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US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks

Hugh Pickens DOT Com TRS-80 Model II Used 8" Floppies (481 comments)

The TRS-80 Model II was the business version of the early Radio Shack computers.

We bought one in 1979 and used it for for five years until we bought one of the first Macs in 1984.

The Model II had a word processor, database, and spreadsheet program.

http://www.trs-80.com/wordpres...

about 7 months ago
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Experts Say Hitching a Ride in an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:We need experts to tell us this? (2 comments)

Understatement is a form of speech or disclosure which contains an expression of less strength than what would be expected. This is not to be confused with euphemism, where a polite phrase is used in place of a harsher or more offensive expression.

Understatement is a staple of humor in English-speaking cultures, especially in British humor. For example, in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a suburban dinner party is invaded by Death, who wears a long black cloak and carries a scythe. "Well," says one party guest, "that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?" In another scene, an Army officer has just lost his leg. When asked how he feels, he looks down at his bloody stump and responds, "Stings a bit."

about 7 months ago
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How Riot's social scientists fixed League of Legends trolling

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Interesting Insight (1 comments)

"That's a paradigm shift: trolls aren't trolls all the time, they're sometimes trolls because they're in a bad mood every now and again. Players bring frustrations and tensions from the outside world into the game and even though it might not be common behaviour in a particular player, because it happens to most people once in a while you'll likely run up against examples of it pretty often in a game as popular as League of Legends."

"Once you acknowledge that, Lin recognised, you have to change the way you mete out sentences. This realisation is why Lin believes punishing players is often not effective. "If you look at the community at large and split them into demographics based on their behaviour there is a small demographic, say one percent of players, who are persistently negative and you'll need systems in place to help those players reform or improve their behaviours, but the majority of negative experiences come from neutral and positive players having a bad day so we need systems like honour and behaviour alerts to shape their behaviour."

about 8 months ago
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Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:CMU 1968-72 (169 comments)

Same here.

We had a 360/50 that occupied one entire floor of the building.

Turn in your cards then wait 12 hours to get your print out and see if it even compiled.

Basicly if you had a CS problem due in a week you had 14 chances to write your program and get all the bugs out before it was due.

about 8 months ago
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Morse code test requirement to be reinstated for Amateur Radio License

Hugh Pickens DOT Com April Fools (1 comments)

"It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test," admits Dotty Dasher, the FCC's director of examinations.

about 8 months ago
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Morse code test requirement to be reinstated for Amateur Radio License

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:I'm a llittle puzzIed (5 comments)

Good. I hope the FCC does re-instate the Morse code requirement. My father used Morse code every day for twenty years as a telegrapher for the Rock Island Railroad and I studied it when I worked the "extra board" summers while I was going to college. It's really an excellent way to communicate when you are in a high noise environment. In any case, I'm glad I did a search on google news for Morse Code because otherwise I wouldn't have seen the story about Jeremiah Denton that I just submitted.

The POW Who Blinked 'Torture' In Morse Code

The LA Times reports on the passing of Jeremiah Denton, the US Navy pilot held by the Viet Cong, who let the world know in a TV interview that POWs were being tortured by blinking out the word "torture" in Morse code. From 1965 to 1973, Denton was held at the "Hanoi Hilton" and several other infamous Vietnamese prisons and was held in isolation for lengthy periods totaling about four years. At points, he was in a pitch-black cell, a cramped hole crawling with rats and roaches. His beatings opened wounds that festered in pools of sewage. Frustrated that Denton would not confess to alleged American war crimes or reveal even basic details of US military operations, jailers subjected him to horrific abuse. Taking command of fellow POWs he usually could not see, Denton fashioned a secret prison communication system using the sound of coughs, hacks, scratching, spitting and throat-clearing keyed to letters of the alphabet. "When you think you've reached the limit of your endurance, give them harmless and inaccurate information that you can remember, and repeat it if tortured again," he told his men. "We will die before we give them classified military information." Thinking they'd broken him, Denton's captors allowed a Japanese TV reporter to interview him on May 2, 1966. "The blinding floodlights made me blink and suddenly I realized that they were playing right into my hands," he wrote. "I looked directly into the camera and blinked my eyes once, slowly, then three more times, slowly. A dash and three more dashes. A quick blink, slow blink, quick blink ⦠." While his impromptu blinks silently told the world that prisoners were being tortured, he was unabashed in the interview, which was later broadcast around the world, in his denial of American wrongdoing. "Whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it â" yes, sir," said Denton. "I'm a member of that government and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."

about 8 months ago
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Morse code test requirement to be reinstated for Amateur Radio License

Hugh Pickens DOT Com I'm a llittle puzzIed (5 comments)

Both your links are to a press release dated December 15, 2006.

