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United States

Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration 512

Posted by timothy
from the nobody-hates-new-immigrants-like-old-immigrants dept.
dcblogs (1096431) writes The Senate's two top Republican critics of temporary worker immigration, specifically the H-1B and L-1 visas, now hold the two most important immigration posts in the Senate. They are Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who heads the Senate's Judiciary Committee, and his committee underling, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who was appointed by Grassley on Thursday to head the immigration subcommittee. Sessions was appointed one week after accusing the tech industry of perpetuating a "hoax" by claiming there is a shortage of qualified U.S. tech workers. "The tech industry's promotion of expanded temporary visas — such as the H-1B — and green cards is driven by its desire for cheap, young and immobile labor," wrote Sessions, in a memo he sent last week to fellow lawmakers. Sessions, late Thursday, issued a statement about his new role as immigration subcommittee chairman, and said the committee "will give voice to those whose voice has been shut out," and that includes "the voice of the American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers."
Biotech

New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild 130

Posted by timothy
from the we've-decided-to-put-this-in-everyone dept.
BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes In Jurassic Park, scientists tweak dinosaur DNA so that the dinosaurs were lysine-deficient in order to keep them from spreading in the wild. Scientists have taken this one step further as a way to keep genetically modified E. coli from surviving outside the lab. In modifying the bacteria's DNA to thwart escape, two teams altered the genetic code to require amino acids not found in nature. One team modified the genes that coded for proteins crucial to cell functions so that that produced proteins required the presence of the synthetic amino acid in the protein itself. The other team focused on 22 genes deemed essential to a bacterial cell's functions and tied the genes' expression to the presence of synthetic amino acids. For the bacteria to survive, these synthetic amino acids had to be present in the medium on which the bacteria fed. In both cases, the number of escapees was so small as to be undetectable."
Open Source

Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the bad-news-for-my-clone-army dept.
New submitter Bogdan Vasilescu writes: Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict.

In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value.

The paper describing the results (preprint PDF here) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015.
Security

Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force" 687

Posted by Soulskill
from the life-free-of-swat-teams-and-unordered-pizzas dept.
AmiMoJo writes: On Friday, developer and doxing victim Zoe Quinn launched an online "anti-harassment task force" toolset, staffed by volunteers familiar with such attacks, to assist victims of a recent swell of "doxing" and "swatting" attacks. The Crash Override site, built by Quinn and game developer Alex Lifschitz, offers free services from "experts in information security, white hat hacking, PR, law enforcement, legal, threat monitoring, and counseling" for "victims of online mob harassment."

They have already managed to preemptively warn at least one victim of a swatting attempt in Enumclaw, Washington. As a result, the police department's head e-mailed the entire department to ask any police sent to the address in question to "knock with your hand, not your boot."
Communications

Your High School Wants You To Install Snapchat 157

Posted by timothy
from the just-ask-ram-sweeney dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: They would never admit it, but your high school admins would probably breathe a sigh of relief if all of their sexting-mad students would go ahead and install Snapchat so that evidence of (sometimes) illegal sexting would disappear into the ether. They can't recommend that you do this, because it would sound like an implicit endorsement, just like they can't recommend designated drivers for teen drinking parties -- but it's a good bet they would be grateful. Read on for the rest.

Comment: Re:In other words ... (Score 1) 448

by nmb3000 (#48760351) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

This is called Win-Win. Its how the free market works.

Ah, Slashdot. Where the grits are hot, Natalie Portman is petrified, and price gouging is considered Win-Win.

A "fair price" and "the highest possible price the majority of people are willing to pay" are not synonyms.

When consumers don't feel like every corporation they do business with is a leech trying to gorge itself on as much of their blood as possible, they'll probably be willing to do more business in general. When it comes to cable TV, people are cutting the cord not just because they feel it's overpriced, but because they're sick and tired of feeling like they're being fleeced with a dull razor every month when they get their bill.

Comment: Re:Evidence? (Score 2) 463

by nmb3000 (#48737285) Attached to: Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

ads posing as real software, e.g. when you Google X and the first couple links are sketchy versions of Y pretending to be X, or when you get to the actual download page but the big green "Download" link is actually an ad which downloads some BS executable

Oh, god, you have no idea how much this pisses me off. I've had a few family members get bitten by this when I've suggested they get VLC or Firefox. The bastards at Google allow people to purchase ads for these high-profile FOSS software project names and then they serve up malware.

