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Politics

The Free State Project, One Decade Later 701

Okian Warrior writes "About a decade ago Slashdot ran an article about the Free State Project: an attempt to get 20,000 liberty-minded activists to move to one state (they chose NH) and change the political landscape. Eleven years on, the project is still growing and having an effect on statewide politics. NPR recently ran a program discussing the movement, its list of successes, and plans for the future. The FSP has a noticeable effect on politics right now — still 6,000 short of their 20,000 goal, and long before the members are scheduled to move to NH."
Earth

Scientists Explain Why Chairman of House Committee On Science Is Wrong 476

Lasrick writes "Michael Oppenheimer and Kevin Trenberth take apart Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Tex.) Washington Post op/ed on climate science saying: 'Contrary to Smith's assertions, there is conclusive evidence that climate change worsened the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Sea levels in New York City harbors have risen by more than a foot since the beginning of the 20th century. Had the storm surge not been riding on higher seas, there would have been less flooding and less damage. Warmer air also allows storms such as Sandy to hold more moisture and dump more rainfall, exacerbating flooding.'"
Government

In Praise of the King: 1.7M Social Media Comments In Thailand 104

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Prachatai.com: "Thailand's Rangers Task Force 45, in response to Army policy, has put its troops to the task of promoting and protecting the monarchy in cyber space, claiming to have posted 1.69 million comments on webboards and social media during a 4-month period of last year ... According to the video clip, the Army Chief has approved the establishment of an army internet network to promote and protect the monarchy by monitoring websites and webboards which have content alluding to the monarchy and countering them by posting comments which worship the institution. ...The unit's military operations personnel provide the troops with information, or what to post, and set them targets for the number of posts they must complete."
Government

What Charles G. Koch Can Teach Us About Campaign Finance Data 238

Lasrick writes "Lee Drutman is a political scientist with the Sunlight Foundation who does terrific work. In this article, he attempts to trace campaign donations made by one of the Koch Brothers and discovers just how difficult it is to do: 'The case of Charles G. Koch is a nice lesson in just how hard it is to determine who is breaking and who is abiding by campaign finance limits. It's hard to make accurate tallies of individual aggregate campaign contributions when the Federal Elections Commission doesn't require donors to have a unique ID, and when campaigns don't always reliably report donor names. Given this, it is unclear how the FEC would even enforce its own aggregate limit rules. The FEC's spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative."'
Portables

Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches 138

MojoKid writes "Dell recently combined two trending PC design styles into a single system and called it the XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop. The machine has all the power of an AIO desktop system and some of the portability of a tablet. To be clear, Dell isn't suggesting you'll want to tote this thing across town in ways that you might use an iPad. It's portable in that you can snatch up the 18.4-inch Full HD display from your home office and take it to the living room to switch gears from Google Docs to gaming with the kids, or take it upstairs for some late night surfing before bed. ... The main attraction, however, is that the PC itself is a portable display featuring an 18.4-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution and full touch support. Performance-wise the XPS 18 holds its own versus mainstream all-in-one touch PCs, but with added ability to pick the 5 pound system up go virtually anywhere with it on a moment's notice."
Businesses

The Amish Are Getting Fracked 367

An anonymous reader writes "Old school meets business school. From the New Republic: 'The Amish interpretation of the Christian bible prohibits the use of the courts: Except in rare circumstances, the Amish do not sue. This has created a unique problem in the region. Home to the largest Amish community in the world, Eastern Ohio sits squarely on top of the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations, which contain billions in oil and gas recoverable through advances in hydraulic fracturing technology, or fracking ... When it comes to the oil and gas industry, this means that any agreement an Amish farmer makes with a company is, for the farmer, practically unenforceable. A rare case in which the plaintiffs were Amish suggests that Ohio's oil and gas companies know this and have been willing to take advantage.'"
Windows

A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8 578

GMGruman writes "Windows 8 is simply not selling, and everyone but Microsoft knows it's a mess of an OS. And the Windows 8.1 'Blue' that Microsoft revealed some details of late last week doesn't address the fundamental flaws. So a team at InfoWorld worked up a serious proposal to rework Windows 8 for both PCs and tablets that fixes those flaws and lets Microsoft's true innovations break free of today's Windows 8, complete with mockups of the proposed Windows 'Red.'"
Android

New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android 126

taz346 writes "Asus has unveiled a new 11.6-inch tablet/laptop that runs both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean side by side, the BBC reports. The firm said 'users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a "smooth transition" between each mode.' Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."
Censorship

