Spotlight on open access learning

first_imgRay Maota Open access resources will benefit everyone, especially pupils, as they will be able to access valuable information which would have been out of their reach if they had to pay for it.(Image: images, visit the image library) Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice chancellor of Stellenbosch University, said that it was important to bridge the divide and to set up processes for the free flow of information to and from developing countries.(Image: Stellenbosch University)MEDIA CONTACTS• Reggie RajuBerlin 10 Conference: programme chair+ 27 21 808 4641RELATED ARTICLES• A winning open education system• Take-away content to help pupils• Open access to SA journals• Education goes mobile with VodacomOpen Educational Resources (OER) is a system that uses digital materials for teaching, learning and research, and makes them freely available online.While many OERs are developed in industrialised countries, developing nations should themselves be more than mere consumers of them.OERs are to be shared, exchanged, expanded and adapted – with appropriate attributions.After becoming the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration on open access to knowledge in science and humanities in 2010, Stellenbosch University will also become the first African host of the Berlin 10 Open Access Conference.Berlin 10 is the result of a meeting organised in 2003 by the Max Planck Society and the European Cultural Heritage Online project, where international experts were brought together “with the aim of developing a new web-based research environment using the Open Access paradigm as a mechanism for having scientific knowledge and cultural heritage accessible worldwide”.The result was the signing of The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, a document outlining the promotion of the internet as a medium of stimulating knowledge worldwide.Building on the widely accepted Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Berlin Declaration also calls for authors not to expect payment for their research and for them to give permission to others to use their work, so as to accelerate the pace of scholarship and research.Talking open accessThe Berlin 10 Open Access Conference, where unrestricted access to research material is to be discussed, will be held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in the Western Cape from 6 – 8 November 2012.The conference has been held annually since 2004 and to date Germany, Switzerland, England, Italy, France, China and – most recently – the US – have hosted it.Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice chancellor of Stellenbosch University, said: “Stellenbosch University will be a proud host of this prestigious event along with the Max Planck Society; the Academy for Science for South Africa; Unesco; and, the Association of African Universities.”Making research more accessibleBotman said that the time is right for Berlin 10 in South Africa.“South Africa and its academic and research institutions are at the juncture where they are formally adopting open access principles.“Africa is a near silent, almost invisible contributor to global research, but the research that is being conducted on the continent is not easily accessible to the international audience.”Botman said that it was therefore important to bridge the divide and to set up processes for the free flow of information to and from developing countries.“In my capacity as the vice president of The Association of African Universities, it is my obligation to see that higher education on the continent benefits from Berlin 10 but more importantly that Africa fully embraces open access itself,” he said.Signatories of the Berlin DeclarationSignatories of the Berlin Declaration will add value to the worldwide research output and at the same time make their mark as a progressive institute“Since Stellenbosch signed the declaration, five other institutions in South Africa have done the same,” said Botman.These are: the University of Cape Town; the University of the Free State; the University of Pretoria; the University of South Africa; and the University of Johannesburg.There are 10 other African institutions that have already signed the declaration, including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana; the National University of Lesotho; and, the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.If your institution wants to sign the Berlin Declaration, your highest representative needs to send an email or letter to the president of the Max Planck Society, indicating his or her wish to be listed as a signatory of the Berlin Declaration.Botman said: “Stellenbosch University is also one of a small group of institutions worldwide that have started to publish some of their journals using open source software.“In October 2011 the university launched 11 titles now being made available in this way.”Registration for the conferenceRegistration to attend the conference is now open and early birds will get a discount.Those who register before 15 September 2012 pay R3 300 (US$391), while those who miss that deadline will pay R4 000 ($474).The registration payment includes registration for the main conference, as well as lunch and coffee/tea breaks; workshops; conference and workshop material; the welcome function; and a gala dinner including transport.For payment and account details visit the Berlin 10 website.last_img read more

