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Submission + - Engaging Newbies in Email Encryption and Network Privacy->

reifman writes: All six parts of my series introducing beginners to PGP encryption and network privacy are now freely available. I hope it's useful for Slashdot readers to share with their less-technical acquaintances. There's an introduction to PGP, a guide to email encryption on the desktop, smartphone and in the browser, an introduction to the emerging key sharing and authentication startup,, and an intro to VPNs. There's a lot more work for us to do in the ease of use of communications privacy but this helps people get started more with what's available today.
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Submission + - White House Responds to Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden

protest_boy writes: The White House has issued a response to the two-year old petition to pardon Edward Snowden for any crimes that may have been committed in revealing secret NSA programs.

"If he [Snowden] felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."

Submission + - "Flee the Jungle" Launch Promotes Amazon Shopping Alternatives->

Submission + - Amazon Misled the Associated Press About Seattle's Housing Problems->

reifman writes: Recently, Amazon PR told the Associated Press (AP) that it had 'given the city [of Seattle] tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing' for a story syndicated by more than 300 news sites including The New York Times, The Washington Post and many others around the world. It turns out their claim isn't quite accurate. The fees weren't donated nor were they in "the tens of millions." Furthermore, there have been recent protests outside the company's headquarters for its harms to affordable housing and a friend of mine working in the space told me, 'No one in the affordable housing world sees [Amazon] as anything other than a driver of increased costs.' The company also made claims that it 'paid for a new street car' and donated to 100 charities — statements somewhat overstated for effect. For example, it did buy one of four street cars but only paid for 1/10th of the four car system. It's actually rare that Amazon's PR team responds to reporters at all. The only time I've heard from them was for a Slashdot post on unlaunching their Civic Apps contest, they lied to me. Reporter Paul Constant once wrote he, '...suspect[s] that the Amazon PR phone line is connected to an answering machine in an abandoned warehouse in Belize.'
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Submission + - Amazon's Leading the Economic Boom Wrecking Seattle-> 1

reifman writes: Seattleites are struggling with massive traffic, rising housing costs and declining diversity. Amazon's building and acquiring enough office space to triple its local headcount by 2020. Facebook, Google and many other tech companies are now expanding here as well — it's the San Franciscoization of Seattle. Downtown is filled with 75 cranes — some blocks look like mining towns. Amazon's hired so many white males that King County is now the whitest in the nation and hate crimes against gays have shot up in a formerly LGBTQ neighborhood. Politicians can't agree on reforming impact fees and taxes to address these issues. Recently, a long time Amazonian told its interns to avoid full time employment there. Since most employees burn out within one to two years and leave, the company doesn't care much about the quality of life in the city. It's treating Seattle as an empty vessel for profit.
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Submission + - Why doesn't our Solar System have a super-Earth?

StartsWithABang writes: In our own Solar System, there are the four gas giant worlds, the four inner rocky worlds, and then a bunch of icy and rocky bodies smaller than those. But in other solar systems, there’s a whole class of worlds in between the size of Earth and Neptune, called either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes. This class not only exists, but it’s the most common type of planet in the Universe, to the best of our knowledge. Here's why we think we don't have one (now), owing to the unique, migratory history of our own planets.

Submission + - Amazon Driven Tech Boom Reshaping But Breaking Seattle->

reifman writes: The quality of life in the Emerald City has swiftly been ruined. Since 2010, Amazon has approximately quintupled its local headcount to nearly 25,000. It's building and acquiring enough office space for 71,500 employees here by 2020. The company's torn down nearly every building in South Lake Union just north of the city center to construct new offices. Downtown is currently filled with 75 cranes — some blocks look like mining areas. But many other technology companies are now joining into the San Francisco-ization of Seattle. Traffic's often a nightmare. Housing prices and rental costs are skyrocketing; homelessness is up 21% since last year. Diversity is declining while hate crimes in the formerly gay stronghold of Capitol Hill are rising. The company hires so many men, many white, that our county is now the whitest of the nation's most populous. City and state government and political leaders remain apparently incapable of addressing these issues. This week, a long time Amazonian told its interns to get jobs elsewhere. Most employees burn out within one to two years until Amazon finds replacements. The company doesn't seem to care if the quality of life remains high here, it's using Seattle as an empty vessel for profit.
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Submission + - Microsoft Begins Returning Proceeds from Tax Dodging->

reifman writes: The Washington State Legislature and its budget is a complete mess this year but there's been an unusual bright spot which may quiet the protesters Slashdot reported earlier: Microsoft has volunteered for an exclusive $28 million annual tax — as long as the state funds a number of computer science degree programs. Visions of these faded after the 2008 recession when the legislature cut $4 billion from K-12 and higher education spending in part to cover the coming legalization and amnesty for Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge (students' tuitions only increased 58.6 percent.) With Microsoft's voluntary tax, the company will have fully repaid its $8.75 billion tax dodge by 2327, just 312 years from now.
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Submission + - How to Respond to Internet Rage->

reifman writes: So, you’ve been attacked by trolls? Here’s what to expect: Your phone will vibrate incessantly with Twitter mentions. You’ll receive angry, obscenity filled emails and anonymous comments on your blog. Bloggers will take you out of context (a columnist at The Guardian compared me to a mass murderer—seriously). And maybe, you’ll receive an inappropriate package at your home, as I did. If you choose to respond, here's how to proceed.
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Submission + - Anatomy of Some Slashdottings->

reifman writes: I've shared traffic data from some of my posts that have been published at Slashdot over the past decade which has varied from as little as 1,500 page views to upwards of 40,000. Definitely the most surprising response was to Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds — who knew Slashdot readers were so health conscious?
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Submission + - Stellar: An Open Source, Nonprofit Infrastructure for Financial Transactions->

reifman writes: Stellar is not just a BitCoin alternative, it's a nonprofit, foundation-supported, public infrastructure for money. It's one of the most interesting platforms I've profiled and may provide the ingredients to break the 3% drain on the economy of credit card networks. Stellar's designed to securely, fluidly and affordably support online transactions between different people with different currencies, and to provide an open source platform for developers to build payment solutions into applications of all kinds. Stellar's Advisors include MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito and WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg. Its diverse team notably includes nearly 50% women, unusual in most technology startups.
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Submission + - The Challenge of Web Hosting Once You're Dead->

reifman writes: Hosting a website (even WordPress) after your death has a variety of unexpected complexities, from renewing your domain name, to hosting, security, monitoring, troubleshooting and more. It's a gaping hole that we as technologists should start thinking more about — especially because all of us are going to die, some of us unexpectedly sooner than we'd like or planned for. The only real solution I found was to share credentials and designate funds to descendants — you've done this, right?
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Submission + - A Woman Demystifies the "Dickonomics" of Tinder->

reifman writes: If I want to feel badly about myself, Tinder is the go-to app. In fact, it's hard for me to imagine a greater contrast to the experience of disempowerment I shared in 'Peepless in Seattle' than smart, funny, sex-positive writer Alana Massey's 'The Dickonomics of Tinder' who says she's 'grown increasingly skilled at selecting for only the most exceptional sex with every swipe.' Certainly, the rise of smartphones and dating apps have enabled a marketplace where her mantra 'dick is abundant and low value' is true. Massey says considerate, sexually responsible men that use proper punctuation are more likely to get the girl. My experience is that it's a lot more complicated than that but I do wish that we lived in a culture that encouraged sex positivity for all genders and a lot less misogyny. For the record, being a semi-vegan cat lover never seemed to work for me with anyone.
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"Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time." -- a coffee cup