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Submission + - We're looking for ET all wrong

StartsWithABang writes: When you consider that there are definitely millions of planets in the habitable zones of their stars within our Milky Way galaxy alone, the possibility that there’s intelligent life on at least one of them, right now, is tantalizing. But we’re in our technological infancy, relatively speaking, having only been broadcasting electromagnetic signatures visible by an alien civilization for around 80 years. Unsurprisingly, we’re looking for exactly the types of signals we’re capable of sending, but what if that’s totally wrongheaded? Based on how technology is evolving and what the Universe is capable of, perhaps we should be looking not at electromagnetic radiation, but neutrino or gravitational wave signals from the distant Universe to search for alien civilizations.

Submission + - "The Alternative" Puts the Brakes on Bullets Fired From Police Sidearms (

Zothecula writes: Aiming for a leg or shooting a weapon from a criminal's hands may be an option for cops in the movies, but real police officers are trained to shoot for the center of mass, not necessarily to kill, but to stop – although the end result can often be one and the same. "The Alternative" is designed to give officers a less lethal option in the form of a clip-on "air bag" for semiautomatic pistols that reduces the velocity of a standard round to make it less lethal.

Submission + - The Key to Interviewing at Google (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Wired has an excerpt from a new book of Google-centric workplace advice, written by Laszlo Bock, the search-engine giant’s head of “People Operations” (re: Human Resources). In an interesting twist, Bock kicks off the excerpt by describing the brainteaser questions that Google is famous for tossing at job candidates as “useless,” before suggesting that some hiring managers at the company might still use them. (“Sorry about that,” he offered.) Rather than ask candidates to calculate the number of golf balls that can fit inside a 747 (or why manhole covers are round), Google now runs its candidates through a battery of work-sample tests and structured interviews, which its own research and data-crunching suggest is best at finding the most successful candidates. Google also relies on a tool (known as qDroid), which automates some of the process—the interviewer can simply input which job the candidate is interviewing for, and receive a guide with optimized interview questions. It was only a matter of time before people got sick of questions like, "Why are manhole covers round?"

Submission + - By Hiring Tata and Infosys, So Cal Edison Reduces Local Headcount

operator_error writes: Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times reports that Southern California Edison, the local electrical utility, has let go of 500 IT employees by outsourcing jobs to Tata and Infosys who are top users/abusers of the U.S. H1-B visa process; 400 So Cal employees were laid off and 100 'left voluntarily', many with decades of experience. As indicative of a trend this has now become, last year Minnesota-based agribusiness behemoth Cargill said it would outsource as many as 900 IT jobs to Tata.

These employees perform the crucial work of installing, maintaining and managing Edison's computer hardware and software for functions as varied as payroll and billing, dispatching and electrical load management across Edison's vast power generating and electric transmission network. The workers I interviewed are in their 50s or 60s and have spent decades serving as loyal Edison employees.

"They told us they could replace one of us with three, four, or five Indian personnel and still save money," one laid-off Edison worker told me, recounting a group meeting with supervisors last year. "They said, 'We can get four Indian guys for cheaper than the price of you.' You could hear a pin drop in the room."

They're not the sort of uniquely creative engineering aces that high-tech companies say they need H-1B visas to hire from abroad, or foreign students with master's degrees or doctorates from U.S. universities who also can be employed under the H-1B program. They're experienced systems analysts and technicians for whom these jobs have been stairways from the working class to five- or six-figure middle-class incomes. Many got their training at technical institutes or from Edison itself.

This worker and the half-dozen others I interviewed asked to remain anonymous because their severance packages forbid them to speak disparagingly about the company.

Submission + - Secrecy around police surveillance equipment proves a case's undoing (

schwit1 writes: The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.

But before trial, his defense team detected investigators' use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.

Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.

Today, 20-year-old McKenzie is serving six months' probation after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor. He got, as one civil liberties advocate said, the deal of the century.

Submission + - Highly Educated Foreign Workers Treated Like Indentured Servants

sabri writes: NBC Bay Area reports about indentured servants in Silicon Valley, primarily H1-B visa holders. NBC Bay Area and CIR’s team discovered an organized system that supplies cheap labor made up of highly-educated and highly-skilled foreign workers who come to the US via H-1B visas.

It virtually makes these employees a slave,” said one worker who came from India more than a decade ago.

