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Human Images From World's First Total-Body Scanner Unveiled
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 07:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Medical Xpress: EXPLORER, the world's first medical imaging scanner that can capture a 3-D picture of the whole human body at once, has produced its first scans. The brainchild of UC Davis scientists Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi, EXPLORER is a combined positron emission tomography (PET) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner that can image the entire body at the same time. Because the machine captures radiation far more efficiently than other scanners, EXPLORER can produce an image in as little as one second and, over time, produce movies that can track specially tagged drugs as they move around the entire body.

EXPLORER will have a profound impact on clinical research and patient care because it produces higher-quality diagnostic PET scans than have ever been possible. EXPLORER also scans up to 40 times faster than current PET scans and can produce a diagnostic scan of the whole body in as little as 20-30 seconds. Alternatively, EXPLORER can scan with a radiation dose up to 40 times less than a current PET scan, opening new avenues of research and making it feasible to conduct many repeated studies in an individual, or dramatically reduce the dose in pediatric studies, where controlling cumulative radiation dose is particularly important.

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Court Again Rules That Cable Giants Can't Weaponize the First Amendment
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 06:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
Charter has been using the argument that their First Amendment rights are being violated as it fights off state lawsuits for its poor service. "It recently tried to use the First Amendment card again in a legal battle with Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which recently accused Charter of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by refusing to carry TV channels run by the African-American-owned ESN," reports Techdirt. "While Charter tried to have the suit dismissed by claiming that the First Amendment prohibits such claims because an ISP enjoys 'editorial discretion,' the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit didn't agree." From the report: The court noted that while ISPs and cable companies do enjoy some First Amendment protection, it doesn't apply here, just like it didn't apply in the net neutrality fight: "As part of its defense, Charter had told the court that by choosing which channels to carry, the company was engaging in a form of editorial discretion protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, it said, the court would have to use a stricter standard to evaluate Entertainment Studios' claim of a legal violation -- a standard that might result in the claim being rejected. The Ninth Circuit said otherwise, saying that just because Charter engages in corporate speech when it selects which channels to carry does not 'automatically' require the court to use the tougher standard."

< article continued at Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department >

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Elon Musk's Extracurricular Antics Reportedly Spark a NASA Safety Probe At SpaceX
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 06:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-first department:
The recent interview Elon Musk conducted with Joe Rogan, where Musk took one puff from a marijuana cigarette after a lengthy conversation around AI, social media and space, is prompting a NASA safety probe at SpaceX. The Washington Post reports that NASA was not amused with Musk's antics and has "ordered a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing as a response to the colorful chief executive's shenanigans," reports TechCrunch. From the report: In an interview, NASA associate administrator for human exploration, William Gerstenmaier, told the Post that the review will begin next year and would examine the "safety culture" of both Boeing and SpaceX. Rather than focus on the safety of the actual rockets, the Post said that the review would look at the hours employees work, drug policies, leadership and management styles, and the responsiveness of both companies to safety concerns from employees. The review is going to be led by the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance within NASA, which has conducted similar probes before, according to the Post report.

According to the NASA official, the process could be "pretty invasive," with the potential for hundreds of interviews with employees at every level and across all locations where the companies operate. At stake is the potential $6.8 billion in contracts the two companies received in 2014 to revive crewed missions to space. SpaceX grabbed $2.6 billion from NASA for the program, while the remainder went to Boeing. In a statement given to the Post, SpaceX said, "We couldn't be more proud of all that we have already accomplished together with NASA, and we look forward to returning human spaceflight capabilities to the United States."

