Saturday, 6 August 2011
Use the Internet safelyWarning: if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.
Please note, the information below is for guidance only and may not completely cover your tracks. If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet at a local library, a friend's house or at work.
How can an abuser discover your internet activities?
As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, words entered into search engines and a trail ('history') that reveals the sites you have visited. Below are instructions on how to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.
Warning about deleting cookies and address historiesIt is important to state that there is a risk involved in removing data from your computer. For instance, if your partner uses online banking and has a saved password, then if you clear the cookies on your PC, your partner will realise you've done so, because their password will no longer be saved. Also, your partner may notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, and this may raise suspicion.
How do I work out which browser I'm using?
If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using - you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.
Instructions on how to delete history & cache from your PC:
Internet Explorer 6 (Find your version by selecting Help in the Internet explorer and clicking About Internet Explorer)
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options... On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labeled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.
Internet Explorer 7Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete... button. Either select and Delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all... button at the bottom to clear everything.Firefox 1 (NOT /Netscape)
Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to History; Saved Form Information; Cookies and Cache.
Netscape 7Click on the Edit menu and select Preferences. In the left pane, expand History then in the right area click Clear History. Next, expand Privacy and Security and select Cookies then on the button Manage Stored Cookies and in the new dialog box click Remove All Cookies. Then repeat similar for Forms and the Manage Stored Form Data button and the same for Passwords and the Manage Stored Passwords button. Aditionally, you may Manage Forms, Cookies and Passwords individually from the Tools menu - but not the temporary page Cache files.
Click on Tools and then Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left-hand side. Click the Clear button to the right of Addresses and the Empty Now button to the right of Disk cache. Opera does not have an easy wasy to clear all Cookies.Safari (often used on Apple Macs)Resetting Safari clears the history, empties the cache, clears the Downloads
window, and removes all cookies. It also removes any saved user names and
passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries.To do this go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen. Choose Reset Safari, and click Reset.
Deleting your browsing history:
Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a 'history'. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.ikwro.org.uk, right click and choose Delete. For Safari, select History at top of the screen and choose "Clear History"
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items.
If you started an email but didn't finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message - print and delete the email if you dont want anyone to see your original message.
When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item - it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items separately. Right-click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.
Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose "Clear Search History".
If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend's house, or at work.
(copied from Women's Aid)
Welcome to the website of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO).
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is a registered charity. It was set up in 2002 by our director Diana Nammi, in partnership with other refugee women from Iran, Iraq and Kurdistan.
At IKWRO we believe that all women have the right to live without fear and oppression. We provide confidential advice and other support to Middle Eastern women and girls who are facing domestic violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and ‘honour’ based violence. We can offer help in Farsi, Kurdish, Dari, Arabic and Turkish. IKWRO aims to preserve Middle Eastern (Iranian, Kurdish, Afghan, Turkish and Arab) women’s and girls’ rights and equality, to combat discrimination and violence against women, and to empower women to access their rights and entitlements in the UK. We are not affiliated with any religion or political ideology and we help women of all backgrounds. As well as supporting women directly, we offer advice and training for professionals from the public sector and voluntary organisations to enable them to meet the needs of our clients.
We also campaign to raise public awareness of issues such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and ‘honour’ based violence and to push for better laws and policies to protect women’s rights.
Nominations are open for the True Honour Awards! « A blog by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation
Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the fight against honour based violence in the UK?
IKWRO announced earlier this year that we will grant True Honour Awards to one individual and one organisation. The winners will receive £1000 each as well as a commemorative piece of crystal.
The awards ceremony will take place in November and we are currently calling for nominations. We want to hear from you if you know a person or an organisation who deserves a True Honour Award.
How to nominate someone
To nominate someone, simply write to us with the following information (no more than two pages please):
- Your name, organisation, email and phone number.
- The name, organisation, email and phone number of the person or organisation you are nominating.
- How you know your nominee.
- Details of how your nominee has contributed to the fight against honour based violence.
- Why you think your nominee should receive a True Honour Award.
Send your nomination to email@example.com or to IKWRO, PO Box 65840, LONDON EC2P 2FS. Please make sure it reaches us by Monday 26 September 2011.
Some ideas for who to nominate (just to get you thinking…)
- Survivors of honour based violence who have used their experience to help others.
- People who have spoken out against honour based violence in their community or workplace, in parliament, in the media or elsewhere.
- Groups who help victims of honour based violence, for example through a helpline, support group or refuge.
- People who have helped to bring perpetrators of honour based violence to justice, for example a police officer, a lawyer or a witness in a trial.
- People who have found creative ways to raise awareness of honour based violence, for example by writing about it, making a film or producing an artwork.
Why are we granting True Honour Awards?
We want to raise awareness of the problem of honour based violence, and to recognise those who struggle to prevent it and protect those at risk. There are an estimated 12 honour killings in the UK each year, and many more women face other forms of honour based violence, including beatings, imprisonment and forced marriage.
If you have any questions about the True Honour Award you can call IKWRO on 0207 920 6460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAASTRICHT COFFEESHOPS TO BAN ALL BUT DUTCH, GERMANS AND BELGIANS
Published on Friday 5 August 2011 10:28, by encod . Modified on Friday 5 August 2011 10:27All the versions of this article: [English] [Nederlands]
04 August 2011
Cannabis cafes in Maastricht are to ban all but Dutch, German and Belgian nationals from their premises as part of a plan to reduce the nuisance caused by marijuana smokers, Trouw reports on Thursday.
