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Submission + - Cities With Fastest Growth In STEM Jobs Are Far From Silicon Valley (

schwit1 writes: The conventional wisdom sees tech concentrating in a handful of places, many dense urban cores that offer the best jobs and draw talented young people. These places are seen as so powerful that, as The New York Times recently put it, they have little need to relate to other, less fashionable cities.

To a considerable extent, that was true – until it wasn’t. The most recent data on STEM jobs – in science, technology, engineering or mathematics – suggests that tech jobs, with some exceptions, are shifting to smaller, generally more affordable places.

What we may be witnessing, in fact, is a third turning in the tech world. The initial phase, in the 1950s, was mostly suburban – dominated by the still-powerful Bay Area, Boston and Southern California – and was heavily tied to aerospace and defense. The second phase, now coming to a close, refocused tech growth in two hot spots, the Bay Area and Washington’s Puget Sound, and largely involved social media, search and digital applications for business services.

The third tech turning, now in its infancy, promises greater dispersion to other markets, some with strong tech backgrounds, some with far less. In the last two years, according to numbers for the country’s 53 largest metros compiled by Praxis Strategy Group’s Mark Schill based on federal data and EMSI’s fourth-quarter 2017 data set, the STEM growth leader has been Orlando, at 8%, three times the national average. Next are San Francisco and Charlotte (each at 7%); Grand Rapids, Michigan (6%); and then Salt Lake City, Tampa, Seattle, Raleigh, Miami and Las Vegas (5%). . . .

From 2006 to 2016, the Valley saw a remarkable 33% growth rate in STEM jobs – roughly 3% per year. But in the last two years, that rate has fallen to 2% annually. In some recent months in parts of the Bay Area, The San Jose Mercury reports, the tech job count has actually declined.

One limiting factor could be high housing costs.

Submission + - Adult Themed VR Game Leaks Data on Thousands ( 2

chicksdaddy writes: Somebody deserves a spanking after personal information on thousands of users of an adult virtual reality game were exposed to security researchers in the UK by a balky application.

Researchers at the firm Digital Interruption on Tuesday warned ( that an adult-themed virtual reality application, SinVR, exposes the names, email and other personal information via an insecure desktop application – a potentially embarrassing security lapse. The company decided to go public with the information after being frustrated in multiple efforts to responsibly disclose the vulnerability to parent company inVR, Inc., Digital Interruption researcher and founder Jahmel Harris told The Security Ledger. (

Jahmel estimated that more than 19,000 records were leaked by the application, but did not have an exact count.

SinVR is a sex-themed virtual reality game that allows players to navigate in various adult-themed environments and interact with virtual characters in common pornographic themes including BDSM, cosplay, naughty teacher, and so on.

The company discovered the data after reverse-engineering the SinVR desktop application and noticing a function named “downloadallcustomers“. That function called a web service that returned thousands of SinVR customer records including email addresses, user names, computer PC names and so on. Passwords and credit card details were not part of the data dump, Harris said.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How would you use computers to make elections better?

shanen writes: Regarding politics, is there ANYTHING that Americans agree on? If so, it's probably something negative like "The system is broken" or "The leading candidates are terrible" or even "Your state is a shithole." With all our fancy technology, what's going wrong?

Our computers are creating problems, not solutions. For example, gerrymandering relies on fancy computers to rig the maps. Negative campaigning increasingly relies on computers to target the attacks on specific voters. Even international attacks exploit the Internet to intrude into elections around the world. (But don't forget China, eh?)

Here are three of my suggested solutions, though I can't imagine ANY of today's politicians would ever support ANYTHING along these lines:

(1) Guest voting: If you hate your district, you could vote in a neighboring district. The more they gerrymander, the less predictable the election results.

(2) Results-based weighting: The winning candidates get more voting power in the legislature reflecting how many people actually voted for them. If you win a boring and uncontested election where few people vote, then part of your vote in the legislature would be transferred to the winners who also had more real votes.

(3) Negative voting: A voter could use an electronic ballot to make it explicit that the vote is negative, not positive. The candidate with the most positive or fewest negative votes still wins, but if the election has too many negative votes, then that "winner" would be penalized, perhaps with a half term rather than a full term.

What wild and crazy ideas do you have for using computers to make elections better, not worse?

Submission + - B.C. prisons now getting supplies by drone (

Baron_Yam writes: Prisons are used to dealing with items being smuggled in or thrown over the walls and fences, but technology is now offering a lower-risk solution for the contraband courier — drones. Able to move several kilograms over multiple kilometers, and representing an investment that is a fraction of the value of the items they are moving, drones are separating the courier from the package and reducing the risk of arrest. In the case in this article, the use of a drone did not help make the delivery successful.

From the CBC website:

Prison officials say they foiled an attempt to smuggle contraband into the Matsqui Institution in the Fraser Valley using a drone. The package, which was dropped behind prison walls Dec. 23, contained 59 grams of THC butter and tobacco estimated to be worth more than $26,000.