Mixaloo: The Return of the Mixtape

first_imgWith the rise of MP3s and other forms of downloadable music, the venerable mixtape, which Wikipedia says gained mass popularity in the 1980s, may be going the way of the dodo. It is, afterall, rather hard to give someone an iTunes playlist, not to mention a whole lot less romantic (if that’s what you’re after). But New York-based Mixaloo isn’t about to let the mixtape die.Mixaloo revives the art form of mixtape creation by packaging mixtapes as flash widgets that you can spread via social networks or blogs. These “digital mixtapes” are powered by Clearspring, and while they don’t play full songs (just samples), they do something arguably better: they can make you money.The Mixaloo widget doesn’t just show off you smooth musical taste, but also acts as a mini-store front from which your peers can purchase your creations. We created a Bob Marley-heavy mix (embedded below) that has 14 tracks — Mixaloo puts that at a $15.22 price point. Mixaloo offers a 50-50 profit share (or about 20-40 cents per song) with mixtape makers. Mixaloo also offers a points system. Users earn points for doing things like selling tracks, and recommending related artists that the app suggests during mixtape creation. Points can be redeemed for things like Mixaloo merchandise and audio equipment.Mixaloo entered public beta just a couple of weeks ago, and though mixtape creation is easy and I was very impressed by the sheer amount of albums and songs it has listed — more than 3 million of them (including many obscure live tracks that other music services tend to overlook), there were some hiccups.For example, when trying to get the embed code for my widget, I often got an error saying the widget could not be found — especially after trying to change the widget’s colors or theme. Further, though I got Mixaloo to accept my uploaded cover artwork, it is nowhere to be found on the widget itself. And speaking of the widget, every time I have tried to purchase my mix, it asks me to create an account — I already have an account, but there appears to be no way to log in with it from the widget!The downside of having so many songs in the library, is that Mixaloo has to offer songs protected by Windows Playsforsure DRM. Yuck. It would be great if Mixaloo could offer DRM free tracks from record labels that are open to the idea (like EMI). With the public’s growing distaste for DRM could potentially hamper the growth of the service, but it is a necessary evil if you want to work with most of the major labels.It’s probably premature to say that Apple is losing any sleep over Mixaloo (and the services aren’t really comparable, as iTunes sells to people looking for specific tracks, while Mixaloo hopes to sell people based on the recommendations of their friends). But speaking of making money on the long tail, Mixaloo is a perfect example of a business whose approach to utilizing the long tail is smart. They’re using the distributed nature of social networks and blogs to promote music sales virally to a massive audience on a personal level.“We created Mixaloo to merge that experience with the viral nature of blogs and social networking communities, giving users the added incentive of earning cash for popular mixes. This ‘social record store’ creates a vast network of personal recommendations to increase sales and visibility for artists of all sizes,” said Mixaloo CEO Mark Stutzman. Work out the bugs and Mixaloo could make be a winner. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#web josh catone 1last_img read more

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Used for Fraudulent Activities

first_imgTags:#Features#Trends#web Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has fallen prey to social media spammers and it is now full of requests to spam bookmarking services for pennies per link. Although these HITs may stop short of being “fraud” in the legal sense of the word, they are certainly dishonest and unsavory. In addition to these spam bookmarking requests, we’re also seeing HITs for Diggs, Stumbles, Slashdots, etc. of spammers’ web pages and web sites.In case you’re unfamiliar, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourced marketplace for tasks. A person needing work done can set up a HIT (human intelligence task) – the small job they need done. Others come along to perform the HITs, earning micro payments along the way. In this way, businesses, developers, and other individuals have access to an affordable, scalable workforceThe Dark Side to Mechanical TurkUnfortunately, it appears that the convenience of the Turk marketplace has some appeal to social media spammers, who are now using the site to earn Diggs, bookmarks, and other social recommendations they do not deserve. Here’s an example: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts sarah perez A search for “bookmark” on MT today displays 48 results (at the time of writing) where spammers are requesting social bookmarking of their web site. Search for “digg” and you’ll find people paying for Diggs. Of course, whenever there is a system in place (like social media) that can help drive traffic to a web site, there will be those people who use it to generate traffic for their spam sites. But why are they able to use Amazon Mechanical Turk to do so? Shouldn’t Amazon police the Turk to shut down these spam accounts? Mechanical Turk Still Has Promise, Despite SpammersHowever, this doesn’t mean that Mechanical Turk doesn’t hold any value – it’s still an innovative and useful tool for many. In fact, members of the HCI community (Human Computer Interaction) have begun to use Turk for userresearch studies with great success. This work has inspired others like open source advocate, Chris Messina, to do the same. He plans to use Turk for usability studies on OpenID and OAuth. Since the HITs are spread out among many, the cost of performing these studies is greatly reduced. Being able to crowdsource research is a great way that MT can be used today, and one that will have a big impact on the future, too. Thanks to Brynn Evans, a graduate student in the Department of Cognitive Science at University of California, San Diego for discovering this and thanks to open source advocate Chris Messina for sending it along to us.center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Photo courtesy of Brynn EvansAnyone who uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has no doubt come across similar HITs posted by spammers. For example, this guy is requesting someone create 29 social bookmark accounts from 29 sites: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

UNICAP Regs Finalize Modified Simplified Production Method, Treatment of Negative Adjustments, Section 471 Costs; Accounting Method Change Rules Provided (T.D. 9843; Rev. Proc. 2018-56)