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US Wireless Data Prices Are Among the Most Expensive On Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's surprise-surprise department:
A new study from Finnish research firm Rewheel has found that U.S. wireless consumers pay some of the highest prices for mobile data in the developed world. The mobile data market in the U.S. has the fifth most expensive price per gigabyte smartphone plans among developed nations, and was the most expensive for mobile data overall. Motherboard reports: While the report notes that mobile data prices have dropped 11 percent during the last six months in the States, U.S. mobile data pricing remained significantly higher than 41 countries in the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Normally, having four major wireless carriers helps boost competition, in turn lowering prices. But the Rewheel report was quick to note that the often stunted level of competition seen in U.S. wireless is more akin to countries where there's just three major players. Meanwhile, a monopoly over business data connectivity generally keeps consumer mobile prices high. According to the FCC's own data, 73 percent of the special access market (which feeds everything from ATMs to cellular towers) is controlled by one ISP. This varies depending on the market, but it's usually AT&T, Verizon, or CenturyLink. These high prices to connect to cellular towers then impact pricing for the end user and smaller competitors, those same competitors and consumer groups have long argued. Another area where prices were high: mobile hotspots. The report found that Verizon charges users $710 per month for its 100 gigabyte mobile hotspot plan. That same plan costs between $11 and $23 per month in several European countries.

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Ajit Pai Wants To Raise Rural Broadband Speeds From 10Mbps To 25Mbps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's faster-is-better department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is planning to raise the rural broadband standard from 10Mbps to 25Mbps in a move that would require faster Internet speeds in certain government-subsidized networks. The FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) distributes more than $1.5 billion a year to AT&T, CenturyLink, and other carriers to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas. Carriers that use CAF money to build networks must provide speeds of at least 10Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. The minimum speed requirement was last raised in December 2014.

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he's proposing raising that standard from 10Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps. "[W]'re recognizing that rural Americans need and deserve high-quality services by increasing the target speeds for subsidized deployments from 10/1 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps," Pai wrote in a blog post that describes agenda items for the FCC's December 12 meeting. "[T]he program should support high-quality services; rural Americans deserve services that are comparable to those in urban areas," Pai also wrote. The new speeds "will apply to future projects but won't necessarily apply to broadband projects that are already receiving funding," Ars notes. "For ongoing projects, the FCC will use incentives to try to raise speeds. More money will be offered to carriers that agree to upgrade speeds to 25Mbps/3Mbps, a senior FCC official said in a conference call with reporters."

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Ford Eyes Use of Customers' Personal Data To Boost Profits
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 03:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-only-a-matter-of-time department:
According to industry-watchers, Ford is looking to profit off the data it can collect from its 100 million customers. In addition to the data collected from its infotainment systems and mobile apps, "Ford's CEO recently suggested that the data collected by the company's financial services arm also represents a valuable, low-overhead asset," reports Threatpost. From the report: "We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles," said Ford CEO Jim Hackett during a Freakonomics Radio podcast. "The issue in the vehicle, see, is: We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us. We know what people make. How do we know that? It's because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they're married. We know how long they've lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We've never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that's the leverage we got here with the data."

The comments, which were amplified by several auto-industry sources and the Detroit Free Press, sparked alarm in the Twitterverse. Against the backdrop of privacy disasters at Facebook and other stalwarts of the internet economy, the fear for many is that Ford sees selling access to consumers based on their lifestyle as a way forward. Is Ford considering selling consumer data as a revenue stream? Hackett stopped short of saying that -- and indeed, the data could instead simply be useful to the company internally, as a way to increase the value (and profit) of its other businesses.

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Tumblr Removed From Apple's App Store Over Child Porn Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 03:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
Tumblr has reportedly been removed from Apple's App Store due to child pornography issues. "The app has been missing from the store since November 16th, but until now the reason for its absence was unclear -- initially Tumblr simply said it was 'working to resolve the issue with the iOS app,'" reports The Verge. "However, after Download.com approached Tumblr with sources claiming that the reason was related to the discovery of child pornography on the service, the Yahoo-owned social media network issued a new statement confirming the matter." From the report: In its updated statement, Tumblr said that while every image uploaded to the platform is "scanned against an industry database of child sexual abuse material" to filter out explicit images, a "routine audit" discovered content that was absent from the database, allowing it to slip through the filter. Although Tumblr says the content was immediately removed, its app continues to be unavailable on the App Store. It's still available in the Google Play store for Android users, however.

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Democrats Intend To Probe Ivanka Trump's Use of Personal Email In Next Congress
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's awkward-dynamic department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: Amid reports that first daughter and White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump exchanged hundreds of official government business emails using a personal email account, top Democrats on Capitol Hill "want to know if Ivanka complied with the law" and in the next Congress plan to continue their investigation of the Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat who's in line to become the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next year, promises any potential investigation into Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's emails won't be like the "spectacle" Republicans led in the Clinton email probe.

