Robotron23 writes: The much anticipated research into basic income by Silicon Valley finance company Y Combinator appears to be progressing well. The company has appointed Elizabeth Rhodes as its Research Director, choosing the little-known recent PHD graduate over several applications from senior tenured professors. The location where the research will take place has been revealed as Oakland, California — chosen for its proximity to the Y Combinator headquarters, and the high inequality reported in the region.
Robotron23 writes: Voice actor and radio dramatist Erik Bauersfeld has died, leaving behind a decades-long broadcasting legacy. He became most famous for his character in the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi, Admiral Ackbar. The line 'It's a Trap!', spoken as the Rebel fleet engages in combat with the Empire, spawned a popular following which persists to this day. As well as Ackbar, Bauersfeld also voiced Jabba the Hutt's majordomo Bib Fortuna, and was among those who read for the iconic role of Jedi master Yoda, which was eventually granted to Frank Oz.
Robotron23 writes: Portentous changes to the labour economies of India and the USA due to job automation by machines and robots continue to make headlines. Demand for hardware and software automation is seeing implementation burgeon in both countries, as companies seek efficiency by exchanging human labour for machines. Generally the trend sees erosion of wages in areas previously unaffected by automation — including varieties of programming — while new, albeit highly specialized, engineering jobs are created. Both articles encourage mindful changes in education, although how schools either side of the world can adapt to automation's blistering pace is unclear.
The latest volley of job automation news has arrived in the weeks since the Davos' forum predicted that machine automation will result in a net loss globally of over 5 million jobs before 2020.
With the Iowa caucus taking place on February 1, and New Hampshire primary set for February 9, the view of 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination being a simple coronation for Clinton now looks outright wrong.
Robotron23 writes: The latest attempt at NSA reform has been prevented from passage in the Senate by a margin of 58 to 42. Introduced as a means to stop the NSA collecting bulk phone and e-mail records on a daily basis, the USA Freedom Act has been considered a practical route to curtailment of perceived overreach by security services,18 months since Edward Snowden went public. Opponents to the bill said it as needless, as Wall Street Journal raised the possibility of terrorists such as ISIS running amok on U.S. soil. Supporting the bill meanwhile were the technology giantsGoogle and Microsoft. Prior to this vote, the bill had already been stripped of privacy protections in aid of gaining White House support. A provision to extend the controversial USA Patriot Act to 2017 was also appended by the House of Representatives.
Robotron23 writes: The developers behind the sequel to legendary videogame Elite has, to the anger and dismay of fans, dropped the offline singleplayer mode it promised. The game is due for full release in under a month. With the title having raised about $1.5 million from Kickstarter, and millions more in subsequent campaigns that advertised the feature, gamers are livid. A complaints thread on the official Elite forums has swelled to 450+ pages in only three days, while refunds are being lodged in the thousands. It is down to the discretion of Frontier, the game's developer, whether to process refund requests of original backers.
Robotron23 writes: Several sources within the Linux community (here, here, here and here) have continued to discuss the possibility of NSA involvement with systemd. Various commentaries argue that the pace, scope and vociferousness surrounding the Debian kernel updates signify cause for suspicion. Discussion upon this subject has simmered since April, when Julian Assange branded the Debian project as being under the ownership of the NSA.
With examples, iGuru summarizes the arguments in this post. Noted is the worrying influence of developers working in billion-dollar corporate giant Red Hat, the potential for infiltration and manipulation within and between systemd supporters, plus numerous possible security holes and vulnerabilities in the code. Meanwhile, systemd's 217 update was announced as implemented.
Robotron23 writes: Coinciding with the midterm elections yesterday were state ballots proposing the legalization of cannabis. All three territories where full legalization was tabled approved the measure, joining Washington state and Colorado in giving cannabis the nod. The narrowest vote was that of Alaska at a roughly 52 to 48 percent margin. Washington D.C. meanwhile saw the vote strongly tipped in favor at about 69% to 31% opposed. Buoyed by the news, advocates of legal cannabis are already contemplating the next round of state ballots in 2016.
Robotron23 writes: Slashdot's finest editor to date has been mercilessly locked in a basement filled with fuzzy dice Dice created to furnish Google's self-driving cars. Screaming, followed by sounds of frenzied masturbation, have been reported from the subterranean dungeon. "There's no way enough ejaculatory fluid is getting sprayed on our dice to make us care about this deluded protestor's opinion." a Dice executive commented earlier. Former Slashdot owner turned professional millionaire Robert Malda, expressed support: "No porn. More dice than a casino. Lame."
Robotron23 writes: Rock, Paper, Shotgun author John Walker shook a hornet's nest by suggesting old videogames should enter the public domain during GOG's Time Machine sale. George Broussard of Duke Nukem fame took to Twitter, saying the author should be fired. In response to these comments RPS commissioned an editorial arguing why games and other media should enter the public domain much more rapidly than at present.
"I would no more steal a car than I would tolerate a company telling me that they had the exclusive rights to the idea of cars themselves." says Walker, paraphrasing a notorious anti-piracy ad. "However, there are things I’m very happy to ‘steal’, like knowledge, inspiration, or good ideas...It was until incredibly recently that amongst such things as knowledge, inspiration and good ideas were the likes of literature and music."
Robotron23 writes: Satya Modella, the present head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, has been heavily tipped as Steve Ballmer's successor. Discussion is already erupting over Nadella's potential approach to the company should he be granted the position. Bill Gates, the co-founder and present chairman of the company, may be replaced at the same time.
Robotron23 writes: Specializing in beating video games as rapidly as possible whilst raising money for cancer prevention, Awesome Games Done Quick just staged its most successful marathon to date with over $1,000,000 in donations. Highlights include Duke Nukem 3D (completed in 12 minutes), Super Metroid (45 minutes) and Half-Life (39 minutes). Game developers involved with the games, such as Valve's Zoid Kirsch, weighed in to add commentary.
Robotron23 writes: The Guardian has published a comprehensive review of the revelations derived from leaked documents published by Edward Snowden. Among the topics covered are NSA monitoring programs and techniques, the legal framework of such programs, counter-surveillance techniques, events such as the Lavabit shutdown, and prospects for reform. In the final section, some NSA documents are available for access.
Robotron23 writes: Further charges have been made against Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, aka 'Dread Pirate Roberts'. Yesterday saw the shutdown of Silk Road, a website Ulbricht founded which specialized in the sale of illegal items such as recreational drugs. As well as paying for a hit on a forum member, Ulbricht later requested an undercover agent murder an arrested employee of Silk Road, terming it "the right move". Upon receiving staged photos of torture and eventually the corpse, Ulbricht paid in full.