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Comment Re:Taxes? (Score 1) 10

In many countries, organisations can be declared illegal if the goal of that organisation is to commit illegal acts (by charter or in practice). That can be hard to prove, but it happens. Some motor clubs have been banned on those grounds. Conversely, a "guild of thieves" could well be legal if the members don't talk shop and if the organisation only has lawful goals, like legal aid to arrested thieves. (Be sure that they'd be under extreme scrutiny though). And that's as it should be: freedom of association is an important right.

Does this union of street vendors pursue illegal goals, or are they striving for legalisation and do they wish to act as spokesperson for street vendors in discussions on the topic? It seems that it's the latter case. Setting aside the question of what the best way is to deal with these street vendors, the mayor wants to discuss this with them, and as such it makes sense to invite this union to the table.

Submission + - 'Too hot to be an engineer' - women mark Ada Lovelace Day

AmiMoJo writes: On Ada Lovelace Day, four female engineers from around the world share their experiences of working in male-dominated professions. When Isis Anchalee's employer OneLogin asked her to take part in its recruitment campaign, she didn't rush to consult the selfie-loving Kardashian sisters for styling tips. "I was wearing very minimal make-up. I didn't brush my hair that day," she said. But the resulting image of Ms Anchalee created a social media storm when it appeared on Bart, the San Francisco metro. Lots of people questioned whether she really was an engineer. "It was not just limited to women — it resonates with every single person who doesn't fit with what the stereotype should look like," she said.

"My parents, my brother, my community, all were against me," said Sovita Dahal of her decision to pursue a career in technology. "I was going against traditional things. In my schooldays I was fascinated by electronic equipment like motors, transformers and LED lights. Later on this enthusiasm became my passion and ultimately my career," she said.

Roma Agrawal has worked as a structural engineer for 10 years, and was part of the team that designed London skyscraper The Shard. But the argument that women have a biological struggle with maths and science subjects is infuriating, Ms Agrawal said. Ms Agrawal would like to see more parents and teachers supporting the message that engineering is an achievable career for girls — but also believes that Britons in particular have an attitude problem to address as well. "People easily say, 'I'm terrible at maths,' or 'I'm awful at numbers.' If you said that kind of thing in India people would look at you funny," she said. "It's like saying, 'Oh, I can't read,' and being proud of that fact."

For Dolphin Guan, currently working with mobile phone company Seeed Studio in China, the difference between men and women is very much still an issue. Ms Guan finished university last year. She studied computer science with 40 students, of whom just four or five were women — but in her industrial design class the gender ration was 50:50. "These years in China, I can see more and more women working in tech/engineering jobs," she said. "And a good thing about being a tech/engineer is when we have a good idea, we are able to make it happen."

Submission + - Dutch parliament considers sponsoring OpenSSL (d66.nl)

An anonymous reader writes: Dutch party D66 wants to fund OpenSSL for 500.000 EUR in order to improve and strengthen encryption. This funding should come from an existing budget earmarked for innovation and knowledge sharing. The party will propose this today in Dutch Parliament.
The party claims to have chosen OpenSSL because 'it is of interest to millions of people around the world'.
The party also denounces calls from politicians to have back doors in encryption standards. 'Not only governments, but also criminals would use these vulnerabilities'.

Submission + - First Legal Union of Illegal Street Vendors Created in Barcelona

dkatana writes: Street vendors across Barcelona’s tourist districts last week created their own union to negotiate with city officials.

Barcelona has a new mayor, and new policies dealing with the "Top Manta" (for the blankets — or mantas — they spread out on the sidewalk). The recently-elected left-leaning administration in this Mediterranean city is taking a new — and controversial — approach to this complex issue. They argue that the real fault is the government’s for not having a more comprehensive immigration policy.

Mayor Ada Colau has welcomed the newly created Popular Union for Street Vendors (Sindicato Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes), established by the illegal vendors themselves.

