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Study Finds U.S. is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University have concluded, after extensive analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that the U.S. is in fact an oligarchy and not a democracy. What this means is that, although 'Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance', 'majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.' Their study (PDF), to be published in Perspectives on Politics, found that 'When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.'"

Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots in Japan

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 7 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Bloomberg reports that humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process. “We need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” says Mitsuru Kawai, a half century-long company veteran tapped by President Akio Toyoda to promote craftsmanship at Toyota’s plants. “When I was a novice, experienced masters used to be called gods (Kami-sama in Japanese), and they could make anything.”

According to Kawai, learning how to make car parts from scratch gives younger workers insights they otherwise wouldn’t get from picking parts from bins and conveyor belts, or pressing buttons on machines. At about 100 manual-intensive workspaces introduced over the last three years across Toyota’s factories in Japan, these lessons can then be applied to reprogram machines to cut down on waste and improve processes. In an area Kawai directly supervises at the forging division of Toyota’s Honsha plant, workers twist, turn and hammer metal into crankshafts instead of using the typically automated process. Experiences there have led to innovations in reducing levels of scrap and shortening the production line and Kawai also credits manual labor for helping workers improve production of axle beams and cut the costs of making chassis parts. “We cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task over and over again,” says Kawai. “To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.”"

Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

snydeq (1272828) writes | about 7 months ago

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snydeq (1272828) writes "Microsoft TechNet blog makes clear that Windows 8.1 will not be patched, and that users must get Windows 8.1 Update if they want security patches, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'In what is surely the most customer-antagonistic move of the new Windows regime, Steve Thomas at Microsoft posted a TechNet article on Saturday stating categorically that Microsoft will no longer issue security patches for Windows 8.1, starting in May,' Leonhard writes. 'Never mind that Windows 8.1 customers are still having multiple problems with errors when trying to install the Update. At this point, there are 300 posts on the Microsoft Answers forum thread Windows 8.1 Update 1 Failing to Install with errors 0x80070020, 80073712 and 800F081F. The Answers forum is peppered with similar complaints and a wide range of errors, from 800F0092 to 80070003, for which there are no solutions from Microsoft. Never mind that Microsoft itself yanked Windows 8.1 Update from the corporate WSUS update server chute almost a week ago and still hasn't offered a replacement.'"

Saturn May Have Given Birth to a Baby Moon

astroengine (1577233) writes | about 7 months ago

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astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has imaged something peculiar on the outermost edge of the gas giant’s A-ring. A bright knot, or arc, has been spotted 20 percent brighter than the surrounding ring material and astronomers are interpreting it as a gravitational disturbance caused by a tiny moon. “We have not seen anything like this before,” said Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London. “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.”"
Link to Original Source

Scientists Use Women's Own Cells to Create Lab-Grown Vaginas

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Per the English medical journal, Lancet, researchers are implanting lab-grown vaginas in female patients. Four women received the treatment between 2005-2008. The procedure is different from past vagina-replacement techniques because it uses a new mixture of cells to make a more 'real' vaginal tissue."
Link to Original Source

This 1981 BYTE magazine cover explains why we're so bad at tech predictions

harrymcc (1641347) writes | about 7 months ago

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harrymcc (1641347) writes "If you remember the golden age of BYTE magazine, you remember Robert Tinney's wonderful cover paintings. BYTE's April 1981 cover featured an amazing Tinney image of a smartwatch with a tiny text-oriented interface, QWERTY keyboard, and floppy drive. It's hilarious--but 33 years later, it's also a smart visual explanation of why the future of technology so often bears so little resemblance to anyone's predictions. I wrote about this over at TIME.com."
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1Password (Agilebits) was affected by Heartbleed

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "They claim on their blog that they were not affected by Heartbleed unlike their competitor (LastPass) but in fact they were.

Going to https://agilebits.com/onepassw... and looking at the certificate issue date (4/10/2014) indicates they reissued it recently.

Additionally their own discussion forum admin admits they had to patch their OpenSSL on their website. http://discussions.agilebits.c...

So a malicious attacker could have stolen their main websites wild-card key and certificate to impersonate their website and trick people into downloading software with malware instead.

They were the same as LastPass in that user password data wasn't compromised, but LastPass was more transparent about it.

http://discussions.agilebits.c...

Hi @Quantumpanda,

Our website (agilebits.com) has been fixed with the patched version of OpenSSL, and is using a newly issued SSL certificate.

The forum (discussions.agilebits.com) does not use SSL (as you can see by looking at the URL, it's http), thus is not affected. With that said, we should be using SSL on the forum as well, and we're looking into it.

http://blog.agilebits.com/2014..."

