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Encryption

Ask Slashdot: Will the NSA Controversy Drive People To Use Privacy Software? 393

Nerval's Lobster writes "As the U.S. government continues to pursue former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for leaking some of the country's most sensitive intelligence secrets, the debate over federal surveillance seems to have abated somewhat — despite Snowden's stated wish for his revelations to spark transformative and wide-ranging debate, it doesn't seem as if anyone's taking to the streets to protest the NSA's reported monitoring of Americans' emails and phone-call metadata. Even so, will the recent revelations about the NSA cause a spike in demand for sophisticated privacy software, leading to a glut of new apps that vaporize or encrypt data? While there are quite a number of tools already on the market (SpiderOak, Silent Circle, and many more), is their presence enough to get people interested enough to install them? Or do you think the majority of people simply don't care? Despite some polling data that suggests people are concerned about their privacy, software for securing it is just not an exciting topic for most folks, who will rush to download the latest iteration of Instagram or Plants vs. Zombies, but who often throw up their hands and profess ignorance when asked about how they lock down their data."
Communications

Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill — Does It Matter? 857

antdude sends along an AP piece on the decline of the teaching of cursive writing in schools — ramifications of which we've discussed a few times before. "The decline of cursive is happening as students are doing more and more work on computers, including writing. In 2011, the writing test of the National Assessment of Educational Progress will require 8th and 11th graders to compose on computers, with 4th graders following in 2019. ... Handwriting is increasingly something people do only when they need to make a note to themselves rather than communicate with others, [an educator] said. Students accustomed to using computers to write at home have a hard time seeing the relevance of hours of practicing cursive handwriting. 'I am not sure students have a sense of any reason why they should vest their time and effort in writing a message out manually when it can be sent electronically in seconds.'"

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