choongiri writes "Elections Canada has just traced thousands of illegal phone calls made during the 2011 federal election to a company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country. The automated VOIP 'robocalls' appeared to be designed to stop non-Conservative voters from casting ballots in key ridings by falsely telling voters that the location of their polling stations had changed, causing them to go to the wrong location on election day. This news casts serious doubt on the legitimacy of Canada's Government. The Conservatives narrowly won their 'majority' by 6,201 votes in 14 ridings, with only 39% of the popular vote." For those as unfamiliar with the term "riding" in this context as I was, here's Wikipedia's explanation.
langelgjm writes "Bringing a lengthy legal battle to a close, New York City's Department of Education will today release detailed evaluation reports on individual English and math teachers as a result of a request under public information laws. The city's teachers union has responded with full page ads (PDF) decrying the methodology used in the evaluations. The court's decision attempts to balance the public interest in this data against the rights of individual teachers. Across the country, a large number of states are moving to evaluate teachers based on student performance in an attempt to raise student achievement in the U.S."
jfruh writes "Last night the White House hastily arranged a phone conference at which a 'Privacy Bill of Rights' was announced. It's an important document, not least because it affirms the idea that our data belongs to us, not to companies that happen to collect it. But it has a number of shortcomings, not least among them the companies aren't required to respect the rules laid out."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Here's a familiar story: a breast cancer survivor's mastectomy scars showed up on a TSA scan, which forced a horrifying pat-down ('feel-up' in her words) of the affected area. The woman decided that she would not subject herself to that again, and was barred from a later flight from Seattle to Juneau for that reason. But now the story takes an interesting turn: the woman is Alaska State Rep. Sharon Cissna, and once she finally made it back to Alaska she started sponsoring legislation to restrict TSA searches. Her many bills, if passed, would criminalize both pat-downs and 'naked scanning,' as well as require better health warnings for X-ray scanners and even studies of airport screenings' physical and psychological effects. Other states, including Utah and Texas, are considering similar legislation. For example, Texas State Rep. David Simpson is preparing to reintroduce his Traveler Dignity Act again in 2013 if he is re-elected. The last time that bill was being considered the Federal government threatened to turn all of Texas into a 'no-fly zone'."
An anonymous reader writes "Each year, the U.S. government places Canada on its piracy watch list, claiming that it is a pirate country similar to China or Russia. This year, Professor Michael Geist and Public Knowledge teamed up to respond to myths about Canadian copyright law with a submission to the USTR focusing on how Canadian law provides adequate and effective protection, how enforcement is stronger than often claimed, why Canada is not a piracy haven, and why Bill C-11 does not harm the interests of rights holders (critics of Bill C-11 digital lock rules will likely think this is self-evident)."
ndogg writes with news that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has counterattacked those critical of conservative views on science, saying that they're 'anti-science' themselves. From a CBS report: "In his remarks Monday, Santorum went beyond his usual discussion of the importance of increasing domestic energy production to deliver a blistering attack on environmental activists. He said global warming claims are based on 'phony studies,' and that climate change science is little more than 'political science.' His views are not 'anti-science' as Democrats claim, Santorum said. 'When it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones. We are the ones who stand for science, and technology, and using the resources we have to be able to make sure that we have a quality of life in this country and (that we) maintain a good and stable environment,' he said to applause, and cited local ordinances to reduce coal dust pollution in Pittsburgh during the heyday of coal mining."
theodp writes "'As a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm,' boasts the billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, 'we raise philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then use those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.' One recipient of the NewSchools' largesse is The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which received a $5,300,000 NewSchools 'investment', as well as a $1,425,000 grant from NewSchools donor Bill Gates. One way that Noble Street College Prep has been transforming education, reports the Chicago Tribune, is by making students pay the price — literally — for breaking the smallest of rules (sample infractions). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Noble after a FOIA filing revealed the charter collected almost $190,000 in discipline 'fees' — not 'fines' — last year from its mostly low-income students, saying the ironically exempt-from-most-district-rules charter school gets 'incredible' results and parents don't have to send their children there. Beyond the Noble case, some are asking a bigger question: Should billionaires rule our schools?"
First time accepted submitter beerdragoon writes "In order to protest the government's new Internet snooping legislation, some Canadians have started a somewhat unorthodox protest. Vic Toews, the minister responsible for tabling the legislation, has had his twitter account bombarded with tweets regarding the boring, banal aspects of regular Canadians' lives. The idea is that since Toews wants to know everything about your personal life, we should oblige him and #TellVicEverything."
