Bennett Haselton writes: "Online political futures betting is in a legal limbo in the United States. But with the lifting of legal sanctions, and with the addition of one simple new feature, online futures betting could not only provide more accurate forecasts of the merits of different candidates, but also provide a tool for quieting partisan blowhards who think the opposing party's candidate is going to drag the country to hell. Let the blowhards bet!" You'll find the rest of Bennett's story below.
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theodp writes "The WSJ catches up with FIRE's Greg Lukianoff and his crusade to expose how universities have become the most authoritarian institutions in America. In Unlearning Liberty, Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website. What they share, lifelong Democrat Lukianoff says, is a view of 'harassment' so broad and so removed from its legal definition that 'literally every student on campus is already guilty.'"
cervesaebraciator writes "Saturday an article was featured on Slashdot which expressed some hope, if just a fool's hope, that a recent Republican Study Committee Brief could be a sign of broader national discussion about the value of current copyright law. When one sees such progress, credit is deservedly given. Unfortunately, others in Washington did not perhaps see this as worthy of praise. The committee's executive director, Paul Teller, sent a memo today disavowing the earlier pro-copyright reform brief. From the memo: 'Yesterday you received a Policy Brief or [sic] copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.' People who live in districts such as Ohio's 4th would do well to send letters of support to those who crafted the original brief. I cannot imagine party leadership will be happy with so radical a suggestion as granting copyright protection for the limited times needed to promote the progress of science and useful arts."
cervesaebraciator writes "Regardless of how one feels about the GOP generally, it is always heartening to see current copyright and IP law questioned on a national stage. A Republican study committee, chaired by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a brief today titled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. Among other things, the brief attacks current copyright law as hampering scientific inquiry, penalizing journalism, and retarding the potential of the internet to allow the dispersion of knowledge through e-readers. In the briefs words, 'Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets.' Four potential policy solutions are proposed: statutory damage reform, expansion of fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting copyright terms. There may yet be hope for a national debate on the current oppressive copyright system, if just a fool's hope."
stevegee58 writes "A tumblr blog entitled 'HelloThereRacists' is publicly identifying other online posters who make racist/assassination comments about President Obama. Beyond merely identifying online usernames, the blog's author is uncovering and publishing the real names and locations of offending posters. It's an interesting mess of legal issues. The outed posters are at risk of a Secret Service visit, but the trouble may not end there. The HelloThereRacists blogger himself may have some problems publicly identifying posters, who are frequently underage teenagers." Update: 11/16 19:17 GMT by S : The blog has already been taken down.
Kethinov writes "My Congresswoman, Zoe Lofgren, a prominent opponent of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act, has introduced two bills to the U.S. House of Representatives designed to protect the free and open internet, expand the protections of the Fourth Amendment to digital communications, and protect against the introduction of any further SOPA-like bills. Since these are issues Slashdotters care deeply about, I wanted to open up the bills for discussion on Slashdot. The bills are: ECPA 2.0 and the Global Free Internet Act. Is my Congresswoman doing a good job? Is there room for improvement in the language of the bills? If you're as excited by her work as I am, please reach out to your representatives as well and ask them to work with Rep. Lofgren. It will take a big coalition to beat the pro-RIAA/MPAA establishment politics on internet regulation."
An anonymous reader writes "Climate treaty negotiators would do well to have a little chat with some game theorists, according to this article. The fundamental approach they've been taking for the last several years is flawed, these researchers say, and they can prove it. From the article: 'The scientists gave members of a 10-member group their country’s “treasure”: a 20-euro national savings account, plus a fund for spending on emissions reductions that consisted of 10 black chips worth 10 cents apiece and 10 red chips worth one euro apiece. Each person could then contribute any number of these chips to a common pool. The contributed chips represented greenhouse gas reduction strategies that were relatively inexpensive (black) or expensive (red). Players could communicate freely about their plans for how many chips they intended to contribute.'"
First time accepted submitter RNLockwood writes "Political.com reports that several petitions to secede from the Union have been created at the White House site, We The People, for many states; all since Obama's re-election. Texas and Louisiana lead the list with Texas needing only 7,000 more signatures to qualify for a White House response, probably less now as more Americans have become aware of the petitions. It would be interesting to see a comparison done of these petitions and the Post Election Racist Tweets Map."
