New submitter dougled writes "A study at six universities found that students taught statistics mainly through software learned as much as peers taught primarily by humans. And the robots got the job done more quickly. '... our results indicate that hybrid-format students took about one-quarter less time to achieve essentially the same learning outcomes as traditional-format students.' They add, 'There is every reason to expect these systems to improve over time, perhaps dramatically, and thus it is not foolish to believe that learning outcomes will also improve.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Canada's proposed Internet surveillance was back in the news last week after speculation grew that government intends to keep the bill in legislative limbo until it dies on the order paper. This morning, Michael Geist reports that nearly all of the major Canadian telecom and cable companies have been secretly working with the government for months on the Internet surveillance bill. The secret group has been given access to a 17-page outline (PDF) of planned regulations and raised questions of surveillance of social networks and cloud computing facilities."
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting that the UK's new Draft Energy Bill (PDF) avoids banning coal or gas powered plants. The bill would guarantee profits for new nuclear and offshore wind plants by putting a levy on people's energy bills. The bill does not mandate a statement that minsters had previously made about having totally clean energy within two decades. The government states that provisions within the bill will ensure a balanced diverse energy mix as well has stating that future emissions from gas powered plants will have to be captured and stored. The bill also aims to increase competition in the UK energy market by making it easier for new competitors to become connected to the grid. Joss Garman of Greenpeace states: 'By failing to set a clear goal for carbon-free electricity by 2030, ministers are opening the door to a dangerous new dash for gas that will put up both bills and carbon emissions, and increase our dependence on imported fuel. This means families and business will be exposed to rocketing international gas prices. The fastest and cheapest way to bring down bills and carbon emissions is by ramping up energy efficiency but Ministers have totally failed to deliver on this.' Additionally it would appear that the guarantee of profits for new nuclear power plants may not be legal as there is a ban on subsidies for nuclear power under European law and the UK coalition government agreement." Note that wind projects are getting profit guarantees and not just nuclear.
First time accepted submitter Chankey Pathak writes "The Nmap Project is pleased to announce the immediate, free availability of the Nmap Security Scanner version 6.00 from http://nmap.org/. It is the product of almost three years of work, 3,924 code commits, and more than a dozen point releases since the big Nmap 5 release in July 2009. Nmap 6 includes a more powerful Nmap Scripting Engine, 289 new scripts, better web scanning, full IPv6 support, the Nping packet prober, faster scans, and much more!"
scibri writes "During the latter half of the twentieth century, global sea level rose by about 1.8 millimeters per year. The combined contribution from heating of the oceans, which makes the water expand, along with melting of ice caps and glaciers, is estimated to be 1.1 millimeters per year, which left some 0.7 millimeters per year unaccounted for. It seems that the effects of human water use on land could fill that gap. Researchers report in Nature Geoscience that land-based water storage could account for 0.77 millimeters per year, or 42%, of the observed sea-level rise between 1961 and 2003. The extraction of groundwater for irrigation and home and industrial use, with subsequent run-off to rivers and eventually to the oceans, represents the bulk of the contribution. It would be even worse if we weren't also locking up lots of water from rivers behind dams like the Hoover Dam."
An anonymous reader writes with news that might make privacy advocates a bit uneasy. From the article: "Everyone driving on Interstate 15 in southwest Utah may soon have their license plate scanned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA and two sheriffs are asking permission to install stationary license plate scanners on the freeway in Beaver and Washington counties. The primary purpose would be to catch or build cases against drug traffickers, but at a Utah Legislature committee meeting Wednesday, the sheriffs and a DEA representative described how the scanners also could be used to catch kidnappers and violent criminals. That, however, wasn't the concern of skeptical legislators on the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee. They were worried about the DEA storing the data for two years and who would be able to access it."
After years of accusations of creating a 'chilled work environment,' Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko resigned this morning (PDF). His largest achievement was perhaps killing the Yucca Mountain waste repository, and he oversaw the certification of the AP1000 reactor. It is unknown whether a new chairman will be appointed from within the NRC. Quoting the Washington Post: "The reason for his resignation is unclear. He is stepping down before the release of a second inspector general report rumored to be into allegations of Mr. Jaczko's misconduct. NRC spokesman Eliot Brenner told The Washington Times that the report had no impact on the timing of Mr. Jaczko's resignation announcement. Mr. Jaczko's statement was vague, saying that it 'is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum. This is the right time to pass along the public safety torch to a new chairman...' While his statement did not specifically touch on the embarrassing revelations of his tyrannical approach to the job or its impact on NRC staff, he did sound a defiant note by claiming the NRC was 'one of the best places to work in the federal government throughout my tenure.'" Today also marks the start of the annual nuclear industry conference.
