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Good to Know…Week of August 8, 2011


POLICY
Anti-porn Bill Won’t Protect Children, but it Could Cripple the Internet
I’ve noticed two things when studying elected officials. First, many seem to know almost nothing about technology. Second, when you say the words “protecting children” they tend to turn their brains off and support whatever comes next.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Racial profiling laws yield data but few changes
Eight years ago, Illinois began requiring police departments, including the state police force, to keep track of traffic stops to see whether their officers practiced racial profiling—stopping black or Hispanic motorists more often than whites because of their skin color.

Now, a civil rights group wants a federal investigation of the Illinois state police based largely on the data collected under the law, which was sponsored by Barack Obama when he was a state senator.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

U.S. to Grant Waivers for No Child Left Behind
With a growing number of states rebelling against the No Child Left Behind law and stalled efforts in Congress to reform it, the Obama administration says it will grant waivers to liberate states from a law that it considers dysfunctional.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

States Can’t Opt Out of Secure Communities Program
In an unusual move, the Obama administration has told governors they cannot exempt their states from the controversial Secure Communities program, which uses fingerprints collected by local and state police to help immigration authorities identify and deport tens of thousands of criminals each year.

To read this article, go to: LATimes.com

Driving Services Help Senior Mobility without Spending Public Money
Leroy Steinke, who is 87 years old, used to drive his wife and a neighbor to doctors’ appointments and other errands on the North Side of Chicago. Then Steinke’s health declined, and he knew they would all need to find another way to get around.

That’s why Steinke was relieved to hear that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign a measure making it easier for volunteer drivers to come in and take the elderly where they need to go without having to spend more of their own money on car insurance.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org


ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

Christie Considers First-in-Nation Ban on ‘Fracking’
Environmentalists are watching New Jersey to see if Governor Chris Christie signs or vetoes legislation that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the natural gas drilling technique that has sparked nationwide controversy amid claims that it may lead to poisoned drinking water.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org


TECHNOLOGY

Hackers Strike at 70 U.S. Law Enforcement Websites
The group known as Anonymous said Saturday it hacked into some 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the United States, a data breach that at least one local police chief said leaked sensitive information about an ongoing investigation.

To read this article, go to: USATODAY.com

One More Reason Why Passwords are No Darn Good
It might look secure, but even an eight-character, alpha-numeric password with upper and lower case could be trivial to crack.

Take, for instance: !QAZ2WSX. A study by Imperva found this was the most common strong military password.

It appears to be an improvement over favorites identified in 2009, which included “qwerty,” “12345,” and names such as Michael, Daniel and Jessica. But take a look at your keyboard, and you will see that it is an easily predicted series.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Mobile Apps That Reward Impoverished Students With Food, Medicine
In exchange for taking small actions that might break the cycle of poverty—like going to school—mPowering’s users earn points that can be exchanged for important goods. The company was founded by veterans of Apple and Salesforce.com.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com


HEALTH CARE

More Latinos Insured in Massachusetts
Hispanics in Massachusetts are much more likely to have insurance coverage and a primary care doctor than they were before the state’s health insurance overhaul five years ago, but a report set to be released today found that those who speak little or no English lag far behind, with one-third uninsured.

To read this article, go to: Boston.com

AHIMA: Proposed HIPAA Access Requirement a ‘Significant Burden’
A proposal that would require hospitals to give patients, on request, information about anyone who accessed their health records would be costly, time-consuming, and could potentially put healthcare workers in danger from “stalkers” armed with the names of hospital employees, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) says.

To read this article, go to: HealthLeadersAmerica.com


UN NEWS

UN Security Council Rebuke of Syria Hailed as Potential ‘Turning Point’
The United Nations Security Council overcame deep divisions Wednesday to unanimously approve a statement condemning “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.”

To read this article, go to: CSMonitor.com


TRANSPORTATION

The Traffic Problems that Will Disappear when Vehicles Can Talk to Each Other
Cars that communicate can solve serious problems on the road– like traffic in dangerous conditions, rubbernecking at accidents, and EVs running out of juice. The Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge winners show us how.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com


IMMIGRATION LAW

U.S. Sues Alabama Over Tough Immigration Law
An Alabama immigration law that is widely considered the toughest in the nation is being challenged in court by the Obama administration, which contends that the state is overstepping its authority on border enforcement.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

BUTTERFLY EFFECT
The DIY Terminator: Private Robot Armies And The Algorithm-Run Future Of War
In the latest installment of the Butterfly Effect: Predator drones are just the start of unmanned, autonomous warfare technology. But as the tech becomes more democratized and more deadly, what happens when anyone can assemble an army of killing machines?

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com



INTERESTING

In Drought-Stricken Texas, They’re Drinking Water Recycled From Urine
Don’t think you’d drink water recycled from pee? Well, you may not have a
choice. Processed waste water is totally clean and is the best solution
for cities faced with water crises.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com


A Pre-Fab Bamboo Bicycle, Grown from the Ground in Bike Shape
Another bamboo bicycle? Yes—but the vehicle devised by Alexander
Vittouris departs from the funky, tiki-bar-friendly lines made from this
sustainable, globally ubiquitous grass. A design student at Australia’s
Monash University, Vittouris envisions a bicycle that isn’t built, but
grown—the bamboo stalks of the frame being trained into shape while the
plant is growing. Inspired by arborsculpture, in which tree branches
are fixed in expressive shapes that they take as the plant grows,
Vittouris wants to develop a reusable framework that would shape bamboo
into nearly finished bicycles.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com


Mapping the Real State of America
America is a mighty big country. It contains multitudes, and it can be
hard to get a sense, sitting in, say, Montana, of what’s happening
thousands of miles away in Maine. The Real State of America Atlas by
Cynthai Enloe and Joni Seager, released last week, is full of maps and
graphics that can help quantify some of how we’re doing as a country.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

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