Can you provide a link to a story in 2014?

When I search google news for "Morse code," I don't see anything about it recently.

about 8 months ago
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Urine Trouble: Chemists Warn that Peeing in the Pool is Dangerous

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Alternate Title (1 comments)

Chemists Say Urine Danger If You Pee in Your Pool

about 8 months ago
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Security for the 'Internet of Things' (Video)

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Dear Roblimo (106 comments)

Why are you stepping on a story with another one 17 minutes later?

Best Regards,

Hugh Pickens

about 7 months ago
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Malaysia Jet Made Radical Course Change at Time of Disappearance

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:Misleading title (2 comments)

Better Title: Malaysian Military Says Missing Jet Made Radical Course Change at Time of Disappearance

From NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03...

Malaysia Jet Changed Course at Time of Disappearance, Officials Say

"The Malaysian authorities now believe that a jetliner missing since Saturday may have radically changed course around the time that it stopped communicating with ground controllers. But there were conflicting accounts of the course change and what may have happened afterward, adding to the air of confusion and disarray surrounding the investigation and search operation."

From The Malaysian: http://www.themalaysianinsider...

Malaysian military now reveals it tracked MH370 to Malacca strait

In a strange twist, Malaysia's military believes it tracked the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control over the Gulf of Thailand.

A military source confirmed with Reuters that the Boeing 777-200ER with 239 on board changed course and made it to the other side of the Malay peninsula.

"It changed course after Kota Baru and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Straits," the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.

From Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article...

Malaysia military tracked missing plane to west coast: source

(Reuters) - Malaysia's military believes a jetliner missing for almost four days turned and flew hundreds of kilometers to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters on Tuesday.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.

about 8 months ago
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WSJ: Americans' Phone Bills Are Going Up

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:Ting (273 comments)

Ting is great.

I bought an iphone 4s from sprint and activated it on Ting and my monthly bill is about $10.

about 9 months ago
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Meat Makes Our Planet Thirsty

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Mames McWilliams?? (2 comments)

Sorry, it should be James McWilliams.

about 9 months ago
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How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Hugh Pickens DOT Com About the same (270 comments)

None.

about 9 months ago
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Psychologists: Internet Trolls Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Re:Survey results != Real world (293 comments)

Good point. There is a second part of the study that addresses this issue is to some extent.

A limitation of Study 1 is that we asked participants to select their favorite activity from a list of options. This necessitated a categorical index of trolling that likely underestimated the effects. Hence in Study 2, we assessed enjoyment of each commenting activity (including trolling) on separate continuous scales. To rule out the possibility that overall Internet use explains relations with trolling, we also included a question about total time spent on line for use as a control variable. Finally, to triangulate on trolling with multiple measures, we constructed a second brief index:the Global Assessment of Internet Trolling (GAIT) scale, which assessed trolling behavior, identiïcation, and enjoyment. As in Study 1, measures of the Big Five were included for comparison. Study 2 also featured data from a larger and more diverse sample, furnishing us with enough statistical power to test hypotheses about the unique contributions of the Dark Tetrad. For reasons articulated earlier,we expected sadism to dominate personality effects on trolling. Thus we predicted that the relations between sadism and trolling would remain signiïcant even when controlling for overlap with psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.

about 9 months ago
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25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Crystal Bridges (233 comments)

That's not all Alice has done. My wife and I recently spent a few days at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a world class museum in Bentonville, Arkansas created by Alice Walton, and had an incredible experience. "Located on 120 acres of native Ozark forest, Crystal Bridges' grounds invite visitors to enjoy the natural environment as a continuation of their museum experience. The Museum's distinctive architecture immerses visitors in the landscape, while three miles of nature trails encourage exploration and reflection." And admission is free.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Slashdot Classic and Slashdot Beta Continue to Co-Exist?

