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Submission + - Initial results of CO pot legalization "tax for schools" pre-legislation hype

ofprimes writes: I live in Aurora, a suburb of Denver where we have a highly-rated school district (, and where recreational pot has been legalized. We live on the "outskirts" of Aurora and nearly next to farmland. Not long ago we had a murder at a pot shop less than a mile away from us (, and that opened our eyes to unwanted effects of legalized marijuana, but now we received this email from the *Superintendant* the school district yesterday as we have two kids attending Cherry Creek schools. To add to the frustration of our rural-life completely changing (crime has increased in the Denver area —, but my wife works — as a volunteer — nearly full-time on the PTO doing fundraiser after fundraiser bringing in whatever cash they can to keep the schools current and bring in essential technology needed in these times of hi-tech. The schools are always strapped and if they want "modern" technology, they have to raise funds for it through various means.

Receiving this letter was infuriating because the only positive side (other than convenience) for legalizing marijuana was that this legalization would be a godsend for the schools and PTO teams who commit so much of their time for free, for the kids. I guess not.

August 23, 2016

From the Desk of the Superintendent
There’s no easy fix for the shortcomings in Colorado’s school financing system.

Since 2009, the state Legislature has taken liberties with the school funding formula mandated by the voter-approved Amendment 23, using the so-called “negative factor” to cut funding every year. The Legislature has relied on circuitous reasoning and intricate formulas to withhold crucial money from school districts across the state.

We’ve felt the impact of those cuts in the Cherry Creek School District. We’ve been underfunded by about $50 million annually. Since 2012, $380 million has been withheld from Cherry Creek. We’re facing a shortfall of more than $20 million for the 2017-2018 school year. These cuts have the potential to impact every facet of district operations, from recruiting new teachers to maintaining a reasonable class size.

It’s a crisis that’s tied to our fundamental priorities as Coloradans, one that won’t find an easy remedy from the state’s nascent marijuana industry. People keep asking me, ‘Where’s the pot money?’ The short answer is that the Cherry Creek School District hasn’t received any. The longer answer is about how the money actually is allocated.

The lead-up to the legalization of marijuana in 2012 brought plenty of rhetoric regarding the positive impact on public schools in Colorado. Voters were told that taxes on legal marijuana would prove to be a windfall for cash-strapped school districts; millions of dollars’ worth of education cuts from the state would be offset by new income from a new vice tax.

That’s not what happened. In the fiscal year 2014-15, for example, taxes from the sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado totaled $77.9 million, $66.1 million of which came from special sales and excise taxes.

For context, the state’s general fund is about $9.7 billion, and the total state budget is $26 billion. By state law, the first $40 million of the excise taxes from marijuana sales went toward capital improvements for poor and rural school districts, and the remainder went toward marijuana education, treatment and regulation and enforcement programs across the state.

The Cherry Creek School District saw none of that money, nor did most of the other large school districts in the Denver metro area.

Similarly, the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grants allotted for the 2016-17 year by the State Board of Education will have no impact on Cherry Creek Schools. Funding for projects in Aurora Public Schools, Adams 14 and Westminster all carry the contingent of matching funds from the school districts, and the vast majority of the 31 awarded grants will go to rural districts far outside of the metro area.

But to be eligible for the grants, those school districts must pass a local bond issue first, or already have matching capital funds available.

So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.

This isn’t a new story. Taxes on alcohol and tobacco haven’t fixed the state’s quandary when it comes to funding public education, nor have revenues from lotteries or casinos.

The reality is that any fix will have to come from a much more complex and overarching effort. To offer our students the resources they need to learn, we need a much more profound change at the state level, one that comes down to real and lasting change. It comes down to spelling out our collective priorities as Coloradans, to urging our elected representatives to do the hard work and make sure that students in Colorado receive the funding spelled out by a voter-approved constitutional amendment.

That effort is much more complex than any easy fixes offered by legal marijuana.

