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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 84 declined, 19 accepted (103 total, 18.45% accepted)

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Submission + - Texas Censors Climate Change Report ( 1

Doc Ruby writes: Rick Perry's Texas government censored a scientific report the state commissioned that showed human activity pushed climate change to raise sea levels recently in Galveston Bay:

Top environmental officials under Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change. For the past decade, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is run by Perry political appointees, including famed global warming denier Bryan Shaw, has contracted with the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce regular reports on the state of the Bay. But when HARC submitted its most recent State of the Bay publication to the commission earlier this year, officials decided they couldn't accept a report that said climate change is caused by human activity and is causing the sea level to rise. Top officials at the commission proceeded to edit the paper to censor its references to human-induced climate change or future projections on how much the bay will rise. [...] TCEQ even deleted a reference to the fact that the bay is currently rising by 3 millimeters a year—five times faster than the long-term average.

HARC refused to allow Texas to publish the censored report, saying "It would not have said anything."

Submission + - AIDS Vaccine Breakthru (

Doc Ruby writes: Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in MD, USA announced they've disrupted the means by which HIV stops the immune system from attacking it, after the HIV has stolen a cholesterol membrane from the immune system first responders:

Scientists say they have found a way to disarm the AIDS virus in research that could lead to a vaccine. Researchers have discovered that if they eliminate a cholesterol membrane surrounding the virus, HIV cannot disrupt communication among disease-fighting cells and the immune system returns to normal. [...] 'By stealing cholesterol from the envelope of the virus, we can neutralize the subversion,' said Graham. 'We’ve broken the code; we can shut down the type of interference that HIV is having on the immune system.'


Submission + - eVote Vendors Need Temp Tech Workers

Doc Ruby writes: Black Box Voting is calling all tech workers to assist electronic voting vendors fill their critical shortage of tech support:

Hiring is underway for temporary technicians to help with voting machines this fall. As described in the new report by, which you can learn more about here:

Vendor dependence is undermining the structure of US elections. We want to see You, the People, enter into the vendor mix directly.

Here is some information on how to find voting machine technician positions:

Temporary election tech support jobs have been spotted on,, and local tech temp firms like (in 2006) DecisionOne. The tech services firm may be a subcontractor for the big four voting machine companies. Sometimes you'll find the positions advertised by your local county.

In a presidential election year, voting machine vendors will need thousands of technicians staffed around the country. For example, anywhere that Election Systems & Software has a machine, they are under contract to provide an on-site support tech. Hart Intercivic, Premier (Diebold), and Sequoia also use Election Day support technicians.


Submission + - Spying Illegally on the Wrong Americans

Doc Ruby writes: The Daily Kos is reporting and discussing more revelations by Wired's Ryan Singel of the FBI's FISA document dump:

Hey Congress, here's another one for you, once again via Ryan Singel at Wired. In reviewing newly declassified documents, Singel not only discovered that the secret, rubberstamping FISA court showed more concern over Bush administration spying than a supposedly-overseeing Congress, but this little gem: "Mobile Phone Number Moving Caused Feds to Wiretap Wrong American."

[...]info on when the FBI learned to wiretap VOIP calls, how number portability messed with FBI taps, and a moment of candor from an FBI technician about how the FBI's wiretapping software could work with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.

For instance, the FBI accidentally listened in on one innocent American phone conversations due to a hack a phone company used to let people take port their phone numbers from one cell provider to another. At issue is a workaround used by CDMA providers, where a carrier assigns an alias number to a ported number in order to speed up switching at a user's usual calling area. The workaround has the unfortunate side effect of occasionally reporting the alias — which could actually be a real person's number — instead of the real caller to the FBI's wiretapping software.

In the FBI's own words, "due to misinformation in the call records, the unrelated subscriber was temporarily included in the investigation" and "this error has recently misled a few FBI investigations.

Secondly, in one message thread (.pdf) about moving offices in Manhattan and wiretapping the traditional wireline phone service in March 2006 [three months after the warrantless wiretapping story broke], one FBI employee who works for the FBI's Operational Technology Division asks if the NSA still does warrantless wiretaps and suggests how the FBI's equipment could be configured to deal with the lack of court orders...

