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The Almighty Buck

The Vicious Circle That Is Sending Rents Spiraling Higher 937 937

Posted by samzenpus
from the rent-is-too-damn-high dept.
jones_supa writes: Skyrocketing rents and multiple roommates — these are the kinds of war stories you expect to hear in space-constrained cities such as New York and San Francisco. But the rental crunch has been steadily creeping inland from coastal cities and up the economic ladder. Bloomberg takes a look at the vicious cycle that keeps rents spiraling higher. People paying high rents have a harder time saving for a down payment, preventing tenants from exiting the rental market. Low vacancy rates let landlords raise rents still higher. Developers who know they can command high rents (and sales prices) are spurred to spend more to acquire developable land. Finally, higher land costs can force builders to target the higher end of the market. The interesting question is how long can this last before we reach a level that is not affordable to the majority of the demographic that is being serviced.
Medicine

Triggering a Mouse's Happy Memories With Lasers Gives It the Will To Struggle On 66 66

Posted by timothy
from the how-do-they-know-it's-a-happy-memory? dept.
the_newsbeagle writes: With optogenetics, scientists can tag neurons with light-responsive proteins, and then trigger those neurons to "turn on" with the pulse of a light. In the latest application, MIT researchers used light to turn on certain neurons in male mice's hippocampi that were associated with a happy memory (coming into contact with female mice!), and then tested whether that artificially activated memory changed the mice's reactions to a stressful situation (being hung by their tails). Mice who got jolted with the happy memory struggled to get free for longer than the control mice. This tail-suspension test was developed to screen potential antidepressant drugs: If a rodent struggles longer before giving up, it's considered less depressed.
Network

June 30th Leap Second Could Trigger Unexpected Issues 233 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick,-everybody-expect-them-instead dept.
dkatana writes: On January 31, 2013, approximately 400 milliseconds before the official release of the EIA Natural Gas Report, trading activity exploded in Natural Gas Futures. It is believed that was the result of some fast computer trading systems being programmed to act, and have a one-second advance access to the report. On June 30th a leap second will be added to the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to keep it synchronized with the slowly lengthening solar day. In this article, Charles Babcock gives a detailed account of the issues, and some disturbing possibilities: The last time a second needed to be added to the day was on June 30, 2012. For Qantas Airlines in Australia, it was a memorable event. Its systems, including flight reservations, went down for two hours as internal system clocks fell out of synch with external clocks.

The original author of the NTP protocol, Prof. David Mills at the University of Delaware, set a direct and simple way to add the second: Count the last second of June 30 twice, using a special notation on the second count for the record. Google will use a different approach: Over a 20-hour period on June 30, Google will add a couple of milliseconds to each of its NTP servers' updates. By the end of the day, a full second has been added. As the NTP protocol and Google timekeepers enter the first second of July, their methods may differ, but they both agree on the time.

But that could also be problematic. In adding a second to its NTP servers in 2005, Google ran into timekeeping problems on some of its widely distributed systems. The Mills sleight-of-hand was confusing to some of its clusters, as they fell out of synch with NTP time. Does Google's smear approach make more sense to you, or does Mills's idea of counting the last second twice work better? Do you have a better idea of how to handle this?
United States

Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US 866 866

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-how-will-we-polarize-our-voters dept.
gollum123 notes new U.S. demographic data from the Pew Research Center which show that the percentage of Americans declaring affiliation with a particular religion has declined sharply since 2007. Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic, or simple having no affiliation took up most of the slack, rising from 16.1% to 22.8%. Members of non-Christian faiths collectively rose from 4.7% to 5.9%. Despite the overall decline, the demographics within the Christian group are getting much more racially and ethnically diverse. The willingness of respondents to marry outside their religious affiliation is also on the rise. The median age of unaffiliated adults is dropping, while the median ages of mainline Protestants and Catholics are rising. The study estimates that 85% of adults age 70 and over are Christian, while only 56% of adults ages 18-24 are Christian. They also say that each individual generation has shown a slight decrease in religious affiliation compared to their statistics in 2007.

Comment: Re:Management, not Millenials (Score 1) 405 405

by frisket (#49654927) Attached to: Is IT Work Getting More Stressful, Or Is It the Millennials?

It's not the Millenials. They're a bit more demanding, yes, but not significantly so compared to all the other groups of clueless users I've dealt with over the last 3 decades...

I think the point is that it's the Millenials who have gotten jobs in IT; they're actually supposed to know stuff.

Comment: Re:Um... (Score 1) 405 405

by frisket (#49654847) Attached to: Is IT Work Getting More Stressful, Or Is It the Millennials?

