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Submission + - Privacy Protected German Search Engine MetaGer.net Now Free Software (metager.de) 1

SearchEngineer writes: MetaGer.net, Germany's most popular meta search engine for the internet, has made its source code public, allowing its user community not only to verify its data protection and security features but also to contribute to MetaGer's future developments.

Run by German NGO 'SUMA-EV — Association for Free Access to Knowledge', MetaGer originally evolved from the Leibniz University of Hannover, its software has been placed under GNU AGPLv3. MetaGer's source code has been placed in its entirety in a public repository located at: https://gitlab.metager3.de/ope....

Read more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/...

Submission + - Something "Unexpected" Happened When Seattle Raised The Minimum Wage

schwit1 writes: The latest research comes from the University of Washington which researched the impact of Seattle's recent minimum wage hike on employment in that city (as background, Seattle recently passed legislation that increased it's minimum wage to $11 per hour on April 1, 2015, $13 on January 1, 2016 and $15 on January 1, 2017). "Shockingly", the University of Washington found that Seattle's higher minimum wages "lowered employment rates of low-wage workers" (the report is attached in its entirety at the end of this post).

Yet, our best estimates find that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers. This negative unintended consequence (which are predicted by some of the existing economic literature) is concerning and needs to be followed closely in future years, because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance. Finally, we find only modest impacts on earnings. The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged. Of course, we are talking about the average result.

More specifically, we find that median wages for low-wage workers (those earning less than $11 per hour during the 2nd quarter of 2014) rose by $1.18 per hour, and we estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was to increase these workers’ median wage by $0.73 per hour. Further, while these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point decrease in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed. While these low-wage workers increased their quarterly earnings relative to prior years, the estimated impact of the Ordinance on earnings is small and sensitive to the choice of comparison region. Finally, for those who kept their job, the Ordinance appears to have improved wages and earnings, but decreased their likelihood of being employed in Seattle relative other parts of the state of Washington.

Still not convinced? How about a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that finds that "higher minimum wage results in some job loss for the least-skilled workers—with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested."

Submission + - Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years (independent.co.uk)

campuscodi writes: Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.

The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification. In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia's forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. One of the main reasons is to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Comment A shower of gold . . . (Score 3, Insightful) 85

Me: You don't seem to like IT, but you are working in it. Why?

Him: The government told me that I could make a lot of money in IT.

Me: Are you happy in working in IT?

Him: No.

Tossing out code camp degrees massively to folks might seem to the government folks that they have increased the IT skill pool.

They are wrong.

Submission + - People who never forget a face

alanterra writes: In The detectives who never forget a face (may be paywalled), New Yorker author Patrick Radden Keefe discusses how "super-recognizers" are being used to solve crimes recorded on the 1 million CCTVs now in London. He asks if we should be testing people, especially policemen, for their ability to recognize "perps" before we issue them a gun and a license to use it.

Are there fields of expertise where the ability to recognize faces is an essential need, and should be tested for and required? How about fields (programming comes to mind), where it is irrelevant? Take the Cambridge Face Memory Test to see how you do.

Submission + - Chicago's Experiment in Predictive Policing Isn't Working (technologyreview.com)

schwit1 writes: Struggling to reduce its high murder rate, the city of Chicago has become an incubator for experimental policing techniques. Community policing, stop and frisk, "interruption" tactics — the city has tried many strategies. Perhaps most controversial and promising has been the city’s futuristic "heat list" — an algorithm-generated list identifying people most likely to be involved in a shooting.

The hope was that the list would allow police to provide social services to people in danger, while also preventing likely shooters from picking up a gun. But a new report from the RAND Corporation shows nothing of the sort has happened. Instead, it indicates that the list is, at best, not even as effective as a most wanted list. At worst, it unnecessarily targets people for police attention, creating a new form of profiling.

Submission + - The Big Driver of Mass Incarceration That Nobody Talks About (the-american-interest.com) 1

schwit1 writes: If you follow media coverage of America’s mass incarceration problem, you are likely to hear a lot about unscrupulous police officers, mandatory minimums, and drug laws. But you are unlikely to hear these two words that have probably played a larger role in producing the excesses of the American criminal justice system than anything else: plea coercion.

