This year marks the 15th anniversary of the The Apache Software Foundation's (ASF) formation, beginning with the Apache HTTP Server[http://projects.apache.org/projects/http_server.html]. The ASF has grown significantly since then, and today houses more than 150 top-level projects, exceeds 500 individual members, and over 4,000 committers have collaborated on ASF projects. This anniversary gives us a great opportunity to take a look back at what has made the ASF so successful, and what that means for its future.
The ASF welcomes those who will join us in the years to come - looking forward to not only the next 15 years, but many more!
3ders is reporting on the announcement by Autodesk that it intends to invest $100 Million in 3D printing companies through the Spark Investment Fund.
The objective of the Spark Fund is to:
...invest in entrepreneurs, startups and researchers to push the boundaries of 3D printing technology and accelerate the new industrial revolution.
By giving it away they get a lot back. If Autodesk can make Spark the Android of 3D printing, an allusion CEO Carl Bass has made in the past, the company can remain well placed to retain an 85 percent market share for its AutoCAD software, which doesn’t go cheap.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the Education Department wants to make sure that loan programs that prey on students don’t continue their abusive practices. Now Kimberly Hefling reports at PBS that for-profit colleges that don’t produce graduates capable of paying off their student loans could soon stand to lose access to federal student-aid programs. In order to receive federal student aid, the law requires that most for-profit programs, regardless of credential level, and most non-degree programs at non-profit and public institutions, including community colleges, prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation." To meet these “gainful employment” standards, a program will have to show that the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate does not exceed 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of total earnings. "Career colleges must be a stepping stone to the middle class. But too many hard-working students find themselves buried in debt with little to show for it. That is simply unacceptable," says Duncan . "These regulations are a necessary step to ensure that colleges accepting federal funds protect students, cut costs and improve outcomes. We will continue to take action as needed."
But not everyone is convinced the rules go far enough. "The rule is far too weak to address the grave misconduct of predatory for-profit colleges," writes David Halperin. "The administration missed an opportunity to issue a strong rule, to take strong executive action and provide real leadership on this issue." The final gainful employment regulations follow an extensive rulemaking process involving public hearings, negotiations and about 95,000 public comments and will go into effect on July 1, 2015
A paper appearing on PLOS One today suggest that switching to Sourdough bread products can significantly reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS is something of a catch-all diagnosis of a number of gastrointestinal disorders usually involving excess gas, bloating, pain, etc. It is often confused with Celiac disease — the disease spawning the current Gluten Free diet fad.
The PLOS One study, done at The University of Reading in the UK, suggests that the problem may be related to how we make our bread and the differences in intestinal bacteria that is induced by different bread making processes.
It turns out that most bread is made differently in the UK. Due to the type of low-protein grain available in the UK most bread was made with the Chorleywood bread process which is characterized by high speed sheering (cutting) mixers (and tight control of air pressure) that mix bread so fast that they need external cooling. This method is also characterized by very short fermentation (rising) time. This method is used in over 80 percent of factory-produced bread in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India, but is virtually unknown in North America due to higher protein grains.
The scientists compared Chorleywood bread (type A) with yeasted long fermentation bread (type B) and Sourdough bread (type C).
In general, IBS subjects showed higher rates of gas production compared to healthy controls. Rates of gas production for type A and conventional long fermentation (type B) breads were almost identical in IBS and healthy subjects. But Sourdough bread produced significantly lower cumulative gas after 15 h fermentation as compared to type A and B breads in IBS subjects.
The sourdough bread also tended to make more butyrate during digestion. According to a Japanese Study:
The researchers, led by a group from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS-RCAI) in Kanagawa, believe their findings make a case for using butyrate to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease.
BBC News reports - 'In-flight anomaly' on Virgin SpaceShipTwo
Virgin Galactic says that its SpaceShipTwo space tourism craft has suffered an "in-flight anomaly".
The craft was being tested in the Mojave Desert region of California. Virgin Galactic said it would issue a fuller statement shortly.
Local police said they were responding to reports of a crash in Cantil.
Update - The Associated Press reported one fatality and one major injury from the accident, citing California Highway Patrol.
Wired and Forbes reported earlier this week that the two largest cellphone carriers in the United States, Verizon and AT&T, are adding a tracking number to their subscribers' Internet activity, even when users opt out.
The data can be used by any site — even those with no relationship to the telecoms — to build a dossier about a person's behavior on mobile devices — including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long.
ProPublica reports that MoPub ("the world's largest mobile ad exchange"), acquired by Twitter in 2013, uses Verizon's tag to track and target cellphone users for ads and that AT&T and Vodaphone are also testing the waters with similar tracking IDs.
When massive open online courses first grabbed the spotlight in 2011, many saw in them promise of a revolutionary force that would disrupt traditional higher education by expanding access and reducing costs. The hope was that MOOCs — classes from elite universities, most of them free, in some cases enrolling hundreds of thousands of students each — would make it possible for anyone to acquire an education, from a villager in Turkey to a college dropout in the United States.
Following the “hype cycle” model for new technology products developed by the Gartner research group, MOOCs have fallen from their “peak of inflated expectations” in 2012 to the “trough of disillusionment.”
There are several reasons for the disillusionment. First, the average student in a MOOC is not a Turkish villager with no other access to higher education but a young white American man with a bachelor’s degree and a full-time job.