Harry C. Bull, Jr.
Office of the Superintendent

Cherry Creek School District #5
4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
303-773-1184 |

Submission + - Computer Science Professor Gives Failing Grade to Newly Leaked NSA Hacking Tool (

An anonymous reader writes: Stephen Checkoway, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has analyzed some of the exploit code included in the recent Equation Group leak, and his verdict is "not impressed." The professor, who teaches Software Vulnerability Analysis and Advanced Computer Security at the University of Illinois, Chicago, gripes about the cryptography operations employed in the code of an exploit called BANANAGLEE, used against Fortinet firewalls. Some of his criticism include the words "ridiculous", "very bad", "crazy" and "boring memory leaks".

"I would expect relatively bug-free code. And I would expect minimal cryptographic competence. None of those were true of the code I examined which was quite surprising," the professor told Softpedia in an email.

Comment Tobacco user for 30 years switching to vaping (Score 3, Interesting) 342

I have been on one form of tobacco or another since I was 14 years old, and am now 49. I gave vaping a try about two months ago because even knowing no science, one can deduce that inhaling water (glycerine) vapor must be healthier than inhaling the fumes produced by the combustion of once-living dried plant matter. Upon further research, I could find NO evidence proving that any of the chemicals in (most brands of) vape e-liquids are harmful. Glycerine/glycol, nicotine and flavor, and that's it. So it started to seem, hypothetically, that I need not give up the chemical I have been addicted to and have enjoyed since my teens, but I can give up ALL of the bad crap in tobacco (I used chewing tobacco for 10 years as well), and all of the carcinogens and smoke and ashtrays and constant burns and lighters and coughing and smell and ash etc,, and then even save a butt-ton of money as well?? Too good to be true!! I thought if this were truly the case it would be all over the news and immediately show the potential to curb, if not eliminate, the two leading causes of death in the US, right?? Weird...

So I before I switched to vaping about two months ago I smoked 2-4 full-size premium cigars a day. Since I switched I have not had a single cigar or even a hit off of one. My lungs definitely feel better and I can breathe deeper, I have more energy, and have lost weight. No kidding. In every aspect I feel as though I have quit smoking. No more smell at home or ashes all over the car. Yes, I'm still getting the addictive chemical, but I feel as though my end-of-life clock is jumping ahead by days and months since I switched to vaping. But guess what, I'm still a smoker according to this ruling. My e-liquid nicotine levels have been reduced to 1/3 what they were when I started, and I'm about ready to go down another notch. Eventually I may be just be inhaling flavored steam. Still a smoker?

I agree about restricting access to anything with nicotine, and even the hardware (just like head-shops), but I think it will need to change soon enough once the science comes out about the difference in health risk data when comparing the two. Otherwise I have a feeling big insurance will twist this in a way to maximize profits while reducing claims, just like Uncle Sam. Just a hunch.

Submission + - Bitcoin currency conversion company demands proof of identity (

ofprimes writes: I have a few hundred dollars in BitCoin and I wanted to convert about $75 worth to PayPal. I used a UK company called because they offered a 'speedy' service. After sending them the BitCoin, I was emailed back saying my transaction was " flagged by our anti-money laundering screening system" and the transaction was placed on hold until I prove who I am. This was surprising because this instantly removes all anonymity that makes BitCoin alluring in the first place. Because I wanted the cash quickly, I told them to just refund the BitCoin to avoid the hassle. Their reply? "we must comply with UK law, which obligates us to verificate some transactions (especially outside the EU) According to this we must hold the transaction until we get documents from you. We can't exchange you payment to USD and neither return bitcoins to your wallet." This seems counter-intuitive and I am out my money until I prove who I am. Is this the way digital currency is going?

Submission + - Buffett bets $US10.7b on IBM (

An anonymous reader writes: US billionaire Warren Buffett says his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm has bought $US10.7 billion ($10.4 billion) worth of shares in information technology giant IBM since March.

Buffett told business television network CNBC his investment amounts to about 64 million shares, the equivalent of a 5.5 per cent stake.
The investment would make Berkshire Hathaway IBM’s largest or second-largest shareholder — investment advisory group State Street holds more than 64 million shares.


