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Comment Re:Light years (Score 1) 174

Astronomers use parsecs because they have a clear definition based on a physical, measurable distance. When you say light year you have to specify what a year is (there are several kinds, some change over time). In many cases it does not matter and light years are sufficiently accurate given the distance uncertainty and they are more intuitive.

Submission + - Nearest Star Has Earth-sized Planet in its Habitable Zone (discovermagazine.com)

Flash Modin writes: In a shocking find, astronomers Wednesday announced their discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.2 light-years away. This warm world, cataloged as Proxima b, sits smack in the middle of its habitable zone — the sweetest of sweet spots — where liquid surface water could exist. But Proxima Centauri is not like our sun. It’s a cool, low-mass star known as a red dwarf. So the planet only qualifies as potentially habitable because it circles its sun in an orbit tighter than Mercury’s.

Submission + - Initial results of CO pot legalization "tax for schools" pre-legislation hype

ofprimes writes: I live in Aurora, a suburb of Denver where we have a highly-rated school district (http://cherrycreekschools.org/Pages/default.aspx), and where recreational pot has been legalized. We live on the "outskirts" of Aurora and nearly next to farmland. Not long ago we had a murder at a pot shop less than a mile away from us (http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/06/20/dispensary-owner-says-guards-murder-was-caught-on-video/), and that opened our eyes to unwanted effects of legalized marijuana, but now we received this email from the *Superintendant* the school district yesterday as we have two kids attending Cherry Creek schools. To add to the frustration of our rural-life completely changing (crime has increased in the Denver area — http://www.americanthinker.com...), but my wife works — as a volunteer — nearly full-time on the PTO doing fundraiser after fundraiser bringing in whatever cash they can to keep the schools current and bring in essential technology needed in these times of hi-tech. The schools are always strapped and if they want "modern" technology, they have to raise funds for it through various means.

Receiving this letter was infuriating because the only positive side (other than convenience) for legalizing marijuana was that this legalization would be a godsend for the schools and PTO teams who commit so much of their time for free, for the kids. I guess not.

---------------------------------------------------------------
August 23, 2016

From the Desk of the Superintendent
There’s no easy fix for the shortcomings in Colorado’s school financing system.

Since 2009, the state Legislature has taken liberties with the school funding formula mandated by the voter-approved Amendment 23, using the so-called “negative factor” to cut funding every year. The Legislature has relied on circuitous reasoning and intricate formulas to withhold crucial money from school districts across the state.

We’ve felt the impact of those cuts in the Cherry Creek School District. We’ve been underfunded by about $50 million annually. Since 2012, $380 million has been withheld from Cherry Creek. We’re facing a shortfall of more than $20 million for the 2017-2018 school year. These cuts have the potential to impact every facet of district operations, from recruiting new teachers to maintaining a reasonable class size.

It’s a crisis that’s tied to our fundamental priorities as Coloradans, one that won’t find an easy remedy from the state’s nascent marijuana industry. People keep asking me, ‘Where’s the pot money?’ The short answer is that the Cherry Creek School District hasn’t received any. The longer answer is about how the money actually is allocated.

The lead-up to the legalization of marijuana in 2012 brought plenty of rhetoric regarding the positive impact on public schools in Colorado. Voters were told that taxes on legal marijuana would prove to be a windfall for cash-strapped school districts; millions of dollars’ worth of education cuts from the state would be offset by new income from a new vice tax.

That’s not what happened. In the fiscal year 2014-15, for example, taxes from the sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado totaled $77.9 million, $66.1 million of which came from special sales and excise taxes.

For context, the state’s general fund is about $9.7 billion, and the total state budget is $26 billion. By state law, the first $40 million of the excise taxes from marijuana sales went toward capital improvements for poor and rural school districts, and the remainder went toward marijuana education, treatment and regulation and enforcement programs across the state.

The Cherry Creek School District saw none of that money, nor did most of the other large school districts in the Denver metro area.

Similarly, the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grants allotted for the 2016-17 year by the State Board of Education will have no impact on Cherry Creek Schools. Funding for projects in Aurora Public Schools, Adams 14 and Westminster all carry the contingent of matching funds from the school districts, and the vast majority of the 31 awarded grants will go to rural districts far outside of the metro area.

But to be eligible for the grants, those school districts must pass a local bond issue first, or already have matching capital funds available.

So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.

This isn’t a new story. Taxes on alcohol and tobacco haven’t fixed the state’s quandary when it comes to funding public education, nor have revenues from lotteries or casinos.

