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Submission + - MIT to offer free* online master's degree (

sean_nestor writes: A new pilot program at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology will allow learners around the world to earn a master’s degree through one semester of online classes then one semester on campus, MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced Wednesday.

The pilot program will be for one degree only — the two-year program in supply chain management. Reif said the rising cost of higher education plus the capabilities of Internet learning motivated them to try this idea.

“We are experimenting with bold ideas to enhance the education we offer our own students and to lower the barriers to access for learners around the world,” Reif said in a statement issued in advance of his scheduled 12:30 p.m. announcement of the program at MIT.


Submission + - An IT labor economics lesson from Memphis for IBM (

sean_nestor writes: "The story about H1B visas is simple. H1B’s are given for foreign workers to fill U.S. positions that can’t be filled with qualified U.S. citizens or by permanent U.S. residents who hold green cards. H1Bs came into existence because there weren’t enough green cards and now we’re told there aren’t enough H1B’s, either. So there’s a move right now in Washington to increase the H1B limit above the current level of approximately 65,000 because we are told the alternative is IT paralysis without more foreign workers.

Says who? Who says there will be chaos without more foreign IT workers and are they correct? To test this theory let’s look at Memphis, TN, where IBM has recently lost two big customers. One of them — Hilton Hotels — dumped IBM only this week. The other company is ServiceMaster."


Submission + - Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen to Good Workers (

sean_nestor writes: "Back in October, an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal with the headline “Why Companies Aren’t Getting the Employees They Need.” It noted that even with millions of highly educated and highly trained workers sidelined by the worst economic downturn in three generations, companies were reporting shortages of skilled workers. Companies typically blame schools, for not providing the right training; the government, for not letting in enough skilled immigrants; and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages.
The author of the article, an expert on employment and management issues, concluded that although employers are in almost complete agreement about the skills gap, there was no actual evidence of it. Instead, he said, “The real culprits are the employers themselves.”"

Comment Another theory (Score 3, Interesting) 222

I was at The Next Hope over the summer, where they had Adrian Lamo on a panel along with Emmanuel Goldstein, Kevin Mitnick, BernieS, and Phiber Optik, discussing the ethical issues of becoming an informant. It was obviously a pretty tense panel; Julian Assange was originally supposed to be the keynote speaker the day prior, though obviously he couldn't because by that point he was a wanted man. A lot of people had really, really harsh words for Lamo, and you had to give the guy credit for knowing that and still being willing to show up.

Anyway, at one point during the panel I recall someone asking him how he came to know Manning; his response was that Manning found him after reading a little about him online, and then proceeded share a lot of "personal things" with him. The insinuation seemed to be that it wasn't anything as simple as moral opposition to the war or his role in it; the fact that Lamo left it so open and wouldn't go into details seemed to me that Manning may be gay, and was struggling to deal with being a closeted member of the military under DADT policy. If you check Lamo's Wikipedia page, it classified him as being an "LGBT person from the United States". Maybe Manning spoke at length to Lamo about being a closested homosexual, and the frustrations that came with it, especially being in the military?

I could be way off here, but maybe the reason they don't want to release the logs is more to protect Bradley Manning's right not to be outed, or to have other potentially "embarrassing" things revealed about his private life that are irrelevant to the rest of the case.

Submission + - How The Free Market Rocked The Grid (

sean_nestor writes: Most of us take for granted that the lights will work when we flip them on, without worrying too much about the staggeringly complex things needed to make that happen. Thank the engineers who designed and built the power grids for that—but don't thank them too much. Their main goal was reliability; keeping the cost of electricity down was less of a concern. That's in part why so many people in the United States complain about high electricity prices. Some armchair economists (and a quite a few real ones) have long argued that the solution is deregulation. After all, many other U.S. industries have been deregulated—take, for instance, oil, natural gas, or trucking—and greater competition in those sectors swiftly brought prices down. Why not electricity?

Comment ©ontrol (Score 2, Interesting) 919

Fight the power and the power will fight back!
You're only as good as the system you hack;
If you become a problem you will be replaced--
banned, shut down, erased!

The world has capsized, gone erratic
Constitutional rights have dissolved into static
The truth is based on misinformation--
reality is only a hallucination!