Marc Josemans, of the local cannabis cafe owners association, told the paper the ban will reduce the number of marijuana tourists coming to the border town by some 500,000 a year - or 20% of the total. Some 70% of the city’s coffee shop customers come from abroad.
Visitors from Germany and Belgium will still be allowed in the cafes because the two countries border the Netherlands, Trouw says.
The paper says Maastricht city council ’takes note of the plan but does not support it’. And, it points out, the plan can be considered discriminatory because not all foreigners are being banned.
The council has been trying to reduce drugs tourism for several years.
The national government already has plans to stop everyone who is not an official resident of the Netherlands from buying marijuana in coffee shops by turning them all into members’ only clubs.
The European court of justice has said this is technically possible under EU law.
mChip: The 'credit card' that can tell you if you have HIV within minutes and costs just $1 | Mail Online
The 'credit card' that can tell you if you have HIV within minutes and costs just $1
- The mChip takes less than 15minutes to test with near 100% accuracy
Last updated at 12:59 PM on 5th August 2011
A portable blood test that can diagnose an infection within minutes has been hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the developing world.
The size of a credit card, the mChip has proved almost 100 per cent accurate in testing for HIV in Rwanda.
Hundreds of tests using a prototype were carried out in the town of Kigali and returned a 95 per cent accuracy for HIV and 76 per cent for syphilis.
How it works: The mChip (right) has proved almost 100 per cent accurate in testing for HIV in Rwanda. It comes with a cheap detector (left) if clarification is needed
The plastic device, manufactured in the U.S. and developed by scientists at the University of Columbia in New York, costs just $1 (60p) to make.
Lead researcher Professor Samuel Sia said: 'The idea is to make a large class of diagnostic tests accessible to patients in any setting in the world, rather than forcing them to go to a clinic to draw blood and then wait days for their results.'
The mChip uses optics to read fluids by taking a single pin-prick of blood.
Lead researcher Samuel Sia and his team set out to make a cheap, portable device
It contains ten detection zones which the blood passes through and then returns a positive or negative result for HIV/AIDS or syphilis in about 15 minutes.
The result is presented in a simple colour-coded manner similar to a pregnancy test, making it extremely easy to use and understand.
An alternative is to use a cheap detector box - the 'lab' - to check the results.
The mChip's low cost and efficiency has been hailed as a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV in the developing world.
Drugs to place HIV in remission have long been available but have been deemed too expensive to use on a widescale basis.
The mChip, on the other hand, is extremely cheap, can fit in an aid worker's pocket and produces a result with a high degree of accuracy within 15 minutes.
Researchers are now hoping to increase testing for sexually-transmitted diseases in pregnant women in Africa
Now even ET is making crop circles (with a little help from GPS and MICROWAVES)
Last updated at 8:21 PM on 2nd August 2011
UFO fanatics clinging to the belief that extra-terrestrials are responsible for crop circles sometimes like to echo the X Files catchphrase: ‘The truth is out there.’
But, as it turns out, the answer might actually be much closer to home - inside your kitchen in fact.
Because, for example, this 200ft image of a pipe-smoking alien – carved into a Wiltshire field – could have been created using an ordinary microwave oven, according to scientists.
From kitchen to field: Microwaves may have created this 200ft alien crop circle near Cherhill, Wiltshire
A handheld device called magnetron – made using parts from the common household cooker and a 12-volt battery – may have ushered in a new generation of crop circles.
Professor Richard Taylor, a physicist, claims to be able to reproduce the intricate damage inflicted on crops using such a gadget developed by his team at the University of Oregon.
He believes similar advances have been made by others – despite avid UFO spotters insisting that the growing phenomenon is beyond scientific understanding.
Prof Taylor said microwaves – the radiation waves that are capable of heating food when utilised in an oven - cause crop stalks to fall over and cool in a horizontal position.
The technique could explain the speed and efficiency of the artists and the incredible detail that some new crop circles exhibit, such as the alien, which was created two weeks ago alongside an ancient white horse at Cherhill, near Stonehenge.
Strange goings on: The two-week-old alien appeared alongside an ancient white horse, near Stonehenge
Dispensing with rope, wooden planks and bar stools that have traditionally been used to create such designs, Prof Taylor suggested these spectacular patterns could also be carved with lasers.
And he believes the satellite Global Positioning System could track the markings.
Mathematical analysis of some of these ever-more complex designs has revealed the use of constructions lines, invisible to the eye, that are used to design the patterns.
Writing in Physics World, he said: ‘Crop-circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily.
‘This summer, unknown artists will venture into the countryside close to your homes and carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history.’
Physics World editor Matin Durrani said: ‘It may seem odd for a physicist such as Taylor to be studying crop circles, but then he is merely trying to act like any good scientist - examining the evidence for the design and construction of crop circles without getting carried away by the side-show of UFOs, hoaxes and aliens.’
But as fascinating as the patterns are to scientists, farmers find crop circles infuriating.
Tim Carson, who owns the land where the recent alien design appeared, has had 125 circles on his land since 1990.
The price in ruined crops is particularly steep this year because of soaring fuel and fertiliser costs, and a 25 per cent drop in wheat yields due to the drought.
Booming: Crop circles in Wiltshire are attracted tourists to the area, but farmers are unhappy with lost income
Cropping up: This circle is one of those that has appeared at Devizes in the last few weeks
Elaborate: This 409 circles in this creation brought the farmer whose land it was on thousands in media fees and helicopter landing fees
‘I’m beginning to get a bit tired of it all,’ said Mr Carson.
