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The Courts

Trump Gives Displaced IT Workers Attention, and He's Not Alone (computerworld.com) 688

dcblogs writes: The H-1B visa issue is getting more attention than it has ever received before. Donald Trump has invited laid-off Disney workers to speak at his rallies, and has posed in photos with them. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), held a press conference this week to complain that visa workers are being hired instead of U.S. workers. Legislation to reform the visa program has been introduced, and discrimination complaints are being filed with federal agencies and in the courts. But these efforts may have little impact. If visa restrictions arrive, IT services firms may increase reliance on web-based "knowledge transfer" to avoid having visa workers at an employer's site. There have also been reports of U.S. workers traveling overseas to train replacements on foreign soil. [Even with all the political and legal efforts,] there's no certainty any action will derail the forces moving IT jobs overseas.
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Slashdot Asks: Should NPR Stop Promoting Its Own Podcasts and NPR One App On Air? (boingboing.net) 143

A new "ethics" policy from NPR details new rules to stop promoting NPR One and its podcasts on the air, to ultimately please local station managers who pay the largest share of NPR's bills.

Chris Turpin, V.P. for news programming and operations, writes: As podcasts grow in number and popularity we are talking about them more often in our news programs. We are also fielding more and more questions from news staff and Member stations about our policies for referring to podcasts on air. To that end, we want to establish some common standards, especially for language in back announces. Our hope is to establish basic principles that are easy to understand and allow plenty of flexibility for creativity. These guidelines apply to all podcasts, whether produced by NPR or by other entities. No Call to Action: We won't tell people to actively download a podcast or where to find them. No mentions of npr.org, iTunes, Stitcher, NPR One, etc.
Basically, NPR won't promote "the lauded, loved app that is basically the future of NPR" to listeners who would be most interested in it. How do you feel about NPR's new policy?
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Starboard Launches Proxy Fight To Remove Entire Yahoo Board (reuters.com) 136

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP moved on Thursday to overthrow the entire board of Yahoo Inc, including Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, who has struggled to turn around the company in her nearly four years at the helm. Starboard, which has been pushing for changes at Yahoo since 2014 and owns about 1.7 percent of the company, said it would nominate nine candidates for the board. The proxy fight comes as Yahoo is pressing ahead with an auction of its core Internet business, which includes search, mail and news sites. Yahoo and Starboard could still come to an agreement before the company's annual meeting, expected to be in late June. If they cannot avoid a proxy fight and the Yahoo board election is taken to a shareholder vote, attention will swing to the large mutual and index funds that own the stock and will carry heavy weight in the final tally. Yahoo and Starboard representatives met on March 10 to discuss ways the two sides could avoid a proxy fight, according to people familiar with the matter. But those talks broke down, in part because Starboard was upset by Yahoo's announcement that same day that it appointed two new board directors, these people say.

Submission + - Trump gives displaced IT workers attention, and he's not alone (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The H-1B visa issue is getting more attention than it has ever received before. Donald Trump has invited laid-off Disney workers to speak at his rallies, and has posed with photos with them. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), held a press conference this week to complain that visa workers are being hired instead of U.S. workers. Legislation to reform the visa program has been introduced, and discrimination complaints are being filed with federal agencies and in the courts. But these efforts may have little impact. If visa restrictions arrive, IT services firms may increase reliance on Web-based "knowledge transfer" to avoid having visa workers at an employer's site. There have also been reports of U.S. workers traveling overseas to train replacements on foreign soil. There's no certainty any action will derail the forces moving IT jobs overseas.
AI

Microsoft's 'Teen Girl' AI Experiment Becomes a 'Neo-Nazi Sex Robot' 572

Reader Penguinisto writes: Recently, Microsoft put an AI experiment onto Twitter, naming it "Tay". The bot was built to be fully aware of the latest adolescent fixations (e.g. celebrities and similar), and to interact like a typical teen girl. In less than 24 hours, it inexplicably became a neo-nazi sex robot with daddy issues. Sample tweets from it proclaimed that "Hitler did nothing wrong!", then went on to blame former President Bush for 9/11, stated that "donald trump is the only hope we've got", and other similar instances. As the hours passed, it all went downhill from there, eventually spewing racial slurs and profanity, demanding sex, and calling everyone "daddy". The bot was quickly removed once Microsoft discovered the trouble, but the hashtag is still around for those who want to see it in its ugly raw splendor.

Submission + - Andy Grove's warning to America (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: "RIP Andy Grove," tweeted venture capitalist and inventor Marc Andreessen, shortly after the news of Grove's death was announced Monday by Intel. "The best company builder Silicon Valley has ever seen, and likely will ever see," he wrote. Andreessen's tweet is both praise for Grove as well as an epitaph for Silicon Valley. Grove feared Silicon Valley was losing its ability to scale — to take something small, a startup, and turn it into something very large. Grove argued that startups by themselves can't increase tech employment. What's needed is the process of scaling up, building factories that employ thousands. This no longer happens in Silicon Valley. Without scaling, the U.S. will lose its ability to create new technologies, he believed.

Submission + - Jury orders Gawker to pay $115 million to Hulk Hogan in sex tape lawsuit (zerohedge.com) 4

An anonymous reader writes: "Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape and put it on the Internet." And now they are paying for it, dearly. Also notable is that there doesn't seem to be anyone interested in defending them, as even the Twitter community (if it can truly be called that) has come out strongly in favor of the ruling against Gawker. Maybe they should have at least made more friends? They did make $6.5 million in net income in 2014 and their Wikipedia article states that they were last sold in 2009 for $300 million, so while they may not be put out of business, it seems likely they will at least be change hands, and soon, with the jury ruling $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress. I think that's jury-speak for "body slam."