Turkish PM: "To Me, Social Media Is the Worst Menace To Society." 418

PolygamousRanchKid writes "Turkey's prime minister on Sunday rejected claims that he is a 'dictator,' dismissing protesters as an extremist fringe even as thousands returned to the landmark Istanbul square that has become the site of the fiercest anti-government outburst in years. With Turkish media otherwise giving scant reports about the protests, many turned to social media outlets for information on the unrest. 'There is now a menace which is called Twitter,' Erdogan said. 'The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.' 'The people are finally standing up, speaking up and fighting for their rights,' said Hakan Tas, a deputy for the Left Party in Berlin's local assembly, who took part in the protest."
The Media

Chicago Sun Times Swaps iPhone Training For Staff Photographers 316

frdmfghtr notes (via Cult of Mac) that "the reporters of the Chicago Sun-Times are being given training in iPhone photography, to make up for the firing of the photography staff. From the CoM story: 'The move is part of a growing trend towards publications using the iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs. It's a also a sign of how traditional journalism is being changed by technology like the iPhone and the advent of digital publishing.'"
Transportation

No, the Tesla Model S Doesn't Pollute More Than an SUV 559

thecarchik writes "In an exhaustive 6,500-word article on the financial website Seeking Alpha, analyst Nathan Weiss lays out a case that the latest Tesla Model S actually has higher effective emissions than most large SUVs of both the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and smog-producing pollutants like sulfur dioxide. This is absolutely false. Virtually all electric car advocates agree that when toting up the environmental pros and cons of electric cars, it's only fair to include powerplant emissions. When this has been done previously, the numbers have still favored electric cars. The Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, concluded in a 2012 report (PDF), 'Electric vehicles charged on the power grid have lower global warming emissions than the average gasoline-based vehicle sold today.' Working through every one of Weiss' conclusions may show a higher emissions rate than Tesla's published numbers, but in no way does a Model S pollute the amounts even close to an SUV."
United Kingdom

Badgers Block British Broadband Buildout 86

twoheadedboy writes "When BT engineers set out to lay fiber broadband cables in remote areas in North Yorkshire, they didn't think they would have many issues. But they didn't see the badgers coming. They discovered badger setts along the planned route for a cable connecting 450 properties to the local exchange. As it is illegal to destroy or upset setts — badgers are considered an endangered species — BT has had to hold off putting down the fiber until it either gains permission from the National Trust or comes up with fresh plans."
The Courts

Kim Dotcom Wins Case Against NZ Police To Get Seized Material Back 111

New submitter Mistakill writes "It seems the case against Kim Dotcom for the NZ Police isn't going well, with Kim Dotcom scoring another victory in his legal battles. Police have been told they must search everything they seized from Dotcom and hand back what is not relevant to the U.S. extradition claims. Justice Helen Winkelmann told police their complaints about the cost and time of the exercise were effectively their own fault for indiscriminately seizing material in the first place. She wrote, 'The warrants could not authorize the permanent seizure of hard drives and digital materials against the possibility that they might contain relevant material, with no obligation to check them for relevance. They could not authorize the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorize keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offenses.'"
Biotech

GMO Wheat Found Growing Wild In Oregon, Japan Suspends Import From U.S. 679

An anonymous reader writes "NPR reports that an Oregon wheat farmer found a patch of wheat growing where he did not plant. After RoundUp failed to kill the plants, he sent them to a lab for testing. Turns out the wheat in question is a GMO strain created by Monsanto but never sent to market. Oregon field trials for the wheat ended in 2001. 'Nobody knows how this wheat got to this farm. ... After all such trials, the genetically engineered crops are supposed to be completely removed. Also, nobody knows how widely this genetically engineered wheat has spread, and whether it's been in fields of wheat that were harvested for food.' The USDA is currently investigating and says there is no health-risk. Meanwhile, Monsanto has released a statement and Japan has suspended some wheat imports from the U.S. 'The mystery could have implications on wheat trade. Many countries around the world will not accept imports of genetically modified foods, and the United States exports about half of its wheat crop.'"
Microsoft

First Looks At Windows 8.1, Complete With 'Start' Button 800

Ars Technica has taken a look at Microsoft's newly released preview of Windows 8.1. As widely rumored, the point release features a clamored-for concession to Windows users who rankled at the loss of Windows' Start button in the taskbar. In addition to various tweaks to 8's search capabilities and icon presentation, says the article, "Some of Windows 8's obvious limitations are being lifted. In 8.1, Metro apps can be run on multiple monitors simultaneously. On any single monitor, more than two applications can be run simultaneously. Instead of Windows 8's fixed split, where one application gets 320 pixels and the other application gets the rest, the division between apps will be variable. It'll also be possible to have multiple windows from a single app so that, for example, two browser windows can be opened side-by-side." Similar reports on these changes at Wired, Engadget, and SlashCloud.

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