‘Each circle costs me £1,000 in lost income. This year, I decided to destroy circles as soon as I found them, but that means losing more crops. And, whatever you do, the circles affect the growing next year, as the thick mat of crops covers soil, compromising its quality.’
Every year, 50 to 60 circles materialise in the rolling chalk downlands of Wiltshire.
In the rest of the world put together, only 40 to 50 appear annually.
And, in recent years, a booming tourist trade has developed. From Belgium, Holland, America, Norway and Australia, crop-circle enthusiasts come in their thousands — each with their own theory, each rushing to a new site as soon as it is reported.
This week, within hours of the first reports of a new circle on Windmill Hill — near the neolithic stone circle at Avebury — a Dutch tour party of nine people rushed to the spot.
‘There are heaps of biophysical anomalies here,’ said the tour leader, Janet Ossebaard, 45, author of Crop Circles: Scientific Evidence.
Hard at work: Crop circles are often made by groups of six who work at night using basic tools such as bamboo sticks, tape, and 3ft-wide wooden planks
‘This wasn’t made by people, otherwise you’d see damage from board marks [where hoaxers lay planks to flatten the wheat]. It’s been hit by a plasma vortex.
‘You can see the burn marks on the crops and cavities,’ she says, holding up a grain stalk, which does indeed have small holes in it.
‘We also found a half-fried caterpillar. This is a vortex that has been intelligently guided — not by hoaxers, nor the Army [which is heavily represented in this part of Wiltshire].’
Crop circles have been reported in England since 1678, when a Hertfordshire news pamphlet referred to The Mowing Devil, a creature that cut a farmer’s oat crop into a series of concentric circles.
In the 19th century, occasional circles were recorded and the first-known photograph of one appeared in Sussex in 1932.
But it wasn’t until the early Nineties that Wiltshire crop circles started multiplying at an extreme rate.
In 1990, Led Zeppelin released an album, Remasters, with a picture on the cover of an elaborate crop circle created on Mr Carson’s land.
(Reuters) - The United States lost its top-tier AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's on Friday in an unprecedented blow to the world's largest economy in the wake of a political battle that took the country to the brink of default.
S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about the government's budget deficit and rising debt burden. The action is likely to eventually raise borrowing costs for the American government, companies and consumers.
"The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics," S&P said in a statement.
The outlook on the new U.S. credit rating is "negative," S&P said in a statement, indicating another downgrade was possible in the next 12 to 18 months.
The move reflects the deterioration in the global economic standing of the United States, which has had a AAA credit rating from S&P since 1941, and it could have implications for the U.S. dollar's reserve currency status.
"The global system must now adjust to the many implications and uncertainties of the once-unthinkable loss of America's AAA," said Mohamed El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets.
The outlook on the new U.S. credit rating is "negative," S&P said in a statement, indicating another downgrade was possible in the next 12 to 18 months.
The decision follows a fierce political battle in Congress over cutting spending and raising taxes to reduce the government's debt burden and allow its statutory borrowing limit to be raised.
On August 2, President Barack Obama signed legislation designed to reduce the fiscal deficit by $2.1 trillion over 10 years. But that was well short of the $4 trillion in savings S&P had called for as a good "down payment" on fixing America's finances.
The political gridlock in Washington over addressing the long-term fiscal problems facing the United States came against the backdrop of slowing U.S. economic growth and led to the worst week in the U.S. stock market in two years.
The S&P 500 stock index fell 10.8 percent in the past 10 trading days on concerns that the U.S. economy may be heading into another recession and because the European debt crisis has worsened.
Treasury bonds, once indisputably seen as the safest security in the world, are now rated lower than bonds issued by countries such as Britain, Germany, France or Canada.
U.S. TREASURY QUESTIONS CALCULATION
Obama was briefed earlier in the day regarding S&P's intentions, but discussions only took place with Treasury officials and did not include the White House, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
Late on Friday, the Treasury said the rating agency's debt calculations were wrong by some $2 trillion.
S&P confirmed it changed its economic assumptions after discussion with the Treasury Department but said it did not affect its decision to downgrade.
"We take our responsibilities very seriously, and if at the end of our analysis the committee concludes that a rating isn't where we believe it should be, it's our duty to make that call," David Beers, head of sovereign ratings at S&P, told Reuters.
The theme running throughout S&P's analysis is the breakdown in the ability of the Democratic and Republican parties to govern effectively.
The agency said that policymaking and political institutions had weakened in the past few months "to a degree more than we envisioned." This has major implications for the nation's budget and debt problems.
For example, S&P now assumes that tax cuts brought in under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 would not, as planned, expire by 2012 because of staunch Republican opposition to any measure that would raise revenues.
The compromise reached by Republicans and Democrats this week calls for creation of a bipartisan congressional committee to find $1.5 trillion of deficit cuts by late November, beyond the $917 billion already identified.
While the downgrade is a blow to U.S. prestige, it was largely expected and may not have a big impact on trading of U.S. Treasuries and other assets when markets reopen in Asia on Monday.
In fact, Treasuries have rallied this week, driving the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 2.34 percent, its lowest level in about 10 months. This reflects a belief among investors that U.S. government debt is still a safe bet at a time when prices of stocks and commodities are falling on concern about slowing global economic growth.
"To some extent, I would expect when Tokyo opens on Sunday, that we will see an initial knee-jerk sell-off (in Treasuries) followed by a rally," said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Connecticut.
