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Submission + - How To Deal With The Bubble In US Higher Education ( 1

bloody_liberal writes: I've had great time in graduate school (Ph.D. in CS), and now I would like to be a college teacher of liberal education, where I can train my students' minds, and not just their skills. However, my concerns grow as I encounter arguments about the demise of the US middle class. The rule for US college education used to be simple: go to school, get in debt, get a job, pay it back. Now, this model is becoming less sustainable, with recent graduates facing decreasing job prospects and increasing debt burden.
What would you suggest, other than settling for a job as a vocational trainer? Are there modest schools of liberal education out there, where minds are expanded, but not debt? Are there other places in the world where liberal education is valued and rewarded?

Comment Re:Beware, the robot is teleoperated (Score 2, Interesting) 93

The robot is being teleoperated in those videos.

Certainly that's the case. I think the intention of this project is to create a platform for future research.

By making it open-source (and hopefully affordable), it has better chances of being accepted as a standard benchmark for the next generation of embodied AI (which, as its name implies, isn't here yet). Think about it as the physics engine, not the game itself...

Having said that, let's embark on the more interesting discussion of what are the prospects of a robot successfully roaming around our homes. I claim that cleaning is achievable with present-day technology, but more lively interaction with us (humans) around is still far away...

Your thoughts, AC?

The Military

Submission + - Stopping Suitcase Nukes with Cellphones

Hugh Pickens writes: "Tiny solid-state radiation sensors could be added at little cost to future cellphones so that a network of millions of cell phones blanketing the nation could detect even light residues of radioactive material say researchers at Purdue University who are working to develop a system to help prevent terrorist attacks with a suitcase nuclear weapon or radiological dirty bomb. "It's impossible to completely shield a weapon's radioactive material without making the device too heavy to transport," said one researcher. The system could be trained to ignore known radiation sources, such as hospitals and cell phones already contain global positioning locators, so the network of phones would serve as a tracking system. "The likely targets of a potential terrorist attack would be big cities with concentrated populations, and a system like this would make it very difficult for someone to go undetected with a radiological dirty bomb in such an area," said Andrew Longman, developer of the system. "The more people are walking around with cell phones and PDAs, the easier it would be to detect and catch the perpetrator.""
The Media

Submission + - Military contractor censors anti-war candidate ( 1

James in Chicago writes: NBC as subsidiary of General Electric, is hosting a debate at Drexel University October 30th. They have set arbitrary funding requirements such that they exclude Senator Mike Gravel from the debates. Whether or not you agree with Gravel's politics he has been the most outspoken candidate concerning the war and the military-industrial-complex. GE on the other hand has over 2 billion dollars worth outstanding military contracts. When military contractors such as GE get to decide which political candidates are heard what does that mean for this Democracy?

Submission + - UK government will not enforce US software patents

VJ42 writes: I recently signed a online petition on software patents, but instead of dismissing it the UK government sent me a reply confirming it's position against software patents.

The Government remains committed to its policy that no patents should exist for inventions which make advances lying solely in the field of software. Although certain jurisdictions, such as the US, allow more liberal patenting of software-based inventions, these patents cannot be enforced in the UK.
They also remain committed to implementing the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property which means that

The Government will implement those recommendations for which it is responsible, and will therefore continue to exclude patents from areas where they may hinder innovation: including patents which are too broad, speculative, or obvious, or where the advance they make lies in an excluded area such as software.
After all the bad press they've had, this is a welcome bit of good news for us techies.
The Courts

Submission + - Supreme Court Refuses 200 Year Porn Sentence

Class Act Dynamo writes: "The United States Supreme Court today refused to hear the appeal of a high school teacher who was sentenced to over 200 years in prison for possessing thousands of child pornography images in Arizona. The justices declined without comment to hear the case. His attorneys argued that the sentence (10 years per image for the 20 images presumably leading to indictment) was disproportionate to the crime. I put this under Your Rights Online even though those rights really don't include possessing child pornography. However, what do Slashdotters think? Was the punishment appropriate for the crime? Think of the children!..but not in the way that this teacher apparently was."

Submission + - Citibank: training users to be less secure

Llamedos writes: Citibank has redesigned their credit card website ( so that the login page is not an SSL encrypted page. Instead, they expect users to simply accept a little lock GIF file they put up themselves, and their assurance that the form is submitted via SSL. According to Citibank, "Your security is important to us. While the new has an "http" address and no lock icon displays in your browser, your personal information is still protected." Citibank's security page While other sites are moving to more security and more ways for the user to protect himself (e.g., Bank of America's SiteKey program), Citibank is tearing away at protections and trying to train users not to care about security.

Submission + - File Deleting Software a Hoax

teamhasnoi writes: "In a followup to yesterday's story the developer of Display Eater has responded to the poor publicity, admitting that the app does not delete files. Quote: "It was my hope that if people thought this happened, they would not try to pirate the program. I could stop wasting time writing copy protection routines to be broken over and over. It turned out to be a mistake." He has now made the application free by posting a registration code, and plans to open-source it."

Submission + - VMware attacks Microsoft?

An anonymous reader writes: On Monday VMWare will release a white paper detailing its concerns with license changes on Microsoft software that may limit the ability to move virtual-machine software around data centers to automate the management of computing work. This was reported by Steve Lohr of the New York Times in an article published on February 24, 2007. Two choice quotes: "Microsoft is looking for any way it can to gain the upper hand," said Diane Greene, the president of VMware. ... "This seems to be a far more subtle, informed and polished form of competitive aggression than we've seen from Microsoft in the past," said Andrew I. Gavil, a law professor at Howard University. "And Microsoft has no obligation to facilitate a competitor."

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