Submission + - Goldman Sachs determines online advertising is worthless (zerohedge.com) 1

turkeydance writes: quote from the meeting with Restoration Hardware:
"And they said, well, we've found out that 98% of our business was coming from 22 words. So, wait, we're buying 3,200 words and 98% of the business is coming from 22 words. What are the 22 words? And they said, well, it's the word Restoration Hardware and the 21 ways to spell it wrong, okay?"

 

Submission + - Moving Every Half Hour Could Help Limit Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle: Study (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Moving your body at least every half an hour could help to limit the harmful effects of desk jobs and other sedentary lifestyles, research has revealed. The study found that both greater overall time spent inactive in a day, and longer periods of inactivity were linked to an increased risk of death. Writing in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, Diaz and colleagues from seven US institutions describe how they kitted out nearly 8,000 individuals aged 45 or over from across the US with activity trackers between 2009 and 2013. Each participant wore the fitness tracker for at least four days during a period of one week, with deaths of participants tracked until September 2015. The results reveal that, on average, participants were inactive for 12.3 hours of a 16 hour waking day, with each period of inactivity lasting an average of 11.4 minutes. After taking into account a host of factors including age, sex, education, smoking and high blood pressure, the team found that both the overall length of daily inactivity and the length of each bout of sedentary behavior were linked to changes in the risk of death from any cause. The associations held even among participants undertaking moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Those who were inactive for 13.2 hours a day had a risk of death 2.6 times that of those spending less than 11.5 hours a day inactive, while those whose bouts of inactivity lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death almost twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time. The team then looked at the interaction between the two measures of inactivity, finding the risk of death was greater for those who had both high overall levels of inactivity (12.5 hours a day or more) and long average bouts of sedentary behaviour (10 minutes or more), than for those who had high levels of just one of the measures.

Submission + - China Joins the Growing Movement To Ban Gasoline, Diesel Cars (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: China has become the latest country to publicly discuss plans to ban the production and sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. In July, both France and the UK published plans to phase out sales of conventionally powered vehicles by 2040. China will now add another nail to the coffin of the internal combustion engine. However, unlike the French or British plans, in this case there's no target date—yet. The news comes from an automotive policy forum in Tianjin. China's vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said that his ministry has begun work on a timetable to phase out fossil fueled vehicles. The Xinhua news agency also reports that Xin told automakers they need to begin to "readjust their strategies" accordingly. For foreign car companies hoping to sell EVs in China, that will mean investing in the country, as imported vehicles come with stiff import duties attached.

Submission + - Google Accused of Trying to Patent Public Domain Technology (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Polish academic is accusing Google of trying to patent technology he invented and that he purposely released into the public domain so companies like Google couldn't trap it inside restrictive licenses. The technology's name is Asymmetric Numeral Systems (ANS), a family of entropy coding methods that Polish assistant professor Jarosaw (Jarek) Duda developed in the early 2000s, and which is now hot tech at companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook, mostly because it can improve data compression from 3 to 30 times.

Duda says that Google is now trying to register a patent that includes most of the ANS basic principles. Ironically, most of the technology described in the patent, Duda said he explained to Google engineers in a Google Groups discussion from 2014.

The researcher already filed a complaint, to which WIPO ISA responded by calling out Google for not coming up with "an inventive contribution over the prior art, because it is no more than a straightforward application of known coding algorithms." A Google spokesperson refused to comment, and the mystery remains surrounding Google's decision to patent something that's in the public domain since 2014.

Submission + - Torvalds Wants Attackers to Join Linux Before They Turn to the "Dark Side" (eweek.com)

darthcamaro writes: People attack LInux everyday and Linus Torvalds is impressed by many of them. Speaking at the Open Source Summit in LA, Torvalds said he wants to seek out those that would attack Linux and get them to help improve Linux, before they turn to the "dark side."

"There are smart people doing bad things, I wish they were on our side and they could help us," Torvalds said. "Where I want us to go, is to get as many smart people as we can before they turn to the dark side."
"We would improve security that way and get those that are interested in security to come to us, before they attack us," he added.


Submission + - The New Corporate Recruitment Pool: Workers in Dead-End Jobs (wsj.com)

cdreimer writes: According a report from The Wall Street Journal (possibly paywalled, alternative source), corporations looking to hire new employees are opening offices in cities with high concentration of workers in dead end jobs who are reluctant to locate but are cheaper to hire than competing locally in tight labor markets.

Pressed for workers, a New Jersey-based software company went hunting for a U.S. city with a surplus of talented employees stuck in dead-end jobs. Brian Brown, chief operating officer at AvePoint, Inc., struck gold in Richmond. Despite the city’s low unemployment rate, the company had no trouble filling 70 jobs there, some at 20% below what it paid in New Jersey. New hires, meanwhile, got more interesting work and healthy raises. Irvine, Calif.-based mortgage lender Network Capital Funding Corp. opened an office in Miami to scoop up an attractive subset of college graduates—those who settled for tolerable jobs in exchange for living in a city they loved. “They were not in real careers,” said Tri Nguyen, Network Capital chief executive. He now plans a similar expansion in Philadelphia. Americans have traditionally moved to find jobs. But with a growing reluctance by workers to relocate, some companies have decided to move closer to potential hires. Firms are expanding to cities with a bounty of underemployed, retrieving men and women from freelance gigs, manual labor and part-time jobs with duties that, one worker said, required only a heartbeat to perform. With the national jobless rate near a 16-year low, these pockets of underemployment are a wellspring for companies that recognize most new hires already have jobs but can be poached with better pay and room for advancement. That’s preferable to competing for higher-priced workers at home in a tight labor market.


