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Submission + - Transport employees were secretly paid by the DEA to search travelers bags (economist.com)

schwit1 writes: THERE are many reasons why you might have been stopped at an American transport hub and your bag searched by officials. You might have be chosen at random. Perhaps you matched a profile. Or you could have been flagged by an airline, railroad or security employee who was being secretly paid by the government as a confidential informant to uncover evidence of drug smuggling.

A committee of Congress heard remarkable testimony last week about a long-running programme by the Drug Enforcement Administration. For years, officials from the Department of Justice testified, the DEA has paid millions of dollars to a variety of confidential sources to provide tips on travellers who may be transporting drugs or large sums of money. Those sources include staff at airlines, Amtrak, parcel services and even the Transportation Safety Administration.

The testimony follows a report by the Justice Department that uncovered the DEA programme and detailed its many potential violations. According to that report, airline employees and other informers had an incentive to search more travellers' bags, since they received payment whenever their actions resulted in DEA seizures of cash or contraband. The best-compensated of these appears to have been a parcel company employee who received more than $1m from the DEA over five years. One airline worker, meanwhile, received $617,676 from 2012 to 2015 for tips that led to confiscations. But the DEA itself profited much more from the programme. That well-paid informant got only about 12% of the amount the agency seized as a result of the his tips.

Submission + - Should Federally funded projects require sharing revenue on results? (theatlantic.com)

riskkeyesq writes: The Atlantic is running a story about the patent fight between MIT and Berkeley over the invention of CRISPR.
"This week, the biggest science-patent dispute in decades is getting a hearing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters. The invention in dispute is the gene-editing technique CRISPR, and at stake are millions, maybe even billions, of dollars for the winning side. CRISPR is the hugely hyped technology that could launch life-saving therapies, novel genetically modified crops, new forms of mosquito control, and more. It could—without much exaggeration—change the world."
Shouldn't Federally funded projects return a portion of the proceeds to the people?

Submission + - Foreign Techies Were Already in Limbo. Now They Have Trump. (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: When Obama announced his suite of executive actions on immigration in 2014, Indian immigrants waiting for green cards were thrilled: now, even though they still might have to wait as long as 10 years to make it to the front of the green card line, at least they could switch jobs and get raises—things that most Americans take for granted, but that aren't feasible on an H1-B visa if you want to keep your place in the green card line. But that specific proposed action never became law, and now, under Trump, Indian tech workers aren't just frustrated—they’re scared.

Submission + - Tesla's solar roof will cost less than a regular roof (electrek.co)

DirkDaring writes: Elon Musk, during the special shareholders meeting to approve the merger with SolarCity, said that he now feels confident that they could deliver their solar roof at a lower cost than a regular roof – even before energy production. The solar roof, according to Musk, would last twice as long a as a normal roof and cost less — including the labor installation costs and without subsidies. If true, it could be a shake-up of the multi-billion dollar roofing industry.

Submission + - China Presses Tech Firms to Police the Internet (wsj.com)

alternative_right writes: Picture an internet where tech companies are deputized as crime-fighters, where censors keep radical views in check and where governments work together to achieve global order in cyberspace.

That is China’s vision, and its third-annual World Internet Conference that ended Friday was aimed at proselytizing that view to tech executives and government leaders who assembled here from around the world.

Submission + - Daniel vs Goliath: Dan's Deals Gets Google to Abolish its Digital Death Penalty

theodp writes: The Guardian reports: "Google has reversed its decision to disable the accounts of customers who resold the company’s new Pixel phone, after a chorus of complaints over the company’s imposition of a “digital death penalty” for a minor infraction. The company emailed users who had been banned, noting that it had reviewed their appeals and re-enabled their accounts. Users had been shut down after they were accused of taking advantage of tax loopholes to earn a profit reselling the phone. [...] The bans were first reported on Wednesday by Daniel Eleff, the owner of money-saving site Dan’s Deals. Multiple members of his forum had found their Google accounts deactivated, after they’d taken advantage of a deal involving shipping the phone to a reseller in New Hampshire, a US state with no sales tax, who would then split the profit with them after the phone was sold on."

Submission + - China hits back at Trump's climate change hoax claims (cnn.com)

furnotree0106 writes: Beijing has turned the tables on US President-elect Donald Trump over his accusation that climate change is a Chinese hoax, claiming that it was the Republican's own party that initiated global warming negotiations.

