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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 127 declined, 134 accepted (261 total, 51.34% accepted)

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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 + - 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 + - 1 in 3 data center servers is a zombie->

dcblogs writes: A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What's remarkable is this percentage hasn't changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing. A server is considered comatose if it hasn't done anything for at least six months. The high number of such servers "is a massive indictment of how data centers are managed and operated," said Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, who has done data center energy research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "It's not a technical issue as much as a management issue." This work adds to the findings of two other groups that have looked at the problem. The number of physical servers worldwide last year at 41.4 million.
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Submission + - When Gov. Jeb Bush blew off an IT worker replaced by an H-1B->

dcblogs writes: In 2002 and 2003, IT workers at a Siemens unit in Lake Mary, Fla. had to train their temporary visa-holding replacements. Mike Emmons was one of the affected IT employees who lost his job, and he wrote Bush, asking for help: "Management has their permanent employees training these Indians to take over their jobs," according a letter in the Bush email archive. A Bush aide responded and said they couldn't help because it is a federal matter. This may be part of a pattern with him. Bush does not come across as either supportive or sympathetic to displaced IT workers in a 2013 book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. And when asked recently about the replacement of U.S workers with H-1B workers, Bush, reported Buzzfeed, again demurred. He said saw the reports on Fox. "Sometimes you see things in the news reports, you don't get the full picture. Maybe that's the case here." Said Emmons in an interview: "There are very, very few in Washington D.C. that care for American workers — less than a handful."
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Submission + - IRS cut its cybersecurity staff by 11% over four years->

dcblogs writes: The Internal Revenue Service, which disclosed this week the breach of 100,000 taxpayer accounts, has been steadily reducing the size of its internal cybersecurity staff as it increases its security spending. In 2011, the IRS employed 410 people in its cybersecurity organization, but by 2014 the headcount had fallen to 363 people. In 2012, the IRS earmarked $129 million for cybersecurity, which rose to $141.5 million last year, an increase of approximately 9.7%. This increase in spending, coupled with the reduction in headcount, is an indicator of outsourcing, said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute. Paller sees risks in that strategy. "Each organization moves at a different pace toward a point at which they have outsourced so much that the insiders do little more than manage contracts, and lose their technical expertise and ability to manage technical contractors effectively," he said.
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Submission + - Is IT work getting more stressful, or is it the Millennials?->

dcblogs writes: A survey of IT professionals that has been conducted in each of the last four years is showing an increase in IT work stress levels. It's a small survey, just over 200 IT workers, and it doesn't account for the age of the respondents. But some are asking whether Millennials, those ages 18 to 34, are pushing up stress levels either as IT workers or end users. The reason Millennials may be less able to handle stress is that they interact with others in person far less than other generations do, since most of their social interactions have been through Internet-based, arms-length contact, said Billie Blair, who holds a doctorate in organizational psychology. This generation has also been protected from many real-life situations by their parents, "so the workplace tends to be more stressful for them than for others," she said. Others are wondering if Millennials are more demanding of IT workers. Millennials are also expert users, and "are no longer in awe of technology specialists and therefore demand higher service levels," said Mitch Ellis, managing director of executive search firm Sanford Rose Associates in St. Louis.
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Submission + - Median age at Google is 29, says age discrimination lawsuit->

dcblogs writes: The typical employee at Google is relatively young, according to a lawsuit brought by an older programmer who is alleging age discrimination. Between 2007 and 2013, Google's workforce grew from 9,500 to more than 28,000 employees, "yet as of 2013, its employees' median age was 29 years old," the lawsuit claims. That's in contrast to the median age of nearly 43 for all U.S. workers who are computer programmers, according to the lawsuit.
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Submission + - House bill slashes research critical to cybersecurity->

dcblogs writes: A U.S. House bill that will set the nation's basic research agenda for the next two years increases funding for computer science, but at the expense of other research areas. The funding bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, hikes funding for computer science, but cuts — almost by half — social sciences funding, which includes the study of human behavior. Cybersecurity uses human behavior research because humans are often the weakest security link. Research funding social, behavioral and economic sciences will fall from $272 million to $150 million, a 45% decrease. The bill also takes a big cut out of geosciences research, which includes climate change study, from $1.3 billion to $1.2 billion, an 8% decrease. The insight into human behaviors that comes from the social science research, "is critical to understanding how best to design and implement hardware and software systems that are more secure and easier to use," wrote J. Strother Moore, the CRA chair and a professor of computer science at the University of Texas.
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