Press2ToContinue writes: "The (tax) benefits we give to poor people are so limited compared to what we give to the top 1%” of taxpayers, Congresswoman Gwen Moore says, “It’s a drop in the bucket.” Many states implement drug-testing programs to qualify for benefit programs so that states feel they are not wasting the value they dole out.
However, seven states who implemented drug testing for tax benefit program recipients spent $1m on drug testing from the inception of their programs through 2014. But the average rate of drug use among those recipients has been far below the national average – around 1% overall, compared with 9.4% in the general population – meaning there’s been little cost savings from the drug testing program. Why? “Probably because they can’t afford it,” say Moore.
“We might really save some money by drug-testing folks on Wall Street, who might have a little cocaine before they get their deal done,” she said, and proposes a bill requiring tests for returns with itemized deductions of more than $150,000.
“We spend $81bn on everything – everything – that you could consider a poverty program,” she explained. But just by taxing capital gains at a lower rate than other income, a bit of the tax code far more likely to benefit the rich than the poor, “that’s a $93bn expenditure. Just capital gains,” she added. Why not drug-test the rich to ensure they won't waste their tax benefits?
She is “sick and tired of the criminalization of poverty”. And, she added: “We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off Snap. But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”
DavidHumus writes: The founder of Reverb.com blogs about a change of heart he's had based on his experience over the past several years. He used to think — and preach — that "... the demand for quality computer programmers and engineers... [means] we need more students with computer-science and engineering degrees." However, he has since concluded "...that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best-performing software developers and technology leaders."
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).
snydeq writes: Misconceptions and flawed implementations may have many organizations missing the true upsides of devops, writes Adam Bertram in his article on devops practices gone wrong. 'Saying that your company embraces devops and regularly practices devops techniques is popular nowadays, and it can serve as great PR for bringing in great talent to your team. But in truth, many companies — and technical recruiters — that are proclaiming their devotion to devops from the hilltops aren’t really devops organizations.'
YouTuber praetus uploaded a video a few days ago that details his process in building the iconic Chrono Trigger location using the Unreal 4 engine. The result is predictably gorgeous, and the work praetus put into the finer points of his recreation are easily the most impressive as well. In particular, praetus’ work on the teleporters at the Millenial Fair makes a strong case for a high-definition remake of one of the greatest time travel games of all time.
HughPickens.com writes: Matt Richtel writes in the NYT that one big reason there are only about 330,000 electric vehicles on the road is that car dealers show little enthusiasm for putting consumers into electric cars. Industry insiders say that electric vehicles do not offer dealers the same profits as gas-powered cars, they take more time to sell because of the explaining required, and electric vehicles may require less maintenance, undermining the biggest source of dealer profits — their service departments. Some electric car buyers have said they felt as if they were the ones doing the selling. Chelsea Dell made an appointment to test-drive a used Volt but when she arrived, she said, a salesman told her that the car hadn’t been washed, and that he had instead readied a less expensive, gas-powered car. “I was ready to pull the trigger, and they were trying to muscle me into a Chevy Sonic,” says Dell. “The thing I was baffled at was that the Volt was a lot more expensive.” Marc Deutsch, Nissan’s business development manager for electric vehicles says some salespeople just can’t rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. A salesperson “can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf,” Deutsch says. “It’s a lot of work for a little pay.”
Jared Allen says that service is crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn’t want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service. Maybe that helps explains the experience of Robert Kast, who last year leased a Volkswagen e-Golf from a local dealer. He said the salesman offered him a $15-per-month maintenance package that included service for oil changes, belt repair and water pumps. “I said: ‘You know it doesn’t have any of those things,’” Mr. Kast recalled. He said the salesman excused himself to go confirm this with his manager. Of the whole experience, Mr. Kast, 61, said: “I knew a whole lot more about the car than anyone in the building.” "Until selling a plug-in electric car is as quick and easy as selling any other vehicle that nets the dealer the same profit, many dealers will avoid them, for very logical and understandable reasons," says John Voelker. "That means that the appropriate question should be directed to makers of electric cars: What are you doing to make selling electric cars as profitable and painless for your dealers as selling gasoline or diesel vehicles?"
HughPickens.com writes: If Google sees that you're searching for specific programming terms, they may ask you to apply for a job as Max Rossett writes that three months ago while working on a project, he Googled “python lambda function list comprehension.” The familiar blue links appeared on the search page, and he started to look for the most relevant one. But then something unusual happened. The search results split and folded back to reveal a box that said “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?” Clicking on the link took Rossett to a page called "foo.bar" that outlined a programming challenge and gave instructions on how to submit his solution. "I had 48 hours to solve it, and the timer was ticking," writes Rossett. "I had the option to code in Python or Java. I set to work and solved the first problem in a couple hours. Each time I submitted a solution, foo.bar tested my code against five hidden test cases."