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Insight into Dice's Thought Process (9 comments)

Here's some excerpts and a question and answer from Dice's Chief Executive Officer, President and Director Michael P. Durney at the 4th quarter earnings report for Dice on February 4, 2014:

Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

We took a pretax noncash impairment charge of $15 million to write down the goodwill at Slashdot Media and Health Callings, as well as intangible assets at Slashdot. Based on our projection of expected cash flows, which is in part based on no anticipated improvement at Slashdot Media and on Health Callings being combined into HEALTHeCAREERS, we determined that we needed to record the charge.

Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

In addition to the 2 specific areas of focus for us in 2014, we have 3 key strategic priorities. One, leverage the power of data and analytics to maximize value of the targeted nature of our brands; two, build robust mobile applications and mobile-enabled sites to deliver our services anywhere; and three, continue building a culture of high performance within the company to leverage innovation across all of our sites.

Financial Analyst Stephen Sheldon:

It looks like you took a charge for the Slashdot assets this quarter. So I was curious to get your commentary on how we should think about that business on an ongoing basis?

Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

Yes, it's a good question. So if you go back to why we bought it, originally, we bought Slashdot Media for 3 reasons. First and foremost, it was to get access to the users of Slashdot and SourceForge in order to promote engagement in our tech business. And that has happened. There's still more to do and we want more engagement, a more direct engagement, and we'll work on that in 2014. But strategically, that is the primary reason we bought it, and that has happened to some extent.

The second reason we bought it was we thought internationally we could grow that business, and that hasn't happened.

And the third reason is we like the tech advertising business when we bought it, and that business has fallen off generally and, certainly, specifically for us. So if we look at it from a purely financial standpoint, the expected cash flows in the business don't support the carrying value that we had, and we took a write-down for that. Strategically, though, we're still continuing to work on that integration with Dice and promoting that user engagement between the 2, and that hasn't changed.

The conclusion is that Dice isn't writing off Slashdot. Slashdot will continue to exist. Although Slashdot hasn't given Dice the return in advertising that it had anticipated, Slashdot has promoted Dice's engagement with their tech business which was their primary reason for buying it. However one of Dice's strategic thrusts is to "build robust mobile applications and mobile-enabled sites" and that is why they are pushing slashdot beta. What Dice doesn't seem to understand clearly is that by pushing the beta to the exclusion of slashdot classic they run the risk of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Meet Canada's Goosebuster - The Drone That's Saving Ottawa From Poisonous Poop

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tyler LeBlanc writes that Ottawa has a problem — a goose problem. Every summer the wandering waterfowl return to the beaches that line the Ottawa River leaving high concentrations of geese poop on beaches and in shallow water that can lead to outbreaks of infection in human populations, particularly children. In the past the city has tried a number of different methods of ridding their beaches of the pesky poopers, but this year, they are going high-tech. Steve Wambolt, the founder of Aerial Perspective, modified a drone with some flashing lights and speakers and took to the skies. “I took existing land-based anti-pest technology and put it on a helicopter,” says Wambolt. “When I tested it at the beach a few days later it worked remarkably well.” Using pre-recorded predatory calls from hawks, eagles, owls, ravens and even wolves, Wambolt stalks the beaches of Petrie Island in an attempt to scare the loitering geese away from the area for good. Wambolt likens geese to snowbirds — people who travel south each winter to avoid winter. “Say if you were driving to Florida each year and you always stop at the same restaurant for lunch. If one year you stopped and someone was in your face harassing you, you’d probably leave, and likely not return to that spot. That’s basically what we’re trying to do here. We don’t want to hurt them, we just want them to move somewhere safer.""
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Pedophile Asks To Be Deleted From Google Search After European Court Ruling

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jane Wakefield reports at BBC that a man convicted of possessing child abuse images is among the first to request Google remove links links to pages about his conviction after a European court ruled that an individual could force it to remove "irrelevant and outdated" search results. Other takedown requests since the ruling include an ex-politician seeking re-election who has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed and a doctor who wants negative reviews from patients removed from google search results. Google itself has not commented on the so-called right-to-be-forgotten ruling since it described the European Court of Justice judgement as being "disappointing". Marc Dautlich, a lawyer at Pinsent Masons, says that search engines might find the new rules hard to implement. "If they get an appreciable volume of requests what are they going to do? Set up an entire industry sifting through the paperwork?" says Dautlich. "I can't say what they will do but if I was them I would say no and tell the individual to contact the Information Commissioner's Office." The court said in its ruling that people could request the removal of data related to them that seem to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.""
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'I'm Happy,' Says Man Whose Case Changed Europe's Rules For Google

