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Submission + - Microsoft Continues Assault on Education in Washington State (

reifman writes: "Washington State has cut more than $693 million in education funds in the last two years to offset its growing $5 billion biennial deficit. Last month, Microsoft General Counsel and Senior Vice President Brad Smith wrote in The Seattle Times that "steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability" to provide for the public education of all children but Smith didn't disclose his management of the company's lobbying efforts and Nevada tax dodge which have cost the state more tha $4.3 billion in revenues. The company has tried to discredit this blogger but recently refused to release tax data that would prove its claims. For the first time, we've published audio of Smith acknowledging and defending the company's Nevada tax dodge."

Submission + - F.C.C. Bars Lightsquared from Using Airwaves (

mc6809e writes: A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager.

Comment "Perfect Remembering" isn't necessarily good (Score 3, Interesting) 410

I was reading Delete by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger recently and he has a very simple solution... put expiration dates on all data. I don't know that it's a basic human right to be forgotten, but it's pretty harsh to have a picture of one act of foolishness follow you around for 20 years.


Submission + - White House wants devatsating cuts to NASA's Mars exploration (

The Bad Astronomer writes: "The White House released its proposed NASA budget for FY13, and while much of it remains the same from last year, one particular program got devastating news: Mars exploration got a crippling $226 million cut, more than 38% of its budget. This means killing two future missions outright and threatening others. The reasons for this are complex, including huge cost overruns on James Webb Space Telescope and the Curiosity Mars rover, but it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America."

Submission + - Mozart and Bach Handel Subway Station Crime 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that transit officials have started to get a handel on subway crime when they started playing Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Strauss at the Lake Street light-rail station after neighborhood residents complained about the station becoming a haven for rowdy teens and vagrants. "If it encourages some people to wander away because it's not their favorite type of music, I guess that's OK," says Acting Transit Police Chief A.J. Olson. The program is modeled after one is Portland that has shown early signs of success, though the numbers are so small as to be statistically insignificant and even supporters of the music haven't reached a consensus on whether such environmental changes actually deter crime or just push it down the block. Not everyone is sold on using "lovely lovely Ludwig Van" as a deterrent. "Classical music lovers hate the fact that urban planners use classical music to disperse youth," says Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff. "Does it chase crime away?" adds Olson. "It's hard to measure. But I do think it makes it a more pleasant place to wait for a train.""

Submission + - Citibank: training users to be less secure

Llamedos writes: Citibank has redesigned their credit card website ( so that the login page is not an SSL encrypted page. Instead, they expect users to simply accept a little lock GIF file they put up themselves, and their assurance that the form is submitted via SSL. According to Citibank, "Your security is important to us. While the new has an "http" address and no lock icon displays in your browser, your personal information is still protected." Citibank's security page While other sites are moving to more security and more ways for the user to protect himself (e.g., Bank of America's SiteKey program), Citibank is tearing away at protections and trying to train users not to care about security.

Comment Even animated movies use actors (Score 1) 441

So at what point do the actor's/actress' talents become obsolete?

Actors are still artists - a good actor can bring a lot to a performance even if they're just voice acting or mo-capped. Golum had a live actor bringing him to life, as did Sonny in I, Robot. The CGI folks drew heavily on the actor's portrayals. A lot of directors see their relationship with their actors as a collaboration and some tend to choose the same folks over and over because they work well together. From what I've seen in the special features sections of some animated movies, the voice actors are filmed while they're reading and some of that performance gets incorporated into the film. So I think there will be less room for mediocre actors, and the "extra" may become obsolete, but I think there will always be room for the person with a talent for acting or performance.

The bright side that I can see is that perhaps not having to put up with so many dumb, uneducated actors as public role models and political activists.

Well professors should lecture and artists should speak through their art. It's really annoying to get lectured when you're expecting art. People should stand for what they believe in because it's the right thing to do, not because all of the cool kids are doing it or because it helps their image.