first_imgFinal regulations issued under the uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules adopt a new simplified method (the “modified simplified production method”) for determining additional Code Sec. 263A costs allocable to property produced by a taxpayer or acquired for resale (T.D. 9843). This method is in addition to the current simplified methods. The manner in which certain costs are categorized for purposes of the various simplified methods are redefined and rules for the treatment of negative adjustments in additional Code Sec. 263A costs are provided. A separate revenue procedure allows taxpayers to change their accounting method to comply with these final regulations. The final regulations adopt previously issued proposed regulations with minor changes (REG-126770-06, I.R.B. 2012-38, 347).Modified Simplified Production MethodThe new modified simplified production method adopted by the final regulations allocates additional Code Sec. 263A costs, including negative adjustments, among raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventories on hand at the end of the year. Taxpayers using the new method are not required to separately track direct material costs that are integrated into work-in-process and finished goods inventories. In addition, the types of methods permitted to allocate mixed service costs between pre-production and production additional section 263A costs are expanded. A taxpayer using the new simplified method may also allocate 100 percent of capitalizable mixed-service costs to pre-production or production additional Code Sec. 263A costs if 90 percent or more of the costs would otherwise be allocated to that amount.Additional clarifications to the modified simplified production method provide that:— Additional Code Sec. 263A costs allocable to property produced under a contract and property acquired for resale are included in pre-production additional Code Sec. 263A costs;— Code Sec. 471 costs for property produced under a contract and property acquired for resale are included in pre-production Code Sec. 471 costs; and— Direct material costs include property produced under a contract that are direct material costs when the property is used in an additional production activity of the taxpayer.Definition of Code Sec. 471 CostsThe final regulations provide that for purposes of any of the simplified methods, Code Sec. 471 costs are the types of costs that a taxpayer capitalizes to produced property or inventory in its financial statement. Furthermore, taxpayers must include all direct costs of property produced or acquired for resale in Code Sec. 471 costs regardless of the treatment on a financial statement. A de minimis exception described below applies. Code Sec. 471 costs are determined by reference to the Code Sec. 471 costs incurred during the tax year for federal income tax purposes.The regulations prioritize various types of financial statements for purpose of determining Code Sec. 471 costs.An alternative method of determining Code Sec. 471 costs is provided for taxpayers with an audited financial statement as well as other specified statements that are deemed reliable. Under the alternative method, Code Sec. 471 costs are the costs capitalized to property produced or property acquired for resale in the taxpayer’s financial statement. However, financial statement write-downs, reserves, or other financial statement valuation adjustments are not taken into account in determining Code Sec. 471 costs. The alternative method must be applied consistently to all Code Sec. 471 costs in order to limit potential distortions in the absorption ratios used under the simplified methods. Also, if the alternative method is used, additional Code Sec. 263A costs include all negative adjustments to remove Code Sec. 471 costs, as well as all permitted positive and negative book-to-tax adjustments.De Minimis Safe HarborsThe final regulations provide a de minimis rule that allows a taxpayer using a simplified method to include in additional Code Sec. 263A costs and exclude from Code Sec. 471 costs, direct labor costs that are not capitalized in a taxpayer’s financial statement. The de minimis rule is only available if uncapitalized direct labor costs are less than five percent of total direct labor costs incurred during the tax year. Basic compensation, overtime, and costs included in a taxpayer’s standard cost or burden rate methods used for Code Sec. 471 costs are not covered by the de minimis rule.Another de minimus rule allows taxpayers using a simplified method to include in additional Code Sec. 263A costs and exclude form Code Sec. 471 costs, direct material costs that are uncapitalized on financial statements if the amount of those costs comprise less than five percent of total direct material costs incurred during the tax year.A final de minimis rule allows taxpayers using a simplified method to include in additional Code Sec. 263A costs and exclude from Code Sec. 471 costs, uncapitalized variances and under or over-applied burdens if the sum of these amounts is less than five percent of the taxpayers’s total Code Sec. 471 costs for all items for which the taxpayer uses a standard cost or burden rate method to allocate costs.Negative Adjustments in Additional Section 263A CostsUnder the final regulations, negative adjustments included in additional Code Sec. 471 costs to remove Code Sec. 471 costs are only allowed if a taxpayer uses the simplified production method, the simplified resale method, or the new modified simplified production method. The final regulations impose a consistency requirement mandating that taxpayers that include negative adjustments in additional Code Sec. 263A costs must use this method of accounting for all Code Sec. 471 costs permitted to be removed using negative adjustments. However, certain specified costs such as bribes, lobbying expenses, and fines may not be removed from Code Sec. 471 costs as a negative adjustment.A taxpayer using the simplified production method may include negative adjustments in additional Code Sec. 263A costs only if its average annual gross receipts for the three prior tax years are $50 million or less.Accounting Method ChangesAn accounting method change procedure is also issued in conjunction with the final regulations (Rev. Proc. 2018-56). The procedure grants taxpayers automatic consent to make an accounting method change to comply with the regulations. These changes include, for example, a change to comply with the new definition of section 471 costs, the treatment of negative adjustments, or a change to the new modified simplified production method. Rev. Proc. 2018-31, I.R.B. 2018-22, 637 (TAXDAY, 2018/05/10, I.2), which provides a comprehensive listing of automatic accounting method changes, is modified and amplified to include the changes described in Rev. Proc. 2018-56.Effective Date of Final RegulationsThe final regulations apply to tax years beginning on or after November 20, 2018. The IRS will not challenge return positions consistent with all of the final regulations for any tax year that both begins before November 20, 2018 and ends after November 20, 2018.Rev. Proc. 2018-56T.D. 9843Other References:Code Sec. 263ACCH Reference – 2018FED ¶13,822.80CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶13,829.70CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶13,848.12CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶13,848.15CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶13,848.53Code Sec. 481CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶20,620.285Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC ACCTNG: 15,200CCH Reference – TRC ACCTNG: 15,211Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more