But the downgrade has implications for the country's financial sector, ranging from insurance companies to government-related firms such as housing financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"At least initially, the impact on the market will be negative because there will some forced liquidation of U.S. assets," said Boris Schlossberg, GFT director of currency research.
The downgrade could add up to 0.7 of a percentage point to Treasuries' yields over time, increasing funding costs for public debt by some $100 billion, according to SIFMA, a U.S. securities industry trade group.
The Federal Reserve and other bank regulators moved on Friday to reassure global markets that the downgrade would not mean that additional capital would be needed by banks and other institutions holding Treasury securities.
The Fed also said the cut would not impact the operation of its emergency lending window for banks, nor its buying and selling of Treasury securities to conduct monetary policy.
The impact of S&P's move was tempered by Moody's Investors Service's decision earlier this week confirming, for now, the U.S. Aaa rating. Fitch Ratings said it was still reviewing its AAA rating and would issue its opinion by the end of the month.
S&P's move is also likely to concern foreign creditors especially China, which holds more than $1 trillion of U.S. debt. Beijing has repeatedly urged Washington to protect its U.S. dollar investments by addressing its budget problems.
"China will be forced to consider other investments for its reserves. U.S. Treasuries aren't as safe anymore," said Li Jie, a director at the reserves research institute at the Central University of Finance and Economics.
One currency strategist, however, did not think there would be wholesale selling by foreigners.
"One of the reasons we don't really think foreign investors will start selling U.S. Treasuries aggressively is because there are still few alternatives to the Treasury market in terms of depth and liquidity," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York.
He said there was likely to be weakness in the U.S. dollar but a sharp sell-off was unlikely.
S&P had already placed the U.S. credit rating on review for a possible downgrade on July 14 on concerns that Congress was not adequately addressing the fiscal deficit of about $1.4 trillion this year, about 9.0 percent of gross domestic product, one of the highest since World War II.
But Obama administration officials grew increasingly frustrated with the rating agency during the debt limit debate and accused S&P of moving the goal posts in its downgrade warnings, sources familiar with talks between the administration and the agency have said.
The downgrade was immediately pounced on by candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. Mitt Romney said the move was "a deeply troubling indicator of our country's decline under President Obama," while Jon Huntsman said it was due to spreading of a "cancerous debt afflicting our nation."
The downgrade, 15 months before the next presidential election, and debt will be top campaign issues.
(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte and Daniel Bases; additional reporting by Burton Frierson, Chris Reese, Alexandra Alper, Jennifer Ablan, Wanfeng Zhou in New York; Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland, Mark Felsenthal in Washington; Koh Gui Qing and Wang Lan in Beijing; Editing by Jan Paschal and Clive McKeef)
Director of Policy (Brussels)
As Facebook has become part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, policy makers in many countries naturally wish to talk to us, and we wish to talk to them. The Policy team manages these conversations - sharing information about the company's products and activities, responding to queries from politicians and regulators, and providing input into the development of regulation of the internet sector. We are looking for superb policy communicators who can combine a passion for internet services like Facebook with a deep knowledge of the political and regulatory dynamics in their country. Successful applicants will become part of a team that is dealing with some of the most interesting public policy challenges of our times including privacy, freedom of expression, the impact of the internet on business models, and new opportunities for public service delivery. This role will mainly be based in Brussels.Responsibilities
- Develop and execute strategic approach to achieve company goals in public policy
- Monitor legislation and regulatory matters affecting Facebook and advise company with respect to policy challenges
- Represent Facebook in meetings with government officials and elected members
- Develop public policy positions with other team members at Facebook
- Build coalitions with other organizations to advance policy goals of Facebook
- Create innovative programmes for outreach to policy makers on the opportunities offered by Facebook
- Communicate Facebook’s positions in public presentations and with media
- Advise Facebook teams on public policy matters to guide development of products, services and policiesRequirements
- A degree or advanced degree in a related field
- At least 10 years of experience working on relevant policy issues – candidates with both government/politics and industry experience strongly preferred
- Fluent English and French language essential - additional languages a distinct advantage
- A familiarity with working with politicians and government officials including those at the most senior levels
- A passionate belief in the social benefits of the Internet and Facebook in particular
- An ability to build and manage cross-functional teams from a wide range of disciplines
- Experience of acting as a media spokesperson, preferably including radio and television
- Excellent communication skills for both small meetings and large events
- A flexible mindset that thrives in a fast-moving environment with a strong do-it-yourself culture
- A track record of writing and delivering articles, speeches, and presentations on relevant topics
- An ability to translate between the specialist languages of technology and politics
- Detailed knowledge of regulatory and legislative processes at national level, with EU experience a further advantage
- Candidates need to include 3 – 4 links to articles/videos/media interviews which demonstrate track record in this field
- All applications must be in English
- PLEASE NOTE: Facebook does not accept any unsolicited resumes from headhunters, executive recruiters, or other staffing or personnel agencies. Please do not submit or forward any such resumes to our site, jobs alias, Facebook employees or any other company location. Facebook is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes
Computing and ICT | Undergraduate Courses, Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and Qualifications - Open University
On this page
Virtually everything we do involves computers and ICTs – from booking tickets online and emailing friends, to paying by credit card and using household appliances.
At the heart of ICTs are computers – ranging from the small embedded processor in your mobile phone, to the personal computer you use at home or work, and the large servers that support ecommerce and the world-wide web. Most of us simply take these technologies for granted, yet understanding how they work is fascinating.
