By EditorDavid from Slashdot's conduct-of-code department
TIOBE's methodology "basically...comes down to counting hits for the search query +"<language> programming," TIOBE explains on its web page -- though its results don't always agree with other analysts.
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's seeing-you-in-court department
Uber's terms of service prohibit its drivers from joining class action lawsuits, Gizmodo writes, adding that over 12,000 drivers have now "found a way to weaponize the ridesharing platform's restrictive contract in what's possibly the funniest labor strategy of the year."
An anonymous reader summarizes their report:
Uber's contract requires that all driver lawsuits be arbitrated (instead of argued in open court), but "While arbitrating parties are responsible for paying for their own attorneys, the terms state that 'in all cases where required by law, [Uber] will pay the Arbitrator's and arbitration fees'... A group of 12,501 drivers opted to take Uber at its word, individually bringing their cases up for arbitration, overwhelming the infrastructure...." (Gizmodo calls it Uber's arbitration policy "coming back to bite it in the ass.") A petition in California's Northern District Court points out that Uber now is apparently overwhelmed. "Of those 12,501 demands, in only 296 has Uber paid the initiating filing fees necessary for an arbitration to commence [...] only 47 have appointed arbitrators, and [...] in only six instances has Uber paid the retainer fee of the arbitrator to allow the arbitration to move forward."
The drivers' lawyers are now complaining that Uber's delinquincies "make clear it does not actually support arbitration; rather, it supports avoiding any method of dispute resolution, no matter the venue... At this point, it is fair to ask whether Uber's previous statements to the 9th Circuit about its desire to facilitate arbitration with its drivers were nothing more than empty promises to avoid litigating a class action."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Rust-never-sleeps department
"The Rust programming language team has announced the first major edition of Rust since 1.0 was released in 2015," reports SD Times -- specifically, Rust 1.31, the first edition of "Rust 2018," described by Rust's developers as "the culmination of feature stabilization."
An anonymous reader writes:
The Rust team is working hard to maintain backwards compatibility, for example with the way they're handling the ongoing addition of an async/await feature. "Even though the feature hasn't landed yet, the keywords are now reserved," notes the Rust Team. "All of the breaking changes needed for the next three years of development (like adding new keywords) are being made in one go, in Rust 1.31." The keyword "try" has now also been reserved, but "Almost all of the new features are 100% compatible with Rust as it is. They don't require any breaking changes... New versions of the compiler will continue to support "Rust 2015 mode", which is what you get by default... [Y]ou could think of Rust 2018 as the specifier in Cargo.toml that you use to enable the handful of features that require breaking changes."
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Rapid global warming caused the largest extinction event in the Earth's history, which wiped out the vast majority of marine and terrestrial animals on the planet, scientists have found. The mass extinction, known as the "great dying," occurred around 252m years ago and marked the end of the Permian geologic period. The study of sediments and fossilized creatures show the event was the single greatest calamity ever to befall life on Earth, eclipsing even the extinction of the dinosaurs 65m years ago. Up to 96% of all marine species perished while more than two-thirds of terrestrial species disappeared. The cataclysm was so severe it wiped out most of the planet's trees, insects, plants, lizards and even microbes.
The researchers used paleoceanographic records and built a model to analyze changes in animal metabolism, ocean and climate conditions. When they used the model to mimic conditions at the end of the Permian period, they found it matched the extinction records. According to the study, this suggests that marine animals essentially suffocated as warming waters lacked the oxygen required for survival. The great dying event, which occurred over an uncertain timeframe of possibly hundreds of years, saw Earth's temperatures increase by around 10C (18F). Oceans lost around 80% of their oxygen, with parts of the seafloor becoming completely oxygen-free. Scientists believe this warming was caused by a huge spike in greenhouse gas emissions, potentially caused by volcanic activity.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-time-in-history department
NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars less than two weeks ago, has recorded vibrations -- low-pitched, guttural rumblings -- caused by wind blowing across the science instruments on the spacecraft's deck. NBC News reports: Unaltered, these vibrations are barely audible, because they were recorded at a frequency of 50 hertz, at the low end of what the human ear can detect, according to Thomas Pike, the lead scientist for InSight's Short Period Seismometer, one of two instruments that picked up the subtle movements. NASA also released a sample of the same audio file that was shifted up about six octaves, to within a range audible to humans. That recording -- which at times sounds like a regular blustery day on Earth and other times has the muted, hollow quality reminiscent of being underwater -- would essentially be what a person would hear if they were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars, said Don Banfield, the science lead for InSight's air pressure sensor and a planetary scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. NASA believes the wind in the recordings was blowing at 10-15 miles per hour from northwest to southeast.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's seven-years-later department
Google is pulling support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich more than seven years after it was first introduced. The company announced in a blog post that Google Play services will no longer provide updates for the APIs (14 and 15) used by applications running on ICS. VentureBeat reports: Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), as Android 4.0 to 4.0.4 is more affectionately known, was a landmark operating system in many ways, ushering in a whole new set of interface guidelines -- with a more minimalist design, not to mention groundbreaking features such as near-field communication (NFC), lockscreen support for camera and music controls, and facial recognition smarts for unlocking devices.