Who Pays For Credit Card Breaches? 313

PetManimal writes "A scheme to steal customers' credit and debit card information at a New England supermarket chain highlights a little-understood fact about credit card security: Customers still think that the credit-card companies have to eat fraudulent charges, but since the PCI DSS standards were adopted, it's actually the merchant banks and merchants who have to pay up. And, according to the blogger writing in the latter article, it's a good thing." "The main reason PCI exists is that there are tens of thousands of merchants who don't understand the basics of information security and weren't even taking the very minimum steps to secure their networks and the credit card information they stored... PCI pushes that burden downstream and forces merchants to... put in a properly configured firewall, encrypt sensitive information and maintain a minimum security stance or be fined by their merchant banks... [T]he credit card companies have taken the bulk of the financial burden off of themselves and placed it on the merchants, which is where much of it belongs...'"

Submission + - Gracenote Database Helps Find Musical Plagurist

SeaDour writes: A music critic for Gramophone, a classical music magazine, has discovered that the recent works of Joyce Hatto, a famed British pianist who passed away last year, are nothing more than blatant copies of other performances. What makes this story interesting is that he found this out when iTunes, and therefore the Gracenote music database, "misidentified" the CD. "He put the disc into his computer to listen, and something awfully strange happened. His computer's player identified the disc as ... not a Hatto recording. Instead, his display suggested that the disc was one on BIS Records, by the pianist Lászlo Simon. Mystified, our critic checked his Hatto disc against the actual Simon recording, and to his amazement they sounded exactly the same." Sound wave analysis is now being done to determine just how many of Hatto's recordings are indeed rip-offs.

Submission + - Bee Farmers Buzzing About Misfortunes

Da3vid writes: "Bees have been mysteriously disappearing. Beekeepers in 22 states report losses of up to 80 percent. Speculation is that mites or poor nectar has caused their demise, but scientists haven't reached any conclusions. One farmer estimates that he will lose $350,000 based only on his current losses. In only a matter of days, entire hives have been lost. Is this a problem we have already seen the effects of, or is it just developing?"
The Courts

Submission + - Julie Amero wrongly convicted? The spyware defense

Anonymous Howard writes: Substitute teacher Julie Amero faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to porn using a classroom computer, but the facts strongly suggest that she was wrongfully convicted. Many issues remain, from the need for an independent computer forensics investigation and the presence of spyware and adware on the Windows 98 machine, to bad or incomplete legal work on both sides of this criminal case. It appears that spyware caused Julie Amero's conviction. She will be sentenced on March 2, 2007. This is a new development from the previously story on Slashdot.

Submission + - Texas Gov. Pressured to Rescind Vaccination Order

rock_climbing_guy writes: "Recently, the state of Texas became the first state to require vaccination against HPV, a set of strains of viruses that cause warts and cancer, for all girls entering the sixth grade, beginning in September 2006. Texas Governor Rick Perry, as reported by Fox News, is being pressured by the state senate to rescind the order. Many critics of the order say that requiring such a vaccination will encourage premarital sex. Under Texas law, some parents may opt-out of the requirement for their children for religious or philosophical reasons.

How do we balance the need to provide citizens with protection against dangerous diseases with individual autonomy and freedom? Do such mandatory vaccinations violate our civil rights?"

The Internet

Submission + - The Future of Online Dating

eldavojohn writes: "Scientific American is running an interesting article on online dating. Points out a lot of the problems existing with online dating today but also notes that it's here to stay and will only get better in the future."

Submission + - Best piracy money can buy

An anonymous reader writes: Almost as follow-up on a discussion here on Slashdot, regarding the help Microsoft got from piracy in establishing its worldwide domination, comes this message from Romania's president, Traian Basescu, as reported in the Washington Post: "Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania." What makes this even more interesting (and ironic) is that these words of wisdom were uttered during a joint press conference with Bill Gates (there to promote a few things, Vista, Office 07 and a spanking new support center); moreover, Mr. Basescu was for much of his life a ship captain, so, it is to be assumed he knows good piracy when he sees it. According to the Post "Gates made no comment."

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