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Education Politics

US Forces Coursera To Ban Students From Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria 306

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the knowledge-is-a-controlled-export dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Coursera is an online website that offers free courses from many of the world's top universities. Now, all students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba will no longer be able to access Coursera. The official blog provides more info regarding the ban: 'Until now the interpretation of export control regulations as they relate to MOOCs has been unclear and Coursera has been operating under the interpretation that MOOCs would not be restricted. We recently received information that has led to the understanding that the services offered on Coursera are not in compliance with the law as it stands ... United States export control regulations prohibit U.S. businesses, such as MOOC providers like Coursera, from offering services to users in sanctioned countries, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Under the law, certain aspects of Coursera's course offerings are considered services and are therefore subject to restrictions in sanctioned countries, with the exception of Syria.'"
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US Forces Coursera To Ban Students From Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria

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  • education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:48AM (#46099223)

    Because obviously less education is the solution. [/irony]

  • Yea. So? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:53AM (#46099271)

    News flash! The U.S. has some strict laws that bar trade, even free trade, with a short list of countries classified as enemies of the state. Those mooks, running this MOOC, thought it was OK to ignore that?

    It seems perfectly reasonable to me that the United States not share its knowledge and higher education with its enemies.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • by emagery (914122) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @09:55AM (#46099287)
    If, as a nation, you decide that some other nation is an enemy, how better to influence their youth and upcoming generations to become your friend than offering them a good education? All this does is worsen the divide and entrench the relatively few 'bad guys' said other nation may even have running the show into their positions against us. *headdesk*
  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:00AM (#46099345)

    Because obviously less education is the solution. [/irony]

    Sure, that appears to be the policy answer dictated by the 1% for solving Americas internal problems [startpage.com], why not extend it to our more traditional external enemies as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:05AM (#46099391)

    Why doesn't the US do business with communist Cuba but they do with communist China?

    Because there are outspoken anti-Castro cuban immigrants that form huge voting blocks in south Florida.

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:13AM (#46099455) Homepage

    Obviously you don't want your *own* voters to be educated. They might vote you out of office.

    Your enemies? I'd say education (with associated atheism + lower birth rates) is a good thing.

  • Re:Yea. So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:16AM (#46099485) Homepage

    It seems perfectly reasonable to me that the United States not share its knowledge and higher education with its enemies.

    Why? A good general education program in Iran/Afghanistan would do a lot more to help fight the Taliban then the $4,000,000,000,000 they just wasted.

  • Re:education (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:20AM (#46099511)

    The 1% again, eh? Still blaming them for what the government does or does not do? When are you ever going to start blaming your leadership instead? Even if they are enforcing 1%-friendly policies they're still the enablers.
     
    If government is able to be bought it's only because government is for sale.
     
    But no... let's keep acting like the policy makers and policy enforcers are powerless to stop it. Let's keep our heads in the sand about the facts of the matter. Let's yet again vote for the status quo and blame big business for the failures of big government. The obvious solution is more regulation. Oh, wait... this is happening because of government regulations. Maybe we can throw tax money at that problem too.
     
    SSDD.

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:24AM (#46099545)

    The 1% again, eh? Still blaming them for what the government does or does not do? When are you ever going to start blaming your leadership instead? Even if they are enforcing 1%-friendly policies they're still the enablers.

    If government is able to be bought it's only because government is for sale.

    But no... let's keep acting like the policy makers and policy enforcers are powerless to stop it. Let's keep our heads in the sand about the facts of the matter. Let's yet again vote for the status quo and blame big business for the failures of big government. The obvious solution is more regulation. Oh, wait... this is happening because of government regulations. Maybe we can throw tax money at that problem too.

    SSDD.

    The main policy makers and enforcers are part of the 1%. It's not that they are powerless to stop it, they just don't want it stopped. The first step to making real change would be campaign finance reform. Hmmm, I wonder why Congress is to keen on doing that?

