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One of the World's Most Influential Math Texts is Getting a Beautiful, Minimalist Edition
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-modern-audience department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A couple of years ago, a small publisher called Kroncker Wallis issued a handsome, minimalist take on Isaac Newton's Principia. Now, the publisher is embarking on its next project: Euclid's Elements. The publisher is
using Kickstarter to fund this new edition. Euclid's Elements is a mathematical text written by Greek mathematician Euclid around 300 BCE and has been called one of the most influential textbooks ever produced. The treatise contains 13 separate books, covering everything from plane geometry, the Pythagorean theorem, golden ratio, prime numbers, and quite a bit more. The books helped to influence scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Sir Isaac Newton. In 1847, an English mathematician named Oliver Byrne re-wrote the first six books of Euclid's Elements, taking its concepts and illustrating them.

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AI Could Lead To Third World War, Elon Musk Says
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '17 at 09:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-he-thinks department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Elon Musk has said again that artificial intelligence could be humanity's greatest existential threat, this time by starting a third world war. The prospect clearly weighs heavily on Musk's mind, since the SpaceX, Tesla and Boring Company chief tweeted at 2.33am Los Angeles time about how AI could led to the end of the world -- without the need for the singularity. His fears were prompted by a statement from Vladimir Putin that "artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind ... It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." Hashing out his thoughts in public, Musk clarified that he was not just concerned about the prospect of a world leader starting the war, but also of an overcautious AI deciding "that a [pre-emptive] strike is [the] most probable path to victory." Musk added, "Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 in my opinion. [...] Govts don't need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary."

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China Bans Companies From Raising Money Through ICOs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '17 at 07:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's regulation-is-required department:
Regulators are about to begin scrutinizing China's initial coin offerings -- an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. From a report: Local outlet Caixin reported that a notice, issued by a working committee that oversees risk in the country's internet finance sector, said new projects raising cash or other virtual currencies through cryptocurrencies will be banned. It added that authorities will crack down on related fraudulent practices. The document defined initial coin offerings (ICOs) as an unauthorized fundraising tool that may involve financial scams, the Caixin report noted. The committee provided a list of 60 major ICO platforms for local financial regulatory bodies to inspect. Seven government administrations including the People's Bank of China, China Securities Regulatory Commission, China Banking Regulatory Commission and China Insurance Regulatory Commission issued a joint statement where they reiterated that ICOs are unauthorized illegal fund raising activity. The statement said authorities are banning all organizations and individuals from raising funds through ICO activities and that all banks and financial institutions should not do any business related to ICO trading.

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Ethanol: A Lethal Injection For Tumors
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '17 at 06:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-steps department:
Scientists have known for some time that ethanol can kill cancer cells, but several limitations held it back from becoming a broadly used treatment. A team at Duke University has recently developed a new type of ethanol solution that can be injected directly into a variety of tumors to potentially offer a new, safe, and cheap form of cancer treatment. From the article: The authors were already aware of a therapy known as ethanol ablation. If ethanol (the type of alcohol found in your favorite adult beverages) is injected into a tumor, it destroys proteins and causes the cells to dehydrate and die. Ethanol ablation is used to treat one type of liver cancer, and its success rate is similar to that of surgery. Better yet, it costs less than $5 per treatment. Ethanol ablation faces several limitations. First, it only works well for tumors that are surrounded by a fibrous capsule. Second, it requires large amounts of ethanol, which can damage nearby tissue as it leaks out. And third, it requires multiple treatments. To overcome these hurdles, the authors mixed ethanol with ethyl cellulose, creating a solution that when injected into the watery environment of a tumor turns into a gel, which remains close to the injection site. After they practiced injecting their solution into imitation tumors (what they called "mechanical phantoms"), the authors turned to a hamster model. The team induced the formation of oral cancer (specifically, squamous cell carcinoma) in hamster cheek pouches by rubbing them with a carcinogen called DMBA. After about 22 weeks, tumors (without capsules) formed. In the control group, tumors were injected with pure ethanol. The results were not good. After seven days, 0 of 5 tumors regressed completely. (Tumors injected with a large amount of ethanol -- four times the volume of the original tumor -- performed better: 4 of 12 regressed completely.) The results for the ethanol gel were far superior. After seven days, 6 of 7 tumors regressed completely. (By the eighth day, all 7 tumors were gone, for a cure rate of 100%.)

