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Submission + - Japanese Government Plans Cyber Attack Institute

An anonymous reader writes: The government of Japan will create an institute to train employees to counter cyber attacks. The institute, which will be operational early next year, will focus on preventing cyber attacks on electrical systems and other infrastructure. The training institute, which will operate as part of Japan’s Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), is the first center for training in Japan to focus on preventing cyber attacks. A government source said that the primary aims will be preventing a large-scale blackout during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, and stopping leaks of sensitive power plant designs. The source also stated that there is potential for a joint exercise in cyber awareness between the Japanese group and foreign cybersecurity engineers in the future.

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 + - SPAM: Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets

mdsolar writes: A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found.

A new study of European countries, published in the journal Climate Policy, shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources – as set out in the EU’s 2020 Strategy – has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it.

Conversely, pro-nuclear countries have been slower to implement wind, solar and hydropower technologies and to tackle emissions.

While it’s difficult to show a causal link, the researchers say the study casts significant doubts on nuclear energy as the answer to combating climate change.

“By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive.”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - U. of Chicago researchers use data to predict police misconduct (chicagotribune.com) 2

schwit1 writes: In two Loop office buildings about eight blocks apart, a pair of University of Chicago research teams are analyzing big data to answer a thorny question that has become especially charged in recent months: Will a police officer have an adverse interaction with a citizen?

The team from the university's Crime Lab is in the first stages of working with the Chicago Police Department to build a predictive data program to improve the department's Early Intervention System, which is designed to determine if an officer is likely to engage in aggressive, improper conduct with a civilian.

The other team, part of U. of C.'s Center for Data Science & Public Policy, is expected to launch a data-driven pilot of an Early Intervention System with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina by the end of the summer. The center is working on similar efforts with the Los Angeles County sheriff's office and the Nashville and Knoxville police departments in Tennessee.

I am not hopeful seeing how a recent Chicago crime predictive program failed.

Submission + - The $5 Onion Omega2 Gives Raspberry Pi A Run For Its Money (dailydot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Onion's Omega2 computer may give the Raspberry Pi a run for its money if the success of the Kickstarter campaign is any indication. The Daily Dot reports: "With an initial goal of just $15,000, over 11,560 backers have pledged the company $446,792 in hopes of getting their hands on this little wonder board. So why are thousands of people losing their minds? Simple; the Omega2 packs a ton of power into a $5 package. Billed as the world’s smallest Linux server, complete with built-in Wi-Fi, the Omega2 is perfect for building simple computers or the web connected project of your dreams. The tiny machine is roughly the size of a cherry, before expansions, and runs a full Linux operating system. For $5 you get a 580MHz CPU, 64MB memory, 16MB storage, built-in Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port. A $9 model is also available with 128MB of memory, 32MB of storage, and a MircoSD slot. The similarly priced Raspberry Pi Zero comes with a 1GHz Arm processor, 512MB of memory, a MicroSD slot, no onboard storage, and no built-in Wi-Fi. Omega2 supports the Ruby, C++, Python, PHP, Perl, JavaScript (Node.js), and Bash programming languages, so no matter your background in coding you should be able to figure something out."

Submission + - Cisco patches 'ExtraBacon' zero-day exploit leaked by NSA hackers (dailydot.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: After a group of hackers stole and published a set of NSA cyberweapons earlier this week, the multibillion dollar tech firm Cisco is now updating its software to counter two potent leaked exploits that attack and take over crucial security software used to protect corporate and government networks.

  “Cisco immediately conducted a thorough investigation of the files released, and has identified two vulnerabilities affecting Cisco ASA devices that require customer attention,” the company said in a statement. “On Aug. 17, 2016, we issued two Security Advisories, which deliver free software updates and workarounds where possible.”

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

Submission + - Tim Cook: Privacy Is Worth Protecting (washingtonpost.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, Apple's CEO Tim Cook talks iPhones, AI, privacy, civil rights, missteps, China, taxes, and Steve Jobs — all without addressing rumors about the company's Project Titan electric car. One of the biggest concerns Tim Cook has is with user privacy. Earlier this year, Apple was in the news for refusing a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to unlock a suspected terrorist's iPhone because Apple argued it would affect millions of other iPhones, it was unconstitutional, and that it would weaken security for everyone. Cook told the Washington Post: "The lightbulb went off, and it became clear what was right: Could we create a tool to unlock the phone? After a few days, we had determined yes, we could. Then the question was, ethically, should we? We thought, you know, that depends on whether we could contain it or not. Other people were involved in this, too — deep security experts and so forth, and it was apparent from those discussions that we couldn't be assured. The risk of what happens if it got out, could be incredibly terrible for public safety." Cook suggest that customers rely on companies like Apple to set up privacy and security protections for them. "In this case, it was unbelievable uncomfortable and not something that we wished for, wanted — we didn't even think it was right. Honestly? I was shocked that [the FBI] would even ask for this," explained Cook. "That was the thing that was so disappointing that I think everybody lost. There are 200-plus other countries in the world. Zero of them had ever asked [Apple to do] this." Privacy is a right to be protected, believes Cook: "In my point of view, [privacy] is a civil liberty that our Founding Fathers thought of a long time ago and concluded it was an essential part of what it was to be an American. Sort of on the level, if you will, with freedom of speech, freedom of the press."

