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Comment Re:Just like Animal Farm.. (Score 3, Informative) 457

And if Congress had to participate in Social Security, ObamaCare, or any one of a thousand indignities and injustices inflicted upon the American people, they wouldn't have lasted 15 minutes in debate, let alone get passed. Maybe we need to take a cue from Libya, Egypt, and Dhubai and get rid of the privileged overlords.

Submission + - Social Security Information Systems Near Collapse (informationweek.com)

matty619 writes: An Information Week article warns that the computer systems that run the Social Security Administration which were deployed in 1979 may collapse by 2012 due to increased workload, and a half $Billion upgrade which won't be ready until 2015.
One of the biggest problems is the agency's transition to a new data center, according to the report. The IG has characterized the replacement of the SSA's National Computer Center (NCC) — built in 1979 — as the SSA's "primary IT investment" in the next few years.
The agency has received more than $500 million so far to replace the outdated center, which is now so severely strained by an expanded workload over its time of operation that it may not be able to function by 2012, according to the report.

Submission + - Highspeed internet in the country

Able4201 writes: First off, let me apologize if I posted this in the wrong area. This is my first post to Slashdot and I just signed up in the hopes that someone on here will have some better solutions than I have found so far.

Let me tell you a bit about my situation and we can see what your thoughts are and if you see any potential solutions. Sorry for the long message but I don't know what little bit of information might help.

My wife and I live in the country near Columbus Indiana. It is very hilly and wooded with lots of acreage. We are stuck with satellite internet where we live, along with all our neighbors. It is slow, unreliable, and too expensive for what we get. We pay $80 a month for the most expensive package but experience frequent downtime. We run three businesses out of our house. One is a private not-for-profit that does grass-roots development work in Guatemala (and has no budget for such things) and my wife is a photographer who relies on the internet for uploading photos, designing albums and ordering prints.

I have spoken to Comcast (the local cable company) so much that the lady at the desk doesn’t even say hello to me when I walk in she just starts sending out yet another email to the engineer. This is just trying to get an estimate to run the line. We asked for this estimate several times in the past but never heard back and I suspect they just let the matter drop. Since July I have actively been going in trying to get an estimate for how much it would cost to run the cable line one mile (where there service currently ends) to our house. There is apparently only one guy that does the measurements for a huge service area and after he does his estimate it has to go to his boss and the lady doesn't know where it is stuck. Based on a rough estimate it could cost as much as $25,000 plus monthly service. A bit steep.

There is no hope for ATT (DSL). I have spoken to several tech working on the boxes and they all confirm that ATT is selling off their service areas to smaller local companies and that they are not expanding anywhere. The techs all agree that there is no hope.

I know that Verizon has a wireless access but that wont work for us. It is good for business users to check email and not for massive photo uploads. It would be slow and they have upload limits that wouldn’t work for us.

I have heard recent rumors of Google exploring a tech that I read about 10 years ago using the power lines for highspeed internet. I even heard that they were doing a test run in one lucky community somewhere in Indiana and that several communities were competing for the honor. This sounds like one of those ideas that never happens. Even if the tech is sound they never develop it.

I have heard a lot about WiMax lately but not much helpful info. I have no idea of costs or limits or anything of the sort. I have read that it has a 20+- mile limit but I know nothing more. I suspect this is a costly tech that an entire city needs to adopt for its residents and not a home ISP setup.

I have tried to look into running a T1 (or T3? Fiber optic?) line to the house. I have had a difficult time finding the information I would need to do this. I have seen estimates for the monthly fee between $300 and $600. This is probably cost prohibitive unless I can find some way to share the signal with my neighbors and let them share in the cost. I am confident that we have a minimum of 10 people within one mile that are in the same situation and would participate if we found a way to improve the situation.

I read about a person that did something similar, became the ISP for his neighbors and eventually one of the big companies bought his tower for several million dollars. I would consider sharing some of that money with you when we split off our massive multimedia conglomerate. One small problem I have no idea how to even consider doing this. How would I deliver the signal to my neighbors?