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Jury Finds Nintendo Wii Infringes Dallas Inventor's Patent, Awards $10 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on September 04 '17 at 03:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-pay-up department:
A jury has ruled that Nintendo must pay $10.1 million because its Wii and Wii U systems infringe a patent belonging to a Dallas medical motion-detection company. Ars Technica reports: iLife sued Nintendo (PDF) in 2013 after filing lawsuits against four other companies in 2012. The case went to a jury trial in Dallas, and yesterday the jury returned its verdict (PDF). They found that Nintendo infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,864,796, first filed in 1999, which describes "systems and methods for evaluating movement of a body relative to an environment." The patent drawings show a body-mounted motion detector that could detect falls in the elderly, which is the market that iLife was targeting, according to its now defunct website. The $10.1 million was less than 10 percent of what iLife's attorneys had been asking for. When the trial began in Dallas on August 21, Law360 reported that iLife lawyers asked the jury for a $144 million payout. That damage demand was based on a royalty of $4 per Wii unit, multiplied by 36 million systems sold in the six years before the lawsuit was filed.

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With Android Oreo, Google Is Introducing Linux Kernel Requirements
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 11:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ticket-to-ride department:
Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: As is easy to tell by comparing versions of Android from different handset manufacturers, developers are -- broadly speaking -- free to do whatever they want with Android, but with Oreo, one aspect of this is changing. Google is introducing a new requirement that OEMs must meet certain requirements when choosing the Linux kernel they use. Until now, as pointed out by XDA Developers, OEMs have been free to use whatever Linux kernel they wanted to create their own version of Android. Of course, their builds still had to pass Google's other tests, but the kernel number itself was not an issue. Moving forward, Android devices running Oreo must use at least kernel 3.18, but there are more specific requirements to meet as well. Google explains on the Android Source page: "Android O mandates a minimum kernel version and kernel configuration and checks them both in VTS as well as during an OTA. Android device kernels must enable the kernel .config support along with the option to read the kernel configuration at runtime through procfs."

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Near Earth Asteroid 'Florence' Makes a Close Pass
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 09:00 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sprit-in-the-sky department:
kbahey writes: A big, bright, near-Earth asteroid, known as 3122 Florence, made a safe fly by Friday night. Florence is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. At its closest, it was about 7 million km (4.4 million miles) away from earth. It is still visible in amateur telescopes over the next few days where it would be seen to move over several minutes against the background stars. It can be located using this map. According to NASA officials, the asteroid hasn't been this close to Earth since 1890, and it won't be this close again until 2500. "Asteroid 3122 Florence was discovered in 1981 by astronomer Schelte 'Bobby' Bus at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia," reports Space.com. "The asteroid is named in honor of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who pioneered modern nursing, NASA officials said in a separate statement."

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Power Company Kills Nuclear Plant, Plans $6 Billion In Solar, Battery Investment
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's plan-B department:
Socguy writes: After being unable to complete the Levy County Nuclear Plant a few years ago, Duke energy abandoned it, leaving rate payers on the hook. Duke is now in the process of settling legal action as a result. As part of the settlement Duke will construct or acquire 700MW of solar capacity over four years in the western Florida area, construct 50MW of battery storage, undertake grid modernizations and install 530 electric car charging stations. "The Levy nuclear plant was proposed in 2008 and ran into hurdles early on," reports Ars Technica. "With cheap natural gas in 2013, Duke Energy Florida became nervous that it might not recuperate costs spent on the nuclear plant, especially with regulatory delays. The company cancelled its engineering and construction agreements in 2013 but said that it was holding open the possibility of returning to Levy someday. Over nine years, about $800 million had been spent on preparatory work for the plant. With Tuesday's announcement, those costs are sunk costs now. But overall, the changes will save residential customers future nuclear-related rate increases. Those customers will see a cost reduction of $2.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) 'through the removal of unrecovered Levy Nuclear Project costs,' the utility said. The 700MW of solar won't exactly cover the nameplate capacity of the Levy plant, which was supposed to deliver 2.2 gigawatts to the region. But the Tampa Bay Times wrote that Duke 'is effectively giving up its long-held belief that nuclear power is a key component to its Florida future and, instead, making a dramatic shift toward more solar power.'"