App developers who currently offer minimum support of API level 16 (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) and over won't have to do anything as a result of these changes. However, if their apps currently support API level 14 or 15, they will encounter a build error when updating to a newer SDK version. Google is now recommending that all developers target API level 16 as the bare minimum, which means those still using Ice Cream Sandwich on their Android device won't even see the app update in Google Play, let alone be able to download it.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trying-to-slide-under-the-radar department
"Today, a bail hearing was held for Huawei's chief financial officer, who was arrested in Canada on Saturday at the request of U.S. law enforcement," reports The Verge. "The CFO, Meng Wanzhou, is facing extradition to the U.S. for conspiring to defraud banking institutions, according to the Star Vancouver." The Verge reports that her main defense is "a PowerPoint presentation that Meng had once given to explain to a bank in Hong Kong that Huawei had not violated any U.S. sanctions." From the report: Many lined up to see Meng's bail hearing today, after the extremely high-profile arrest that signified the first major break in a U.S. probe that has mostly been kept from the public. The U.S. has an arrest warrant out for Meng that was issued by a New York court on August 22nd. It has 60 days from the time of Meng's arrest on Saturday to provide Canadian courts with evidence and intent.
Meng served on the board for a Hong Kong-based company called Skycom, which allegedly did business with Iran between 2009 and 2014. U.S. banks worked with Huawei at this time, so Iran sanctions were violated indirectly, and Meng therefore committed fraud against these banks. Skycom reportedly had connections to Huawei and at the bail hearing today, Gibb-Carsley argued that Skycom was an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei's, using the same company logo. "Huawei is SkyCom," he said, "This is the crux, I say, of the alleged fraud." The hearing also examined whether Meng would be a flight risk if she was granted the $1 million bail, part of the argument Gibb-Carsley was pushing. "Defense lawyer Martin responded by explaining the Chinese emphasis on saving face, and how Meng wouldn't want her father and Huawei to look bad. Even more than that, 'she would not embarrass China itself,' Martin said."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's history-as-a-guide department
Stephen Mihm, Bloomberg contributor and associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, argues against the use of noncompete agreements (NCAs) because they limit the free flow of employees and discourage innovation. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from his report: The agreements, known as NCAs, forbid workers from taking valuable skills acquired from one employer to a competing firm. They first appeared in the Middle Ages, when master artisans required them of apprentices because they didn't want to face direct competition once their proteges set up shop on their own. Courts eventually sanctioned these restraints, provided they didn't harm the public interest, establish a monopoly or unduly restrain an employee's right to work. But this trend toward wider use of the contracts, which gathered steam from the late 18th century onward, conveniently omitted that they originally applied to skilled laborers operating in a pre-capitalist society. Yet employers increasingly used noncompete clauses to limit the mobility of unskilled wage laborers along with skilled workers.
Have NCAs helped or hindered economic growth? The most famous study looked at California, one of only a handful of states that do not permit NCAs. The de facto prohibition of the agreements affected skilled and non-skilled workers alike, and employees high and low could jump from job to job without any fear of legal reprisal. The mobility seems to have disseminated innovation very swiftly from company to company, creating the kind of dynamism and technological spillover that helps foster long-term success. The prohibition of NCAs clearly benefited Silicon Valley. Further proof was provided by the comparison to another claimant to high-tech supremacy: Route 128 in Massachusetts. The conclusion was that California's ban -- and the embrace of the agreements in Massachusetts -- helped tilt the balance of power to California.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's passing-the-baton department
"IBM has agreed to sell select software products to HCL Technologies," writes Slashdot reader virtig01. "Included among these is everyone's favorite email and calendaring tool, Lotus Notes and Domino." TechCrunch reports: IBM paid $3.5 billion for Lotus back in the day. The big pieces here are Lotus Notes, Domino and Portal. These were a big part of IBM's enterprise business for a long time, but last year Big Blue began to pull away, selling the development part to HCL, while maintaining control of sales and marketing. This announcement marks the end of the line for IBM involvement. With the development of the platform out of its control, and in need of cash after spending $34 billion for Red Hat, perhaps IBM simply decided it no longer made sense to keep any part of this in-house. As for HCL, it sees an opportunity to continue to build the Notes/Domino business. "The large-scale deployments of these products provide us with a great opportunity to reach and serve thousands of global enterprises across a wide range of industries and markets," C Vijayakumar, president and CEO at HCL Technologies, said in a statement announcing the deal.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's surprise-surprise department
William P. Barr, President Trump's pick to become the nation's next Attorney General, is a former chief lawyer for Verizon who has opposed net neutrality rules for more than a decade. "Barr, who served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush from 1991-93, warned in 2006 that 'network neutrality regulations would discourage construction of high-speed internet lines that telephone and cable giants are spending tens of billions of dollars to deploy,'" reports Fast Company. From the report: Barr's appointment would be welcome news for at least three major internet service providers and a trade organization -- including Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association -- that have spent more than $600 million lobbying on Capitol Hill since 2008, according to a MapLight analysis. Their lobbying on a key issue was rewarded last December, when the Federal Communications Commission, led by another former Verizon lawyer-turned-Trump appointee, overruled popular opinion by voting to scrap rules that banned internet companies from giving preferential treatment to particular websites or charging consumers more for different types of content.