Submission + - One in Five Vehicle Software Vulnerabilities are 'Hair on Fire' Critical (securityledger.com)

chicksdaddy writes: One of every five software vulnerabilities discovered in vehicles in the last three years are rated “critical” and are unlikely to be resolved through after the fact security fixes, according to an analysis by the firm IOActive, The Security Ledger reports. (https://securityledger.com/2016/08/one-in-five-vehicle-vulnerabilities-are-hair-on-fire-critical/)

“These are the high priority ‘hair on fire’ vulnerabilities that are easily discovered and exploited and can cause major impacts to the system or component,” the firm said in its report (http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/download/227664/), which it released last week. The report was based on an analysis of more than 150 vehicle security flaws identified over three years by IOActive or publicly disclosed by way of third-party firms.

The report studied a wide range of flaws, most discovered in IOActive’s work with automakers and suppliers to auto manufacturers, said Corey Thuen, a Senior Security Consultant with IOActive. Thuen and his colleagues considered what kinds of vulnerabilities most commonly affect connect vehicles, what types of attacks are most often used to compromise vehicles and what kinds of vulnerabilities might be mitigated using common security techniques and tactics.

The results, while not dire, are not encouraging. The bulk of vulnerabilities that were identified stemmed from a failure by automakers and suppliers to follow security best practices including designing in security or applying secure development lifecycle (SDL) practices to software creation. “These are all great things that the software industry learned as it has progressed in the last 20 years. But (automakers) are not doing them.”

Submission + - Google Fiber to Test Wireless Internet Service in 24 Areas in the US (technewstoday.com)

S M Anwar writes: Google is gearing up to test its Fiber service in order to bring high-speed wireless Internet to more places. According to the FCC filing, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has decided to test its wireless broadband technology in 24 locations in the US, for the next 24 months.

Some of the chosen locations such as Provo, Utah are already enjoying the company’s Fiber service. Currently, the company uses a high bandwidth fiber optic cable to install Fiber Internet at homes and offices, but this requires a considerable investment in terms of money and time. Wireless technology can solve this problem, and enable the company to install Fiber Internet much faster.

Google recently acquired the wireless Internet startup called Webpass, which is expected to contribute to the expansion of the Internet giant’s broadband service.

Submission + - SPAM: Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order 3

mdsolar writes: The world's next energy revolution is probably no more than five or ten years away. Cutting-edge research into cheap and clean forms of electricity storage is moving so fast that we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point.

The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the 'Holy Grail' of energy policy.

You can track what they are doing at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). There are plans for hydrogen bromide, or zinc-air batteries, or storage in molten glass, or next-generation flywheels, many claiming "drastic improvements" that can slash storage costs by 80pc to 90pc and reach the magical figure of $100 per kilowatt hour in relatively short order.

“Storage is a huge deal,” says Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary and himself a nuclear physicist. He is now confident that the US grid and power system will be completely "decarbonised" by the middle of the century.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Adblock Plus Offers Workaround To block Facebook Ads Again 1

An anonymous reader writes: On Tuesday, Facebook announced it will begin showing ads in desktop browsers “for people who currently use ad blocking software.” Adblock Plus, the most popular ad blocking tool with over 500 million downloads, responded the same day by calling the move “a dark path against user choice.” Today, just two days later, Adblock Plus is offering a workaround that users can implement themselves now, and which will automatically take effect for all users in “a couple of days.”

Submission + - Are company perks getting out of control?

HamIAm writes: Skills shortages in IT are real and even putting companies at risk, but is offering over the top perks the answer? Some companies, especially those in Silicon Valley, seem to think so. "There’s been an emerging focus on 'wellness' and 'lifestyle' benefits and Silicon Valley companies are offering a new range of unique benefits – like fitness reimbursement, daycare, pet insurance, candy walls and more. One startup has even gone so far as to pay for employees’ weddings." Some startups are not interested in playing this game. Stav Vaisman, co-founder and CEO of OurPlan, says, "If your perks are a major reason for a potential recruit signing on, you’re emphasizing the wrong qualities of your firm."

Submission + - Windows 10 Anniversary Update Is Infested With Bugs (cio.com)

itwbennett writes: As previously reported on Slashdot, in Tuesday's updates, Microsoft disabled RC4 in its Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer browsers on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, after deeming the cipher 'no longer cryptographically secure.' The company also fixed 'a serious security flaw in the Windows PDF Library.' But these aren't the only bugs being reported in the Windows 20 Anniversary Update. CIO.com's Bill Snyder reports that 'there are widespread reports of significant bugs in the update, and they're causing systems to freeze, browsers to misbehave, and peripherals — including Xbox One controllers — to malfunction. Two major antivirus companies also warn that incompatibilities with Windows 10 could open up users to security risks.'

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