By BeauHD from Slashdot's too-good-to-be-true department
China's "Transit Elevated Bus" or TEB-1 made headlines last year for its futuristic design that let it straddle two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to pass under it. Now, that very bus is the focus of an investigation. According to Quartz, "police in Beijing announced that it had started an investigation into the company behind the TEB for alleged illegal fundraising." From the report: More than 30 people associated with Huaying Kailai, an online financing platform that has been selling an investment product to raise money from individual investors to develop the bus, have been held, said Beijing's Dongcheng district police bureau in a statement (link in Chinese) on microblogging site Weibo. The statement added that the police is working to recover funds from the firm, and advised TEB investors to report their complaints to local police stations. Huaying Kailai couldn't be reached for comment. The number listed on its website is invalid and a message to the email provided bounced back. Bai Zhiming, who runs Huaying Kailai and is also chief executive of TEB Technology Development, a Beijing-based company that purchased the patent for the elevated bus, was among those detained, according to the police statement. Bai bills himself as "the father of the TEB" on Weibo. Days after the Qinghuangdao government announced the TEB track's demolition, Bai told Chinese media that the bus would be relocated to another Chinese city.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hand-motions department
theodp writes: EdSurge reports that a new PBS show will teach preschoolers how to think like computers. Marisa Wolsky, an executive producer at WGBH Boston, believes television can be a way to teach Computational Thinking. She is in the first stages of creating an animated television show called Monkeying Around [$3,000,000 NSF award] that uses four monkeys to teach the subject. Why monkeys? EdSurge explains, "Initially, Wolsky said her team wanted to use rabbits to teach the kids, but after realizing the animal would need to use its hands, they decided to go with monkeys [Rabbits historically enjoyed success teaching the 3 R's]." In a press release announcing the new pre-K show, WGBH cited "a great deal of national interest in computer science and coding," adding that "it is never too early to start." WGBH is not the only PBS station that's bullish on CS. According to an NSF Award Abstract, "Twin Cities PBS (TPT), the National Girls Collaborative (NGC) and [tech-bankrolled] Code.org will lead Code: SciGirls! Media to Engage Girls in Computing Pathways, a three-year [$2.63 million] project designed to engage 8-13 year-old girls in coding through transmedia programming which inspires and prepares them for future computer science studies and career paths [...] Drawing on narrative transportation theory and character identification theory, TPT will commission two exploratory knowledge-building studies to investigate: To what extent and how do the narrative formats of the Code: SciGirls! online media affect girls' interest, beliefs, and behavioral intent towards coding and code-related careers?" And Code Trip, a PBS series touted by Microsoft that aired in 2016 [$200,000 NSF award], explored computer science opportunities for young people by, as Microsoft explained, following "three students traveling around the country to speak with leaders including Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, and Hadi Partovi, entrepreneur and cofounder of Code.org."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-we-live department
Video games are instrumental in understanding why younger men are working fewer hours, according to a paper published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. From an article: By 2015, American men 31 to 55 were working about 163 fewer hours a year than that same age group did in 2000. Men 21 to 30 were working 203 fewer hours a year. One puzzle is why the working hours for young men fell so much more than those of their older counterparts. The gap between the two groups grew by about 40 hours a year, or a full workweek on average. Other experts have pointed to a host of reasons -- globalization, technological change, the shift to service work -- that employers may not be hiring young men. Instead of looking at why employers don't want young men, this group of economists considered a different question: Why don't young men want to work? Economists Erik Hurst and his colleagues estimate that, since 2004, video games have been responsible for reducing the amount of work that young men do by 15 to 30 hours over the course of a year (syndicated source). Using the recession as a natural experiment, the authors studied how people who suddenly found themselves with extra time spent their leisure hours, then estimated how increases in video game time affected work. Between 2004 and 2015, young men's leisure time grew by 2.3 hours a week. A majority of that increase -- 60 percent -- was spent playing video games, according to government time use surveys. In contrast, young women's leisure time grew by 1.4 hours a week. A negligible amount of that extra time was spent on video games. Likewise for older men and older women: Neither group reported having spent any meaningful extra free time playing video games.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's things-turned-sour department