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's dark-side-of-the-moon department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: China is aiming to go where no one has gone before: the far side of the moon. A rocket carrying the Chang'e-4 lunar lander blasted off at about 2:23 a.m. local time on Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. (In the United States, it was still midday Friday). Chinese authorities did not broadcast the launch, but an unofficial live stream recorded near the site showed the rocket rise from the launch pad until its flames looked like a bright star in the area's dark skies. Nearly one hour later, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency reported that Chang'e-4 had successfully launched. Exactly when it will set down at its destination has not yet been announced -- possibly in early January -- but Chang'e-4 will provide the first close-up look at a part of the moon that is eternally out of view from Earth. The rover will attempt to land in the 110-mile-wide Von Karman crater. The crater is within an area known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, a gigantic, 1,600-mile wide crater at the bottom of the moon, which has a mineralogy distinct from other locations. "That may reflect materials from the inside of the moon that were brought up by the impact that created the basin," reports The New York Times. The suite of instruments on the rover and the lander -- cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers -- "will probe the structure of the rocks beneath the spacecraft, study the effects of the solar wind striking the lunar surface," the report says. "Chang'e-4 will also test the ability of making radio astronomy observations from the far side of the moon, without the effects of noise and interference from Earth." It will also see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon's low gravity.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Pushing the cargo bike across a rain-soaked parking lot at a UPS distribution center in Seattle, where the shipper showed off its newest delivery vehicle, I had a realization once the pedal assist kicked in. "Yep, this will totally work," I thought. Bike messengers have long known cycling is the fastest way to get around traffic-choked cities. More commuters are getting it too. Now UPS is giving it a shot: The 111-year-old delivery service has started moving packages around Seattle by electric tricycle, in a yearlong pilot.
The vehicle in question was designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland, Oregon. When the rider starts to pedal, human power pushes the front hub. With a thumb throttle, the rider can draw power from a pair of battery packs in the base of the trike to rear hub motors for the back two wheels, with enough juice for 12 to 18 miles of range. The extra power comes in handy because the trailer, made by Portland's Silver Eagle, can fit as many as 40 packages, or about 350 pounds worth of stuff. For UPS the move is pretty spot on, because while the Emerald City is always congested, it's less than two months from what its traffic engineers call the "period of maximum constraint."
That ominous-sounding constrained period arrives on February 4, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct elevated highway along the waterfront is torn down and the 2-mile tunnel Seattle dug to replace it comes online. Crews are finishing the ramps that connect the tunnel to surface roads, and for three weeks, the city won't have a road to get through downtown on the city's waterfront side. To dodge the traffic horror show, Seattleites are planning vacations, renting Airbnbs to stay downtown, anything to avoid driving, including working from home.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department
Chinese mobile app companies pose the same national security risk to the US as telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE, Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. From a report: Recent US legislation largely banned Huawei and ZTE from use by the government and its contractors, due to concerns about surveillance and other national security risks. Now Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is signaling that Chinese app developers may face similar scrutiny from lawmakers, corporate America, and the intelligence community.
Warner's comments follow a recent BuzzFeed News report that popular apps from China's Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech were exploiting user permissions to engage in a form of ad fraud. Eight Android apps with more than 2 billion total downloads were said to be engaging in a form of app-install ad fraud. Google subsequently removed two of the apps from the Play store and said it continues to investigate. Cheetah and Kika deny engaging in app-install fraud. "Under Chinese law, all Chinese companies are ultimately beholden to the Communist Party, not their board or shareholders, so any Chinese technology company -- whether in telecom or mobile apps -- should be seen as extensions of the state and a national security risk," Warner said in an interview this week with BuzzFeed News. Further reading: Sen. Warner calls for US cyber doctrine, new standards for security.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's when-an-algorithm-decides department
An anonymous reader shares a report: One day this fall, Ashutosh Garg, the chief executive of a recruiting service called Eightfold.ai, turned up a resume that piqued his interest. It belonged to a prospective data scientist, someone who unearths patterns in data to help businesses make decisions, like how to target ads. But curiously, the resume featured the term "data science" nowhere.
Instead, the resume belonged to an analyst at Barclays who had done graduate work in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Though his profile on the social network LinkedIn indicated that he had never worked as a data scientist, Eightfold's software flagged him as a good fit. He was similar in certain key ways, like his math and computer chops, to four actual data scientists whom Mr. Garg had instructed the software to consider as a model.
The idea is not to focus on job titles, but "what skills they have," Mr. Garg said. "You're really looking for people who have not done it, but can do it." The power of such technology will be immediately apparent to any employer scrambling to fill jobs in a tight labor market -- not least positions for data scientists, whom companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are competing to attract. Thanks to services like Eightfold, which rely on sophisticated algorithms to match workers and jobs, many employers may soon have access to a universe of prospective workers -- even for hard-to-fill roles -- whom they might not otherwise have come across.Read Replies (0)