Submission + - French Songwriter Composes With AI, Result Just As Bad As Today's Pop Music (

dryriver writes: First, view the single "Hellow Shadow" with Canadian singer Kiesza ( Next, the BBC story which seems to think that the album is actually rather good: "Benoît Carré has written songs for some of France’s biggest stars: from Johnny Halliday – the French Elvis, who died last year – to chanteuse Françoise Hardy. But this month, the 47-year-old is releasing an album with a collaborator he could never have dreamt of working with. It’s not a singer, or rapper. It’s not even really a musician. It’s called Flow Machines, and it is, arguably, the world’s most advanced artificially intelligent music program. For musicians, there’s been one good thing about these projects so far: the music they’ve produced has been easy to dismiss, generic and uninspiring – hardly likely to challenge Bob Dylan in the songwriting department. But Carré’s album, Hello World, is different for the simple reason that it’s good. Released under the name SKYGGE (Danish for shadow), it features everything from sci-fi cowboy ballads to Europop, and unlike most AI music, if you heard it on the radio, you wouldn’t think something had gone horribly wrong. Flow Machines, developed at Sony’s Computer Science Laboratories in Paris, does indeed write original melodies, Carré adds. It also suggests the chords and sounds to play them with. But Carré says a human is always needed to stitch the songs together, give them structure and emotion. Without people, its songs would be a bit rubbish. 'There were many people involved in this,' he says, listing the likes of Belgian house producer Stromae and Canadian pop star Kiesza. 'They gave their soul, their enthusiasm. I think that’s the most important point of the album, in a way – that it’s a very human one.'"

Submission + - In Support of Google's Culture (

Lauren Weinstein writes: I’ve been getting a bunch of queries from folks asking if I could provide any insight into alt-right darling James Damore’s class action lawsuit against Google. I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances of that suit, and so I have nothing to say about its specific allegations.
I do however have considerable insight into Google’s culture — I spent enough time inside Google several years ago to have a pretty clear sense of that.

While like any other firm Google isn’t perfect, Google in particular has a culture to be roundly applauded, not condemned — I believe the finest I’ve seen in any corporate environment during my career.

Let’s start with an obvious truth ...

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Simple Digital Signage for Seniors 1

amb5l writes: My wife's mother is well into her 80s and does not do tech at all. She lives hundreds of miles away from us and will not move, so phone calls are very important. But her hearing is getting really bad.

So, I'd like to build her a device that can display words and pictures during calls. Plus maybe the date and a few notes on upcoming events at other times. It has to be 100% hands-off at her end. At our end we'd need a relatively simple UI to type text and upload pictures into. We have power and broadband (ethernet plus WiFi) right by the phone.

Submission + - Mars hides thick sheets of ice just below the surface (

schwit1 writes: The newer Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapped the surface in greater detail. Dundas and his colleagues used its pictures to locate exposed ice in small craters, glaciers and ice sheets. “The high-resolution data has greatly improved our understanding of various ice-related land forms,” he said.

These cliffs are “rare peeks into the subsurface of Mars, giving us access to an undisturbed slice through Mars’s ice in the mid-latitudes — a fantastic find!” said Susan Conway, a planetary scientist at the University of Nantes in France who was not involved with this research.

Submission + - Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange 1

hcs_$reboot writes: Ecuador has granted citizenship to Julian Assange, who has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over five years. Quito has said naturalization should provide Assange with another layer of protection. However, naturalization appeared to do little to help the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder's case, with the British foreign ministry stressing that the only way to resolve the issue was for "Assange to leave the embassy to face justice."
Earlier on Thursday, Britain said that it had refused a request by Ecuador to grant Assange diplomatic status, which would have granted him special legal immunity and the right to safe passage under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Submission + - Twitter denies Veritas claims of shadowbanning users

RedK writes: Project Veritas tricked current and former Twitter employees into admitting the company internally shows biases in its application of rules, and tends to be more harsh to conservatives and Trump supporters. However Twitter has denied Veritas coverage of its employees claiming that shadowbanning of conservative voices occurs :

Twitter says that individuals shown in an undercover video casually talking about how they plan on censoring certain viewpoints on the social media platform were speaking only “in a personal capacity.”

Submission + - Why Google Is at a Communications Crossroads Critical to Its Survival (

Lauren Weinstein writes: As always when I talk about Google’s YouTube, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I love YouTube. I consider it to be a gem in Google’s pantheon and one of the most important sites on the Internet. If YouTube vanished tomorrow I’d be devastated. And I’m a big fan of the many folks in the teams at Google (quite a few of whom I know personally) who keep the incredibly complex systems and machinery of YouTube running.

That all said, I fear for YouTube’s future — and what this could mean overall for Google and its users in the long run, since in many ways YouTube’s issues are representative of Google’s issues more broadly.

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