Most of the members are of Senegalese origin. Pape Diop, one of the union's spokesmen was quoted by a leading Catalan newspaper claiming, without irony, that his parents would never accept money that came from an illegal activity.

Submission + - Obama says Hillary Clinton's E-Mail Server Did Not Threaten National Security (nytimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: So Obama believes Hillary Clinton did not endanger the US national security with her personal e-mail server use. Does anyone believe this or do you think this is just a political ploy of his own? As ./ readers, your comments on the e-mail servers? Do you think enough thought was put into this private server to ensure transmissions were encrypted end to end, or were e-mails truly endanger from man-in-the-middle attacks.

Submission + - Australian ISPs not ready for mandatory data retention

ferrisoxide.com writes: October 13 marks the day Australian ISPs are required by law to track all web site visits and emails of their users, but according to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news site the majority of ISPs are not ready to begin mandatory data retention.

The article's author, Will Ockenden, had previously released his own metadata to readers in an experiment to see how effectively this kind of data reveals personal habits of online users.

The majority of Australians appear unconcerned with this level of scrutiny of their lives, given the minimal reaction to this and proposed tougher legislation designed to deal with the threats of crime and terrorism.

Submission + - NASA chief says ban on Chinese partnerships is temporary

An anonymous reader writes: Current head of NASA Charles Bolden has spoken out against the 4-year-old ban on collaborating with China. According to Bolden working with the Chinese is vital to the future of space exploration. Reuters reports: "The United States should include China in its human space projects or face being left out of new ventures to send people beyond the International Space Station, NASA chief Charles Bolden said on Monday. Since 2011, the U.S. space agency has been banned by Congress from collaborating with China, due to human rights issues and national security concerns. China is not a member of the 15-nation partnership that owns and operates the station, a permanently staffed research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, but Bolden says working China will be necessary in the future."

Submission + - British police stop 24/7 monitoring of Julian Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy (ibtimes.co.uk) 1

Ewan Palmer writes: London police has announced it will remove the dedicated officers who have guarded the Ecuadorian Embassy 24 hours a day, seven days a week while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeks asylum inside.

The 44-year-old has been holed up inside the building since 2012 in a bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. He believes that once he is in Sweden, he will be extradited again to the US where he could face espionage charges following the leaking of thousands of classified documents on his WikiLeaks website.

Police has now decided to withdraw the physical presence of officers from outside the embassy as it is "no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence". It is estimated the cost of deploying the officers outside the Embassy in London al day for the past three years has cost the British taxpayer more than $18m.

Submission + - Ion-Based Data Allows Atom-Sized Storage Cells Similar To Brain Structure (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers in Germany have developed a method of writing data with ions and retrieving it with electrons that opens the path for atom-sized storage devices which are similar to structures found in the human brain. The Nanoelectronic group at Kiel University joined the Ruhr Universitat Bochum to seek alternatives to conventional memory technologies, which involve the displacement of electrons by applying voltage, but which promise little more advance in terms of capacity or form-factor. The new technique is based on electrical resistance using a solid ion conductor.

Submission + - Google releases improved Cardboard SDK and adds Street View (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google announced that its Cardboard VR app is now available in 39 languages and 100 countries for both iOS and Android. "With more than 15 million installs of Cardboard apps from Google Play, we're excited to bring VR to even more people around the world," Google Software Engineer Brandon Wuest wrote in a blog post. You can also now explore Google Street View in Cardboard with the Street View app.

Comment Re:Churn? (Score 1) 178

That's true: developers need a ton on real-world, hands-on experience with coding to even be remotely useful to a company. However, the time needed to gain the required experience can be greatly reduced with a good apprenticeship. And by that I don't mean a probationary period doring grunt work while struggling in your own time to master whatever wasn't covered in college, I mean working closely with a senior developer coaching. And I mean actively coaching, which takes a lot of time and therefor money.