Whether you simply have an enquiring mind, or want to learn more about this fast growing field in order to change career direction or improve your prospects, the OU offers a wide choice of part-time computer courses and qualifications to meet your needs. These include short courses, certificates, diplomas and foundation degrees in computing, as well as honours degree programmes accredited by the British Computer Society. And the great advantage of OU study is you don’t need to take a career break or sacrifice earning a living while you qualify.
Where to start in Computing and ICT
Whether you want a qualification or not, we recommend you start your studies at Level 1. But choosing the right type of course at Level 1 is very important.
Start with our 60-credit key introductory Level 1 course if you're fairly confident about studying:
This is a popular first step in many of our qualifications. You'll learn how to study at university level, get a thorough grounding in your chosen area of study and, in addition, you'll become a confident distance learner.
Start with our Openings course if you are a new or less confident learner (and living in the UK):
It will offer you a gentler introduction to OU study and is an ideal preparation for the other Level 1 course above. With lots of support and no exams, it will build your confidence and study skills.
If you already know that you want a particular qualification – see the descriptions below for advice about where to start.
- Computing & IT and a second subject
With this flexible joint honours degree specialise in computing & IT and combine it with a second subject: business, design, mathematics, psychology or statistics.
- Computing and IT
This flexible degree course offers a variety of pathways, giving you the opportunity to specialise in ICT, software development, solutions development, vendor certification or work-based learning.
- Top-up BSc (Honours) Computing and IT Practice
If you’ve already completed the Foundation Degree in Computing and IT Practice (or its equivalent), this top-up will give you a full honours degree.
- Open degree
The BA/BSc Open Degree is a qualification that gives you a huge choice in terms of subjects and modules that you study to make up your degree.
- Computing and IT Practice
If you already work with computers, this qualification will develop skills directly relevant to your work, and give you the academic knowledge valued by employers.
Courses in Computing and ICT
See the list of all our individual courses in Computing and ICT.
If you already have a degree, you may want to see postgraduate courses and qualifications in Computing and ICT.
Friday, 5 August 2011
Stock markets around the world have plunged again as fears persisted that the global economy could slip back into recession.
The FTSE 100 Index has seen 9.8%, or £147.9 billion, sliced off its value in the past week - its worst performance since October 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the credit crunch began in earnest.
Markets across the world are in meltdown as traders panic that America will lead the global economy back into recession and the eurozone will be crushed under the weight of its debts.
And there are fears that the crisis could escalate further unless Governments are able to convince financial markets that they are able to pay off their loans.
Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken to his German counterpart, Angela Merkel, about the instability and is in close contact with Chancellor George Osborne. Mr Osborne has also spoken to Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King.
Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets, warned: "This crisis will run and run, and could make Lehmans look like a Tupperware party."
London's top flight fell 146.2 points, or 2.7%, to 5247, while the CAC 40 in France and the DAX in Germany fell 1% and 3% respectively.
Better-than-expected employment figures from the US were not enough to convince traders that the world's biggest economy is healthy amid rumours that it could lose its cherished AAA credit rating.
There are rising fears that Italy and Spain, the eurozone's third and fourth largest economies, could default on their debt repayments and require EU-funded bailouts. Investors have been switching their cash from risky assets, such as shares, to safe havens like gold, which recently hit fresh highs.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Government was "fully functioning" despite Mr Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and Mr Osborne all being on holiday.
Rowan Atkinson crashes McLaren F1 supercar into treeContinue reading the main story
Actor Rowan Atkinson was hurt when he crashed his McLaren F1 supercar into a tree in Cambridgeshire.
The Blackadder and Mr Bean star suffered a shoulder injury in the accident, near Peterborough.
He is said to have walked from the car, which caught fire, after the crash on the A605 at Haddon on Thursday evening and waited for an ambulance.
Atkinson, 56, was admitted to Peterborough City Hospital and discharged on Friday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Crews brought the fire under control by 8.13pm. They made the vehicle safe and used one hose reel to put out the fire.Top Gear challenge
"There was one casualty but he was not trapped."
East of England Ambulance Service said a man had been taken to Peterborough City Hospital with "a minor shoulder injury" following the crash.
Atkinson, known to be a car enthusiast, recently topped the leader's board on BBC Top Gear's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car contest.
He told presenter Jeremy Clarkson he was keen on racing and was currently driving a 1964 Ford Falcon.
The star notched up the fastest time on the show, broadcast on 17 July, completing the circuit in a Kia Cee'd in 1 minute 42.2 seconds.
Atkinson achieved fame through BBC shows Not The Nine O'Clock News and Blackadder, before gaining international recognition in Mr Bean, in which his hapless character drives an old Mini.
Friday, 24 June 2011 09:55 Matt Snyder
Three-hundred women in the town of Barbacoas near the Pacific coast have vowed to withold sex from their husbands until the connecting road into their village has been paved.
Dubbed the "strike of crossed legs," the women are withholding sex from their husbands to persuade them to pressure local authorities to properly maintain the main road out of their village which stretches some 35 miles before reaching the nearest town.
The road has claimed the lives of more than a dozen medical patients who have died on the road before reaching medical care. It currently takes about 12 to 14 hours to reach the nearest hospital.
The women intend to expand their strike this Saturday with a protest aimed at recruiting more wives into their movement.
Colombia has a recent history of sex-strikes. In 1997, Colombia's military chief Manuel Bonnet called for a sex-strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerrillas, and druglords to promote peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members in the town of Pereira in central Colombia purportedly withheld sex from gangsters who failed to turn in their arms after their city suffered a period of violence that left 480 people dead.
