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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the maybe-we-could-start-paying-teachers-well-instead dept.

Education 519

An anonymous reader writes "Tenure laws one of the most controversial aspects of education reform, and now the tide seems to be turning against them. A California judge has handed down a ruling that such laws are unconstitutional, depriving students of an education by sometimes securing positions held by bad teachers. The judge said, "Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." The plaintiff's case was that "California's current laws make it impossible to get rid of the system's numerous low-performing and incompetent teachers; that seniority rules requiring the newest teachers to be laid off first were harmful; and that granting tenure to teachers after only two years on the job was farcical, offering far too little time for a fair assessment of their skills." This is a precedent-setting case, and there will likely be many similar cases around the country as tenure is challenged with this new ammunition."

Docker 1.0 Released

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the it's-done-for-arbitrary-values-of-done dept.

Software 88

Graculus writes: "Docker, the company that sponsors the Docker.org open source project, is gaining allies in making its commercially supported Linux container format a de facto standard. Linux containers are a way of packaging up applications and related software for movement over the network or Internet. Once at their destination, they launch in a standard way and enable multiple containers to run under a single host operating system. 15 months and 8,741 commits after the earliest version was made public, Docker 1.0 has been released."

$3000 GeForce GTX TITAN Z Tested, Less Performance Than $1500 R9 295X2

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the spending-a-lot-of-green-for-team-green dept.

AMD 151

Vigile writes: NVIDIA announced its latest dual-GPU flagship card, the GeForce GTX Titan Z, at the GPU Technology Conference in late March with a staggering price point of $2999. Since that time, AMD announced and released the Radeon R9 295X2, its own dual-GPU card with a price tag of $1499. PC Perspective finally put the GTX Titan Z to the test and found that from a PC gamer's view, the card is way overpriced for the performance it offers. At both 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 (4K), the R9 295X2 offered higher and more consistent frame rates, sometimes by as much as 30%. The AMD card also only takes up two slots (though it does have a water cooling radiator to worry about) while the NVIDIA GTX Titan Z is a three-slot design. The Titan Z is quieter and uses much less power, but gamers considering a $1500 or $3000 graphics card selection are likely not overly concerned with power efficiency.

Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the another-day-another-breach dept.

Security 117

schwit1 tips a post by Brian Krebs saying that P.F. Chang's China Bistro, a nationwide restaurant chain, is the latest victim of a massive data breach. The company is currently investigating. Krebs writes: On June 9, thousands of newly-stolen credit and debit cards went up for sale on rescator[dot]so, an underground store best known for selling tens of millions of cards stolen in the Target breach. Several banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity said they acquired from this new batch multiple cards that were previously issued to customers, and found that all had been used at P.F. Chang's locations between the beginning of March 2014 and May 19, 2014. ... The items for sale are not cards, per se, but instead data copied from the magnetic stripe on the backs of credit cards. Armed with this information, thieves can re-encode the data onto new plastic and then use the counterfeit cards to buy high-priced items at big box stores, goods that can be quickly resold for cash (think iPads and gift cards, for example).

Theater Chain Bans Google Glass

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the still-happy-to-charge-you-$8-for-popcorn-though dept.

Movies 376

mpicpp sends this report from Ars: A cinema chain announced Tuesday that it is now barring patrons from wearing Google Glass at its movie houses across the U.S. in a bid to clamp down on piracy. Alamo Drafthouse, which runs theaters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and soon in California, is among the first U.S. chains to ban Google's computerized eyewear. 'Google Glass is officially banned from @drafthouse auditoriums once lights dim for trailers,' the chain's chief executive, Tim League, tweeted. The decision comes as Google has made the eyewear readily available to the general public, and it follows a slew of incidents in which wearers of Google Glass have had brushes with the law.

Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the 30-is-over-the-hill dept.

