Italy new law passed get divorced in six months

Since the classic 1961 comedy “Divorce Italian Style” in which a Sicilian man played by Marcello Mastroianni desperately seeks a lover for his wife so he can catch them in the act, kill both in an “honor crime”, get a light prison sentence, and marry his younger cousin.  Divorce did not become legal here until nine years after the Oscar-winning film. As a concession to the Church, the 1970 law imposed a mandatory five-year separation period intended to make couples reconsider. In 1987, this was reduced to three years.
Italy has slashed the time it takes to get a divorce to six months from three years in the latest sign of the Catholic Church’s waning influence over life and politics here.

The Slow Death of the University

The Slow Death of the University
By Terry Eagleton
Apr 6 2015
A few years ago, I was being shown around a large, very technologically advanced university in Asia by its proud president. As befitted so eminent a personage, he was flanked by two burly young minders in black suits and shades, who for all I knew were carrying Kalashnikovs under their jackets. Having waxed lyrical about his gleaming new business school and state-of-the-art institute for management studies, the president paused to permit me a few words of fulsome praise. I remarked instead that there seemed to be no critical studies of any kind on his campus. He looked at me bemusedly, as though I had asked him how many Ph.D.’s in pole dancing they awarded each year, and replied rather stiffly “Your comment will be noted.” He then took a small piece of cutting-edge technology out of his pocket, flicked it open and spoke a few curt words of Korean into it, probably “Kill him.” A limousine the length of a cricket pitch then arrived, into which the president was bundled by his minders and swept away. I watched his car disappear from view, wondering when his order for my execution was to be implemented.
This happened in South Korea, but it might have taken place almost anywhere on the planet. From Cape Town to Reykjavik, Sydney to São Paulo, an event as momentous in its own way as the Cuban revolution or the invasion of Iraq is steadily under way: the slow death of the university as a center of humane critique. Universities, which in Britain have an 800-year history, have traditionally been derided as ivory towers, and there was always some truth in the accusation. Yet the distance they established between themselves and society at large could prove enabling as well as disabling, allowing them to reflect on the values, goals, and interests of a social order too frenetically bound up in its own short-term practical pursuits to be capable of much self-criticism. Across the globe, that critical distance is now being diminished almost to nothing, as the institutions that produced Erasmus and John Milton, Einstein and Monty Python, capitulate to the hard-faced priorities of global capitalism.
Much of this will be familiar to an American readership. Stanford and MIT, after all, provided the very models of the entrepreneurial university. What has emerged in Britain, however, is what one might call Americanization without the affluence — the affluence, at least, of the American private educational sector.
This is even becoming true at those traditional finishing schools for the English gentry, Oxford and Cambridge, whose colleges have always been insulated to some extent against broader economic forces by centuries of lavish endowments. Some years ago, I resigned from a chair at the University of Oxford (an event almost as rare as an earthquake in Edinburgh) when I became aware that I was expected in some respects to behave less as a scholar than a CEO.
When I first came to Oxford 30 years earlier, any such professionalism would have been greeted with patrician disdain. Those of my colleagues who had actually bothered to finish their Ph.D.’s would sometimes use the title of “Mr.” rather than “Dr.,” since “Dr.” suggested a degree of ungentlemanly labor. Publishing books was regarded as a rather vulgar project. A brief article every 10 years or so on the syntax of Portuguese or the dietary habits of ancient Carthage was considered just about permissible. There had been a time earlier when college tutors might not even have bothered to arrange set tutorial times for their undergraduates. Instead, the undergraduate would simply drop round to their rooms when the spirit moved him for a glass of sherry and a civilized chat about Jane Austen or the function of the pancreas.
Today, Oxbridge retains much of its collegial ethos. It is the dons who decide how to invest the college’s money, what flowers to plant in their gardens, whose portraits to hang in the senior common room, and how best to explain to their students why they spend more on the wine cellar than on the college library. All important decisions are made by the fellows of the college in full session, and everything from financial and academic affairs to routine administration is conducted by elected committees of academics responsible to the body of fellows as a whole. In recent years, this admirable system of self-government has had to confront a number of centralizing challenges from the university, of the kind that led to my own exit from the place; but by and large it has stood firm. Precisely because Oxbridge colleges are for the most part premodern institutions, they have a smallness of scale about them that can serve as a model of decentralized democracy, and this despite the odious privileges they continue to enjoy.

