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+ - Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Following up on a recent experiment into the status of software engineers versus managers, Jon Evans writes that the easiest way to find out which companies don't respect their engineers is to figure out which companies simply don't understand them. "Engineers are treated as less-than-equal because we are often viewed as idiot savants. We may speak the magic language of machines, the thinking goes, but we aren't business people, so we aren't qualified to make the most important decisions. ... Whereas in fact any engineer worth her salt will tell you that she makes business decisions daily–albeit on the micro not macro level–because she has to in order to get the job done. Exactly how long should this database field be? And of what datatype? How and where should it be validated? How do we handle all of the edge cases? These are in fact business decisions, and we make them, because we’re at the proverbial coal face, and it would take forever to run every single one of them by the product peopleand sometimes they wouldn’t even understand the technical factors involved. ... It might have made some sense to treat them as separate-but-slightly-inferior when technology was not at the heart of almost every business, but not any more.""
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Comment: Bezos asks for more U.S. government corruption? (Score 3, Interesting) 134

I was wondering why the Washington Post was spamming me! How did the Washington Post get my email address? Now I know. Jeff Bezos is allowing his "personal purchase" to have the email address I gave to Amazon.

Bezos apparently bought the Washington Post so that he can use it to try to force legislators to give him attention. The U.S. is becoming even more a rich-get-richer country.

The subjects of the spam messages:

{SPECIAL PREVIEW} Summer Sale: JUST $19 -- SAVE UP TO 81% OFF -- for One Year of Unlimited Digital Access!

{24 HOURS ONLY} Summer Sale: JUST $19 -- SAVE UP TO 81% OFF -- for One Year of Unlimited Digital Access!

{EXTENDED} Summer Sale: JUST $19 -- SAVE UP TO 81% OFF -- for One Year of Unlimited Digital Access!

I think it is a very effective advertising campaign. The effect will be that people will try to avoid buying things from Amazon. Also, after the "Summer Sale", digital access to the Washington Post will cost $100 per year!

+ - Knocking down the Great Firewall of China->

Submitted by Nocturrne
Nocturrne (912399) writes "The FOSS project Lantern (https://getlantern.org/) is having great success in unblocking the internet for many users in oppressive regimes, like China and Iran. Much like Tor and bitorrent, Lantern is using peer-to-peer networking to overcome firewalls, but with the additional security of a trusted network of friends. The network of peers is growing, but we need more friends in uncensored countries to join us."
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+ - Ask Slashdot: What recliner for a software developer?

Submitted by Taxilian
Taxilian (516595) writes "I'm one of those coders who tends to relax by doing more coding. Particularly when I'm short on time for a project, I like to move my work to where I am still around my wife and children so that I can still interact with them and be with my family, but still hit my deadlines. I have used various recliners and found that programming in them (at least in evenings) can be quite comfortable, but haven't felt like I really found the "ideal chair" for relaxing and working on my macbook.

I have found references to failed chairs (the La-Z-Boy explorer, the so-called 'e-cliner', etc) that were intended for tech and failed, but are there any existing and useful options? I'd really like something that provides some sort of lap desk (to keep the heat from the laptop away from me) and reasonable power arrangements while still being comfortable and not looking ridiculous in a normal family room."

+ - The flight of gifted engineers from NASA

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Rather than work in NASA, the best young engineers today are increasingly heading to get jobs at private companies like SpaceX and XCOR.

It is a long article, worth reading in its entirety, but this quote will give the essence:

As a NASA engineering co-op student at Johnson Space Center, Hoffman trained in various divisions of the federal space agency to sign on eventually as a civil servant. She graduated from college this year after receiving a generous offer from NASA, doubly prestigious considering the substantial reductions in force hitting Johnson Space Center in recent months. She did have every intention of joining that force — had actually accepted the offer, in fact — when she received an invitation to visit a friend at his new job with rising commercial launch company SpaceX.

Hoffman took him up on the offer, flying out to Los Angeles in the spring for a private tour. Driving up to the SpaceX headquarters, she was struck by how unassuming it was, how small compared to NASA, how plain on the outside and rather like a warehouse.