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:29AM (#46099589) Journal

    My first thought entirely. Of all the education debates, providing education does have a serious cultural impact: it empowers people. Universal higher education is severely detrimental--especially to the lower class--but it still empowers people: it gives them discrete skills and critical thinking skills, and makes them interact with the world around them.

    When an educated person fails, he decides the system around him is broken. This is a natural consequence of education: you have all these skills, you feel you can apply yourself, and yet you are not being allowed to do so. No faceless evil across the other end of the earth is doing this to you. When you are uneducated and starving, you feel there is nothing you can do; all explanations are readily accepted, especially if we blame someone else.

    Education is the enemy of government. Strong education makes government subordinate; weak education makes government powerful. Since there are more citizens than government, it is strictly optimal for government to be subordinate to the needs of the people.

  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:30AM (#46099591)

    If MOOC believes that offering education from the world's top university benefits all of humanity, there is a simple solution. Move the company offshore, or obtain a foreign partner.

    The irony with treating this as banned with regards to certain countries that we are not on good terms with is that educational opportunities are very limited in those countries. Having access to education and the exposure to new ideas it brings is an opportunity to change those societies from within. Other than the industrial-military complex, who doesn't benefit from that?

  • Re:education (Score:4, Insightful)

    by killkillkill (884238) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:52AM (#46099769)
    Historically, all campaign finance reform does is make barriers to anyone who has a voice they wish to get out. Barriers that only the "1%" and their team of lawyers can navigate through. Guess I'm playing my cards as a nut job libertarian here, but this is one area more laws and regulation just make the problem they are trying to solve worse.
  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:59AM (#46099827)

    The 2012 US election turnout was around 58%, with only three states having less than 50% turnout (Oklahoma, Texas and W. Virginia). While there could be plenty of vote tampering, doing it on that scale would involve many thousands of people and would require balls the size of an aircraft carrier. So that's probably not the case here.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:05AM (#46099875)

    No, what the US is signifying by banning students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba is that it doesn't want to assist those regimes.

    Why do you think that banning 4 out of 200 countries tells the other 195 countries that they need not apply? You seem to be over-generalizing.

    I also doubt that there is any real loss of businesses from the US due to this, but kudos for dragging Snowden into it. I am left wondering if you might be off your game today since you didn't work in a condemnation of the NSA as well.

  • Re:education (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:16AM (#46099947) Homepage Journal

    The 2012 US election turnout was around 58%, with only three states having less than 50% turnout (Oklahoma, Texas and W. Virginia).

    Are these numbers independent-third-party-verified, or are we taking the election commission at their word? Trusting the foxes with the henhouse, so to speak.

    While there could be plenty of vote tampering, doing it on that scale would involve many thousands of people and would require balls the size of an aircraft carrier.

    Two things the feds happen to have already.

    Pardon me for not wanting to trust that a government who claims it has the right to kidnap citizens and hold them, indefinitely, without charges, to run a truly free and fair election.

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fnj (64210) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:43AM (#46100165)

    And in every contest in that election and all elections in recent memory the real choice was made by the power brokers who selected Tweedledum and Tweedledee for the electorate to choose between in every contest. Every contest was a lost cause long before election day.

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:49AM (#46100205)

    Or, you know - rigged voting mechanisms.

    Oh, it's rigged alright.

    First you convince large quantities of people to vote against their best interests. That's unfortunately very easy. I was reading yesterday a (ahem) "discussion" on returning to 90% taxation for the top tier. "How would you like it if the government stole 90% of YOUR income was a common retort", yet you can pretty much count on none of them ever becoming wealthy enough to qualify. Nor that even after being plundered of 9/10ths of their income (which isn't the same as assets) that the putative victims could still buy and sell their defenders by the busload.