Griller_GT writes with news that Nevada has become the first U.S. state to approve regulations for allowing self-driving cars on its roads. "Autonomous test vehicles will display a red license plate, Nevada officials said. If and when the technology is approved for public use, the cars will carry a green license plate. ... Nevada said it worked with Google, automobile manufacturers, testing professionals, insurance companies, universities and law enforcement to develop the regulations. Other states also have similar bills that will be voted upon to determine if they, too, can follow suit."
FleaPlus writes "NASA and the White House have officially released their FY2013 budget proposal, the first step of the Congressional budget process. As mentioned previously on Slashdot, the proposal decreases Mars science funding (including robotic Mars missions) down to $361M, arguably due in part to cost overruns by the Webb telescope. The proposal also lowers funding for the in-house SLS rocket and Orion capsule to $2.8B, while doubling funding for the ongoing competitive development of commercial crew rockets/vehicles to $830M. The ranking member of the Senate science committee, Sen. Hutchison (R-TX), expressed her frustration with 'cutting SLS and Orion to pay for commercial crew,' as it would allegedly make it impossible for SLS to act as a backup for the commercial vehicles."
An anonymous reader writes "Following up on yesterday's story about the Canadian government's internet surveillance legislation, one of the bill's proponents is now accusing those who oppose it of standing with child pornographers. Those against the legislation include: Law professor Michael Geist, Open Media, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Council of Canadians and many others. 'Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told a Liberal MP he could either stand with the government or "with the child pornographers" prowling online.' Toews is enjoying his Parliamentary Privilege, which grants him the freedom to say pretty much anything he wants without fear of a slander suit."
sciencehabit sends this excerpt from ScienceInsider: "One of the big three research agencies appears to be lagging behind its doubling peers in the president's 2013 budget request released this morning. The $4.9 billion budget of the Department of Energy's Office of Science would rise by 2.4%, to $5 billion. In contrast, the National Science Foundation would receive a nearly 5% boost, to $7.37 billion, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology a hike of 13%, to $860 million. These three agencies were originally singled by President George W. Bush in 2006 for a 10-year budget doubling, a promise that President Barack Obama and Congress have repeatedly endorsed despite the current tough economic times. ... Obama is asking for a 1% increase in overall federal spending on research, to $140 billion. Within that total, the White House seeks a similar 1% hike in the $30 billion devoted to basic research."
theodp writes "Fortune contributor Dan Mitchell argues that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 'Google problem' isn't Google's problem at all. 'The fact that searching for 'santorum' puts the profane, anti-Rick Santorum site SpreadingSantorum.com (NSFW) at the top of Google's search results,' insists Mitchell, 'is not an example of a "Google bomb," despite the widespread use of that term to describe the result.' In the same camp is Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, who also says that Santorum has a search engine problem, not a Google problem. 'It's just that everyone fixates on Google,' Sullivan adds. Which is perhaps to be expected, since Google is the King of Search and also has ties to SpreadingSantorum creator Dan Savage, having featured the sex-advice columnist in Google's The-web-is-what-you-make-of-it Chrome ad campaign (for Savage's admirable It Gets Better Project, not SpreadingSantorum). So, considering Google's vaunted search quality guidelines, is some kind of change in order? Sullivan, while making it clear he opposes Santorum's views, nonetheless suggests Google is long overdue to implement a disclaimer for the 'Santorum' search results. 'They are going to confuse some people,' he explains, 'who will assume Google's trying to advance a political agenda with its search results.'"
retroworks writes "Today's Science Daily reports on 5 new UN studies of used computer and electronics management in Africa. The studies find that about 85% of surplus electronics imports are reused, not discarded. Most of the goods pictured in 'primitive e-waste' articles were domestically generated and have been in use, or reused, for years. Africa's technology lifecycle for displays is 2-3 times the productive use cycle in OECD nations. Still, EU bans the trade of used technology to Africa, Interpol has describes 'most' African computer importers as 'criminals,' and U.S. bill HR2284 would do the same. Can Africa 'leapfrog' to newer and better tech? Or are geeks and fixers the appropriate technology for 83% of the world (non-OECD's population)? "
DesScorp writes "Faced with budget cuts, and forced to choose between deep space observation or a mission to Mars, CBS reports that NASA will kill most of its Mars exploration programs. Sources in NASA say that of the $300 million being cut from the space agency's budget, two-thirds were for a joint US-EU program for Martian exploration. NASA spokesman David Weaver said that, just like the rest of the federal government, the space agency has to make 'tough choices and live within our means.'"