As she walked through the complex, she was also surprised to find open work areas where NASA would have had endless hallways, offices and desks. Hoffman described SpaceX as resembling a giant workshop, a hive of activity in which employees stood working on nitty-gritty mechanical and electrical engineering. Everything in the shop was bound for space or was related to space. No one sat around talking to friends in the morning, “another level from what you see at NASA,” she said. “They’re very purpose-driven. It looked like every project was getting the attention it deserved.”

Seeing SpaceX in production forced Hoffman to acknowledge NASA might not be the best fit for her. The tour reminded her of the many mentors who had gone into the commercial sector of the space industry in search of better pay and more say in the direction their employers take. She thought back to the attrition she saw firsthand at Johnson Space Center and how understaffed divisions struggled to maintain operations.

At NASA young engineers find that they spend a lot of time with bureaucracy, the pace is slow, their projects often get canceled or delayed, and the creative job satisfaction is poor. At private companies like SpaceX, things are getting built now. With that choice, no wonder the decision to go private is increasingly easy."

+ - GAO finds inadequate planning and oversight caused HealthCare.gov cost blowout->

Submitted by stoborrobots
stoborrobots (577882) writes "The Government Accountability Office has investigated the cost blowouts associated with how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) handled the Healthcare.gov project. It has released a 60-page report entitled Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management, with a 5 page summary. The key takeaway messages are:
  • CMS undertook the development of Healthcare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices...
  • [The task] was a complex effort with compressed time frames. To be expedient, CMS issued task orders ... when key technical requirements were unknown...
  • CMS identified major performance issues ... but took only limited steps to hold the contractor accountable.
  • CMS awarded a new contract to another firm [and the new contract's cost has doubled] due to changes such as new requirements and other enhancements...

Larry Seltzer has more over at ZDNet."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hemp fibres make better supercapacitors than graphene->

Submitted by biodata
biodata (1981610) writes "BBC News is reporting findings published in the journal ACS Nano by Dr David Mitlin's group from Clarkson University, New York.
"We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price — and we're doing it with waste."
"The hemp we use is perfectly legal to grow. It has no THC in it at all — so there's no overlap with any recreational activities."
Dr. Mitlin's team took waste hemp stems and recycled the material into supercapacitors with performance as good, or better, than those built from graphene, at a fraction of the raw materials cost."

Link to Original Source

+ - Last universal ancestor (LUA) may have a 'leaky' membrane->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Around four billion years ago the Last Universal Ancestor (LUA), most probably a single cell organism, appeared on Planet Earth. In order to be alive that single cell organism must be able to harness energy from its surrounding, and in order to do that, according to researchers at University College London (UCL), that single cell organism had a 'leaky' membrane which allowed protons to enter and exit at the same time

The UCL researchers came to the conclusion using mathematical modeling, in which the findings were published on August 13, 2014, in PLOS Biology

Illustrated picture at http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx...

The study claims this membrane may explain why all cells use the same complex mechanism to harvest energy, and it may also explain why two types of fundamental single-celled organisms — bacteria and archaea — have different cell membranes

The leakiness of the membrane allowed LUA to be powered by energy in its surroundings, most likely vents deep on the ocean floor, while holding in all the other components necessary for life. The team modeled how the membrane changed, enabling LUA’s descendants to move to new, more challenging environments and evolve into two distinct types of single-celled organism, bacteria and archaea, creating the deepest branch of the tree of life

Bacteria and archaea share many common features such as genes, proteins and mechanisms of reading DNA, initially leading scientists to believe they were just different types of bacteria. Their classification changed in the 1970s after extreme differences were found in the way they replicate DNA and in the structure of their cell membrane. As they both stemmed from LUA, scientists set out to find answers in the structure and function of LUA’s membrane

