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Submission + - US students fall further behind in math, science and reading (washingtonpost.com)

OffTheLip writes: According to the Washington Post, students in the US continue to trail many other developed nations in math, science and reading. From the linked article, "The United States ranked 25th in science literacy and 24th in reading literacy. Singapore topped all nations in all three categories. China, Japan, Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand were among the other top-performing countries."

Some of the blame falls on the broader education system but within the US some states are performing better than others which could be seen as a sign of encouragement. The incoming presidential administration has different plans for education based on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

Submission + - Al Gore has "an extremely interesting conversation" with Trump (bbc.com)

tomhath writes: Mr Gore told reporters he met Ivanka before his meeting with her father.

"The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued," Mr Gore said.

Mr Trump has been stocking his administration with conservative ideologues, and many of the possible names for his environmental posts are sceptical of current policy. If Ms Trump pushes the issue and Mr Gore continues his "extremely interesting conversation" with the president, however, this could become a test of how willing President Trump is to cross party orthodoxy.

A free-agent president — beholden to neither party and willing to strike deals according to his own fancy — may be exactly what his voters wanted and what Washington insiders fear.

Submission + - 48 Organizations Now Have Access To Every Brit's Browsing Hstory (zerohedge.com)

schwit1 writes: Last week, in a troubling development for privacy advocates everywhere, we reported that the UK has passed the "snooper charter" effectively ending all online privacy. Now, the mainstream media has caught on and appears to be displeased. As AP writes today, "after months of wrangling, Parliament has passed a contentious new snooping law that gives authorities — from police and spies to food regulators, fire officials and tax inspectors — powers to look at the internet browsing records of everyone in the country."

For those who missed our original reports, here is the new law in a nutshell: it requires telecom companies to keep records of all users' web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers. Civil liberties groups say the law establishes mass surveillance of British citizens, following innocent internet users from the office to the living room and the bedroom. They are right.

Which government agencies have access to the internet history of any British citizen? Here is the answer courtesy of blogger Chris Yuo, who has compiled the list:

Metropolitan police force
City of London police force
Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
Police Service of Scotland
Police Service of Northern Ireland
British Transport Police
Ministry of Defence Police
Royal Navy Police
Royal Military Police
Royal Air Force Police
Security Service
Secret Intelligence Service
GCHQ
Ministry of Defence
Department of Health
Home Office
Ministry of Justice
National Crime Agency
HM Revenue & Customs
Department for Transport
Department for Work and Pensions
NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
Competition and Markets Authority
Criminal Cases Review Commission
Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
Financial Conduct Authority
Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Scotland
Gambling Commission
Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
Health and Safety Executive
Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
Information Commissioner
NHS Business Services Authority
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
Office of Communications
Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
Scottish Ambulance Service Board
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
Serious Fraud Office
Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust

Submission + - The impending dual-sim mobile phone problem

crath writes: In many countries, 2G mobile networks are due to be turned off in the very near future. This means that anyone with a dual SIM phone will effectively have the second SIM slot rendered unusable; since almost every dual SIM mobile phone manufactured to date only supports 2G for its secondary SIM card. This is a hardware limitation (I've seen some suggestions on the Internet that this is to extend battery life). I've just become aware of this issue as a result of starting a project that has me regularly commuting between Australia and Singapore; with a need for affordable data in both countries--hence, a dual SIM phone.

I'm quite surprised that this upcoming event hasn't garnered more attention in the press, because the thousands upon thousands of users who have dual active SIM phones will have them reduced to old fashioned one SIM active at a time functionality. This includes some very expensive Sony & Samsung devices currently for sale. I expect there will be an outcry from a lot of very unhappy users when 2G is switched off.

In researching this issue, I came upon the following:

What action are /. dual SIM users taking to prepare for the turning off of 2G? What phones can you recommend from 1st hand use (not just because you've read a review or spec. sheet)?

Submission + - world's blackest "spray paint" (newatlas.com)

turkeydance writes: Sometimes, regular black just isn't good enough. If you're building an ultra-sensitive space telescope, for instance, you want to minimize reflections within that device as much as humanly possible. That's why Surrey NanoSystems released its Vantablack coating two years ago. Now, in order to expand its possible applications, the material is available in a convenient spray-on form.

Clients can have Vantablack S-VIS applied by Surrey NanoSystems, or they can license the technology for their own production facilities. So no, you can't just buy a can to paint your car.

Submission + - Brain Cancer Patients Live Longer by Sending Electric Fields Through Their Heads (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: The big problem with treating glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor, is that nothing really works. Surgeons cut out the tumor as soon as it's detected and blast left-behind cells with radiation and chemo, but it always comes back. Most glioblastoma patients live only one or two years after diagnosis.

The Optune system, which bathes the brain tumor in an AC electric field, is the first new treatment to come along that seems to extend some patients' lives. New data on survival rates from a major clinical trial showed that 43% of patients who used Optune were still alive at the 2-year mark, compared to 30% of patients on the standard treatment regimen. At the 4-year mark, the survival rates were 17% for Optune patients and 10% for the others.