    Secondly, you distract voters on secondary issues. If you get enough people to vote against a more pro-freedom candidate because he's "too Liberal" instead of the fact that he's willing to fight against further deterioration of our alleged principles, or make single-focus campaigns acceptable (Tax Cuts for EVERYONE! No killing BABIES! I'll say NO to DRUGS!).

    Thirdly, organize elections into single-party primaries. This is a proven technique for filtering out moderates, because the extremists vote for extremists, the moderates tend not to show (and in any event, being moderate for a party isn't the same as moderate for the population as a whole).

    Fourth, turn the election from one-person-one-vote to one-dollar-one-vote. Obviously not literally, and dollars don't buy that many votes in the USA, but they do buy bigger megaphones, and sometimes an election can come down to whomever can shout the loudest.

    Fifth, encourage a feeling of hopelessness. "My Vote doesn't count". "Voting third-party is just throwing your vote away". "The system is rigged, so why bother?"

    And finally, give them tenure once elected. Much of the strength of democracy as implemented in the USA is that we have, in effect, a mini-revolution every few years. If a bad idea comes along, you don't have to live with it until its proponents die off if you can vote in fresh blood. But unlike the Presidency, Congress is designed for long-term membership. Not only is there the natural power of the incumbency, but if you can get your guy onto a major pork committe, you can ensure that no matter how he/she rapes the rest of the country - or even your own district - that this critter will bribe the voters with military bases, construction projects, and other perks.

  • Re:education (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:24PM (#46101209)

    Taxation is payment for services rendered. If you aren't happy with the services you received, or the payment thereof, you are certainly welcome to redress your grievances, but please don't pretend that calling it theft is anything but hyperbolic grandstanding.

    Now that is a problem with the world, people lead with emotional rhetoric, rather than logic. At best, you're dishonest to yourself, at worst, you're using it to deceive and mislead others while knowing what a load of crap you are pushing.

  • Re:education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:51PM (#46101603)

    "First you convince large quantities of people to vote against their best interests. That's unfortunately very easy. I was reading yesterday a (ahem) "discussion" on returning to 90% taxation for the top tier. "How would you like it if the government stole 90% of YOUR income was a common retort", yet you can pretty much count on none of them ever becoming wealthy enough to qualify"

    So wait a moment, the fact that people have a sense of morality and do not approve of theft even when they are guaranteed that they will not personally be victimized is a *problem* for you?

    Classic. The whole problem with the world is that the oppressed are not wretched enough.

    Q.E.D.

    The "taxes are theft" fallacy. You're EXACTLY the kind of manipulant that I was illustrating.

    Taxes are often a waste, although where the waste is is depends on who you are asking. From the same jar of soundbites: "If you don't like it, why don't you go somewhere else?" There's a difference between waste and theft. One of the biggest differences between them is that you pay taxes to keep the real, literal thieves - both domestic and foreign - from your door. You pay for a lot of other, less desirable (to you) things as well, but efficiency isn't a hallmark of government, and for that we should all be very, very grateful.

    By homing in on a single "moral" issue, you've identified yourself with the second group in the list. We've got your number come election time, sucker.

    If you want to argue that government is immoral, that's not a problem for me. But I'm not worried as much about minor immoralities any more than I am about whether governments should be pushing moralities on others when the very foundations of the Republic are under attack. It smacks too much of worrying about motes in other people's eyes when one's own has a 2x4 in it.

    Just as an aside, I refuse to get all panicked about taxes on people with far more money they than they need to live comfortably because for many years I was paying over 35% of my own income in taxes and living a lot better than I do now under lower taxes. Plus, most people never qualified for the 90% bracket. To do so, you've got to be swimming in money to begin with. It's not a case where the hit comes from people who are barely squeaking by as it is. We actually have more of that particular curse now than we did then.

    Truly wealthy people complain about taxes, yes (don't we all?). But if the level of taxation is actually hitting you where you live, you weren't that rich to begin with. For one thing, you apparently cannot afford a good tax consultant.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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