Data from the study strongly suggest that LUA lived in the area where ancient seawater, dense with positively charged particles called protons, mixed with warm alkaline vent fluid, which contained few protons. The difference in the concentration of protons across these two environments enabled protons to flow into the cell, driving the production of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which powered the growth of cells, just as it does today. However, unlike modern cells the scientists believe this could only happen if the membrane was 'leaky', enabling protons to leave the cell spontaneously so more protons could enter to power growth

From a single basic idea, the model can explain the fundamental differences between bacteria and archaea. In these deep sea vents, there is a continuous flow of alkaline fluids, which mix with the ocean waters. When they mix, the fluids neutralize each other, and that stops any build-up of charge which would otherwise prevent protons flowing into the cell

If the first cells had leaky membranes, then protons could enter and then be neutralized, or leave again, almost as if there was no barrier at all

The mathematical modeling shows that the rate at which protons enter and leave was high enough to power the growth of cells via proteins embedded in the membrane. LUA could have been powered by natural proton gradients in vents, but only if it had a really leaky membrane, completely unlike today’s cells"

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+ - Exercising to excess increases risk of death->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A new research involving 2,400 heart attack survivors conducted in Hartford Hospital reveals that too much exercise may increase risk of death to heart attack survivors

For normail heart attack survivors the more exercise they do, the less risk they face of dying from heart disease – up to a point.

Benefits began to decline among those who ran more than 48km per week; Among walkers, the turning point, when benefits were lost, was seen in those who did more than 74km per week, or 10.5km per day

Remarkable dose-dependent reductions in deaths from cardiovascular events of up to 65 percent were seen among patients who were running less than 30 miles or walking less than 46 miles per week

About 5 hours of vigorous exercise per week is the 'safe upper range'; Also, people should not engage in high-intensity exercise every day and should abstain from exercising 1-2 days a week

The researchers cautioned that since their study focused on heart attack survivors, their results might not be generalisable to the population at large"

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+ - Boy charged with "Sedition" for placing a "Like" on "I Love Israel" FB page->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Stupidious Maximus strikes again !

A 17-year old Form Five student in Malaysia has been arrested and charged under the Sedition Act for placing a "Like" in the "I Love Israel" Facebook page

The Form Five student is a non-Muslim minority and his case illustrates the racial arrogance and religious bigotry which are being practice in Malaysia — in which the majority race (who are Muslims) oppressing the minorities for whatever reason they can find"

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+ - A new Watson-style form of AI called Viv seeks to be the first 'global brain'->

Submitted by paysonwelch
paysonwelch (2505012) writes "For the past two years, the team has been working on Viv Labs’ product—also named Viv, after the Latin root meaning live. Their project has been draped in secrecy, but the few outsiders who have gotten a look speak about it in rapturous terms. “The vision is very significant,” says Oren Etzioni, a renowned AI expert who heads the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. “If this team is successful, we are looking at the future of intelligent agents and a multibillion-dollar industry.” and Siri Viv is attempting to become the first world wide brain. T"
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Comment: What about Oregon and Washington? (Score 4, Interesting) 364

by Futurepower(R) (#47654627) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
In other states, like Oregon, part of the recording must include a question about whether it is okay to record, and the answer. So the question is asked twice.

Does anyone know whether it is okay to record conversations when the other party's recorded message says the call is recorded? Washington state and Oregon are 2 about which I'd like to know, with links to the law.

It's crazy that each state has its own laws! It's crazy that Comcast is allowed to be so abusive. CenturyLink, the phone company in Oregon and SW Washington state, is also hostile to customers, in my experience. We are becoming a country where the rich can do anything they want to everyone else.

Is the answer always to record? If legal, I think yes.

+ - RIP Robin William Who Dies Aged 63->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Relatives, showbiz personalities and politicians have expressed their sadness at the death of Robin Williams, who has died at the age of 63 from a suspected suicide.

The Oscar-winning actor was found dead at his home in northern California, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

Williams' wife Susan Schneider said in a statement: "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken."

The star of much-loved films including Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning Vietnam had been struggling with severe depression in recent weeks, according to Williams' press agent Mara Buxbaum."

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