-MDFMK, ©ontrol
The Internet

Bookmark Synchronizer Xmarks Hangs Up Their Hats 225

krulgar writes "On January 10, 2011, Xmarks will be closing their doors. A free service being replaced by free software. It would still be nice to have a single way to keep my bookmarks from my work machine in sync with my home machines and my mobile devices without exerting much effort. Xmarks seemed to be the only ones with that clear vision, maybe the replacement tools can grow into this space, but it's still a little sad to see a useful tool wave goodbye."

Submission + - Xmarks closing down (

JLangbridge writes: After years of service, 2 million users and 5 million browsers synchronised, Xmarks will be closing down, unable to gain the money necessary to keep surviving, and being squeezed out of business by other synchronisation software. Automated emails have been sent out saying goodbye, giving a service termination date (Jan 10) and providing a few links to other synchronisation software.

Submission + - Xmarks To Shut Down in January 2011 1

BarneyRabble writes: "The cross browser bookmark sync application Xmarks, is shutting down as of January 2011. The site is stating that even through advertising, they could no longer support their business model. Further information can be found here.( All data from sync, including bookmarks, passwords, etcetera, will be wiped from their servers, and they ask that you start now to use other applications."

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 1186

In what way will having a painting in your house enhance your existence. In what way will any artistic expression or personal expression do so?

Difference; I can take down that art. I can't easily remove a tattoo from my skin. I know this is subtle, but it's important.

I've heard many variants of this argument but never really bought the idea. Yeah when you're old and wrinkly they won't look good. Neither will your skin. Seriously, if you find "Reagan's neck" to be dignified i any way you are more twisted than I. The ravages of old age aren't sexy or cool or dignified, but just the opposite. At that point, tattoos are the least of your problems.

Just because your skin will be wrinkled doesn't mean it's a good idea to go for broke and make it wrinkled AND hideous. Some of us want to maintain a modicum of good looks, if possible. Tattoos aren't helpful in this area.

Yes. Well, assuming I had grandkids, I'd absolutely like to tell them why I chose specific and important mathematical equations and discuss with them the scientific importance, cultural relevance, and history of those equations. That would probably be a hundred times more significant and interesting of a conversation than is the norm.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that kids 30-50 years from now are going to be much like kids today in that they would not find that stuff interesting in the least, and use your rambling lectures on the importance of some math equation as further proof that you're off your rocker. Not saying that they're right, but that's probably how they would take it.

Note, I don't have any tattoos right now, but I'm not opposed to them. I used to think getting one required a lot of thought, but they're pretty removable these days so maybe instead of lecturing someone about the details of a tattoo they're planning on getting, why not just make suggestions about what would be the most awesomely geeky equation and stop being so patronizing.

I'm not opposed to tattoos either; I'm just opposed to shallow decision-making. No matter how you slice it, this guy's presentation of the question just reeks of it; and sadly, it's demonstrative of a trend I've noticed over the last decade or so of considering tattoos more or less temporary. It still costs a lot of money to get them removed; it's not exactly something you just walk into a clinic and get done in an hour. I have enough friends with tattoo regret to be aware of the details. It's just not pretty.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 0, Troll) 1186

Even beyond the "professional" consequences, it's a remarkably stupid thing to do. A lot of people are dishonest about their interests in getting a tattoo - it's all about fulfilling some vain ideal of what you want others to think of you, and does little to enhance any actual substance on your part. All it says is that you care so little about yourself and your body that you'll gladly deface it to for some kitschy image. This will make for a great novelty at a party or con, sure, but nobody will care after the first time they see it. After that, you have to live with knowing that you thought so little of yourself that you actually prostituted your flesh to some kitschy idea.

Like an idea, or symbol, or picture a lot? Get a fucking t-shirt of it. This has the advantage of getting the cheap laugh at the party, but you can also walk home with your dignity relatively intact. It takes a remarkably low level of self-respect to devalue yourself by attaching the whole of your existence to a few cheap symbols.

Comment Seriously? (Score 5, Insightful) 1186

In what way will having these tattoos enhance your existence? Do you really foresee finding it "cool" ten years from now? Or twenty? If you have to ask what it is you want tattooed, that should be sign enough that it isn't something you want permanently engraved into your skin.

Think of how dignified those tattoos will look when you age and your whole body looks like Reagan's neck. Do you really want to explain to your grandkids why you thought a math equation or Mighty Mouse or a kanji character that means "desk" was something that held enough meaning that it required you to permanently scar your body with it?

This applies to everyone who resolves to get a tattoo before deciding what it is of, btw.

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