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Submission + - Why Only One Top Banker Went to Jail for the Financial Crisis

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: After the savings-and-loan scandals of the 1980s, the FBI opened 5,490 criminal investigations, 1,100 people were prosecuted, and 839 were convicted, including top executives at many of the largest failed banks. But Jesse Eisinger writes in the NYT that the largest man-made economic catastrophe since the Depression resulted in the jailing of a single investment banker, Kareem Serageldin, to 30 months in jail. Many assume that federal authorities simply lacked the guts to go after powerful Wall Street bankers but according to Eisinger, the truth is more complicated. "During the past decade, the Justice Department suffered a series of corporate prosecutorial fiascos, which led to critical changes in how it approached white-collar crime. The department began to focus on reaching settlements rather than seeking prison sentences, which over time unintentionally deprived its ranks of the experience needed to win trials against the most formidable law firms."

From 2004 to 2012, the Justice Department reached 242 deferred and nonprosecution agreements with corporations, compared with 26 in the previous 12 years, and while companies paid huge sums in the settlements, several veteran Justice Department officials say that these settlements emboldened defense lawyers. More crucially, they allowed the Justice Department’s lawyers to “succeed” without learning how to develop important prosecutorial skills. The erosion of the department’s actual trial skills soon became apparent. In November 2009, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn lost the first criminal case of the crisis against two Bear Stearns executives accused of misleading investors. The prosecutors rushed into trial, failing to prepare for the exculpatory emails uncovered by the defense team. After two days, the jury acquitted the two money managers. “For sure, it put a chill” on investigations says one former prosecutor. “Politicos care about winning and losing.” Federal prosecutors have their own explanation for how only one Wall Street executive landed in jail in the wake of the financial crisis, says Eisinger. "The cases were complex to investigate and would have been infernally difficult to explain to juries."

Submission + - More on the Disposable Tech Worker (sciencemag.org) 1

Jim_Austin writes: At a press conference this week, in response to a question by a Science Careers reporter, Scott Corley, the Executive Director of immigration-reform group Compete America, argued that retraining workers doesn't make sense for IT companies. For the company, he argued, H-1B guest workers are a much better choice. "It's not easy to retrain people," Corley said. "The further you get away from your education the less knowledge you have of the new technologies, and technology is always moving forward."

Submission + - The Air Force Isn't Ready to Replace the A-10 (vice.com) 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Would you rather have a Swiss Army knife or a tire iron? Context is, of course, everything, so imagine that your car has been getting flats like crazy, and the Swiss Army knife costs three times as much as the tire iron. Facing a round of deep budget cuts, the Department of Defense is opting for the Swiss Army knife, which is why its planning to ground the A-10 Thunderbolt II—called the "Air Force's most effective weapon"—in favor of long-delayed, over budget, under performing F-35, known as "the stealth fighter...designed for no one."

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a budget proposal to shrink the size of the armed forces to their smallest size in decades. Under the budget as proposed, the Air Force's entire fleet of 350 A-10s would be retired in order to save $3.5 billion over five years, and its former combat roles will be handed over to the newer F-35joint strike fighterand the growing drone fleet.

"The A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield," Hagel said. "It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses."

Submission + - Consumerist releases bracket for 2014 worst company in America

bi$hop writes: The Consumerist is proud to present the first round match-ups for this year’s Worst Company in America tournament!

There are several returning competitors, including previous champs EA and Comcast, three-time runner-up (and sort of winner from when it acquired Countrywide) Bank of America, the perennially hated Ticketmaster and PayPal (with their respective corporate counterparts LiveNation and eBay). There are also some new names on the list, like Koch Industries and lawsuit-happy seed company Monsanto. There’s also SeaWorld making a splash on WCIA 2014, presumably because people have been watching that Blackfish documentary.

Voting will begin tomorrow, March 19...

Submission + - Scammers with a conscience emerge (techienews.co.uk) 1

hypnosec writes: A new Ransomcrypt Trojan, detected recently, lets users request a decryption key without paying – that is if they wait for a month. The ransomware is no different from any other Trojan in the same family, but the authors of the Trojan claim that if users don’t wish to pay the ransom to get the unlock key they are entitled to a free unlock if they wait for a month from the day their personal files were encrypted. “P.S. Remember, we are not scammers. We don’t need your files” reads the ‘how to get data.txt’ file that comes along with the Trojan. "If you want, you can get a decryptor for free after a month. Just send a request immediately after infection. All data will be restored absolutely. Your warranty – decrypted samples and positive feedbacks from previous users."

Submission + - Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois employs white hats so bottom line won't be red (chicagobusiness.com)

BigVig209 writes: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois employs white hats so the bottom line won't turn red (from embarrassment). From the article, "The Chicago-based parent of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois has its own small team of hackers who spend their time poking, probing and trying to break into the company's systems, looking for problems before someone else does."