Submission + - AOL/MS/Yahoo Ad Deal's Devilish Details (

itwbennett writes: "Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft last week announced that they will pool together display ad inventory that goes unsold by their direct sales teams and link their sales platforms so that they can offer each other's ads. The idea is to increase sales and margins for all three companies by making the process of buying and selling these tier 2 display ads simpler. But for Rebecca Lieb, an Altimeter Group analyst, the value for media buyers isn't clear, because they have increasingly more and more options for acquiring this type of ad inventory from 'myriad' ad exchanges."

Submission + - Games Will Finally Be Completely Mainstream In 5 Y (

donniebaseball23 writes: Sure, Mario may be known to most, but how many people actually know about Skyrim or Uncharted 3? Games have come incredibly far, but they're still not recognized on the same level as many movies. That's likely to change soon though, if you ask online games maker Nexon. Won ll Sue, vice president of business development at Nexon, commented to IndustryGamers: "The game industry is much bigger than the box office industry but it’s not relatively mainstream like movies because games still cater to a relatively core audience. Give us five years and I think as many people will know about the gaming as they do about who made the latest movies."

Submission + - Duqu Virus Detected in Iran (

Pierre Bezukhov writes: "We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus," said Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's civil defense organization. "The final report which says which organizations the virus has spread to and what its impacts are has not been completed yet."

Jalali added that Iran had developed software to combat the virus, and would thoroughly check all computers at main sites to keep the virus at bay.

Duqu first surfaced when security researchers at Symantec, based in Mountain View, Calif., learned about the threat from a customer. The bug is called Duqu because the files it creates have the prefix "DQ," but Symantec believes the bug is "a precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack."

Many experts believe Stuxnet was likely designed as an American-Israeli project meant to sabotage computers Iran's nuclear sites.

It is still unknown if Duqu is motivated by politics or state movements, but Symantec believes the virus is designed to gain remote access capabilities and gather data for future cyber attacks.

"If it is the Stuxnet author, it could be that they have the same goal as before," said Symantec CTO Greg Day. "But if code has been given to someone else they may have a different motive."


Submission + - Leaked BlackBerry London is real, launching in Q3 (

An anonymous reader writes: We’ve just heard from a trusted source that the dummy device The Verge posted an image of earlier today is indeed a real BlackBerry, and it should in fact launch as the company’s first BBX-based smartphone. Our source told us that the BlackBerry Colt, the first QNX-based handset RIM had been working that looked just like a smaller PlayBook, was scrapped in favor of the BlackBerry London.

Submission + - Macroscopic wave–particle duality ( writes: A 'walking' drop on a liquid surface behave like a particle with wave properties: diffraction, interference patterns, vibration quantization.

First, in a vibrating container they put a liquid like silicon oil, vibrations are just bellow the Faraday instability threshold. Then a drop of the same liquid is dropped on the surface, but it does not coalesce, it bounces. And further bounces make a static wave pattern on the liquid surface just bellow the drop and its immediate neighborhood. As the spike grows, instability increases and the drop slides down the spike, and start moving horizontally.

Then they have a combo object drop+wave pattern moving at 1/10th the speed of wave in this liquid, straight. They call it a walker.

What is really amazing is that the wave pattern below the drop has some kind of memory: it has accumulated energy from several drop bounces. It can also make the drop see "forward", as the small wave pattern bounces back from nearby obstacles. So the drop is "aware" of its environment and "recall" the path it has followed.

Diffraction is observed and explained by the multiple reflexions the wave makes when the drop passes through a small hole, randomizing the wave pattern and the angle of the path afterward. Interference patterns observed are explained a la de Broglie: as the drop passes through one of the two holes, its associated wave passes through both, carrying forward the message of the second hole to the drop and changing the statistical repartition of the drop's path direction. One more stunning result: they are circling the drop by moving the container (Coriolis), then the associated wave adopts a discrete series of pattern, depending on the speed and radius. Very much like the energy quantization of electrons.
English (and French) abstract
A short article (French but it has photos and formulas)
Full thesis (French,10Mb)

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