New submitter thn writes "John McAfee, who started the antivirus software giant named after him, has been accused of murder in Belize and is wanted. McAfee had taken to 'posting on a drug-focused Russian message board...about his attempts to purify the psychoactive compounds colloquially known as "bath salts,"' Gizmodo wrote. The scariest aspect of this story may be the fact that an entire lab was constructed for John McAfee's research purposes. Because of his efforts to extract chemicals from natural chemical plans McAfee was able to justify his experiments in a country that is largely unregulated."
hypnosec writes "Kim Dotcom has revealed that Megaupload's successor, Mega, which is reportedly launching on January 20, 2013, will be operating through a new domain name: Mega.co.nz. Through a tweet Dotcom announced that Mega has found a new home and that the new domain name is protected by the law. Dotcom also revealed that lobbyists won't be able to do anything about this, as 'judges are not influenced by politics in New Zealand.' Recent announcements about Mega's domain — Me.ga — didn't go as planned following a decision by the Government of Gabon to suspend the domain name. Dotcom had announced at the time that despite the blockage, Mega would launch as planned."
Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that widespread disruptions to Google in China over the weekend, halting use of everything from Google's search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store, underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing's effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government's efforts to draw global businesses. The source of the disruptions couldn't be determined, but Internet experts pointed to China's Internet censorship efforts, which have been ratcheted up ahead of the 18th Party Congress. 'There appears to be a throttling under way of Web access,' says David Wolf, citing recent articles in foreign media about corruption and wealth in China spurred by the party congress and the fall of former party star Bo Xilai, 'that's their primary concern, people getting news either through Google or through its services.' Beijing risks a backlash if it were to block Google outright on a long-term basis, says Wolf and such a move could put Beijing in violation of its free-trade commitment under the World Trade Organization and make China a less-attractive place to do business. 'If China insists in the medium and long term of creating another Great Firewall between the China cloud and the rest of the world, China will be an increasingly untenable place to do business.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes that in the age of the quantified self, biases are just one more thing that can be measured, analyzed, and publicized. The day after Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States, a group of geography academics took advantage of the fact that many tweets are geocoded to search Twitter for racism-revealing terms that appeared in the context of tweets that mentioned 'Obama,' 're-elected,' or 'won,' sorting the tweets according to the state they were sent from and comparing the racist tweets to the total number of geocoded tweets coming from that state during the same time period. Their findings? Alabama and Mississippi have the highest measures followed closely by Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee forming a fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast. Beyond that cluster North Dakota and Utah both had relatively high scores (3.5 each), as did Missouri, Oregon, and Minnesota. 'These findings support the idea that there are some fairly strong clustering of hate tweets centered in southeastern U.S. which has a much higher rate than the national average,' writes Matthew Zook. 'But lest anyone elsewhere become too complacent, the unfortunate fact is that most states are not immune from this kind of activity. Racist behavior, particularly directed at African Americans in the U.S., is all too easy to find both offline and in information space.'"
sciencehabit writes "It's a good 130 years too late to answer that question empirically, but at least symbolically Charles Darwin has won support from more than 4000 voters in the 10th congressional district of Georgia, thanks to an initiative headed by James Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. Like many others, Leebens-Mack was deeply troubled by a speech his Congressman, Paul Broun (R-GA), gave at an Athens church in October deriding teachings on evolution, embryology, and the big bang theory as 'lies straight from the pit of Hell.' Broun, a medical doctor, is a member of the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and chair of its Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Leebens-Mack says the 'protest vote should make it clear to future opponents that there are a lot of people in the district who are not happy with antiscience statements.'"
cheesecake23 writes "Many talking heads have attributed Obama's success to an unmatched 'ground game.' Now, inside reports from campaign volunteers suggest that Project Orca, a Republican, tech-based voter monitoring effort with 37,000 volunteers in swing states, turned out to be an epic failure due to dismal IT. Problems ranged from state-wide incorrect PINs, to misleading and delayed information packets delivered to volunteers, to a server outage and missing redirection of secure URLs."
DavidGilbert99 writes "In an extraordinary move, the Chinese authorities have blocked access to Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, and many more Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress. The blocking of these sites was reported by Chinese web monitoring site GreatFire.org, which said, 'Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website.' The latest move in a long line of disputes between the Chinese government and Google, it is unclear yet whether this denial will be temporary (like a similar one in 2010) or permanent."