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Links - Education update, Anti-Trust and Privacy

Reader's Picks



  • Hardware



  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Aggression



  • Wikileaks

    • The US Military plans to expand it's disinformation campaign to discredit Wikileaks and hunt down leakers.
      "We want to flood adversaries with information that’s bogus, but looks real," says Salvatore Stolfo, the Columbia University computer science professor leading the project. "This will confound and misdirect them." ... Fake “classified” documents, when touched, will take a snapshot of the IP address of the intruder and the time it was opened, alerting a systems administrator of the breach. ... Columbia University has a pending patent application on the decoy-creating technology.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Americans are pushing back hard against genetically modified corn as food.

      Most US processed corn is already contaminated. Monsanto was granted FDA approval for sweet corn, which is mostly frozen or canned, and plans to spike 40% of the crops with this dangerous, insecticide filled corn.



    • How routine use of antibiotics for cattle will kill you.
      Totally unrelated bacteria species share genes with very high frequency. Thus, the use of antibiotics in cattle, which led them to evolve resistance, probably contributed directly to the resistance among pathogens that prey on us.


    • The Triumph of King Coal: Hardening Our Coal Addiction
      Cynics who said tougher carbon controls in rich nations might increase global emissions by outsourcing energy-intensive industries to poorer nations with laxer standards are, for now at least, being proved right. ... half a decade ago, 25 percent of the world’s primary energy came from coal. The figure is now 29.6 percent. Between 2009 and 2010, global coal consumption grew by almost 8 percent. ... In 2010, an amazing 48 percent of all the coal burned in the world was burned in China. ... India’s coal consumption has doubled in 12 years. It is expected to have three times as many coal-burning power stations by the end of the decade. ... The U.S. remains the world’s second-largest coal burner, after China. Japan is the world’s largest coal importer, and Germany is the biggest producer of brown coal. The sad truth is that Germany’s plan to shut down its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima accident in Japan is already resulting in resurgent investment in coal.


    • Coal as should be better regulated in the US.
      Collapse of a huge dump of toxic coal ash into a waterway has occurred twice in the past few years, showing the need for careful regulation of how to dispose of coal ash. Anything which happens this often cannot be dismissed as a "freak accident".






  • Finance



    • Greg Palast writes an autobiography of sorts.
      Vultures’ Picnic is the sum of my life and work getting even with the One-Percent, the cruelty merchants posing as captains of industry. I go after these guys because for me, it's personal. I admit, it's revenge. You should know why. ... I admit, the book has as many laughs as it has tears—because the ultra-rich whom I track across the globe are clowns—except with really terrific shoes and bodyguards.




  • Anti-Trust

    • New CEO of AMD to fire 1,200 of 14,000 workers


    • Microsoft starts submitting patches to Samba soon after Samba start accepting corporate patches.

      This will not have a happy ending.



    • Microsoft proxy, SCO, harasses IBM


    • Apple Insider claims All prospects for an internal HP webOS largely destroyed
      The departure of webOS employees from HP is accelerating, reportedly in large part due to the "sheer incompetence and bureaucratic malice" of HP's management, which has made little to no effort to retain webOS talent, according to a person familiar with the webOS team's situation, who added, "HP is going to have hundreds of smart and influential people scattered throughout the Valley who will be devoted to hating HP."..

      This should be taken with a grain of salt because it is typical of Microsoft propaganda about rivals. That people scattered by Microsoft malice would primarily hate HP rather than Microsoft is an obvious fallacy.



    • HP to keep low margin PC business after all.
      In a major about-face, Hewlett-Packard announced Thursday that it would not spin off its powerful personal-computer division, changing the course the company's former CEO said it would take two months ago and giving new chief Meg Whitman a chance to put her first big mark on the venerable Silicon Valley giant.


    • Sony buys out Ericson
      The deal to buy out its Swedish partner will enable Sony to better integrate smartphones and other devices with its array of [movies and music] ... "Its the beginning of something which I think is quite magical," Sony Chairman Sir Howard Stringer told a news conference in London. "We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment"

      He did not call it "squirting", but the intent is probably the same as Microsoft's Zune.



    • Microsoft favoring Nokia in exactly the same way boosters projected on Google's purchase of Motorola.
      Microsoft has backed a claim by Nokia that its new Lumia 800 smartphone is "the first real Windows Phone", in a move that could up strain relations with other manufacturing partners such as HTC and Samsung.

