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Submission + - Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So (

cathyreisenwitz writes: As you my have heard, there's a trial going on here in San Francisco about the legality of the complete lack of any sort of due process concerning the US's "no fly" list. The NY Times has a good background article on the case, which notes that somewhere around 700,000 people appear to be on the list, where there's basically no oversight of the list and no recourse if you happen to be placed on the list. This lawsuit, by Rahinah Ibrahim (who had been a Stanford PhD student) is challenging that.

Submission + - How to Actually End Genocide: The Expedition Kony Indiegogo (

cathyreisenwitz writes: You want to hunt a human being? It will only cost you $25,000. With "Expedition Kony," investigative journalist Robert Young Pelton has launched a concept that may just turn out to be a real game changer for the future of global security policy.

The "Expedition Kony" website reads like a video game, except that buying in to the game, you can buy yourself a ticket to go on an actual manhunt. Although this is what makes "Expedition Kony" compelling and appealing, it equally opens up to the darker aspects of humanity. Say you're a Texas oil millionaire, you've killed an elephant in Botswana, you've shot a lion at a Serengeti private game reserve. You are bored; you want to hunt something bigger. Now you can, you can hunt a human being.

Submission + - Cyber attack stops access to JPMorgan Chase site (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "The consumer banking website of JPMorgan Chase & Co was temporarily unavailable for a time on Tuesday as the company tried to deal with a denial-of-service cyber attack that slowed access for some customers, a company spokesman said.

The company continued to work late Tuesday to restore normal service, said spokesman Michael Fusco, who declined to say how long the site had been down during the day.

Major U.S. banks, including JPMorgan, have recently warned their investors that they are grappling with an increasing number of attacks on their sites that make it hard for customers to conduct transactions."


Submission + - UK court finds Google could face defamation liability for blog comments (

Kieran Mccarthy writes: "The UK has long been home to some of the strictest defamation laws in the world. But a surprise England and Wales Court of Appeals ruling may extend the reach of those laws on to Google in monitoring its users' behavior on Blogger. Based on Britain's 1996 Defamation Act, the Court of Appeals found that Google's role in failing to respond to complaints on a user-generated blog was not "purely passive." According to the Court of Appeals, once Google was notified of the complaint, "it might be inferred to have associated itself with, or to have made itself responsible for, the continued presence of that material on the blog and thereby to have become a publisher of the material."

Ultimately, Google avoided liability because the complainant failed to show sufficient damage to his reputation based on blog comments. But with this case as precedent, another plaintiff might show otherwise."

Comment No (Score 1) 2

The first isn't a real problem. When you have lower barriers to entry, you have more exits. Students figuring out it's not the right class for them and bailing isn't a bad thing. Second, the problem is underprepared students from shitty public schools. The solution is make high-school grads more college ready, not to make college high school 2.0.

Submission + - How Patent Trolls Kill Innovation (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "A Yale study found that the U.S. patent office is approving new software patents at an approximate rate of 40,000 a year. That's more than 100 new software patents every day. Tracking every software patent to make sure one is not in violation would be an utter impossibility without a full-time team of lawyers on staff.

Uniloc, which purchased the patent in question at a bankruptcy proceeding, declined an interview request for this piece. But on their website, they brag about a victory over software giant Microsoft resulting in $388 million in damages (though this amount was later lowered in an appeals court). Despite the enormous risk, and the enormous cost just to defend against a patent suit, Meyer is resolved to do so.

"I will not simply give somebody money that endorses the idea that they should sue people for doing something amazing," says Meyer. "It must be stopped at some point.""


Submission + - The Two Big Problems with Online College Courses 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that while online college classes are already common, on the whole, the record is not encouraging because there are two big problems with online teaching. First, student attrition rates — around 90 percent for some huge online courses — appear to be a problem even in small-scale online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes. Second, courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed. Research has shown that community college students who enroll in online courses are significantly more likely to fail or withdraw than those in traditional classes, which means that they spend hard-earned tuition dollars and get nothing in return. Worse still, low-performing students who may be just barely hanging on in traditional classes tend to fall even further behind in online courses. "Colleges need to improve online courses before they deploy them widely," says the Times. "Moreover, schools with high numbers of students needing remedial education should consider requiring at least some students to demonstrate success in traditional classes before allowing them to take online courses." Interestingly, the center found that students in hybrid classes — those that blended online instruction with a face-to-face component — performed as well academically as those in traditional classes. But hybrid courses are rare, and teaching professors how to manage them is costly and time-consuming. "The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students.""