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "NPR reports that the Spanish man whose court battle against Google resulted in a European court ruling in his favor – and for the "right to be forgotten" – says he is pleased with the case's outcome. Mario Costeja Gonzalez had his home repossessed 16 years ago. If you Google his name, you can still see newspaper stories about his debts. 'It hurts my reputation,' Costeja says in Spanish. 'My debts are long paid, but those links were the first thing you'd see.' Costeja sued, and won. The European Court of Justice says Google must edit some search results, if people like Mario Costeja request it. Costeja says he's pleased — that he's always considered Google a 'great tool' — and he says now it's even better. The ruling will now be used to address the more than 200 cases waiting in Spanish courts, he says, the majority of which involve asking Google to eliminate links. "People ask me how much I spent on Costeja. It did cost me money but at the end all that's important is the fact that ideas won out." He refused to even estimate what he had personally spent on the case, saying that a number would only "dirty what was a fight for ideals". The court said people could request the removal of data related to them that seem to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.""
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Autodesk Unveils 3d Printer As It Aims To Become Industry's Android

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "BBC reports that Autodesk — the leading 3D modelling software-maker — is going into hardware with its own 3D printer and in addition to selling the machine, Autodesk will also allow other manufacturers to make their own versions of the printer or power their own models off its software at no cost. "The printer is a bona fide attempt to prove the interoperability and open source nature of Autodesk's platform," says Pete Basiliere. "And by sharing its design we could see a second wave of small start-ups creating stereolithography machines just as the makers did when the early material extrusion patents expired." Chief executive Carl Bass likened the new printer to Google's first Nexus smartphone, a product meant to inspire other manufacturers to install Android on their handsets rather than become a bestseller itself. In Autodesk's case the idea is to drive the adoption of its new Spark software, a product it likens to being an "operating system for 3D-printing". Although Autodesk is giving away both Spark and the printer's design, the company should still profit because the move would drive demand for the firm's other products. "If 3D printing succeeds we succeed, because the only way you can print is if you have a 3D model, and our customers are the largest makers of 3D models in the world."

Instead of the extrusion technique most commonly used by existing budget printers, Autodesk's printer uses a laser to harden liquid plastic to create the objects delivering smoother, more complex and more detailed objects. "We're making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want. You can formulate your own polymers and experiment with those. That's an important next step because we think material science is a breakthrough that has to happen to make [the industry] go from low-volume 3D-printed stuff to where it really starts changing manufacturing." Bass said, its printer is targeted at more professional users–for creating small objects like medical devices or jewelry–and will likely end up closer to the $5,000 range, though exact pricing has not been set."
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George R R Martin Reveals His Secret Weapon for Writing GOT- Wordstar

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Ryan Reed writes that when most Game of Thrones fans imagine George R.R. Martin writing his epic fantasy novels, they probably picture the author working on a futuristic desktop (or possibly carving his words onto massive stones like the Ten Commandments). But the truth is that Martin works on an outdated DOS machine using Eighties word processor WordStar 4.0, as he revealed during an interview on Conan. "I actually like it," says Martin. "It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key." “I actually have two computers," Martin continued. “I have a computer I browse the Internet with and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet.""
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Your Old CD Collection is Dying

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Adrienne LaFrance reports at the Atlantic that for people of a certain age, if you've tried listening to any of the old CDs lately from your carefully assembled collection from the 1980's or 1990's you may have noticed that many of them won't play won't play. "While most of the studio-manufactured albums I bought still play, there's really no telling how much longer they will. My once-treasured CD collection—so carefully assembled over the course of about a decade beginning in 1994—isn't just aging; it's dying. And so is yours." Fenella France, chief of preservation research and testing at the Library of Congress is trying to figure out how CDs age so that we can better understand how to save them. But it's a tricky business, in large part because manufacturers have changed their processes over the years and even CDs made by the same company in the same year and wrapped in identical packaging might have totally different lifespans. "We're trying to predict, in terms of collections, which of the types of CDs are the discs most at risk," says France. "The problem is, different manufacturers have different formulations so it's quite complex in trying to figure out what exactly is happening because they've changed the formulation along the way and it's proprietary information." There are all kinds of forces that accelerate CD aging in real time. Eventually, many discs show signs of edge rot, which happens as oxygen seeps through a disc's layers. Some CDs begin a deterioration process called bronzing, which is corrosion that worsens with exposure to various pollutants. The lasers in devices used to burn or even play a CD can also affect its longevity. "The ubiquity of a once dominant media is again receding. Like most of the technology we leave behind, CDs are are being forgotten slowly," concludes LaFrance. "We stop using old formats little by little. They stop working. We stop replacing them. And, before long, they're gone.""
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John Oliver on Climate Change: 'You Don't Need People's Opinions On A Fact'

