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+ - In Advance Of Upcoming Steam Summer Sale, Valve Introduces Steam Refunds

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner writes: Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria, and if it's met, a refund will be granted, no questions asked — a definite step in the right direction.

+ - USA Freedom Act passes unamended, limiting NSA surveillance-> 1

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson writes: Today the US Senate passed the USA Freedom Act without amendments, signalling the start of the significant surveillance reform that has been called for since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the agency's activities. It had already been determined that the bulk collection of phone metadata was illegal, and the expiry of Section 215 of the Patriot Act at the end of May brought this data collection to an end anyway.

The USA Freedom Act sets in concrete the end of the phone data collection program and is seen as a major victory for privacy advocates. It will come as good news to Snowden himself who will undoubtedly feel a sense of relief that his risk-taking paid off. The bill is still to be signed into law by President Obama, but this is now little more than a formality.

Link to Original Source

+ - Senator proposes criminal charges against global warming skeptics

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) has proposed that racketeering charges be considered against fossil fuel companies who express skepticism about human-caused global warming and dare to disagree with any environmental regulations imposed based on this theory.

As he writes today in his Washington Post op-ed:

The fossil fuel industry, its trade associations and the conservative policy institutes that often do the industry's dirty work met at the Washington office of the American Petroleum Institute. A memo from that meeting that was leaked to the New York Times documented their plans for a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to undermine climate science and to raise "questions among those (e.g. Congress) who chart the future U.S. course on global climate change."

Gee, industry skeptics of global warming wish to use their first amendment rights to debate the issue! How dare they! Worse, they might use money to finance their effort!

As noted at the first link, the idea that any disagreement with global warming advocacy should be criminalized is not a new thing, and has increasingly been advocated by that leftwing community. The Whitehouse is now tying this to the criminalization of the use of money to express that disagreement. This is nothing more than a fascist attempt at squelching freedom.

+ - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.


Link to Original Source

+ - Gates, Zuckerberg Promising Same Jobs to US Kids and Foreign H-1B Workers? 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: Over at the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg-bankrolled Code.org, they're using the number of open computing jobs in each state to convince parents of the need to expand K-12 CS offerings so their kids can fill those jobs. Sounds good, right? But at the same time, the Gates and Zuckerberg-bankrolled FWD.org PAC has taken to Twitter, using the number of open "STEM" jobs in each state to convince politicians of the need to expand the number of H-1B visas so foreign workers can fill those jobs. While the goal of Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy is to kill two birds [K-12 CS education and H-1B visas] with one crisis, is it cool for organizations backed by many of the same wealthy individuals to essentially promise the same jobs to U.S. kids and foreign H-1B workers?

+ - Security certification for an old grad?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: I graduated in late 2003 during the tech bubble burst with a below 2.5 GPA. I am 35 with an interest in getting a security job. What are the chances that I would be just wasting my time and money? I am pursuing business interests with a patent used in a service that will be a prime target for hackers. I have been writing client/server software in an OpenBSD virtual machine for the security and the kqueue functionality; not to mention the rest of the virtual clients crash that I have tried. I figure that trying to sell the service idea, even if I can't get a job, when they ask what qualifies me to have such ideas, I can say I have the credentials. I just got issued the patent this year.
Link to Original Source

+ - Sorority Files Lawsuit After Sacred Secrets Posted on Penny Arcade Forums-> 1

Submitted by Limekiller42
Limekiller42 writes: Lawyers for the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority have filed suit in Seattle's King County Superior Court against an unidentified person for "publicizing the sorority’s secret handshake, robe colors and other practices." The well-written article is by Levi Pulkkinen of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and states that the sorority is seeking a restraining order and financial compensation for damages.
Link to Original Source

+ - Ancestery.com caught sharing DNA database with government->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: In 1996, a young woman named Angie Dodge was murdered in her apartment in a small town in Idaho. Although the police collected DNA from semen left at the crime scene, they haven’t been able to match the DNA to existing profiles in any criminal database, and the murder has never been solved.

Fast forward to 2014. The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships (it’s unclear why they reopened the case after nearly 20 years). These markers would allow investigators to search some existing databases to try to find a match between the sample and genetic relatives.

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com), which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”

Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

Link to Original Source

+ - Bernie Sanders, H-1B skeptic

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: Will the Vermont senator raise the visibility of the visa issue with his presidential run?

The H-1B visa issue rarely surfaces during presidential races, and that's what makes the entrance by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into the 2016 presidential race so interesting. ... ...Sanders is very skeptical of the H-1B program, and has lambasted tech firms for hiring visa workers at the same time they're cutting staff. He's especially critical of the visa's use in offshore outsourcing.

