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Submission + - How the United Nations Started a Cholera Epidemic in Haiti 3

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Celso Perez and Muneer Ahmad write in The Atlantic that despite evidence to the contrary, for nearly three years, the United Nations has categorically denied that it introduced cholera into Haiti after the country suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010. Since then, cholera has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 600,000, creating an ongoing epidemic. According to extensive documentation by scientists and journalists, peacekeeping troops belonging to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) inadvertently but negligently brought cholera into the country several months after the January 2010 earthquake. That October, troops from Nepal carrying the disease were stationed at a military base near the town of Méyè. Because of inadequate water and sanitation facilities at the base, cholera-infected sewage contaminated the Artibonite River, the largest river in Haiti and one the country's main water sources. As locals consumed the contaminated water, cholera spread across the country. Absent from Haiti for over a century, cholera is now projected to plague the country for at least another decade. "By refusing to acknowledge responsibility, the United Nations jeopardizes its standing and moral authority in Haiti and in other countries where its personnel are deployed," writes the Washington Post Editorial Board adding that without "speaking frankly about its own responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti, the organization does a disservice to Haiti and Haitians, who deserve better."

Submission + - The Shortest Internet Censorship Debate Ever (

rysiek writes: When a politician starts talking about defending the innocence of children, there's bound to be a great policy initiative ahead. That's how British PM David Cameron introduced the British porn block. That's also how the Polish Minister of Justice started his remark yesterday morning on how good an idea it is and that it should be introduced in Poland. This started the shortest Internet censorship debate ever, as in the evening of the same day the polish Prime Minister and the Minister of Administration and Digitization denounced any such ideas:

We shall not block access to legal content regardless of whether or not it appeases us aesthetically or ethically

There had been several full-blown Internet censorship debates in Poland during last 4 years. Apparently the arguments against it were not lost on at least some of Polish politicians.

Submission + - Why your users hate Agile (

Esther Schindler writes: What developers see as iterative and flexible, users see as disorganized and never-ending. Why your users hate Agile development (and what you can do about it) shares how some experienced developers have changed that perception.

...She's been frustrated by her Agile experiences — and so have her clients. "There is no process. Things fly all directions, and despite SVN [version control] developers overwrite each other and then have to have meetings to discuss why things were changed. Too many people are involved, and, again, I repeat, there is no process."

The premise here is not that Agile sucks — quite to the contrary — but that developers have to understand how Agile processes can make users anxious, and learn to respond to those fears. Not all those answers are foolproof. For example:

Detailed designs and planning done prior to a project seems to provide a "safety net" to business sponsors, says Semeniuk. "By providing a Big Design Up Front you are pacifying this request by giving them a best guess based on what you know at that time — which is at best partial or incorrect in the first place." The danger, he cautions, is when Big Design becomes Big Commitment — as sometimes business sponsors see this plan as something that needs to be tracked against. "The big concern with doing a Big Design up front is when it sets a rigid expectation that must be met, regardless of the changes and knowledge discovered along the way," says Semeniuk.

How do you respond to user anxiety from Agile processes?


Submission + - Guardian to close move to Twitter: April Fool? (

teflon_king writes: Today's April fool joke by the Guardian that the newspaper will close and be replaced by a Twitter service is certainly amusing. However, despite the well-aimed kick at the much-hyped message service, the joke may linger as more a commentary on a newspaper industry under pressure. This is reinforced by the Guardian's recent submission to the UK govt Digital Britain report which has a go at search engines and content aggregators like slashdot.

Submission + - What's hiding in the Ts and Cs? (

Barence writes: "Last year, the National Consumer Council produced a report called "Whose licence is it anyway?", which called for action against companies that mislead consumers into signing away their legal rights. The NCC concluded that there was a "significant imbalance between the rights of the consumer and the rights of the holder", and reported 17 companies — including Adobe, Microsoft and Apple — to the Office of Fair Trading under the Unfair Terms and Conditions of Contract law. With publishers slipping draconian and sometimes even downright bizarre terms and conditions into their EULAs, and consumers often agreeing to that contract without even reading it, this feature asks software publishers and lawyers some difficult questions, and reveals just what rights you have with the software you've purchased."

Submission + - 1-Click Patent Reexam Celebrates Third B-Day

theodp writes: "Pressed a long time ago on Amazon's 1-Click patent, USPTO Chief Q. Todd Dickinson fired back: "I make this challenge all the time. If you're aware of prior art out there that invalidates a patent that is existing, file a re-examination. We'll be happy to take a look at it." So unemployed actor Peter Calveley took the Q challenge and forced a reexamination of the 1-Click patent. And true to Q's word, the USPTO has been happy to look at the prior art. For three years. On Monday, the USPTO can put three candles on the cake to celebrate thirty-six months of indecisiveness on the reexamination of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent. So is this what "not broken" looks like? BTW, Bezos himself once proposed that a three-year life for patents was more than long enough (later retracted by Amazon, of course!)."
The Internet

Submission + - New Zealand copyright law gets blacked out

Audent writes: "New Zealanders protesting against the introduction of a new copyright law have blacked out Twitter... the likes of @stephenfry have joined in. Basically they're calling for a suspension of section 92 of the act which makes ISPs responsible for policing any copyright breaches that may be drawn to their attention in the form of take down notices. Worse, there's no safe harbour provision for ISPs. Worse still, the definition of ISP has been tweaked to include anyone who offers internet access to another person so businesses, schools, libraries, you name it — you're all ISPs. The law also applies to anyone who hosts content — so that means if you have a blog or run a forum, you're an ISP. The Twitter blackout is designed to draw attention to it and as Slashdot's covered this in the past, it would be great if /. could support the cause."

Submission + - Firefox is faster in wine than the native one

An anonymous reader writes: Tuxradar did some benchmarks comparing Firefox Windows and Linux JavaScript performance.
"We did some simple JavaScript benchmarks of Firefox 3.0 using Windows and Linux to see how it performed across the platforms — and the results are pretty bleak for Linux."
Later on, they tried wine.
"The end result: Firefox from Mozilla or from Fedora has almost nil speed difference, and Firefox running on Wine is faster than native Firefox."

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