So this is where I get stuck. If you have any suggestions I would be very interested in hearing about them. We could handle some upfront costs in exchange for some long term savings. Even better if we find a way to offer improved service to our neighbors and friends.

Thank you

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."

IT Worker's Revenge Lands Her In Jail 347

aesoteric writes "A 30-year-old IT worker at a Florida-based health centre was this week sentenced to 19 months in a US federal prison for hacking, and then locking, her former employer's IT systems. Four days after being fired from the Suncoast Community Health Centers' for insubordination, Patricia Marie Fowler exacter her revenge by hacking the centre's systems, deleting files, changing passwords, removing access to infrastructure systems, and tampering with pay and accrued leave rates of staff."

Students Banned From Bringing Pencils To School 426

mernilio writes "According to UPI: 'A Massachusetts school district superintendent said a memo banning sixth graders from carrying pencils was written without district approval. North Brookfield School District interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy said Wendy Scott, one of two sixth-grade teachers at North Brookfield Elementary School, did not get approval from administrators before sending the memo to all sixth-grade parents, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday. The memo said students would no longer be allowed to bring writing implements to school. It said pencils would be provided for students in class and any students caught with pencils or pens after Nov. 15 would face disciplinary action for having materials 'to build weapons.'"

Microwave Map of Entire Moon Revealed 82

Zothecula writes "The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang'E-1 is China's first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution."

Possible Treatment For Ebola 157

RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The new drugs are called 'antisense' compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary -— the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived. The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma."
The Military

Military Personnel Weigh In On Being Taliban In Medal of Honor 171

SSDNINJA writes "This is a feature from gamrFeed that interviews nine US service members about playing as the Taliban in the upcoming Medal of Honor. One soldier states that games like MoH and Call of Duty are 'profiteering from war.' Another says, 'Honestly, I don't really see what the whole fuss is about. It's a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don't really care about what side you're taking, just as long as you win. I don't think anyone cares if you're part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.' An excellent and interesting read."

The Sun Unleashes Coronal Mass Ejection At Earth 220

astroengine writes "Yesterday morning, at 08:55 UT, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a C3-class flare erupt inside a sunspot cluster. 100,000 kilometers away, deep within the solar atmosphere (the corona), an extended magnetic field filled with cool plasma forming a dark ribbon across the face of the sun (a feature known as a 'filament') erupted at the exact same time. It seems very likely that both eruptions were connected after a powerful shock wave produced by the flare destabilized the filament, causing the eruption. A second solar observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, then spotted a huge coronal mass ejection blast into space, straight in the direction of Earth. Solar physicists have calculated that this magnetic bubble filled with energetic particles should hit Earth on August 3, so look out for some intense aurorae — a solar storm is coming."

School District Drops 'D' Grades 617

Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.
Linux Business

Hemisphere Games Reveals Osmos Linux Sales Numbers 131

An anonymous reader writes "Hemisphere Games analyzes the sales numbers for their Linux port of Osmos and ask themselves, 'Is it worth porting games to Linux?' The short, simple answer is 'yes.' Breakdown and details in the post." A few other interesting details: the port took them about two man-months of work, the day they released for Linux was their single best sales day ever, and they got a surprising amount of interest from Russia and Eastern Europe. Their data only reflects sales through their website, and they make the point that "the lack of a strong Linux portal makes it a much less 'competitive' OS for commercial development." Hopefully someday the rumored Steam Linux client will help to solve that.

Review Scores the "Least Important Factor" When Buying Games 169

A recent report from a games industry analyst suggests that among a number of factors leading to the purchase of a video game — such as price, graphics and word of mouth — the game's aggregated review score is the least important measure. Analyst Doug Creutz said, "We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game. We note this, in part, because of persistent rumors that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores. We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact."

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