cappp writes ""In 2008 in Ohio, election officials discovered that voting systems made by Premier Election Solutions dropped at least 1,000 votes in 9 county elections — Premier’s voting system had experienced a similar problem in 2004 in Illinois. In 2002 New Mexico officials discovered they’d also been kept in the dark about a known issue with their machines, after their voting system appeared to drop some 12,000 ballots
These are two of more than a dozen examples cited in a new report arguing for the federal government to establish a public clearinghouse to track voting machine problems nationwide and ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by faulty systems.
The report, by the Brennan Center for Justice, calls on Congress to provide authority for some agency to establish and maintain a publicly searchable database and to require voting machine vendors to report problems to the database so election officials can take steps to prevent failures from repeating. The clearinghouse would be similar to ones maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, which collect and make publicly available information from consumers, health-care providers and others about problems encountered with consumer products and drugs."" Link to Original Source top
cappp writes "Britons are not getting the broadband services they are being sold — Ofcom's analysis of broadband speeds in the UK shows that, for some services, 97% of consumers do not get the advertised speed. It also shows a growing gap between the claims ISPs make for broadband and the speed being delivered.
The regulator's survey shows that the average residential broadband speed in the UK has risen in the last 12 months from 4.1Megabits per second (Mbps) to 5.2Mbps. The report also revealed the changing nature of UK broadband. Now 65% of UK homes have fixed line broadband and 24% of those users are on services sold as being able to support 10Mbps or more. By contrast in April 2009, only 8% of homes had signed up for such a service. In 2009, he said, when actual speeds for broadband were 4.1mbps, the average that those services were being advertised for stood at 7.1Mbps. In 2010, when people are generally getting 5.2Mbps out of their broadband, ISPs are claiming they will support speeds up to 11.5Mbps.
The survey found that on DSL services advertised as being "up to" 20Mbps only 2% of customers got speeds in the range of 14-20Mbps. Of the others, 32% were getting a 8-14Mbps service and 65%, 8Mbps or less. In an attempt to improve how broadband is sold, Ofcom has been pushing ISPs to adopt a new code of practice, which will mean consumers get more information about speed as they sign up for a new provider. The code is due to come in over the next 12 months and all the UK's larger ISPs have signed up for it." Link to Original Source top
cappp writes "On July 22nd Dell agreed to pay a $100m penalty to settle allegations by America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that, in the SEC’s words, the company had “manipulated its accounting over an extended period to project financial results that the company wished it had achieved.” According to the commission, Dell would have missed analysts’ earnings expectations in every quarter between 2002 and 2006 were it not for accounting shenanigans. This involved a deal with Intel under which Dell agreed to use Intel's CPU's exclusively in its computers in return for a series of undisclosed payments, locking out AMD (Intel is expected to settle a long-running anti-trust case that has highlighted these payments in the next couple of weeks.) The SEC says that the company should have disclosed to investors that it was drawing on these reserves, but did not. And it claims that, at their peak, the exclusivity payments from Intel represented 76% of Dell’s quarterly operating income." Link to Original Source top
cappp writes "This week Berkeley will mail saliva sample kits to every incoming freshman and transfer student. Students can choose to use the kits to submit their DNA for genetic analysis, as part of an orientation program on the topic of personalized medicine. But U.C. Berkeley isn't the only university offering its students genetic testing. Stanford University's summer session started two weeks ago, including a class on personal genomics that gives medical and graduate students the chance to sequence their genotypes and study the results.
Berkeley's project is essentially a modified version of the summer homework many colleges assign to new students in an attempt to foster intellectual discussion and class cohesion. Berkeley sent approximately 5,500 incoming freshmen and transfer students DNA sampling kits. The hope is to spark discussion during orientation on how genetic testing works, the results of the students' tests and their decisions on whether or not to participate.
Stanford's project, in contrast, is only open to medical and graduate students in the form of an eight-week elective summer class called "Genetics 210: Genomics and Personalized Medicine," in which about 50 students have enrolled, with a dozen more auditing. Students in the class can choose to have their genotype analyzed by Navigenics or 23andMe—personal genomics companies that provide individualized risks for various health conditions and sensitivity to drugs (23andMe also provides additional information about ancestry). The results of their tests will be incorporated into the class curriculum, although students can also opt to study publicly available genetic data in lieu of analyzing their own. Professors will not know what decision the students make." Link to Original Source