Comment Re:Let's just not do it. (Score 1) 167

This all sounds interesting, but I don't really agree about the cost of mining bit. Yes, launch costs are high, but once you have all the stuff you need on-site on the Moon (or wherever, but obviously the Moon is cheaper than Mars or Venus), the only costs are getting workers to the Moon (and tired ones back home), and whatever it costs to send (hopefully refined) material back to Earth. Basically, it's a one-time cost to get the infrastructure up there. If you're doing enough mining up there (between the Moon, and maybe capturing asteroids and then refining them on the Moon, or in orbital or Lagrangian stations), then it would be profitable, of course assuming there's enough valuable ore there to begin with.

So it really comes down to a question of: what's the total cost of establishing all that infrastructure up there, plus the ongoing cost of actually operating up there, compared to how much you'll be able to sell the material for down here (taking into account time value of money of course)? With the huge up-front costs, it probably doesn't seem like it'd be worth it, but there's a lot of material up there between the Moon and the asteroids, and over a long enough time span it might make sense. Throw in space tourism (who wouldn't want to spend a week on the Moon?) and that should sweeten things. On top of that, launch costs are coming down thanks to the efforts of SpaceX and others. Ongoing costs can be minimized with heavy usage of either automated robotic systems, or with remote-control (or a combination of the two): with the Moon only a few light-seconds away, two-way radio control isn't such a problem as it would be for Venus or Mars. The fewer humans you need to regularly cycle there, the less things will cost to operate.

Now obviously, if the break-even time is 4 centuries, then you're not going to get many investors for that. But what if it's less, maybe only 30 or 50 years? It does seem like several billionaires are very interested in asteroid mining, among other space ventures. All it took for Columbus (today's namesake, even if he was a murderous bastard) to help start colonization of the Americas was an investment by the Spanish crown. What if some silicon valley billionaires pump a bunch of money into this, not really caring if they see a return on their investment in their lifetimes? (Plus, these same billionaires are also pumping money into longevity research, so if that works out and they live to 250, they might very well see a return.)

Comment Economic theory is sound, speculation isn't (Score 1) 292

There's a massive bulk of economic theory that explains the applied math of running a business. Can you figure out if $1000 now is more or less than $1100 five years from now given an inflation rate of 2%? The relations between price, quantity, marginal costs and profit are also quite sound. The thing is though, all this information is allegedly available and equal for all, so if everyone agreed to the same model there'd be no profit to be made. Sure, the future would be unknown but it would be like a lottery ticket being scratched, everybody knows at all times the exact value of all the possible outcomes so everybody prices in the same expected value of the future. If you can find a way to make arbitrage, you've found a flaw in the way the market works. For example if you discovered you could make money selling products in one currency and buying them in another, or transporting goods from one market to sell in another for more than the transport and insurance costs.

Speculation is all about betting on these flaws, but sometimes the market has priced in risks you haven't imagined. Or there are forces that only become dominant at a certain size. In this particular case it was more like you create a theory of chemistry and when the market goes to an extreme you have nuclear fusion instead. That doesn't make chemistry wrong, but at certain times it's irrelevant and you can't rely on it to always produce correct answers. Oh and just to put a nail in that coffin, no scientific theory is proven to be universally valid since there's still the future and it hasn't happened yet. There's no absolute guarantee gravity will work the same five minutes from now, if it suddenly starts behaving different it just will. In that case reality will be right and the formula wrong, no matter how correct and comprehensive it might have looked.

Submission + - Why NASA rejected Lockheed Martin's Jupiter for Commercial Resupply Services 2 (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: Recently, NASA rejected Lockheed Martin’s bid for a contract for the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program as being too expensive. CRS-2 is the follow-on to the current CRS program that has SpaceX and Orbital Systems sending supplies to the International Space Station. Motley Fool explained why the aerospace giant was left behind and denied a share of what might be $14 billion between 2018 and 2024. In essence, Lockheed Martin tried to get the space agency to pay for a spacecraft that would do far more than just take cargo to and from the International Space Station.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan