recoiledsnake sends this news from Bloomberg: "Italy's Parliament today passed a new measure on web advertising, the so-called 'Google tax,' which will require Italian companies to purchase their Internet ads from locally registered companies, instead of from units based in havens such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda. Google, for example, says that it sells nearly all its advertising in Europe from an Irish unit, leaving little taxable profits in the countries where its customers are based. That unit in turn pays royalties to a second Irish subsidiary, which says its headquarters are in Bermuda. Google last year moved nearly $12 billion to the Bermuda unit, the majority of its worldwide income, cutting more than $2 billion off its global income tax bill. Google's Italian unit last year reported total income taxes of just 1.8 million euros, corporate filings show."
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An anonymous reader writes "The common trope these days is that the internet never forgets. We tech-inclined folk warn our friends and relatives that anything embarrassing they put on the internet will stay there whether they want it to or not. But at the same time, we're told about massive amounts of data being lost as storage services go out of business or as the media it's stored on degrades and fails. There are organizations like the Internet Archive putting a huge amount of effort into saving everything that can be saved, and they're not getting all of it. My question is this: how long can we reasonably expect the internet to remember us? Assume, of course, that we're not doing anything particularly famous or notable — just normal people leading normal lives. Will our great-grandkids be able to trace our online presence? Will all your publicly-posted photos be viewable in 50 years, or just the one of you tripping over a sheep and falling into the mud?"
jones_supa writes "The x32 ABI for Linux allows the OS to take full advantage of an x86-64 CPU while using 32-bit pointers and thus avoiding the overhead of 64-bit pointers. Though the x32 ABI limits the program to a virtual address space of 4GB, it also decreases the memory footprint of the program and in some cases can allow it to run faster. The ABI has been talked about since 2011 and there's been mainline support since 2012. x32 support within other programs has also trickled in. Despite this, there still seems to be no widespread interest. x32 support landed in Ubuntu 13.04, but no software packages were released. In 2012 we also saw some x32 support out of Gentoo and some Debian x32 packages. Besides the kernel support, we also saw last year the support for the x32 Linux ABI land in Glibc 2.16 and GDB 7.5. The only Linux x32 ABI news Phoronix had to report on in 2013 was of Google wanting mainline LLVM x32 support and other LLVM project x32 patches. The GCC 4.8.0 release this year also improved the situation for x32. Some people don't see the ABI as being worthwhile when it still requires 64-bit processors and the performance benefits aren't very convincing for all workloads to make maintaining an extra ABI worthwhile. Would you find the x32 ABI useful?"
An article from Reuters explains how mergers involving T-Mobile and Time Warner Cable are likely to face a high level of scrutiny from the Obama Administration. Officials are wary of allowing any more power to consolidate among the huge corporations dominating the industry. A merger with one of the smaller companies would have a much easier time gaining approval. "Regulators could, on the other hand, welcome transactions that bolster new entrants, such as one combining satellite TV service provider Dish Network Corp with T-Mobile, experts say. 'Dish/T-Mobile, from a regulatory standpoint, it would be a slam-dunk,' said Stifel analyst David Kaut. ... The FCC, in an annual report released in March, said competition in the wireless industry is 'highly concentrated.' Similarly, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for antitrust, William Baer, has described the industry as 'not uniformly competitive.' 'The Department believes it is essential to maintain vigilance against any lessening of the intensity of competitive market forces,' Baer told the FCC in a filing in April related to an upcoming auction of low-frequency airwaves. The government's rejection of AT&T's $39 billion plan to buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom in 2011 remains the biggest shadow looming over big communications deals."
An anonymous reader notes an article about how the tribulations of Healthcare.gov brought the idea of software testing into the public consciousness in a more detailed way than ever before. Quoting: "Suddenly, Americans are sitting at their kitchen tables – in suburbs, in cities, on farms – and talking about quality issues with a website. The average American was given nightly tutorials on load testing and performance bottlenecks when the site first launched, then crumbled moments later. We talked about whether the requirements were well-defined and the project schedule reasonably laid out. We talked about who owns the decision to launch and whether they were keeping appropriate track of milestones and iterations. ... When the media went from talking about the issues in the website to the process used to build the website was when things really got interesting. This is when software testers stepped out of the cube farm behind the coffee station and into the public limelight. Who were these people – and were they incompetent or mistreated? Did the project leaders not allocate enough time for testing? Did they allocate time for testing but not time to react to the testing outcome? Did the testers run inadequate tests? Were there not enough testers? Did they not speak up about the issues? If they did, were they not forceful enough?"
New submitter John Moses writes "I have been working with node.js a lot lately, and have been discussing with co-workers if node.js is taking steam away from Ruby at all. I think the popularity of the language is an important talking point when selecting a language and framework for a new project. A graph on the release date of gems over time could help determine an answer. The front page of RubyGems only shows data on the most popular, but I am really interested in seeing recent activity. My theory is that if developers' contributions to different gems is slowing down, then so is the popularity of the language."
A new study has been published in Nature Geoscience (abstract) detailing how scientists correctly anticipated the location and strength of an earthquake earlier this year. On September 5th, a 7.6 earthquake rocked Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. That region had seen earthquakes of (roughly) magnitude 7 in 1853, 1900, and 1950, so "geoscientists had forecast that a magnitude 7.7 to 7.8 quake should occur around the year 2000, plus or minus 20 years." "The Nicoya Peninsula is prone to earthquakes because it's an area of subduction, where the Cocos Plate is pushing underneath the Caribbean Plate, moving at a rate of about 8.5 centimeters per year. When regions such as this suddenly slip, they produce a megathrust earthquake. Most of the world's largest earthquakes — including the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki quake in Japan in 2011 and the magnitude 9.15 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in 2004, both of which produced devastating tsunamis — fall into this category. .. The close study of this region allowed scientists to calculate how much strain was building in the fault and in May 2012 they published a study in which they identified two locked spots capable of producing an earthquake similar to the one in 1950. In September of that year, the landward patch ruptured and produced the earthquake. The offshore one is still locked and capable of producing a substantial but smaller earthquake, an aftershock with a magnitude as high as 6.9, the researchers say."