redletterdave writes "On Monday, Foxconn agreed to invest $210 million to help Apple build out a new production line for 'unspecified components.' The 40,000-square-meter plant plans to hire roughly 35,800 new employees to help assemble parts for either desktop and laptop computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, or possibly even new products or devices. Apple projects the plant's annual output between $949 million to $1.1 billion, and also estimates the import and export value at roughly $55.8 million."
dstates writes "You paid for it, you should be able to read the results of publicly funded research. The National Institutes of Health have had a very successful open access mandate requiring that the results of federally funded biomedical research be published in open access journals. Now there is a White House petition to broaden this mandate. This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research. It is a health care issue, patients and community health providers need access, not a few scientists in well funded research institutes, and even wealthy institutions like Harvard are finding the prices of proprietary journals unsustainable."
Velcroman1 writes "A Maryland student was awarded the top prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair on Friday for developing a urine and blood test that detects pancreatic cancer with 90 percent accuracy. Jack Andraka, 15, claimed the $75,000 prize for his test, which is roughly 28 times cheaper and faster, and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests. Each year, approximately 7 million high school students around the globe develop original research projects and present their work at local science fairs with the hope of winning."
redletterdave writes "Just six months after Google Chrome eclipsed Mozilla's Firefox to become the world's second most popular Web browser, Chrome finally surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer on Sunday to become the most-used Web browser in the world, according to Statcounter. Since May 2011, Internet Explorer's global market share has been steadily decreasing from 43.9 percent to 31.4 percent of all worldwide users. In that time, Chrome has climbed from below 20 percent to nearly 32 percent of the market share. Yet, while Chrome is now the No. 1 browser in the world, it still lags behind Internet Explorer here in the U.S., but that will soon change. Chrome currently has 27.1 percent of the U.S. market share, compared to Internet Explorer's 30.9 percent, but IE is seeing significant drop-offs in usage while Chrome continues to rise."
First time accepted submitter gtirloni writes "Just days after wrapping up the biggest initial public offering in Silicon Valley history, shares of Facebook slumped 6% and tumbled below their issue price on Monday, a troubling signal for the newly-public social network. Facebook broke below its $38-a-share issue IPO price in the wake of a highly-anticipated offering that raised more than $16 billion, the second-largest domestic IPO after Visa's 2008 debut. Shares of Facebook were recently off 6.44% to $35.72."
TheGift73 writes "Last week, longtime chief Howard Schmidt stepped down. He's been replaced by Michael Daniel, who's been in the Office of Management and Budget's national security division for 17 years. What does that mean for the future of the cybersecurity issue? Probably that we can expect his knowledge of the intelligence community to play a part in not just tracking down hackers, but determining the lines that need to be crossed with future SOPA-like bills. So while this sounds like a relatively nondescript appointment, Daniel will almost definitely be a major player the next time someone comes for your internet."
theodp writes "Eager to host Amazon warehouses and receive a cut of the tax on sales to customers statewide, the LA Times reports that two California cities are offering Amazon most of the tax money they stand to gain. After agreeing to collect California sales taxes beginning in the fall, Amazon is setting up two fulfillment centers in San Bernadino and Patterson, which will gain not only jobs but also a tax bonanza: Sales to Amazon customers throughout California will be deemed to take place there, so all the sales tax earmarked for local government operations will go to those two cities. The windfall is so lucrative that local officials are preparing to give Amazon the lion's share of their take as a reward for setting up shop there. 'The tax is supposed to be supporting government,' said Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Assn., of the proposed sales-tax rebate. 'Instead, it's going back into Amazon's pocket.' Sen. Mark DeSaulnier added: 'It seems like the private sector finds a way to pit one city against the other. You can't give away sales tax in this manner.'"
jrepin writes with news of today's release (here's Linus's announcement) of Linux 3.4: "This release includes several Btrfs updates: metadata blocks bigger than 4KB, much better metadata performance, better error handling and better recovery tools. There are other features: a new X32 ABI which allows to run in 64 bit mode with 32 bit pointers; several updates to the GPU drivers: early modesetting of Nvidia Geforce 600 'Kepler', support of AMD RadeonHD 7xxx and AMD Trinity APU series, and support of Intel Medfield graphics; support of x86 cpu driver autoprobing, a device-mapper target that stores cryptographic hashes of blocks to check for intrusions, another target to use external read-only devices as origin source of a thin provisioned LVM volume, several perf improvements such as GTK2 report GUI and a new 'Yama' security module."