The Oversight committee has jurisdiction over records and transparency laws, and Cummings helped write an update to the Presidential and Federal Records Acts that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. That measure mandates that every federal employee, including the President, forward any message about official business sent using a private account to the employee's official email account within 20 days. "We launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials' use of private email accounts for official business, but the White House never gave us the information we requested," Cummings, D-Md., noted. "We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this Administration. My goal is to prevent this from happening again -- not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton. My main priority as Chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives."

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Using Airport and Hotel Wi-Fi Is Much Safer Than It Used To Be
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 02:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department:
As you travel this holiday season, bouncing from airport to airplane to hotel, you'll likely find yourself facing a familiar quandary: Do I really trust this random public Wi-Fi network? As recently as a couple of years ago, the answer was almost certainly a resounding no. But in the year of our lord 2018? Friend, go for it. Wired: This advice comes with plenty of qualifiers. If you're planning to commit crimes online at the Holiday Inn Express, or to visit websites that you'd rather people not know you frequented, you need to take precautionary steps that we'll get to in a minute. Likewise, if you're a high-value target of a sophisticated nation state, stay off of public Wi-Fi at all costs. But for the rest of us? You're probably OK. That's not because hotel and airport Wi-Fi networks have necessarily gotten that much more secure. The web itself has.

"A lot of the former risks, the reasons we used to warn people, those things are gone now," says Chet Wisniewski, principle researcher at security firm Sophos. "It used to be because almost nothing on the internet was encrypted. You could sit there and sniff everything. Or someone could set up a rogue access point and pretend to be Hilton, and then you would connect to them instead of the hotel." In those Wild West days, in other words, signing onto a shared Wi-Fi network exposed you to myriad attacks, from hackers tracking your every move online, to so-called man-in-the-middle efforts that tricked you into entering your passwords, credit card information, or more on phony websites. A cheap, easy to use device called a Wi-Fi Pineapple makes those attacks simple to pull off. All of that's still technically possible. But a critical internet evolution has made those efforts much less effective: the advent of HTTPS.

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The Forgotten Legend of Silicon Valley's Flying Saucer Man
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's fascinating-tales department:
Reader pacopico writes: Humans have been spotting UFO-like objects for hundreds of years. But, in the late 1920s, an obscure engineer/artist named Alexander Weygers actually designed a flying saucer and later patented the craft. Bloomberg Businessweek spent two years reporting on the strange tale of Weygers, uncovering a Da Vinci type figure who lived on the outskirts of Silicon Valley in a house he built from recycled materials. Weygers was an engineer, sculptor, photographer, wood carver, tax evader and generally weird dude who lived off the land for decades. He became convinced the military stole his flying saucer design and built the vehicles, and there's some evidence he might be right. Weygers was largely forgotten until an art collector became obsessed with his story and found out everything there was to know about the guy. Overall, he's a symbol of a different, purer time in Silicon Valley.

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'Google, Apple, and Uber Should Be Forced To Share Their Mapping Data'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's greater-good department:
The UK government should encourage companies like Apple, Google, and Uber to publish more map data to help the development of technologies like driverless cars and drones, according to a new report by the Open Data Institute. From a report: This sort of data, which includes addresses and city boundaries, fuels tons of everyday services, from parcel and food deliveries to apps like Google Maps and Uber. Internet giants are sitting on top of vast amounts of geospatial data, but it is largely inaccessible to others. The ODI argues it should be as open as possible as a part of "national infrastructure." Analyzing map data can help communities and organizations make decisions across a vast range of sectors -- for example, how to improve access to a school or hospital.

