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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do I stay employable? 2

illcar writes: Hi, I am 40 year old working as a senior developer for one of the biggest investment banks. I have always worked as full time employee in my career. However the the last 5-6 years had been very tough for me because of office politics, outsourcing, and economic conditions. The financial industry is not doing well, and we maybe at the brink of another round of layoffs. My family is growing, my spouse does not work, and I still do not own a house yet. I am worried regarding my job security & career growth. Considering medicare does not kick in till 65, I am still looking at 25 long years of career. I am wondering what would be the best way for me to stay employable in the coming years?

1. Should I stay technical, and be ready to work as consultant/contractor? How does medical insurance work in that case?
2. Should I capitalize on the domain knowledge, and move onto business/managerial side?
3. Will the MBA degree or alternate career help?
4. Any other suggestions?

Thanks.
Businesses

Submission + - What if intellectual property expired after five years?

ancientt writes: "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the US was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five year period. After a five year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent rammifications if it had been enacted in the past.)

Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five year old varient of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030.

Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five year profit span although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal.

Play "What if" with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"
United Kingdom

Submission + - Light pollution 'saturates' UK's night skies (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Half of the UK's population cannot see many stars because the night skies are "saturated" with light pollution, campaigners have warned. Study participants were instructed to pick a clear night to count the number of stars in the constellation of Orion. Fewer than 1 in 10 said they could see between 21 and 30 stars, and just 2% of people had truly dark skies, seeing 31 or more stars. Emma Marrington, a rural policy campaigner for the CPRE, says: "...this isn't just about a spectacular view of the stars; light pollution can also disrupt wildlife and affect people's sleeping patterns."
Science

Submission + - LaTeX needn't be so hard (latextemplates.com)

Velimir writes: Few among us would argue that LaTeX is useless, but I'm sure we can agree that it is not the easiest way of creating a document. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to create a document from scratch for a specific purpose such as a CV, assignment or thesis. This is where templates come in handy since they capture the necessary elements of the document type and clearly point out where user content should go. Unfortunately, no one has created a single easy to use resource for LaTeX templates until now. LaTeXTemplates.com aims to provide such a resource to help new users of LaTeX get started making documents more quickly and to allow veteran users to focus on content over structure.

Submission + - Drinking Alcohol May Significantly Enhance Problem Solving Skills 1

An anonymous reader writes: Drinking alcohol may enhance a person’s problem solving skills, according to a new study. Scientists found that men who either drank two pints of beer or two glasses of wine before solving brain teasers not only got more questions right, they also were quicker in delivering correct answers, compared to men who answered the questions sober.

Submission + - New Frog Species Found in NYC (wired.com)

interval1066 writes: "Ars Technica reports that a paper by biologists Catherine E. Newmana, Jeremy A. Feinbergb, Leslie J. Risslerc, Joanna Burgerb, & H. Bradley Shaffer, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, describes a new subspecies of leopard frog has been found living exclusively in New York City. The researchers describe in the paper that the new frog has a distinctive croak, quite different from the two existing species of leopard frogs on the East Coast. The new frog is also stand-offish and tends to impotently honk their horns when stuck in traffic."
Businesses

Submission + - Reversing the Loss of STEM Careers (todaysengineer.org)

walterbyrd writes: "In response to the alleged shortages of qualified American engineers and technology professionals, numerous initiatives have been launched to boost interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and to strengthen STEM education in the United States. Unfortunately, these programs have not proven successful, and many blame the laziness of modern students, the ineptitude of their teachers, poor parenting or, when there are no more other excuses remaining, they may even jump to moral decay as a causative agent. However, the failure of STEM is due to the fact that the very policies that created the shortages continue unabated. This is not a uniquely American problem. The best way to increase interest in STEM degrees is by making certain that STEM careers are actually viable."
The Internet

Submission + - 51% Of Internet Traffic Is 'Non-Human' (itproportal.com) 1

hypnosec writes: Web traffic — the actions of real people, or by other computers? A recent study explains. Cloud-based service, Incapsula, has revealed research indicating that 51 per cent of website traffic is through automated software programs; with many programmed for the intent of malicious activity. The breakdown of an average site’s traffic is as follows: 5% is due to hacking tools looking for an unpatched or new vulnerability within a site, 5% is scrapers, 2% from automated comment spammers, 19% the result of “spies” collating competitive intelligence, 20% derived from search engines (non-human traffic but benign), 49% from people browsing the Internet.