Like many other review sites, it seems that MacWorld can hardly find enough good things to say about the new Mac Pro, even while conceding it's probably not right for many users. 9to5 Mac has assembled a lot of the early reviews, including The Verge's, which has one of the coolest shots of its nifty design, which stacks up well against the old Pro's nifty design. The reviews mostly boil down to this: If you're in a field where you already make use of a high-end Mac for tasks like video editing, the newest one lives up to its hype.
Taco Cowboy writes with news, as reported by the BBC, that eight people have been imprisoned in Dubai for creating a spoof video about youth culture in that country, for which they were accused of acting "with the intent of inciting to actions, or publishing or disseminating any information, news, caricatures, or other images liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on the public order." "The video, posted to YouTube, was a gentle satire on young men in the Satwa residential suburb of Dubai who adopt a 'gangsta' pose despite living the sedate, prosperous lifestyle more usually associated with Dubai residents."
dcblogs writes "This year may be remembered for its striking number of reports and warning of calamitous events. The National Intelligence Council released its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report that included a number of dire possibilities ahead, including the prospect of a catastrophic solar storm, on par with the 1859 Carrington Event. Historical records suggest a return period of 50 years for a repeat of the Quebec-level storm that knocked out the power for 6 million in 1989, and 150 years for very extreme storms, such as the Carrington Event, according to Lloyd's, in a report this year. Scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory recently demonstrated in tests that 'geomagnetic disturbances have the power to disrupt and possibly destroy electrical transformers, the backbone of our nation's utility grid.' This was also the year the average daily level of CO2 reached a concentration above 400 parts per million. In a recent National Academies report this year, 'Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises,' scientists recommend creation of a global early warning system to alert mankind to abrupt climate changes. A recent paper in Nature, Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time, said financial trading systems are driving transaction times down to the speed of light, and 'the quickest that someone can notice potential danger and physically react, is approximately 1 second.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Edward Snowden met with reporters from the Washington Post for fourteen hours and in his first interview since June reflected at length about surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed. 'For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished. I already won,' says Snowden. 'All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed. That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.' Snowden says that the NSA's business is 'information dominance,' the use of other people's secrets to shape events. But Snowden upended the agency on its own turf. 'You recognize that you're going in blind, that there's no model,' says Snowden, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views. 'But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act, you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out.' Snowden succeeded because the NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever, and says people who accuse him of disloyalty mistake his purpose. 'I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don't realize it.'"
DeviceGuru writes "One of most widely respected repositories of embedded and mobile Linux news and information has just returned to the web. LinuxDevices.com, which tracked the evolution of embedded and mobile Linux from an unknown player to being at the heart of billions of mobile and embedded devices, transferred from Ziff Davis Enterprise to QuinStreet through an acquisition two years ago, then went dormant for a year, and finally vanished from the web in May. Now, through an arrangement with QuinStreet, more than 14,000 news items and articles are back online in the form of a LinuxDevices Archive, hosted by LinuxGizmos.com. The archive is searchable from a calendar interface that lets you click on any month of any year between 1999 and 2012, to see what was going on in that time period."
An anonymous reader writes with the latest news about the aftermath of the Silk Road shutdown "From the article: 'Ulbricht ... said in a notarised December 11 statement that he believes the virtual currency should be returned to him because Bitcoins are "not subject to seizure" by federal law. Ulbricht, 29, now admits the Bitcoin fortune is his — even though he's previously denied any wrongdoing regarding Silk Road and claimed through his lawyer that the feds arrested the wrong guy.' So not only has he now confirmed his link to the site, and confirmed the money is his, but also means that a few precedents will be set. Is it seizable? Is it just 'copying data?'" Relatedly, three alleged moderators of Silk Road were indicted on Friday.
Bismillah writes "Evad3rs' new iOS 7 jailbreak featured a Chinese app store that sold pirated software, and which was pulled from Evasi0n7 soon after launch. Latest rumors say that the exploit used for Evasi0n7 was stolen by a certain person, offered up for sale, so the Evad3rs did a deal with TaiG instead. Jay 'Saurik' Freeman of Cydia meanwhile isn't happy about the whole thing, saying he was given no time to test Evasi0n7."
An anonymous reader writes "Since the first demonstration of the plausible future abilities of Google Glass, instant facial recognition has been one of the most exciting ideas in the pipeline. According the the development group Facial Network, the time for real-time facial recognition through Google Glass is coming a lot sooner than we originally expected. This isn't an app developed by Google, it's a 3rd party developer group — they've gone and done it first!" The application is not on the Play store due to the ban on facial recognition. It performs real time recognition, and pulls information from public databases. The authors intend to allow people to opt-out of the recognition database.
Esther Schindler writes "The big screen has always tried to keep step with technology usually unsuccessfully. Peter Salus looks at how the film industry has treated computing. For a long time, the 'product placement' of big iron was limited to a few brands, primarily Burroughs. For instance: 'Batman: The Movie and Fantastic Voyage (both 1966) revert to the archaic Burroughs B205, though Fantastic Voyage also shows an IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central. At 250 tons for each installation (there were about two dozen) the AN/FSQ-7 was the largest computer ever built, with 60,000 vacuum tubes and a requirement of 3 megawatts of power to perform 75,000 ips for regional radar centers. The last IBM AN/FSQ-7, at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, was demolished in February 1984.' Fun reading, I think."