By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-joking-matter department
According to a new report from The Verge, Facebook moderators in Phoenix, Arizona reportedly make just $28,800 a year and use sex and drugs to deal with the stress. "The report published on Monday detailed the experiences of current and former employees who worked at professional services company Cognizant, a company they say Facebook outsources its moderating efforts to," Gizmodo summarizes. "According to the report, employees experienced severe mental health distress, which they coped with by having sex at the office and smoking weed. Some even began believing the conspiracy theories they were tasked with reviewing. One quality assurance manager said he began bringing a gun to work in response to threats from fired workers." From the report: "There was nothing that they were doing for us," one former moderator told The Verge, "other than expecting us to be able to identify when we're broken. Most of the people there that are deteriorating -- they don't even see it. And that's what kills me." "Randy," a quality assurance worker at Cognizant charged with reviewing posts flagged by moderators, said that several times over his year at the company he was approached and intimidated by moderators to change his decisions. "They would confront me in the parking lot and tell me they were going to beat the shit out of me," Randy told The Verge. He also said that fired Cognizant employees made what he believed to be genuine threats of harm to their former colleagues. Randy started to bring a concealed gun to the office to protect himself.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's torture-music department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: You may not give a second thought to the tunes spinning on a constant loop at your favorite cafe or coffee shop, but one writer and podcaster who had to listen to repetitive music for years while working in bars and restaurants argues it's a serious workers' rights issue. "[It's] the same system that's used to [...] flood people out of, you know, the Branch Davidian in Waco or was used on terror suspects in Guantanamo -- they use the repetition of music," Adam Johnson told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. "I'm not suggesting that working at Applebee's is the same as being at Guantanamo, but the principle's the same."
Earlier this year, irritated Starbucks employees took to Reddit to rage about how they had to listen to the same songs from the Broadway hit musical Hamilton on repeat while on the job. One user wrote that if they heard a Hamilton song one more time, "I'm getting a ladder and ripping out all of our speakers from the ceiling." As a solution, he suggested health inspectors could enforce better working conditions, or a tip line could be created for people to report poor working conditions, like repetitive music. Another solution? Communication, says neuroscientist Jessica Grahn. She studies music, which science has shown to be one of the strongest influencers of mood, she said. It can calm dementia patients struggling with depression or anger, or increase our endurance when we're working out. However, there are downsides to the power of music. Unlike how we can close our eyes to things we don't want to see, we can't close our ears to sound. Having control over one's environment can make a big difference, said Grahn, which is why she recommends employers and employees talk about why certain music is being played, or what they can do to switch things up.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trying-to-calm-everyone-down department
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is defending the company's $479 million contract with the Pentagon to supply augmented reality headsets to the U.S. military. "We made a principled decision that we're not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy," he told CNN Business at Mobile World Congress. "We were very transparent about that decision and we'll continue to have that dialogue [with employees]," he added during the exclusive interview. From the report: Microsoft was awarded the contract to supply "Integrated Visual Augmentation System" prototypes to the U.S. military in November. The company could eventually deliver over 100,000 headsets under the contract. Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology allows users to see the world around them, but with virtual graphics overlaid. The Israeli military, which has taken delivery of some HoloLens headsets, says the technology can be used to help commanders visualize the battlefield and field medics to consult doctors. According to procurement documents, the U.S. military is seeking a single platform that provides its forces with "increased lethality, mobility and situational awareness" in combat. Microsoft employees have recently circulated a letter addressed to Nadella and Brad Smith, the company's president and chief legal officer, arguing that the company should not supply its HoloLens technology to the U.S. military. "It's not about taking arbitrary action by a single company, it's not about 50 people or 100 people or even 100,000 people in a company," he said. "It's really about being a responsible corporate citizen in a democracy."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fake-it-till-you-break-it department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A team of academics from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany say they've managed to break the digital signing system and create fake signatures on 21 of 22 desktop PDF viewer apps and five out of seven online PDF digital signing services. This includes apps such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, and LibreOffice, and online services like DocuSign and Evotrust --just to name the most recognizable names. The five-person research team has been working since early October 2018 together with experts from Germany's Computer Emergency Response Team (BSI-CERT) to notify impacted services. The team went public with their findings over the weekend after all affected app makers and commercial companies finished patching their products. In research published today, the Ruhr-University Bochum team described three vulnerabilities that they found in the digital signing process used by several desktop and web-based PDF signing services. Summarized, they are:
1. Universal Signature Forgery (USF) -- vulnerability lets attackers trick the signature verification process into showing users a fake panel/message that the signature is valid.
2. Incremental Saving Attack (ISA) -- vulnerability lets attackers add extra content to an already signed PDF document via the "incremental saving (incremental update)" mechanism, but without breaking the already-existing signature.