The number of criminal cases that actually go to trial in America is steadily dwindling. That’s because prosecutors have so much leverage during plea bargaining that most defendants take an offer—in particular, defendants who are held on bail, and who might need to wait in jail for months or even years before standing trial and facing an uncertain outcome.

We reported last week on a study from Columbia showing that all things being equal, defendants in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who were made to pay bail are much more likely to plead guilty. Since then, a separate study from researchers at Harvard, Princeton and Stanford has come out that reaches a similar conclusion. . . .

Of course, bail remains a vital tool for judges, and some defendants are too dangerous to be let out before their trial, period. But there are ways we might be able to reform the pre-trial detention system so as to reduce the number of defendants who simply resign themselves to a guilty plea out of desperation since they can’t come up with the money to buy their temporary freedom. For example, the average amount of money bail assessed should be reduced (it has risen exponentially over the last several decades) and courts should experiment with ankle bracelets and home visits to monitor defendants rather than holding them in a jail cell before they have been convicted of a crime.

The focus on policing and minimum sentences and drug laws in the public discourse is all well and good. But if they are serious about making our justice system more fair and less arbitrary, criminal justice reformers should devote more of their efforts to reforming what happens in the period after arrest and before sentencing. That’s an area where big progress can be made with relatively straightforward, and politically palatable reforms.

Submission + - Hacked Soros Documents Reveal Some Big Dark Money Surprises (pjmedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The leak reveals Soros’ funding of a wide range of activities: the Black Lives Matter movement, influencing the European elections in 2014, swaying a Supreme Court decision, smearing political activists, and attacking the nation of Israel.

But you likely haven’t heard about these key “dark money” revelations. Soros has given $7 million to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA and has dedicated $25 million to support Democrats and their causes. His fundraising matters politically, and should be a big story.

But The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, CBS News, and other major media outlets did not even report on the leak, much less the stories revealed by it.

Comment Re:Ignorant fools (Score 1) 189

You might want to read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

On the other hand . . . good old Jacob Bronowski taught us the eating meat was a very important step in the Ascent of Man. Meat is a more concentrated form of protein, and freed up time to work on other stuff, besides food collection in the stone ages.

Comment Re:Ignorant fools (Score 2, Interesting) 189

Maybe you should learn not to jump to conclusions lest you show yourself to be the moron.

The backpack manages to capture and collect the gases emitted through the cow’s mouth or intestinal tract via a tube inserted through the cow’s skin (which the researchers claim is painless).

It still sounds like a lot of stress for the cows. Their lives are miserable enough, adding this stuff would only make matters worse for them. Stress for a cow probably means less milk yield, and a longer growth period before it is ripe for McDonald's. Hell, it's like developing colostomy bags for cows.

Comment Re:Driver or Autopilot? (Score 1) 93

What is he can sue for?

People don't get sued in the US because they did something wrong . . . they get sued because they have money. A sexual harassment at a workplace . . . who gets sued? Not the perpetrator . . . he has no money. The employer company gets sued, because they have enough money to make it worthwhile for the lawyer involved.

If there is no obvious reason to sue, the lawyer will create one. The driver has already stated that Tesla's autopilot gave him a "false sense of security", or some weasel words like that. Maybe he can complain about anxiety caused by the "accident", even if it was obviously his own fault.

I've always thought that autonomous driving will not fail with technology on the roads. But this Waterloo will not be decided on the playing fields of Eton, but in the US courts with some shifty lawyers.

Comment Re:Impossible... (Score 5, Insightful) 331

The usual pro-H1B supporters on here say there's nothing wrong, and it's really good that all these people are being brought in to displace American works and push wages down.

The sad truth is that not all H1Bs like the situation either. I met one who worked for an American international subsidiary in India and was now a H1B in the US. Four of them lived in a two room apartment, provided by their employer. They never went out to lunch with the other American folks on their project . . . because their wages were so low, that they could simply not afford it. Instead, they went home and cooked for themselves.

The one I met lamented that he wanted to go back to India to get married and start a family. He also commented that they could sense the disdain for H1Bs among their American colleagues.

So, American workers do not like H1Bs, the H1Bs don't like being H1Bs . . . who likes the H1B concept? Oh, yeah . . . top level management. Well, at least someone is happy here.

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