Sex-strikes have classical roots as well; a sex-strike famously was the subject of Aristophanes' "Lysistrata," a comedic tale of one woman's quest to end the Peloponessian War by denying men sexual favors until the war is ended.
Many husbands of the women on strike said that they would prefer that their wives engage in a hunger strike instead.
Standards of Service From MPs and Ministers
Responsible department: Office of the Leader of the House of Commons
MPs and Ministers have forgotten that they are in office to serve the public and not vice versa. Five year elections provide no real accountability from MPs and Ministers hide in their ivory towers and ignore the public. This petition calls on the government to implement minimum standards of service from MPs and Ministers in response to enquiries from the public. MP's accountability is limited to constituents but Ministers must account to any British citizen. An integral part of these standards is a complaints system with the power to implement meaningful sanctions.against the MP or Minister personally.
The market fell more than 500 points on Thursday, vaporizing trillions in company valuations.
The media industry was not immune.
Every one of the top 10 companies (as ranked in the 2011 Fortune 500 listings) fell. Some dropped significantly.
The total damage? A decrease in value of $55.236B.
(Since July 21, the market capitalization of the top 10 has fallen an astonishing $78.8B.)
Friday, 5 August 2011 9:14 AM
By Ian Dunt
Drug reform advocates could be about to secure a significant victory in their campaign to liberalise the law after a Liberal Democrat motion for full decriminalisation was submitted.
The party is likely to overwhelmingly back the motion to establish a panel to urgently consider the decriminalisation of personal drug use at its conference this autumn.
The move would likely prompt friction with the Lib Dems' Conservative coalition partners, whose rank-and-file membership are strongly opposed to any change to drug laws. The party would need Conservative support before the panel could be established.
David Cameron's record as a backbencher was distinctly liberal when it came to drug reform. He called for heroin 'shooting rooms' and a public health approach to drug use before taking the leadership.
Drug liberalisation views are surprisingly popular in Westminster circles, but it has been considered politically impossible for several years, mostly due to fear of the tabloid reaction and the views of 'middle-England' voters.
Former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth quickly came out against the "disaster" of drug regulation after leaving his front bench position.
Nick Clegg is understood to be distinctly relaxed about the motion, however, suggesting the Lib Dem leadership will not back down in the event of a yes vote.
There is "increasing evidence that the UK's drugs policy is not only ineffective and not cost-effective but actually harmful, impacting particularly severely on the poor and marginalised", the motion reads.
"Individuals, especially young people, can be damaged both by the imposition of criminal records and by a drug habit, and... the priority for those addicted to all substances must be healthcare, education and rehabilitation, not punishment.
"One of the key barriers to developing better drugs policy has been the previous Labour government's persistent refusal to take on board scientific advice, and the absence of an overall evaluative framework of the UK's drugs strategy."
The demand comes amid unparalleled change internationally on drug laws, with several highly-respected figures and institutions calling for a more liberal policy on narcotics.
The Global Commission on Drugs Police, headed by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan recently called for world governments to consider regulating the drug trade.
Under decriminalisation, people caught with drugs would no longer be given fines or jail sentences but rather treatment and counselling. Dealers would still face the current legal penalties, however.
A similar policy was recently adopted in Portugal, and led to surprising results, with some sources suggesting cannabis use has decreased by 50%.
The Lib Dems have a long track record of an evidence-based policy on drugs and called for the legalisation of cannabis in 2002. But with the party now in power, their vote is likely to play a much more significant role in the public debate.
The motion will be put forward by Ewan Hoyle, founder of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform, and backed by Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson.
Has Lady Gaga really been found dead in a hotel room? A scam which has spread rapidly across Facebook would certainly like you to think so.
Heres's an example of a message that is being seen spreading virally on Facebook, posing as a link to a BBC TV News report.
BREAKING: Lady Gaga Found Dead in Hotel Room
This is the most awful day in US history
Wow. I mean, yes, it would be tragic if Lady Gaga were to die, but.. seriously.. "the most awful day in US history"?
Anyway, if you are tricked into clicking on the link you are taken ultimately (via a website which sloppily allows an open redirect) to a webpage that pretends to contain a BBC News video report:
Watch out, though, if you try to play the video as this is a clickjacking scam which attempts to silently say you "Like" the page when you click with your mouse.
Users who have installed a browser add-on such a NoScript for Firefox will see a message warning them of the peril of being clickjacked.
If you've been hit by a scam like this, remove the messages and likes from your Facebook page - and warn your friends not to click on the offending links. Clearly there's much more work which needs to be done by Facebook to prevent these sorts of messages spreading so rapidly.
If you're a Facebook user and want to keep up on the latest threats and security news I would recommend you join the Sophos Facebook page - where more than 100,000 people regularly discuss the latest attacks.
You could also do a lot worse than check out our best practices for better privacy and security on Facebook guide.
Aug 3rd, 2011 7:52 PM UTC
By Margaret McDonnell-->
UPDATED, AUGUST 4: There is an immediate need for additional funding to address the famine in Somalia and wider food crisis in the Horn. ONE is actively addressing the crisis in two ways: by raising awareness of the famine and needed response through social and traditional media, and by pressing world leaders to step up and quickly fill the $1 billion funding gap for emergency assistance. We need your help – and your voice – on both fronts.
