saiful76 writes "Following mass exodus of people belonging to north-east states India from southern states of India, specially Bangalore, allegedly due to the threatening messages, the government has asked relevant agencies to scan all social media platforms to check for inflammatory and offensive content, following which, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DIT) has issued an advisory to all intermediaries in terms of provisions of IT Act and Rules to take action for disabling all such content on priority. Cellphone operators have been told to block all bulk SMSs and videos — so nobody can send a message to more than five people at a time."
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New submitter perdelucena writes "Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was arrested outside a Moscow court, where the verdict in the trial of the Pussy Riot group members was being announced on Friday, Russian police said." Update: 08/18 01:14 GMT by T : Kasparov has written an account of the arrest.
sciencehabit writes "U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) don't have much in common when it comes to politics. Kucinich is a very liberal Democrat who's leaving Congress this January after being defeated in a primary election by a more moderate colleague. Ryan is a conservative leader and now the Republican Party's presumptive candidate for vice president. A dozen years ago, however, the two men found one thing they could agree on—killing the National Ignition Facility, a multibillion dollar laser fusion project at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The article goes on to explore other impacts Ryan could have on science as VP."
Several readers have submitted news that as expected, Ecuador is formally accepting Julian Assange's request for political asylum. paulmac84 writes "The Guardian are live blogging the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister's announcement that Ecuador is to grant asylum to Julian Assange. In the announcement Minister Patino said, 'We can state that there is a risk that he will be persecuted politically... We trust the UK will offer the necessary guarantees so that both governments can act adequately and properly respect international rights and the right of asylum. We also trust the excellent relationship the two countries have will continue.' The Guardian also carries a translated copy of the letter the UK sent to Ecuador regarding the threat to 'storm' the Ecuadorian embassy." Also at Reuters.
New submitter tsakas writes: "I am an IT researcher from southern Europe looking for a good place to relocate. Markets are pulling the teeth out of the strong European countries by destroying the south. The U.S. is in debt and there is no way of telling how long this can go on. China and India are on the rise. Brazil and Australia are looking good. The question: Which city would you choose to go and start a family if you were to stay there for a) 5, b) 10 and c) 20 years?"
MarkWhittington writes with good and bad news about NASA's future budgets. From the article: "Rep. John Culberson, along with Rep. Frank Wolf, are developing a bill that will attempt to rationalize NASA's budget process and provide some long term continuity in its administration. First, a NASA administrator would be named to a ten year term. The intent is to provide some continuity in the way the space agency is run and to remove it, as much as possible, from the vagaries of politics. Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle. This is of particular importance to the space agency because the majority of its high level projects take several years to run their course. If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently. NASA planners would know how much they have to spend four or so years going forward and would not have to worry about being cut off at the knees by Congressional appropriators year after year." But is it more than political grandstanding in an election year? There might be a few problems: NASA could get stuck with a bad administrator, multi-year budgets might be a bit unconstitutional, etc.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Megan Garber writes that in high school, Paul Ryan's classmates voted him as his class's 'biggest brown noser,' a juicy tidbit that is a source of delight for his political opponents but considered an irrelevant piece of youthful trivia to his supporters. 'But it's also a tension that will play out, repeatedly, in the most comprehensive narrative we have about Paul Ryan as a person and a politician and a policy-maker: his Wikipedia page,' writes Garber. Late Friday night, just as news of the Ryan choice leaked in the political press — the first substantial edit to that page removed the 'brown noser' mention which had been on the page since June 16. The Wikipedia deletion has given rise to a whole discussion of whether the mention is a partisan attack, whether 'brown noser' is a pejorative, and whether an old high school opinion survey is notable or relevant. As of this writing, 'brown noser' stands as does a maybe-mitigating piece of Ryan-as-high-schooler trivia: that he was also voted prom king. But that equilibrium could change, again, in an instant. 'Today is the glory day for the Paul Ryan Wikipedia page,' writes Garber. 'Yesterday, it saw just 10 [edits]. Today, however — early on a Saturday morning, East Coast time — it's already received hundreds of revisions. And the official news of the Ryan selection, of course, is just over an hour old.' Now Ryan's page is ready to host debates about biographical details and their epistemological relevance. 'Like so many before it, will be a place of debate and dissent and derision. But it will also be a place where people can come together to discuss information and policy and the intersection between the two — a town square for the digital age.'"
