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Submission Congress set to make the H-1B visa less costly for India->

dcblogs writes: Congress is set to drop a $2,000 H-1B visa fee mostly paid by India-based IT services providers. It only applies to firms with at least 50% of their employees on visas, and many of those firms are based in India. The fee expires on Oct. 1 and raises between $70 and $80 million annually for the U.S. The IEEE-USA believes it's a bad move. "We had half of Congress tripping over itself trying to get in front of the camera to tell the American public how upset they were about SCE (Southern California Edison), Walt Disney and all the other companies that have used this visa to eliminate American jobs," said Harrison. Now, "the only thing Congress is going to manage to do is to make (the H-1B visa) cheaper."
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Submission GOP debate was bad for tech->

dcblogs writes: Most of the references to technology in the main GOP debate Wednesday night were around protecting U.S. borders. There were calls for drones, visa entry and exit tracking systems, and overall more reliance on electronics to deter illegal crossings. It was all about building a better fence, and not about government's role in advancing technology. There was no mention of the federal government's role in science investment. Space exploration? Not discussed. Technology hardly came up in the three-hour debate, the same as what happened in the first debate on August 6. Climate change, bypassed in the first debate, did come up in Wednesday night's debate. It's a subject that offers much opportunity to talk about science, government investments in basic science including supercomputers, alternative energy systems and energy storage. But the question was awful.CNN's reporter Jake Tapper's climate change question was miserably muddled and framed around former President Ronald Reagan's response to the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosols were depleting ozone. CFC use was subsequently banned. If fixing climate change were only so easy. The candidates moved on quickly.
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Submission Steve Jobs' legacy cited in California's Syrian refugee debate->

dcblogs writes: The California State Senate voted Friday to urge the U.S. to "dramatically increase" the number of Syrian refugees allowed into this country. The legacy of Steve Jobs and his biological father's Syrian heritage was part of the discussion. The resolution was approved unanimously.
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Submission Donald Trump emerges as fierce H-1B critic ->

dcblogs writes: Donald Trump's plan for the H-1B visa is to make it harder and more expensive for tech companies to replace U.S. workers with foreign help. Trump's immigration plan, released Sunday, includes the ideas of the Senate's strongest H-1B critics, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), who immediately endorsed it. "This is exactly the plan America needs," he said. Trump is proposing an increase in the prevailing wage to make it more expensive to use H-1B workers. Many visa holders are paid the lowest prevailing wage level set for entry-level positions. Second, Trump wants a requirement that companies hire U.S. workers first. Critics says without this requirement, visa workers can be used to replace U.S. workers. He also used to policy paper to call Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), "Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator," because of Rubio's support of the I-Squared bill. That bill seeks to raise the base H-1B cap from 65,000 to 195,000.
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Submission Working STEM students may be forced to leave U.S. next year, says court->

dcblogs writes: A federal judge made a ruling this week that could force tens of thousands of foreign workers, many of whom are employed at tech companies on student visas, to return to their home countries early next year. This ruling, released Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle in Washington, found that the government erred by not seeking public comment when it extended the 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to 29 months for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students. The OPT program allows someone to work on a student visa. Huvelle could have invalidated the OPT extension immediately but instead gave the government six months, or until to Feb. 12, 2016, to submit the OPT extension rule "for proper notice and comment." Ian Macdonald, an immigration attorney at Greenberg Traurig, said that if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which overseas immigration, doesn't act to fix the problem before the court's Feb. 12 expiration, the OPT extensions "will be terminated with immediate effect and (the visa holders) will have 60 days to pack up their belongings."
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Submission Citizens Bank shifts work to India via Web and sets layoff->

dcblogs writes: Citizens Bank IT employees are training replacements in India to take over their jobs. IT employees who were contacted say this "knowledge transfer" is being accomplished remotely, over the Web and in a teleconferences, and without the use, so far, of temporary visa workers. Affected bank IT employees say their jobs will end in December. In June, IBM announced that it had signed a five-year IT services agreement with Citizens Bank. The agreement, said IBM, "will help Citizens drive greater efficiencies, improve service and lower cost." IBM runs a large operation in India, where the pay is but a fraction of U.S. worker salaries. The number of layoffs is in dispute. Employees said as many as 150 Citizen Bank IT workers were being laid off. But this number doesn’t include contractors, who are also being cut. The bank uses a lower figure. One Citizen IT employee who is set to lose his job questioned how the U.S. will prosper as it shifts work overseas. "IT was supposed to be the 'future,' but now even that is being taken away by greed and avarice by companies who have no foresight into the future beyond their next quarter profits," the IT worker said.
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Submission Apple says diversity is important, but one contractor is 98% Asian->

dcblogs writes: Apple says workforce diversity "inspires creativity and innovation," but one of Apple's major contractors, Infosys, is far from diverse. In 2013, Infosys, an India-based IT services firm, had 509 workers assigned to Apple sites in Cupertino, Calif. Of that number, 499 are listed as Asian, or 98%, with the remaining 10 identified as either white or black, according to government records that were released as part of discrimination court case. Apple isn't the only firm with a disproportionate Infosys workforce. Of the 427 Infosys workers at insurance giant Aetna's Hartford, Conn., offices, 418 were identified in a court filing as Asian. This lopsided representation of Asian workers by IT services firms is not limited to Infosys. It is also a consequence of the H-1B visa program, which supplies most of the labor for the offshore IT services industry. Nearly 86% of the H-1B visas issued by the U.S. for workers in computer occupations are for people from India, according to a Computerworld analysis of government data from a Freedom of Information Act request.
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Submission Computer science enrollments match NASDAQ's rises and fall ->

