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+ - Reddit refugee camp Voat dropped by German webhost for 'political incorrectness'->

Mark Wilson writes: A couple of weeks ago Reddit announced that it was closing down a number of subreddits with harassing subject matter. This came a few month months after a decision to ban content that included images or videos of non-consensual sex. In protest, groups of users switched allegiances and moved to the Reddit clone site Voat.co — which prides itself on not censoring any content.

Voat.co has been around for a little while, but the site saw its membership swell as former Reddit users jumped ship. Over the last couple of weeks, the "censorship-free community platform" has battled DDoS attacks and was dealt another blow yesterday when its German hosting provider cancelled its contract. The reason given was that the server was being used to host content that is "politically incorrect". But this does not mean that the site is dead.

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+ - Stress Is Driving Developers from the Video Game Industry->

Nerval's Lobster writes: For video game developers, life can be tough. The working hours are long, with vicious bursts of so-called “crunch time,” in which developers may pull consecutive all-nighters in order to finish a project—all without overtime pay. According to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Developer Satisfaction Survey (PDF), many developers aren’t enduring those work conditions for the money: Nearly 50 percent of respondents earned less than $50,000 annually. Faced with what many perceive as draconian working conditions, many developers are taking their skills and leaving video games for another technology sector. The hard and soft skills that go into producing video games—from knowledge of programming languages to aptitude for handling irate managers—will work just as well in many aspects of conventional software-building. Fortunately, leaving the video-game industry doesn’t have to be a permanent exile; many developers find themselves pulled back in at some point, out of simple passion for the craft.
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+ - The Tricky Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality

theodp writes: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) recently doled out $200,000 of Google.org money to reward three CS departments that have shown significant positive outcomes in women’s enrollment and graduation rates. Now, in a Wired piece entitled The Tricky (and Necessary) Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality, NCWIT senior research scientists Catherine Ashcraft and Wendy DuBow offer their ideas for getting men involved in gender diversity efforts, which includes some no-good-deed-goes-unpunished advice for potential male allies: "Don’t be alarmed-or even confused-if some women refuse, resist, or react negatively to your initial interest. Instead, recognize that this is an understandable, even logical, reaction to longtime experience as a minority in a majority environment. Recognize that it might sometimes take a while to build trust, and some women may never want to participate...Even if a negative reaction seems unreasonable or unfair, we suggest reframing this as an incredibly valuable opportunity for experiencing what it’s like to be a woman in tech, or any minority in a majority group environment. In other words, if such an experience makes it feel like you’re walking on eggshells or makes you worry about being misunderstood, imagine feeling like that much of the day, every day, at work. This temporary experience can help foster empathy and help you make sense of why these negative reactions might occur." And you can take some comfort in knowing that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and other male allies will no doubt feel your pain.

+ - Population Control is a Taboo Subject - Should it Be?

theodp writes: "In the world of solutions to environmental problems," writes Adele Peters, "one topic rarely gets any discussion: Birth control. By 2050, the U.N. estimates that the human population will hit 9.6 billion, putting unprecedented pressure on the planet's energy and agriculture systems. But that estimate tends to be accepted as inevitable, rather than as a number that could (or should) change." Peters continues, "The subject of population control wasn't always taboo. "The bestselling environment-related book of the '60s and '70s was not Silent Spring, it was Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb," says [Foundation for Deep Ecology's Tom] Butler. "So this was a huge and integrated topic of conversation decades ago, and then it fell off the radar screen." Part of the challenge is that the topic is now politically fraught both for the right and left. "On the right, if we're talking about the demographic trajectory of the human family, inevitably, this brings up questions of sexuality, abortion, immigration, women's rights, gender equity—all kinds of hot button issues," he says. "And then on the far ends of the left spectrum, there's a radical fringe that has tried to portray family planning as equal to coercion."" So, should we continue to ignore the 9.6 billion elephants in the room?