Jeremiah Cornelius writes with a note that on Thursday of this week "The Electronic Privacy Information Center posted a brief and detailed notice about the removal of a petition regarding security screenings by the TSA at US airports and other locations. 'At approximately 11:30 am EDT, the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House 'We the People' website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for 'maintenance' following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign."
An anonymous reader writes "As we (very gradually) move away from feudal, leader-based forms of governance to collaborative and open source governance, some interesting new issues arise. The biggest is usually user authentication: how can we avoid sock-puppets and spammers from overtaking the voting process? Enter the concept of the streetwiki, an ingenious system for having humans validate their physical neighbors. Bleeding-edge social organization meets ancient validation protocol."
Shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, Republican candidate Mitt Romney officially announced (via phone app) his selection of 42-year-old Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as running mate for the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Ryan's selection was announced by the Romney campaign to various media outlets earlier this morning. Ryan is considered popular among a wide range of Republican voters, being a budget hawk who favors less liberal laws concerning abortion. Ryan's lauded popularity among Tea Party voters is mixed; some reports describe him as a Tea Party favorite, others as a far-right imposter.
An anonymous reader writes "Steve Yegge is back at it again. This essay is on the notion that software engineers range from conservative to liberal in their notion of software and how it should be built. He says, 'Just as in real-world politics, software conservatism and liberalism are radically different world views. Make no mistake: they are at odds. They have opposing value systems, priorities, core beliefs and motivations. These value systems clash at design time, at implementation time, at diagnostic time, at recovery time. They get along like green eggs and ham. I think it is important for us to recognize and understand the conservative/liberal distinction in our industry. It probably won't help us agree on anything, pretty much by definition. Any particular issue only makes it onto the political axis if there is a fundamental, irreconcilable difference of opinion about it. Programmers probably won't — or maybe even can't — change their core value systems. But the political-axis framework gives us a familiar set of ideas and terms for identifying areas of fundamental disagreement. This can lead to faster problem resolution.'"
ananyo writes "Almost one-quarter of the world's population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion (abstract). Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers — which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders — provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries. Yet in most of the world's major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "In 2008, as The Washington Post wrote at the time, 'just hours before [Sen. John] McCain declared his veep choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her Wiki page saw a flurry of activity, with editors adding details about Palin's approval rating and husband's employment. ... Palin's entry was updated at least 68 times, with at least an additional 54 changes made to her entry over the preceding five days.' The obvious — in hindsight — implications of the Wiki activity: Aides were going into the entries to tune them up and clean out any material that was either embarrassing or erroneous. Now Mark Memmott writes on NPR that today's Wikipedia activity may lend a clue to Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, expected to be announced within a few days. So what's going on now with some of those said to be among the leading possibilities to be joining Mitt Romney on the Republican ticket? On August 7, Rob Portman's Wikipedia page was revised 100 times, the Wikipedia page for Marco Rubio was revised 22 times, and the page for Tim Pawlenty was revised only 5 times. Of course, Memmott adds, somebody who knows about the 2008 Wiki tea leaves may just be messing with our minds."
theodp writes "ProPublica's Lois Beckett reports that the Obama for America campaign's new mobile app is raising privacy concerns with its Google map that recognizes one's current location, marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags, and displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there (e.g.,'Lori C., 58 F, Democrat'). Asked about the privacy aspects of the new app, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign wrote that 'anyone familiar with the political process in America knows this information about registered voters is available and easily accessible to the public.' Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain said the Obama app does represent a significant shift. While voter data has been 'technically public,' it is usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data. 'Much of our feelings around privacy are driven by what you might call status-quo-ism,' Zittrain added, 'so many people may feel that the app is creepy simply because it represents something new.'"
theodp writes "In 2005, Microsoft came under fire after withdrawing support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill. 'I don't want the company to be in the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply-held beliefs of any employee, by picking sides on social policy issues,' explained CEO Steve Ballmer. That was then. Microsoft — like Google and Amazon — has since very publicly declared its support for gay-marriage legislation, which means it — unlike Chick-fil-A — needn't worry about the 'deeply-held beliefs of any employee' causing it to be blocked from doing business by the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. I guess we'll never know what Microsoft versions of 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' or 'National Same-Sex Kiss Day' would have looked like."