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Submission + - U of Calif. San Diego chancellor is a director of outsoucer hired by UCSF (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The offshore outsourcing planned at the University of California's San Francisco (UCSF) campus is following a standard playbook. The affected employees expect to train their replacements as a condition of severance. Their jobs will soon be in India and they'll be out of work. But the chancellor of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Pradeep K. Khosla, may still be getting compensated by HCL Infosystems. It is one of the units of India-based HCL, the IT services contractor hired by the university. Khosla is an independent and non-executive director on the HCL Infosystems board of directors. Khosla has reported his HCL compensation to the university at $12,000 last year for 56 hours of total time served. He also earns $12,000 from Infosys Science Foundation as chair of the engineering and computer science jury, according to the compensation report. When asked if the university's contract with HCL creates a conflict for Khosla, a UCSD spokeswoman,replied: "The contract was negotiated between UCSF and HCL; it did not involve Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in any way, nor was it discussed at any HCL meeting that Chancellor Khosla attended." But the HCL contract can be leveraged by any UC campus. The "HCL agreement is UC-wide," according to notes from the university's system-wide Architecture Committee. "Other CIOs looking at UCSF experience before other folks dip in. Wait for a year before jumping in with HCL." Another issue for the university may be having an association generally with the offshore outsourcing industry, which works at displacing U.S. IT workers, including computer science grads of institutions such as the University of California.

Submission + - F-35A Catches Fire at Mountain Home Air Force Base (defensenews.com)

theweatherelectric writes: Writing for Defense News, Valerie Insinna reports that another F-35 has caught fire during an exercise. She writes, "The incident took place at around noon and involved an F-35A aircraft from the 61st Fighter Squadron located at Luke Air Force Base, the service said in a statement. No serious injuries seem to have been sustained by the pilot or nearby crew.

'The pilot had to egress the aircraft during engine start due to a fire from the aft section of the aircraft,' Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email. 'The fire was extinguished quickly. As a precautionary measure, four 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen, three Airmen from the 366th Maintenance Group and the 61st Fighter Squadron pilot were transported to the base medical center for standard evaluation.'"

Submission + - Bad science persists because poor methods are rewarded (economist.com)

ananyo writes: In 1962 psychologist Jacob Cohen analysed 70 articles published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology and calculated their statistical power (a mathematical estimate of the probability that an experiment would detect a real effect). He reckoned most of the studies he looked at would actually have detected the effects their authors were looking for only about 20% of the time—yet, in fact, nearly all reported significant results. Scientists, Cohen surmised, were not reporting their unsuccessful research. Many papers must also actually be reporting false positives.
A new paper finds that little has changed in over 50 years. The average power of papers culled from 44 reviews published between 1960 and 2011 was about 24%. The authors build an evolutionary computer model to suggest why and show that poor methods that get "results" will inevitably prosper. They also show that replication efforts cannot stop the degradation of the scientific record as long as science continues to reward the volume of a researcher's publications--rather than their quality.

Submission + - Thirty ton meteorite excavated in Argentina

An anonymous reader writes: In what is one of the largest asteroid chunks ever found on Earth, an excavation team from a local astronomy club this week excavated a thirty ton iron-nickel meteorite from the ground.

Dubbed Gancedo after a nearby town, it isn't a record-holder, but it sure is big. What I found interesting from the article, however, is this:

Gancedo's fall to Earth occurred between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago. Locals knew of the fall for centuries, even making iron tools from meteorites found in the strewnfield. In the 16th century, the Spanish became interested in stories of a piece of iron that fell from the sky, and in 1774 don Bartolomé Francsico de Maguna led an expedition that came across a mass of iron, referred to as MesÃn de Fierro ("Table of Iron" in Spanish). Another 1,400-pound fragment from Campo del Cielo named Otumpa now resides at the British Museum in London. With more than 100 tons of meteorite recovered, Campo del Cielo is the top producer in terms of pure meteorite mass worldwide.

The Campo del Cielo strewnfield extends over an ellipse 3 km wide by 19 km long over an area northwest of Buenos Aires, and meteorites found here have a polycrystalline coarse octahedrite composition characteristic of iron-nickel meteorites. They are also unusually pure even among iron-nickel meteorites, consisting of 93% iron. Most of the remaining 7% is nickel, and less than 1% are trace elements.

The evidence here is that a very dense asteroid, weighing a minimum of 100 tons but probably several times that, smashed into the Earth about five thousand years ago. Yet, all life on Earth was not wiped out, as is repeatedly suggested might happen whenever a similarly sized asteroid zips close past the Earth. In fact, there is no evidence this impact had any significant global environmental effects.

Remember this the next time another asteroid of similar size zips past the Earth and the media doom-sayers begin to sing their siren song again.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What "rights" did Microsoft claim today? (microsoft.com)

shanen writes: What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?

Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.

I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.

Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?

Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...

Where do I want to get screwed today?

Submission + - How Sales Targets Encourage Wrongdoing Inside America's Companies (bloomberg.com)

hwstar writes: This story illustrates one of the fundamental problems I see with American Businesses these days. It talks about 4 companies where perverse incentives caused problems, and one company which got the balance correct. From the article:

"Incentives poison people's will to do the right thing. It's the worst way to get people to do the things you want to do." and "Wells Fargo’s predicament was by no means novel. It was simply the latest in a long string of companies and even federal agencies that have seen the incentivizing of employee performance go terribly awry."