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post about how late night host John Oliver addresses the imbalance in how news shows handle the “debate” there on climate change. According to Oliver the standard procedure is to fire up a panel with someone who believes the warnings about troublesome climate trends pitted against a skeptic. To represent just how vastly climate change “believers”/scientists outnumber the skeptics, Oliver hauled in 97 scientists to oppose the three climate-change skeptics. The bigger crowd shouted down the skeptics. Oliver also skewered polling questions regarding climate change. An April Gallup poll found that 25 percent of respondents were “solidly skeptical” of global warming. Who cares? asked Oliver, though he used different, less family newspaper-friendly language. “That doesn’t matter. You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact,” says Oliver. “You might as well have a poll asking which number is bigger — 15 or 5?” All scientists and media outlets should heed the “advice to climate scientists on how to avoid being swift-boated,” from History professor Juan Cole: “Any broadcast that pits a climate change skeptic against a serious climate scientist is automatically a win for the skeptic, since a false position is being given equal time and legitimacy.”"
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Oil Man Proposes Increase in Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Daniel Gilbert reports at the WSJ that Oklahoma oil man George Kaiser is breaking with fellow energy executives in asking the state to raise taxes on oil companies, including his own. "Oklahoma is in desperate financial circumstances," says the billionaire philanthropist, who controls Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. Kaiser says a higher tax on oil-and-gas production could help the state pay for education and much needed infrastructure improvements and is asking legislators to return the state’s gross production tax to 7 percent, challenging a plan proposed by fellow oil company executives who want to see the rate settle at 2 percent for the first four years of production. But many of Kaiser's competitors disagree. Several energy companies and the State Chamber of Oklahoma say that lower tax rates for the costliest oil and gas wells are necessary to continue drilling at a pace that has stimulated economic activity and created other sources of revenue. Berry Mullennix, CEO at Tulsa-based Panther Energy, credits the tax program for helping his company grow to more than 90 employees, up from 18 a few years ago. “I would argue the tax incentive is a direct reason we have so much horizontal drilling in the state today,” Mullennix says. “The companies used the credit to help discover this massive wealth in oil and natural gas.” When companies decide to drill a well, they make their best guesses on how much it will cost to drill the well, how much the well will produce and what the commodity price will be. All of those estimates can vary widely, Kaiser says. “With ad valorem taxes, the difference among states is 2 or 3 or 4 percent. The other factors can vary by 50 or 100 percent.” Compared with those other factors, Kaiser says the tax rate is incidental. “It’s a rounding error.""
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Brazilian Kids Learn English by Video Chatting With Lonely Elderly Americans

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tim Nudd writes that it's the perfect match: Young Brazilians want to learn English. Elderly Americans living in retirement homes just want someone to talk to. Why not connect them? The advertising company FCB Brazil did just that with its "Speaking Exchange" project for CNA language schools where young Brazilians and older Americans connect via Web chats, and they not only begin to share a language—they develop relationships that enrich both sides culturally and emotionally. "The goal of the Speaking Exchange project is to transform lives," says Luciana Fortuna. "Our students have the opportunity to practice English with people who are willing to listen. During the chat sessions, the students discuss ideas and information from their lives in Brazil with the American senior citizens, many of whom have never had contact with anyone from Brazil before." The pilot project was implemented at a CNA school in Liberdade, Brazil, and the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago. The conversations are recorded and uploaded as private YouTube videos for the teachers to evaluate the students' development. "The idea is simple and it's a win-win proposition for both the students and the American senior citizens. It's exciting to see their reactions and contentment. It truly benefits both sides," says Joanna Monteiro."
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Master Counterfeiter Walks Free After Printing Millions of Fake $20 Bills

