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Education

Universities Hold Transcripts Hostage Over Loans 541

Hugh Pickens writes "Dave Lindorff writes in the LA Times that growing numbers of students are discovering their old school is actively blocking them from getting a job or going on to a higher degree by refusing to issue an official transcript. The schools won't send the transcripts to potential employers or graduate admissions office if students are in default on student loans, or in many cases, even if they just fall one or two months behind. It's no accident that they're doing this. It turns out the federal government 'encourages' them to use this draconian tactic, saying that the policy 'has resulted in numerous loan repayments.' It is a strange position for colleges to take, writes Lindorff, since the schools themselves are not owed any money — student loan funds come from private banks or the federal government, and in the case of so-called Stafford loans, schools are not on the hook in any way. They are simply acting as collection agencies, and in fact may get paid for their efforts at collection. 'It's worse than indentured servitude,' says NYU Professor Andrew Ross, who helped organize the Occupy Student Debt movement last fall. 'With indentured servitude, you had to pay in order to work, but then at least you got to work. When universities withhold these transcripts, students who have been indentured by loans are being denied even the ability to work or to finish their education so they can repay their indenture.'"
Security

The Lesson of Recent Hacktivism 159

itwbennett writes "LulzSec says they're retired, which may or may not be true. But one thing the world has learned from their 'frightening yet funny escapades is that 'the state of online security stinks,' writes blogger Tom Henderson. LulzSec (and Anonymous) have 'demonstrated that an awful lot of people are either asleep at the switch or believed in arcane security methods like security through obscurity.'" A related story at the Guardian suggests that governmental attempts to control the internet are spurring these activities.
Portables (Apple)

Apple Announces New MacBook, Pro, Air 774

Steve Jobs just got through announcing new MacBook lines in Cupertino. The MacBook, the Pro, and the Air all got revved. The old line of plastic-body MacBooks drops in price by $100, to $999. The new MacBooks have a metal body and multi-touch trackpad, just like the new Pros. The Pro features two NVidia graphics chips. Quoting Jobs: "With the 9400M, you get 5 hours of battery life, with the 9600M GT you get four hours of battery life. You choose." In summary: "We're building both [MacBook and Pro] in a whole new way. From a slab of aluminum to a notebook. New graphics. New trackpad, the best we've ever built. And LED-backlit displays that are far brighter, instant on, far more environmentally responsible." They are shipping today and should be in stores tomorrow. Oh, and one more thing: Steve's blood pressure is 110/70.

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