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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 18 declined, 9 accepted (27 total, 33.33% accepted)

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Submission + - Will the USA become Canada's Mexico?

jenningsthecat writes: As election results began to indicate that Donald Trump would be America's next president, Canada's immigration website crashed as a result of large numbers of US residents looking into moving here. Immigration sites 'Down Under' also saw spikes in activity, with New Zealand's jumping from its daily average of about 2300 to more than 56,000. Admittedly, much of this occurred in the heat of the moment and probably won't result in a large-scale exodus. Still, many of these people may actually follow up and leave the States. Also, in what's already being called 'Trump's America', xenophobes of all kinds and ages are crawling out of the woodwork, giving their inner racists full reign and trying to resurrect Jim Crow laws.

The people most at risk in the wake of Trump's election may feel that leaving the States is the only way to protect themselves and their families. Canada is right next door. Will American residents start to move here, (legally and otherwise), just as Mexicans have long moved to the US to escape undesirable conditions in their home country?

Submission + - Maryland Hobbyist Suing the FAA over Drone Registry 1

jenningsthecat writes: Maryland drone builder and attorney John Taylor, who in January took the FAA to court over its drone registry program, is now receiving financial help with his suit from DC DUG, the D.C. area Drone User Group. In his Petitoner's Brief, (PDF), Taylor maintains that "(f)or the first century of American aviation and beyond, the federal government made no attempt whatsoever to regulate recreational model aircraft", and that "(t)he FAA seeks to revise history when it argues its failure to register model aircraft, or otherwise treat them in any manner as ‘aircraft,’ in the past was the exercise of an ‘enforcement discretion'"

As of this writing I have been unable to find any news on the progress of the suit beyond its having been filed.

Submission + - Chrome Version 53 Introduces Web Bluetooth

jenningsthecat writes: From Hackaday.com comes the news that the latest version of Chrome includes trial support for Web Bluetooth. According to Hackaday, "JavaScript code, served to your browser, can now connect directly to your Bluetooth LE (BTLE) devices". The article goes on to discuss the pros and (significant) cons of this development.

Yikes! The IOT continues to spread its tentacles, and the possibility of retaining some small vestige of personal privacy diminishes by the second.

Submission + - Sweden Takes On the Economics of Disposability

jenningsthecat writes: The Swedish government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to encouraging the repair of stuff that would otherwise be thrown away, according to both The Guardian and Fast Company

The country's Social Democrat and Green party coalition have submitted proposals to Parliament that would reduce the VAT on bicycle, clothing, and shoe repairs from 25% to 12%. Also proposed is an income tax deduction equalling half the labour cost of repairing household appliances. According to The Guardian, "the incentives are part of a shift in government focus from reducing carbon emissions produced domestically to reducing emissions tied to goods produced elsewhere." Per Bolund, Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, is quoted as saying "the policy also tied in with international trends around reduced consumption and crafts, such as the “maker movement” and the sharing economy, both of which have strong followings in Sweden.

Submission + - Aaron Swartz eBook Watermarking Has Been Cracked 2

jenningsthecat writes: From Hackaday comes news that the collected writings of Aaron Swartz, released as a watermarked eBook by publishing company Verso Books, has had its watermarking scheme cracked by The Institute for Biblio-Immunology, who also published a guide for removing the BooXtream watermarks.

The writings of Aaron Swartz, with DRM applied? Oh, the irony. Still, at least the DRM employed doesn't restrict a user from reading the book on any and all capable devices, so it's not a very intrusive form of DRM. But I somehow doubt that Mr. Swartz would take any comfort from that, and I bet the fact that companies are profiting from DRM'd copies of his writing has him spinning in his grave. I wonder if his family will have anything to say about this...

Submission + - Is Zoosk really so desperate for clients?

jenningsthecat writes: A happily married Ontario woman was shocked and dismayed last January to discover that she had an active account with dating site Zoosk.com. Mari Sherkin saw a pop-up ad on Facebook for Zoosk, but wasn't interested, so she "clicked on the X to close it. At least I thought I did."

She immediately began to receive messages from would-be Zoosk suitors in her Facebook mailbox. When she had a look on Zoosk she was horrified to find a dating profile with her Facebook picture, name, and postal code. Zoosk denies ever setting up profiles in this way, yet their terms of service explicitly allow them to do it, and there are apparently several Facebook pages with complaints of similar occurrences.

When will people ever learn to practise ''safeWeb"? I guess maybe the answer is 'never', given that it seems at least some of Zoosk's victims are still active on Facebook. Or should we just start calling it 'Faceplant'?

Submission + - Ft. Lauderdale Men Charged for Feeding the Homeless

jenningsthecat writes: 90-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident Arnold Abbott and two local pastors were charged on Sunday with "feeding the homeless in public". Abbott was told by police to "drop that plate right now" when he was attempting to distribute food. The three men were charged under a new city ordinance banning public food sharing, and face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The ordinance "limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires the permission of property owners and says the groups have to provide portable toilets".