Submission + - The Next IT Jobs Boom May Be the Internet of Things

snydeq writes: Massive investments in IoT will shake up the core skills in high demand at IT organizations in the years to come, writes Bob Violino. 'The internet of things (IoT) is poised to have a big impact on IT — and not just in terms of the scope of connected things IT must create, analyze, manage and secure. The IoT will shake up the IT jobs landscape, creating new demand for certain technology skills and hybrid job roles,' he writes, adding that companies will be investing significantly in people who possess skills related to IoT technology and the management of IoT projects, with many positions requiring a mix of skills. Following is a look at the emerging market for IoT-related positions — and the kinds of roles that will be in high demand in the near future.'

Submission + - How Techies Rescued Food Stamps (wired.com)

rgh02 writes: There is an endless variety of apps designed to manage life for the upper middle class, but most low-income Americans don’t benefit from the same time-saving hacks. Thanks to new trends in civic technology, that’s beginning to change. The 43 million Americans depending on food stamps are seeing the introduction of apps like Propel’s Fresh EBT, which allows users to check balances, track deals, and organize budgets accordingly. And Propel is only one of several companies looking to disrupt outdated social programs, Tonya Riley reports at Backchannel. But the Trump administration, with its hiring freezes and budget cuts, poses threats to these advancements. Riley dives deep into the progress that’s been made and how companies are navigating these obstacles.

Submission + - Sex robots will eventually be capable of murder (nypost.com) 1

walterbyrd writes: With sex robots becoming increasingly popular and sophisticated, cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson revealed that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us.

However, in the case of sex robots, the danger isn’t that the love dolls will end up developing minds of their own, “Westworld”-style.

Instead, the risk is that hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down.

Submission + - Why Silicon Valley Loves Big Government? It assumes others will bear the costs (bloomberg.com)

schwit1 writes: Silicon Valley titans, suggests Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times, are really quite liberal. But there is one major exception to their liberalism: They aren’t very fond of regulation. Especially, one might add, regulation aimed at the tech industry.

This supposition is based on a single paper that is still under peer review. But I suspect that Manjoo was willing to write about it because it fits his anecdotal impression of these people, counterexamples like Peter Thiel notwithstanding. It certainly fits with mine. . . .

Why is the tech-industry so government-friendly? And why, if they think that government would do such a splendid job at regulating the distribution of wealth in society, do they not think that it would do an equally splendid job regulating them?

One reason that Silicon Valley moguls may be more redistribution-friendly than the old robber-barons has to do with a fundamental difference between their industries. The Gilded Age tycoons had largely come up in businesses that had considerable variable cost to their operations. If you wanted to make more steel, you had to hire more workers, buy more iron ore and coal, and pay railroads to ship all those raw materials in, and your finished product out.

Heavy taxation would thus considerably cut into your production. You couldn’t buy so many raw materials; you couldn’t afford so many workers; you would not be able to ship as much finished product to your customers. Taxation, in other words, had very high costs, not just to your personal wealth, but to the means by which you produced more of it. It’s true that if everyone had to pay the tax, your relative position among your fellow millionaires probably wouldn’t slip much. But the absolute amount you could produce would fall.

Silicon Valley, on the other hand, is among a growing number of industries where the variable cost approaches zero. Once you’ve written the software, you can sell a thousand copies or a million with barely any difference in the amount of money you have to spend on operations. A friend recently pointed out the curious dilemma that Google has: it has a core business that throws off enormous sums of cash and needs relatively little investment to keep doing so, and at the same time, it’s hard to imagine that anything they invested that cash in could generate a similarly massive income stream. The same could be said of Facebook. The tech industry assumes others will bear most of the costs.

Submission + - ShadowBrokers Releases NSA UNITEDRAKE Manual (schneier.com)

AmiMoJo writes: The ShadowBrokers released the manual for UNITEDRAKE, a sophisticated NSA Trojan that targets Windows machines:

Able to compromise Windows PCs running on XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Vista, Windows 7 SP 1 and below, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the attack tool acts as a service to capture information.

UNITEDRAKE, described as a "fully extensible remote collection system designed for Windows targets," also gives operators the opportunity to take complete control of a device.

The malware's modules — including FOGGYBOTTOM and GROK — can perform tasks including listening in and monitoring communication, capturing keystrokes and both webcam and microphone usage, the impersonation users, stealing diagnostics information and self-destructing once tasks are completed.

Submission + - Offshore wind power cheaper than new nuclear (bbc.co.uk)

AmiMoJo writes: Energy from offshore wind in the UK will be cheaper than electricity from new nuclear power for the first time. The cost of subsidies for new offshore wind farms has halved since 2015. Offshore wind farms get a subsidy of £57.50 per megawatt hour, compared with the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant securing subsidies of £92.50 per megawatt hour. Bigger turbines, higher voltage cables and lower cost foundations, as well as growth in the UK supply chain and the downturn in the oil and gas industry have all contributed to falling prices. The subsidies, paid from a levy on consumer bills, will run for 15 years — unlike nuclear subsidies for Hinkley C which run for 35 years.

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