Children play outside makeshift shelters in Mogadishu. Photo credit: Phil Moore/Concern Worldwide
We also know that many people want to make personal financial contributions to assist in the famine relief. While ONE doesn’t raise money from the public, there are a number of other organizations that are doing effective work on the ground in the Horn and who are actively soliciting donations. We have pulled together the following list of organizations so that you can learn more about them and consider making a donation.
International Committee of the Red Cross: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is scaling up its emergency operation in central and southern Somalia to assist an additional 1.1 million drought- and conflict-affected people.
UNICEF: This is a child survival crisis. UNICEF is massively scaling up relief efforts to save children’s lives and protect their futures. UNICEF delivers therapeutic foods to treat children suffering from severe malnutrition; provides vaccinations to fight deadly and disabling diseases like measles and polio that threaten malnourished children; improves access to clean water and proper sanitation; supports basic education in communities and camps; and establishes measures to protect children from violence, exploitation, and abuse.
World Food Program: World Food Programme is planning to feed over 11. 5 million people affected by drought across the Horn of Africa. That includes 3.7 million people in Somalia, 3.5 million people in Ethiopia and 2.7 million people in Kenya, in addition to 226,000 refugees in Ethiopia and 496,000 refugees in Kenya.
Aktion Deutschland hilft: Aktion Deutschland hilft (“Action Germany helps”) is a union of 11 German relief organizations that provide rapid and effective aid in the case of large catastrophes and emergency situations abroad. (English version available)
United Kingdom NGOs:
Disasters Emergency Committee: The Disasters Emergency Committee unites the 14 leading UK aid agencies in their efforts to finance relief for people suffering major disasters in poorer countries.
U.S. NGO Partners:
American Refugee Committee: The ARC’s team in Mogadishu is working closely with local organizations to respond to the crisis. Our goal is to provide immediate lifesaving relief – including food and water and sanitation needs – to support the survival of families affected by the famine. ARC distributed food packages, bedding, utensils and soap to over 400 families. With a team of experienced staff in place, and an ongoing partnership with the Somali-American community, ARC is well positioned to coordinate rapid emergency response in affected areas of Somalia.
CARE: CARE is helping more than one million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. In Dadaab, CARE is the primary distributor of food, water and education. In Ethiopia, CARE supports emergency nutrition programs, livestock operations, and water and sanitation. In Somalia, CARE is rehabilitating water harvesting structures and operating cash-for-work programs. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis with a focus on the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women.
Catholic Relief Services: In Ethiopia, CRS is expanding its food distribution program to 1.1 million beneficiaries and is working closely with local partners to provide livelihood support, water, and sanitation. In Somalia, CRS is supporting local partners to assist highly vulnerable, displaced families with basic necessities, such as food packages, support to clinics, therapeutic feeding, and shelter. In Kenya, CRS is working both to assist newly arrived refugees with hygiene, sanitation promotion, and protection, and also to provide water, sanitation, and supplemental feeding to drought-affected Kenyan communities.
Concern Worldwide: Working in the region for over 25 years, Concern Worldwide has long-term development programs in many affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, and launched an immediate response to the drought emergency at its onset in late 2010. Concern is directly reaching over 400,000 people in the Horn of Africa region with clean water, food and interventions to treat and prevent malnutrition. For instance, in Somalia, Concern and its local partners are reaching over 100,000 people in worst-affected areas there.
International Rescue Committee: The IRC runs medical services at one of Dadaab’s three camps, providing lifesaving care for thousands of Somali refugees, including many suffering from acute malnutrition. The IRC provides a range of medical, protection & counseling services to refugee women and girls who have been sexually assaulted. In Ethiopia, the IRC is installing or expanding water-supply systems in camps that serve 82,000 Somali refugees. In central Somalia, the IRC is ensuring access to water for 32,000 people.
Islamic Relief: Islamic Relief Worldwide has provided emergency drought response in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, including three districts in Puntland, Somalia. This response has led to the successful delivery of 7 liters of water a day to 35,406 for a period of one month and the provision of essential primary healthcare services to an additional 1,322 women and children.
Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps’ teams in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are responding, by distributing food and water and expanding critical relief efforts. Mercy Corps is on the ground helping more than 900,000 people in the region survive, and we are ramping up to help even more.
Oxfam America: Oxfam America is responding to the crisis by providing life-saving water, sanitation services, food, and cash with the goal of reaching 3 million people, including 700,000 in Ethiopia, 1.3 million in Kenya, and 500,000 in Somalia.
Save the Children: Save the Children has launched a major humanitarian response in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, feeding tens of thousands of underweight children, providing life-saving medical treatment, and getting clean water to remote communities. Save is also helping communities adapt to more frequent droughts, reducing the number of children at risk in any future food crises.
World Concern: World Concern is providing emergency food, water and supplies to approximately 10,000 of the most vulnerable and underserved people affected by the famine in a cross-border response in Kenya and southern Somalia.
World Vision: World Vision is distributing emergency food, water and health care and meeting other urgent needs for children and families.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
How the UK exaggerated the case against McKinnon
Hacker stitched up by the Home Secretary
The British Government exaggerated the charges against Gary McKinnon after approving a request by US prosecutors for the autistic hacker's extradition.
US prosecutors had charged McKinnon with hacking US military computers and requested that he be tried before a US court. But the US ordered the hacker's extradition on minimal evidence over which serious questions have been raised by the UK's prosecuting authorities.
McKinnon's situation has provoked concerns over the basis on which the UK will concede to another country's request for one of its citizens. It has also highlighted how the 2003 Extradition Act can require the Government to represent foreign prosecutors in cases too weak to be allowed before a British court.