Eight of every 10 students enrolled in University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania MOOCs in 2012-13 already had a degree of some kind. The credentials gap was most pronounced in countries where the courses were supposed to have the biggest impact among the undereducated: Some 80 percent of MOOC students in Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa had a college degree, while in the overall population only 5 percent did. The data represents more than two dozen courses offered through Coursera, a for-profit company that partners with universities and organizations to offer the online courses.
Jeffrey J. Selingo is author of “MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why” (Simon & Schuster), from which this essay is adapted.
Nature is updating its policy to state that papers in Nature journals should make computer code accessible where possible.
Although this policy update does not go as far as requiring all code explicitly, it is a major step forward with the journal now indicating code availability and:
Editors will insist on availability where they consider it appropriate: any practical issues preventing code sharing will be evaluated by the editors, who reserve the right to decline a paper if important code is unavailable.
Nature is not requiring open source though, from the Authors and Referees Guidelines
For all studies using custom code that is deemed central to the conclusions, a statement must be included in the Methods section, under the heading “Code availability”, indicating whether and how the code can be accessed, including any restrictions to access.
Given the complexity and the key role played by analysis software and the various tools used to manipulate the data sets, it's an interesting question as to whether this policy goes far enough, especially given such episodes as those highlighted in this article on the Reinhart-Rogoff blunder.
Forget cyber-espionage, cyber-warfare and cyber-terrorism. The biggest threat to Europe’s infrastructure cybersecurity are power outages and poor communication.
On Thursday, ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) held its biggest ever cybersecurity exercise involving more than 200 organisations and 400 cyber-security professionals from 29 European countries.
The bi-annual event simulates a lifelike attack, modelled on real events, to test the reaction of national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS), government ministries, telco companies, energy companies, financial institutions and internet service providers.
But Steve Purser, Head of Operations at ENISA explained: “The biggest threats we really see are not attacks, but hardware and software failures.”
We know that about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act but until now it has been difficult to say much about who was getting that Obamacare coverage — where they live, their age, their income and other such details. Now Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz report in the NYT that a new data set is providing a clearer picture of which people gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The data is the output of a statistical model based on a large survey of adults and shows that the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades. The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.
Despite many Republican voters’ disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians.
Drones have just found their new best friends: coders. On Oct. 13, the Linux Foundation unveiled a nonprofit organization called the Dronecode Project ( https://www.dronecode.org ), an open-source development initiative uniting thousands of coders for the purpose of building an aerial operating system for drones. Hopeful that the project will bring order to the chaos that has surrounded software developers as they sprint to carve out a share of the bourgeoning market for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAS operators are now asking whether Dronecode will finally provide the horsepower and industry-wide support needed to launch a universal drone operating system.
Brazil was not bluffing last year, when it said that it wanted to disconnect from the United States-controlled internet due to the NSA's obscenely invasive surveillance tactics. The country is about to stretch a cable from the northern city of Fortaleza all the way to Portugal, and they've vowed not to use a single U.S. vendor to do it.
At first glance, Brazil's plan to disconnect from the U.S. internet just seemed silly. The country was not happy when news emerged that the NSA's tentacles stretched all the way down to Brazil. And the country was especially not happy when news emerged that the NSA had been spying on the Brazilian government's email for years. But really, what are you gonna do?
Brazil made a bunch of bold promises, ranging in severity from forcing companies like Facebook and Google to move their servers inside Brazilian borders, to building a new all-Brazilian email system—which they've already done. But the first actionable opportunity the country was presented with is this transatlantic cable, which had been in the works since 2012 but is only just now seeing construction begin. And with news that the cable plan will not include American vendors, it looks like Brazil is serious; it's investing $185 million on the cable project alone. And not a penny of that sum will go to an American company.
[Additional Coverage]: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-30/brazil-to-portugal-cable-shapes-up-as-anti-nsa-case-study.html
By Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, FCC.
The U.S. leads the world in 4G wireless deployment. In fact, while we are home to less than five percent of the globe’s population, we have nearly half of all 4G subscriptions worldwide.
So far, so good. But if we want our wireless future to be bold, we need to do more than rest on our 4G laurels. Because efforts to develop the next generation of wireless technology are already under way. In short, the race to 5G is on.
I can see this clearly from where I sit at the Federal Communications Commission. The world’s wireless economies are busy planning for 5G service, with speeds ranging from one to 10 gigabits per second. South Korea and Japan have plans to deploy 5G services by the time they host the Olympics in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The European Commission has committed to support 5G research with South Korea. In China, three of the nation’s ministries have jointly established a group to promote the development of 5G technologies. There is no need for the U.S. to stay stuck in the starting gate. We can build on our 4G success — if we get going right now.
A major cyber attack will happen between now and 2025 and it will be large enough to cause “significant loss of life or property losses/damage/theft at the levels of tens of billions of dollars,” according to more than 60 percent of technology experts interviewed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
But other experts interviewed for the project “Digital Life in 2015,” ( http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/10/29/cyber-attacks-likely-to-increase/ ) released Wednesday, said the current preoccupation with cyber conflict is product of software merchants looking to hype public anxiety against an eternally unconquerable threat.
It’s the old phantom of the “cyber Pearl Harbor,” a concept commonly credited to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta but that is actually as old as the world wide web. It dates back to security expert Winn Schwartau’s testimony to Congress in 1991 ( http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=pst.000018472172;view=1up;seq=14 ), when he warned of an “electronic Pearl Harbor” and said it was “waiting to occur.” More than two decades later, we’re still waiting. The Pew report offers, if nothing else, an opportunity to look at how the cyber landscape has changed and how it will continue to evolve between now and 2025.