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McGruber (1417641) writes "Fired HP CEO (http://it.slashdot.org/story/05/02/09/1352218/hp-ceo-carly-fiorina-to-step-down) and failed Republican Senate candidate ((http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/11/fiorina-concedes-defeat-in-senate-race-.html) Carly Fiorina "is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/carly-fiorina-actively-explores-2016-presidential-run-but-faces-gop-critics/2014/11/25/b317b1a2-74b3-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html)" Link to Original Source top
Apple cannot fire Woz because he is still reporting to Steve Jobs
McGruber (1417641) writes "Last week, Steve Wozniak (http://www.woz.org/) spoke at an "Internet Summit" in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
During his remarks, Woz said that reports of him him "hating Apple" have been taken out of context: "I am an employee of Apple still. I want to be the only person who has been on the paycheck every single day since day one of the company. I don't think they can fire me."
Woz also explained that company paperwork says that he is stil reporting to Steve Jobs. "I said, 'oh, well, at least I can't get fired,'" he said. That's good because, earlier in the month, Woz responded to a hardware bug report (http://www.willegal.net/blog/?p=6023) regarding the original Apple-I.
McGruber (1417641) writes "Back on February 4, "Science Guy" Bill Nye debated Creationist Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham (http://science.slashdot.org/story/14/02/04/1731233/watch-bill-nye-and-ken-ham-clash-over-creationism-live). That high-profile debate helped boost support for Ham's $73 Million "Ark Encounter" project, allowing Ham to announce on February 25 that a municipal bond offering had raised enough money to begin construction. Nye said he was “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” after learning that the project would move forward. Nye said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry, which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as a result, “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/creation-museum-kentucky-noahs-ark-museum-ken-ham)
In July, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority unanimously approved $18.25 million worth of tax incentives to keep the ark park afloat. The funds are from a state program that allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of as much as 25 percent of the investment in the project. (http://www.kentucky.com/2014/07/29/3356998_noahs-ark-theme-park-gets-preliminary.html)
Since then, the Ark Park's employment application has became public:
Nestled among the requirements for all job applicants were three troubling obligatory documents: “Salvation testimony,” “Creation belief statement,” and a “Confirmation of your agreement with the AiG statement of faith.” (AiG is Answers in Genesis, Ham’s ministry and Ark Encounter’s parent company.)
That caused the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet to halt its issuance of tax incentives for the ark park. Bob Stewart, secretary of the cabinet, wrote to Ham that “the Commonwealth does not provide incentives to any company that discriminates on the basis of religion and we will not make any exception for Ark Encounter, LLC.” Before funding could proceed, Stewart explained, “the Commonwealth must have the express written assurance from Ark Encounter, LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring.” (http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/07/ark-park-hiring-issue-jeopardizes-tax-incentives/16854657/)
The ark park has not yet sunk. It is "still pending before the authority" and a date has not yet been set for the meeting where final approval will be considered." Link to Original Source
McGruber (1417641) writes "According to a report published by The Financial Times (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/67215cd2-5d00-11e4-9753-00144feabdc0.html), ex-Microsoft CEO Billionaire Steve Ballmer will be able to write about a Billion dollars of his Basketball Team's purchase price off from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years:
"Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."
NBC Los Angeles has a non-paywalled summary here: www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Report-Steve-Ballmer-Could-Claim-1B-in-Tax-Write-Offs-For-Buying-Clippers-280466752.html?die/.betadiediediedie" Link to Original Source
McGruber (1417641) writes "Another new low for police state America: a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia has declined to indict any of the officers involved in a botched SWAT team drug raid that permanently disfigured 19-month-old Bounkham “Baby Bou Bou” Phonesavanh (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/no-charges-for-officers-in-botched-drug-raid-that-/nhc2N/).
When the SWAT team raided Baby Bou Bou's parents home at 3 a.m. on May 28, they lobbed a flash-bang grenade into the house. That grenade landed in the crib where little Bou Bou was sleeping. It exploded, tearing open the boy’s face, severing his nose and severely burning his face and chest (http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/no-charges-in-sloppy-swat-raid-that-maimed-baby/). The SWAT team searched inside the house, but failed to find either guns or drugs. Wanis Thonetheva, who didn’t even live at the house, was arrested later that day without incident and charged only with possession of methamphetamine.
The Habersham County, Georgia Government refuses to pay Baby Bou Bou's medical bills, which now total more than $800,000 (http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=279243)." Link to Original Source top
US Transportation Dept. considering license plate readers for "traffic safety"
McGruber (1417641) writes "The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a unique federal agency that is part of the US Department of Transportation (http://www.volpe.dot.gov/), is conducting market research on using automated license plate readers (ALPRs) as a potential countermeasure to improve traffic safety.
