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+ - Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle Of Negative Feedback

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "In behavioural psychology, the theory of operant conditioning is the notion that an individual’s future behaviour is determined by the punishments and rewards he or she has received in the past. It means that specific patterns of behaviour can be induced by punishing unwanted actions while rewarding others. While the theory is more than 80 years old, it is hard at work in the 21st century in the form of up and down votes--or likes and dislikes--on social networks. But does this form of reward and punishment actually deter unwanted actions while encouraging good behaviour? Now a new study of the way voting influences online behaviour has revealed the answer. The conclusion is that that negative feedback leads to behavioural changes that are hugely detrimental to the community. Not only do authors of negatively-evaluated content contribute more but their future posts are of lower quality and are perceived by the community as such. What's more, these authors are more likely to evaluate fellow users negatively in future, creating a vicious circle of negative feedback. By contrast, positive feedback does not influence authors much at all. That's exactly the opposite of what operant conditioning theory predicts. The researchers have a better suggestion for social networks: "Given that users who receive no feedback post less frequently, a potentially effective strategy could be to ignore undesired behaviour and provide no feedback at all." Would /.-ers agree?"

+ - Should Tesla CEO Elon Musk Make Batteries Instead Of Electric Cars?

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Elon Musk is the CEO and founder of both Tesla Motors and Space X, and in the past he was the founder and CEO of PayPal. You might say he's a busy guy. Tesla seems to be doing quite well these days, but one bond trader thinks Elon should quit making electric cars and should focus his efforts on making batteries. Bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach believes the "killer" return speculative investors could get from Tesla becoming a battery-only business. Gundlach says he's already tried to meet with Musk to persuade him to take the battery-only route. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said Tesla could be "wildly transformational" in the same way electricity and electromagnets were at the advent of their discovery. With strong demand, it seems people are interested in Tesla's vehicles which leads me to believe Elon won't take Gundlach's advice. Should he?"
Earth

US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe 627

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-yesterday dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post on the U.S. government's newest national assessment of climate change. It says Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. 'Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.' The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. 'What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'"

+ - Tesla Gets $34 Million Tax Break, Adds Capacity For 35,000 More Cars

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "The state of California will give Tesla Motors a $34.7 million tax break to expand the company’s production capacity for electric cars, state officials announced yesterday. Basically, Tesla won’t have to pay sales taxes on new manufacturing equipment worth up to $415 million. The added equipment will help Tesla more than double the number of Model S sedans it builds, as well as assemble more electric powertrains for other car makers. In addition to continued Model S production, Tesla plans to introduce the Model X electric crossover in late 2014, as well as a sub-$40,000 car--tentatively called Model E--that could debut as soon as the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. It turns out California is one of the few states to tax the purchase of manufacturing equipment--but the state grants exemptions for 'clean-tech' companies. California estimates this expansion by Tesla will add 112 permanent jobs."

+ - Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin to Die in a Fire

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "SF writer Charles Stross writes on his blog that like all currency systems, Bitcoin comes with an implicit political agenda attached and although our current global system is pretty crap, Bitcoin is worse. For starters, BtC is inherently deflationary. There is an upper limit on the number of bitcoins that can ever be created so the cost of generating new Bitcoins rises over time, and the value of Bitcoins rise relative to the available goods and services in the market. Libertarians love it because it pushes the same buttons as their gold fetish and it doesn't look like a "Fiat currency". You can visualize it as some kind of scarce precious data resource, sort of a digital equivalent of gold. However there are a number of huge down-sides to Bitcoin says Stross: Mining BtC has a carbon footprint from hell as they get more computationally expensive to generate, electricity consumption soars; Bitcoin mining software is now being distributed as malware because using someone else's computer to mine BitCoins is easier than buying a farm of your own mining hardware; Bitcoin's utter lack of regulation permits really hideous markets to emerge, in commodities like assassination and drugs and child pornography; and finally Bitcoin is inherently damaging to the fabric of civil society because it is pretty much designed for tax evasion. "BitCoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind—to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions," concludes Stross. "The current banking industry and late-period capitalism may suck, but replacing it with Bitcoin would be like swapping out a hangnail for Fournier's gangrene.""
OS X

Inside OS X Mavericks 362

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-good-look dept.
rjmarvin writes "Apple's era of naming OSs after big cats is over. The Mavericks wave is rolling in, and the first four developer previews have given an inside look at the cutting-edge OS. Users and developers have almost entirely positive things to say about Mavericks, from faster speed and improved stability to new features like iBooks and iCloud keychains. While some installation concerns and errors have arisen, developer preview have improved version by version, and Mavericks is looking good."

