Technology News

Today's 'Day Against DRM' Protests Locks On Educational Materials

(7 days ago)
This year's "International Day Against DRM" is highlighting user-disrespecting restrictions on educational materials. An anonymous reader quotes the Free Software Foundation's Defective By Design site:The "Netflix of textbooks" model practiced by Pearson and similar publishers is a Trojan horse for education: requiring a constant Internet connection for "authentication" purposes, severely limiting the number of pages a student can read at one time, and secretly collecting telemetric data on their reading habits. Every year, we organize the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) to mobilize protests collaboration, grassroots activism, and in-person actions against the grave threat of DRM. For IDAD 2019, we are calling on Pearson and similar companies to stop putting a lock on our learning, and demonstrate their alleged commitment to education by dropping DRM from their electronic textbooks and course materials. At the same time, it is our plan to show that a better world is possible by encouraging people to contribute to collaborative and DRM-free textbooks, and resist the stranglehold these publishers are putting on something as fundamental as one's education. To help us, join the Defective by Design (DbD) coalition as we organize local and remote hackathons on free culture educational materials, and an in-person protest of Pearson Education on Saturday, October 12th. The group is joined in this year's event by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, and The[..]

Elizabeth Warren Mocks Facebook's Ad Policy By Lying About Mark Zuckerberg

(7 days ago)
"A fresh series of Facebook ads this week by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren seeks to put the social media giant on the defensive -- by telling a lie," writes CNN. An anonymous reader quotes their report:The ads, which began running widely on Thursday, start with a bold but obvious falsehood: That Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have endorsed President Trump's reelection campaign. "You're probably shocked," reads the ad, which has already reached tens of thousands of viewers nationwide. "And you might be thinking, 'how could this possibly be true?' Well, it's not." The ad's own admission of a lie seeks to draw attention to a controversial Facebook policy Warren has spent days criticizing. Under the policy, Facebook exempts ads by politicians from third-party fact-checking... In a statement Friday responding to Warren's ad, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said the company believes political speech should be protected. "If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech," the Stone said... Warren has become one of Facebook's key antagonists after first calling for it and other Silicon Valley giants -- such as Amazon, Google and Apple -- to be broken up. But her rift with Facebook deepened after leaked audio published by The Verge revealed Zuckerberg fretting about the potential consequences of a Warren presidency. "If she gets elected president, then I would bet[..]

Twisted Elastic Fibers Could Cool Your Food, Study Finds

(7 days ago)
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: It sounds crazy: a refrigerator made from a rubber band. But if you stretch one and hold it against your lips, it will be noticeably warmer. Release it, and it cools. This simple "elastocaloric" effect can transfer heat in much the same way as compressing and expanding a fluid refrigerant in a fridge or air conditioner. Now, scientists have created a version that not only stretches the rubber band, but also twists it. It may one day lead to greener cooling technology. As a demonstration, the researchers built a tiny fridge about the size of a ballpoint pen cartridge powered by twisted nickel titanium wires. Using this "twistocaloric" method, they cooled a small volume of water by 8C in a few seconds. Next, the team plans to run the device on a repeating cycle, alternately heating the water (and moving that heat to the outside world) and cooling it (so that it can absorb heat from the interior volume). Coated with temperature-sensitive dyes, the fibers could also serve as strain gauges or mood rings. The study has been published in the journal Science.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Stalker Found Victim's Home By Looking At Reflection In Her Pupil From High-Res Photo

(7 days ago)
JustAnotherOldGuy shares a report from Boing Boing, with the caption: "Enhance, zoom in... more... more... straight out of CSI." From the report: Last month a Japanese entertainer named Ena Matsuoka was attacked in front of her home in Tokyo. Her alleged attacker, an obsessed fan, was able to figure out where she lived by zooming in on a high resolution photo and identifying a bus stop reflected in her pupils. According to Asia One, the alleged attacker "even approximated the storey Matsuoka lived on based on the windows and the angle of the sunlight in her eyes."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The First All-Female Spacewalk Is Scheduled For This Month

(7 days ago)
After the first all-female spacewalk was scrapped in March, NASA has now scheduled another attempt with astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir for October 21. CNN reports: For the intended spacewalk in March, Koch was going to be paired with astronaut Anne McClain, who has since returned to Earth. In March, NASA cited spacesuit availability as the reason for scrapping the walk. McClain herself made the decision and the teams supported her, Koch said. "We do our best to anticipate the spacesuit sizes that each astronaut will need, based on the spacesuit size they wore in training on the ground, and in some cases (including Anne McClain's) astronauts train in multiple sizes," Brandi Dean with NASA's public affairs office told CNN in March. "However, individuals' sizing needs may change when they are on orbit, in response to the changes living in microgravity can bring about in a body. In addition, no one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space." Koch conducted a spacewalk along with fellow astronaut Nick Hague instead of McClain at the time. When asked about spacesuit availability this time around, Koch said there are currently two medium spacesuits on board. After the first all-female plan was shifted, Koch configured the second spacesuit herself using what was available on board. She and Meir have both trained in medium-sized suits for the last six years. Koch[..]
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