Twitter Posts Betray Illness

Dotnaught (223657) writes | about 7 months ago

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Dotnaught (223657) writes "Penn State Researchers have demonstrated that they can diagnose influenza using a person's public Twitter posts, even if that person hasn't specifically mentioned his or her health. They conclude, "It would seem that simply avoiding discussing an illness is not enough to hide one's health in the age of big data.""
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Mozilla Appoints Former Marketing Head Interim CEO

itwbennett (1594911) writes | about 7 months ago

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itwbennett (1594911) writes "Following the contentious and ultimately failed appointment of Brendan Eich as CEO last month, the Mozilla Corporation has appointed board member Chris Beard as interim CEO. Beard starting working as chief marketing officer for Mozilla in 2004, and oversaw the launch of its current browser, Firefox, in 2005. Beard also managed the launches of Firefox on Android and the Firefox OS for mobile phones."
Link to Original Source

US Government confiscates passport of citizen while overseas, doesn't say why

Faizdog (243703) writes | about 7 months ago

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Faizdog (243703) writes "The US State Department has confiscated the passport of a US citizen who is overseas. Due to that, he is in a precarious situation regarding his legal status.

The State Dept. has given no explanation for their actions.

Federal law requires that US citizens be granted a hearing before their passports are revoked. According to the man’s attorneys: “Having a passport is part of a citizen’s right to international travel, because without a passport you’re not able to move about or return to the US they can revoke it if they believe it has been obtained fraudulently. But here, there isn’t any allegation of wrongdoing.”

How does one answer the question “papers please?” when they government has taken your papers?"

Link to Original Source

The FAA Thinks It Can Regulate Paper Planes and Baseballs

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes | about 7 months ago

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Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Ever throw a baseball? Or a paper plane? Watch out—the Federal Aviation Administration thinks that anything that flies through the air might be aircraft that it can regulate.

That’s a bit hyperbolic, but not by much. Last month, a federal judge ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t correctly regulate drones, so anyone could fly them legally. In that case, the judge decided two things: The FAA never made drone regulations and standard aircraft regulations the FAA has do not apply to drones because they aren’t “aircraft” in the traditional sense (at least as far as the FAA has traditionally defined them). In their original argument, the FAA said that it has the right to regular anything that flies through the air—and, in an appeal to that decision, they’ve decided to double down on the whole thing.

We’ve covered that case plenty, so if you need anything more than a quick primer, you can check out the specifics here. Basically what happened was, a couple years ago, a drone pilot named Raphael Pirker flew his 5 pound, styrofoam drone around the University of Virginia, and got paid to do it. That angered the FAA, who has been trying to keep commercial drone flights grounded. But, because they never actually made regulations, they went after Pirker for the “reckless operation of an aircraft,” which turned out to be a really bad idea, because the FAA has always specifically referenced “model aircraft” when it wants to talk about RC aircraft or drones. Furthermore, the statute they tried to get Pirker on references things like pilots walking around the cabin and flight attendants being distracting—clearly not something you can do on a foam drone."

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U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable,' Prominent Researchers Warn

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | about 7 months ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The U.S. biomedical science system "is on an unsustainable path" and needs major reform, four prominent researchers say. Researchers should "confront the dangers at hand,” the authors write, and “rethink” how academic research is funded, staffed, and organized. Among other issues, the team suggests that the system may be producing too many new researchers and forcing them to compete for a stagnating pool of funding."
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Carpenter who cut off his fingers makes 'Robohand' with 3-D printer

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 7 months ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes ""I was in a position to see exactly what happens in the human hand. I got the basics of what it's all about and thought yeah, I'll make my own."
Richard van As is recalling the moment in May 2011 when he sat in a Johannesburg hospital waiting to hear if his fingers could be stitched back on. Just an hour earlier, he had been in his carpentry workshop sawing wood when the saw slipped and ripped diagonally through the four fingers on his right hand. "It all happened too quickly to know what actually happened," he remembers.

Rather than fear the outcome, or dwell on the repercussions of losing his fingers, he was already thinking of ways to fix the problem, like a true carpenter.

After days of scouring the Internet he couldn't find anywhere to buy a functional prosthetic finger and he was astonished at the cost of prosthetic hands and limbs which began in the tens of thousands of dollars. But his online surfing paid off as it brought him to an amateur video posted by a mechanical effects artist in Washington State, by the name of Ivan Owen."

Link to Original Source

Google Buys Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

garymortimer (1882326) writes | about 7 months ago

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garymortimer (1882326) writes "Google has acquired drone maker Titan Aerospace, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Titan is a New Mexico-based company that makes high-flying solar powered drones.