Submission + - Android-x86 6.0 Released to Let You Run Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Your PC

prisoninmate writes: Android-x86 6.0 has been in the works since early this year, and it received a total of two RC (Release Candidate) builds during its entire development cycle, one in June and another in August. After joining the Remix OS team, Chih-Wei Huang now has all the reasons to update and improve its Android-x86 system for the latest Android releases. Therefore, as you might have guessed already, Android-x86 6.0 is the first stable version of the project to be based on Google's Linux kernel-based Android 6.0 Marshmallow mobile operating system, and includes the most recent AOSP (Android Open Source Project) security updates too. Under the hood, Android-x86 6.0 is using the long-term supported Linux 4.4.20 kernel with an updated graphics stack based on Mesa 12.0.2 3D Graphics Library, and offers support for Samsung's F2FS file system for SSD drives, better Wi-Fi support after resume and suspend, and initial HDMI audio support.

Submission + - Police forces are stockpiling massive databases with personal information

Presto Vivace writes: The Post and Courier

A person can end up in one of these databases by doing nothing more than sitting on a public park bench or chatting with an officer on the street. Once there, these records can linger forever and be used by police agencies to track movements, habits, acquaintances and associations – even a person’s marital and job status, The Post and Courier found in an investigation of police practices around the nation. ... What began as a method for linking suspicious behavior to crime has morphed into a practice that threatens to turn local police departments into miniature versions of the National Security Agency. In the process, critics contend, police risk trampling constitutional rights, tarnishing innocent people and further eroding public trust.

Submission + - Turn off location services? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you (theregister.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Google, it seems, is very, very interested in knowing where you are at all times.

Users have been reporting battery life issues with the latest Android build, with many pointing the finger at Google Play – Google's app store – and its persistent, almost obsessive need to check where you are.

It's not clear why Google would insist on its app store having constant access to your location, but the company is very determined about it. Following reports earlier this year that the Google Play app was interfering with other apps' ability to use GPS, Google has updated the software and now makes it impossible to turn off location tracking.

The same is true of Google Maps. Although it makes far more sense for Maps to have access to your location, the latest build doesn't give you the option of turning it off. To do that, you have to turn off GPS on your phone altogether.

In effect, if you use either of Google's two most popular apps – which come pre-loaded with Google's flavor of Android – the company has permanent access to your location unless you turn off the location setting globally.

Submission + - China Tests Quantum Radar That Detects Stealth Aircrafts (defenseworld.net)

William Robinson writes: According to some reports, China has tested its first single photon detection technology quantum radar which could detect objects, including stealth aircraft, within the range of 100 kilometres, somewhere is mid August. The radar uses quantum entanglement photons, which means it has better detection capabilities than conventional systems. This means it can more easily track modern aircraft that use stealth technology or baffle enemy radar. The report also suggests that "The system was able to detect a target at a range of 100 kms in a real-world environment".

Submission + - Secret Court Orders force companies to provide backdoor to spy on you (internetsafetyandprivacy.com)

internetsos writes: Electronic Frontier Foundation has lodged a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information act to confirm if there are secret orders forcing the creation of back doors to spy on us.

Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit has been filed by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain information on secret court orders requiring technology companies to decrypt their customers’ communications.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a digital rights group that wants to know if the government obtained orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to force companies like Apple and Google to assist in surveillance efforts. The EFF want the DoJ to declassify this and other significant FISC opinions as part of the surveillance reforms enacted by Congress with the Freedom Act.

FBI want to be able to look at your phone

The FBI recently tried to make Apple build a backdoor to the iPhone to allow the agency to bypass the security on the phone belonging to the man alleged to be behind the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The FBI retracted the demand when a third-party helped it hack the phone but they are still trying to get apple to provide a back door and way to decrypt data stored on devices.

The EFF are demanding to know if the government has attempted to obtain similar orders from the FISC, which the EFF says operates mostly in secret and approves a majority of surveillance requests. They referred to news reports stating that the government has sought FISC orders to force companies to hand over source code, which would allow them to find and exploit software vulnerabilities for surveillance purposes.

“If the government is obtaining FISC orders to force a company to build backdoors or decrypt their users’ communications, the public has a right to know about those secret demands to compromise people’s phones and computers,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. “The government should not be able to conscript private companies into weakening the security of these devices, particularly via secret court orders.”

Proposed law to force companies to decypt user data

Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein of the Senate Intelligence Committee proposed a law that would force companies to decrypt user data when presented with a court order. The senators said the proposed law was a discussion draft that would be formally introduced only after they get feedback from the public and key stakeholders.

Submission + - Banks and data mining

Presto Vivace writes: Data Mining and the 'Creepy' Factor

Banks know a tremendous amount of personal information about their customers — what better insight is there than how people spend their money? — but given the amount of trust that is assumed in a banking relationship, they have to be especially careful about showing their customers they know them without creeping them out. ... "There are a lot of things that we could do with the data. But we have a strong set of rules and governance around how we use it, and we don't ever cross that line. We've done customer research to identify where that line is, and believe me, there is a lot of space between how we can improve the relevance and timeliness of what we say to our customers and that line.

Difficult not to be queasy about all this.

Submission + - The Downsides of Google's Chrome Security Push (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: While the push to encrypt Internet connections by default is a laudable one, it is also essential that fundamental aspects of practicality and user reactions also be carefully considered.

I touched on some of this over a year ago in “Falling Into the Encryption Trap” — but now that Google has made more explicit their plans for browser address bar warnings to users regarding http: connections, I’m again concerned.

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