Firefox 270

Today Mozilla made Firefox 30 available, a relatively minor release after the massive redesign in version 29. According to the changelog, new features include VP9 video decoding, support for Opus in WebM, and horizontal volume control for HTML5 video and audio. Developers got support for multi-line flexboxes and hang reporting for background threads. There were also a number of security fixes. The Android version of Firefox received better support for native text selection, cutting, and copying, as well as predictive lookup for Awesomebar entries. The availability of Firefox 30 coincides with the launch of Firebug 2.0, which features an updated UI and a new debugging engine called JSD2. Significant new features include JavaScript syntax highlighting and de-minifying, improved code auto-complete, and the capability to hide or show individual Firebug panels.

Security DVR + iNet + X10 = Easy Home Automation (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 months ago | from the my-home-is-so-smart-it-won't-let-me-in-the-door-unless-I-bring-it-beer dept.

Hardware 25

25-year electronics veteran Conrad Lee noticed that commodity multi-channel security DVRs have both more channels than a typical household needs and more capabilities than their makers advertise -- at least, with some creative re-use of their video feeds. With a home-grown controller hooked up to an otherwise unused video channel, a run of the mill security DVR can be used as a command center for household items, like lights, locks, thermostats, cameras, or whatever else you think of) by means of controls both old-fashioned (the ubiquitous X10 devices, some of which you probably have stashed in a drawer) and new (Z-wave). He showed off his system at last month's Maker Faire -- take a look (video below) at what his clever hardware re-use makes possible, and at Lee's controller. It means giving up one (relatively) inexpensive channel, to gain capabilities that would cost quite a bit more in a ready-built system, like smart-phone control and pan/tilt control for cameras. (Alternate Video Link)

Getting the Most Out of the Space Station (Before It's Too Late)

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the remember-when-we-let-our-space-program-die dept.

ISS 155

bmahersciwriter writes: NASA administrators are strategizing a push to do more science on the International Space Station in the coming years. The pressure is on, given the rapidly cooling relations between the U.S. and Russia, whose deputy prime minister recently suggested that U.S. astronauts use a trampoline if they want to get into orbit. Aiding in the push for more research is the development of two-way cargo ships by SpaceX, which should allow for return of research materials (formerly a hurdle to doing useful experiments). NASA soon aims to send new earth-monitoring equipment to the station and expanded rodent facilities. And geneLAB will send a range of model organisms like fruit flies and nematodes into space for months at a time.

Auditors Release Verified Repositories of TrueCrypt

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the still-not-sure-what's-going-on dept.

Encryption 146

Trailrunner7 writes: As the uncertainty surrounding the end of TrueCrypt continues, members of the security community are working to preserve a known-good archive of the last version of the open source encryption software released before the developers inserted a warning about potential unfixed bugs in the software and ended development.

The message that the TrueCrypt posted about the security of the software also was included in the release of version 7.2a. The OCAP team decided to focus on version 7.1a and created the verified repository by comparing the SHA2 hashes with files found in other TrueCrypt repositories. So the files are the same as the ones that were distributed as 7.1a. "These files were obtained last November in preparation for our audit, and match the hash reported by iSec in their official report from phase I of the audit," said Kenn White, part of the team involved in the TrueCrypt audit.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Released

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the onward-and-upward dept.

Red Hat Software 231

An anonymous reader writes: Today, Red Hat unveiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, with new features designed to meet both modern datacenter and next-generation IT requirements for cloud, Linux Containers, and big data. The new version includes Linux containers (LXC), which let Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers, improved MS Active Directory / Identity Management (IdM) integration, XFS as the default file system, scaling to 500 TB (additional file system choices such as btrfs, ext{3,4} and others are available), a new and improved installation experience, managing Linux servers with OpenLMI, enhancements to both NFS and GFS2, optimized network management, bandwidth, the use of KVM Virtualization technology and more. See the complete list of features here (PDF). CentOS 7 shouldn't be lagging too far behind due to recent cooperation between Red Hat and CentOS project.

Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the just-what-you-never-wanted dept.

