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Comment HR Perspective (Score 1) 823

Several people I know from HR have mentioned that the act of looking at websites with the intention of looking up applicants is not legal. This is because the hiring agent has a chance to learn more about the applicant than they should know for job purposes such as age, if they are married, have kids, are homo/heterosexual, have drinking problems etc. All of these are questions that cannot be asked in an interview because they could possibly lead to discriminating against the applicant. The same becomes true if someone researches an applicant online.

The young lady in the story has a very strong case for discrimination, maybe the people who originally saw the page are against drinking, or maybe they felt that she has a drinking problem and might come to work drunk. So because of their personal feelings towards alcohol they presented a case to have her teaching credentials stopped. The plaintiff has a strong argument because proving that you were not discriminated against is pretty difficult.

I know that many companies do use websites to investigate future employees, but when it happens you don't ever admit to it. Or you open yourself up to the same kind of lawsuit.

Submission + - When the Earth was purple

Ollabelle writes: It's always been a bit of a mystery why plants absorb red and blue light while reflecting green when the sun emits the most visible light in the green part of the spectrum. Now a theory has come up with one possible answer: that the first chlorophyll-utilizing microbes evolved to exploit the red-and-blue reflected light of older green-absorbing microbes, eventually out-competing them through greater efficiency and the rise of oxygen. http://www.livescience.com/environment/070410_purp le_earth.html [note to editor: I'm baffled how to tag this story to science, and nothing else. All the "topics" seem to be anything except 'off topic'. Thanks for any insight you can give.]

Submission + - Is Anti-Virus software dead?

An anonymous reader writes: After stumbling over several unanimous recommendations against using viral scans for your email (which somewhat shattered my security world view), I started to notice a bigger and bigger movement which argues against the use of anti-virus software altogether, as it is ineffective against the main threats of malware, counter-productive (as it eats up system resources), and seems to be more of a "good-luck charm" than anything else.

I have to admit that, even though I deal with loads of suspicious software, I can't even remember when I got the last real virus warning.

So — is it time to dump your anti-virus software, go "commando", and free yourself from the shackles of these system drags?

Submission + - Books, ATF, DEA, Homework Censored by Boston WiFi

An anonymous reader writes: An MIT student reports that the free wifi pilot at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall, 'The Cradle of Liberty', uses phrase lists to block public access to many sites on this government-funded network. Among those blocked are Cory Doctorow's book Eastern Standard Tribe , information about lotteries (but not the Massachusetts Lottery site), criminal justice policy sites, the ATF and the DEA.

Feed Free Songs With Built In Ads Is Not The Answer (techdirt.com)

An idea that's been discussed for years and apparently is now a hot one for various startups is to try to create a legitimate file sharing system, where before you can listen to the music, you have to first pay attention to an advertisement. It's simple for recording industry execs to understand, so they like it -- but they seem to be missing the key point: it's not what music listeners want. Just look at how many people were willing to jump to satellite radio claiming the lack of ads on many satellite music stations was a key driver. Also, these file sharing systems need to recognize that they're still competing with the ad-free versions (also known as unauthorized file sharing programs). The trick to making money in these spaces isn't to saddle the content with some annoyance no one wants -- but to make it more valuable in a way that people are willing to pay.

Submission + - Anti-Matter's Potential in Treating Cancer

eldavojohn writes: "The BBC is taking a look at how atomic physicists are developing cancer treatments. A step past radiotherapy, the CERN institute is publishing interesting results: "Cancer cells were successfully targeted with anti-matter subatomic particles, causing intense biological damage leading to cell death." The press release from last year is finally sparking interest in the medical community."
The Internet

Submission + - China Says No More Internet Cafes

eldavojohn writes: "For many Chinese, internet access just got a little bit harder to acquire. For better or for worse, China will not be allowing anymore internet cafes to open this year. There are 113,000 internet cafes in China which serve as connection points for communities where personal internet connections are clearly not within the means given an average income. Considering recent stories and trends the Chinese government is taking, they aren't fooling around with 'protecting' their people from the 'forbidden fruit' of the internet."

