S. copyright restrictions,' explains a blog post announcing the wholesale release of the library's map collection. 'It means you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. We've scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people.' The NYPL is distributing the maps under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, which means you can do whatever you want with the maps."
United States

White House To Propose Ending NSA Phone Records Collection 208

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the kind-of-sort-of dept.
The New York Times reported last night that the White House is planning to introduce a legislative package that would mostly end the NSA's bulk collection of phone records. Instead, phone companies would be required to hand over records up to "two hops" from a target number. Phone companies would be required to retain records for 18 months (already legally mandated) instead of the NSA storing records for five years. It does not appear that secret courts and secret orders from the court would be abolished, however. From the article: "The new type of surveillance court orders envisioned by the administration would require phone companies to swiftly provide records in a technologically compatible data format, including making available, on a continuing basis, data about any new calls placed or received after the order is received, the officials said ... The administration’s proposal would also include a provision clarifying whether Section 215 of the Patriot Act, due to expire next year unless Congress reauthorizes it, may in the future be legitimately interpreted as allowing bulk data collection of telephone data. ... The proposal would not, however, affect other forms of bulk collection under the same provision."
Medicine

Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-sleep-when-we're-dead dept.
First time accepted submitter nani popoki writes "Skipping a good night's sleep can cause brain damage according to a new study. From the article: 'Are you a truck driver or shift worker planning to catch up on some sleep this weekend? Cramming in extra hours of shut-eye may not make up for those lost pulling all-nighters, new research indicates. The damage may already be done — brain damage, that is, said neuroscientist Sigrid Veasey from the University of Pennsylvania. The widely held idea that you can pay back a sizeable "sleep debt" with long naps later on seems to be a myth, she said in a study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. Long-term sleep deprivation saps the brain of power even after days of recovery sleep, Veasey said. And that could be a sign of lasting brain injury.'"
Facebook

The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-get-back-to-business-as-usual dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking to The Verge, author and Microsoft Researcher Danah Boyd put words to a feeling I've had about Facebook and other social networking sites for a while, now: 'The era of Facebook is an anomaly.' She continues, 'The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space. Fragmentation is a more natural state of being. Is your social dynamic interest-driven or is it friendship-driven? Are you going there because there's this place where other folks are really into anime, or is this the place you're going because it's where your pals from school are hanging out? That first [question] is a driving function.' Personally, I hope this idea continues to propagate — it's always seemed odd that our social network identities are locked into certain websites. Imagine being a Comcast customer and being unable to email somebody using Time Warner, or a T-Mobile subscriber who can't call somebody who's on Verizon. Why do we allow this with our social networks?"
Science

Religion Is Good For Your Brain 529

Posted by timothy
from the still-looking-for-a-nice-atheist-church dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Sheila M. Elred writes in Discovery Magazine that a recent study has found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they identified as religious. Brain MRIs revealed that religious participants had thicker brain cortices than those who weren't as religious. 'One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress,' says Dr. Majid Fotuhi. 'Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you're praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.' The reports concluded that a thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression. The social element of attending religious services has also been linked to healthy brains. 'There's something magical about socializing,' says Fotuhi. 'It releases endorphins in the brain. It's hard to know whether it's through religion or a gathering of friends, but it improves brain health in the long term.'" (Read more, below.)
Businesses

NASA Admits It Gave Jet Fuel Discounts To Google Execs' Company 126

Posted by timothy
from the only-tax-money-after-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a letter to Senator Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee, NASA 'admits the agency was selling jet fuel at below market rates to H2-11, a company owned by the founders of Google.' The agency has since raised its rates to reflect market prices but has informed the Senator that it would be impossible for NASA to recoup the money that tax payers have paid in order to subsidize Google's jet fuel discounts."
Technology

One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-what-you're-up-against dept.
sandbagger writes "It looks like technical writers won't be unemployed any time soon. According to a recent study reported on by the LA Times, 11% of Americans thought HTML was a sexually-transmitted disease. The study, by coupon site VoucherCloud, involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older. 27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect, and 23% thought MP3 was a Star Wars robot. The participants were not told that the study was specifically looking into their knowledge of tech terms. They were presented with both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions. 18% identified 'Blu-ray' as a marine animal, and 15% thought 'software' was comfortable clothing."
Medicine

Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-win-for-losing dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Thomas Kienzle reports for the Associated Press on a study which found public health campaigns touting vaccines' effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids. 'Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations,' says Dr. Brendan Nyhan. 'The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information.' In the study, researchers focused on the now-debunked idea that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (or MMR) caused autism. Surveying 1,759 parents, researchers found that while they were able to teach parents that the vaccine and autism were not linked, parents who were surveyed who had initial reservations about vaccines said they were actually less likely to vaccinate their children after hearing the researchers messages. Researchers looked at four methods designed to counter the myth (PDF) that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. They gave people either information from health authorities about the lack of evidence for a connection, information about the danger of the three diseases the MMR vaccine protects against, pictures of children who had one of those three diseases, or a story about an infant who almost died from measles.

At the study's start, the group of parents who were most opposed to vaccination said that on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child against MMR was 70 percent. After these parents had been given information that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, they said, on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child was only 45 percent — even though they also said they were now less likely to believe the vaccine could cause autism. Vaccination rates are currently high, so it's important that any strategies should focus on retaining these numbers and not raise more concerns, tipping parents who are willing to vaccinate away from doing so. 'We shouldn't put too much weight on the idea that there's some magic message out there that will change people's minds.'"
Apple

Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation 917

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-involved dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "According to NBC, Apple has confirmed that it urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays and lesbians. Last November Tim Cook announced that Apple was building a sapphire glass plant in Mesa, AZ, that would bring 2,000 new jobs to the state. 'Apple is indisputably one of the world's most innovative companies and I'm thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,' said Gov. Brewer at the time. 'Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years.' According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, it sounds like Tim Cook may be having second thoughts about how 'friendly' and 'pro-business' the climate in Arizona really is."
Operating Systems

Ford Dumping Windows For QNX In New Vehicles 314

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the back-to-the-classics dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "Ford has announced that their in-vehicle technology called Sync will be based on Blackberry's QNX operating system and will no longer use Microsoft Windows. My own 2013 Ford Escape has the Windows-based Sync system. I wonder if they will issue an update to change it to QNX." Anonymous sources inside Ford cited reliability problems with Windows and lower licensing costs for the switch to the classic realtime OS.

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