Wireless Networking 474

New submitter green453 writes: 'As a Houston resident with limited home broadband options, I found the following interesting: Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reports (warning: paywalled) that Comcast plans to turn 50,000 home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots without their users providing consent. Comcast plans to eventually convert 150,000 home routers into a city-wide WiFi network. A similar post (with no paywall) by the same author on the SeattlePI Tech Blog explains the change. From the post on SeattlePI: "What's interesting about this move is that, by default, the feature is being turned on without its subscribers' prior consent. It's an opt-out system – you have to take action to not participate. Comcast spokesman Michael Bybee said on Monday that notices about the hotspot feature were mailed to customers a few weeks ago, and email notifications will go out after it's turned on. But it's a good bet that this will take many Comcast customers by surprise."' This follows similar efforts in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the in-this-case-please-distinguish dept.

AI 309

beaker_72 (1845996) writes "On Sunday we saw a story that the Turing Test had finally been passed. The same story was picked up by most of the mainstream media and reported all over the place over the weekend and yesterday. However, today we see an article in TechDirt telling us that in fact the original press release was just a load of hype. So who's right? Have researchers at a well established university managed to beat this test for the first time, or should we believe TechDirt who have pointed out some aspects of the story which, if true, are pretty damning?" Kevin Warwick gives the bot a thumbs up, but the TechDirt piece takes heavy issue with Warwick himself on this front.

Moon Swirls May Inspire Revolution In the Science of Deflector Shields

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the tractor-beams-still-a-challenge dept.

Moon 76

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes 'One curious feature on the Moon's surface are "lunar swirls", wisp-like regions that are whiter than surrounding areas and that, until recently, astronomers could not explain. But one team of physicists recently showed that these areas are protected by weak magnetic fields that deflect high energy particles from the Sun and so prevent the darkening effect this radiation has. The problem they had to solve was how a weak field could offer so much protection, when numerous studies of long duration spaceflight have shown that only very powerful fields can act like radiation shields. The team now says that these previous studies have failed to take into account an important factor: the low density plasma that exists in space. It turns out that this plasma is swept up by a weak magnetic field moving through space, creating a layer of higher density plasma. That's important because the separation of charge within this layer creates an electric field. And it is this field that deflects the high energy particles from the Sun. That explains the lunar swirls but it also suggests that the same effect could be exploited to protect astronauts on long duration missions to the moon, to nearby asteroids and beyond. This team has now produced the first study of such a shield and how it might work. Their shield would use superconducting coils to create a relatively weak field only when it is needed, during solar storms, for example. And it would create a plasma by pumping xenon into the vacuum around the vehicle, where it would be ionised by UV light. The entire device would weigh around 1.5 tonnes and use about 20 KW of power. That's probably more than mission planners could currently accommodate but it is significantly less than the science fiction-type power requirements of previous designs. And who knows what other tricks of plasma physics engineers might be able to exploit to refine this design. All of a sudden, long duration space flight looks a little more feasible.'

Fuel Cells From Nanomaterials Made From Human Urine

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the hennig-brand-would-be-proud dept.

Power 83

New submitter turning in circles (2882659) writes 'Carbon based fuel cells require carbon doped with other elements, normally platinum, for oxygen reduction reactions. Urine contains carbon with an exciting splash of nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, silicon, and so on, and you don't have to manufacture it: the stuff just comes out by itself. In an article published this week in an open journal, researchers from Korea reported a new nanomaterial for fuel cells, which they dub "Urine Carbon." Upon drying, and then heating at 1000C, and rinsing of salts, the resulting Urine Carbon porous nanostructures outperformed Carbon/platinum in electrodes.'

NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the complex-simple-same-thing dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 245

Reader Bruce66423 (1678196) points out skeptical-sounding coverage at the Washington Post of the NSA's claim that it can't hold onto information it collects about users' online activity long enough for it to be useful as evidence in lawsuits about the very practice of that collection. From the article: 'The agency is facing a slew of lawsuits over its surveillance programs, many launched after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information on the agency's efforts last year. One suit that pre-dates the Snowden leaks, Jewel v. NSA, challenges the constitutionality of programs that the suit allege collect information about Americans' telephone and Internet activities. In a hearing Friday, U.S. District for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court. The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States.' Adds Bruce66423: "This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long."

Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the spree-killing-for-everyone dept.

Graphics 133

jones_supa (887896) writes 'Since the release of the extremely successful Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, rumors about PC — and later also an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — version have been floating around. Now it's official: Grand Theft Auto V will be released on Windows PC and Xbox One, in addition to PlayStation 4, this fall, publisher Rockstar Games announced today with a trailer. A post on Rockstar Newswire tells us that the ports will offer visual and technical improvements such as "increased draw distances, finer texture details, denser traffic and enhanced resolutions." All of the new GTA Online content that has been created and released since launch will be available also on the modern platforms. The PC version will exclusively include a video editor to allow players to put together their own clips of in-game action.'

Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the better-prepare-the-anti-anti-anti-version dept.

Government 247

wonkavader (605434) writes 'Lawrence Lessig's MAYDAY.US Super PAC to end all Super PACs (and more) is now on its second round of funding. The PAC has been reported on here before, but now the numbers are bigger. They hit their $1 million first goal easily, but now they aim to get another $5 million in the same time period. Lessig says that he's arranged for matching, again. It seems like the goals will be even higher in 2016: "For 2014, our goal is to raise $12 million and use it to make fundamental reform the key issue in five congressional races. And we'll apply what we learn then to 2016."'

Britain Gets National .uk Web Address

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the actually-top-level dept.

The Internet 111

hypnosec (2231454) writes 'Starting today businesses and individuals in the UK will be able to register a new national web address (".uk") and drop their existing ".co.uk" or ".com" suffix in favour of a shorter and snappier domain name. The entire process along with the transition is being overseen by private yet not-for-profit organisation Nominet, which has already started notifying existing customers with a ".co.uk" domain of their chance to adopt a ".uk" domain. Nominet will reserve all ".uk" domain names, which already have a ".co.uk" counterparts, for the next five years offering registrants the chance to adopt the new domain and to keep cyber squatters at bay.'

GoDaddy Files For $100 Million IPO

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.

Businesses 110

mpicpp (3454017) writes with news that GoDaddy has filed to make an initial public offering "This is the second time GoDaddy has tried to go public. It went this route back in 2006, but then backed out when it didn't get the pricing it wanted." The SEC Filing indicates that they are not in the greatest financial condition. Quoting CNN: "GoDaddy hasn't made a profit since 2009. The company lost $279 million in 2012. It bled another $200 million last year. This year doesn't look much better, with another $51 million lost in the first quarter." Founder Bob Parsons, currently executive chairman, will be stepping down but remaining on the board of directors.

Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the comic-book-nerds dept.

Entertainment 165

mvdwege (243851) writes "Due to being in a relationship with a comics geek, I have gotten interested in the history of superhero comics. I would like to get a better grounding in the Golden Age (pre-Comics Code) comics, so here's my question to the Slashdot audience: what are your recommendations for essential reading? What collections/omnibus editions of Golden Age comics would you recommend?"

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the waiting-for-obvious-patents dept.

IOS 323

schwit1 (797399) writes 'It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize the MAC address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.'

$470 RepRap Derived 3D Printer Going Into Production

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the 3d-printer-for-the-rest-of-us dept.

Printer 32

An anonymous reader writes "South African makerstore OpenHardware.co.za has designed and built a new RepRap-derivative 3D printer which it plans to sell for less than R5000 ($470). The first completed units are being put together now, with an eye to shipping late June. Store owner Peter van der Walt says that he designed Babybot — which has a print area equivalent to a RepRap Prusa Mendel-style machine — in order to reduce build and support costs. He's been selling various RepRap designs in kit form for two years, but as they become more popular is struggling to keep up with demand and handle returns. By sourcing more materials locally — he also designs his own controller boards — he's looking to beat the likes of RS Components and large shopping chains which have begun shipping the likes of Cubify in the country."

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