+ - Audi Claims First Synthetic Gasoline Made From Plants->

Zothecula writes: Just weeks after producing its first batch of synthetic diesel fuel made from carbon dioxide and water, Audi has laid claim to another synthetic, clean-burning and petroleum-free fuel called "e-benzin." The fuel was created by Audi's project partner Global Bioenergies, in France.
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+ - US Proposes Tighter Export Rules for Computer Security Tools->

itwbennett writes: The U.S. Commerce Department has proposed tighter export rules for computer security tools and could prohibit the export of penetration testing tools without a license. The proposal would modify rules added to the Wassenaar Arrangement in 2013 that limit the export of technologies related to intrusion and traffic inspection. The definition of intrusion software would also encompass 'proprietary research on the vulnerabilities and exploitation of computers and network-capable devices,' the proposal said.
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+ - Health Insurer CareFirst Reveals Cyberattack Affecting 1.1 Million->

itwbennett writes: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, has disclosed it fell victim to a cyberattack in June last year that affected about 1.1 million people. The attack targeted a single database that contained information about CareFirst members and others who accessed its websites and services, the company said Monday.
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+ - Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

HughPickens.com writes: Jennifer Medina reports at the NYT that the the city council of nation’s second-largest city voted by a 14-1 margin to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in what is perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland, Calif., have already approved increases, and dozens more are considering doing the same. In 2014, a number of Republican-leaning states like Alaska and South Dakota also raised their state-level minimum wage by referendum. The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s," says Michael Reich. "There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

It's important to remember that the minimum wage hike comes at a significant direct cost to business — well over a $1 billion a year, according to the mayor's analysis — and it would be foolish to pretend that it won't lead to some job losses and business closures. Critics say the increase will turn the city into a “wage island,” pushing businesses away into nearby places where they can pay employees less. “They are asking businesses to foot the bill on a social experiment that they would never do on their own employees,” says Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a trade group that represents companies and other organizations in Southern California. “A lot of businesses aren’t going to make it. It’s great that this is an increase for some employees, but the sad truth is that a lot of employees are going to lose their jobs.”

+ - Why there needs to be a quantum theory of gravity

StartsWithABang writes: If you’re not a theoretical physicist yourself, you might think that physics is physics — we ask questions about the Universe, do experiments/make observations, and get the answers — and math is just a tool that we use to help us get there. But that really sells the power of mathematics short. For a physical theory to be valid, there are a whole host of mathematical properties that theory needs to possess, including being free of logical inconsistencies, making predictions about observables, and that those predictions agree with observations. Yet when we look at our theory of gravitation at the smallest scales and with the strongest gravitational fields, our theory itself fails, which is precisely why we need a quantum theory of gravity.

+ - AMD Details High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) DRAM, Pushes Over 100GB/s Per Stack->

MojoKid writes: Recently, a few details of AMD's next-generation Radeon 300-series graphics cards have trickled out. Today, AMD has publicly disclosed new info regarding their High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) technology that will be used on some Radeon 300-series and APU products. Currently, a relatively large number of GDDR5 chips are necessary to offer sufficient capacity and bandwidth for modern GPUs, which means significant PCB real estate is consumed. On-chip integration is not ideal for DRAM because it is not size or cost effective with a logic-optimized GPU or CPU manufacturing process. HBM, however, brings the DRAM as close to possible to the logic die (GPU) as possible. AMD partnered with Hynix and a number of companies to help define the HBM specification and design a new type of memory chip with low power consumption and an ultra-wide bus width, which was eventually adopted by JEDEC 2013. They also develop a DRAM interconnect called an "interposer," along with ASE, Amkor, and UMC. The interposer allows DRAM to be brought into close proximity with the GPU and simplifies communication and clocking. HBM DRAM chips are stacked vertically, and "through-silicon vias" (TSVs) and "bumps" are used to connect one DRAM chip to the next, and then to a logic interface die, and ultimately the interposer. The end result is a single package on which the GPU/SoC and High Bandwidth Memory both reside. 1GB of GDDR5 memory (four 256MB chips), requires roughly 672mm2. Because HBM is vertically stacked, that same 1GB requires only about 35mm2. The bus width on an HBM chip is 1024-bits wide, versus 32-bits on a GDDR5 chip. As a result, the High Bandwidth Memory interface can be clocked much lower but still offer more than 100GB/s for HBM versus 25GB/s with GDDR5. HBM also requires significantly less voltage, which equates to lower power consumption.
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+ - European Internet Users Urged To Protect Themselves Against Facebook Tracking 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the revelations about Facebook's tracking of users who do not own a Facebook account, the Belgian Privacy Commission has issued a set of recommendations for both Facebook, website owners and end users. The recommendations are based on the results of an extensive analysis of Facebook’s revised policies and terms (rolled out on January 30, 2015) conducted by the inter-university research center EMSOC/SPION, which concluded that the company is acting in violation of European law. According to them Facebook places too much burden on its users to protect their privacy, and then doesn't offer simple tools and settings to do so, and sets up some problematic default settings. They also don't provide adequate information for users to make informed choices.

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