By timothy from Slashdot's you-drive-like-a-grandpa department
HughPickens.com writes: Elizabeth Olsen writes at the NYT that a growing number of older Americans are driving for Uber or its competitor Lyft to augment their retirement income. Older drivers are prized because they usually own their own cars, have adequate auto insurance and, according to insurance statistics, have fewer crashes. For most senior drivers, the biggest advantage is the extra income. Many of those who continue working after 65 do so because they would be too poor otherwise, according to a new report from the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute that found the current retirement system inadequate. But driving for a ride-booking service, some retirees said, also can offer more than money. For George Cameron, a 65-year-old former marine in Mechanicsville, Virginia, retirement was not all it cracked up to be. Chiefly, it was dull. "Although I've got a few community things I'm involved in," says Cameron, "I sit at home and listen to the news. And my wife says I'm getting too close to the dog."
Some drivers say it is a great chance to be independent and earn extra cash on their own schedule. Retirees are insulated from many of the shortcomings of the gig economy. But critics say Uber vastly exaggerates the amount of money a driver can make driving full-time. Its workers are contractors, and don't receive benefits. As with most gig economy work, there's no such thing as a career path. But many seniors don't need (second) careers. Not all of them need full-time work. Forty million of them already have health insurance through Medicare. Some say it is exploitation of older people who work as independent contractors, without any benefits, because their age means they have a harder time finding full-time employment. "You have to work close to 50 hours a week to survive," says Musse Bahta who says he has to spend more time on the road since Uber lowered the per-mile fare to $1.35.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's sudden-losses department
New submitter andyjl writes: The software industry lost one of pioneers on Tuesday, January 20, 2016 when Ed Yourdon died from post-operative complications. Ed was a pioneer of the Structured Programming methodologies, was a prodigious author of software-related books, including topics such as "death march" projects, and the problems of Y2K. He was also a personal friend and fellow forensic software analyst specializing in the analysis of failed software development projects and the lack of software development disciplines. He once told me that he read a item on the Internet (which I cannot find) that said, "whenever a programmer writes a GOTO statement, somewhere a Yourdon dies." I am forced to conclude that one of you programmers out there did indeed write a GOTO statement on Tuesday and I want to know who it was. Look at what you did! Did you really have to use a GOTO?
Adds reader theodp: Yourdon was a successful author, whose Slashdot-reviewed books included Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer, Death March: The Complete Software Developer's Guide to Surviving "Mission Impossible" Projects, Byte Wars: The Impact of September 11 on Information Technology, and Outsourcing: Competing in the Global Productivity Race. Yourdon's Time Bomb 2000!: What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You!, written with daughter Jennifer, was a Y2K best-seller.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's with-grave-concern-for-all department
theodp writes: According to Chalkbeat, the expansion of charter schools, the movement to break New York City's large schools into smaller ones, and the push to teach computer science have something in common: the influence of philanthropy. Though contributions from big donors amount to only a fraction of New York City's education spending, they still have a real impact on public school policy, said Jeffrey Henig, the co-author of The New Education Philanthropy: Politics, Policy and Reform, which details how powerful individuals and organizations increasingly use donations to advance policies they support. Increasingly, Henig adds, some of those donors are paying more attention to advocacy, creating at least the appearance, if not the reality, of grassroots support.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's yeah-but-who's-counting? department
itwbennett writes: According to a new Google report, the search giant disabled more than 780 million "bad ads," including include ads for counterfeit products, misleading or unapproved pharmaceuticals, weight loss scams, phishing ploys, unwanted software and "trick-to-click" cons, globally last year. This marks a 49 percent increase over 2014. For perspective, it would take an individual nearly 25 years to look at the 780 million ads Google removed last year for just one second each, according to Google. If the trend continues, Google's team of more than 1,000 staffers dedicated to killing spam will be even busier in 2016, and they could disable more than a billion junky ads.Read Replies (0)