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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 + - Science Manual for U.S. Judges (

An anonymous reader writes: American court judges need to learn science! That's the message from the National Academies and the National Research Council, which today released the first new edition in 11 years of the Reference Manual of Scientific Evidence. It has new chapters about forensic science, mental health, and neuroscience, but unfortunately nothing about computer science. The manual is available as a free download and it's also online.

Submission + - 2011 Ig Nobel prizes: laugh first, think later (

alphadogg writes: The quirky Ig Nobel prizes honoring some of the world's funniest if not the most practical academic research will be handed out Thursday night at Harvard University during ceremonies that will include help from actual Nobel laureates. The theme this year is chemistry, but that doesn't really restrict which entries might win, judging from research that has claimed Ig Nobels in the past. For instance, last year the prize for medicine went to a Netherlands researcher who discovered that riding roller coasters alleviates asthma symptoms. The prize for engineering went to an international team "for perfecting a method to collect whale snot using a remote-control helicopter."

Submission + - Stopping The Horror of 'Reply All'

theodp writes: The WSJ's Elizabeth Bernstein reports that Reply All is still the button everyone loves to hate. 'This shouldn't still be happening,' Bernstein says of those heart-stopping moments (YouTube) when one realizes that he or she's hit 'reply all' and fired off a rant for all to see. 'After almost two decades of constant, grinding email use, we should all be too tech-savvy to keep making the same mortifying mistake, too careful to keep putting our relationships and careers on the line because of sloppiness.' Vendors have made some attempts to stop people from shooting themselves in the foot and perhaps even starting a Reply All email storm. Outlook allows users to elect to get a warning if they try to email to more than 50 people. Gmail offers an Undo Send button, which can be enabled by setting a delay in your out-bound emails, from 5-30 seconds, after which you're SOL. And AOL is considering showing faces, rather than just names, in the To field in a new email product. 'I wonder if the Reply All problem would occur if you saw 100 faces in the email,' AOL's Bill Wetherell says.

Submission + - Steve Jobs: The fall and rise of a tech-czar (

An anonymous reader writes: Love him or hate him, Apple CEO Steve Jobs could easily take home the title of “Man of the Year” in 2010. He kick started a digital revolution with through various facets of technology from online music, smartphone, animation and with the launch of the iPad, rewrote computing history. On the personal front, Jobs has had a tough year, battling pancreatic cancer as well as rumors of his death that it came as no big shock when he announced for the second time, plans to take a medical leave of absence to concentrate on his health. Here is a look at the life and journey of this tech-czar, who changed digital life as we know it:

Submission + - Army officers ordered massacre in Tahrir Square

Weezul writes: The senior Egyptian army officers currently ruling Egypt as a military dictatorship ordered the wholesale slaughter of the thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square. Robert Fisk writes that "Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters [on 30 January]", but when tank commanders on the ground received the orders from senior military officers they instead called their own families for advice. "Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people."

Submission + - Could Nokia become Microsofts hardware division? (

high_rolla writes: The recent developments between Nokia and MS have come as a surprise to many (and not to others considering Elop's background). What if this is part of a grand plan however for Nokia to become the exclusive manufacturer of hardware for MS phones and tablets? It is a strategy that has worked well for Apple and Nokia is big enough that MS could cut it's ties with all other manufacturers and still have a large presence. It would allow Nokia and MS to focus on one tightly integrated set of products.

Submission + - Why Nokia Is Toast ( 1

CWmike writes: It's hard to remember now, but there was a time when Finland was at the center of the cell phone universe. No more. Nokia is being killed by complexity. Along comes Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, delivering more complexity. My view is that Microsoft doesn't matter, writes Mike Elgan. Although Windows Phone 7 is a way better operating system than Symbian, Nokia's problem isn't Symbian, and the solution isn't Windows Phone 7. Nokia's problem is that it follows the losing strategies of the other losers in the market, and rejects the only two known winning strategies. There are way too many Nokia phones. This causes either choice paralysis, sending buyers screaming to Apple for relief, or buyer's remorse. Nokia should take the advice Steve Jobs gave to Nike CEO Mark Parker: 'Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.'

Submission + - Mr.Elop still owns Microsoft shares? (

An anonymous reader writes: The Finnish economic newspaper Kauppalehti has a breaking story that reveals Mr. Elop not owning any Nokia shares nor options [ ]. But as a former insider of Microsoft, it's publicly known that he traded with MS shares as late as 31th August 2010, when he owned 261 302 shares and sold off roughly 23 000 shares to a value of 500 000 USD. Nokia's stock price lost 18 points on Friday. The newspaper points out that if Mr. Elop still owns MS shares this would put the whole Nokia-MS deal in a very special light and damage Nokia's reputation. Kauppalehti didn't today find anybody from Nokia who would comment on the issue.

Submission + - Is Qt dead in the water? (

anandrajan writes: Now that Nokia has announced a broad partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows Mobile 7 to their devices, what does this mean for Qt (since Symbian/Meego relied heavily on Qt)?

Submission + - Plan to tax Romanian witches draws curses ! ( 1

dbune writes: Romanian witches upset over the government's plan to tax them for the first time in an effort to pull the country out of a recession are protesting in ways that only they can. The government's austerity measures have prompted widespread spells to be cast.

The issue is no laughing matter to many in...


Submission + - Andre Geim's Brilliant Nobel Speech

mernilio writes: An excerpt from Nobel Prize Winner Andre Geim's Banquet Speech:

"The last decades were relatively peaceful and quiet for the planet. But with no obvious danger from outside, we are facing another danger, from inside. Instant information about everything and everyone often allows an individual opinion to compete with consensus and paranoia with evidence. It is a time when one blunt statement can finish a political career, and one journalist can bully a government or a royal family. Science is not immune from such pressures. For example, how many Nobel prize-winning experiments – you think – would have been stopped, if ethics or health-and-safety regulations at that time were as zealous as they are today? I can think of more than a few.

Human progress has always been driven by a sense of adventure and unconventional thinking. But amidst calls for "bread and circuses", these virtues are often forgotten for the sake of cautiousness and political correctness that now rule the world. And we sink deeper and deeper into a state of mediocrity and even idiocracy.

Against this backdrop I salute the Swedish Royal Academy for keeping the candle of merit alive. The great esteem in which the Nobel prizes are universally held is due to the fact that for several generations they have been given purely on scientific merit and not through lobbying and politicking. I do hope that it will stay this way and the prizes will never be given according to the number of votes in live TV contests!"

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