The outrage at these revelations is downright libertarian, and geeky, too. Looks like the rest of the blogosphere is finally turning into Slashdot. Will that transformation affect Congress, as its membership (including the House) heads into a "change" election in November?
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Intel Demos SW-Defined WiFi/WiMAX/DVB-H Chip

Doc Ruby writes: Electronics Weekly reports:

Intel has developed a test chip for software defined radio that can handle WiFi, WiMAX and DVB-H digital TV in one chip. This kind of chip would allow equipment to access the WiFi network in the home, automatically handover to a WiMAX network when you leave the house and also access digital TV on the move, all through one chip.
It's also a proof that the entire class of SW radios that could also possibly converge CDMA, GSM and various other radio networks for opportunistic handoffs by a single device, a "universal radio" that could converge all wireless device types into a single device that can use content formerly locked into a single radio type.

Submission + - Justice Department Fears AT&T Destruction

Doc Ruby writes: The US Department of Justice has been working with telcos to intercept communications (voice, email, Web...), sometimes allegedly in violation of laws requiring due process. Now analysts believe that US telcos might be liable to every person in the US who owns a phone for violating laws protecting us:

In short, it is increasingly evident that the major US TelCos enabled the surveillance of every single domestic communication, or cannot prove that they did not. So in light of the possibility that The Program monitored the communication of every American with a phone or a web connection, this means that nearly all Americans may have standing to participate in a lawsuit should any plaintiff achieve success in showing standing and damages from the program.
Such a liability could break AT&T and any other telcos bearing it. This analysis also explains recent DoJ filings taking AT&T's position against Network Neutrality. This "private/public partnership" might have done irreparable damage to everyone plugged into the switchboard.

Submission + - House: Investigate NASA General Counsel

Doc Ruby writes: _Government Executive_ magazine reports that the Democratic and Republican ranking members of the House Science and Technology committee's Investigations subcommittee have formally requested the Justice Department investigate the NASA General Counsel (top lawyer) Michael Wholley for destroying all recordings of his meeting with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin:

At a May subcommittee hearing, Wholley testified that he broke the disks in pieces and threw them away, shortly after the agency chief of staff collected all known recordings of the meeting. Griffin had called the meeting to discuss an IG group investigation that found the appearance of a lack of independence in Inspector General Robert Cobb's close relationship with the administrator. The investigation did not find evidence of an actual lack of independence. [...]
"Wholley's knowing destruction of sensitive records in his possession was a great detriment to our committees' investigations," [...]
The lawmakers rejected Wholley's argument that the recordings were not yet government records when he destroyed them

Submission + - Baghdad Embassy Plans on Internet

Doc Ruby writes: Daily Kos readers have found a Yahoo/AP news report story about secret design plans of the US Embassy compound posted to the Internet:

Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital. [...] "We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas," said Gonzalo Gallegos, a [State] department spokesman. "This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort." [...] "In terms of commenting whether they're accurate, obviously we wouldn't be commenting on that because we don't want people to know whether they're accurate or not for security reasons," [Dan Sreebny, a spokesman for the embassy in Baghdad] said.

Submission + - FBI Blames Broken Security Laws on Broken DB

Doc Ruby writes: The FBI abuse of the National Security Letters (AKA NSL) system that's been in the news lately is now claimed to be the fault of the FBI's notoriously broken computer system that's been 'upgrading' for years since it first went over schedule, over budget, and showed up useless the first time:

[Techdirt reports]: Turns out that, since that system was effectively useless, the FBI was either tracking the use of NSLs via (no, seriously) 3x5 index cards or entering them into a totally separate database. This database was supposedly connected to nothing, and each use of an NSL had to be entered manually using a straining process of filling out a dozen fields. Apparently, filling out a dozen fields in a special database was too strenuous (especially when it came to violating fundamental rights of citizens of the country), so the NSLs weren't well recorded — and therefore, the use of them was underreported to Congress.

