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Submission + - Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Renewable Energy And Cheap Electricity (thinkprogress.org)

mdsolar writes: On Monday, the court upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) demand response rule, which was created in 2011 and orders utilities to compensate consumers for reducing their use during peak hours — the times of day, typically in the morning or evening, when most people home and using their electricity. As Justice Elena Kagan explains in the court’s opinion, demand response “arose because wholesale market operators can sometimes — say, on a muggy August day — offer electricity both more cheaply and more reliably by paying users to dial down their consumption than by paying power plants to ramp up their production.”
Electricity producers and grid operators challenged the rule in court, saying FERC overstepped its authority, but the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 against the challenge. FERC’s authority does extend to wholesale power markets, and the court ruled that, in this case, FERC was simply exercising that authority.

Submission + - Feds Indict Prison Guards, Inmates in Jury Duty Phone Scam

Trailrunner7 writes: Federal officials have indicted more than 50 people, including 15 former prison officials and 19 former inmates, in a long-running vishing and phone fraud scheme that was run through a Georgia prison.

Using cell phones smuggled into Autry State Prison by guards, the inmates would call victims, mostly in the Atlanta metro area, and inform them that they were warrants our for their arrest because they had failed to show up for jury duty. The callers would warn the victims that law enforcement officers were on the way and they were about to be arrested. Unless, of course, the victims could come up with some money to pay a fine and have the warrants erased.

Because that’s how the justice system works.

Submission + - Are Gatekeepers The Answer To Bad eBooks?

popstack writes: The promise of indie publishing, that any author can bring their book to market, has the downside that any author can bring their book to market. The resulting mass of poor quality books has been, somewhat indelicately, termed a shit volcano that may cause the end of literacy as we know it.

CBC News covered one Saskatoon author's mission to sift the mountain of ore for the gold with what he calls the Immerse or Die challenge.

"Smith reads the book while walking [on a treadmill], trying to stay engaged in the story for 40 minutes. Anything that breaks his immersion, like bad grammar or continuity errors, gets a strike.

After three strikes, he stops the timer, closes the book and posts an article on his website outlining what went wrong." Those books that survive make the hall of fame, and garner the associated promise of quality.

But is the notion of a gatekeeper for indie ebooks even reconcilable with the open market? Many readers don't seem to care if their werebear romance didn't immerse cover-to-cover. So is it a problem when the authors don't care either?

Submission + - Disney IT workers allege conspiracy in layoffs, file lawsuits (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Disney IT workers laid off a year ago this month are now accusing the company and the outsourcing firms it hired of engaging in a "conspiracy to displace U.S. workers." The allegations are part of two lawsuits filed in federal court in Florida on Monday. Between 200 and 300 Disney IT workers were laid off in January 2015. Some of the workers had to train their foreign replacements — workers on H-1B visas — as a condition of severance. The lawsuits represent what may be a new approach in the attack on the use of H-1B workers to replace U.S. workers. They allege violations of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), claiming that the nature of the employment of the H-1B workers was misrepresented, and that Disney and the contractors knew the ultimate intent was to replace U.S. workers with lower paid H-1B workers.

Submission + - The clock is ticking for the US to relinquish control of ICANN (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The US is not afraid to throw its weight around; it likes not only to be involved in things, but to be in control. For decades, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) — the non-profit organization that manages IP addresses and domain names — has been overseen by the US Department of Commerce, much to the chagrin of people around the world. Most upset are those who point to the independent nature of the internet, and the need for any body with global power to be similarly indpendent. Later this year ICANN is set — at long last — to completely separate from the US government.

While this does hinge on US government approval, by the end of September, ICANN could instead be in the hands of businesses, individuals, and multiple global governments. While the changing of hands should not alter the way ICANN operates, it is hoped that it will go some way to restoring faith that may have been lost after revelations about online surveillance by the NSA and other US government agencies.

Submission + - DOJ and 4 states want $24 billion in fines from Dish Network for telemarketing (arstechnica.com)

walterbyrd writes: The DOJ as well as Ohio, Illinois, California, and North Carolina say that Dish disregarded federal laws on call etiquette. US lawyers are asking for $900 million in civil penalties, and the four states are asking for $23.5 billion in fines, according to the Denver Post. "Laws against phoning people on do-not-call lists and using recorded messages allow penalties of up to $16,000 per violation,” the Post added.