dcblogs writes: In March 2000, the NASDAQ composite index reached a historic high of 5,048, at just about the same time undergrad computer science enrollments hit a peak of nearly 24,000 students at Ph.D.-granting institutions in the U.S. and Canada, according to data collected by the Computing Research Association in its most recent annual Taulbee Survey. By 2005, computer science enrollments had halved, declining to just over 12,000. On July 17, the NASDAQ hit its highest point since 2000, reaching a composite index of 5,210. In 2014, computer science undergrad enrollments reached nearly, 24,000, almost equal to the 2000 high. Remarkably, it has taken nearly 15 years to reach the earlier enrollment peak.
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Submission Woman recruited by Google four times and rejected, joins suit->

dcblogs writes: An Ivy league graduate, with a Ph.D. in geophysics, Cheryl Fillekes, who also specializes in Linux and Unix systems, was contacted by Google recruiters four separate times over a seven year period. In each instance, she did well enough on the phone interviews to get invited to an in-person interview but was rejected every time for a job. She has since joined an age discrimination lawsuit against Google filed about two months ago by another older worker. In the past year, Fillekes bought a dairy farm in upstate New York and designed and built an on-farm creamery.
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Submission NASA funded study states people could be on the moon by 2021 for $10 billion->

MarkWhittington writes: The Houston Chronicle reported that NextGen Space LLC has released the results of a study that suggests that if the United States were to choose to do space in some new and creative ways, American moon boots could be on the lunar surface by 2021. The cost from the authorization to the first crewed lunar landing would be just $10 billion. The study was partly funded by NASA and was reviewed by the space agency and commercial space experts.
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Submission In Wisconsin, Scott Walker's state, Dems seek outsourcing penalities->

dcblogs writes: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of the polling leaders in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, is still a cipher on offshore outsourcing and the H-1B issue. But Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced anti-outsourcing legislation that could shed light on Walker's views, if the bill makes it to his desk. The legislation cuts state benefits to any company that sends jobs out of state or offshore. Walker has used the offshore outsourcing of jobs as a political weapon. In the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, a nursery rhyme video ad posted to YouTube by Walker supporters accused his Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, a former executive at bicycle maker Trek and the daughter of its founder, of profiting by offshoring some work to China.
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Submission IT workers who train foreign replacements 'troubling' says White House ->

dcblogs writes: A top White House official told House lawmakers this week that the replacement of U.S. workers by H-1B visa holders is 'troubling' and not supposed to happen. That answer came in reponse to a question from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that referenced Disney workers who had to train their temporary visa holding replacements. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said if H-1B workers are being used to replace U.S. workers, then "it's a very serious failing of the H-1B program." But Johnson also told lawmakers that they may not be able to stop it, based on current law. Ron Hira,an associate professor of public policy at Howard University who has testified before Congress multiple times on H-1B visa use, sees that as a "bizarre interpretation" of the law.
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Submission IBM develops first 7nm chip ->

dcblogs writes: IBM says it has produced the world's first 7nm (nanometer) chip, arriving well ahead of competitors, thanks to advances in its chip technology. Chip makers are now producing 14nm processors, and the next big project for Intel and other chip makers has been the 10nm chip. IBM, in its announcement today, has upended the chip industry's development path. A 7nm chip will hold about four times as many transistors in the same area as a 14nm chip, which are now on the market. "For IBM to conquer 7nm without stopping at the 10nm that Intel is supposedly tackling, means that IBM has secured the future two steps out," said Richard Doherty, research director of Envisioneering. A big advance in creating the 7nm chip was the use of extreme ultraviolet lithography. Optical lithography, which is now used in building chips, has a wavelength of 193nm, but extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) has a wavelength of 13.5 nanometers, which carves much sharper patterns on silicon.
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Submission FCC now responding to complaints in as little as two days ->

An anonymous reader writes: Woman files complaint with FCC over bill from ISP for $1,800 after an endless round of fruitless customer service calls. Eventually the bill — from this one woman operation business user — was sent to collections. Using the FCC's online form, a complaint is filed and in just two days the FCC responds. The ISP drops the collection effort and the bill disappears. The previous turn around for an FCC complaint was a month of more, but the agency says it has since revamped its process.
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Submission Microsoft introduces new music subscription service - Groove->

Ammalgam writes: After being spotted yesterday lurking in Windows 10’s mobile utility app, Microsoft has confirmed that Groove is the company’s new $10 a month music subscription service. Offering 40 millions songs, ad free, with playlists and radio stations built around artists or moods, the product is being positioned as a direct rival for the likes of Apple Music, but with no distinguishing features of its own. Groove allows access to your music from any device or service, including iTunes, on any Windows 10 device, thanks to cloud storage on OneDrive. Microsoft is also expected to release an iOS and Android as well.
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Backed up the system lately?