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Japanese Rocket Launches Its First Commercial Satellite ( 27

schwit1 writes: Using its H-IIA rocket, upgraded to lower cost, Japan launched its first commercial payload today, putting Canada's Telestar 12V into geosynchronous orbit. UPI reports: "Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency said the H-IIA rocket was upgraded for the launch, permitting the satellite to stay closer to its geostationary orbit. Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he hoped the launch would exhibit the quality of Japan's rocket engineering, and that the successful launch would result in more orders from other global corporations. Following the launch, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries vice president Naohiko Abe said the firm plans to actively promote the H-IIA for satellite launches."

Value of University Degree Continues To Decline ( 393

BarbaraHudson writes: Following up from an earlier report from Statistics Canada (pdf), the Parliamentary Budget Officer warns that an increasing number of university graduates are overqualified for their jobs. The CBC reports: "Last year, 40 per cent of university graduates aged 25-34 were overqualified for their job. Five years ago, that percentage was only 36 per cent. In 1991, it hit a low of 32 per cent, or less than one out of every three university graduates. The problem is bigger than that, because those young workers spent money, time, and resources to get those qualifications.

Quebec Introduces Bill To Mandate ISP Website Blocking ( 137

An anonymous reader writes: The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government's spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that "an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law." The government's lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites.

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline ( 369

An anonymous reader writes: The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is finally coming to a close. On Friday, President Obama denied a construction permit for the pipeline, ending a seven-year political fight. Obama said, "America's now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face — not acting." Secretary of State John Kerry added, "The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers — jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves." The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil. "U.S. imports of oil from Canada hit a record high of 3.4 million barrels a day in August, up from just under 2 million barrels a day in 2008, the year the pipeline was proposed."

Muzzled Canadian Scientists Can Now Speak Freely With Public ( 197

Layzej writes: Over the last 10 years, policies were put in place to prevent Canadian scientists from freely discussing taxpayer-funded science with the public. "media relations contacts" were enlisted to monitor and record interactions with the press. Interviews and often the questions to be asked were vetted ahead of time, and responses given by scientists frequently monitored or prohibited. Nature, one of the world's top science journals, called the policy a "Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge."

The new government in Canada is lifting these restrictions. Scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were told Thursday they can now speak to the media. In a statement on Friday afternoon, Navdeep Bains, Canada's new minister of innovation, science and economic development said "Our government values science and will treat scientists with respect. This is why government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public."


Controversial Company Offers a New Way To Make a Baby ( 80

sciencehabit writes: A controversial fertility company called OvaScience is preoccupied by an enduring mystery in human biology--why eggs fail--and the palpable hope that we can do something about it. The company offers a new treatment, called AUGMENT, based on what it considers to be egg precursor cells found in a woman's ovaries. AUGMENT, which costs UP TO $25,000, along with thousands more in clinic fees and roughly $25,000 for the IVF cycle that must accompany it, relies on mitochondria from putative egg precursor cells to boost the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Seventeen babies have been born so far. The company, which has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from investors, is poised to introduce a second treatment. But many scientists doubt that egg precursor cells actually exist.

Canada Reinstates Mandatory Census, To Delight of Social Scientists ( 284

Eloking writes with news that the government of Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be reinstating the mandatory long-form census that the outgoing government had ended. Science reports: "The new Canadian government today announced it would restore the country's mandatory long-form census. 'Our plan for open and fair government starts today with restoring the long-form census,' said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, speaking in Ottawa alongside Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development. 'We're focused on good evidence-based policies.' Bains said that Statistics Canada would be able to meet the 2 May deadline to roll out the 2016 census, which is conducted every 5 years, and that there would be no additional costs to making it mandatory. He confirmed that residents who fail to fill out the census could face criminal prosecution, an issue that contributed to the decision by the Harper government to make the 2011 census voluntary."