Submission + - NSA Chief: Arguing Against Encryption Is a Waste of Time (theintercept.com)

An anonymous reader writes: NSA director Mike Rogers said, "encryption is foundational to the future" on Thursday. He added that it was a waste of time to argue that encryption is bad or that we ought to do away with it. Rogers is taking a stance in opposition to many other government officials, like FBI director James Comey. Rogers further said that neither security nor privacy should be the imperative that drives everything else. He said, "We’ve got to meet these two imperatives. We’ve got some challenging times ahead of us, folks."

Submission + - Russia forming space alliance with Iran, may fly Iranian astronaut (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: Quietly, the Russians appear to be forming a space alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to a story in Sputnik. Not only is Russia in talks to launch Iranian satellites on Russian rockets but also to include an Iranian astronaut on a future space mission. What that space mission might be is open to question. A visit by an Iranian astronaut to the International Space Station would likely kick up a political firestorm with the United States, even though the Obama administration is attempting to develop a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.

Submission + - Open Source Tech Providing Mobile Communications In Developing Nations (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A village in the West Papua central highlands runs a telecom network out of a box latched to a tree. The network runs on open source. 'OpenBTS, an all-software cellular transceiver, is at the heart of the network running on that box attached to a treetop. Someday, if those working with the technology have their way, it could do for mobile networks what TCP/IP and open source did for the Internet. The dream is to help mobile break free from the confines of telephone providers’ locked-down spectrum, turning it into a platform for the development of a whole new range of applications that use spectrum "white space" to connect mobile devices of every kind. It could also democratize telecommunications around the world in unexpected ways. ... It is a 2G GSM system with two operating channels (GSM absolute radio-frequency channel numbers, or ARFCNs) in the 900MHz range, putting out 10 watts of signal power from an omnidirectional antenna. That gives the system a range of about five kilometers under ideal conditions, but in reality it averages about a three kilometer range because of vegetation and terrain (1.86 miles to 3.10 miles). The whole system is installed in a weatherproof box up a tree and draws less than 80 watts of power.'

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 + - Mt Gox hacked. All coins gone. (wired.com)

ch0ad writes: Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has gone offline, apparently after losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to a years-long hacking effort that went unnoticed by the company.

The hacking attack is detailed in a leaked “crisis strategy draft” plan, apparently created by Gox and published Monday by Ryan Selkis, a bitcoin entrepreneur and blogger (see below). According to the document, the exchange is insolvent after losing 744,408 bitcoins — worth about $350 million at Monday’s trading prices.

The Military

Submission + - DARPA looking for GPS alternative (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: "Many U.S. Military systems, such as missiles, rely on the Global Positioning System (GPS) to provide accurate position, orientation and time information while in flight. When GPS is inaccessible, whether as a result of a malfunction or as a consequence of enemy action, information critical for navigation must be gathered using the missile’s on-board sensors.

DARPA’s Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator (C-SCAN) effort seeks an atomic inertial sensor to measure orientation in GPS-denied environments. Such a sensor would integrate small size, low power consumption, high resolution of motion detection and a fast start up time into a single package."

DRM

Submission + - Judge Grudgingly awards $3.6 Million in DRM Circumvention Case (techdirt.com)

Fluffeh writes: "The case involves an online game, MapleStory, and some people who set up an alternate server, UMaple, allowing users to play the game with the official game client, but without logging into the official MapleStory servers. In this case, the people behind UMaple apparently ignored the lawsuit, leading to a default judgment. Although annoyed with MapleStory (The Judge knocked down a request for $68,764.23 — in profits made by UMaple — down to just $398.98), the law states a minimum of $200 per infringement. Multiply that by 17,938 users of UMaple... and you get $3.6 million. In fact, it sounds like the court would very much like to decrease the amount, but notes that "nevertheless, the court is powerless to deviate from the DMCA's statutory minimum." Eric Goldman also has some further op-ed and information regarding the case and judgement."
Education

TED Education — Video Lessons For Students 88

New submitter EuNao writes "TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the organization based on 'ideas worth sharing,' launched a new initiative this past week. It is called TED-Ed, and it aims to engage students with unforgettable lessons. There are many places in the world where a wonderful teacher or mentor is teaching something mind-blowing, but as it stands now not many people have access to that powerful experience. Ted-Ed aims to bring that engaging experience to everyone who has an internet connection. Here are summaries and links to the nine videos that were initially released."

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