Good Riddance to the University

Cost Of College Degree In U.S. Has Increased 1,120 Percent In 30 Years, Report Says
The cost of a college degree in the United States has increased “12 fold” over the past 30 years, far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food.
According to Bloomberg, college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978.
Using this chart to explain its findings, Bloomberg reports that the rate of increase in college costs has been “four times faster than the increase in the consumer price index.” It also notes that “medical expenses have climbed 601 percent, while the price of food has increased 244 percent over the same period.”
WHY has the tuition gone up?

8 Atlanta educators in test-cheating scandal go to jail

2015 Eight former Atlanta public school educators were ordered on Tuesday to serve between one and seven years in prison for their convictions on racketeering charges in one of the nation’s largest test-cheating scandals.
2011 Marred by Test Cheating Scandals Across US
From Atlanta to Philadelphia and Washington to Los Angeles, officials have accused hundreds of educators of changing answers on tests or giving answers to students. Just last week, Georgia investigators revealed that dozens of educators in Dougherty County either cheated or failed to prevent cheating on 2009 standardized tests.  In July, those same investigators accused nearly 180 educators in almost half of Atlanta’s 100 schools of cheating dating back to 2001 – which experts have called the largest cheating scandal in U.S. history.
2011 What Do We Do With Teachers and Administrators who CHEAT? The cheaters in Atlanta, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, Baltimore and elsewhere took advantage of the neediest and most vulnerable children and changed their scores so it would appear they had mastered material, when they in fact had not.
If the test makers create tests that are too easy they lose money. Failure drivers their business.   Tags: #test #SAT #flunk, #drop out, #retention, #social promotion, #graduation rate, #exit exam, #left behind, #Light’s retention scale
The Opt Out movement

[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters

Student Debt / Strike Debt

Student Debt
The Lost Purpose of School Reform Diane Ravitch
“NCLB decisively changed the purpose of the law. What had once been a means of sending additional resources to schools enrolling poor students was turned into a testing mandate. By law, all students, regardless of disability or language proficiency, must be “proficient” on state tests by 2014. Congress and the Bush administration believed that their mandate could produce universal success in school, akin to passing a law proclaiming that all crime should cease by a date certain. Note to Congress: if wishes (or congressional mandates) were horses, then beggars would ride.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.”
richard branson: “It is possible that school is not necessary. I left school at 15.”
State AGs Urge Federal Forgiveness Of Student Loans Tied To Dodgy For-Profit Chain
Apollo Affiliate to Invest $1 Billion in Online Student Lender
Debt Collectors Lose Lawsuits Against Education Department
It beat its aggrieved debt collectors in court
US ED fines Corinthian $30 million for misrepresentation of job placement rates — will halt fed $ at Calif. Heald campuses
Federal judge tosses debt collectors’ lawsuits against  fined Heald College
@StrikeDebt “@usedgov is saying 4profits can steal billions so long they get cut in on the action too”
@StrikeDebt “Wells Fargo made billions off of 4profit Corinthian with help from the @usedgov which get’s it’s cut on the backend .”

[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters

Teen Changes Wallpaper On Teacher’s Computer; Gets Charged With A Felony
“Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done,” — Sheriff Nocco
Yep, unauthorized access, CFAA violation, that’s a felony.

Calling Security experts / technologists opposing purported info sharing bills that actually waive privacy laws and enable more surveillance.

