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Submission + - 85% of the world's governments are corrupt (newatlas.com)

schwit1 writes: According to one think tank that studies corruption in government, 85% of the world lives under governments that are essentially corrupt.

“Corruption” is defined by Transparency International (TI) as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Each year since 1995, TI has published a Corruption Perceptions Index that scores the world’s nations out of 100 for their public sector honesty and the just-released 2016 report paints the same bleak picture we’ve been seeing now for two decades except it’s getting worse.

According to the data, despite the illusion of elected government in half the world’s countries, democracy is losing. Only two countries scored 90 out of 100 this year, and just 54 of the 176 countries (30%) assessed in the report scored better than 50. Fifty percent might have constituted a pass in a High School arithmetic test, but for an elected government to be so inept at carrying out the will of the electorate, it is a clear betrayal of the people. The average country score this year is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector is the norm.

Even more damning is that more countries declined than improved in this year’s results.

Not surprisingly, the countries at the bottom of the list are almost all Middle Eastern nations, all of whom are the source of most of the world’s terrorism and Islamic madness. The few others are those trying to become communist paradises, Venezuela and North Korea.

Submission + - Fifty years ago today: the Apollo 1 launchpad fire (nasaspaceflight.com)

schwit1 writes:

Fifty years ago Friday, the first – but sadly not the last – fatal spaceflight accident struck NASA when a fire claimed the lives of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White during a training exercise at Launch Complex 34. The accident, a major setback for the struggling Apollo program, ushered in the first understanding of the “bad day” effects of schedule pressure for spaceflight and brought with it words and reminders that still echo today.

The article provides a very detailed and accurate look at the history and causes of the accident, as well as its consequences, which even today influence American space engineering.

Submission + - Police and FAA Are Making It Impossible To Use Drones To Document Protests (vocativ.com)

schwit1 writes: Last November, an aerial drone flown by a member of the resistance camp opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline captured dramatic footage of riot police blasting crowds with water cannons as temperatures dipped below freezing, sending 17 of the camp’s occupants to the hospital with injuries and hypothermia.

The video quickly spread on social media, spurring global news coverage of the fight against the oil pipeline, which saw activists clash with police and security forces in tense standoffs last year. A few weeks later, the Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the pipeline, which had encroached on Native American sacred lands and threatened water supplies near North Dakota’s Standing Rock reservation.

It was another example of how drones have become a crucial technology, allowing activists and journalists to document protests and hold police accountable for abuses. But as a new era of civil resistance dawns under the Trump administration, at the Standing Rock site and in anti-Trump demonstrations across the country, drone experts say police and government have made it unnecessarily difficult — sometimes impossible — for civilians to deploy drones at large protests.

Just a few days after the video from Standing Rock went viral, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave permission to local authorities to effectively ban all civilian drone flights in 4 mile radius above the Oceti Sakowin resistance camp and drill site. The same thing happened two years earlier, during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri: Police were granted what is called a Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR, which legally restricts airspace above a designated area to law enforcement and emergency aircraft. In Ferguson, the explicit goal was to stop news helicopters and drones from observing the Black Lives Matter protests, where cops were firing tear gas and menacing protesters with military vehicles and weapons.

Submission + - Who is liable if open source autonomous car software causes an accident. (ieee.org)

Registered Coward v2 writes: IEEE Spetrum asks that question in an article about Comma.ai’s and its CEO George Hotz who have released, on GITHub, their open source software for self driving cars. It currently adds capabilities to some Hondas and Acuras. Given the difficulties in testing such software it is possible bugs exist and might cause a crash. While many legal experts agree OSS is "buyer beware" and that Comma.ai and Hotz would not be liable, it is a gray area in the law.

The software is release under the MIT OSS license and the Read Me contains the disclaimer “THIS IS ALPHA QUALITY SOFTWARE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS NOT A PRODUCT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.”

SCOTUS,in a series of court cases in the 1990s, ruled open source code as free speech protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The question is does that release the author(s) from liability. The EU has no EU wide rules on liability in such cases.

One open question is even if the person who used the software could not sue, a third party injured by it might be able to since they are not a party to the license agreement.

Submission + - US Air Force Declares F-35A Ready For Combat (defensenews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to make the plane. The milestone means that the service can now send its first operational F-35 formation — the 34th Fighter Squadron located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — into combat operations anywhere in the world. The service, which plans to buy 1,763 F-35As, is the single-largest customer of the joint strike fighter program, which also includes the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and a host of governments worldwide. "Given the national security strategy, we need it," [Air Combat Command (ACC) head Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle] said. "You look at the potential adversaries out there, or the potential environments where we have to operate this airplane, the attributes that the F-35 brings — the ability to penetrate defensive airspace, the ability to deliver precision munitions with a sensor suite that fuses data from multiple information sources — is something our nation needs." Carlisle said in July that even though he would feel comfortable sending the F-35 to a fight as soon as the jet becomes operational, ACC has formed a “deliberate path” where the aircraft would deploy in stages: first to Red Flag exercises, then as a “theater security package” to Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The fighter probably won’t deploy to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State group any earlier than 2017, he said, but if a combatant commander asked for the capability, “I’d send them down in a heartbeat because they’re very, very good.”

Submission + - Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A survey of nearly 27,000 people suggests that millennials are less likely to be having sex than younger adults were 30 years ago. The Guardian reports: "The research, conducted in the U.S., found that the percentage of young adults aged between 20 and 24 who reported having no sexual partner after the age of 18 increased from 6% among those born in the 1960s, to 15% of young adults born in the 1990s. Published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior by researchers from three U.S. universities, the study involved the analysis of data collected through the nationwide General Social Survey that has asked U.S. adults about their sexual behavior almost every year since 1989. The results reveal that young adults aged between 20 and 24 and born in the 1990s were more than twice as likely to report that they had had no sexual partners since the age of 18 than young adults of the same age born in the 1960s. Just over 15% of the 90s-born group reported that they had not had sex since they turned 18, compared to almost 12% of those born in the 1970s or 1980s. For those born in the 60s the figure was just over 6%. The shift [towards increasing abstinence seen among all adults since the 1960s] was greater for white individuals, those who had not gone to university, and those who attended religious services. The trend was also greater for women than for men: the authors found that 2.3% of women born in the 1960s are sexually inactive, compared to 5.4% of those born in the 1990s. That, the authors suggest, could in part be down to a rise in so-called virginity pledges as well as concerns about social stigma.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 207

I've never had any special speed-reading training but I remember being tested with a tachistoscope and timed reading tests in high school. My teacher was curious about just how fast I could read. I scored 1200 wpm with 90%+ comprehension when I intentionally read quickly. When I read for recreation, I loaf along at about 600 wpm. There is one drawback to this, though. In the past, my weekly bookstore trips would usually result in buying four to six paperback books. That was an expensive reading habit until ebooks came along.

Comment Re:Wireless charging is probably dangerous (Score 1) 169

The metal problem with MRI is that MRI uses extremely strong magnetic fields, which will rip metal loose from your body. That does not mean that the magnetic field is dangerous to normal tissue, just that you had metal in your body and were stupid enough to not say anything.

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