Harperdog writes "In 1999, Senate Republicans rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on the grounds that it wasn't verifiable. The National Academy of Sciences feels this is no longer true, due to new technology. Quoting: 'Technologies for detecting clandestine testing in four environments — underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, and in space — have improved significantly in the past decade. In particular, seismology, the most effective approach for monitoring underground nuclear explosion testing, can now detect underground explosions well below 1 kiloton in most regions. A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of chemical high explosive. The nuclear weapons that were used in Japan in World War II had yields in the range of 10 to 20 kilotons.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks... 'H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.'"
First time accepted submitter samazon writes "According to a recently proposed abstract by the United States Geological Survey, hydraulic fracturing, or more specifically the disposal of fracking wastewater, may be directly correlated to the increase in seismic activity in the midwest. Results of the paper will be presented on April 18th, but the language of the abstract seems to imply that there is a connection. After years of controversy regarding hydrofracking including ground water contamination and disclosure of chemical solutions, the results of the study, if conclusive, could influence the cost of natural gas due to increased regulations on wastewater disposal." The actual language of the abstract leaves a fair amount of wiggle room: "While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production."
New submitter si622test1 writes "A judge has determined that the ex-astronaut-turned-politician who was sued by California Republicans for putting 'astronaut' as his occupation while running for Congress will be allowed to do so, saying that Hernandez is an astronaut for 'more than the time spent riding a rocket.'"
surewouldoutlaw writes "On the heels of the news that the Chevy Volt had a record month, selling 2,289 units in March, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the car is made will be resuming production of the car one week early, reducing a five-week shutdown to just four weeks, the United Auto Workers union said Tuesday. The shutdown had been put in place to re-align supply with demand. Volt workers have also begun to lash out at Republican presidential candidates' criticisms of the car: 'They're attacking our car to get at the President...But our car is going to change the way America does business. It's a breath of fresh air.'"
NIK282000 writes "Ontario farmers rallied in downtown Toronto to protest the subsidization of wind turbines. Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines. Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines. With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."
New submitter CAPSLOCK2000 writes "The Dutch Pirateparty has refused an order from BREIN to take down a proxy to The Pirate Bay. Last month BREIN (the distribution-industries paralegal outfit) forced a number of ISPs to block The Pirate Bay; the first site ever blocked in the Netherlands. Immediately people started using proxies at other ISPs to get to TPB. BREIN then threatened a number of those proxies with legal action. As most of these are run by hobbyists without legal or financial means there was little resistance. Now the Dutch Pirateparty has decided to stand up to the intimidation and refuses to take down its proxy. Today they sent their response in style: by uploading it to The Pirate Bay. In translation: 'The Pirateparty disputes your claim and will not comply with your request.'" Via Torrentfreak, Pirate Party chairman Dirk Poot: "There are a plethora of proxy sites on the internet. On almost any them TPB can by reached, even with a single URL. That's not even mentioning the ways you can get to TPB if you're willing to put in more effort than saving a single URL. If this keeps going there will be no Internet left by the time BREIN has achieved its goal of making TPB inaccessible. ... In their self-righteous zealousness they have brought substantial damage to the free and open Internet."
An anonymous reader writes "The Wisconsin School of Business is running a prediction market study on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Healthcare Reform Act. By participating you will not only be helping university students, you will also get to express your opinion and compete with others to show that you have the most accurate prediction."
A fight over posting calorie counts for popcorn is just one example of the clash between the White House and the agency charged with protecting public health. Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner, was forced to scrap plans to have calorie counts posted for foods served in movie theaters and on airplanes after a phone call from the White House deputy chief of staff in 2010. From the article: "White House officials describe their disagreements with the F.D.A. as part of the normal, constructive give-and-take over policy that has never undermined the agency’s mission. 'Under President Obama’s leadership, the Food and Drug Administration has new authority and resources to help stop kids from smoking, protect our food supply and approve more affordable prescription drugs,' said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. The administration also views the agency’s hostility to its oversight as hopelessly naïve, given a 24-hour news cycle and a ferocious political environment that punishes any misstep. 'They want a world that doesn’t exist anymore,' an administration official said."
dotarray writes "The introduction of an R18+ rating for video games into Australia has been designed to bring game classification in line with the current system in place for films and other media. One state, however, would like to widen that gap." This is being billed (by John Rau's office) as a saner approach than eliminating the MA15+ rating entirely.