Submission + - When and How to deal with GPL violations? (nicta.com.au) 1

jd writes: "There are many pieces of software out there such as seL4 (kindly brought to my attention by another reader) where the vendor has indeed written something that they're entitled to Close Source but where their closed-source license includes the modifications to GPLed software such as the Linux kernel.

Then there's a second type of behaviour. Code Sourcery produced two versions of their VSIPL++ image processing library — one closed-source, one GPLed. It was extremely decent of them. When Mentor Graphics bought them, they continued developing the closed-course one and discontinued, then deleted, the GPL variant. It's unclear to me if that's kosher as the closed variant must contain code that had been GPLed at one point.

Here's the problem: Complaining too much will mean we get code now that maybe 4 or 5 people tops will actually care about. It will also make corporations leery of any other such work in future, where that work will be of greater value to a greater number of people.

So the question I want to ask is this: When is it a good time to complain? By what rule-of-thumb might you decide that one violation is worth cracking down on and another should be let go to help encourage work we're never going to do ourselves?"

Supercomputing

Submission + - Japanese supercomputer blisters 10 quadrillion cal (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "The Japanese supercomputer ranked #1 on the Top 500 fastest supercomputers broke its own record this week by hitting 10 quadrillion calculations per second (10.51 petaflops), according to its operators, Fujitsu and Riken.
The supercomputer “K” consists of 864 racks, comprising a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs and has a theoretical calculation speed of 11.28 petaflops, the companies said."

Mars

Submission + - Mars Rover Discovers 'A Completely New Thing' (discovery.com) 1

astroengine writes: "While looking for a safe place to weather the cold Martian winter, the rover Opportunity spied a subtle yet intriguing feature on the edge of the giant Endeavour crater: a bright vein of light-toned rock piercing the ruddy, rocky surface of a large rise called Cape York. The vein (dubbed "Homestake") may prove to be hard evidence of phyllosilicates — minerals formed in the presence of a watery environment. In short, Opportunity may have found its "Holy Grail.""
Science

Submission + - Open Source Cancer Research? (guardian.co.uk)

jd writes: "Dr Jay Bradner is claiming that it is possible to conduct cancer research using open source methodology. Certainly, his research lab has produced a few papers of interest, though the page describing the research is filled more with buzzwords (post-genomic?) and hype than with actual objectives and serious strategies. I'm certainly not seeing anything that fits either the "open source" and crowdsource models.

Certainly, there are some areas where open source really is exceedingly useful in science.

Then, there are plenty of projects that use volunteers to help solve complex problems.

So, I'm going to ask what is probably a dumb question — is there actually anything new that science can do with open source techniques? Has that path been mapped out, or are there actually new (as opposed to merely buzzword-compliant) approaches that could be followed which would get useful results?"

Math

Submission + - Pancake flipping is hard - NP hard (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: French computer scientists have finally proved that sorting pancakes is hard — NP hard.No really — this isn't a joke. Well, it is slightly amusing but that's just because it is being presented as pancake flipping. The algorithm in question is sorting a permutation using prefix reversal — which is much easier to understand in terms of pancakes. Basically you have to sort a pancake stack by simply inserting your spatula and flipping the top part of the stack. We now know that if you can do the this in polynomial time then you have proved that P=NP.
Pancakes have never seemed so interesting....

Hardware

Submission + - Qubits found in cheap, mass-produced semiconductor (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Physicists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered a quality of silicon carbide — a material commonly used in the manufacture of semiconductors — that can be used to perform quantum computing. Silicon carbide is a compound that has some 250 crystalline forms, but its 4H polytype has an imperfection that traps electrons. The spin of these electrons can then be manipulated and measured (addressed) with optical wavelengths. In short, silicon carbide is an array of solid-state, addressable qubits. The reason this is big news is because silicon carbide traps electrons at room temperature, and (so far) the only other material to exhibit this property is diamond. Unlike diamond, silicon carbide crystals can be grown at an industrial scale and relatively cheaply. Furthermore, the qubits in silicon carbide can be addressed using optical wavelengths already used in telecommunications."

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