According to USDOT Solicitation Notice DTRT5714SS00007 that is posted on FedBizOpps (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2df765acc2f0788ae1bc40ff0d70fe30&tab=core&_cview=0)
The Notice says "While ALPRs are deployed for a variety of purposes (i.e., homeland security, locating and recovering stolen vehicles, etc.), the purpose of this study is to focus on the use of ALPRs for traffic safety purposes. Within traffic safety, the emphasis will be on license offenses, including revoked, suspended, or restricted licenses; however, the study should reveal whether ALPRs are being used for any other type of traffic safety function (e.g., speed enforcement)."" Link to Original Source top
USPTO says fraud by patent examiners will be met with 'disciplinary action'
McGruber (1417641) writes "After Slashdot reported "Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office" (http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/08/11/1519201/every-day-is-goof-off-at-work-day-at-the-us-patent-and-trademark-office), US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee left a morale-boosting voicemail to all USPTO employees. She told them "All of your efforts are critical to creating new jobs and growing businesses" and affirmed her support for a telework program she said made the agency a “sought-after place to work.”
Six weeks later --and umpteen media reports about patent examiners lying about their hours (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/09/13/2146240/us-patent-office-seeking-consultant-that-can-stamp-out-fraud-by-patent-examiners)-- Deputy Director Lee has done an about face. In an email sent to thousands of employees, Lee wrote “Simply put fraudulent time and attendance recording is unacceptable and must be met with appropriate disciplinary action." Her message then cited a number of steps the USPTO is taking to address the an internal USPTO investigation that determined patent examiners repeatedly lied about their hours and received bonuses for work they didn’t do. (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/09/20/patent-official-says-fraudulent-time-is-unacceptable-and-will-be-met-with-disciplinary-action/)
McGruber (1417641) writes "Lita Elbertson and Michael Fritts have spent the last few weeks driving across the country in a Tesla Model S. According to the Durango, Colorado Herald newspaper, (http://durangoherald.com/article/20140914/NEWS01/140919759/0/FRONTPAGE/On-an-electric-road-trip) the duo are apparently the first to attempt to drive across America in a vehicle using no gas.
As of Sunday, the duo and their Model S had visited 40 states. They are following a Supercharger network – a map that shows all the Tesla charging stations nationwide – and were disappointed that Durango, Colorado did not have a Tesla station. Maybe they rode the steam train (http://www.durangotrain.com/) while waiting for a charge?
In May, Fritz took his Tesla on a solo drive from New York City to Miami and back, making the trip in 58 hours and 15 minutes (http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Local-man-drives-to-Miami-and-back-with-no-money-no-gas-258220901.html)." Link to Original Source top
US Patent Office seeking consultant that can stamp-out fraud by patent examiners
McGruber (1417641) writes "A month after Slashdot reported Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office (http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/08/11/1519201/every-day-is-goof-off-at-work-day-at-the-us-patent-and-trademark-office), the USPTO issued a statement that it is “committed to taking any measures necessary” to stop employees who review patents from lying about their hours and getting overtime pay and bonuses for work they didn’t do. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/09/13/patent-office-to-hire-outside-consultant-to-review-telework-program/)
USPTO officials also told congressional investigators that they are seeking an outside consulting firm to advise them on how managers can improve their monitoring of more than 8,000 patent examiners.
The Patent Examiners union responded to the original Washington Post report with a statement (http://popa.org/2523/) that includes these lines:
To claim that the USPTO has “thousands” of examiners not doing their work is simply ridiculous on its face. It represents poor journalistic rigor on the part of a well-respected newspaper like the Washington Post. If “thousands” of USPTO employees were not doing their work, it would be impossible for this agency to be producing the best performance in recent memory and, perhaps, in its entire 224 year history.
In related news, USPTO Commissioner Deborah Cohn (http://www.uspto.gov/about/bios/cohn_bio.jsp) has announced plans to resign just months after a watchdog agency revealed that she had pressured staffers to hire the live-in boyfriend of an immediate family member over other, better-qualified applicants. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/8/patent-office-head-step-down-amid-nepotism-charge/) An agency spokesman declined to say whether Cohn's decision to resign was tied to the nepotism probe. The live-in-boyfriend was among more than 700 people applying for the job, but he failed to qualify as one of the 250 candidates to advance to the first round of screening. When he finished 75th out of 76 applicants in the final round of screening, Cohn "intervened and created an additional position specifically for the applicant," wrote Inspector General Todd Zinser in a statement on the matter." Link to Original Source
McGruber (1417641) writes "Marketwatch reports that Amazon likely had sold fewer than 35,000 Amazon Fire phones in the device's first 25 days on the market. In comparison, American musician Jack White sold 40,000 copies of his Lazaretto album on VINYL in the first week after its release in June.