When Alan Johnson, then Home Secretary, told Parliament on 1 December last year that the Government would not stop the US order for McKinnon's extradition, he was required by the Extradition Act to deputise for the US prosecution and represent their interests in Parliament.
Johnson exaggerated the US prosecution's evidence against the hacker, even after the UK's prosecuting authorities and experts who had seen the evidence in summary had doubted its veracity.
Johnson said: "[McKinnon] is alleged to have repeatedly hacked into US Government computer networks over a period of 13 months, including 97 US military computers from which he deleted vital operating systems and then copied encrypted information on to his own computer, shutting down the entire US Army's Military District of Washington's computer network for 24 hours."
This allegation was false and it made the US charges against McKinnon sound more serious than they were.
The US had not accused McKinnon of "deleting vital operating systems" from 97 computers. It accused him of deleting unspecified operating system files from a handful of PCs. Even this allegation was in doubt.
The US had not even specified which files McKinnon was supposed to have deleted. Its evidence was vague enough for the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the UK public prosecutor, to raise questions about its veracity.
A significant weakness in the US evidence was its failure to address doubts that the files it accused McKinnon of deleting could have caused the sort of disruptions it claimed had occurred as a result of the hacking.
These doubts had been raised by both the CPS and Professor Peter Sommer, of the London School of Economics, in an expert witness statement to the High Court in one of McKinnon's appeals against the extradition last year. McKinnon had admitted to hacking into 97 PCs. But he denied the damage charge. That charge may not have been even as serious as was claimed by US prosecutors. His actions were certainly not as serious as the Home Secretary claimed they were.
The most serious allegation the US made against McKinnon was that the unspecified files he had deleted included vital operating system files on a computer that provided Internet access to two military bases in Washington DC. The US claimed McKinnon interrupted Internet and email services provided by this computer for 24 hours. The "entirety" of Military bases in the District of Washington for which Johnson and US prosecutors claimed McKinnon interrupted Internet access consists of facilities dedicated to ceremonial, transport and low-level administrative functions for the US Army.
All of the machines McKinnon hacked contained unclassified data: that means they contained no sensitive military data. They were PCs used by administrators. This is why they were not protected with passwords. And this is why McKinnon, in his technically and politically naive search for UFO conspiracies, was able to hack into them in 2001. McKinnon had tried to break into the classified computer networks where the US keeps the sensitive data conspiracy theorists most want to see. But his hacking skills were not good enough.
This had all been a cause of scepticism among the UK prosecuting authorities. After a detailed review of the US evidence against McKinnon last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) raised questions about how secure the US computers were, how sensitive was the data they contained and how important were the Army functions they supported.
The UK's High Court also heard last year how the US had exaggerated its damage claim against the hacker. The US charge that McKinnon damaged the computers he attacked appeared to rest on the logic that the act of electronic trespass was equal to an act of damage.
The US claim of $700,000 damages from McKinnon was for the money it spent investigating and patching up security on PCs where there had simply not been any security in the first place.
Whether or not electronic trespass equates to damage in law, Professor Sommer told the High Court that it was usual for damage claims on computers to be deduced from the seriousness of the computers involved, and for the seriousness of the computers to be deduced from the lengths their owners had gone to secure them. If the PCs McKinnon hacked had been protected with firewalls, they would have stopped McKinnon, whose amateur hacking had been only as ingenious as the manual from which he copied his hacks.
The sum of all the evidence the US military had supplied in support of its allegations against McKinnon was easily picked apart, leaving it wide open to the criticism that it was trumped up. Had the US shown more of its evidence to the UK, it might have made a stronger case for McKinnon's extradition.
But the US did not need to make a strong case. The 2003 Extradition Act allowed the US to order McKinnon before its courts on the basis of no more evidence than is required for a British judge to issue an arrest warrant. It would require much more evidence to convince a judge to allow McKinnon's case to be brought to before a British court.
The British courts that considered McKinnon's extradition request were forced by the Extradition Act to treat the minimal evidence supplied by the US as though it were enough to justify putting someone before a court. This was nowhere more apparent than in the judgment District Judge Nicholas Evans made on McKinnon's extradition on 10 May 2006. He presented the US military's allegations against the hacker as "facts". Yet the CPS, which is required to vet every case that goes before a British court, had found the US evidence begged still more questions. The evidence rested on "hearsay", said the CPS, and raised the possibility that it might not be admissible in court, were it brought before a court that was required to examine it.
The CPS had examined the US evidence because it had considered prosecuting McKinnon in the UK instead of handing him over to the US. A UK trial was possible because it was a cross-border crime. A UK trial had also become desirable ethically since McKinnon had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and doctors had warned that he should be tried in the UK.
British Human Rights law, which was the only basis on which the Extradition Act would allow the government to cancel the US court order, was too weak to step in on the basis of McKinnon's mental disability, no matter what medical experts said. The hacker could therefore only be tried in the UK if the US evidence was good enough to stand up in a British court. The US had supplied the UK with all the evidence it was required to supply under the Extradition Act. But the CPS found the US evidence was "insufficient" for the British courts.
If the US had better evidence against McKinnon and had been required to supply it to the UK, then the UK may have prosecuted McKinnon in a British court as medical as experts had requested. The British courts did have legal jurisdiction over McKinnon's crime, but this gap in the extradition law prevented them from securing enough evidence to exercise their power.Tags: united states, gary mckinnon, 2003 extradition act
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