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Deals of the Day (10-20-2014)

Liliputing -

Amazon’s new Kindle Voyage eReader is now shipping. Priced at $199, it’s one of the most expensive mainstream eReaders on the market… although early reviews suggest it’s also one of the best, thanks to a high-resolution display, pressure-sensitive page-turn buttons, and a front-lit display that sits flush with the bezel, among other things. But if […]

Deals of the Day (10-20-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Slashdot -

Any gathering of 65,000 people in the dessert is going to require some major infrastructure to maintain health and sanity. At Burning Man, some of that infrastructure is devoted to a supply chain for ice. Writes Bennett Haselton, The lines for ice bags at Burning Man could be cut from an hour long at peak times, to about five minutes, by making one small... Well, read the description below of how they do things now, and see if the same suggested change occurs to you. I'm curious whether it's the kind of idea that is more obvious to students of computer science who think algorithmically, or if it's something that could occur to anyone. Read on for the rest; Bennett's idea for better triage may bring to mind a lot of other queuing situations and ways that time spent waiting in line could be more efficiently employed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Anti-corporatist protesters seize town hall, citing Magna Carta

Boing Boing -

Joly sez, "On October 10 2014 UK activists, concerned about EU-US TTIP and EU-Canada CETA agreements that could make it possible for corporations to sue governments for banning fracking, invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta to temporarily seize control of Glastonbury Town Hall. They claim that the 1215 Magna Carta's Article 61 - the Lawful Rebellion clause, which some say was later was later revoked in 1297, was validated by 25 Barons in 2001. A full video, including negotiations with the police, is posted on Youtube."

Family of only Ebola victim in US freed from quarantine

RT -

"We are so happy this is coming to an end, and we are so grateful that none of us has shown any sign of illness," Troh said in a statement, according to Reuters. "We continue to mourn his loss and grieve the circumstances that led to his death, just at the time we thought we were facing a happy future together.”

By court order, Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend were taken to an undisclosed location with an armed guard inside a gated community, AP reported, following Duncan’s Ebola diagnosis in late September.

The group was among dozens of others whom health officials believed had close enough contact with Duncan following his trip from Liberia to require the three-week quarantine. Twenty-one days is the incubation period for the Ebola virus, the latest outbreak of which began in West Africa earlier this year and has killed more than 4,500 people in the region ever since.

According to AP, officials said Monday that 43 of 48 on their original Ebola watch list have gone through the 21-day period and are now in the clear. Others who cared for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will stay under watch until Nov. 7. Two nurses -Nina Pham and Amber Vinson - who cared for Duncan there have since been diagnosed with Ebola and are being treated in isolation units.

Duncan took himself to the hospital on Sept. 26, claiming he had a headache and stomach pains. He was sent away with medication for a misdiagnosed sinus infection. Two days later, he was back at Texas Presbyterian with harsher symptoms, including projectile vomiting and diarrhea. He tested positive for Ebola shortly after.

The at times haphazard reaction to Duncan’s symptoms and diagnosis at Texas Presbyterian and, more broadly, from city and state officials has been criticized by some who say proper precautions were not takento avoid spread of the virus.Last week, the nation’s largest nurses’ union alleged erratic protocols at the hospital for handling Ebola.

A lab supervisor who had handled a specimen from Duncan was cleared for Ebola by US health officials on Sunday, but not before causing panic aboard a cruise ship. Out of precaution, the worker reportedly isolated herself on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship with about 4,000 passengers on a seven-day voyage that ended on Sunday in Galveston, Texas. Fears of a possible Ebola carrier barred the boat from docking for a scheduled stop in Cozumel, Mexico, according to AP.

Initial response criticized

Meanwhile, late last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that its initial response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa wasslow and disorganized.

According to AP, the WHO in a draft memo blamed its own experts for not taking disease control serious enough given the region’s dilapidated health systems and slack border control.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” read the document, which goes on to describe a WHO in disarray.

Dr. Peter Piot, who co-discovered the deadly virus, said that the WHO has acted far too slowly, mainly because of its Africa office.

"It’s the regional office in Africa that’s the frontline. And they didn’t do anything. That office is really incompetent,” he said.

Amid an intense spotlight during Duncan's diagnosis and treatment, some in his family have said he was a "victim of a broken system," as his nephew wrote in the Dallas Morning News last week.

"From his botched release from the emergency room to his delayed testing and delayed treatment and the denial of experimental drugs that have been available to every other case of Ebola treated in the U.S., the hospital invited death every step of the way," Josephus Weeks wrote in an op-ed.

Prior to the op-ed, Weeks released a statement shortly after Duncan's death that said his uncle "was treated unfairly" and "wasn't given a chance."

‘I want to breathe’

Troh and her family left isolation at midnight local time Sunday, the statement said.

"I want to breathe, I want to really grieve, I want privacy with my family," Troh told the AP on Friday.

The quarantine meant Troh and other family members were unable to attend Duncan’s memorial service at his mother's church in North Carolina. Troh was set to marry Duncan later in the week after he had arrived in Dallas from his native Liberia.