Submission + - RIAA going after Internet Radio

scopius writes: As reported this morning in The Wall Street Journal, the RIAA is now pushing Congress to hike royalty rates for Internet Radio. Tim Westergreen, co-founder of Pandora.com, claims that this action will shut down Pandora, along with many other internet radio stations. The rates set by the board are .08 cents per song per listener, and this rate is in addition to royalties already paid to the songwriters of the works. Up until this point, these stations had been paying a flat fee, but these new rates will be much larger than revenues for most stations. One interesting point is that normal radio doesn't have to pay anything like this rate, they only pay the songwriters royalties, according to the article.

Submission + - Hey, Microsoft! What do you actually do?

Anonymous Coward writes: "An open letter to Microsoft:

Let's talk core competency.

In plain English, what does your business do? Yes, I know you do a lot of things, but you can only have one core.
What is the base purpose of the gathering of human energy that goes under the label 'Microsoft'?

To write software for microprocessors.

Too many people in upper management at MS have confused potential customers with competitors.

Why, in 2007, should a software maker consider ANY hardware maker an enemy?

You NEED hardware makers. It's not 1992 anymore. Fewer and fewer hardware makers are buying operating systems as they make more and more devices that need them.

Few people know what operating system their phone uses, fewer what their set-top DVD player uses, even fewer know that these things even HAVE operating systems.

(Oh, and thanks for bending the definition of "operating system" to mean not only the system, but the interface and bundled applications as well. Most people think the UI *is* the system and the system is "the kernel". Non-tech people call the monitor "the computer" and the tower "the hard drive"; why did you have to mess up the semi-tech people, too?)

Research In Motion owns e-mail junkies. Apple is shooting for couch potatoes, teenie boppers, and web browsers. Sony and Nintendo are going for high end and low end gamers respectively. Nokia bets on people gabbing to one another. None of them buy software from you.

In plain English, what does your business do? What is the purpose of the gathering of human energy that goes under the label 'Microsoft'? To write software.

For whom? Only for platforms that you wrote the OS for? For a software company, that's limiting your market.

As I see it Microsoft, as a group, has three choices:

a) Get back to it's core competency.

Write software. Write apps for every platform. Get a pro-MS podcast on iTunes, write the best selling Playstaton 3 game, make MS software the #1 software for Symbian phones. Leverage the popularity of any platform instead of fighting it. Write software.

b) Protect it's desktop monopoly.

The PC has always and will always own The Enterprise. However, it's no guarantee that Windows will always rule the enterprise. If they don't use that newly acquired unix license to copy Apple yet again, Linux will continue it's 1000 cuts.

Stop being stubborn. Admit Apple was right and go unix. Virtualized Vista can be bundled as your "Classic". Use the XBox360 API as your game engine (Renamed Direct X 11) and you will own the PC Gaming for another decade, at least.

Stick to geeks at work and geeks at play and pray Michael Dell never gets smart enough or brave enough to write his own OS.

c) Become a hardware company.

You have enough cash reserves to get to Version 3 of XBox and of Zune. If you bit the bullet and went end-to-end systems, you could make a killer PC and would be years ahead of Dell, HP, Gateway and everyone else too lazy to write their own OS."

Iran Launches Payload into Space 698

An anonymous reader writes "BBC is reporting that Iran has launched its first space rocket carrying a payload. Britain's former ambassador to Iran, Sir Richard Dalton, told the BBC that, if confirmed, such a move could destabilise the Middle East: "It is a matter of concern. Iran's potential nuclear military programme, combined with an advanced missile capability, would destabilise the region, and of course if there were a bomb that could be placed on the end of this missile, it would in breach of Iran's obligations under the non-proliferation treaty." From the article: Iranian TV broke the news of the reported test saying :"The first space rocket has been successfully launched into space. It quoted the head of Iran's aerospace research centre, Mohsen Bahrami, as saying that "the rocket was carrying material intended for research created by the ministries of science and defence". In 2005, Iran's Russian-made satellite was put into orbit by a Russian rocket. But shortly afterwards Iranian military officials said they were preparing a satellite launch vehicle of their own and last month, they announced they were ready to test it soon."

Submission + - Is RFID A Security Risk?

An anonymous reader writes: From ABC news: "All it takes is a second, and it's gone — a modern day pick-pocket can snatch your credit card and other personal information without ever touching your wallet. The thieves need only a little know how, and about a hundred bucks. The technology we rely on everyday — is being abused." Video at http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_ side&id=5065414

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