I'd say by "expert" they are familiar with the basic interfaces used on many operating systems. Do they know how to create a word document without hand holding? More than likely. Can they create a basic spreadsheet? Probably. Do they understand how to use office (MS or open or whatever version you pick) to its fullest? No. My experience is that many millennials seem to think "expert" knowledge of such software suites comes easy and they actually have it but get frustrated quickly when asked to do something complicated (like db links, mutli-sheet vlookup or *gasp* vb macros ).

Many (most?) of these so-called "expert" Millenials don't know shit. All they know is how to click on FB. Fortunately there are a few who have actually grokked IT, and those are the ones to employ. Unfortunately, most PHBs don't know this...

Comment: Re:That's not a security move (Score 1) 135 135

by frisket (#49654777) Attached to: Dropbox Moves Accounts Outside North America To Ireland

... plus how long would it take for the US govt. to bully the Irish one into allowing them full access to the Irish network backbone to download so they can archive every byte that passes through it

Already done. No bullying needed, just a private chat between senior officials, plus the gross digital ignorance of our [Irish] politicians. Anyone who believes that the NSA doesn't scan all Irish traffic is living in cloud-cuckoo land.

Space

Shape of the Universe Determined To Be Really, Really Flat 235 235

Posted by timothy
from the how-flat-was-it dept.
StartsWithABang writes: You might imagine all sorts of possibilities for how the Universe could have been shaped: positively curved like a higher-dimensional sphere, negatively curved like a higher-dimensional saddle, folded back on itself like a donut/torus, or spatially flat on the largest scales, like a giant Cartesian grid. Yet only one of these possibilities matches up with our observations, something we can probe simply by using our knowledge of how light travels in both flat and curved space, and measuring the CMB, the source of the most distant light in the Universe. The result? A Universe that's so incredibly flat, it's indistinguishable from perfection. Which means it's probably even flatter than Kansas.

Comment: Re:Scientifically driven politics (Score 1) 347 347

I honestly think scientists as politicians wouldn't be so bad.

Too many of them would be too inexperienced or even naive, methinks. Most scientists just want the politicians to get the fuck out of the lab so they can get on with doing science.

Bug

Long Uptime Makes Boeing 787 Lose Electrical Power 250 250

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-tried-turning-off-and-then-on-again? dept.
jones_supa writes: A dangerous software glitch has been found in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. If the plane is left turned on for 248 days, it will enter a failsafe mode that will lead to the plane losing all of its power, according to a new directive from the US Federal Aviation Administration. If the bug is triggered, all the Generator Control Units will shut off, leaving the plane without power, and the control of the plane will be lost. Boeing is working on a software upgrade that will address the problems, the FAA says. The company is said to have found the problem during laboratory testing of the plane, and thankfully there are no reports of it being triggered on the field.
Encryption

FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For "Stupid" Ideas About Encryption 174 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the stupid-is-as-stupid-does dept.
blottsie writes: At a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the FBI endured outright hostility as both technical experts and members of Congress from both parties roundly criticized the law enforcement agency's desire to place so-called back doors into encryption technology. "Creating a technological backdoor just for good guys is technologically stupid," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a Stanford University computer science graduate. "That's just stupid. Our founders understood that an Orwellian overreaching government is one of the most dangerous things this world could have," Lieu said.
United States

US Senate Targets Patent Trolls 56 56

Posted by timothy
from the crimes-of-opportunity dept.
New submitter jeffkoch writes: Last year, the United States Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation to combat patent trolls when it was killed by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Congressional-insider newspaper Roll Call reports today that, "Knowing Reid would no longer control the Senate's legislative schedule in 2015, staff for John Cornyn, (a Republican from Texas), and Charles E. Schumer, (a Democrat from New York)", began work in February to assemble a new bill and to build support among fellow members of the Senate. Patent law is usually not a partisan issue, and President Barack Obama has called for getting an overhaul to his desk on several occasions including in his 2014 State of the Union speech. The last overhaul of United States patent law, the America Invents Act, took several years to be developed. The U.S. Congress is likely to act on the proposed legislation before they recess in August. "Patent trolls are taking a system meant to drive innovation and instead using it to stifle job-creating businesses around the country. Main Street stores, tech startups and more are being smothered by the abuse that is all too common in our patent system, and it's time for that to end," Schumer said in a statement. "This bipartisan bill shifts the legal burden back onto those who would abuse the patent system in order to make a quick buck at the expense of businesses that are playing by the rules."

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