After solving another five problems the page gave Rossett the option to submit his contact information and much to his surprise, a recruiter emailed him a couple days later asking for a copy of his resume. Three months after the mysterious invitation appeared, Rossett started at Google. Apparently Google has been using this recruiting tactic for some time. "Foo.bar is a brilliant recruiting tactic," concludes Rossett. "Overall, I enjoyed the puzzles that they gave me to solve, and I’m excited for my first day as a Googler."
samtuke writes: AMD processors get rated and reviewed based on performance. It is in our self-interest to make things work really, really fast on AMD hardware. AMD engineers contribute to LibreOffice, for good reason. Think about what happens behind a spreadsheet calculation. There can be a huge amount of math. Writing software to take advantage of a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for general purpose computing is non-trivial. We know how to do it. AMD engineers wrote OpenCL kernels, and contributed them to the open source code base. Turning on the OpenCL option to enable GPU Compute resulted in a 500X+ speedup, about ¼ second vs. 2minutes, 21 seconds.
AmiMoJo writes: The men most likely to harass women online are the men most likely to have their own problems. That bit of validation comes courtesy Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Miami University, respectively. For their latest study, published in the journal PLOS One last week, the duo watched how men treated women during 163 plays of the video game Halo 3. As they watched the games play out and tracked the comments that players made to each other, the researchers observed that — no matter their skill level, or how the game went — men tended to be pretty cordial to each other. Male players who were good at the game also tended to pay compliments to other male and female players. Some male players, however — the ones who were less-skilled at the game, and performing worse relative their peers — made frequent, nasty comments to the female gamers. In other words, sexist dudes are literally losers.
dcblogs writes: A top White House official told House lawmakers this week that the replacement of U.S. workers by H-1B visa holders is 'troubling' and not supposed to happen. That answer came in reponse to a question from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that referenced Disney workers who had to train their temporary visa holding replacements. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said if H-1B workers are being used to replace U.S. workers, then "it's a very serious failing of the H-1B program." But Johnson also told lawmakers that they may not be able to stop it, based on current law. Ron Hira,an associate professor of public policy at Howard University who has testified before Congress multiple times on H-1B visa use, sees that as a "bizarre interpretation" of the law.
wolfguru writes: Airbus claimed the technical coup of being the first to fly and electrically powered plane across the English Channel today, with great fanfare. Unfortunately for Airbus, even though they were able to get rival Pipistrel denied the opportunity earlier this week, by behind-the-scenes pressure on Siemans to de-certify the electric motors Pipistrel uses for flight over water, another electric plane was able to make the flight about 12 hours earlier. French pilot Hugues Duval took his two-engine, one-seat Cricri plane from Calais to Dover and back. Because he was denied authorization to take off from Calais, another fuel-driven plane towed his 100-kilogram (220-pound) Cricri for the start of the trip. He then flew back to Calais and landed safely. So what does Airbus get to actually claim, other than to have duplicated the acheivement with more media in attendance?
theodp writes: At the behest of Google, Carnegie Mellon University will largely replace formal lectures in a popular introductory Data Structures and Algorithms course this fall with videos and a social networking tool to accommodate more students. The idea behind the multi-year research project sponsored by Google — CMU will receive $200,000 in the project's first year — is to find a way to leverage existing faculty to meet a growing demand for computer science courses, while also expanding the opportunities for underrepresented minorities, high school students and community college students, explained Jacobo Carrasquel, associate teaching professor of CS. "As we teach a wider diversity of students, with different backgrounds, we can no longer teach to 'the middle,'" Carrasquel said. "When you do that, you're not aiming at the 20 percent of the top students or the 20 percent at the bottom." The move to a 'teacherless classroom' for CS students at CMU [tuition $48K] comes on the heels of another Google CS Capacity Award-inspired move at Stanford [tuition $45K], where Pair Programming was adopted in a popular introductory CS class to "reduce the increasingly demanding workload for section leaders due to high enrollment and also help students to develop important collaboration skills."
schwit1 writes: General Mills is dropping artificial colors and flavors from its cereals, the latest company to respond to a growing desire for food made with ingredients people see as natural.
The company said Monday that Trix and Reese's Puffs will be among the first cereals to undergo the changes. As a result, the reformulated Trix cereal later this year will be made with four colors instead of six, said Kate Gallager, cereal developer for General Mills.
"Last week, Ars published a story about the newest version of SteamVR, a virtual reality system made by Valve Software. The piece includes interviews with game designers praising the new system as well as writer Sam Machkovech's own experience using SteamVR at Valve's office in Bellevue, Washington. On June 16, Ars Technica was contacted by IMAX Corporation. The company said our story required a retraction because it included a brief reference to IMAX—included without IMAX's permission. "Any unauthorized use of our trademark is expressly forbidden"
If you look at the letter from the lawyer you will notice that it mentioned trademark and seems to think that merely using the name "IMAX" is somehow an infringement of that trademark. It sounds like someone is a little too scared of Valve. Apparently, they(IMAX) has never heard of or experienced the Streisand Effect. Here is a quick link to the PDF sent by the 'lawyer'.
Mark Wilson writes: When Sony Pictures was hacked last year, one of the primary concerns for the company was the leaking of a number of unreleased movies. But in the UK, there were other consequences, including the daytime broadcast of the movie The Verdict complete with a smattering of four-letter expletives.
Sony Pictures Entertainment's subsidiary company Media Mix Limited owns the TV station Movie Mix, and on 14 December the channel broadcast an edit of the movie peppered with f-bombs. In the middle of the afternoon. The channel's excuse? That the "safe for daytime" broadcast version of the movie had been deleted by hackers.