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Is Apple Copying Palm's WebOS?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's almost-forgotten department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Salon: Released in 2009 by Palm -- the same company that popularized the PDA in the 1990s -- WebOS pioneered a number of innovations, including multiple synchronized calendars, unified social media and contact management, curved displays, wireless charging, integrated text and Web messaging, and unintrusive notifications [that have all been copied by the mobile operating systems that defeated it on the marketplace]. The operating system, built on top of a Linux kernel, was also legendary for how easily it could be upgraded by users with programming skills. WebOS was also special in that it used native internet technologies like JavaScript for local applications. That was a huge part of why it was able to do so much integration with Web services, something its competitors at the time simply couldn't match. Apple's upcoming iOS 11 once again demonstrates how far ahead of its time WebOS really was. The yet-to-be-released Apple mobile system has essentially copied the WebOS model for switching apps by having the user swipe upward from the bottom to reveal several "cards" that represent background applications. While Apple's decision to remove its massively overworked Home button is an improvement, it is still an inferior way of switching apps, compared to what you could do on WebOS eight years ago.

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ReactOS 0.4.6 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
OS News reports that the latest version of ReactOS has been released: 0.4.6 is a major step towards real hardware support. Several dual boot issues have been fixed and now partitions are managed in a safer way avoiding corruption of the partition list structures. ReactOS Loader can now load custom kernels and HALs. Printing Subsystem is still greenish in 0.4.6, however Colin Finck has implemented a huge number of new APIs and fixed some of the bugs reported and detected by the ReactOS automated tests. Regarding drivers, Pierre Schweitzer has added an NFS driver and started implementing RDBSS and RXCE, needed to enable SMB support in the future, Sylvain Petreolle has imported a Digital TV tuning device driver and the UDFS driver has been re-enabled in 0.4.6 after fixing several deadlocks and issues which was making it previously unusable. Critical bugs and leakages in CDFS, SCSI and HDAUDBUS have been also fixed. General notes, tests, and changelog for the release can be found at their respective links. A less technical community changelog for ReactOS 0.4.6 is also available. ISO images are ready at the ReactOS Download page.

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Huawei Unveils AI Mobile Chipset Said To Rival A11 Processor In Upcoming iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 01:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's neural-processing-unit department:
On Saturday, Chinese mobile maker Huawei unveiled its first artificial intelligence smartphone chipset, which it hopes will lure customers away from Apple's upcoming range of new iPhones and towards the Asian company's "most powerful handset yet," the Mate 10, which is set to debut next month. Mac Rumors reports: Huawei touted the Kirin 970 AI mobile chipset's built-in "neural processing unit" at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, claiming that the technology is "20 times faster" than a traditional processor. The world's third largest smartphone maker claimed that mobile devices powered by the Kirin 970 will be able to "truly know and understand their users," by supporting real-time image recognition, voice interaction, and intelligent photography with ease. According to Nikkei, the Kirin 970 integrates 5.5 billion transistors in a single square centimeter about the size of a thumbnail, which includes an octa-core central processing unit, a 12-core graphics processing unit, a dual-image signal processor, a high-speed 1.2Gbps Cat.18 modem, and AI mobile computing architecture. The Kirin 970 is said to be based on the same 10-nanometer technology as Apple's existing A10X Fusion processor and the A11 processor that will power its new iPhone range, set to debut this month. The Mate 10 is said to be a bezel-less all-screen handset with a 6-inch, 2:1 display and a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution. Like Apple's so-called "iPhone 8," the Mate 10 is also expected to feature some form of facial recognition and improved cameras.

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Some Instagram Employees Sell Verification For Thousands of Dollars
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 11:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's name-your-price department:
An anonymous reader shares a report from Mashable, written by Kerry Flynn: "I mean if Mashable wants to pay for it, I can get you a blue check over night," reads a recent Twitter direct message. This is a guy who knows a guy, a middleman in the black market for Instagram verification, where anyone from a seasoned publicist to a 22-year-old digital marketer will offer to verify an account -- for a price. The fee is anywhere from a bottle of wine to $15,000, according to a dozen sources who have sold verification, bought verification for someone else, or directly know someone who has done one or the other. "These guys pay all their bills from one to two blue checks a month," another message from the middleman added later. The product for sale isn't a good or a service. It's a little blue check designated for public figures, celebrities, and brands on Instagram. It grants users a prime spot in search as well as access to special features. More importantly, it's a status symbol. But it's clear from people who spoke on the condition of anonymity, many of whom have their own blue checkmarks, that a black market for Instagram verification is alive and well. "Instagram has helped create this underground market," the report adds. "While anyone can apply for verification on Facebook and on Twitter, Instagram has made itself exclusive and therefore rather elitist. Influencers who have press clippings and work with big brands on sponsorship deals often can't manage to get that elusive blue checkmark, according to several verified and unverified influencers and people who have sold verification."