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Rhonda Schwartz reports that master counterfeiter Frank Bourassa has been allowed to walk free after turning over a huge quantity of fake US $20 bills that authorities say are “not detectable by the naked eye.” “I’m safe, absolutely,” says Bourassa after paying a $1,500 fine in Montreal, Canada, and spending only a month and a half in jail after Canadian authorities agreed that they would not extradite him to the United States for prosecution. “They can’t do nothing about that." Bourassa’s fake $20 first showed up in Troy, Michigan in 2010 and US and Canadian authorities spent almost four years tracking the source to Bourassa. “To detect the counterfeit on this one is very difficult,” says RCMP investigator Dan Michaud. Bourassa says he spent two years studying the details about currency security on the website of the US Secret Service to learn how to produce his fake money. Although special security features were added to US $100 bills in 2010, security features added to the $20 in 2003 have not been updated since then. US bills are “the easiest of them all” to counterfeit says Bourassa, because they are not printed on polymer. “Even third world countries in Africa have polymer bills already." The RCMP and the US Secret Service raided Bourassa’s home, but he still had a card to play because authorities did not know where the remainder of his special paper and fake twenties was hidden. In the end, Bourassa agreed to turn over the remaining fakes and paper in return for a deal his lawyer worked out with Canadian prosecutors that let him walk free. Bourassa regards his accomplishment as a complete victory over the United States government. "It was, like, screw you.""
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Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Time Magazine reports that Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, has become the first state to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of science standards developed by leading scientists and science educators from 26 states and built on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences. The Wyoming science standards revision committee made up entirely of Wyoming educators unanimously recommended adoption of these standards to the state Board of Education not once but twice and twelve states have already adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013. But opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn’t be taught in a state that ranks first among all states in coal production, fifth in natural gas production and eighth in crude oil production deriving much of its school funding from the energy industry. Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, says teaching “one view of what is not settled science about global warming” is just one of a number of problems with the standards. “I think Wyoming can do far better." Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a “war on coal” and has said that he’s skeptical about man-made climate change.

Supporters of the NGSS say science standards for Wyoming schools haven't been updated since 2003 and are six years overdue. "If you want the best science education for your children and grandchildren and you don’t want any group to speak for you, then make yourselves heard loud and clear," says Cate Cabot. "Otherwise you will watch the best interests of Wyoming students get washed away in the hysteria of a small anti-science minority driven by a national right wing group – and political manipulation.""
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Physician Operates on Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jaikumar Vijayan reports at Computerworld that a physician at Columbia University Medical Center (CU) attempted to "deactivate" a personally owned computer from a hospital network segment that contained sensitive patient health information, creating an inadvertent data leak that is going to cost the hospital $4.8 million to settle with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The error left patient status, vital signs, laboratory results, medication information, and other sensitive data on about 6,800 individuals accessible to all via the Web. The breach was discovered after the hospital received a complaint from an individual who discovered personal health information about his deceased partner on the Web. An investigation by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that neither Columbia University nor New York Presbyterian Hospital, who operated the network jointly, had implemented adequate security protections, or undertook a risk analysis or audit to identify the location of sensitive patient health information on the joint network. "For more than three years, we have been cooperating with HHS by voluntarily providing information about the incident in question," say the hospitals. "We also have continually strengthened our safeguards to enhance our information systems and processes, and will continue to do so under the terms of the agreement with HHS." HHS has also extracted settlements from several other healthcare entities over the past two years as it beefs up the effort to crack down on HIPAA violations. In April, it reached a $2 million settlement with with Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan. Both organizations reported losing laptops containing unencrypted patient data."
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The Mere Promise of Google Fiber Sends Rivals Scrambling

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marguerite Reardon writes at Cnet that within a week of Google's declaration last spring that it planned to build a fiber network in the city of Austin, AT&T announced its own Austin fiber network and in less than a year's time, AT&T and local cable operator Grande Communications have beaten Google to market with their own ultra-high speed services using newly built fiber networks. AT&T maintains it has been planning this fiber upgrade for a long time, and that Google's announcement didn't affect the timing of its network but Rondella Hawkins, the telecommunications and regulatory affairs officer for the city of Austin, said she had never heard about AT&T's plans before Google's news came out. Hawkins was part of the original committee that put together Austin's application to become the first Google Fiber city. "Our application for Google would have been a good tip-off to the incumbents that we were eager as a community to get fiber built," says Hawkins. "But we never heard from them. Until Google announced that it was going to deploy a fiber network in Austin, I was unaware of AT&T's plans to roll out gigabit fiber to the home." Grande Communications' CEO Matt Murphy admits that without Google in the market, his company wouldn't have moved so aggressively on offering gigabit speeds. It also wouldn't be offering its service at the modest price of $65 a month, considering that the average broadband download speed sold in the US is between 20Mbps and 25Mbps for about $45 to $50 a month.

