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Submission + - WSJ: Facebook's Point System Fails to Close Diversity Gap

theodp writes: Gizmodo and others are picking up on a paywalled WSJ story which reported that Facebook's failure to move the needle on the diversity is all the more surprising because The Social Network awarded Facebook recruiters double points for a 'diversity hire' — a female, Black, or Hispanic engineer — compared to the hire of a White or Asian male. Facebook declined to comment on whether this points-based system is still in effect. The WSJ also notes that Intel has paid its employees double referral bonuses for women, minorities, and veterans. The reward schemes evoke memories of gender-based (and later race-based) incentives offered for K-12 coding and STEM programs run by tech-backed Code.org (to which Facebook just pledged $15M) and Google, which offered lower funding or no funding at all to teachers if participation by female students was deemed unacceptable to the sponsoring organizations. Facebook's efforts also seem consistent with the tech-backed Every Student Succeeds Act, which calls for increasing CS and STEM access to address a tech-declared national crisis, but only "for students through grade 12 who are members of groups underrepresented in such subject fields, such as female students, minority students, English learners, children with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students." Hey, sometimes "every" doesn't mean "every"!

Submission + - People Ignore Software Security Warnings Up To 90% of the Time, Says Study (phys.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly — while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc. — results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them. Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking. For example, 74 percent of people in the study ignored security messages that popped up while they were on the way to close a web page window. Another 79 percent ignored the messages if they were watching a video. And a whopping 87 percent disregarded the messages while they were transferring information, in this case, a confirmation code. For example, Jenkins, Vance and BYU colleagues Bonnie Anderson and Brock Kirwan found that people pay the most attention to security messages when they pop up in lower dual task times such as: after watching a video, waiting for a page to load, or after interacting with a website. For part of the study, researchers had participants complete computer tasks while an fMRI scanner measured their brain activity. The experiment showed neural activity was substantially reduced when security messages interrupted a task, as compared to when a user responded to the security message itself. The BYU researchers used the functional MRI data as they collaborated with a team of Google Chrome security engineers to identify better times to display security messages during the browsing experience.

Submission + - EU Exploring Idea of Using Government ID Cards as Mandatory Online Logins (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Fears that fake online reviews might ruin the consumer market and damage legitimate businesses are making the European Commission consider the idea of forcing all EU citizens to log into online accounts using their government-issued ID cards. Details about these plans can be found in a proposal named "Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges," announced on May 25, 2016. According to this document, "online platforms should accept credentials issued or recognised by national public authorities, such as electronic or mobile IDs, national identity cards, or bank cards." The reasoning, according to the EU is that "online ratings and reviews of goods and services are helpful and empowering to consumers, but they need to be trustworthy and free from any bias or manipulation. A prominent example is fake reviews."

Submission + - Yahoo is Auctioning Off 3,000 Patents To The Highest Bidder (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that bids are being accepted for nearly 3,000 Yahoo patents and pending applications. In April, Yahoo moved 2,659 patents into a patent-holding company called Excalibur IP LLC, which was seen as a first step toward a patent sale. "This represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the Internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to Web search and advertising," Yahoo said in a statement. Those invited to join the auction include "strategic buyers, private-equity firms, and investment firms focused on intellectual property," according to the Journal. Preliminary bids are due by the middle of this month, and the patents are expected to fetch more than $1 billion, according to "people familiar with the matter" who spoke to the Journal. Bloomberg, which also reported on the patent sale, said there was no official reserve price or bidding guidelines.

Submission + - Help Save Arecibo Observatory, World's Largest Operating Single-Dish Observatory (whitehouse.gov) 1

earth2allie writes: The National Science Foundation has recently discussed the possibility of closing the Arecibo Observatory (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-s-largest-radio-telescope-faces-a-troubling-future/). This facility is used for ground-breaking research in the fields of Radio Astronomy, Aeronomy, and Planetary Astronomy. As an astronomer myself I can tell you it is truly one of its kind, and the Arecibo community is asking everyone to take action by signing the petition to keep it open. Help us save Arecibo!

Comment Yes! (Score 1) 380

Not only should you be able to sell, gift or bequeath digital media - it doesn't actually hurt anyone and, in most cases, it helps the author. (That may vary for digital media like movies and TV shows but bear with me ...)

