New submitter wirelessduck writes "After some recent complaints from a Labor MP about price markups on software and technology devices in Australia, Federal Government agencies decided to look in to the matter and an official parliamentary inquiry into the issue was started. 'The Federal Parliament's inquiry into local price markups on technology goods and services has gotten under way, with the committee overseeing the initiative issuing its terms of reference and calling for submissions from the general public on the issue.'"
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phaedrus5001 writes "The mayor of West New York, New Jersey was arrested by the FBI after he and his son illegally took down a website that was calling for the recall of mayor Felix Roque (the site is currently down). From the article: 'According to the account of FBI Special Agent Ignace Ertilus, Felix and Joseph Roque took a keen interest in the recall site as early as February. In an attempt to learn the identity of the person behind the site, the younger Roque set up an e-mail account under a fictitious name and contacted an address listed on the website. He offered some "very good leads" if the person would agree to meet him. When the requests were repeatedly rebuffed, Joseph Rogue allegedly tried another route. He pointed his browser to Google and typed the search strings "hacking a Go Daddy Site," "recallroque log-in," and "html hacking tutorial."'"
Fluffeh writes "Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte said, '[this] turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.' Republican Senator Thomas O'Mara added, '[this will] help lend some accountability to the Internet age.' The two are sponsoring a bill that would ban any New York-based websites from allowing comments (or well, anything) to be posted unless the person posting it attaches their name to it. But the bill also goes further, saying New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, must 'remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.'"
redletterdave writes with an update to news from a few months ago that France had banned the growing of Monsanto's genetically modified corn. After reviewing the evidence France submitted in support of the ban, the European Food Safety Authority has now rejected it. An official opinion (PDF) stated that they "could not identify any new science-based evidence indicating that maize MON 810 cultivation in the EU poses a significant and imminent risk to the human and animal health or the environment."
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.
Okian Warrior writes "Various new sources are reporting the results of a recent Labor Party poll, indicating that Julian Assange would be elected to the Australian senate, should he choose to run. From the Sun Daily article: 'Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands a real chance of winning an upper house seat in his native Australia if he presses ahead with plans to stand for election, a poll showed Saturday. A survey conducted by the ruling Labor party's internal pollsters UMR Research and published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper showed 25 percent of those polled would vote for the whistleblowing website chief.'"
First time accepted submitter ixarux writes "India is at a crucial crossroad at the moment. Internet censorship laws are getting stricter as it begins to ban file-sharing and video-sharing websites. It started with Indian courts allowing censorship of Google, Facebook, etc. It has now gone one step ahead and decided to ask ISPs to block file-sharing sites. It is the movie industry which is again at the forefront of this. Anonymous retaliated, and targeted the websites of various Indian government websites in protest. What India lacks at this crucial juncture are debates in the public domain about this and citizens actually organizing protests as seen in the West."
cedarhillbilly writes "In his new book The Geek Manifesto, Mark Henderson 'pleads for citizens who value science to force it onto the mainstream political agenda and other main walks of life.' There are some important questions that need answers: 'Do you have to give up your tech practice to undertake a public role?' Also, 'Is political life (compromise, working by consensus, irrationality) antithetical to the "geek" values?'" The Guardian's coverage sums up the idea nicely: "What I desperately want is a move toward an evidence-based culture in politics. Politicians are free to say: 'I think people on drugs should be punished because drugs are immoral.' That's a moral call, albeit a rather stupid one in my opinion. What they shouldn't do is say: 'I want to reduce drug use, and sending all users to prison is the most cost-effective way to achieve that.' That's not a moral call, it's a factual statement; as such it should be evidence-based, or else the person making it should shut the hell up."
New submitter kimtysirt sends this excerpt from a Bloomberg report about U.S. tariffs for Chinese solar panels: "The U.S. yesterday imposed tariffs of as much as 250 percent on Chinese-made solar cells to aid domestic manufacturers beset by foreign competition, though critics said the decision may end up raising prices and hurting the U.S. renewable energy industry. The U.S. Commerce Department ruled that Chinese manufacturers sold cells in the U.S. at prices below the cost of production and announced preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 31 percent to 250 percent, depending on the manufacturer. China criticized the action, saying the U.S. is hurting itself and cooperation between the world’s two largest economies. The decision is meant to provide a boost to the U.S. solar manufacturing industry, where four companies filed for bankruptcy in the past year."
An anonymous reader writes "In the midst of Congressional races around the country, one stands out to techies. Thomas Massie, an MIT whiz kid who pioneered touch-based interfaces and founded SensAble Technologies in the 1990s, is the favorite to win the Republican nomination in his Kentucky district next week. SensAble was recently sold on the cheap, but in a new exclusive, Massie explains why he left the haptics firm years ago to lead a simpler life of farming, family, and guns — lots of guns. Along the way he built a solar-powered, off-the-grid house and became a local hero of the Tea Party. Now Massie is leading the charge to get more engineers into politics, and if he wins, he could be a force to be reckoned with in Washington, DC."
New submitter PantherSE writes with an article at CNN about the geopolitical importance of labeling, excerpting thus: "Iran has threatened legal action against Google for not labeling the Persian Gulf on its maps. 'Toying with modern technologies in political issues is among the new measures by the enemies against Iran, (and) in this regard, Google has been treated as a plaything,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Thursday, according to state-run Press TV. He added that 'omitting the name Persian Gulf is (like) playing with the feelings and realities of the Iranian nation.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again." See this earlier story on Saverin's plan to make the leap out of the U.S. tax system.
First time accepted submitter Arker writes "A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction late Wednesday to block provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism. The Obama administration had argued, inter alia, that the plaintiffs, including whistleblower and transparency advocate Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir lacked standing, but Judge Katherine Forrest didnt buy it. Given recent statements from the administration, it seems safe to say this will be the start of a long court battle."
Fluffeh writes "A recent study of over 1,000 folks for a paper published in Nature Climate Change has found that the average U.S. citizen is inclined to pay a premium to ensure that by 2035, 80% of U.S. power comes from clean energy. At random, respondents received one of three "technological treatments" or definitions of clean energy that included renewable energy sources alone, renewable sources plus natural gas, and renewable sources plus nuclear power. Delving into the socioeconomics, researchers found that Republicans, Independents, and respondents with no party allegiance were less likely by 25, 13 and 25 percentage points respectively to support a NCES than respondents that identified themselves as Democrats."
New submitter ancientt writes "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the U.S. was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use, like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five-year period. After a five-year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent ramifications if it had been enacted in the past.) Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five-year-old variant of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030. Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to use any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five-year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five-year profit span, although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal. Play 'What if' with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"