It's not surprising, then, that in every city in AT&T's 22-state footprint where Google is considering deploying fiber, AT&T also plans to bring GigaPower. That's a total of 14 markets, including Austin, the Triangle region of North Carolina, and Atlanta, home to AT&T's mobility division. While AT&T refuses to acknowledge that its gigabit fiber plans are answering the competitive challenge posed by Google Fiber, others say that Kansas City may have been a wake-up call. "I think all the providers have learned some valuable lessons from Google's Kansas City deployment," says Julie Huls, president and CEO of the Austin Technology Council. "What Google did instead was say, 'We're going to build you a Lamborghini, but price it at the same price as a Camry,'" says Blair Levin. "And that's what's so disruptive about it.""
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Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joan Lowy writes for AP that the Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds. The emergency order follows a warning two weeks ago from outgoing National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman that the department risks a "higher body count" as the result of fiery oil train accidents if it waits for new safety regulations to become final. There have been nine oil train derailments in the U.S. and Canada since March of last year, many of them resulting in intense fires and sometimes the evacuation of nearby residents, according to the NTSB. The latest was last week, when a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., sending three tank cars into the James River and shooting flames and black smoke into the air. Concern about the safe transport of crude oil was heightened after a runaway oil train derailed and then exploded last July in the small town of Lac-Megantic in Canada, just across the border from Maine. More than 60 tank cars spilled more than 1.3 million gallons of oil. Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed in resulting inferno. Hersman says that over her 10 years on the board she has "seen a lot of difficulty when it comes to safely rules being implemented if we don't have a high enough body count. That is a tombstone mentality. We know the steps that will prevent or mitigate these accidents. What is missing is the will to require people to do so.""
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Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work in US says White House

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Carolyn Lochhead reports in the SF Chronicle that the White House has announced a plan allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States, a coup for Silicon Valley companies that have been calling for more lenient rules for immigrants who come to the United States to work in technology. "The proposals announced today will encourage highly skilled, specially trained individuals to remain in the United States and continue to support U.S. businesses and the growth of the U.S. economy," says Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. "A concurrent goal is for the United States to maintain competitiveness with other countries that attract skilled foreign workers and offer employment authorization for spouses of skilled workers. American businesses continue to need skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant workers."

Currently, spouses of H-1B visa holders are not allowed to work unless they obtain their own visa but tech companies have been calling for more H-1B visas, and supporters of the rule change argue that it will bring in more talented workers. Critics say they believe expanding the H-1B visa program will allow lower-paid foreign workers to take American jobs. The plan immediately drew fire from Republicans. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, accused the administration of acting unilaterally to change immigration law and bring in tens of thousands of potential competitors with Americans for jobs. "Fifty million working-age Americans aren't working," Sessions said in a statement, adding that as many as "half of new technology jobs may be going to guest workers. This will help corporations by further flooding a slack labor market, pulling down wages.""
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Why Only One Top Banker Went to Jail for the Financial Crisis

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "After the savings-and-loan scandals of the 1980s, the FBI opened 5,490 criminal investigations, 1,100 people were prosecuted, and 839 were convicted, including top executives at many of the largest failed banks. But Jesse Eisinger writes in the NYT that the largest man-made economic catastrophe since the Depression resulted in the jailing of a single investment banker, Kareem Serageldin, to 30 months in jail. Many assume that federal authorities simply lacked the guts to go after powerful Wall Street bankers but according to Eisinger, the truth is more complicated. "During the past decade, the Justice Department suffered a series of corporate prosecutorial fiascos, which led to critical changes in how it approached white-collar crime. The department began to focus on reaching settlements rather than seeking prison sentences, which over time unintentionally deprived its ranks of the experience needed to win trials against the most formidable law firms."