There’s no word on the price Google paid, but Facebook had been in talks to acquire the company earlier this year for a reported $60 million. Presumably, Google paid more than that to keep it away from Facebook."

Link to Original Source

New bill on illegal downloads in Canada let companies exchange personal info

grumpyman (849537) writes | about 7 months ago

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grumpyman (849537) writes "New bill to crack down on illegal downloads in Canada allow private companies to exchange personal information with other companies if they believe there has been a breach of agreement, or a case of fraud. I copyright this message and therefore if you are reading it, you have broken the law. I demand that your ISP to provide me your name and address so I can launch a suit."
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Babies use fairness and race to choose playmate

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A couple of years ago a University of Washington researcher who studies how children develop social behaviors like kindness and generosity noticed something odd. The 15-month-old infants in her experiments seemed to be playing favorites among the researchers on her team, being more inclined to share toys or play with some researchers than others.

“It’s not like one experimenter was nicer or friendlier to the babies – we control for factors like that,” said Jessica Sommerville, a UW associate professor of psychology. She took a closer look at the data and realized that the babies were more likely to help researchers who shared the same ethnicity, a phenomenon known as in-group bias, or favoring people who have the same characteristics as oneself.

She designed an experiment to study this. The findings, published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, show that 15-month-old babies value a person’s fairness – whether or not an experimenter equally distributes toys – unless babies see that the experimenter unevenly distributed toys in a way that benefits a person of the same race as the infant."

Link to Original Source

Heartbleed Disclosure Timeline Revealed

bennyboy64 (1437419) writes | about 7 months ago

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bennyboy64 (1437419) writes "Ever since the Heartbleed flaw in OpenSSL was made public there have been various questions about who knew what and when. The Sydney Morning Herald has done some analysis of public mailing lists and talked to those involved with disclosing the bug to get the bottom of it. The newspaper finds that Google discovered Heartbleed on or before March 21 and notified OpenSSL on April 1. Other key dates include Finnish security testing firm Codenomicon discovering the flaw independently of Google at 23:30 PDT, April 2. SuSE, Debian, FreeBSD and AltLinux all got a heads up from Red Hat about the flaw in the early hours of April 7 — a few hours before it was made public. Ubuntu, Gentoo and Chromium attempted to get a heads up by responding to an email with few details about it but didn't get a heads up, as the guy at Red Hat sending the disclosure messages out in India went to bed. By the time he woke up, Codenomicon had reported the bug to OpenSSL and they freaked out and decided to tell the world about it."

Phase 1 of TrueCrypt Audit Turns up No Backdoors

msm1267 (2804139) writes | about 7 months ago

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msm1267 (2804139) writes "A initial audit of the popular open source encryption software TrueCrypt turned up fewer than a dozen vulnerabilities, none of which so far point toward a backdoor surreptitiously inserted into the codebase.

A report on the first phase of the audit was released today by iSEC Partners, which was contracted by the Open Crypto Audit Project (OCAP), a grassroots effort that not only conducted a successful fundraising effort to initiate the audit, but raised important questions about the integrity of the software.

The first phase of the audit focused on the TrueCrypt bootloader and Windows kernel driver; architecture and code reviews were performed, as well as penetration tests including fuzzing interfaces, said Kenneth White, senior security engineer at Social & Scientific Systems. The second phase of the audit will look at whether the various encryption cipher suites, random number generators and critical key algorithms have been implemented correctly."

Link to Original Source

Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

cartechboy (2660665) writes | about 7 months ago

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cartechboy (2660665) writes "We all just have too much money on our hands, and we really want a flying car, right? Well that's what Skylys thinks, as it's trying to crowdfund a flying car. According to its website, "In detail we aim to create an urban dual-mode, hybrid flight and electric drive motorized vehicle that fits into sustainable mobility." How much money does it need? Oh about $3,111,075. Apparently the company has run out of money and needs more to "start construction on our two prototypes to confirm our technical specifications; pay the chaps in the legal department; industrial engineers and take up occupancy of our future offices in Silicon Valley, where our backers can of course pay us a visit." Well sign me up, how could one resist that sales pitch? Seriously though, it seems people aren't biting, yet. Honestly, would you invest money into this flying car project?"

Miss 8-Bit Gaming? Revive 80s Commodore 64 Computer Using Raspberry Pi

concertina226 (2447056) writes | about 7 months ago

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concertina226 (2447056) writes "I'm sure some of you will think it's insane to want to go backwards with technology, but retro gaming fans and supporters of old computing hardware will definitely disagree.

To that end, a group of Commodore fans are working on a new emulator with the ability to turn the Raspberry Pi £30 computer into a fully functioning Commodore 64 fresh from the 1980s.

