Learn more. Owe less.

7196945640 0faab67519 450x337 Learn more. Owe less.

So, uh… educate yourself. And don’t go into debt. (img by hardtopeel)

College is seeming more and more like a racket, and people are finding out too late to do much more than letter up some cardboard signs, march around the neighborhood beating on cookware, or post on tumblr about how the system did them wrong.

On the one hand, I don’t blame them. They didn’t know what they were getting into when they borrowed a couple of hundred thousand dollars to get a degree. They believed viewbooks and college marketing, which said that people with degrees are guaranteed to make good money fresh out of school.

Circumstances have changed. College education costs have more than doubled in the last 15 years, and people with degrees are worth less than ever due to the collapsed job market and to degree inflation.

What can you do about it? (more…)

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Weather Channel/NBC/Romney’s Bain Capital Sued For Military Discrimination

Nicole Mitchell FB 450x503 Weather Channel/NBC/Romneys Bain Capital Sued For Military Discrimination

Interdisciplinary atmospheric research has no masters. (img by FB/the Blaze)

@Daily Kos:

Former on-camera meteorologist and Air Force Reserves Captain Nicole Mitchell has filed a lawsuit against The Weather Channel — owned by NBC, GE, and Bain Capital — for military discrimination. Captain Mitchell is a member of the Air Force’s famous Hurricane Hunters division (the professionals who fly aircraft into hurricanes to gather data on it). According to a press release posted to Nicole Mitchell’s public Facebook fan page, the grounds for the lawsuit is The Weather Channel’s violation of The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”) which prohibits discrimination and retaliation against service members due to their military obligations.

Nicole Mitchell was a stellar meteorologist and television personality with The Weather Channel (TWC) for many years, and her lawyer claims that she was fired because her military obligations were inconvenient to TWC’s schedule and bottom line. As the following 30 minute press conference shows, TWC became openly hostile towards Captain Mitchell and the scheduling of her military assignments. They first began making Mitchell’s schedule difficult because of her military obligations (provided to The Weather Channel 9 months in advance). The company soon took Mitchell off of the channel’s top rated morning show “Your Weather Today” and stuck her with an overnight shift that made it impossible for Mitchell to make it to Mississippi in time for her military assignments, forcing her to take personal leave in order to make the long drive from Atlanta to Gulfport MS. Executives at TWC got so frustrated with her military duties interfering with the company’s schedule that they decided not to renew Captain Mitchell’s contract, effectively firing her. (more…)

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Monsanto maize banned in France

monsanto corn afp 543 450x336 Monsanto maize banned in France

Anti-GMO activists rip open bags containing 'MON 810', a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto company after entering a Monsanto storehouse on January 23, 2012 in Trebes near Carcassonne, southern France. (img by AFP)


A genetically modified strain of maize created by the notorious American company Monsanto has been temporarily banned in France “to protect the environment.” This comes at a time of protests against the biotech giant in its homeland.

France’s Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire Friday imposed the temporary ban on maize strain MON 810, in what his ministry is calling “a precautionary measure.” However, Monsanto itself said in January that it would not sell genetically modified maize in France, as it considered the market “not ready.” (more…)

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Kodak’s Nuclear Secret

Small Nuclear Reactor 450x301 Kodaks Nuclear Secret

"You press the button. We do the rest." (img by CNN)

Starting decades ago, Kodak had an interest in neutrons, subatomic particles that can be used to determine the makeup of a given material or to create an image of it without damaging it.  In 1974 it acquired a californium neutron flux multiplier, known as a CFX. Small plates of highly enriched uranium multiplied the neutron flow from a tiny californium core.

The device was not much larger than a refrigerator and, in the one available photo, looked vaguely like Robby the Robot from a 1950s science fiction movie. To house it, Kodak dug a cavity below the basement level of Building 82, part of the company’s research complex along Lake Avenue.

The 14- by 24-foot cavity was reached via a corridor with several right-angle turns and a spiral staircase leading to Building 82’s basement, according to a description of the area included in a decommissioning plan Kodak prepared for regulators. The plan and other documents were made public on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website after the uranium was removed.

Nuclear imaging is interesting stuff for sure, and certainly Kodak isn’t the only company invested in subatomic imagery. What I came away from this was not wondering how secure Kodak’s nuclear facilities were, or how they were quietly dismantled.

Nor was I wondering how hard would it be to come across the relevant materials to make a generator or a bomb; the IAEA keeps tabs on this stuff closely, as does the entire global intelligence community (at least, the heavy metal fuels; heavy water, tritium, and deuterium are theoretically something that can be manufactured, if you know how). Although frankly, some people who wanted to make private nuclear reactors have succeeded.   (more…)

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How to prep your home in case of burglars

And some headlines:

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Twitter to court: “Let me google that for you”

5363322570 bc9c6506a5 450x299 Twitter to court: Let me google that for you

That's Twitter on the right. (img by Zuhair Ahmad)


In the battle to fight online fishing expeditions by law enforcement officials there is little we can do individually to protect ourselves — which makes it all the more important for internet companies like Twitter and Google to fight back on our behalf.

That’s exactly what Twitter did when it filed a surprisingly feisty motion (.pdf) this week in New York City Criminal Court to quash a court order demanding that it hand over information to law enforcement about one of its account holders — an activist who participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests — as well as tweets that he allegedly posted to the account over a three-month period. The company stepped in with the motion after the account holder lost his own bid to quash the order.

In its motion to quash, Twitter pointed out to the judge that the order would essentially force the company to break the law by handing over data without a warrant. Twitter also took issue with the judge’s ruling that the account holder had no right to fight the order on his own behalf.

The company further dinged prosecutors by pointing out that they could have saved everyone the trouble of dealing with this in court if they had simply printed or downloaded the publicly available tweets themselves.

Score one for Twitter. But this story’s still got me wondering…. Can you use a service like Twitter and cover your tracks? And can you do it reasonably (i.e. without hijacking someone else’s phone or account or whatever)? I’m going to have to do some googling of my own.

UPDATE: A good video summary of the case:

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