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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 + - NSA worried about implications of leaked toolkits (businessinsider.com)

wierd_w writes: According to business insider, the NSA is worried about the possible scope of information leaked from the agency, after a group calling themselves the "Shadow Brokers" absconded with a sizable trove of penetration tools and technical exploits, which it plans to sell on the black market.

Among the concerns, are worries that active operations may have been exposed. Business insider quotes an undisclosed source as stating the possibility of the loss of such security and stealth (eg privacy) has had chilling effects for the agency, as they attempt to determine the fullness and scope of the leak.

(Does anyone besides me feel a little tickled about the irony of the NSA complaining about chilling effects of possibly being monitored?)

Submission + - "Upgrade to Windows 10" prompt no longer has a "No" option (softpedia.com)

LichtSpektren writes: True to their word, Microsoft has now aggressively resumed pushing Windows 10 to users of Win7 and 8.1. In fact, the "Get Windows 10" (GWX) program no longer offers a "No" button: only "Upgrade now" and "Start download, upgrade later" (of course, Windows already silently downloaded the files [see here: http://tech.slashdot.org/story... ], so the question is superfluous).

Submission + - Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

merbs writes: A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. The computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992.

Submission + - Man shoots down drone hovering over his backyard (arstechnica.com)

SonicSpike writes: The way William Merideth sees it, it’s pretty clear-cut: a drone flying over his backyard was a well-defined invasion of privacy, analogous to a physical trespassing.
Not knowing who owned it, the Kentucky man took out his shotgun and fired three blasts of Number 8 birdshot to take the drone out.

"It was just right there," he told Ars. "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that's not going to work. I know they're neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn’t be flying into people's yards and videotaping."

Minutes later, a car full of four men that he didn’t recognize rolled up, "looking for a fight."

"Are you the son of a bitch that shot my drone?" one said, according to Merideth.

His terse reply to the men, while wearing a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip: "If you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there’s going to be another shooting."

The men backed down, retreated to their car, and waited for the police to arrive.

"His only comment was that he hoped I had a big checkbook because his drone cost $1,800," Merideth added.

The Kentuckian was arrested Sunday evening in Hillview, Kentucky, just south of Louisville and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. He was released the following day.

Submission + - The Tricky Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality

theodp writes: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) recently doled out $200,000 of Google.org money to reward three CS departments that have shown significant positive outcomes in women’s enrollment and graduation rates. Now, in a Wired piece entitled The Tricky (and Necessary) Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality, NCWIT senior research scientists Catherine Ashcraft and Wendy DuBow offer their ideas for getting men involved in gender diversity efforts, which includes some no-good-deed-goes-unpunished advice for potential male allies: "Don’t be alarmed-or even confused-if some women refuse, resist, or react negatively to your initial interest. Instead, recognize that this is an understandable, even logical, reaction to longtime experience as a minority in a majority environment. Recognize that it might sometimes take a while to build trust, and some women may never want to participate...Even if a negative reaction seems unreasonable or unfair, we suggest reframing this as an incredibly valuable opportunity for experiencing what it’s like to be a woman in tech, or any minority in a majority group environment. In other words, if such an experience makes it feel like you’re walking on eggshells or makes you worry about being misunderstood, imagine feeling like that much of the day, every day, at work. This temporary experience can help foster empathy and help you make sense of why these negative reactions might occur." And you can take some comfort in knowing that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and other male allies will no doubt feel your pain.

Submission + - Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

HughPickens.com writes: Jennifer Medina reports at the NYT that the the city council of nation’s second-largest city voted by a 14-1 margin to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in what is perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland, Calif., have already approved increases, and dozens more are considering doing the same. In 2014, a number of Republican-leaning states like Alaska and South Dakota also raised their state-level minimum wage by referendum. The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s," says Michael Reich. "There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

It's important to remember that the minimum wage hike comes at a significant direct cost to business — well over a $1 billion a year, according to the mayor's analysis — and it would be foolish to pretend that it won't lead to some job losses and business closures. Critics say the increase will turn the city into a “wage island,” pushing businesses away into nearby places where they can pay employees less. “They are asking businesses to foot the bill on a social experiment that they would never do on their own employees,” says Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a trade group that represents companies and other organizations in Southern California. “A lot of businesses aren’t going to make it. It’s great that this is an increase for some employees, but the sad truth is that a lot of employees are going to lose their jobs.”

Submission + - Activists chase Joss Whedon away from twitter (bbc.com)

goose-incarnated writes: Joss Whedon has deleted his twitter account (again) after criticism and death threats were directed to him on twitter.