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Microsoft Now Lets You Log Into Outlook, Skype, Xbox Live With No Password
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-updates department:
You and 800 million other people now can use hardware authentication keys -- and no password at all -- to log on to Microsoft accounts used for Outlook, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Live. From a report: Microsoft is using a technology called FIDO2, which employs hardware keys for the no-password logon, the company said Tuesday. New versions of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system and Edge web browser support the technology. The hardware authentication keys plug into laptop USB ports or, for phones, use Bluetooth or NFC wireless communications to help prove who you are. Initially, they worked in combination with a password for dual-factor authentication, but FIDO2 and a related browser technology called WebAuthn expands beyond that to let the company ditch the password altogether.

Microsoft's no-password logon offers three options: the hardware key combined with Windows Hello face recognition technology or fingerprint ID; the hardware key combined with a PIN code; or a phone running the Microsoft Authenticator app. It works with Outlook.com, Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Xbox Live on the PC, Mixer, the Microsoft Store, Bing and the MSN portal site.

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Canada Has 'No Plan' To Bring Broadband To Rural and Remote Communities, Watchdog Says
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Canada has "no plan" to wire up remote communities that lack high-speed broadband connections, Canada's auditor general said in a scathing report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. From a report: The report comes just two years after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, an Indigenous community at the border of Manitoba and Ontario, and vowed that his government would work to end the digital divide that leaves rural and remote communities without high-speed internet.

"This report says what we already knew, which is that there is no strategy to bring the rest of Canada online," Laura Tribe, executive director of advocacy group Openmedia, said in a phone call. "What we keep hearing from the government is increasing numbers -- 80 percent, 90 percent -- but until we're at 100 percent, the problem isn't solved."

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Hawaii's Mars Simulations Are Canceled
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
The dome where crew members practiced red-planet missions will now be converted to a simulated moon base. Excerpt from a report: For the last five years, a small Mars colony thrived in Hawaii, many miles away from civilization. The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, was carried out in a small white dome nestled along the slope of a massive volcano called Mauna Loa. The habitat usually housed six people at a time, for as long as eight months. They prepared freeze-dried meals, took 30-second showers to conserve water, and wore space suits every time they left the dome. To replicate the communication gap between Earth and Mars, they waited 20 minutes for their emails to reach their family members, and another 20 to hear back. Sometimes, as they drifted off to sleep, with nothing but silence in their ears, they really believed they were on Mars.

In February of this year, something went wrong. The latest and sixth mission was just four days in when one of the crew members was carried out on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, an Atlantic investigation revealed in June. There had been a power outage in the habitat, and some troubleshooting ended with one of the residents sustaining an electric shock. The rest of the crew was evacuated, too. There was some discussion of returning -- the injured person was treated and released in the same day -- but another crew member felt the conditions weren't safe enough and decided to withdraw. The Mars simulation couldn't continue with a crew as small as three, and the entire program was put on hold. [...]

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500,000 Duped Into Downloading Android Malware Posing As Driving Games On Google Play
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Be careful what you're downloading from Google Play. Especially if it's one of 13 apps posing as driving games created by one developer called Luiz Pinto. From a report: More than 560,000 have already been tricked into downloading the games, which include a mix of luxury car and truck simulation apps, as discovered by Android malware researcher Lukas Stefanko. Once installed on a user's Android device, the games don't actually work. Looking at the reviews on Google Play, users who downloaded them complained it was a virus. For instance, among the masses of one-star reviews for the Truck Cargo Simulator, one noted his device slowed down after it forced him to download an app that wasn't the game itself. Many simply called it a scam.

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Valve Quietly Discontinues Steam Link Hardware Production
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department:
Valve is quietly discontinuing Steam Link, the in-home streaming box it first launched in late 2015. From a report: A low-key announcement on Valve's Steam Link news page suggests that production of new units has ceased and that Valve is currently selling off the rest of its "almost sold out" inventory in the US, after selling out completely in Europe. Valve says it will continue to offer support for existing Steam Link hardware.

The $50 Steam Link was designed for streaming games from a local gaming PC to an HDTV in the same house, a job it did pretty well provided your networking hardware was up to it. In recent months, though, Valve has shifted its focus away from dedicated streaming hardware and toward mobile apps that can provide the same feature.

