By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-how-can-I-know-if-my-team-is-winning department
writes: Cliff Zukin writes in the NY Times that those paying close attention to the 2016 election should exercise caution as they read the polls — election polling is in near crisis as statisticians say polls are becoming less reliable. According to Zukin, two trends are driving the increasing unreliability of election and other polling in the United States: the growth of cellphones and the decline in people willing to answer surveys. Coupled, they have made high-quality research much more expensive to do, so there is less of it. This has opened the door for less scientifically-based, less well-tested techniques.
To top it off, a perennial election polling problem, how to identify "likely voters," has become even thornier. Today, a majority of people are difficult or impossible to reach on landline phones. One problem is that the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been interpreted by the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit the calling of cellphones through automatic dialers, in which calls are passed to live interviewers only after a person picks up the phone. To complete a 1,000-person survey, it's not unusual to have to dial more than 20,000 random numbers, most of which do not go to actual working telephone numbers.
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By Soulskill from Slashdot's apple-swiftly-takes-cue department
writes: As reported on Re/code, Apple media boss Eddy Cue appears to have capitulated and Apple Music will be paying music owners for streaming even during customers's free trial period. He says Taylor Swift's letter, coupled with complaints from indie labels and artists, did indeed prompt the change.
Cue says Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. He explains that it can't be at the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenues once subscribers start paying. Instead, he says, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis.
No word from Swift or her camp about whether Apple's move is enough to get her to put "1989," her newest album, on Apple Music. On Twitter, she says, "I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's for-large-values-of-zero department
In April, the Texas Department of Public Safety
told a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, inspired by information leaked by Wikileaks to ask about ways that the agency might be compromising citizen's privacy and other rights, that the TrapWire
behavioral analysis system employed in combination with surveillance equipment posted at various high-profile locations around the state had resulted in 44 arrests
. However, after numerous public records requests for more information about those claimed arrests, the agency admitted that the true figure is somewhat lower: namely, zero
. The story naturally involves "millions" of dollars (though an exact figure for the zero-arrest system isn't named), and Austin-based Stratfor, a company that's beennamedafew times
here on Slashdot.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's you've-got-to-see-the-bigger-picture department
After an earlier halt to the work
of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope
subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians
,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report
:The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution.
The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India.
Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.
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By timothy from Slashdot's little-light-reading department
Newsweek is one of many outets to report that Wikileaks latest dump is a trove of Sony's company emails and other documents
that consists of even more indvidual pieces than the 200,000-plus that were leaked in April. Included, says the Newsweek story, are "276,394 Sony Corp. communications, including email, travel calendars, contact lists, expense reports and private files." One interesting tidbit revealed by the documents thus revealed, spotted by Apple Insider, is that "Apple requested [from Sony] 4K content for potential digital distribution and on-demand services
testing nearly two years ago, suggesting the company has been exploring ultra high-definition streaming for some time."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's vending-machine-centric department
writes: As one works his or her way through EdX's free The Analytics Edge , one finds oneself going back-and-forth between videos and R to complete the programming exercises associated with the lectures. While this can certainly be done on a cheap-o 13" laptop with a 6mbps connection by jumping around from the web-based videos to the client-based programming environment and to the web for help (god bless Stack Overflow), have you found (or do you dream of) a better setup for the MOOC programming courses offered by the likes of EdX, Udacity, and Coursera? Are you using multiple screens, split screens, touch screens, laptops/desktops/tablets, speakers, headphones, higher-speed connections? Anything else? Do you rely solely on the class materials and web-based resources, or do you purchase complementary books? Any thoughts on how to make the experience work best for those learning at home, in a classroom setting, on the road for business/travel, or during lengthy train commutes? Do you playback videos at faster speeds (e.g., 1.5x)? Any other tips?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's if-clint-eastwood-can-do-it department
writes: The NY Times reports that although no single lapse or mistake in security enabled two killers to break out of the Clinton Correctional Facility two weeks ago, it is now clear that an array of oversights, years in the making, set the stage for the prison break and for the ensuing manhunt. According to the Times, a sense of complacency had taken hold that in some ways might have been understandable: "There had not been an escape from the 170-year-old prison in decades, and officials say no one had ever broken out of the maximum-security section. ... 'As the months go by, years go by, things get less strict,' says [retired corrections officer] Keith Provost. ... [U]nlike many prisons and jails across the country, there are no video cameras on the cellblocks at the Clinton facility that might have detected suspicious activity." And although prison rules forbid putting sheets across cell bars to obstruct viewing, in practice, officers say, inmates frequently were allowed to hang sheets for lengthy periods. Officials say there is a good chance that the two men had been at work on their plan for weeks, maybe months. Night after night, the authorities have come to believe, the two men stuffed their beds with crude dummies, slipped out of holes they had cut in the back of their cells and climbed down five stories using the piping along the walls. They then set to work inside the tunnels under the prison, spending hours preparing their path of escape before returning to their cells unobserved.
No contemporary prison break has reminded me so much of the 1962 breakout from Alcatraz
(theories on survival aside).Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-the-humanity department
writes to note that Apple Music, yet unlaunched, already faces resistance on several fronts. From the BetaNews article:It's not just smaller, independent labels that are complaining about Apple's refusal to pay artists any royalties during the initial three month free trial period. Taylor Swift has added her voice to the growing number of complainants, writing an open letter to Apple in which she says she will withhold her new album "1989" from the service. In the letter, entitled "To Apple, Love Taylor," the singer says that the company's decision not to make royalty payments is "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Swift is an artist who could afford to shoulder the cost of three months of not being paid by Apple, but she has chosen to make a stand and stick up for those who are less fortunate.Read Replies (0)