Submission + - Scientists demonstrate first contagious airborne WiFi virus (scienceblog.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown for the first time that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through densely populated areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans. The team designed and simulated an attack by a virus, called "Chameleon" that could not only spread quickly between homes and businesses, but avoided detection and identified the points at which WiFi access is least protected by encryption and passwords. The research appears in EURASIP Journal on Information Security.

Submission + - Oklahoma Schools Required to Teach Students Personal Finance 2

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Paula Burkes reports that under legislation passed in 2007, Oklahoma students, effective this May, now must demonstrate an understanding in banking, taxes, investing, loans, insurance, identity theft and eight other areas to graduate. The intent of personal financial literacy education is to inform students how individual choices directly influence occupational goals and future earnings potential. Basic economic concepts of scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, and cost/benefit analysis are interwoven throughout the standards and objectives. “Oklahoma has some of the strongest standards in the country.," says Amy Lee, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, which lobbied for and helped develop the curriculum. "Where other states require four or five standards regarding earnings, savings and investing, Oklahoma has 14 standards including three that are state-specific: bankruptcy, the financial impact of gambling and charitable giving." The law is designed to allow different districts to implement the curriculum in different ways, by offering instruction in various grade levels, or by teaching all the curriculum in a single class or spreading it across several courses. “The intent of this law was always to graduate students out of high school with a strong foundation in personal financial literacy to reduce the many social ills that come from mismanaging personal finance,” says Jim Murphree. “I cannot think of anything that we teach that is more relevant."

Submission + - Why do we think bankers get paid too much, but not technology CEOs? 1

DavidHumus writes: From the NY Times article (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/outrage-over-wall-st-pay-but-shrugs-for-silicon-valley/):

Big paydays on Wall Street often come under laserlike scrutiny, while Silicon Valley gets a pass on its own compensation excesses. Why the double standard?

The typical director at a Standard & Poor’s 500 company was paid $251,000 in 2012, according to Bloomberg News. Mr. Schmidt [Google's CEO] is above that range by over $100 million. ... The latest was the criticism of Jamie Dimon’s pay for 2013, given the many regulatory travails of his bank, JPMorgan Chase. The bank’s board awarded Mr. Dimon $20 million in pay for 2013, $18.5 million of which was in restricted stock that vests over three years. ... For one, the outsize pay for Mr. Schmidt doesn’t square with Google’s performance. Putting aside the fact that he is not even the chief executive, Google had net income of $12.9 billion last year. JPMorgan was higher at $17.9 billion....

On pure economics, Mr. Schmidt appears to be receiving an inordinate amount. By every measure, JPMorgan is bigger, with more profits. And yet Google awards $100 million to its chairman and there is nary a peep.

Maybe the bigger question is why is CEO pay so entirely disconnected from company performance?

Submission + - NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology is Scientific (neoacademic.com) 1

RichDiesal writes: A new report from the National Science Foundation, reported a few days ago right here on Slashdot, states that roughly 40% of Americans believe astrology to be scientific. But this is in fact false; most of those apparently astrology-loving Americans have actually confused astrology with astronomy. In a 100-person Mechanical Turk study with a $5 research budget, I verified this by actually asking people to define astrology. Among those that correctly defined astrology, only 10% believe it to be scientific; among those that confused astrology for astronomy, 92% believe "astrology" to be scientific. Apparently US science education is not so far behind the Chinese after all.

Submission + - Tesla Model S Caught Fire While Parked And Unplugged

cartechboy writes: Tesla had a mixed bag last year when it came to headlines. The good news was the Model S received a top safety rating, but the bad news came with three of those electric cars catching fire after receiving damage to the battery packs. Now another Tesla Model S has caught on fire, but this time the car was parked and unplugged. The fire happened earlier this morning in the owner's garage in Toronto, Ontario. At this time no one knows what sparked the fire, but we do know the vehicle was only about four months old. Again, it wasn't plugged into a charging station, and it wasn't turned on. Parked. In a garage. With no one near it. Interestingly, the battery on this particular Model S was unscathed by the fire. In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire. So, how did this Tesla fire happen, and will this blow up into a larger issue for the new automaker?

Submission + - New slashdot beta setting records for suckage 1

Ellis D. Tripp writes: FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA FUCK BETA

Oh, BTW, FUCK BETA

Submission + - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

s.petry writes: What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What's there to like about the BETA? (slashdot.org) 7

Narnie writes: I come to /. not for the nearly interesting pseudo-tech articles, but for the lively, self-moderated discussion. Today I'm bit surprised to see every discussion summarized to fuckbeta. Popping up all over the place there's discussions about beta and even alternatives being revived and created. As I tend not to RTFA, I haven't sampled the beta myself. So, I ask you guys, what's there to like about the BETA and what's there to loath?

Submission + - Slashdot users give new beta design a huge Bronx cheer 2

Presto Vivace writes: Alice Marshall reports that:

Slashdot users are extremely unhappy with the new Slashdot Beta design. The comment section of every single post is devoted to dissatisfaction with the new design. ... ... The thing to keep in mind about community sites devoted to user generated content is that the users generate the content.

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