Submission + - Corporations Profiting from Drug War Ask Eric Holder to Stop Legal Pot ( 3

cathyreisenwitz writes: "A coalition of interest groups whose members profit off marijuana prohibition, including the former leader of a chain of abusive teen rehab centers, have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Department of Justice prevent Colorado and Washington from taxing and regulating marijuana."

Submission + - Boeing Engineers Begin Vote On Strike This Week (

juicegg writes: 23,000 Boeing engineers, members of SPEEA, have until February 19th to decide if they want to go on strike.

The strike would slow down fixing the 787, but it has wider implications: white collar, professional workers are rarely union members and are not known for striking so Boeing engineers set precedent for other professionals. Also, in an unusual move for any union, the SPEEA engineers are rejecting a new contract offer that would guarantee pension benefits for current employees at the expense of new hires (who would receive a 401k instead of a pension). SPEEA is thinking ahead since tiered contracts are known to corrode unity and ultimately weaken the union. Grounding of 787 has given Boeing engineers additional leverage to demand that Boeing extends their original contract.

The union believes a strike would shut down Boeing production lines in Everett, Wash., where its big planes are made, as well as Renton, Wash., where it cranks out more than one of its widely-used 737s every day. A strike would also shut down Boeing's new, non-union plant in North Charleston, S.C., which makes 787s in addition to those assembled in Everett.


Submission + - Gut Bacteria Liberate Hidden Toxins Found In Grains (

MTorrice writes: "Crops such as wheat and corn sometimes harbor chemicals from molds that grow on the plants. Some of these compounds are seemingly harmless derivatives of toxins produced by the fungi. For the first time, researchers have shown that human gut bacteria can break down these compounds and release the toxins, which can cause gastrointestinal and neurological damage in people. The findings suggest that these masked toxins may not stay hidden within our digestive tracts, and that government agencies may need to regulate the chemicals, the researchers say."

Submission + - Someone Just Leaked Obama's Rules for Assassinating American Citizens (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "For over a year now journalists, civil liberties advocates, and members of Congress have been asking the Obama administration to release internal memoranda from the Office of Legal Counsel justifying Obama's targeted killing program.

While the White House continues to deny that such memos exist, NBC is reporting that it has acquired the next best thing: A secretish 16-page white paper from the Department of Justice that was provided to select members of the Senate last June."


Submission + - Another violent video game inquiry: 6 Stupid Congressional Censorship Hearings (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "In the wake of last December's school shooting, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has proposed yet another congressional study on violent video games (he's joined in his effort by Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns).

As Congress gears up for another round of scare-mongering grandstanding, Reason TV presents "Sex, Violence and Satan: 6 Unbelievably Dumb Congressional Censorship Hearings.""


Submission + - France's internet data tax: AKA why the French can't have nice things (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "France’s President François Hollande has proposed that companies like Facebook and Google pay taxes for the privilege of collecting French users’ data.

The proposal is part of a report on how the French government can profit from internet companies not subject to high French capital gains, dividend and corporate taxes.

The irony here is that the impulse to tax anything remotely innovative or profitable to death is a huge part of the reason France isn’t producing their own Facebooks and Googles. That, plus huge regulatory barriers to entry and the government’s readiness to prop up failing incumbents with subsidies."


Submission + - I Need Some Privacy, Please! Here Are My Terms of Service (

cathyreisenwitz writes: "California's Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued some great privacy recommendations for mobile app developers. She wants mobile apps to have privacy policies that are "clear, accurate and conspicuously accessible." In this video I suggest that since there's no "clear, accurate and conspicuously accessible" privacy policy for what data government can collect, maybe there should be, especially since the stakes are so much higher."

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