EPA Finds More VW Cheating Software, Including In a Porsche ( 142

schwit1 writes with this news from the Times that Volkswagen's emissions scandal just expanded to include more expensive vehicles with larger diesel engines, including Porsche, and Audi sport-utility vehicles. According to the article: "The Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that it had discovered emissions-cheating software on more Volkswagen and Audi cars than previously disclosed and, for the first time, also found the illegal software in one of the carmaker's high-end Porsche models. The German carmaker disputed the claims, however, saying it had not installed defeat software on the models in question that would 'alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.' The company pledged in a short statement that it would cooperate with the E.P.A. 'to clarify the matter in its entirety.' The latest findings by environmental regulators put significant new pressure on Volkswagen and its new chief executive, Matthias Müller, who was previously the head of Volkswagen's Porsche division. E.P.A. officials indicated the latest violations were found during testing performed by federal regulators and their counterparts in California and Canada. The implication is that Volkswagen did not provide the information."

Bumblebees Used For Targeted Pesticide Deliveries ( 23

Zothecula writes: Chemical pesticides are generally a bad thing for the environment and pollinators like bees that our agriculture relies on. Now a company out of Vancouver, Canada, called Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has brought the two together in a system that uses bees to deliver tiny amounts of natural pesticides and beneficial fungi while pollinating crops.

FDA Approves Drug That Uses Herpes Virus To Fight Cancer ( 76

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind drug that uses the herpes virus to infiltrate and destroy melanoma. Nature reports: "With dozens of ongoing clinical trials of similar 'oncolytic' viruses, researchers hope that the approval will generate the enthusiasm and cash needed to spur further development of the approach. 'The era of the oncolytic virus is probably here,' says Stephen Russell, a cancer researcher and haematologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 'I expect to see a great deal happening over the next few years.' Many viruses preferentially infect cancer cells. Malignancy can suppress normal antiviral responses, and sometimes the mutations that drive tumour growth also make cells more susceptible to infection. Viral infection can thus ravage a tumour while leaving abutting healthy cells untouched, says Brad Thompson, president of the pharmaceutical-development firm Oncolytics Biotech in Calgary, Canada."

Reactions Split On What Canada's Liberal Majority Means For Tech Policy Future ( 220

Dangerous_Minds writes: Few could have predicted the Liberal majority win in Canada's recent election. Now that the Canadian government is in a state of transition, some have speculated what the new government will bring to the table when it comes to a policy on technology. Michael Geist is speculating that the people in the new Liberal government may bring about a positive policy change, concluding "All of this points to real change and the chance for a fresh start on Canadian digital policy in the years ahead." Meanwhile, Freezenet has a very different take. Drew Wilson points out that the last time the Liberal government was in power, the party was very combative on digital rights because they were trying to bring in Lawful Access and the Canadian DMCA before Stephen Harper took power. In one very infamous exchange, Sam Bulte lashed out at people like Michael Geist by calling him and his supporters "pro-user zealots". With digital rights not even on the radar during the election outside of Bill C-51 towards the beginning and the Liberals long history on these files, Wilson paints a very bleak future given that the Liberal party now has a majority government and can push through policies unopposed whether controversial or not.

Neutrino 'Flip' Discovery Earns Nobel For Japanese, Canadian Researchers 58

Dave Knott writes with news that the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Takaaki Kajita (of the University of Tokyo in Japan) and Arthur McDonald (of Queens University in Canada), for discovering how neutrinos switch between different "flavours." As the linked BBC article explains: In 1998, Prof Kajita's team reported that neutrinos they had caught, bouncing out of collisions in the Earth's atmosphere, had switched identity: they were a different "flavour" from what those collisions must have released. Then in 2001, the group led by Prof McDonald announced that the neutrinos they were detecting in Ontario, which started out in the Sun, had also "flipped" from their expected identity. This discovery of the particle's wobbly identity had crucial implications. It explained why neutrino detections had not matched the predicted quantities — and it meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. This contradicted the Standard Model of particle physics and changed calculations about the nature of the Universe, including its eternal expansion.