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Thousands of Job Applicants Citing Top Secret US Government Work Exposed In Amazon Server Data Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 10:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-fully-realized department:
According to Gizmodo, "Thousands of files containing the personal information and expertise of Americans with classified and up to Top Secret security clearances have been exposed by an unsecured Amazon server, potentially for most of the year." From the report: The files have been traced back to TigerSwan, a North Carolina-based private security firm. But in a statement on Saturday, TigerSwan implicated TalentPen, a third-party vendor apparently used by the firm to process new job applicants. "At no time was there ever a data breach of any TigerSwan server," the firm said. "All resume files in TigerSwan's possession are secure. We take seriously the failure of TalentPen to ensure the security of this information and regret any inconvenience or exposure our former recruiting vendor may have caused these applicants. TigerSwan is currently exploring all recourse and options available to us and those who submitted a resume." Found on an insecure Amazon S3 bucket without the protection of a password, the cache of roughly 9,400 documents reveal extraordinary details about thousands of individuals who were formerly and may be currently employed by the U.S. Department of Defense and within the U.S. intelligence community. The files, unearthed this summer by a security analyst at the California-based cybersecurity firm UpGuard, were discovered in a folder labeled "resumes" containing the curriculum vitae of thousands of U.S. citizens holding Top Secret security clearances -- a prerequisite for their jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the U.S. Secret Service, among other government agencies.

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The Solar Eclipse of 2017 Destroyed Lots of Rental Camera Gear
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 09:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blind-spot department:
Despite numerous warnings sent out to renters, a number of LensRental's camera equipment came back damaged and destroyed from the solar eclipse of 2017. PetaPixel provides pictures in a report that shows some of the damage. One photo, for example, "shows a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens that had its aperture blades partially melted by the sun during the eclipse," while another shows a Canon 7D Mark II shutter being burned so bad that "the heat went past it and damaged the sensor behind it as well." LensRentals, one of the leading camera rental companies, writes about the destruction in a blog post on their website: The most common problem we've encountered with damage done by the eclipse was sensors being destroyed by the heat. We warned everyone in a blog post to buy a solar filter for your lens, and also sent out mass emails and fliers explaining what you need to adequately protect the equipment. But not everyone follows the rules, and as a result, we have quite a few destroyed sensors. To my personal surprise, this damage was far more visually apparent than I even expected, and the photos below really make it visible. The images above are likely created because people were shooting in Live View mode, allowing them to compose the image using the back of their screen, instead of risking damage to their eyes by looking through the viewfinder. However, those who didn't use live view (and hopefully guess and checked instead of staring through the viewfinder), were more likely to face damage to their camera's mirror. While this damage was far rarer, we did get one particular camera with a damaged mirror box caused by the sun.

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Finland To Introduce Law Next Year Phasing Out Coal
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 09:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's planning-for-the-future department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Finland will introduce legislation next year to phase out coal and increase carbon taxes, a top government official told Reuters, which would require the country to find alternative energy sources to keep its power system stable. Coal produces roughly 10 percent of the energy consumed by Finland, which is the Nordics' heaviest coal consumer and burned about 4.1 million tons of oil equivalent in 2016. "This strategy has a goal of getting rid of coal as an energy source by 2030 [...] We have to write a law [...] and that will be next year," Riku Huttunen, director general in Finland's energy department, said. The law will, however, leave "room for manoeuvre" to ensure security of supply, he said, meaning coal-fired power plants could still be available to avoid the risk of blackouts. Finland is increasing its nuclear capacity, which could replace coal. But that may not be sufficient, a Nordic power trader said, as Finland will receive less nuclear power from neighboring Sweden, which is phasing out two reactors. Helsinki is raising its nuclear power capacity to reduce dependency on Russian energy imports. Two new reactors, Olkiluoto 3 and Hanhikivi 1, are due to go online in 2018 and 2024, respectively.