As you may know, there are three cybersecurity information sharing bills pending before Congress right now. These bills would weaken privacy laws and enable surveillance at a time when we need stronger privacy protections. These are surveillance bills, not security bills.
Every one of the bills is an end run around privacy laws in the name of improving security information sharing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bills define “cyber threat indicators” in a confusing manner that could include server logs, the contents of emails, damage estimates, and more. This kind of private data is not what is generally needed to secure systems. Nevertheless, the bills say that private entities will be immune from liability for sharing this information  with DHS (and other parts of government) “notwithstanding” any privacy laws.
Surveillance reform advocates are trying to stop these bills. There is a lot of support in Congress and from the White House. So, to succeed, we need your help and we need it now. We expect the bills to come to a vote mid-April.
As a security expert, would you be willing to sign a letter helping to educate Congress about what kind of information experts actually share to further cybersecurity and secure systems from future attack? By helping Congress understand what information is useful in security, we can stop a bill that would needlessly waive privacy.
Please let me know if you can sign on by no later than 8pm ET Sunday, April 12. Email to jennifer at your name, title and affiliation. We plan to use your titles and affiliations for information purposes only, not to indicate that your employer is also signing the letter. For example, my signature would be Jennifer Stisa Granick, Director of Civil Liberties, Stanford Center for Internet and Society* and the asterick text would say “*Titles and affiliations are for information purposes only.” If you want to sign but don’t want to include your title or affiliation, or don’t have one, please indicate so, and we will respect your wishes.
My plan is to circulate the letter to the sponsors of the bills and to the rest of Congress on Monday, April 13.
Please feel free to email me or set up a call with me if you have any questions about the bills or the letter.
Once again, I can be reached at jennifer at
Finally, please do forward this request to anyone you think might be knowledgeable about security information sharing, and interested in sighing the letter.
For more information on these laws, you can read here:
Jennifer Granick—The Right Way to Share Information and Improve Cybersecurity:
CDT—Analysis of Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014:
Thank you for your time, attention, and assistance in this important matter.
Jennifer Granick

How the US Became an Oligarchy

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.  “Making the world safe for democracy” was President Woodrow Wilson’s rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?  The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that “all men are created equal” – that all people have “certain inalienable rights,” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters’ collective will no longer prevails.
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page
Abstract Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page (2014).
Perspectives on Politics, Volume 12, Issue03, September 2014, pp 564-581

Espionage: FBI would rather prosecutors drop cases than disclose stingray details

Not only is the FBI actively attempting to stop the public from knowing about stingrays, it has also forced local law enforcement agencies to stay quiet even in court and during public hearings, too.

FBI would rather prosecutors drop cases than disclose stingray details
New documents released by NYCLU shed light on Erie County’s use of spying tool.
By Cyrus Farivar
Apr 7 2015
Not only is the FBI actively attempting to stop the public from knowing about stingrays, it has also forced local law enforcement agencies to stay quiet even in court and during public hearings, too.
An FBI agreement, published for the first time in unredacted form on Tuesday, clearly demonstrates the full extent of the agency’s attempt to quash public disclosure of information about stingrays. The most egregious example of this is language showing that the FBI would rather have a criminal case be dropped to protect secrecy surrounding the stingray.
Relatively little is known about how, exactly, stingrays, known more generically as cell-site simulators, are used by law enforcement agencies nationwide, although new documents have recently been released showing how they have been purchased and used in some limited instances. Worse still, cops have lied to courts about their use. Not only can stingrays be used to determine location by spoofing a cell tower, they can also be used to intercept calls and text messages. Typically, police deploy them without first obtaining a search warrant.
Ars previously published a redacted version of this document in February 2015, which had been acquired by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in December 2014. The fact that these two near-identical documents exist from the same year (2012) provides even more evidence that this language is boilerplate and likely exists in other agreements with other law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The new document, which was released Tuesday by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in response to its March 2015 victory in a lawsuitfiled against the Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) in Northwestern New York, includes this paragraph:
In order to ensure that such wireless collection equipment/technology continues to be available for use by the law enforcement community, the equipment/technology and any information related to its functions, operation and use shall be protected from potential compromise by precluding disclosure of this information to the public in any manner including but not limited to: press releases, in court documents, during judicial hearings, or during other public forums or proceedings.
In the version of the document previously obtained in Minnesota, the rest of the sentence after the phrase “limited to” was entirely redacted.
Mariko Hirose, a NYCLU staff attorney, told Ars that she has never seen an agreement like this before.
“This seems very broad in scope and undermines public safety and the workings of the criminal justice system,” she said.
Your tax dollars at work
The FBI letter also explicitly confirms a practice that some local prosecutors have engaged in previously, which is to drop criminal charges rather than disclose exactly how a stingray is being used. Last year, prosecutors in Baltimore did just that during a robbery trial—there, Baltimore Police Detective John L. Haley cited a non-disclosure agreement, and he declined to describe in detail how he obtained the location of the suspect.
The newly revealed sections state:

[ECP] Educational CyberPlayground NetHappenings 4-7-15

[ECP] Educational CyberPlayground NetHappenings 4-7-15

Do CS grads need calculus?
There is a difference between the professional and vocational computer science degrees, and the degrees should be distinguished in name. One of the worse things that can happen (and students are good at this) is someone with a vocational knowledge of CS then thinks they *know* CS. Students and many professionals are notorious for not knowing what they don’t know, and then getting themselves into positions where they are making decisions that they are completely unqualified to make.
The difference is between being a coder/programmer and a computer scientist, similar to the difference between  a master carpenter and a building engineer. Both sometimes do some things that appear similar, but the depth, judgment, and scope are quite different. We need both, and should value both, but they are hardly interchangeable. That is why the ACM/IEEE have recommended curricula, and the ABET/CSAB has accreditation criteria.
> Some thoughts on “cybersecurity” professionalization and education
#Internet running slow? Network issues?
S&T-funded Netalyzr tests Internet connections for signs of trouble  #SID2015
Do mobile operators leak private data? study: 450 operators, 128 countries by @narseo @ICSIatBerkeley

Ransomeware: Tewksbury police pay bitcoin ransom to hackers – Business – The Boston Globe
Tewksbury had joined the list of police departments victimized by “ransomware,” an insidious form of Internet crime that is crippling computers worldwide.
Adobe released its latest version of Acrobat called Acrobat DC for “document cloud”
UN: Major Step on Internet Privacy Human Rights Council to Name Expert on the Issue
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Policy  “SOP 303” – to shut down cell phone service in the United States.
Court mulls revealing secret government plan to cut cell phone service
Feds: SOP 303 mobile-phone kill-switch policy would endanger public if disclosed.  by David Kravets
A federal appeals court is asking the Obama administration to explain why the government should be allowed to keep secret its plan to shutter mobile phone service during “critical emergencies.”
DC Circuit Backs Agency Secrecy on “Internet Kill Switch”
Verizon’s customer codes, called unique ID headers, have troubled some data security and privacy experts who say Verizon has introduced a persistent, hidden tracking mechanism into apps and browsers that third parties could easily exploit.
You Can Now Finally, Really Truly, Opt Out Of Verizon Wireless Tracking Supercookies
Verizon customers can also call 1-866-211-0874 to opt out of the RMA program.
Do you know who Snowden is? Snowden warns US still intercepts intimate emails.
“John Oliver Tonight” interviews Snowden in Russia.
He expressed sympathy with Snowden’s efforts to trigger a public debate about the balance to be struck in a free society between the security provided by blanket surveillance and the public’s right to privacy.  And he suggested a crude but perhaps effective way to focus public attention on the issue.  “This is the most visible line in the sand for people: ‘Can they see my dick?'” Oliver said, suggesting that the NSA’s Internet surveillance could intercept emailed photographs of a private or sexual nature.
Horace Edwards (finally) withdraws Snowden lawsuit
Moronic frivilous lawsuit, counter-suit, and re-suit, and his ongoing, baseless whinging was dropped.
Horace Edwards Dismisses Snowden et al Complaint
The Man Who Did Not Wash for Seven Years and other free streams.
Folkstreams director Tom Davenport has put his old fairy/folk tale films online for free streaming.
The series includes a language arts teacher guide to encourage the use and understanding of folktales. Also included is a video series about “Making Grimm Movies”  showing how to make low budget films in your neighborhood. Popular in schools and public libraries, these films have become children’s “classics”.  Davenport set the old stories in locations near his home in Delaplane, Virginia and drew from local American Folk traditions to make these adaptations “American”.  A good short film to start with is “Bearskin or The Man Who Didn’t Wash for Seven Years”