3. Signature Wrapping (SWA) -- vulnerability is similar to ISA, but the malicious code also contains extra logic to fool the signature validation process into "wrapping" around the attacker's extra content, effectively digitally signing the incremental update. Additional details about the three vulnerabilities are available in this PDF research paper [1, 2], this blog post, and this dedicated website.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's reorganization-plans department
bbsguru writes: Windstream Holdings Inc. of Arkansas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, less than two weeks after a federal court judge found that the 2015 spinoff of its fiber and copper assets into a separate company ran afoul of bond covenants, exposing the company to a $310 million judgment. Windstream, a spinoff of the old Alltel Corp. of Arkansas, reported $5.8 billion in revenue in 2017. It employs about 13,000 companywide. CEO Tony Thomas said in a press release that the reorganization is "a necessary step to address the financial impact" of the judge's decision and "the impact it would have on consumers and businesses across the states in which we operate." "Taking this proactive step will ensure that Windstream has access to the capital and resources we need to continue building on Windstream's strong operational momentum while we engage in constructive discussions with our creditors regarding the terms of a consensual plan of reorganization," Thomas said. "We acted decisively to secure the long-term financial stability of Windstream, and we are confident that, upon completion of the reorganization process, we will be even better positioned to invest in our business, expand our speed and capabilities for our customers and compete for the long term." A court approval of a reorganization plan will allow the company to continue paying its employees and maintain relationships with vendors, business partners and customers, Thomas said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's future department
Last week, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried an Israeli-made spacecraft named Beresheet beyond the grasp of Earth's gravity and sent it on its way to the surface of the moon. On board Beresheet is a specially designed disc encoded with a 30-million-page archive of human civilization built to last billions of years into the future. From a report: The backup for humanity has been dubbed "The Lunar Library" by its creator, the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF). "The idea is to place enough backups in enough places around the solar system, on an ongoing basis, that our precious knowledge and biological heritage can never be lost," the nonprofit's co-founder Nova Spivack told CNET via email.
The disc aboard Beresheet is about the size and thickness of a DVD, but consists of 25 stacked thin nickel films that AMF insists can resist radiation, extreme temperatures and other harsh conditions found in space for billions of years. There is, of course, no way to test how long it will last, but if it survives as long as hoped, the disc may even be around longer than the moon itself. The top four layers are actually filled with 60,000 pages of tiny analog images that can be viewed with optical microscope technology that's been around for centuries. The images include a sort of users' guide explaining human language, the contents of the disc and how to access the deeper layers containing compressed digital data.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-concerns department
Leading US paleontologists are calling for a worldwide halt to the sale of vertebrate dinosaur fossils. The booming market for specimens, driven by their popularity with wealthy private collectors, including Hollywood stars, is pushing up prices and putting them out of reach of museums and scientists, they say. From a report: While the art market is organized around brand-name artists, dinosaur sales are all about celebrity species, with a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton fetching up to $10m, although the velociraptor is the most prized. The price tag for a triceratops's skull is $170,000 to $400,000, and a diplodocus is $570,000 to $1.1m. Last year a complete egg of an aepyornis maximus, otherwise known as an elephant bird, sold for $130,000 -- roughly five times what it would have gone for a decade earlier.
Last year the US Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology (SVP) called on the Parisian auction house Aguttes to cancel a sale inside the Eiffel tower that contained just one lot: a 29-foot-long dinosaur of a yet-to-be identified species. The winning bidder paid $2.3m for the piece. Executive members of the society drew attention to the claim that the winning bidder could name the species, calling that assertion "misleading because the naming of new species is governed by the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature." "The sale of all fossils is inappropriate," says Catherine Badgley, former president of the SVP, which represents more than 2,200 international palaeontologists. "Many, particularly vertebrate fossils, are rarely common, and it's certainly not the case for dinosaurs. The commodification is in principle inappropriate because it motivates unscrupulous people."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-life department
Drupal 7, which was first released in January 2011, will reach end of life (EOL) in November of 2021, the Drupal Association said today. What this means for your Drupal 7 sites is, as of November 2021: 1. Drupal 7 will no longer be supported by the community at large. The community at large will no longer create new projects, fix bugs in existing projects, write documentation, etc. around Drupal 7.
2. There will be no more core commits to Drupal 7.
3. The Drupal Security Team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 7 core or contributed modules, themes, or other projects. Reports about Drupal 7 vulnerabilities might become public creating 0 day exploits.
4. All Drupal 7 releases on all project pages will be flagged as not supported. Maintainers can change that flag if they desire to.
5. On Drupal 7 sites with the update status module, Drupal Core will show up as unsupported.
6. After November 2021, using Drupal 7 may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans as it no longer gets support.
7. Best practice is to not use unsupported software, it would not be advisable to continue to build new Drupal 7 sites.
8. Now is the time to start planning your migration to Drupal 8.Read Replies (0)