Rather than banning "lobbying" by academics, UK government should encourage it

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The UK government has passed rules banning academics who receive public funding from "lobbying" ministers and MPs about their research, meaning that the people whom the government pays to acquire expertise in matters of public policy aren't allowed to speak to policy-makers anymore. Read the rest

Study: people who believe in innate intelligence overestimate their own

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In Understanding overconfidence: Theories of intelligence, preferential attention, and distorted self-assessment, an open access paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, psych researchers from Washington State U, Florida State U and Stanford report on their ingenious experiments to investigate how subjects' beliefs about intelligence affect their own intelligence. Read the rest

Makers: take this survey and help with a master's thesis on making

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David Proctor writes, "I'm a Master's candidate at Minot State University doing research for a thesis on the Maker Community. Specifically I am trying to understand what motivates people to make and how the community defines itself. To that end I have created a short 7 question questionnaire that I need your help with. The questionnaire is here. Read the rest

The post-Snowden digital divide: the ability to understand and use privacy tools

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Ian Clark's long academic paper in the Journal of Radical Librarianship takes a while to get to the point, but when it arrives, it's a very, very good one: in the post-Snowden era, we can no longer address the "digital divide" just by providing access -- we also have to teach people how their online usage is spied on, how that will harm them, and what to do about it. Read the rest

Hacking a phone's fingerprint sensor in 15 mins with $500 worth of inkjet printer and conductive ink

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MSU Computer Science researchers Kai Cao and Anil K Jain published a new paper describing a Read the rest

Nine key legal cases about robots, and the messy legal future of robotic devices

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Robot legal theorist Ryan Calo writes, "I thought you might enjoy my new paper, canvassing decades of American case law involving robots. Courts have had to decide, for instance, whether a robot represents something 'animate,' whether the robot band at Chuckie Cheese 'performs,' and whether a salvage crew 'possesses' a ship wreck by visiting it with a robot sub." Read the rest

Harvard Business Review: Stop paying executives for performance

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Two business-school researchers have published a literature survey in the Harvard Business Review that makes the case against using performance-pay to motivate senior managers. Read the rest

App Stores: winner-take-all markets dominated by rich countries

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In Winners and Losers in the Global Economy, a new Caribou Digital report funded by Mozilla, surveys the top apps from 37 countries and analyzes where they come from and how the revenue from them flows around the world. Read the rest

Github patches from women who don't reveal their gender more likely to be accepted than patches from identifiable women

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Researchers used a huge dataset of Github activity, up to April 15 2015, to examine the relationship between gender and the acceptance of a suggested revision by a project's maintainer. Read the rest

Free Bitcoin textbook from Princeton

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The Princeton Bitcoin Book by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller and Steven Goldfeder is a free download -- it's over 300 pages and is intended for people "looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming." Read the rest

Seminar on Jo Walton's Philosopher Kings novels

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Jo Walton (previously) is one of science fiction's great talents, a writer who blends beautiful insight about human beings and their frailties and failings without ever losing sight of their nobility and aspirations. Read the rest

Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind," a free course on AI from MIT

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Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky died yesterday. He was one of computer science's great pioneers, a brilliant researcher who could translate his insights into material accessible even to laypeople. Read the rest

Majority of UK booze-industry revenues come from problem drinkers

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69% of the alcohol sold in the UK is sold to "harmful," "hazardous" or "increasing risk" drinkers, accounting for more than 60% of the industry's revenues. The number of alcohol-related hospitalisations in the UK has doubled in the past ten years, to more than 1m/year. Read the rest

That time the DoD paid Duke U $335K to investigate ESP in dogs. Yes, dogs.

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Government research often pushes the boundaries between science and science fiction. Today, the proud bearer of that mantle is often DARPA, experimenting with robots, cybernetics, and more. But in the sixties, during the height of the Cold War, this research often went into more fantastical realms, even exploring whether ExtraSensory Perception (ESP) was possible. Thanks to FOIA, MuckRock looks back on the paranormal history of American surveillance." Read the rest

Research: increased resident participation in city planning produces extreme wealth segregation

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Urban planning advocates like Jane Jacobs argued that people who live in neighborhoods should be active in the planning decisions around their homes. Read the rest

Independent economists: TPP will kill 450,000 US jobs; 75,000 Japanese jobs, 58,000 Canadian jobs

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Proponents of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership -- which lets companies force governments to get rid of their labor, environmental and safety rules in confidential tribunals -- say it's all worth it because it will deliver growth and jobs to the stagnant economies of the rich world. Read the rest

Income inequality makes the 1% sad, too

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A study from the notorious socialists at the Harvard Business Review analyzed data from the Gallup World Poll and the World Top Incomes Database and found that in countries with a large degree of wealth inequality, "levels of life satisfaction" go down, and "negative daily emotional experiences" go up, for all populations, including the richest. Read the rest

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