Scott Hutter, creator of the Commodore Pi project, together with a team of developers on Github, are seeking to build a native Commodore 64 operating system that can run on Raspberry Pi.

"The goal will be to include all of the expected emulation features such as SID sound, sprites, joystick connectivity, REU access, etc. In time, even the emulation speed could be changed, as well as additional modern graphics modes," he writes on his website."

Link to Original Source

Climate scientist: Why nuclear power may be the only way to avoid geoengineering

Lasrick (2629253) writes | about 7 months ago

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Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists, and in this interview he explains his outspoken support for both nuclear energy and research into climate engineering. Wigley was one of the first scientists to break the taboo on public discussion of climate engineering as a possible response to global warming; in a 2006 paper in the journal Science, he proposed a combined geoengineering-mitigation strategy that would address the problem of increasing ocean acidity, as well as the problem of climate change. In this interview, he argues that hat renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"
Link to Original Source

Why So Many Security Jobs Are Going Begging

Nemo the Magnificent (2786867) writes | about 7 months ago

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Nemo the Magnificent (2786867) writes "The Washington, DC area has more unfilled cyber-security jobs than anywhere else. The problem is that HR and hiring managers don't understand the career paths of security professionals, and they slap on requirements for high-level credentials, particularly CISSP. Seventy percent of posted security job openings ask for a CISSP, when the actual work mostly doesn't require that level of expertise — and the job doesn't pay commensurately in the first place — says the executive director of (ISC)^2. Here are a few lower-level certifications that hiring managers ought to be asking for, if only they knew about them."
Link to Original Source

Cosmic Slurp

aarondubrow (1866212) writes | about 7 months ago

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aarondubrow (1866212) writes "A “tidal disruption” occurs when a star orbits too close to a black hole and gets sucked in. The phenomenon is accompanied by a bright flare with a unique signature that changes over time. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are using Stampede and other NSF-supported supercomputers to simulate tidal disruptions in order to better understand the dynamics of the process. Doing so helps astronomers find many more possible candidates of tidal disruptions in sky surveys and will reveal details of how stars and black holes interact."
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The Best way to watch the "Blood Moon" tonight

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "People on the West Coast should be able to watch the beginning of the upcoming total lunar eclipse tonight at 10:20 pm. The entirety of the moon surface will be in Earth's shadow and start to glow red a couple hours later, a little after midnight. From the article: 'A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and Earth align so that Earth's shadow falls across the moon's surface. Monday night's lunar eclipse is a total eclipse, which means Earth's shadow will cover the moon completely. The moon won't be blacked out by our planet's shadow. Instead, it will take on a reddish hue — anywhere from a bright copper to the brownish red of dried blood.'"

Tiny camera brings big league applications to petite satellites

coondoggie (973519) writes | about 7 months ago

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coondoggie (973519) writes "The European Space Agency has developed a tiny spectrum-revealing camera that can fly inside tiny satellites known as CubeSats making it ideal for many applications from agriculture to environmental research. The hyperspectral camera could fit in the palm of your hand and works by dividing-up hundreds of narrow, adjacent wavelengths which reveal 'spectral signatures' of particular features, crops or materials, providing valuable data for fields such as mineralogy, agricultural forecasting and environmental monitoring, the ESA stated."
Link to Original Source

How It Works: The Surgical Snakebot

malachiorion (1205130) writes | about 7 months ago

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malachiorion (1205130) writes "It sounds like the nightmare of all robotic nightmares: A flexible, snake-inspired bot that slides down your throat to snip and burn through your tissue. From there, thing get even more terrifying. If Medrobotics has its way, some version of its FLEX robot will enter patients' bodies through ... other orifices, traveling to nearly anywhere in the abdominal region with a single incision (far fewer than with other surgical robots).
In fact, the surgical snakebot could be a huge leap (slither) forward for robotic surgery, with less of a learning curve for operators and the eventual prospect of surgery with significantly less physical trauma. The potential mental trauma, of course, is another matter. Here's a quick overview of the FLEX system, which is cruising towards clearance in Europe and the U.S., with diagram included, for Popular Science."

Link to Original Source

NASA to Send Resupply Mission despite Technical Problems

Anonymous Coward writes | about 7 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Despite a critical backup computer failing on the ISS Friday, an unmanned SpaceX rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral at 4:58 p.m. Monday with more than 2 tons of supplies for the space station. From the article: 'The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to proceed with its resupply mission, despite technical problems with its computer in the International Space Station (ISS), as it needed to deliver necessary supplies.'"

IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay A Relative's Debt

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 7 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Just in time for the April 15 IRS filing deadline comes news from the Washington Post that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds are instead getting letters informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check — sometimes on debts 20 or 30 years old. For example, when Mary Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them. Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. “It was a shock,” says Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, says Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam. The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred. Many of the taxpayers whose refunds have been taken say they’ve been unable to contest the confiscations because of the cost, because Social Security cannot provide records detailing the original overpayment, and because the citizens, following advice from the IRS to keep financial documents for just three years, had long since trashed their own records. More than 1,200 appeals have been filed on the old cases but only about 10 percent of taxpayers have won those appeals. "The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter," says Brenda Samonds.." We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.”"

Would Amazon Dare To Make A Phone? Of Course

jfruh (300774) writes | about 7 months ago

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jfruh (300774) writes "'So-and-so is about to release a smartphone' is one of the oldest tech rumors around, and most of the time nothing comes of it. But Stephen Lawson of the IDG News Service argues that if anyone non-phonemaker were going to dip their toes into that treacherous water, it'd be Amazon. The company hasn't been afraid to take on incumbents in the tablet and TV set-top box markets, and the financial rewards for breaking out of the content ecosystem imposed by other providers are too great to ignore."
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An unnecessary path to tech: A Bachelor's degree

dcblogs (1096431) writes | about 7 months ago

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dcblogs (1096431) writes "A study of New York City's tech workforce found that 44% of jobs in the city's "tech ecosystem," or 128,000 jobs, "are accessible" to people without a Bachelor's degree. This eco-system includes both tech specific jobs and those jobs supported by tech. For instance, a technology specific job that doesn't require a Bachelor's degree might be a computer user support specialist, earning $28.80 an hour, according to this study. Tech industry jobs that do not require a four-year degree and may only need on-the-job training include customer services representatives, at $18.50 an hour, telecom line installer, $37.60 an hour, and sales representatives, $33.60 an hour. The study did not look at "who is actually sitting in those jobs and whether people are under-employed," said Kate Wittels, a director at HR&A Advisors, a real-estate and economic-development consulting firm, and report author.. Many people in the "accessible" non-degree jobs may indeed have degrees. For instance. About 75% of the 25 employees who work at New York Computer Help in Manhattan have a Bachelor's degree. Of those with Bachelor's degrees, about half have IT-related degrees."
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Heartbleed: Revenue Canada breached, 900 SINs leaked

Walking The Walk (1003312) writes | about 7 months ago

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Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) released a statement yesterday explaining that they had been notified of a breach of their system. The CRA attempted to avoid being compromised by halting online tax returns, taking down Netfile and other related websites affected by Heartbleed. The statement indicates that affected individuals and businesses will receive notification by registered mail, "to ensure that our communications are secure and cannot be exploited by fraudsters through phishing schemes.""

Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

judgecorp (778838) writes | about 7 months ago

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judgecorp (778838) writes "Three weeks after Russia asserted that Crimea is part of its territory, the social networks have a problem: how to categories their users from the region? Facebook and the largest Russian social network Vkontakte still Say Crimeans are located in Ukraine, while other Russian social networks say they are Russians. Meanwhile, on Wikipedia, an edit war has resulted in Crimea being part of Russia, but shaded a different colour to signify the territory is disputed. Search engine Yandex is trying to cover both angles: its maps service gives a different answer, depending on which location you send your query from."
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Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun to Calculate Pi

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | about 7 months ago

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of pi and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do? According to a couple of Canadian mathematicians, the answer is to repeatedly fire a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun at a square aluminium target about 20 metres away. Then imagine that the square is inscribed with an arc drawn between opposite corners that maps out a quarter circle. If the sides of the square are equal to 1, then the area of the quarter circle is pi/4. Next, count the number of pellet holes that fall inside the area of the quarter circle as well as the total number of holes. The ratio between these is an estimate of the ratio between the area of the quarter circle and the area of a square, or in other words pi/4. So multiplying this number by 4 will give you an estimate of pi. That's a process known as a Monte Carlo approximation and it is complicated by factors such as the distribution of the pellets not being random. But the mathematicians show how to handle these too. The result? According to this method, pi is 3.13, which is just 0.33 per cent off the true value. Handy if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world."
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Akamai admits its OpenSSL patch was faulty, reissues keys

angry tapir (1463043) writes | about 7 months ago

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angry tapir (1463043) writes "Akamai Technologies, whose network handles up to 30 percent of all Internet traffic, has admitted that a researcher found a fault in custom code that the company thought shielded most of its customers from the Heartbleed bug. As a result, Akamai is now reissuing all SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates and security keys used to create encrypted connections between its customer's websites and visitors to those sites."
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