Circuit

False rumors, CIA revamp, electronic signatures, NASA commercials.

Cutting down the grapevine

Times are really tough when you have to use your Web site to shut down the rumor mill. But that is exactly what has happened to Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Government Efficiency and Financial Management Subcommittee.

Among the items he tells his Web visitors are not true: There is no bill to impose a 5-cent surcharge on e-mail messages, no lawmaker named Congressman Schnell who introduced the measure and no truth to an e-mail claiming that members of Congress do not contribute to Social Security.

"This rumor is false," Platts' site states. "As your representative in the [U.S.] House of Representatives, I assure you that I pay Social Security taxes."

He refers Web visitors to a site called Hoaxbusters (hoaxbusters.ciac.org), which explains how to recognize an Internet hoax.

In from the cold

A revamped CIA is in the works, and it won't be a moment too soon considering all the bad publicity the spooks have been getting. Even the agency's public Web site has a friendly look, although Webmaster Michael Stepp said the site is not new and neither is the design. He spends most of his time refreshing the look of the Web site, which is outside the agency's firewall. And it's a good thing because the site is popular.

This year, the Web site has gotten more than 3 million hits. Stepp expects that number to surpass 5 million by year's end.

Stepp has his work cut out for him. "It's not as easy for me to get content because the nature of our business is that so much of what we do is classified," Stepp said. "It limits what we can do with the Web site. My philosophy is that the taxpayer funds the agency, and what we can share, we share." We say, right on!

John Hancock R.I.P.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials issued a final rule that offers two alternatives to traditional signatures on patent documents. The regulation includes 140 pages of policy changes meant to simplify patent filing procedures.

Among other things, the rule not only permits electronic signatures for applications filed using USPTO's electronic filing system but also allows for s-signatures, in which the person's name is typed between two forward slashes.

The policy change will make filing easier for patent applicants and their attorneys and will save paper, said Bob Spar, director of the Office of Patent Legal Administration. USPTO officials receive about 350,000 initial patent filings each year, but the correspondence related to those filings generates 2 million pieces of mail during the same period.

Although only 2 percent of the 350,000 applications are filed electronically, the lack of electronic signature capability until now is probably insufficient to explain the low online filing numbers, Spar said. USPTO officials plan to hold focus groups nationwide to explore ways to increase the number of applications filed electronically, he said.

Because of the length and complexity of the new rule, agency officials expect to publish a slide presentation and a rule-by-rule summary on USPTO's Web site within a few days, Spar said.

Bringing water to the horse

It is difficult enough to pique kids' interest in science. So NASA officials are going where the kids are. In an effort to educate children on how the popcorn they are eating actually pops, NASA is showing one-minute science, technology, engineering and math commercials in the lobbies of Regal Cinemas nationwide.

Recent titles include, "Are there grocery stores in space?" and "Did you know there are remote-control cars on Mars?"

Because the commercials will be shown on 42-inch plasma screens in the lobbies, they will not add to the number of pre- feature commercials you have to endure. The commercials target kindergarteners through 5th-graders.

"They're subliminally getting information that they otherwise think would be boring," said Kimberly Land, a Langley spokeswoman.

An estimated 14.4 million patrons will see the videos each month at more than 400 Regal theaters.

Got a tip? Send it to circuit@fcw.com.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.