I thought they'd stopped doing it, but checking now I see searching for both Firefox and VLC still show these links. And some morons still don't understand why people block ads.

Comment: Re:Dupe (Score 4, Funny) 840

Jamie goes to replace the battery in a Dodge Stratus they purchased and has to take one of the wheels off in order to access it

Not quite that bad, but I have an older Chevy Lumina and in order to replace the battery you have to

- remove a front-end crossbar, the bolts of which have about a 50% chance of being welded to the chassis with rust
- remove the windshield washer reservoir, which involves removing the pump that's attached at the bottom of the container (without spilling too much fluid on the battery)
- remove a bracket from overtop the batter which is connected to the chassis under the air filter housing, requiring at least a 10-inch wrench extender (12" is better)
- remove another bracket that holds the battery in place, also fixed with a bolt located 10 inches down a tiny hole.
- wrestle the battery out past the main fuse/distribution box, which it barely fits past without breaking it
- repeat the process in reverse with new battery

Here's a picture. It's a nightmare.

It's so bad I found several sites online describing the process and mocking the designers of the vehicle. I understand that space is at a premium under the hood, but FFS, this is just bad.

Comment: Re:How about educating your dumbfuck mother? (Score 5, Interesting) 463

by nmb3000 (#48732755) Attached to: Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

The most common attack vector for this particular malware and many like it is email attachments.

That was true 4-6 years ago, but not today. Now we're seeing most of this stuff getting installed via zero-day exploits in browsers and plugins like Java and Flash, and distributed via third-party advertising networks. It's a lot harder to blame someone for getting compromised via a browser plugin they didn't even know they had.

The best protection these days is still to block all advertising, run with limited permissions, and have automated external backups with versioning. If the user is capable, blocking all third-party scripting is also incredibly effective.

It's 2015 anyone in the world can still send an email with file attachments to anyone using whatever FROM address they'd like without any prior trust relationship, vetting or authorization by receiver.

You just listed some of the best features of email.

It is *our* fault for installing AV software and going back to picking our noses

Now this is true. Antivirus software has been a joke for a decade.

Social Networks

Twitter Bug Locks Out Many Users 69

Posted by timothy
from the confine-comments-to-140-chars-in-solidarity dept.
TechCrunch and ZDNet are among the many sources to report that many users are having trouble right now signing in to Twitter, and that the company is working right now to fix the glitch. As ZDNet describes the problem, According to Twitter's server response at the time of writing, most of 2015 has happened, and we are heading into a bright new 2016 in a couple of days time. Querying Twitter's HTTP response headers at https://twitter.com returns a time stamp dated one year into the future: "date: Mon, 29 Dec 2015 02:09:37 UTC". Consequently, users of Twitter's popular Tweetdeck application have experienced seeing every incoming tweet appear with a time stamp reporting the tweet to be from 365 days ago. At the same time that Twitter's servers began returning the incorrect date, some users of Twitter's official Android app were logged out of the service, and unable to log in again via the app. Users of some third-party Twitter applications have also reported being locked out of their apps.

Comment: Re:Waste (Score 1) 170

by nmb3000 (#48657179) Attached to: Minecraft Creator Notch's $70 Million Mansion Recreated In Minecraft

Indeed. I'm sure you give all your excess money to charity rather than buy yourself a TV, DVDs, go to a restaurant or on vacation.

Interesting false equivalence. Ignoring the fact that I said nothing about how much money he should give to charity, do you really equate a $400 television and a few $12 DVDs to a $70,000,000 house?

Comment: Re:Waste (Score 2) 170

by nmb3000 (#48657163) Attached to: Minecraft Creator Notch's $70 Million Mansion Recreated In Minecraft

Look at the billions and billions and billions that have been sunk into Africa... still for the most part, a crappy sinkhole of money and poverty that isn't getting better. It will get better when they pull themselves up and actually start improving their own lives.

Ah, the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" myth. Who knows -- perhaps once the majority of Africans have overthrown brutal despots, eradicated malaria and other diseases, and found reliable clean water they'll be able to start working on that.

A crazy amount of money is given to charity every year, and yet the problem doesn't go away.

How much time, money, and effort did it take to build a prospering American country and society -- from a largely empty land brimming with natural resources? Oh, and, how much of that came from Europe? "Self-made", indeed.

Speed of a tortoise breaking the sound barrier = 1 Machturtle

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