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AT&T Uverse Modems Found To Have Several Serious Security Vulnerabilities
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 07:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's careless-vulnerabilities department:
dustman81 writes: AT&T Uverse modems were found to have several serious vulnerabilities, including a superuser account with hardcoded username/password exposed to the internet via SSH, a HTTP server with little authentication which allows command injection, and an internet exposed service which exposes internal clients to external attacks. Information security consulting and software development firm Nomotion reports the findings in their blog: "It was found that the latest firmware update (9.2.2h0d83) for the NVG589 and NVG599 modems enabled SSH and contained hardcoded credentials which can be used to gain access to the modem's 'cshell' client over SSH. The cshell is a limited menu driven shell which is capable of viewing/changing the WiFi SSID/password, modifying the network setup, re-flashing the firmware from a file served by any tftp server on the internet, and even controlling what appears to be a kernel module whose sole purpose seems to be to inject advertisements into the user's unencrypted web traffic. Although no clear evidence was found suggesting that this module is actually being used currently, it is present, and vulnerable. Aside from the most dangerous items listed above, the cshell application is also capable of many other privileged actions. The username for this access is remotessh and the password is 5SaP9I26." The report continues to detail the other vulnerabilities: Default credentials 'caserver' https server NVG599; Command injection 'caserver' https server NVG599; Information disclosure/hardcoded credentials; and Firewall bypass no authentication. Further reading: FierceTelecom; The Register

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Google Conducted Hollywood 'Interventions' To Change Look of Computer Scientists
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 06:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover department:
theodp writes: Most TV computer scientists are still white men," USA Today reports. "Google wants to change that. Google is calling on Hollywood to give equal screen time to women and minorities after a new study the internet giant funded found that most computer scientists on television shows and in the movies are played by white men. The problem with the hackneyed stereotype of the socially inept, hoodie-clad white male coder? It does not inspire underrepresented groups to pursue careers in computer science, says Daraiha Greene, Google CS in Media program manager, multicultural strategy." According to a Google-funded study conducted by Prof. Stacy L. Smith and the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Google's Computer Science in Media team conducted "CS interventions" with "like-minded people" to create "Google influenced storytelling." The executive summary for a USC study entitled Cracking the Code: The Prevalence and Nature of Computer Science Depictions in Media notes that "Google influenced" TV programs include HBO's Silicon Valley and AMC's Halt and Catch Fire. The USC researchers also note that "non-tech focused programs may offer prime opportunities to showcase CS in unique and counter-stereotypical ways. As the Google Team moves forward in its work with series such as Empire, Girl Meets World, Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street, or The Amazing Adventures of Gumball, it appears the Team is seizing these opportunities to integrate CS into storytelling without a primary tech focus." The study adds, "In the case of certain series, we provided on-going advisement. The Fosters, Miles from Tomorrowland, Halt and Catch Fire, Ready, Jet, Go, The Powerpuff Girls and Odd Squad are examples of this. In addition to our continuing interactions, we engaged in extensive PR and marketing support including social media outreach, events and press." Google's TV interventions have even spilled over into public education -- one of Google-sponsored Code.org's signature Hour of Code tutorials last December was Gumball's Coding Adventure, inspired by the Google-advised Cartoon Network series, The Amazing Adventures of Gumball. "We need more students around the world pursuing an education in CS, particularly girls and minorities, who have historically been underrepresented in the field," explains a Google CS First presentation for educators on the search giant's Hour of Code partnership with Cartoon Network. "Based on our research, one of the reasons girls and underrepresented minorities are not pursuing computer science is because of the negative perception of computer scientists and the relevance of the field beyond coding." According to a 2015 USC report, President Obama was kept abreast of efforts to challenge media's stereotypical portrayals of women; White House Visitor Records show that USC's Smith, the Google-funded study's lead author, and Google CS Education in Media Program Manager Julie Ann Crommett (now at Disney) were among those present when the White House Council on Women and Girls met earlier that year with representatives of the nation's leading toy makers, media giants, retailers, educators, scientists, the U.S. Dept. of Education, and philanthropists.