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Scherer writes that the Obama fundraising machine has deployed a new cellular campaign weapon designed 'to trigger the campaign finance equivalent of an impulse buy' during key political moments in the campaign. The tool links two familiar technologies, SMS and one-click purchasing, by sending out an SMS message to cell phones and smart phones of tens of thousands of previous campaign donors giving them a one-click option to give more money. 'Campaign officials hope to be able to return to donors in key moments of emotional excitement,' writes Scherer. One person familiar with the ask says that the response rate has been more than 20 times greater than any text message solicitation Obama has sent out before and and the reason is simple: Even with an iPhone, it remains an arduous hassle to enter all the information that is typically required to buy anything online with a credit card. The trick is that anyone who gives even a few dollars to the Obama campaign is asked if they want to keep their credit cards on file to participate in what the campaign calls 'Quick Donate.' Now donors just need to write '25,' or '10,' and that amount of dollars is immediately drawn from their credit cards. One of the Obama campaign's best fundraising days in 2008, for instance, came right after Sarah Palin's convention speech. Now partisans can 'vent their outrage or enthusiasm by simply typing one number into their phone.'"
First time accepted submitter rover42 writes "Major Chinese sites Sina and Webo 'have been legally punished for permitting the spread of unfounded rumors. Specifically, the report cites unfounded rumors that were spreading like wildfire on Sina Weibo of an attempted coup d'etat happening in Beijing.' The source is the state-run Xinhua." Sadly for the people of China (even if they like it this way), this seems to be in line with the Chinese government's general attitude toward the Internet.
MatthewVD writes "Brazil is on a massive fingerprinting spree, with the goal of collecting biometric information from each of its 190 million citizens and identifying all voters by their biological signatures by 2018. The country already has a fully electronic voting system and now officials are trying to end fraud, which was rampant after the military dictatorship ended. Dissenters complain that recounts could be impossible and this opens the door for new kinds of fraud. Imagine this happening in the U.S."
Fluffeh writes "While it is a bit disappointing that companies might need a law to avoid providing tools that censor free speech to overseas regimes, an updated version of a bill that's been floating around for a few years — the Global Online Freedom Act — has passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. The version that made it out of committee took out some controversial earlier provisions that had potential criminal penalties for those who failed to report information to the Justice Department. However, the Center for Democracy and Technology has raised some concerns: 'While some companies – such as GNI members Google, Microsoft, Websense, and Yahoo! – have stepped up and acknowledged these responsibilities in an accountable way, other companies have not been so forthright. GOFA, however, is a complex bill. While it presents a number of sensible and innovative mechanisms for mitigating the negative impact of surveillance and censorship technologies, it also raises some difficult questions: can export controls be meaningfully extended in ways that reduce the spread of (to borrow words from Chairman Smith) "weapons of mass surveillance" without diminishing the ability of dissidents to connect and communicate? How can – and should – U.S. companies engage with so-called "Internet-restricting" countries?'"
An anonymous reader writes "The European Parliament's INTA Committee yesterday soundly rejected a proposal to refer the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice for review. ACTA critics viewed the proposal as a delay tactic designed with the hope that public opposition to the agreement would subside in the year or two it would take for a court review. The 21-5 vote against the motion means that the INTA committee will conclude its ACTA review later this spring with a full European Parliament vote expected in June or July. The lack of support for ACTA within the European Parliament is now out in the open with multiple parties indicating they are ready to bury it."