Submission + - GM Cancer Potato Study Suppressed for 8 Years

Doc Ruby writes: Welsh activists have released after an 8 year court battle a Russian study that shows increased cancer linked to eating Genetically Modified potatoes, supporting independent research by Arpad Pusztai:

Alan Simpson, a Labour MP and green campaigner, said: "These trials should be stopped. The research backs up the work of Arpad Pusztai and it shows that he was the victim of a smear campaign by the biotech industry. There has been a cover-up over these findings and the Government should not be a party to that." Mr Simpson said the findings, which showed that lab rats developed tumours, were released by anti-GM campaigners in Wales. Dr Pusztai and a colleague used potatoes that had been genetically modified to produce a protein, lectin. They found cell damage in the rats' stomachs, and in parts of their intestines.
While the trials have flaws, those methodological defects seem to downplay an actually higher risk of cancer:

Half of the rats in the trial died, and results were taken from those that survived, in breach of normal scientific practice.

Submission + - 3D Digital Earth Programming Contest

Doc Ruby writes: The International Society of Digital Earth is offering prizes in its 3D Digital Earth Grand Challenge for 3D programming to communicate climate change info:

How can we better experience this world of ours at the cross roads of human impacts and climate change? How can we best communicate these experiences, particularly in light of the major changes Earth now faces, as one world? How can we most compellingly understand and communicate those experiences and processes? What 3D experiences or 3D tools can you share that might encourage the opportunity for a better world? If you think you can do this in a way that demonstrates how people can more easily and effectively communicate, YOU COULD WIN BIG!

Winners will be flown, with all expenses paid, from around the world to San Francisco for the June 5th to June 9th symposium. Six (6) finalists will receive their awards and prize packages at the Gala Awards Dinner on June 7th on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Contest sponsors, including Google, ESRI, and NASA will be attending the awards ceremonies for the International Symposium for Digital Earth awards dinner. Winners will be afforded the unique opportunity to interview with these industry giants for potential employment opportunities.

Runners-up will receive outstanding recognition by the International Society of Digital Earth, and the major geobrowser leaders; ESRI, GeoFusion, Google, and the NASA World Wind team.
Looks like the geeks really will inherit the Earth.
United States

Submission + - Revived House Science/Tech Investigations Subcomm.

Doc Ruby writes: The US House of Representatives has revived the once moribund Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Slashdot has covered government bias/censorship of science in policy. This subcommittee's job is to expose and correct such misgovernment. The new subcommittee Chair describes its recent history and immediate future in an interview. He mentions an anonymous tipoff form anyone can use to report abuse to the subcommittee.

Submission + - PharmaCo Promotes Unapproved Uses

Doc Ruby writes: According to the NY Times:
Eli Lilly encouraged primary care physicians to use Zyprexa, a powerful drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in patients who did not have either condition, according to internal Lilly marketing materials.
In 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled in MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. that:
Producers of technology who promote the ease of infringing on copyrights can be sued for inducing copyright infringement committed by their users.
Grokster was shown to have "promoted" infringing use, even though it never publicly promoted such use. Only internal documents demonstrating some Grokster execs told others that their business model depended on substantial infringing use were shown as evidence of promotion. If such a weak standard of promotion defines copyright infringement, could Eli Lilly's explicit, public promotion make it liable for abusing prescriptions of its drug products?

Submission + - Global Firings at Skype

Doc Ruby writes: Om Malik reports at GigaOm that Skype yesterday fired practically all its global "business development" execs in a major reorganization, a "recentralization of marketing". The new firings follow a steady trend of other firings there. Are "bizdev" staff the highest evolved marketing types, whose performance is measured only in frequency of getting fired? Or has marketing just proven once again that it's superior to any new age competitive job title? More seriously, does this reorg say more about the de/evolution of Skype, once the biggest P2P phone network, into merely a voice feature of eBay? Or more about the evolution of the VoIP biz?

Submission + - X.Org Foundation Election Results

Doc Ruby writes: The X.Org Foundation election for the Board of Directors was concluded on 12 November 2006. Egbert Eich, Bart Massey, Keith Packard and Daniel Stone were elected for two year terms, and Stuart Kreitman was elected for a one year term.

X.Org Foundation is chartered to develop and execute effective strategies that provide worldwide stewardship of the X Window System technology and standards. The X.Org Foundation has an open membership, and a Board of Directors which is elected from the membership.

The election counted under 100 voting members. The X Window System underlies most Linux, Mac, and most Unix (and other) desktops, used by millions of people worldwide. The Foundation needs more members to contribute the project, and to help elect leaders. If you have time and good sense to help, please join and participate.

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