Submission + - CHP officer steals nudies from arrested girl to his own cellphone

sabri writes: Apparently your cellphone is not safe in the hands of the CHP. CHP officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez, was caught stealing nudies from the cellphone of a woman he had just arrested.

What did the CHP do? They must have fired the bastard! Nope. They gave him a deskjob: 'The five-year CHP veteran has been assigned to desk duties', the CHP explains.

Submission + - Cooling canals at Turkey Point nuclear power plant still too hot (

mdsolar writes: Florida Power & Light needs millions more gallons of freshwater to manage cooling canals that keep two nuclear reactors at Turkey Point from overheating, company officials said in an emergency request to the South Florida Water Management District.

The hot canals do not pose a safety risk, federal regulators have said, but they have forced the utility to dial back operations over the scorching summer.

So with the heat showing no sign of easing, could brownouts be far off?

“We have record electricity demand and what we’re doing is taking proactive action to make sure we can effectively manage the situation in an environmentally responsible way while maintaining reliability for our customers,” said FPL spokesman Michael Waldron.

To cool the canals, the Water Management District on Thursday authorized pumping up to 100 million gallons of water a day from a nearby canal system, but only if it doesn’t take too much water stored for Everglades restoration. The canals carry freshwater to Biscayne Bay and tamp down salinity, which can fuel algae blooms and harm marine life.

The 100 million gallons would be in addition to 14 million gallons a day from the Floridan aquifer that water managers approved in June, after high temperatures threatened to shut down the reactors.

Submission + - How to Survive H1B Displacement

An anonymous reader writes: So it looks like I'm going to be displaced by an H1B. I've been in IT / enterprise admin for some 20 years. I wont go into all of the details but its pretty clear that not only do I get the pleasure of losing my job, my employer is trying to trick me into training this guy before they sack me. The upside is that I caught on to whats happening and this person is actually not too bright. Today, he asked me to explain why when he opens an EBCDIC file with notepad.exe there are funny characters.

Anyway, I know I'm not the first and I won't be the last. I figure I have about 90 days since that persons hire date before they can pull my plug without getting sued. US labor law doesn't give much protection. Most likely there will be no package. So Slashdot -> what does one do when such a situation arises?

Submission + - T-Mobile: Data Caps Are a Symptom of Uncompetitive Markets (

An anonymous reader writes: In an emergency petition filed with the FCC, T-Mobile accuses AT&T and Verizon of hoarding spectrum for anti-competitive benefit, then over-charging consumers via usage caps the company argues aren't technically necessary. To hear T-Mobile tell it, AT&T and Verizon then use their duopoly power to hoard spectrum to limit competitors, then charge those under-positioned competitors an arm and a leg for roaming connectivity — jacking up prices for everyone in the process.

Click for full size
T-Mobile is urging the FCC to force companies like AT&T and Verizon to offer roaming connectivity to competing companies for significantly lower rates. Consumer costs were recently cut in half after European Regulators capped roaming rates.

Submission + - Electronic health records ripe for theft (

schwit1 writes: America’s medical records systems are flirting with disaster, say the experts who monitor crime in cyberspace. A hack that exposes the medical and financial records of hundreds of thousands of patients is coming, they say — it’s only a matter of when.

As health data become increasingly digital and the use of electronic health records booms, thieves see patient records in a vulnerable health care system as attractive bait, according to experts interviewed by POLITICO. On the black market, a full identity profile contained in a single record can bring as much as $500.

The issue has yet to capture attention on Capitol Hill, which has been slow to act on cybersecurity legislation.

“What I think it’s going to lead to, if it hasn’t already, is an arms race between the criminal element and the people trying to protect health data,” said Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association and chief medical officer at the health technology firm CSC. “I think the health data stewards are probably a little behind in the race. The criminal elements are incredibly sophisticated.”

Submission + - Japanese Woman Arrested to Selling 3D Printable Files of Her Vagina (

jigmypig writes: A woman in Japan has been arrested for selling 3D printable files of her vagina to random men via the internet. The files included items such as 3D printable smartphone cases engraved with nothing else but her genitalia. To do this, she scanned her vagina and then put them into a 3D printable file. Men were then able to purchase the files directly from her, and she would deliver them via email. As you know, the rules in Japan concerning the exposure or depiction of female genitalia are very strict. There is already a petition being passed around trying to get her released.

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