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Submission + - Senate bills ends visa lottery, gives U.S. grads preference (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A new bill in Congress would give foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools priority in getting an H-1B visa. The legislation also "explicitly prohibits" the replacement of American workers by visa holders. This bill, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, was announced Thursday by its co-sponsors, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), longtime allies on H-1B reform. Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which gives this bill an immediate big leg up in the legislative process. This legislation would end the annual random distribution, via a lottery, of H-1B visas, and replace it with a system to give priority to certain types of students. Foreign nationals in the best position to get one of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually will have earned an advanced degree from a U.S. school, have a well-paying job offer, and have preferred skills. The specific skills weren't identified, but will likely be STEM-related.

Submission + - Atomic clocks on 9 of 72 European GPS satellites have failed (yahoo.com)

schwit1 writes: The atomic clocks on 9 of the 72 European Galileo GPS satellites, designed to compete with the American, Russian, and Chinese GPS satellites, have failed.

No satellite has been declared “out” as a result of the glitch. “However, we are not blind If this failure has some systematic reason we have to be careful” not to place more flawed clocks in space, [ESA director general Jan Woerner] said.

Each Galileo satellite has four ultra-accurate atomic timekeepers — two that use rubidium and two hydrogen maser. Three rubidium and six hydrogen maser clocks are not working, with one satellite sporting two failed timekeepers. Each orbiter needs just one working clock for the satnav to work — the rest are spares.

The question now, Woerner said, is “should we postpone the next launch until we find the root cause?”

That they are even considering further launches with so many failures of the same units seems absurd. They have a systemic problem, and should fix it before risking further launches.

Submission + - Neuroscience Does Not Compute (economist.com)

mspohr writes: The Economist has an interesting story about two neuroscientists/engineers who decided to test the methods of neuroscience using a 6502 processor. Their results are published in the PLOS Computational Biology journal.
Neuroscientists explore how the brain works by looking at damaged brains and monitoring inputs and outputs to try to infer intermediate processing. They did the same with the 6502 processor which was used in early Atari, Apple and Commodore computers.
What they discovered was that these methods were sorely lacking in that they often pointed in the wrong direction and missed important processing steps.

Submission + - Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaiians to force property sales to him. (msn.com)

mmell writes: Apparently, owning 700 acres of land in Hawaii isn't enough — Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has filed suit to force owners of several small parcels of land to sell to the highest bidder. The reason? These property owners are completely surrounded by Zuckerberg's land holdings and therefore have lawful easement to cross his property in order to get to theirs.

Many of these land owners have held their land for generations, but seemingly Mr. Zuckerberg can not tolerate their presence so close to his private little slice of paradise. Landowners such as these came to own their land when their ancestors were "given" the land as Hawaiian natives.

If successful in his "quiet title" court action, Mr. Zuckerberg will finally have his slice of Hawaii's beaches and tropical lands without having to deal with the pesky presence of neighbors who were on his land before he owned it. Who knew that Hawaiians were just another kind of Native Americans?

Submission + - The Mind-Reading Gadget for Dogs that Got Funded, but Didn't Get Built (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Crowdfunding campaigns that fail to deliver may be all too common, but some flameouts merit examination. Like this brain-scanning gadget for dogs, which promised to translate their barks into human language. It's not quite as goofy as it sounds: The campaigners planned to use standard EEG tech to record the dogs' brainwaves, and said they could correlate those electrical patterns with general states of mind like excitement, hunger, and curiosity.

The campaign got a ton of attention in the press and raised twice the money it aimed for. But then the No More Woof team seemed to vanish, leaving backers furious. This article explains what went wrong with the campaign, and what it says about the state of neurotech gadgets for consumers.

Submission + - Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures (bbc.com)

elgatozorbas writes: According to a BBC article, the onboard atomic clocks that drive the satellite-navigation signals on Europe's Galileo network have been failing at an alarming rate.

Across the 18 satellites now in orbit, nine clocks have stopped operating. Three are traditional rubidium devices; six are the more precise hydrogen maser instruments that were designed to give Galileo superior performance to the American GPS network.

Submission + - Tech firm Creates Trump Monitor for Stock Markets

randomErr writes: London-based fintech firm Trading.co.uk is launching an app that will generate trading alerts for shares based on Donald Trump social media comments. Watching the U.S. President-elect's personal Twitter feed has become a regular pastime for the fund managers and traders. Trump knocked several billion off the value of pharmaceutical stocks a week ago by saying they were "getting away with murder" with their prices. Comments earlier this week on China moved the dollar and a pair of December tweets sent the share prices of Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing (BA.N) spiraling lower.

Submission + - Open source organizations can now apply for Google Summer of Code 2017 (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Open source ideology is changing the world. What was once (wrongfully) viewed as something just for hobbyists, is now a billion dollar industry. In other words, closed source is not the only way to make profits. Open source code is found in many places, including mainstream consumer electronics — look no further than Android smartphones.

Speaking of Android, its creator — Google — is a huge proponent of open source. In fact, every summer, the search giant hold its "Summer of Code" program. This initiative partners inspiring developers (in college, age 18+) with organizations as a way to further the open source movement. Today, Google announces that organizations can begin applying for the program.

Submission + - Server Ransom Attacks Hit CouchDB, Hadoop, and ElasticSearch Servers (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two weeks after cybercriminal groups started to hijack and hold for ransom MongoDB servers, similar attacks are now taking place against CouchDB, Hadoop, and ElasticSearch servers. According to the latest tallies, the number of hijacked MongoDB servers is 34,000 (out of 69,000 available on Shodan), 4,600 ElasticSearch clusters (out of 33,000), 124 Hadoop datastores (out of 5,400), and 443 CouchDB databases (out of 4,600).

Furthermore, the group that has hijacked the most MongoDB and ElasticSearch servers, is also selling the scripts it used for the attacks.

Submission + - Alberta Man Turns Table on Laptop Thief (nationalpost.com)

jbwiebe writes: Cochrane’s Stu Gale couldn’t believe his eyes when a notification popped up on his computer telling him someone had logged on to his recently stolen laptop.

The B.C.-based 51-year-old computer security and automation expert couldn’t let the opportunity to try to find out something about the apparent thief pass him by, so he attempted to remotely log on to the pilfered laptop.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Should Commercial Software Prices Be Pegged To A Country's GDP?

dryriver writes: Commercial software — as opposed to free open source software — frequently creates the following dilemma: A software X that costs 2,000 Dollars may be perfectly affordable for someone in America, Germany, Switzerland or Japan. The price is "normal" and the software pays for itself after Y weeks or months of use. When the same software X is also sold for 2,000 Dollars in Egypt, Mali, Bangladesh or Sudan, the situation is the opposite — the price is "far too high" and the software will NOT pay for itself after Y weeks or months of use. So here is an interesting idea: Why don't software makers look at the average income level in a given country — per capita GDP for example — and adjust their software prices in these countries accordingly? Most Software makers in the U.S. and EU currently insist on charging the full U.S. or EU price in much poorer countries. "Rampant piracy" and "low sales" is often the result in these countries. Why not change this by charging lower software prices in less wealthy countries?

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