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Samsung's Upcoming Galaxy S Phone Will Sport Six Cameras and Support 5G, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Samsung is planning a major upgrade for its 10th anniversary flagship phones next year, including next-generation 5G network speeds, bigger screens and more cameras, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker by volume, is preparing three versions of its next flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone, with displays that range in size from 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches, the people said, versus two variants in previous years. Those three phones are set to debut in February next year, they added. In addition, the South Korean technology giant is developing a fourth variant of the Galaxy S10 that will be 5G-enabled and is internally code-named "Beyond X," [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] some of these people said.

The 5G phone, slated for a spring release in the U.S. and South Korea, would sport an even larger screen, measuring 6.7 inches diagonally, and pack in a whopping six cameras -- two in the front and four in the back, these people said, which promise richer photos and better spatial perception.

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Department of Commerce Could Be the First US Entity To Broadly Regulate an Aspect of AI
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Dave Gershgorn and Max de Haldevang, writing for Quartz: Artificial intelligence technology has the capability to be the most impactful software advance in history and the US government has no idea how to properly regulate it. The US does know that it doesn't want other countries using its own AI against it. A new proposal published this week by the Department of Commerce lists wide areas of AI software [PDF] that could potentially require a license to sell to certain countries. These categories are as broad as "computer vision" and "natural language processing." It also lists military-specific products like adaptive camouflage and surveillance technology.

The small number of countries these regulations would target includes a big name in AI: China. Donald Trump, who has placed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as part of a simmering trade war, has long railed against China's alleged theft of intellectual property. This proposal looks like a warning from US officials, just as Chinese president Xi Jinping aims to boost AI in his own country. "This is intended to be a shot across the bow, directed specifically at Beijing, in an attempt to flex their muscles on just how broad these restrictions could be," says R. David Edelman, a former adviser to president Barack Obama who leads research on technology and public policy issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Retaliatory Cyber Attacks Are Only Way To Stop China, Says Former FBI Director
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's foreign-affairs department:
Targeted cyber attacks and a strong deterrence capability are the most effective way of preventing China and other countries continuing to steal Australian commercial secrets, according to a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. From a report: Louis Freeh, who ran the FBI for almost eight years until 2001, said the threat of criminal charges or jail time would do little to prevent state-sponsored hackers from continuing to steal valuable intellectual property. "It's like trying to serve a subpoena on [Osama] Bin Laden -- it's not very effective," Mr Freeh said on the sidelines of a speech in Sydney on Monday night. His comments come as the federal government considers how best to respond to a surge in cyber attacks directed by China's peak security agency over the past year. An investigation by The Australian Financial Review and Nine News confirmed China's Ministry of State Security (MSS), was responsible for the recent wave of attacks on Australian companies. These formed part of what is known in cyber circles as "Operation Cloud Hopper", which was detected by Australia and its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance.

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Nine Out of Every 10 Silicon Valley Jobs Pays Less Than In 1997, Report Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '18 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's perspective-is-everything department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Mercury News: Nine out of every 10 Silicon Valley jobs pays less now than when Netflix first launched in 1997, despite one of the nation's strongest economic booms and a historically low unemployment rate that outpaces the national average. While tech workers have thrived, employees in the middle of Silicon Valley's income ladder have been hit hardest as their inflation-adjusted wages declined between 12 and 14 percent over the past 20 years, according to a study from UC Santa Cruz's Everett Program for Technology and Social Change and the labor think tank Working Partnership USA, which examined the economic impact of technology companies.

Technology workers saw a median wage increase of 32 percent over the past 20 years, the study found. But Silicon Valley workers in virtually all other areas lost ground during that time. Across all jobs, wages for even the highest-paid 10 percent increased just under 1 percent, the study found. Meanwhile, the region's economy has been booming. Since 2001, the amount of money generated per Silicon Valley resident -- the area's per person GDP -- has grown 74 percent, the study found. That's more than five times faster than the equivalent national growth. Also, a smaller percentage of wealth is going to workers. "In 2001, about 64 percent of the money generated in Silicon Valley went to workers," reports Mercury News. "By 2016, that was down to 60 percent. The drop translated to $9.6 billion -- about $8,480 in potential pay and benefits per worker -- that instead went to investors and owners, according to the study."

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