ISRO Launches Astrosat, India's First Dedicated Space Observatory 40

vasanth writes with a link to the Hindu, which reports: A few days after it celebrated the successful completion of a year around the Red planet by its first inter-planetary mission — the Mars Orbiter, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday launched its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States. Though the national space agency has launched satellites for Indonesia and Canada earlier, this is the first time ISRO is launching satellites for the United States. ASTROSAT's sensors will provide coverage in optical, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray ranges, rather than the concentrating on a narrower range. Major institutions all over India will take part in the new craft's observations.

RIP: Tech Advocate and Obama Advisor Jake Brewer 142

SpaceGhost writes: The BBC reports that Jake Brewer, a 34-year-old senior policy advisor in the White House Chief Technology Office, has died while participating in a charity bike race on Saturday. Some of his work included global policy and external affairs at, the White Houses TechHire initiative, and the administration's efforts to expand broadband connectivity. Brewer's death has triggered emotional tributes from many in the worlds of politics and technology. Brewer was well known for his work on, and in his role at the White House as an advocate for education, access to technology, and intelligent use of data to make government more effective.

Delete, Dump and Destroy: Canada's Government Data Severely Compromised 85

sandbagger writes: Stories about government data and historical records being deleted, burned — even tossed into Dumpsters — have become so common in recent years that many Canadians may feel inured to them. But such accounts are only the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. A months-long Maclean's investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government's 'austerity' program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012) — as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data — has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.

AeroVelo Breaks Human-powered Land Speed Record 21

yyzmcleod sends news that AeroVelo, a Canadian team of engineers and students, has built a bike that successfully broke the human-powered land speed record. (This is the same group that built a human-powered helicopter in 2013.) The team's Eta recumbent speed bike managed a speed of 85.7mph (137.9km/h). The previous record was 83.1 mph.
The Internet

Broadband Users 'Need' At Least 10Mbps To Be Satisfied 280

Mickeycaskill writes: A new report says broadband users need at least 10Mbps speeds to be satisfied with their connection — especially with regards to online video which is now seen as a staple Internet application. Researchers at Ovum measured both objective data such as speed and coverage alongside customer data to give 30 countries a scorecard. Sweden was deemed to have the best broadband, ahead of Romania and Canada, while the UK and US finished joint-eight with Russia. "Ever since broadband services were launched, there has been discussion on what is the definition of broadband and how much speed do consumers really need?" said co-author Michael Philpott. "In 2015, the answer is at least 10Mbps if you wish to receive a good-quality broadband experience, and a significant number of households, even in well-developed broadband countries, are well shy of this mark."

Ex-Ashley Madison CTO Threatens Libel Suit Against Journalist 142

An anonymous reader writes: Security reporter Brian Krebs, who has been instrumental in breaking news about the Ashley Madison hack, is now being threatened by the website's former CTO with a libel suit. Contained in the leaked data was a series of emails from the ex-CTO, Raja Bhatia, to the CEO of Ashley Madison's parent company. In the emails, Bhatia noted a security hole in a competing website, saying that he downloaded their user database and was capable of modifying and exposing it. After reporting on these emails, Krebs received a letter from Bhatia's lawyer (PDF) saying the post was libelous and defamatory. They demanded a retraction, which Krebs is thus far unwilling to do.
Input Devices

Using a Smartphone As a Virtual Reality Controller 13

New submitter mutherhacker writes: A group from Osaka University in Japan and McMaster University in Canada have presented a method to control a virtual 3D object using a smartphone [video]. The method was primarily designed for presentations but also applies to virtual reality using a head mounted display, gaming or even quadrocopter control. There is an open paper online as well as a git repository for both the client and the server. The client smartphone communicates with the main computer over the network with TUIO for touch and Google protocol buffers for orientation sensor data.

NASA's Ten-Year Mission To Study All the Ways the Arctic Is Doomed 125

Lasrick writes: NASA is kicking off the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, a decade-long effort to figure out just how bad things in northern US and Canada really are. The large-scale study will combine on-the-ground field studies as well as data from remote sensors—such as satellites and two season of 'intensive airborne surveys'—to improve how scientists analyze and model the effects of climate change on the region.