Mayor Jack Seiler was quoted as saying "Just because of media attention we don't stop enforcing the law. We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale". He believes that "Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive."

Really, I have no words for this other than "heartless jackbooted fuckwits".

Submission + - Integrated Circuit Amplifier Breaches Terahertz barrier

jenningsthecat writes: DARPA's Terahertz Electronics program has created "the fastest solid-state amplifier integrated circuit ever measured". The TMIC, (Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit), boasts a gain of 9dB — previously unheard of for a monolithic device in this frequency range. Plus, the status of "fastest" has been certified by Guinness — seriously! ('Cause you might not trust DARPA, but you gotta trust Guinness — right?).

In related news, DARPA has also created a micro-machined vacuum power amplifer operating at 850 GHz, or 0.85 THz.

Submission + - Another Silicon Valley Supercar 3

jenningsthecat writes: Four-and-a-half years in the making, The Coupe, billed as "the first all-electric American supercar", was revealed on August 17 of this year at the Pebble Beach Concours by Silicon Valley firm Renovo Motors. Slated for availability in late 2015, the $500K-plus car does 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and is spec'd at 500 brake horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is said to be 120 mph. The fast-charge time is 30 minutes — not surprising given the rather small 100-mile range. The car is modelled on the '64 Daytona coupe and has a Shelby chassis.

Lots of cool factor there, and lots of grunt off the line. But if you had enough money for only one supercar, would you pay more than $500K for something that only gets 100 miles per charge?

Submission + - Overzealous Management Corp Removes, Impounds Bicycles Parked on Public Property

jenningsthecat writes: In an instance of apparent corporate over-reaching, $50-billion Brookfield Office Properties has been cutting locks and removing bicycles from what appears to be public property in Toronto Canada.

A bicycle owner who had locked her bike to a Toronto Transit Commission sign pole just outside the city's Hudson's Bay Centre, returned 90 minutes later only to discover that it was missing, and that it had been removed by a security guard. Brookfield Properties says that the pole is on its property, while City Manager Andre Filippetti confirms that the pole is in fact on public property.

In an email statement Brookfield says:
“As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians. It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole.”

It's unclear how many bicycles in total have been removed by the company, but three had been removed on the day in question, and a security guard working for Brookfield is reported to have said that they "get several angry cyclists a day complaining about bikes being taken". It is believed that many cyclists simply assume that their bikes have been stolen — which, arguably, they have.

It will be interesting to see if Brookfield receives anything like the legal punishment that a private citizen could expect for exactly the same actions; I suspect they won't be charged, or even very much inconvenienced.

Submission + - Dying Veteran blasts Cheney, Bush in 'Last Letter'

jenningsthecat writes: In a public letter, Iraq war veteran Tomas Young lambastes former US Vice President Dick Cheney and former US president George W. Bush for sending "hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage". Mr. Young further accuses Bush and Cheney of "egregious war crimes" and of "cowardice and selfishness".

Mr. Young, who joined the Army two days after 9/11, was critically wounded in 2004, five days into his first tour of duty in Iraq. He then suffered Anoxic Brain Injury in 2008 as a complication of his earlier injuries. After almost ten years of what sounds like a living hell, Mr. Young is now receiving hospice care in his home while he starves himself to death.

You can read an interview with Tomas Young here
Businesses

Submission + - Is it time to commit to ongoing payphone availability? 1

jenningsthecat writes: Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs.

But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones.

Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?
Canada

Submission + - One more step towards loss of Canadian sovereignty

jenningsthecat writes: The latest step in implementing the Canada — US Perimeter Security Initiative will have FBI and DEA agents pursuing suspects onto Canadian soil .

The RCMP recognizes that "this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians", so they'll "take baby steps, let's start with two agencies to test the concept, let's demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work".

In related news, a discovery that if a frog is put into a pot of water and the temperature is raised slowly enough, the frog won't hop out — he'll just boil to death.
Biotech

Submission + - Why Monsanto didn't expect Roundup-resistant weeds 2

jenningsthecat writes: From NPR comes the story of how Monsanto thought Roundup was "a herbicide with low risk for weed resistance." The explanation seems to pretty much boil down to "we had a hell of a time creating Roundup-resistant crops, so we figured Mother Nature had little or no chance".

In the face of Monsanto's hubris, Mother Nature went ahead and made 20 strains of weeds, (so far), tolerant to glyphosate. Good for her!

Submission + - ICE Propaganda: Your Tax Dollars at Work (techdirt.com)

jenningsthecat writes: From a story on Techdirt comes this link to aa propaganda video on YouTube, starring ICE Director John Morton

Of course, the video makes no mention of the 84,000 subdomains wrongfully seized by ICE last year as part of Operation In our Sites. Equally predictably, it self-servingly equates counterfeiting with copyright violation. Don't you just love it when the government spends your money to trample on your rights, and then wastes more of it to tell you what a great job it's doing violating them?

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