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Education

Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers? 1322

Ant writes with this depressing story about how public schools sometimes work: "This six-page Los Angeles Times article shares its investigation to find 'the process [of firing poor teachers] so arduous that many school principals don't even try (One-page version), except in the very worst cases. Jettisoning a teacher solely because he or she can't teach is rare ...'"
Java

Sun Slips Firefox Extension Into Java Update 311

pcardno writes "It seems it's not just Microsoft that have spotted a good opportunity to distribute their software through Firefox Addons. On installing the latest annoying, sysbar bubble based Java update, my Firefox informed me that I had a wonderful new Java addon automatically. Here's the addon screenshot. Yes, I could opt out of it, but why are Sun installing Addons to my Firefox without me making specific choices in the application itself? To be clear — I have never chosen to install this Addon, yet it has been installed without my permission with the latest Java Update."

Comment Re:Exactly! (Score 1) 347

Absolutely, and this ludicrous, greedy policy (and regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley) are really helping to kill the US economy. Now a majority of the top IPOs every year occur in other countries. It used to be like 23 of the top 25 IPOs would always be in the US. Last year, it was like 2 of 25.

I'm sure that had nothing to do with the non-IPO friendly economy that started in the US last year.

Comment Google (Score 1) 1

While Google now owns DoubleClick's DART, their bread and butter are search and contextual text ads which isn't exactly OpenX's market, although you can traffic AdSense tags through their server. It will be interesting to see what Google does with DFP and if Yahoo's APT platform is able to get market share over the next couple of years.

The Internet

Saving Geek Lore and Other Wikipedia Castoffs 281

Ian Lamont notes an Industry Standard feature on Deletionpedia — a collection of 63,559 deleted Wikipedia pages that range from "vanity entries" or obscure points of reference to heavily edited topics that Wikipedia editors eventually deemed fan fiction, inadequately sourced, or otherwise lacking. Looking through the collection of removed articles, it's apparent that entertaining minutiae are often the target of Wikipedia editors: "Geek lore seems to be a particular target for deletion, with the deleted page of the month a comprehensive guide to 'Weapons of the Imperium (Warhammer 40,000)'. Deletionpedia provides links back to the Wikipedia deletion discussions, which are a lesson in magnification of minutiae; the Warhammer page was removed due to philosophical disagreements over what can be considered credible source material, while a page listing every chalkboard gag in The Simpsons opening credits spent 691 days on the site before being deleted as 'fancruft.'" Note that while Deletionpedia uses MediaWiki, it doesn't have wiki functionality — readers can't alter or update archived entries.
Biotech

Scientists Restore Walking After Spinal Cord Injury 181

Spinal cord damage blocks the routes that the brain uses to send messages to the nerve cells that control walking. Until now, doctors believed that the only way for injured patients to walk again was to re-grow the long nerve highways that link the brain and base of the spinal cord. For the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement. The lead researcher said, "This pessimistic view [that severe injury to the spinal cord means permanent paralysis] has changed over my lifetime, and our findings add to a growing body of research showing that the nervous system can reorganize after injury."

Sperm Could Power Nanobots 259

Lucas123 writes "According to MSNBC, scientists are experimenting with using a sperm's flagellum to overcome the problem of supplying energy to nanobots that could be implanted in the body as smart probes that would release disease-fighting drugs, monitor enzymes and perform other medical roles within a patient's body. Powered by a compound called adenosine triphosphate or ATP, a sperm's flagellum can propel it at about 7 inches an hour. Energy from ATP could also power the pumps charged with dispensing the medication at a certain rate from the nanobots."

Airlines Plan To Filter, Censor In-Flight Internet Access 262

BlueMerle notes that the much-vaunted arrival of internet access in the friendly skies may come at the cost of heavy content filtering by the Airlines. Ars Technica's commentary is prompted by an Associated Press article which does its best to make checking your email seem sinister. "Seat 17D is yapping endlessly on an Internet phone call. Seat 16F is flaming Seat 16D with expletive-laden chats. Seat 16E is too busy surfing porn sites to care. Seat 17C just wants to sleep. Welcome to the promise of the Internet at 33,000 feet -- and the questions of etiquette, openness and free speech that airlines and service providers will have to grapple with as they bring Internet access to the skies in the coming months."

Tools To Squash the Botnets 135

Roland Piquepaille writes "This is the intention of Paul Barford, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He wants to build a new line of defense against malicious traffic which has become today a billion-dollar 'shadow industry.' As one of 'the most menacing aspects of botnets is that they can go largely undetected' by a PC owner, he developed a new computer security technique for detecting network intrusions. His system has a 99.9% detection rate of malicious signatures, roughly equivalent to some of the best commercial systems. But it has zero false positives when commercial systems have high numbers. This new system could soon be available commercially."
Moon

Lunar Lander Challenge Ends in Fire, Disappoinment 123

mikesd81 writes "The rocketeers at Armadillo Aerospace, thwarted by engine problems and other mechanical failures, left this year's X Prize Cup empty-handed after their spacecraft burst into flames on liftoff Sunday. An attempt on Sunday to hop from launch and landing pads ended with the MOD craft bursting in flames shortly after engine ignition. This is the team's second attempt at the challenge in New Mexico, they were the only entrant in last year's event, which they also lost. Brett Alexander, Executive Director of Space Prizes and the X Prize Cup relayed a comment from John Carmack, leader of the Armadillo team: "Today is officially a bad day when it comes to our vehicle." The last attempt to win the $350,000 Level 1 prize on Sunday ended when the MOD vehicle had an engine fire, with pieces coming off, including disconnected cabling. Clearly, there was a fire on the pad that burned for a while — but then went out. The Armadillo team called a safety emergency, requesting fire truck assistance, Alexander said."
Data Storage

Hitachi Releases World's Most Energy-Efficient HDD 118

An anonymous reader writes "Today Hitachi released what they are calling the 'world's most energy efficient desktop hard drive' capable of reducing the active and idle power consumption by up to 40 percent over the previous generation." The drive will come in a range of flavors starting at 250GB and ranging to 500GB. Hitachi is promising these drives in high volume later this year.
Music

Submission + - Yahoo Music Not Interested in "User Inconvenie

KingAdrock writes: In a presentation at a digital music conference last week the head of Yahoo! Music, Ian C Rogers, denounced the tactics being used by major music labels.

If the licensing labels offer their content to Yahoo! put more barriers in front of the users, I'm not interested. Do what you feel you need to do for your business, I'll be polite, say thank you, and decline to sign. I won't let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience. I will tell Yahoo! to give the money they were going to give me to build awesome media applications to Yahoo! Mail or Answers or some other deserving endeavor. I personally don't have any more time to give and can't bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life's too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out.
Portables

Replacing a Thinkpad? 902

An anonymous reader writes "As a very happy Thinkpad T20 user (still working after 7 years), I always planned on replacing it with another Thinkpad T-series. However, Thinkpads are now produced by Lenovo, a Chinese company, and I can't quite bear to buy Chinese while the Burmese military are shooting at monks with the Chinese Government as their biggest backer. Maybe this is silly, as whatever I buy is likely to be made (at least in part) in China... but still, what are my options for something as well built as the Thinkpad T-series?"

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