The catch: Patients have to wear electrodes on their heads around the clock, and they're wired to a bulky generator/battery pack that's carried in a shoulder bag.

Submission + - New data about the parasite worm causing "river blindness" published

rahultyagi writes: "River blindness" and Onchocerciasis are diseases of tropical countries in Africa and South America that are caused by the tiny roundworm O. volvulus. Millions of people in these countries carry this worm, with some of the symptoms being devastating impact on quality of life, health and economy in these poor and developing countries. Large scale drug administration has shown promise over last few decades but new drugs are always in demand because of possibility of development of drug resistance. Two new papers in "Nature Microbiology" describe the genome sequence and the genomic diversity that existed before current drugs modified the genomic landscape. This data will hopefully accelerate the demise of this terrible affliction.

Submission + - Microsoft Stops Selling Windows 7 And Windows 8.1 To Computer Makers

An anonymous reader writes: Out with the old, and in with the new. Microsoft yesterday stopped providing Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 licenses to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including its PC partners and systems builders. This means that, as of today, the only way you can buy a computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is if you can still find one in stock.

Submission + - The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Must Be Stopped (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner is evidence that AT&T doesn’t ever plan to invest in fiber to the home, writes Susan Crawford at Backchannel—and that's just one of many reasons the merger is a catastrophic idea. Crawford writes: "It’s hard to think of a single positive thing this merger will accomplish, other than shining a bright light on just how awful the picture is for data transmission in this nation. This deal should be dead on arrival. In fact, AT&T should spare us by dropping the idea now. This merger must not happen."

Submission + - The City That Was Saved By the Internet

Jason Koebler writes: At a time when small cities, towns, and rural areas are seeing an exodus of young people to large cities and a precipitous decline in solidly middle class jobs, Chattanooga's government-built fiber network has helped it thrive and create a new identity for itself.

Chattanooga's success is beginning to open eyes around the country: If we start treating the internet not as a product sold by a company but as a necessary utility, can the economic prospects of rural America be saved?

Submission + - Twitter Plans To Cut About 300 Jobs As Soon As This Week, Says Report (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Twitter Inc. is planning widespread job cuts, to be announced as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The company may cut about 8 percent of the workforce, or about 300 people, the same percentage it did last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as chief executive officer, the people said. Planning for the cuts is still fluid and the number could change, they added. An announcement about the job reductions may come before Twitter releases third-quarter earnings on Thursday, one of the people said. Twitter, which loses money, is trying to control spending as sales growth slows. The company recently hired bankers to explore a sale, but the companies that had expressed interest in bidding — Salesforce.com Inc., The Walt Disney Co. and Alphabet Inc. — later backed out from the process. Twitter’s losses and 40 percent fall in its share price the past 12 months have made it more difficult for the company to pay its engineers with stock. That has made it harder for Twitter to compete for talent with giant rivals like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. Reducing employee numbers would relieve some of this pressure.

Submission + - Study Finds Little Lies Lead To Bigger Ones (go.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Telling little fibs leads down a slippery slope to bigger lies — and our brains adapt to escalating dishonesty, which makes deceit easier, a new study shows. Neuroscientists at the University College London's Affective Brain Lab put 80 people in scenarios where they could repeatedly lie and get paid more based on the magnitude of their lies. They said they were the first to demonstrate empirically that people's lies grow bolder the more they fib. The researchers then used brain scans to show that our mind's emotional hot spot — the amygdala — becomes desensitized or used to the growing dishonesty, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience. And during this lying, brain scans that show blood supply and activity at the amygdala decrease with increasing lies, said study co-author and lab director Tali Sharot. "The more we lie, the less likely we are to have an emotional response" — say, shame or guilt — "that accompanies it," Sharot said. Garrett said he suspects similar escalation factors happen in the "real world," which would include politics, infidelity and cheating, but he cautioned that this study was done in a controlled lab setting so more research would be needed to apply it to other situations. The study found that there is a segment of people who don't lie and don't escalate lies, but Sharot and Garrett weren't able to determine how rare those honest people are. It also found that people lie more when it benefits both them and someone else than when they just profit alone.

Submission + - New Samsung S7 edges catching fire (computerworld.com)

goombah99 writes: Reports are starting to trickle in about more Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phones spontaneously catching fire. There have been two such reports within the last week, several within the last few months. This includes a new one obtained in replacement for an S7 Note.

Submission + - Google interview process big turn off for experienced engineers (businessinsider.com)

mysterious_mark writes: There's an article in the Business Insider discussing how the interview process at Google is really just geared for recent CS grads, and makes no sense for experienced engineers. Apparently the only criteria to work at Google is one's ability to do white board code problems, actual engineering experience counts for nothing. This may explain why the average engineer at Google is under 30, the problem is partly due to age discrimination, and also because older and more experienced engineers simply don't want to deal with the interview process.

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