Old way - I buy a physical copy of a book/CD/DVD. Say it's a series. I lend a copy to a friend. I can't watch/read/listen to it while my friend has it but he likes it so much - he goes and buys his own copy of the series - net gain for the content creator. Problem: I often lose media this way because I either forget who I've loaned it to or they abscond with it!

New way - My and my friend both have Google accounts (for example - could be any online service). I buy a copy of a book from Google Play. The nasty way is for Google to keep the copy server side and I'd need to be online to read it - which would annoy me - but it would allow Google to let me transfer, temporarily or permanently, that copy/license to another Google user. Better than the old way because the book would still be listed in my library but "greyed out" while it was on loan. Unlike a real book, if I don't get it back - it isn't lost because I'd have the option to retrieve the book whether my friend was finished or not ... and the likelihood is, if he liked it, he'd buy his own copy. Now I'd prefer to be able to keep a copy offline because my mobile coverage isn't great - and maybe that's easily doable. I'd have to be online to loan or gift the book and for the period of the loan, the local copy would be removed from my devices - doesn't stop people trying to get in and copy it somehow from the local device - this already happens though and the ol' Piracy argument applies - If it were easier to obtain and do with our media as we wished, we wouldn't seek to circumvent the cumbersome policies that prevent it! :) Either way, it's a net gain because some people that currently follow that argument would start doing the right thing contributing to a gain for the content owners and the people that are pirates will continue to be pirates - no change.

Another of the arguments is that selling second hand prevents the copyright holder from making a sale because they get nothing from a re-sale - but the likelihood is, the person wasn't going to pay full price for it anyway so they wouldn't have made a sale in the first place. They've lost nothing. They potentially gain because the reader/listener/viewer that got the "cheap" copy ... likes it and becomes a customer. That certainly applies to me with books and computer games. Not so much TV and Movies because I get them free on my telly anyway ... but again - the series/movies I love end up getting bought so I can watch them when I feel like it, not when the local TV station decides it might get some viewers!

I own series of books, hundreds - possibly into the thousands of dollars of books - that almost all started with one a friend loaning me a copy - or a copy I borrowed from the library. The same goes for DVDs of TV Series and movies.

Someone mentioned renting digital media - well most streaming services already let you do that for TV, Movies and Music and last I heard. it was doing extremely well and the artists aren't complaining! Books would be no different and I think there are a few that let you subscribe for unlimited books? Say I can pay a dollar to "rent" a book whenever I want - I still have to be online and then download it for the period of the loan (OverDrive is a great App for free ebooks if your library supports it!) but it still isn't as convenient as owning a copy. Even though I know I can get ebooks free from my library, their licensing agreement means the only have limited copies so they aren't always available when I want them ... and if it's a book I really like, I'd rather have a permanent copy.

At the moment I well neither buy real books or ebooks because real books are inconvenient and I don't like not being able to treat my ebook like real books - net loss for the content creators.

I am tempted to try one of those book subscriptions if they actually exist but they'd need to have better content than my local library to make it worthwhile ...

Submission + - Suicide Bomb Trainer in Iraq Accidentally Blows Up His Class (nytimes.com) 4

vikingpower writes: If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don’t give lessons with live explosives.

In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at a secluded terrorist training camp north of Baghdad unwittingly used a belt packed with explosives while conducting a demonstration early Monday for a group of militants, killing himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, army and police officials said.

Al Qaeda had already disavowedd the group, although it is not known whether this was due to....um.... "lack of terrorist professionality".

Comment Forget Medicine - Aim at Paranoid new parents! (Score 1) 42

Baby monitors are pretty useless - they only tell you when the bub is making noise and if they're making noise, they're still alive! :) It's when the little buggers are quiet you have to worry. There are mattress pads that can monitor their breathing but if they roll off the pad you'd probably have a minor coronary as you rushed into the room only to find the tot curled up at the far end of the cot. A little pair of smart pj's though ... what a great idea! Bub stops breathing - alarm goes off! I'd pay $100 for that!
PC Games (Games)

Valve Releases Updated Alien Swarm For Free With Code Base 164

baronvoncarson tips news that today Valve released an updated version of Alien Swarm, a popular Unreal Tournament 2004 total conversion mod. The creators of the mod were hired by Valve, and they've helped turn it into a stand-alone game running on the Source engine. Valve is also releasing the code base for Alien Swarm and an SDK. The game is available for free on Steam.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."

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