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Security

Submission + - Facebook Impacts Productivity And Security? (net-security.org)

J4me5 writes: HNS is running a story about research conducted Sophos which revealed that fifty percent of workers are being blocked from accessing Facebook by their employers who are worried about the website's impact on productivity and security, and have therefore put policies or access controls in place to ban its use in the workplace. In a Sophos poll of 600 workers, 43 percent revealed that their company was blocking access to Facebook, while an additional seven percent reported that usage of the social networking website was restricted and only those with a specific business requirement were allowed to access it.
United States

Submission + - What to Do When the President Is a Failure (geniusone.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Author Frank Kanu has taken a chapter of his book and rewritten it:
What to Do When the President Is a Failure

I especially like this:
If you want to minimize the risk that your voters starts viewing you as a failure, remember these keys to being a good President:
  1. Be flexible
  2. Be creative
  3. Be open
  4. Look to help without your advantage in mind
  5. Be a partner instead of an enemy
  6. Listen and hear
  7. Learn

Could you easily name one recent are actual President — anywhere — that would fit that list?

And when one one Googles (the Google bomb is still on third place) 'failure' it becomes obvious why US President George Bush is such a negative good fit!

Windows

Submission + - Evil Vista makes Orson Scott Card switch to Linux

LucidLion writes: The award winning author of Ender's Game declares 'Vista itself is so evil that I find myself infuriated continuously.' From the article:

I did not need Vista. Nobody needed Vista. Anything Vista does that XP did not do that is worth doing was available from third-party software. But Vista does lots of things that I don't want it to do. Like crash more. Refuse to run existing software of mine. Slow down every task I want to do. Lock me out of control of my own computer.

So I'm fed up. I'm getting Linux. Microsoft's arrogant incompetence has finally brought me to the point of no return. So what if Linux can't run as much software? Vista already doesn't run my software! It won't be a downgrade in service!
How can Microsoft recover from the animosity its OS is generating?
Robotics

Submission + - Software for reverse engineering the human brain (colorado.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: In his book, "The Singularity is Near", Ray Kurzweil says the future of artificial intelligence may be in reverse engineering the human brain. Now, scientists at the University of Colorado have released software, dubbed "Emergent," that is aimed at allowing you to do just that. Using the ODE library for realistic physics, you can construct a robot with a simulated brain in a simulated world with a simulated body. I've seen neural network software before, but seeing a robot with his brain hovering over his head in 3D was a bit..shocking to say the least. Especially in light of this recent Oxford paper which asks, "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?." I was even able to "lesion" his brain and see his performance go down. Could this approach possibly bootstrap us into real artificial intelligence? Will these new simulated robotic overlords someday assimilate us?
Quickies

Submission + - at&t's Class Arbitra. Waiver Ruled Unconsciona (consumerist.com)

Tech.Luver writes: "Consumerist reports, " Like many many companies, Cingular has a little thing in their contracts saying that if you use their service, you void your right to a class action lawsuit and instead have to go through "mandatory binding arbitration," which is basically an extra-judicial corporate court exempt from many of the basic rules and laws and procedures and rights of real court. Well, today, that clause was ruled "unconscionable" by the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals. Therefore, lawsuits can proceed against Cingular and go to real court, not monkey court. Hooray! ""
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - The Great Internet Swear Word Project (doyoukissyourmotherwiththatmouth.co.uk)

morner writes: "The great internet swear word project aims to find the best swear word in the world according to you, the internet. Each visitor to this page is offered a choice between two randomly selected user-submitted swear words, their vote is recorded and fed into a Condorcet voting algorithm. Over the course of many thousands of votes, an accurate picture of the group preference emerges and thus, or so the theory goes, the world's best swear word may be identified unambiguously. YMMV."
Power

Submission + - Superefficient Solar Cell from Silicon Nanocrystal 1

chinmay7 writes: "Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have shown that silicon nanocrystals can produce two or three electrons per photon of high-energy (blue and UV) sunlight. The small size of nanoscale crystals results in the conversion of this energy into electrons instead of heat. Solar cells made of silicon nanocrystals could theoretically reach more than 40% efficiency, compared to 20% efficiency of the best conventional silicon solar cells.
An article in the Tech Review goes into more detail."
Space

Submission + - New Theory Explains Periodic Mass Extinctions

i_like_spam writes: The theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid impact, the K-T extinction, is well known and supported by fossil and geological evidence. Asteroid impact theory does not apply to the other fluctuations in biodiversity, however, which follow an approximate 62 million-year cycle. As reported in Science news, a new theory seems to explain periodic mass extinctions. The new theory found that oscillations in the Sun relative to the plane of the Milky Way correlate with changes in biodiversity on Earth. The researchers suggest that an increase in the exposure of Earth to extragalatic cosmic rays causes mass extinctions. Here is the original paper describing the finding.
Education

Submission + - Monkeys and humans learn the same way (sciencedaily.com)

Lucas123 writes: "A new study from UCLA showed that monkeys, like humans, learn faster by being actively involved in the learning process rather than just having information placed before them, according to a story in ScienceDaily. In the study, two rhesus macaque monkeys learned to put up to 18 photos on an ATM-like touch screen in a row. 'The monkeys did much better on the first three days when they had the help than when they didn't, but on the test day, it completely reversed.'"
Privacy

Submission + - UCLA Probe Finds Taser Incident Out Of Policy (ucla.edu)

Bandor Mia writes: Last November, it was reported that UCLA cops Tasered a student, who forgot to bring his ID, at the UCLA library. While an internal probe by UCLAPD cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, an outside probe by Police Assessment Resource Center has found that the police actions on Mostafa Tabatabainejad were indeed out of UCLA policy. The probe was conducted at the behest of acting UCLA Chancellor Norman Abrams.

From the report:
"In light of UCLAPD's general use of force policy and its specific policies on pain compliance techniques, Officer 2's three applications of the Taser, taken together, were out of policy. Officer 2 did not take advantage of other options and opportunities reasonably available to de-escalate the situation without the use of the Taser. Reasonable campus police officers, upon assessing the circumstances, likely would have embraced different choices and options that appear likely to have been more consistent both with UCLAPD policy and general best law enforcement practices."

United States

Submission + - IRS Tracking Party Affiliation (thenewstribune.com) 1

cybermage writes: "According to the News Tribune, the IRS is tracking the party affiliation of taxpayers in the over twenty states that require identification of party affiliation on voter registration forms. The IRS is using the voter registration data to try to locate tax cheats. Some in Congress are looking to take steps to have the IRS purge such information and put a halt to IRS plans to outsource collections until the issue is resolved."
Software

Submission + - Wall Street funding Spyware?

An anonymous reader writes: This past Wednesday, ComScore raised $82 million in an IPO that jumped 42% in its first day of trading. Some investors clearly like ComScore's business, but I wonder whether they fully understand ComScore's business model, privacy implications, and poor track record of nonconsensual installations.

The privacy policy for ComScore's RelevantKnowledge tracking program purports to grant ComScore the right to track users' name and address, browsing, shopping, and even "online accounts ... includ[ing] personal financial [and] health information." ComScore pays independent distributors to install ComScore software onto users' computers. Predictably, some of these distributors install ComScore software without getting user consent.

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