+ - Microsoft's K-12 CS and H-1B Visa Agenda: From Think Tank to Law of the Land

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: Led by Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, with corporate contributions from the likes of Microsoft and Google, a $30M campaign to promote K-12 computer science education was a smash success, winning over the President and lawmakers, who are poised to make CS a 'core academic subject' in a rewritten No Child Left Behind Act, which could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending that the tech giants suggested could be funded using fees from additional H-1B visas they're coincidentally lobbying for to bring in foreign programming talent. Since the NY Times' Eric Lipton just won a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting that shed light on how foreign powers buy influence at think tanks, it probably bears mentioning that Microsoft's 'two-pronged' K-12 CS and H-1B visa agenda — which is on the verge of becoming the law of the land — was hatched at an influential Microsoft-backed think tank mentioned in Lipton's reporting, the Brookings Institution. On September 27, 2012, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings "hosted a forum on STEM education and immigration reforms and how these policy innovations can recharge American competitiveness and economic opportunity for current and future generations of workers." Keynote remarks were delivered by Brad Smith, executive VP and general counsel of Microsoft, who took the occasion to introduce Microsoft's National Talent Strategy. "So, Brad," asked the Brookings Institution's Darrell West, "you're the only [one] who mentioned this topic of making the problem bigger. So, we galvanize action by really producing a crisis ['like climate change', as Microsoft partner Code.org later put it], I take it?" Smith replied, "Yeah, I think we have the opportunity to do two things...the immigration and education issues are, to some degree, opposite sides of the same coin. The coin itself is about the need to have people with the right skills to do the work that the country needs to get done...And, you know, it will require additional people from outside the United States in the short term [20+ years, according to the WSJ] but let's use that to help address the broader and to some degree deeper and longer lasting problem that we face with respect to our educational system. It also gives us the opportunity to connect with people who may not have seen this connection or to connect with people who care more about one issue or the other, but bring them together" (video @ 49:24). Fittingly, in attendance two years later at the White House as President Obama tackled the national CS crisis as he 'learned to code' from a nonprofit headed by Smith's next-door-neighbor at the Brookings-trumpeted and nationally-covered Hour of Code event was Fred Humphries, a top Microsoft lobbyist and Brookings partner. According to visitor records, Humphries returned to the White House the next day with Smith and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to quietly meet with officials. While in D.C., Nadella also lobbied for high-skilled immigration. And that, kids, is How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law!

+ - How Comcast Bankrolls Organizations That Support TWC Merger-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: When Comcast announced it was pursuing a takeover of Time Warner Cable, many internet users and activists immediately submitted objections to the deal. Support came more slowly, but steadily, from organizations like the International Center for Law and Economics, and from politicians like Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS). Now, a NY Times report reveals that much of this support for the merger came in exchange for money from Comcast. From the article: "Letters detailing the benefits of the Comcast deal were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by staff members from Americans for Tax Reform, the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Policy Innovation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Free State Foundation and the Center for Individual Freedom, as well as by a professor at a technology program at the University of Pennsylvania, all of which received support from Comcast or its trade association, tax documents and other disclosures reviewed by The New York Times show. A similar pattern is evident with charities like the Urban League and more than 80 other community groups that supported the media company and that also accepted collectively millions of dollars in donations from the Comcast Foundation over the last five years, documents reviewed by The Times show." Fortunately, even after spreading money around so liberally, Comcast is still struggling to find a coherent, believable message for regulators, and the deal is far from assured.
Link to Original Source

+ - Tech Billionaires Want Jesse Jackson to 'Get The Facts Straight' on H-1B Visas

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: "Let's get the facts straight [on H-1B workers]," commands the Mythbusters-themed popup at FWD.us, which seems designed to refute Jesse Jackson's earlier claims that foreign high-tech workers are taking American jobs. What's really holding back Americans from jobs is the lack of foreign tech workers with H-1B visas, according to a new research brief entitled The H-1B Employment Effect , which is being promoted by Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC and Steve Ballmer's Partnership for a New American Economy Action Fund. One wonders what Jackson will make of the report, which uses a photo of what appears to be a young black male that occupies most of the first page of the research report to drive home its point. Curiously, a Google image search reveals that the photo of what one might assume is a U.S.-born worker who owes his job to an H-1B worker is identical to one gracing the website of a UK memory distributor, except it's been changed from color to black-and-white, giving it a civil rights movement-era vibe. Hey, one Photoshopped picture is worth a thousand words when you're trying to make a point, right?

Comment: Re:One more view. (Score 1) 365

by elrous0 (#49360729) Attached to: Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins

Ars Technica just lost my respect and readership. If they can be this biased toward their agenda even when the facts are obviously to the contrary, they can't be trusted to report on anything.

If you think Ars Technica is bad, you should have read Wired's coverage of the case. Davey Alba was all but wearing a cheerleading outfit for Pao.

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