      It's understandable that the company would like people to forget about every other Windows phone, Zune, Vista and so one and so forth, but it's doubtful the software has really changed. The malicious spam intent is the same.

      Mr Belfiore said, "We will do more of that, and the phone will also light up with the world around you too, with products that are sensitive to your location."




  • Censorship



    • Cory Doctorow: It’s Time to Stop Talking About Copyright
      This is why it's time to stop talking about copyright and creativity and start talking about the Internet. Because someone can be as smart and talented as Don Henley and still think that you can establish nationwide networked surveillance and censorship and all you’re going to touch on is "piracy." For so long as we go on focusing this debate on artists, creativity, and audiences – instead of free speech, privacy, and fairness – we’ll keep making the future of society as a whole subservient to the present-day business woes of one industry.

      Doctorow's overall analysis and historical memory are excellent but the problem is that publishers have tried to limit new technology in terms of copyright rather when people should have rethought the fundamentals of copyright in light of new technology. While people like Doctorow and Lessig were trying to have that discussion, publishers were busy buying laws and confusing the public. Inappropriate extension of copyright laws are the intentional result "Intellectual Property" propaganda. Society should rethink the limits they allow copyright to impose on speech given the cheapness of new publication methods. They can't do this when they confuse the justification and powers of copyrights with those of patents and trademarks. They won't even want to when while they are barraged with emotional appeals from their favorite artists and scared out of their wits with visions of the four horsemen of the infocolypse.



    • Chinese web censors block terms related to "Occupy," to stamp out movement's spread in China




  • Privacy



    • This makes me want to cut my remaining card in half.
      In one particularly futuristic idea, a Visa patent application published this year describes incorporating information from DNA databanks, among other personal details, into profiles that could be used to target people online.


    • US government uses fake cell phone towers to track people's locations
      The device, however, doesn’t just capture information related to a targeted phone. It captures data from “all wireless devices in the immediate area of the FBI device that subscribe to a particular provider” ... By gathering the wireless device’s signal strength from various locations, authorities can pinpoint where the device is being used with much more precision than they can get through data obtained from the mobile network provider’s fixed tower location. ... Until now, the U.S. government has asserted that the use of stingray devices does not violate Fourth Amendment rights, and Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower.

      Secret letters demanding the same information from phone companies do not seem to have been enough for them. The target provider can obviously be changed at will. The arrogance of the government's presumptions is outrageous.





  • Education Watch



  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • MSIE drops below 50% of web use.
      Meanwhile, Microsoft is strenuously avoiding this same demographic. Internet Explorer lacks small but significant creature comforts such as resizeable text boxes, built-in spell checking, and session restoration, and while it does offer certain extensibility points, they fall a long way short of those offered by Firefox, and as such, its extension ecosystem is a whole lot less rich. It's not enough for Internet Explorer to be a solid mainstream browser: the less technically engaged users who switched to Firefox because a trusted authority told them to aren't going to spontaneously switch back to Internet Explorer, even if it is good enough for their needs.

      Chromium Browser and mobile browsing took most of the share away. The data also shows a fragmented IE world, with nearly one in five still on IE 6 or 7, and the majority still not using 9 which only works on Vista/Vista 7. This implies that most Windows users are still on XP. Only about 1 in 10 of Ars readers were using IE. Ars is mistaken in saying that few web developers can ignore IE. Anyone can download a better browser and IE is not on the platforms that actually matter. The effort required to keep up four versions of IE brokenness is hard to justify and people should quit trying.





  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Speech of the man arrested for condemning Goldman Sacs
      Chris Hedges made this state€­ment in New York City’s Zuc€­cotti Park on Thurs€­day morn€­ing dur€­ing the Peo€­ple’s Hear€­ing on Gold€­man Sachs, which he chaired with Dr. Cor€­nel West. The ac€­tivist and Truthdig colum€­nist then joined a march of sev€­eral hun€­dred pro€­test€­ers to the nearby cor€­po€­rate head€­quar€­ters of Gold€­man Sachs, where he was ar€­rested with 16 oth€­ers.


    • East Texas patent court screws inventor.
      Last October, a jury awarded $625 million to Professor Gelernter’s company, Mirror Worlds. The verdict, one of the largest patent awards in history, seemed an astonishing windfall for the professor, now 56. ... And then it was gone. In April, in an unusual move, Judge Leonard Davis of the United States District Court overruled the jury. He wrote that the patents were valid, but that the company had not proved that Apple had infringed them.


    • Copyrights





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