Amazon's Fire phone made up just 0.02% of market share in July, according to online ads network Chitika, which analyzed tens of millions of smartphone-based online ad impressions generated within the Chitika ad network from July 25, the day the Fire was launched, through Aug. 14. When comparing that against recent data from comScore, which put total U.S. smartphone penetration at 173 million people in June, Fire sales would not have exceeded 35,000 in its first three weeks, assuming U.S. smartphone penetration remained relatively flat month-over-month.
"While the Fire Phone was listed atop Amazon's Best Seller list for several days in early August, North American usage of the device has grown only incrementally, rather than exponentially," Chitika said in a report." Link to Original Source top
The comfy part of long-haul jetliners that you never get to ride in
McGruber (1417641) writes "Interior design publication Core77 has an article about Crew Rest Compartments (CRCs) (http://www.core77.com/blog/interiorexhibition_design/the_part_of_the_plane_you_never_get_to_see_what_do_cabin_crews_chillaxation_spots_look_like_27476.asp) installed in long-haul jetliners. These CRC accommodations include the 8 Best Beds on a Boeing 777, a pimpish loft space nestled above the passenger compartment on the Boeing 787, and bunkbeds stacked 3-high on the Airbus A380.
A pilot commented that the CRCs are not as glamorous as they look: "You generally enter a very dark claustrophobic space with your phone light not to disturb anyone. You're surrounded by all the most synthetic materials of the planet, overheated (25 to 30 c), very smelly (shoes, BO, bad breath etc...) and if you are in the tail noisy and shaky! Lol. But guess what you still sleep as you are exhausted!"" Link to Original Source top
Pwned by Jeff Bezos,Washington Post embeds Amazon Buy It Now buttons midsentence
McGruber (1417641) writes "Reading a story (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/what-divisive-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-cover-says-about-books-and-readers/2014/08/15/23163b8a-219a-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html) in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, I saw that the paper had begun embedding Amazon Buy-It-Now links in the middle of story sentences. One such sentence read:
Depp can confirm this: At Politics and Prose, the traditional [BUY IT NOW] version — featuring the iconic eyes floating on a blue background — sold better than the DiCaprio [BUY IT NOW] cover.
The change follows the July news of much larger than expected losses at Amazon and a 10-percent decline in the Amazon's stock value. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/07/24/amazon-sales-soar-but-losses-are-the-biggest-since-2012/)
In related news, the Post reports that the literary executor of George Orwell’s estate has accused Amazon.com of Doublespeak. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/orwell-rep-accuses-amazon-of-doublespeak/2014/08/14/ecda1252-23c5-11e4-8b10-7db129976abb_story.html)" top
Everyday is Goof Off at Work Day at the US Patent & Trademark Office
McGruber (1417641) writes "An internal investigation by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found that some of its 8,300 patent examiners repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in and many were receiving bonuses for work they did not do. While half of the USPTO's Patent Examiners work from home full time, oversight of the telework program — and of examiners based at the Alexandria headquarters — was “completely ineffective,” investigators concluded.
The internal investigation also unearthed another widespread problem. More than 70 percent of the 80 managers interviewed also told investigators that a “significant” number of examiners did not work for long periods, then rushed to get their reviews done at the end of each quarter. Supervisors told the review team that the practice “negatively affects” the quality of the work. “Our quality standards are low,” one supervisor told the investigators. “We are looking for work that meets minimal requirements.”
Patent examiners review applications and grant patents on inventions that are new and unique. They are experts in their fields, often with master’s and doctoral degrees. They earn at the top of federal pay scale, with the highest taking home $148,000 a year." Link to Original Source top
Cringley: IBM not a viable company, propping itself up by trippling its debt
McGruber (1417641) writes "Robert X. Cringely has a new ebook out, titled "The Decline and Fall of IBM" (http://www.cringely.com/2014/06/04/decline-fall-ibm/). Cringely believes that IBM is in deep trouble and has been since before the Great Recession of 2008. He also says that the company has probably been doomed since 2010.
On Sunday, Cringley was interviewed on the nationally syndicated talkradio program Moneytalk. Program host Bob Brinker (http://bobbrinker.com/) pointed out that Warren Buffett bought almost $11 billion worth of IBM common stock, then asked Cringley "what did he miss?" Cringley answered that IBM is in a downward spiral because it is focused on maintaining and increasing earnings per share (EPS). IBM is borrowing money to buy back shares, propping up EPS but adding debt. IBM's debt has tripled in the last 5 years.
Cringley also told Brinker that IBM has gone from hardware sales to selling services but they have poor customer retention, having lost the state of Texas and The Walt Disney Company. Their sales culture tends to bid low to win the contract and then extract more dollars by selling extra services. IBM also lost a contract with the CIA to Amazon. A person who called-in to the program pointed out that IBM lost its leadership in product development, lost sales of its core products to Fortune 500 companies, and its software business is eroding because of open source applications. Cringely concurred with the caller and told him "you made my point."(http://honeysbobbrinkerbeehivebuzz3.blogspot.com/)" Link to Original Source top
Australia rebooting search for MH370, the missing Malaysian Airlines 777-200ER
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that two months after pausing its search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is ready to reboot its search. The ATSB is poised to select among bids from the world's most-advanced deep-water specialists, including offshore oil-and-gas companies, maritime research institutions and treasure hunters eager to use their technologies and experience to solve the Flight 370 riddle—and potentially raise their own profiles in the process. The ATSB is expected to choose one or more of the bidders over the next several weeks before relaunching the search with $56 million in funding in late August.
With no hard evidence of where the plane went down, the search will test the recovery industry's abilities like nothing before. In June, Australian authorities shifted the search zone for a third time—by about 600 miles to the southwest—after reanalyzing satellite transmissions. Even then, they said it was impossible to know whether the fresh search area would prove correct." Link to Original Source top
Bad "Buss Duct" causes week-long closure of 5,000 employee Federal Complex
McGruber (1417641) writes "In Atlanta, an electrical problem in a "Buss Duct" has caused the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center to be closed for at least a week (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/nunn-federal-building-expected-to-reopen-monday/ngnSZ/). 5,000 federal employees work at the center.
While many might view this as another example of The Infrastructure Crisis (http://www.asce.org/Content.aspx?id=25562) in the USA, it might actually be another example of mismanagement at the complex's landord, the General Service Administration (GSA). The GSA has had many scandals [http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120416/DEPARTMENTS07/204160301/GSA-scandal-Heavy-fallout-expected] and has been the subject of several Congresssional Hearings, including an August 1, 2012 hearing titled "GSA: A Review of Agency Mismanagement and Wasteful Spending — Part 2" (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg75419/html/CHRG-112hhrg75419.htm). That hearing followed an $823,000 GSA employee conference in Las Vegas and a one-day-long $250,000 GSA employee conference in Crystal City, Virginia (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/1/gsa-scandal-widens-dozens-conferences-investigated/?page=all)
The closed Atlanta complex is named for Samuel Augustus "Sam" Nunn, Jr., who served for 24 years as a United States Senator from Georgia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Nunn). His daughter is the current Democratic Party nominee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Nunn) for a Georgia Senate seat." Link to Original Source top
India building Highest Railway Bridge in the World
McGruber (1417641) writes "Up in the Mimalayas, Indian engineers have restarted work on the world's highest railway bridge. When completed in 2016, the arch-shaped steel structure will be 359 metres (1,177 feet) high — 35 metres (115 feet) taller than the Eiffel Tower!
The bridge is part of the Jammu Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Railway), a railway line being built to connect the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. When completed, the route will shorten the travel time from Baramulla to Jammu to six-and-a-half hours, almost half the time it currently takes." Link to Original Source top
Uber Driver flees taxi police with passengers aboard
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Washington Post has the news that a Uber driver fled from police with passenger Ryan Simonetti aboard:
As they approached their Uber car, they spotted a D.C. taxi inspector talking to the driver.
Simonetti got into the front seat, and his colleagues got into the back seat. The inspector walked away. Thinking back, Simonetti suspects the inspector was going to check the documents the Uber driver had handed to him. Then, the Uber driver started driving down the street. The inspector turned his lights on and started to follow.
“That cop’s following you. What’s going on?” Simonetti said he asked the driver. He said the driver told him not to worry. “Oh no, he’s not a real cop,” the Uber driver replied. Simonetti said the driver then told them: “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to run this red light.”
The Uber driver then headed for the 9th Street tunnel, got on I-395 and proceeded to race down the highway going “well above the speed limit,” Simonetti said.
The taxi inspector followed.“It was like an episode of ‘Cops,’” Simonetti said.
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Justice, Senator Al Franken warned that letting AT&T acquire Direct TV could turn AT&T into a gatekeeper to the mobile Internet. Franken also complained that AT&T took inappropriate steps to block Internet applications like Google Voice and Skype: "AT&T has a history of skirting the spirit, and perhaps the letter" of the government's rules on net neutrality, Franken wrote." Link to Original Source top
Senator Al Franken accuses AT&T of 'skirting' net neutrality rules
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Justice, Senator Al Franken warned that letting AT&T acquire Direct TV could turn AT&T into a gatekeeper to the mobile Internet. Franken also complained that AT&T took inappropriate steps to block Internet applications like Google Voice and Skype: "AT&T has a history of skirting the spirit, and perhaps the letter" of the government's rules on net neutrality, Franken wrote." Link to Original Source