From 2004 to 2012, the Justice Department reached 242 deferred and nonprosecution agreements with corporations, compared with 26 in the previous 12 years, and while companies paid huge sums in the settlements, several veteran Justice Department officials say that these settlements emboldened defense lawyers. More crucially, they allowed the Justice Department’s lawyers to “succeed” without learning how to develop important prosecutorial skills. The erosion of the department’s actual trial skills soon became apparent. In November 2009, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn lost the first criminal case of the crisis against two Bear Stearns executives accused of misleading investors. The prosecutors rushed into trial, failing to prepare for the exculpatory emails uncovered by the defense team. After two days, the jury acquitted the two money managers. “For sure, it put a chill” on investigations says one former prosecutor. “Politicos care about winning and losing.” Federal prosecutors have their own explanation for how only one Wall Street executive landed in jail in the wake of the financial crisis, says Eisinger. "The cases were complex to investigate and would have been infernally difficult to explain to juries.""
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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post that according to the government’s newest national assessment of climate change, Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. “For a long time we have perceived climate change as an issue that’s distant, affecting just polar bears or something that matters to our kids," says Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and lead co-author of the changing climate chapter of the assessment. "This shows it’s not just in the future; it matters today. Many people are feeling the effects.” The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. "Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation." The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. "What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from burning coal, oil, and gas, with additional contributions from forest clearing and some agricultural practices.""
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Students Remember Lectures Better Taking Notes Longhand Than Using Laptops

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Walk into any university lecture hall and you're likely to see row upon row of students sitting behind glowing laptop screens. Laptops in class have been controversial, due mostly to the many opportunities for distraction that they provide (online shopping, browsing Reddit, or playing solitaire, just to name a few). But few studies have examined how effective laptops are for the students who diligently take notes. Now Robinson Meyer writes at The Atlantic that a new study finds that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones. The research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. "Our new findings suggest that even when laptops are used as intended — and not for buying things on Amazon during class — they may still be harming academic performance," says psychological scientist Pam Mueller of Princeton University, lead author of the study. Laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning. If you can type quickly enough, word-for-word transcription is possible, whereas writing by hand usually rules out capturing every word. “We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim,” says Mueller. “The people who were taking notes on the laptops don’t have to be judicious in what they write down.”"
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Scientists Race To Develop Farm Animals That Can Survive Climate Change

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Evan Halper writes in the LA Times that with efforts to reduce carbon emissions lagging, researchers, backed by millions of dollars from the federal government, are looking for ways to protect key industries from the impact of climate change by racing to develop new breeds of farm animals that can stand up to the hazards of global warming. ""We are dealing with the challenge of difficult weather conditions at the same time we have to massively increase food production" to accommodate larger populations and a growing demand for meat, says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. For example a team of researchers is trying to map the genetic code of bizarre-looking African naked-neck chickens to see if their ability to withstand heat can be bred into flocks of US broilers. "The game is changing since the climate is changing," says Carl Schmidt. "We have to start now to anticipate what changes we have to make in order to feed 9 billion people," citing global-population estimates for 2050.

Warmer temperatures can create huge problems for animals farmed for food. Turkeys are vulnerable to a condition that makes their breast meat mushy and unappetizing. Disease rips through chicken coops. Brutal weather can claim entire cattle herds. Some climate experts, however, question the federal government's emphasis on keeping pace with a projected growing global appetite for meat. Because raising animals demands so many resources, the only viable way to hit global targets for greenhouse gas reduction may be to encourage people to eat less meat and point to an approach backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates that takes animals out the process altogether. "There's no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people," says Bill Gates. "Yet we can't ask everyone to become vegetarians. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources.""
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Tennessee to Jail Women Who Use Drugs During Pregnancy

Hugh Pickens DOT Com Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tony Gonzalez reports in USA Today that Tennessee has become the first state with legislation that will criminally charge women who use drugs while pregnant with assault for harm done to their infants. Tennessee officials have wrestled with what to do about the growing numbers of infants born dependent on drugs (921 in Tennessee in 2013) and who often suffer from a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. The legislation would allow mothers to avoid criminal charges if they get into one of the state's few treatment programs. Governor Bill Haslam says he wants doctors to encourage women to get into treatment before delivering their babies so they can avoid charges. "The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs," says Haslam.

Seventeen states already consider drug use during pregnancy as child abuse and in three of them — Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin — it is grounds for civil commitment (e.g. forced enrollment in treatment programs). In 15 states, health-care providers are required to report suspected abuse and, in four of those states, they are then also required to test for drug exposure of the child. Eighteen states have treatment programs targeted at pregnant women. Opponents of the bill, including five national medical organizations and local doctors who treat pregnant women, worry that criminalization will scare women away from treatment. "This law separates mothers from their children and is not patient-centered," says Cherisse A. Scott. "Tennessee families who are already being hit the hardest by policies such as the failure to expand Medicaid, poverty and a lack of available drug treatment facilities will be most deeply impacted by this bill.""

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