Submission + - Obama criticizes the spread of fake news on Facebook (theverge.com)

burnspaukert writes: President Obama took time during a press conference today to assail the spread of fake news online, particularly the way it travels on Facebook. “In an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television,” he said, “if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”

Submission + - Dutch Science, Men Need Not Apply

greg65535 writes: In order to reduce its gender imbalance, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in Amsterdam will hold special election rounds, one in 2017 and one in 2018, for which only women can be nominated. Source: http://science.sciencemag.org/... (paywalled). No comment.

Submission + - Mapping UK for 5G mobile telephone ability (bbc.co.uk)

eionmac writes: The BBC has reported a planning tool will use Ordnance Survey's mapping data and high-resolution aerial images to produce its 3D models, while weather data will be provided by the Met Office. This will give mobile telephone companies the ability to know range and problems even with change in seasons as 5G "is effected even by leaves and rain". This will show up the many lead roofs and granite walled buildings and other problems in the city-rural areas of UK and also perhaps prevent many dead spots by proper placement of telephone masts.

Submission + - Elon Musk: Tesla's Solar Roof Will Cost Less Than a Traditional Roof (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: After Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity, the new company is now an unequivocal sun-to-vehicle energy firm. And Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk didn’t take long to make his first big announcement as head of this new enterprise. Minutes after shareholders approved the deal—about 85 percent of them voted yes—Musk told the crowd that he had just returned from a meeting with his new solar engineering team. Tesla’s new solar roof product, he proclaimed, will actually cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof—even before savings from the power bill. “Electricity,” Musk said, “is just a bonus.” If Musk’s claims prove true, this could be a real turning point in the evolution of solar power. The rooftop shingles he unveiled just a few weeks ago are something to behold: They’re made of textured glass and are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing products. They also transform light into power for your home and your electric car. “So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and—by the way—generates electricity?” Musk said. “Why would you get anything else?” Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla’s new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said.

Submission + - ESA launches four Galileo satellites (esa.int)

nojayuk writes: From the ESA website: An Ariane 5 rocket has launched four additional Galileo satellites, accelerating deployment of the new satellite navigation system. The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) carrying Galileo satellites 15–18. The first pair was released 3 hours 35 minutes and 44 seconds after liftoff, while the second separated 20 minutes later. The Galileos are at their target altitude, after a flawless release from the new dispenser designed to handle four satellites.

This was the first flight of a heavy-lift ES-variant of the Ariane V since the ATV resupply missions to the ISS. Previously Galileo satellites have been launched in pairs by Soyuz-Fregat craft from French Guiana. Two additional Ariane 5 launches each carrying four Galileo satellites are scheduled in 2017 and 2018. The full system of 24 satellites plus spares is expected to be in place by 2020.

Submission + - Germany's Justice Minister Says Facebook Should Be Treated As a Media Company (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's Justice Minister says he believes Facebook should be treated like a media company rather than a technology platform, suggesting he favors moves to make social media groups criminally liable for failing to remove hate speech. Under a program that runs until March, German authorities are monitoring how many racist posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to take legislative measures if the results are still unsatisfactory by then. Maas has said the European Union needs to decide whether platform companies should be treated like radio or television stations, which can be held accountable for the content they publish. Under current EU guidelines Facebook and other social media networks are not liable for any criminal content or hate posts hosted on their platform. Instead, in May Facebook, Google's YouTube and Twitter signed the EU hate speech code, vowing to fight racism and xenophobia by reviewing the majority of hate speech notifications within 24 hours. But the code is voluntary not legally binding. The state justice ministers meeting in Berlin called on the government to take swift action against hate speech on the Internet. The ministers called for more transparency and said social media companies should be obliged to regularly publish figures on how many hate posts have been deleted. They also wanted more public information on how notifications are processed and the criteria behind the decision making. Facebook says it is a technology company, not a media company, that builds the tools to supply users with news and information but does not produce content.

Submission + - Finally, a type of face that men recognize better than women (vanderbilt.edu)

Science_afficionado writes: Vanderbilt psychologist Isabel Gauthier reports the results of a study using Barbies and Transformers that finds men are better at recognizing different Transformer faces while women are better at recognizing different Barbie faces. Because boys play more with Transformers and girls play more with Barbies, this results supports the theory that experience plays an important role in facial recognition. It also suggests that women’s general advantage in recognizing faces is not hardwired into the brain but is a consequence of the fact that they pay more attention to faces than men do.

Submission + - Eagle is the natural enemy of the drone (abc.net.au)

ICantFindADecentNick writes: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have become unlikely prey for wedge-tailed eagles in Western Australia's Goldfields, costing a mining giant more than $100,000 to replace its newest surveying tool.

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