The family of Youngor Jallah - Troh’s daughter who cared for Duncan just before he went to the hospital for the second time - was not barred from leaving their own Dallas home, though they were subject to twice-daily temperature checks administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I'm telling you, just to step outside will be so great. To hug my mom and grieve for Eric, not over the phone like we've been doing but in the flesh," Jallah told AP.

Troh thanked "angels from God,” the teams of health care workers and city officials who assisted them this month. She also expressed sympathy for the nurses who tested positive for Ebola.

"We thank all people of kindness who have prayed for us during this time, and we join your prayers now for others who are suffering too," she said. "We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope."

Troh’s pastor, George Mason, said he is coordinating with the city, county, and philanthropic outlets to help rebuild the family’s life given they had to suddenly part with nearly all of their possessions upon Duncan’s diagnosis and their own quarantine.

"They were left with nothing. They are completely devastated by this, so there's need to have their lives rebuilt," Mason told AP.

Troh told AP she would like to write a book about her life, a “love story” about growing up in Liberia, how she met Duncan at a refugee camp in Ivory Coast, his quest to be reunited with her and their 19-year-old son in the US, and his tragic - and very public - death.

Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Slashdot -

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Software development and IT remain common jobs among those in the higher brackets, although not the topmost one, according to a new study (with graph) commissioned by NPR. Among those earning between $58,000 and $72,000, IT was the sixth-most-popular job, while software developers came in tenth place. In the next bracket up (earning between $72,000 and $103,000), IT rose to third, with software development just behind in fourth place. As incomes increased another level ($103,000 to $207,000), software developers did even better, coming in second behind managers, although IT dropped off the list entirely. In the top percentile ($207,000 and above), neither software developers nor IT staff managed to place; this is a segment chiefly occupied by physicians (in first place), managers, chief executives, lawyers, and salespeople who are really good at their jobs. In other words, it seems like a good time to be in IT, provided you have a particular skillset. If those high salaries are in Silicon Valley or New York, though, they might not seem as high as half the same rate would in Omaha, or Houston, or Raleigh.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Celebrating Open Access Week: Research Should Be Free, Available, and Open

EFF's Deeplinks -

Welcome to the eighth annual Open Access Week! We're joining an international community—researchers and students, doctors and patients, librarians and activists—to celebrate free and open access to knowledge. This is also a time to discuss the barriers and costs of keeping research and information locked up with restrictive licenses and publisher paywalls.

This week, we'll be blogging daily about various aspects of open access, as well as ways to get involved in the movement. Visit this page throughout the week to find a list of all our blog posts. If you have further questions, be sure to tune in on Thursday at 10 a.m. PT for a reddit AmA, where we’ll be joined by fellow advocates and researchers.

Open Access, Today

"Open access" refers to the practice of making scholarly research available online for free upon publication (or soon after). Implemented by academics, institutions, journals, and major funding bodies, open access policies allow everyone across the globe to benefit from the latest findings and discoveries—whether it’s assessing Ebola risk in West Africa or the studying the effect of cute kitten pictures on people’s attention spans.

Open access policies should aim to remove barriers to research, whether they are steep paywalls or strict copyright provisions. Tools like open licenses not only facilitate downstream re-use of research, but also help maximize both impact and citations.

While Internet adoption continues to rise, so do the prices of scholarly journals. Trapping knowledge behind prohibitively expensive paywalls is a disservice to researchers and problem solvers across the world. Those at the forefront of our collective intellectual progress are increasingly embracing the open access model for research worldwide. With Open Access Week, we have a chance to use this global momentum to advance constructive policy changes.

This year, we have seen a number of encouraging steps in the realm of open access. California passed AB 609, the first state-level open access bill ever. While the legislation ended up not being as strong as it once was, it was a critical step in the direction of openness and transparency. On the federal level, the US Department of Energy was the first to reveal their mandated public access policy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as robust as we would have hoped. The open access movement is pushing in the right direction, but much work still remains.

This year's Open Access Week theme is Generation Open. We'll be focusing on the importance of students and early career researchers embracing open access, and exploring how changes in scholarly publishing affect academics and researchers at different stages of their careers.

What You Can Do

There are all kinds of ways to get involved. We invite you and your community to join us for this exciting week of action. Here’s how:

  • Share on social media: simply spreading the word is important ... and easy! Post your thoughts about open access and share articles and media that EFF will be posting throughout the week using the hashtag #OAWeek2014. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  • Host a screening and discussion about the film The Internet’s Own Boy, a powerful documentary that tells the story of activist and innovator Aaron Swartz, who also was a passionate and outspoken advocate for open access. Here is our guide to help you organize a screening of this important film. Be in touch if you decide to organize a viewing.

  • Print and share handy guides to help people in your community get up to speed on why we demand open access to research. There’s one on Diego Gomez's case and one on the open access movement more broadly.

  • Send us your photos of events you’ve organized! We’re doing to do a re-cap of all the exciting things people around the world have done to celebrate Open Access Week.

  • If you’re a scientist or researcher, make your own work open access!

We believe the Internet should be a place where we can share ideas and get educated, unimpeded by unfair paywalls. We are thrilled to join forces with dozens of organizations across the world for this year’s Open Access Week to spread the message loud and clear: research should be free, available, and open for everyone’s benefit.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceOpen Access
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