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Will Millennials Be Forced Out of Tech Jobs When They Turn 40?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '17 at 03:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Logan's-Run department:
dcblogs shared an interesting article from IEEE-USA's "Insight" newsletter:
Millennials, which date from the 1980s to mid-2000s, are the largest generation. But what will happen to this generation's tech workers as they settle into middle age? Will the median age of tech firms rise as the Millennial generation grows older...? The median age range at Google, Facebook, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Amazon, Salesforce, Apple and Adobe, is 29 to 31, according to a study last year by PayScale, which analyzes self-reported data... Karen Panetta, the dean of graduate engineering education at Tufts University and the vice president of communications and public relations at the IEEE-USA, believes the outcome for tech will be Logan's Run-like, where age sets a career limit... Tech firms want people with the current skills sets and those "without those skills will be pressured to leave or see minimal career progression," said Panetta...
The idea that the tech industry may have an age bias is not scaring the new college grads away. "They see retirement so far off, so they are more interested in how to move up or onto new startup ventures or even business school," said Panetta. "The reality sets in when they have families and companies downsize and it's not so easy to just pick up and go on to another company," she said. None of this may be a foregone conclusion. Millennials may see the experience of today's older workers as a cautionary tale, and usher in cultural changes...
David Kurtz, a labor relations partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, suggests tech firms should be sharing age-related date about their workforce, adding "The more of a focus you place on an issue the more attention it gets and the more likely that change can happen. It's great to get the new hot shot who just graduated from college, but it's also important to have somebody with 40 years of experience who has seen all of the changes in the industry and can offer a different perspective."

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TechRepublic: Mozilla 'Is Desperately Needed to Save the Web'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '17 at 11:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fighting-for-the-future department:
"I can't remember the last time I cared about Mozilla," writes Matt Asay at TechRepublic. "I also can't remember a time when we needed it more."

An anonymous reader quotes TechRepublic:
Mozilla's Firefox is almost a rounding error in desktop market share, and nonexistent in mobile browser market share. It offers a few other services, like Pocket, but largely gets ignored... This is a mistake. Our world is increasingly mediated by the internet, and that internet has just a few gatekeepers, collecting tolls as we browse. As Python guru Matt Harrison put it, "Vendors control the default browser which 99.9% of people use." Those vendors are happy to sell us access to information. Nothing about it is free. You are most definitely the product.

On mobile, where the majority of the world's content is now consumed, Google and Facebook own eight of the top 10 apps, with apps devouring 87% of our time spent on smartphones and tablets, according to new comScore data. For that remaining 13% of time spent on the mobile web, Google and Apple offer the two dominant browsers... the majority of our time online is now mediated by just a few megacorporations, and for the most part their top incentive is to borrow our privacy just long enough to target an ad at us. Then there's Mozilla, an organization whose mantra is "Internet for people, not profit." That feels like a necessary voice to add to today's internet oligopoly, but it's not one we're hearing... We clearly need an organization standing up for web freedom, as expecting Google to do that is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Google does many great things, but its clear incentive is to sell ads. We are Google's product, as the saying goes.
The article applauds the Mozilla-sponsored Rust programming language as promising, "but not to save the web from the all-consuming embrace of Facebook and Google, especially as they wall off the experience in apps...
< article continued at Slashdot's fighting-for-the-future department >

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Reddit's Main Code Is No Longer Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '17 at 09:00 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's changelog-of-the-internet department:
An anonymous reader quotes an announcement from Reddit's founding engineer:
When we open sourced Reddit back in 2008, Reddit Inc was a ragtag organization and the future of the company was very uncertain. We wanted to make sure the community could keep the site alive should the company go under and making the code available was the logical thing to do. Nine years later and Reddit is a very different company and as anyone who has been paying attention will have noticed, we've been doing a bad job of keeping our open-source product repos up to date. This is for a variety of reasons, some intentional and some not so much:
Open-source makes it hard for us to develop some features "in the clear" (like our recent video launch) without leaking our plans too far in advance. As Reddit is now a larger player on the web, it is hard for us to be strategic in our planning when everyone can see what code we are committing. Because of the above, our internal development, production and "feature" branches have been moving further and further from the "canonical" state of the open source repository... We are actively moving away from the "monolithic" version of reddit that works using only the original repository... Because of these reasons, we are making the following changes to our open-source practice. We're going to archive reddit/reddit and reddit/reddit-mobile. These will still be accessible in their current state, but will no longer receive updates.
The announcement has been condensed slightly, but Reddit's founding engineer insists that "We believe in open source, and want to make sure that our contributions are both useful and meaningful. We will continue to open source tools that are of use to engineers everywhere." In addition, "Much of the core of Reddit is based on open source technologies (Postgres, python, memcached, Cassanda to name a few!) and we will continue to contribute to projects we use and modify..."

< article continued at Slashdot's changelog-of-the-internet department >

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