Yelp has become Google's most tenacious pest, and despite the public outcries the crowd-sourced reviews website has seen little mercy over the years. From an NYTimes article: For six years, Jeremy Stoppelman's (chief executive of Yelp) company has been locked in a campaign on three continents to get antitrust regulators to punish Google, Yelp's larger, richer and more politically connected competitor. He has testified before Congress, written op-ed columns and used Twitter to bash Google's behavior (paywalled). Google wasn't always a rival. At one point, it was a suitor. But out of that union that never happened was born a mighty grudge, perhaps even an obsession. At one point, Yelp held a hackathon to create a sort of alternate-universe Google, the better for it to explain Google's ways to regulators. And then you have Luther Lowe. Mr. Lowe, Yelp's vice president for government relations, once spent $3,000 on a stuffed elephant, because it had been knit by Europe's antitrust chief. Unlike Google, whose office is full of artwork and free food, Yelp's Washington presence is just a rented co-working space. So Mr. Lowe keeps the elephant at Yelp's San Francisco headquarters, where there is more room. "This is a shoestring operation," he said. But after years of trying and failing, that operation has finally landed a good punch. Last Tuesday, the European Union fined Google $2.7 billion -- the largest antitrust fine in its history -- for unfairly favoring its own services over those of its rivals. The fine was related to Google's shopping service, so strictly speaking it had nothing to do with the Yelp-Google dispute, which is part of a separate investigation into local search. Still, Yelp and other American technology companies pushed hard to get regulators to issue a bold condemnation of Google's behavior toward competitors, signing a letter that accused Google of "destroying jobs and stifling innovation." And by affirming that Google is the dominant company in online search -- something most people take for granted -- Tuesday's decision is likely to help Yelp's case.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's story-of-our-lives department
Samsung witnessed a reduction in the number of employees last year in its first manpower cut in seven years due mainly to its restructuring in China, South Korean newspaper Herald reports citing figured published by the company. From the report: The number of employees of the world's largest smartphone and memory chip manufacturer fell 5.2 percent to 308,745 last year from 325,677 the previous year, the data said. By region, domestic employees dropped 3.8 percent to 93,204, and those abroad declined 5.8 percent to 215,541. As of the end of last year, the percentage of the employees at Samsung's companies abroad dropped 0.4 percent to 69.8 percent. The number of Samsung employees in China fell 17.5 percent to 37,070 last year from 44,948 the previous year, while those in North and South America surged 8.5 percent to 25,988.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's heading-into-overtime department
"Remember the story from last week about how the new Seattle minimum wage law was hurting workers?" writes Slashdot reader PopeRatzo. "Well, it turns out that there are some problems with the study's methodology." The Washington Post reports:
First, their data exclude workers at businesses that have more than one location; in other words, while workers at a standalone mom-and-pop restaurant show up in their results, workers at Starbucks and McDonald's don't. Almost 40 percent of workers in Washington state work at multi-location businesses, and since Seattle's minimum wage increase has been larger at large businesses than at small ones -- right now, a worker at a company with more than 500 employees is guaranteed $13.50 an hour, while a worker at a company with fewer than 500 employees is guaranteed only $11 an hour -- these workers' exclusion from the study's results is an especially germane problem (note that low-wage workers in Seattle have had an incentive to switch from small firms to large firms since the minimum wage started rising).
In earlier work, in fact, the University of Washington team's results were different depending on whether these workers were included in their analysis; including them made the effects of the minimum wage look more positive. Second, the University of Washington team does not present enough data for us to assess the validity of its "synthetic control" in Washington -- that is, the set of areas to which they compare the results they observe in Seattle. The Seattle labor market is not necessarily comparable to other labor markets in the state, and given some of the researchers' implausible results, it's hard to believe the comparison group they chose is an appropriate one.
< article continued at Slashdot's heading-into-overtime department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's kernel-mustered department
prisoninmate quotes Softpedia:
After seven weeks of announcing release candidate versions, Linus Torvalds today informs the Linux community through a mailing list announcement about the general availability of the Linux 4.12 kernel series. Development on the Linux 4.12 kernel kicked off in mid-May with the first release candidate, and now, seven weeks later we can finally get our hands on the final release... A lot of great improvements, new hardware support, and new security features were added during all this time, which makes it one of the biggest releases, after Linux 4.9...
Prominent features of the Linux 4.12 kernel include initial support for AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, intial Nvidia GeForce GTX 1000 "Pascal" accelerated support, implementation of Budget Fair Queueing (BFQ) and storage-I/O schedulers, more MD RAID enhancements, support for Raspberry Pi's Broadcom BCM2835 thermal driver, a lot of F2FS optimizations, as well as ioctl for the GETFSMAP space mapping ioctl for both XFS and EXT4 filesystems.
Linus said in announcing the release that "I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits," also noting that 4.9 was a Long Term Support kernel, whereas "4.12 is just plain big."
"There's also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree - it's all just normal development, just more of it than usual."Read Replies (0)