+ - Ask Slashdot: Enterprise level network devices for home use? 3

Submitted by osho741
osho741 (2441180) writes "I was wondering if anyone has enterprise level networking devices set up at home? I seem to go through at least 1 wireless consumer grade router a year or so. I can never seem to find one that last very long under just normal use. I thought maybe I would have better luck throwing together a network using used enterprise equipment. Has anyone done this? What would you recommend for a network that maxes out at 30mbps downstream from the ISP and an internal network that should be able to stream 1080p movies to 3 or 4 devices from a media server?

Any thoughts and or suggestions are welcome."

+ - MS handing NSA access to encrypted chat & email->

Submitted by kaptink
kaptink (699820) writes "Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal. The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail. The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide. Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases. Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio. Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport"."
Link to Original Source

+ - Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Microsoft’s big reorganization has begun. Rumors had persisted for weeks that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was planning a massive, once-in-a-lifetime reorganization of the company he’s been running for quite some time. Now the plan is out in the open, and things are going to change in huge ways. Microsoft will coalesce around “a single strategy as one company,” CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a really lengthy memo posted on Microsoft's Website, “not a collection of division strategies.” The company’s product portfolio—from Windows and Xbox to enterprise applications—will be regarded and operated upon in a holistic manner. Ballmer wants this “one company” approach to extend how Microsoft handles its advertising, marketing and consumer-service operations. Ballmer also wants to knock down the walls that have slowly grown between Microsoft’s various divisions, at least as far as engineering’s concerned. The new “engineering culture” will apparently facilitate collaboration “across the company,” with an emphasis on cross-group contributions (and maintaining secrecy, of course, for the giant projects). Read on for much more on how Microsoft is reorganizing all its internal groups, as well as a rundown of who's in and who's out on the executive level. What does all this internal drama mean for you, if anything?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Addendum re Google Blogger Shutdown Issues / Speculation re COPPA->

Submitted by Lauren Weinstein
Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "In reference to the Blogger shutdown warnings discussed above, it has been suggested (and it occurred to me as well) that the timing of this sudden policy change by Google somehow relates to the new COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) regulations coming into force on 1 July (Monday).

Coincidence?

Maybe ..."

Link to Original Source
Yahoo!

So What If Yahoo's New Dads Get Less Leave Than Moms? 832

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-occasional-babysitters? dept.
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Yahoo rolled out an expanded maternity/paternity policy that doubled the family leave for moms to 16 weeks. But new dads at Yahoo get only 8 weeks. It turns out that Yahoo is not the only Fortune 500 company to short-shrift news dads. But, really, do new dads think it's worth crying over? Hmmm...changing diapers or cleaning up code — both are messy, but one smells less."
Censorship

Pakistan Boycotting Call of Duty, Medal of Honor Games 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-rude-to-your-host dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As first-person shooters have evolved, they've transitioned from using Nazis as the bad guys to more modern organizations, such as the Taliban. Two recent games, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, have both shown the country of Pakistan in a very negative light, and now shopkeepers in the country are beginning to boycott the games. 'Saleem Memon, president of the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Casette Traders and Manufacturers Association, said he had written to members ordering them not to stock the controversial games after receiving dozens of complaints. ... The latest installment of the Medal of Honor series opens with American Navy Seals coming ashore in Karachi docks on a mission to destroy a black market arms shipment. But when their detonation sets off a second, bigger explosion they realize they have stumbled on a much bigger terrorist plot, sparking a global manhunt. A chaotic car chase through the city follows amid warnings that the ISI — Pakistan's intelligence agency — is on the way. Mr. Memon added there was a danger children would be brainwashed into thinking foreign agents were at war inside Karachi, possibly leading them into the arms of militants. "These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto," he said.'"
Government

Missouri Republican Wants Violent Video Game Tax 506

Posted by Soulskill
from the guns-don't-kill-people,-imaginary-guns-do dept.
New submitter sHr0oMaN writes with news that Diane Franklin, a Republican member of Missouri's state House of Representatives, has proposed a sales tax on violent video games. The proposal, HB0157I, is one of many responses to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The proceeds from the tax would go toward mental health programs and law enforcement in the hopes that future shootings can be prevented. The total amount taxed would be small — 1% — and would be applied to video games rated Teen, Mature, or Adult-only by the ESRB. Of course, many games earn the "Teen" rating without having violence in them, like Guitar Hero. The Entertainment Software Association responded to Rep. Franklin's bill with a statement: "Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers."

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