Fans may remember him fondly for Firefly (and later Serenity) but his most recent directorial effort, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, attracted the ire of many feminists who accused him of being misogynistic and sexist.

"In the past, Whedon has used his Twitter account to voice his support for activist Anita Sarkeesian". In what many would view as an ironic turn of the tables, Whedon now has his peers and fans defending him from the curses and threats of the self-proclaimed activists.

Submission + - Mississippi - The Nation's Leader in Vaccination Rates

HughPickens.com writes: The NYT reports that Mississippi — which ranks as one of the worst states for smoking, obesity and physical inactivity — seldom is viewed as a leader on health issues. But it is one of two states that permit neither religious nor philosophical exemptions to its vaccination program. Only children with medical conditions that would be exacerbated by vaccines may enroll in Mississippi schools without completing the immunization schedule, which calls for five vaccines. With a vaccination rate of greater than 99.7%, Mississippi leads the national median by five percentage points and has the country’s highest immunization rate among kindergarten students.

However, in recent weeks, the nearly unbending nature of Mississippi’s law requiring students to be vaccinated has been in jeopardy, with two dozen lawmakers publicly supporting an exemption for “conscientious beliefs” turning Mississippi into one more battleground between medical experts who champion vaccinations and parents who fear the government’s role in medical decision-making. “We have been a victim of our success, and people don’t realize how bad these diseases are,” said Mississippi state epidemiologist, Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs III, before lawmakers met to consider a bill that would have expanded exceptions to the vaccine requirement. Members of the education committee for the House of Representatives, in effect, endorsed the state’s current approach. By a voice vote, they advanced a heavily amended version of the bill that now calls for only technical changes to Mississippi’s law, which has been largely untouched since the late 1970s. The amended version of House Bill 130 puts into law the state's existing practice of granting medical waivers to children whose physicians request them, and in doing so, removes the Mississippi Department of Health's ability to deny such requests. "If a medical professional thinks it's wise not to vaccinate, then that will be the gospel," said House Education Committee Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon.

Submission + - Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

HughPickens.com writes: Jennifer Abel writes at the LA times that according to a recent survey over 80% of Americans says they support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” roughly the same number that support the mandatory labeling of GMO foods “produced with genetic engineering.” Ilya Somin, writing about the survey at the Washington Post, suggested that a mandatory label for foods containing DNA might sound like this: "WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children."

The report echoes a well-known joke/prank wherein people discuss the dangers of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide" also known as hydrogen oxide and hydrogen hydroxide. Search online for information about dihydrogen monoxide, and you'll find a long list of scary-sounding and absolutely true warnings about it: the nuclear power industry uses enormous quantities of it every year. Dihydrogen monoxide is used in the production of many highly toxic pesticides, and chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions. Dihydrogen monoxide is found in all tumors removed from cancer patients, and is guaranteed fatal to humans in large quantities and even small quantities can kill you, if it enters your respiratory system. In 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public body that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter bathers from using a large public fountain. "Counting on a lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup," he arranged for signs reading: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT" to be posted on the fountain at public expense

Submission + - Long-term study finds zero link between violence in video games and real life (sciencealert.com)

SternisheFan writes: The first long-term study has been completed on the link between the consumption of violent media and real-life violent acts, and has found... there is none. In fact, the only possible trend that cropped up over the last century was that an increased consumption of violent video games correlated to a decrease in youth violence.

The results have been published in the Journal of Communication. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12129/full

Submission + - CEOs who make outragous pecentages of company revenues (dailyfinance.com)

bizwriter writes: Top earning Charif Souki of Cheniere Energy had a compensation package last year of almost $142 million, even as company revenue was $267 million with a loss of $554 million. His pay package was more than half company revenue. It turns out that hundreds of companies devote 1 percent or more — sometimes a lot more — of their revenue to pay their CEOs, including heads of such tech companies as Zynga, Splunk, TripAdvisor, Progress Software, and zulily.

Submission + - Pentagon : scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering' (theguardian.com)

RockDoctor writes: The Grauniad are reporting that a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed a report (or 12 pages of a 37-page report, the remainder censored) that

“the scope of the compromised knowledge related to US intelligence capabilities is staggering”

Well isn't that just terribly sad for them. My heart bleeds. Ed Snowden, if we ever meet, the first beer is my shout.

Submission + - US "in denial" over poor Maths standards (bbc.com)

thephydes writes: "The maths skills of teenagers in parts of the deep south of the United States are worse than in countries such as Turkey and barely above South American countries such as Chile and Mexico."

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