The reality is that any fix will have to come from a much more complex and overarching effort. To offer our students the resources they need to learn, we need a much more profound change at the state level, one that comes down to real and lasting change. It comes down to spelling out our collective priorities as Coloradans, to urging our elected representatives to do the hard work and make sure that students in Colorado receive the funding spelled out by a voter-approved constitutional amendment.

That effort is much more complex than any easy fixes offered by legal marijuana.

Harry C. Bull, Jr.
Office of the Superintendent

Cherry Creek School District #5
4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
303-773-1184 | cherrycreekschools.org

Submission + - Malibu Media stay lifted, motion to quash denied

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the federal court for the Eastern District of New York, where all Malibu Media cases have been stayed for the past year, the Court has lifted the stay and denied the motion to quash in the lead case, thus permitting all 84 cases to move forward. In his 28-page decision (PDF), Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke accepted the representations of Malibu's expert, one Michael Patzer from a company called Excipio, that in detecting BitTorrent infringement he relies on "direct detection" rather than "indirect detection", and that it is "not possible" for there to be misidentification.

Submission + - ReactOS 0.4.2 Officially Released (with introduced dot.NET 2.0/4.0 support) (reactos.org)

jeditobe writes: Version 0.4.2 of ReactOS, the open-source binary-compatible Windows re-implementation, is now officially available.

What’s more appealing in ReactOS 0.4.2 is it includes the ability to read and write various file systems for Linux/Unix namely ext family and Btrfs and ability to read such file systems as ReiserFS and UFS.

ReactOS 0.4.2 also features Cygwin support, .NET 2.0 (https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-6382) and 4.0 (https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-11266) application support, among other updated packages and revised external dependencies such as Wine and UniATA. The team also worked to improve overall user experience.

ReactOS support has improved to the point that games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJTL8srScQI) and Doom 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rluGgjcXtEY) should even be playable on this "open-source Windows" OS along with applications like Thunderbird and 7-Zip.

ReactOS is free. You can boot your desktop or laptop from it. It looks like Windows (a 10-year-old version, anyway), so you already know how to use it. And it'll run some Windows and DOS applications, maybe including DOS games that regular 64-bit Windows can no longer touch.

Submission + - Why Past Was Better Than The Present For Half The Americans? (primepost.in)

An anonymous reader writes: Trump thinks present America is far worse a place than it was in the past. So, his slogan for the election, “Make America great again.” He lashes his opponent’s policies as a continuation of the present. Hence his tweet: A vote for Hillary is a vote for another generation of poverty, high crime, and lost opportunities.

Submission + - Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years (independent.co.uk)

campuscodi writes: Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.

The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification. In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia's forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. One of the main reasons is to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Submission + - Why are GitHub and WordPress.com censoring content? (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: The internet is known for the free and rapid dissemination of uncensored information, but lately sites and services have been censoring content--including GitHub and WordPress.com.

Bryan Lunduke says: "GitHub, a service primarily used for open source and free culture projects, recently censored a repository that contained information proving the NSA developed malware targeting numerous systems." And WordPress.com "censored content posted by “Guccifer 2” that was potentially damaging to the reputation of the Democratic party."

Neither organizations have responded to requests by Lunduke to find out why they took those actions.

This comes after Twitter and Facebook came under fire for their censorship actions.

Lunduke poses the question:

When something that many people feel is important to their lives occurs and the major online platforms for disseminating that information censor them, what does that say about those platforms?


Comment Google's management quality is degrading rapidly. (Score 1) 184

Mod parent up!

Quote: "... 30 useless Google applications which try to get updates every month."

Posted this comment yesterday, to another Slashdot story: Google's management quality is degrading rapidly.

Google is allowing phone companies to abuse customers, so the phone companies can make more money. Google is also doing its own abuse, as the parent comment says. My opinion.

Comment Re:How dare they hack NY Times reporters! (Score -1, Troll) 61

So...it's NSA's fault when foreign intelligence services conduct espionage against US political parties, media organizations, etc., and actively try to influence the outcomes of US elections, and manipulate the opinions of US citizens? You realize that no matter who wins in November, possibly millions of Americans will believe the election was stolen or rigged, and possibly by foreign influence?

I know, I know -- in this crowd, the US is the enemy, here, and we don't actually need to have any kind of foreign intelligence capability; NSA's sole purpose for being is to figure out ways to illegally spy on Americans so it can solidify the power base of shadowy elites. Or something. Whenever I need to be reminded of just how out of touch many people are with history, reality, or both, I read Slashdot comments.

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