Submission + - Ultralight Convertibles Approaching Desktop-Like Performance (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Laptops with fully articulating hinges are starting to show up from more vendors than just Lenovo, though the company certainly got some mileage out of their Yoga brand of machines. Now it appears HP is getting in on the action as well, with the new HP Spectre X360 that's powered Intel's new Core i5-5200U Broadwell-based processor with integrated Intel HD 5500 series graphics, along with 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, a 256GB Solid State Drive (a Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD), 802.11ac WiFi, and a 13.3" Full HD (1920x1080) multi-touch screen. The Spectre X360 has a geared and spring-assisted hinges. The hinges swing open easily, and then offer more resistance as the screen is moved into an upright position, or swung around into tent, stand, or tablet modes. What's also interesting about this new breed of convertibles, beyond just its ability to contort into tablet mode and various other angles, is that performance for these ultralight platforms is scaling up nicely, with faster, low-power processors and M.2 PCIe Solid State Drives offering up a very responsive experience and under 10 second boot times. It has gotten to the point that 3 pound and under notebooks feel every bit as nimble as desktop machines, at least for mainstream productivity and media consumption usage models.

Comment This is shilling by Greenpeace (Score 1) 1

According to Large, of consulting engineers Large & Associates, based in London, who was commissioned by Greenpeace France to evaluate and report on the spate of flyovers, the “unacceptable” risk posed by a terrorist drone attack means that many of Europe’s nuclear power stations – including the majority of those in France – should be shut down.

Commissioned by Greenpeace France!

Submission + - Google now bans all explicit adult content from Blogger (zdnet.com)

Ellie K writes: As of 23 March 2015, Google will remove blogs on its Blogger platform that don't conform to its new anti-adult policies. This is an abrupt reversal of policy. Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression."

Submission + - Wasp virus turns ladybugs into zombie babysitters (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The green-eyed wasp Dinocampus coccinellae turns ladybugs into zombie babysitters. Three weeks after a wasp lays its egg inside the hapless beetle, a wasp larva bursts from her belly and weaves itself a cocoon between her legs. The ladybug doesn’t die, but becomes paralyzed, involuntarily twitching her spotted red carapace to ward off predators until the adult wasp emerges a week later. How D. coccinellae enslaves its host at just the right time had been a mystery, but now researchers believe the insect has an accomplice: a newly identified virus that attacks the beetle’s brain. The findings raise questions about whether other parasites also use viruses as neurological weapons.

Submission + - The Dark Web Still Thrives After Silk Road

HughPickens.com writes: Russell Berman writes at The Atlantic that the government may have won its case against Silk Road's Ross Ulbricht, but the high-profile trial gave a lot of publicity to the dark web, and both the number of sites and the volume of people using them have increased since Silk Road was shuttered. “Just as on the rest of the internet, users on the dark net are very quick to move on to new things and move away from those products and websites that seem stale and old,” says Adam Benson. The cat-and-mouse game between users of the dark web and law enforcement appears to be shifting as well. Newer dark sites (two major ones are Agora and Evolution) are likely to protect their servers by basing them in countries "hostile to U.S. law enforcement," says Nicholas Weaver. "The markets will keep moving overseas, but law enforcement will keep going after the dealers," Weaver says, referring to the people who actually ship and deliver the drugs sold online.

Evolution Marketplace is a much different animal than Silk Road, according to Dan Palumbo. Evolution sells "weapons, stolen credit cards, and more nefarious items that were forbidden on both versions of Silk Road. Silk Road sold a lot of dangerous things, but operators drew the line at their version of ‘victimless crimes,’ i.e. no child pornography, weapons, or identity theft. Now, four of the top five DarkNet Marketplaces sell weapons while three of the top five sell stolen financial data." This is a darker DarkNet and it speaks to the challenge facing law enforcement as they knock one set of bad actors offline, another comes along with bigger and bolder intentions.

Submission + - MegaUpload Programmer Arrested In US (torrentfreak.com)

An anonymous reader writes: When MegaUpload was shut down a few years back, seven of the company's employees were indicted by the U.S. We heard a lot about Kim Dotcom's court proceedings, but not much about the others. Now, we have word that programmer Andrud Nomm has been arrested in Virginia. He had been waiting in the Netherlands for an extradition hearing, and this came as a surprise to everyone involved. MegaUpload attorney Ira Rothken thinks it's likely Nomm has made a deal with the Feds.

Submission + - Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time? (dice.com)

Nerval's Lobster writes: Many websites allow you to look for freelance programming jobs or Web development work. (Hongkiat.com, for example, offers links to several dozen.) The problem for developers in the European Union and the United States is that competition from rivals in developing countries is crushing fees for everybody, as the latter can often undercut on price. (This isn’t a situation unique to software development; look at how globalization has compelled manufacturing jobs to move offshore, for example.) With all that in mind, developer David Bolton surveyed some freelance developer marketplaces, especially the ones that catered to Western developers, who typically need to operate at price-points higher than that of their counterparts in many developing nations. His conclusion? 'It’s my impression that the bottom has already been reached, in terms of contractor pricing; to compete these days, it’s not just a question of price, but also quality and speed.' Do you agree?

Submission + - Another Bitcoin exchange fraud (zdnet.com)

Ellie K writes: Bitcoin exchange MyCoin has vanished — leaving $387 million in investor funds unaccounted for.
MyCoin is a Hong Kong-based virtual currency trading exchange. Bitcoin exchanges are no stranger to controversy. Mt. Gox closed in February 2014, filing for bankruptcy and leaving investors approximately $500 million out of pocket. Others were "cyberattacked" including Flexcoin, Poloniex and Bitcurex.

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