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Submission + - Congress Will Consider Proposal To Raise H-1B Minimum Wage To $100,000 (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: President-elect Donald Trump is just a week away from taking office. From the start of his campaign, he has promised big changes to the US immigration system. For both Trump's advisers and members of Congress, the H-1B visa program, which allows many foreign workers to fill technology jobs, is a particular focus. One major change to that system is already under discussion: making it harder for companies to use H-1B workers to replace Americans by simply giving the foreign workers a raise. The "Protect and Grow American Jobs Act," introduced last week by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and Scott Peters, D-Calif., would significantly raise the wages of workers who get H-1B visas. If the bill becomes law, the minimum wage paid to H-1B workers would rise to at least $100,000 annually, and be adjusted it for inflation. Right now, the minimum is $60,000. The sponsors say that would go a long way toward fixing some of the abuses of the H-1B program, which critics say is currently used to simply replace American workers with cheaper, foreign workers. In 2013, the top nine companies acquiring H-1B visas were technology outsourcing firms, according to an analysis by a critic of the H-1B program. (The 10th is Microsoft.) The thinking goes that if minimum H-1B salaries are brought closer to what high-skilled tech employment really pays, the economic incentive to use it as a worker-replacement program will drop off. "We need to ensure we can retain the world’s best and brightest talent," said Issa in a statement about the bill. "At the same time, we also need to make sure programs are not abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad to replace American workers." The H-1B program offers 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign workers who have advanced degrees from US colleges and universities. The visas are awarded by lottery each year. Last year, the government received more than 236,000 applications for those visas.

Submission + - User Trust Fail: Google Chrome and the Tech Support Scams (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: It’s not Google’s fault that these criminals exist. However, given Google’s excellent record at detection and blocking of malware, it is beyond puzzling why Google’s Chrome browser is so ineffective at blocking or even warning about these horrific tech support scams when they hit a user’s browser.

These scam pages should not require massive AI power for Google to target.

And critically, it’s difficult to understand why Chrome still permits most of these crooked pages to completely lock up the user’s browser — often making it impossible for the user to close the related tab or browser through any means that most users could reasonably be expected to know about.

Submission + - Detecting USB Power Adapters That Don't Meet Certification (hackaday.com)

szczys writes: The USB to mains adapter is an important part of electronics. It's the last line of defense between the device and line voltage. But it also defends the user against shock and guards against accidental fire. Bob recently took on the challenge of finding safe and reliable USB power adapters to ship with a product his company has developed.

USB power supplies are super cheap and omnipresent. They are the Tribble of my household. But they're not all created equal, and some of them may even be dangerous. I had to source USB power supplies for a product, and it wasn't easy. But the upside is that I got to tear them all apart and check out their designs.


Submission + - Evolution's Crowning Achievement - Middle Age

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Reproductive biologist David Bainbridge writes that with the onset of wrinkles, love handles, and failing eyesight we are used to dismissing our fifth and sixth decades as a negative chapter in our lives. However recent scientific findings show just how crucial middle age has been to the success of our species and that with the probable existence of lots of prehistoric middle-aged people, natural selection had plenty to work on. "We lead an energy-intensive, communication-driven, information-rich way of life, and it was the evolution of middle age that supported this." writes Bainbridge adding that middle age is a controlled and preprogrammed process not of decline but of development. "When we think of human development, we usually think of the growth of a fetus or the maturation of a child into an adult. Yet the tightly choreographed transition into middle age is a later but equally important stage in which we are each recast into yet another novel form," — resilient, healthy, energy-efficient and productive. "The middle aged may not have been able to outrun the prey, but they were really good at working out where it might be hiding and dividing up the spoils afterwards" Although some critics says that middle age is a construct of the middle aged, Bainbridge asserts that one key role of middle age is the propagation of information. "All animals inherit a great deal of information in their genes; some also learn more as they grow up. Humans have taken this second form of information transfer to a new level. We are born knowing and being able to do almost nothing. Each of us depends on a continuous infusion of skills, knowledge and customs, collectively known as culture, if we are to survive. And the main route by which culture is transferred is by middle-aged people showing and telling their children — as well as the young adults with whom they hunt and gather — what to do.""

Submission + - Whistleblower: NSA has all of your email (democracynow.org)

mspohr writes: From DemocracyNow!
National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander’s assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens.


Submission + - Chrome to Warn Users About Malicious Downloads (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: Google has released a beta version of Chrome 17, the next major version of the browser. The company doesn't do big, rolled-up releases the way that Mozilla and Microsoft do, but Chrome 17 will include some new security features and other improvements. The main security upgrade is a change to the way that the Safe Browsing system in Chrome works. The current version of Safe Browsing is designed to protect users against drive-by downloads and malicious links on sites. The new one in Chrome 17 also will run a check on executables and other files downloaded from the Web.

Submission + - Is Google Wave Going to Have an Impact on RIA/Silv (infoq.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The recently announced Google Wave platform which is promoting HTML 5 is believed by some to have a major impact on RIA, including Silverlight, while others consider that Wave is actually a competitor for Microsoft's SharePoint and Exchange rather than RIA.

Submission + - Xbox takes on Apple TV, Blu-Ray, your cable TV (pcauthority.com.au)

Slatterz writes: Microsoft's latest trick for the Xbox may come as interesting news if you've been using the console as a defacto home media center, using apps like XBMC for the Xbox or Windows Media Center with the 360 to pipe your downloaded videos from your network to your TV. Users will apparently be able to watch 1080p movies with 5.1 surround audio streamed on-demand from the Xbox Live Video Marketplace (now called Zune Video). If you're one of those who've ditched regular TV/cable for the Web (and have a big enough broadband plan) it looks like your entertainment options are getting better.

Submission + - Microsoft releases Singularity OS code

PeterK writes: Microsoft offers a first glimpse at a completely new operating system: The code of Singularity was released as a 61 MB download today. What makes Singularity special is that it developed from scratch, almost entirely in an extension of C#, which Microsoft's says will close many security holes by default. There are lots of interesting approaches in Singularity, including the integration of heterogeneous multiprocessing capability and support for general purpose GPUs — which means the operating system can directly exploit the massive horsepower of graphics cards. The bad news you ask? Singularity is a research project and won't come to our desktops anytime soon. Nevertheless, it's great to see Microsoft thinking in new directions.

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