Government

The Patriot Act May Be Dead For Good 103

Posted by timothy
from the why-do-you-hate-america? dept.
HughPickens.com points out Shane Harris's report at The Daily Beast that when powerful spying authorities under the Patriot Act expire at the stroke of midnight Monday, as currently appears likely, they may never return. "Senators have been negotiating over whether to pass a House bill that would renew and tweak existing provisions in the long-controversial law, but if the sunset comes and the provisions are off the books, lawmakers in both chambers would be facing a vote to reinstate controversial surveillance authorities, which is an entirely different political calculation. ... Three major Patriot provisions are on the chopping block: so-called roving wiretaps, which let the government monitor one person's multiple electronic devices; the "lone-wolf" provision, which allows surveillance of someone who's not connected to a known terrorist group; and Section 215, which, among other things, the government uses to collect the records of all landline phone calls in the United States." Obama has been urging Congress to pass the Freedom Act, but not warning that the sky will fall if they don't. That may reflect a calculation on the president's part that the surveillance authorities aren't important enough to lose political capital fighting to keep them. Meanwhile with the Senate not slated to return to Washington until just hours before that deadline, opponents like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) showing no signs of budging, and the House so far unwilling to bail out the upper chamber, the prospects for an eleventh-hour breakthrough look slim.
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Switching Careers From Software Engineering To Networking? 123

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-need-to-attend-a-lot-of-cocktail-parties dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am a software engineer with over 10 years of experience making approx 210k a year after bonus. I've seen countless of software engineering jobs off-shored or taken by H1Bs over the past 5 years. While I am pretty safe at my current job, software engineering as a profession is beginning to look bleak, and i am not even sure if I can ask for the same money if I decide to jump ship to another company (I live in an expensive area).

A friend of mine who works as a network architect with dual CCIEs have no problem finding/landing jobs with high salary. His profession doesn't seem to be affected by outsourcing or H1bs, so I am tempted to switch from my field to networking for better stability and greener pastures.

So the question is, should I do it? The reason why I am looking for the long-term stability is because I've a family of 3 to feed. I cannot afford to be jobless for more than 3 months if I do get laid-off, and software engineering doesn't seem to be the profession after years of observation to provide long-term stability.
China

Microscopic Underwater Sonic Screwdriver Successfully Tested 26

Posted by timothy
from the twisting-in-the-waves dept.
afeeney writes: Researchers at the University of Bristol and Northwestern Polytechnical University in China have created acoustic vortices that can create microscopic centrifuges that rotate small particles. They compare this to a watchmaker's sonic screwdriver. So far, though, the practical applications include cell sorting and low-power water purification, rather than TARDIS operations. Appropriately enough, one of the researchers is named Bruce Drinkwater.
Linux Business

Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business 366

Posted by timothy
from the cost-of-doing-business dept.
Julie188 writes: As you probably heard by now, Linux company Mandriva has finally, officially gone out of business. The CEO has opened up, telling his side of the story. He blames employee lawsuits after a layoff in 2013, the French labor laws and the courts. "Those court decisions forced the company to announce bankruptcy," he said.
Media

Android, Chromecast To Get HBO Now 38

Posted by Soulskill
from the bringing-balance-to-the-force dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google's I/O 2015 conference opened with a surprise announcement: that Chromecast, Android TV, and other Android devices will soon be able to offer HBO Now. "The announcement marks the end of a 7-week exclusive that Apple had on HBO's stand-alone streaming and on-demand video service," reports Digital Trends, and it also further weakens the exclusivity of cable TV packages. "Traditional TV subscriptions are slowly starting to slip," one newspaper reports, "as more people watch online video." Other online streaming sites are already confronting the popularity of HBO's "Game of Thrones" series, with Netflix already experiencing a 33% dip in their online traffic during the new season's online premiere and Amazon rushing to discount their "Game of Thrones" graphic novels, and the turmoil seems to be continuing in the online video space. "Shortly after the premier of the new season, HBO Now seems to have taken the top spot when it comes to internet traffic," reports one technology site, "causing a huge dent in Netflix's attempt to make it to the top."
The Military

Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Plans To Obtain Sensitive Western Tech 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the mainly-just-breadmakers dept.
blando writes: A trove of emails provided to The Intercept detail Russian schemes to obtain a crucial component for military thermal-imaging systems. Though emails about the thermal imaging systems date back as far as 2006, the plans to acquire them began in earnest much more recently, in 2013. To try to hide Russian involvement, a company called Cyclone established a new company in the Republic of Cyprus. They did so with the help of a company called Rayfast, which was owned by three other companies itself. After obfuscating the new company's ownership and military ties, they reached out to several Western companies who worked with the technology.
Crime

Feds Bust a Dark-Web Counterfeit Coupon Kingpin 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the coupon-for-free-living-arrangements-at-a-penitentiary dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes: The dark web has become the go-to corner of the Internet to buy drugs, stolen financial data, guns...and counterfeit coupons for Clif bars and condoms? The FBI indicted Beauregard Wattigney yesterday for wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting on digital black market sites Silk Road and Silk Road 2. Wattigney allegedly spoofed coupons for dozens of products and sold collections of them online in exchange for Bitcoin. The FBI accused him of doing $1 million worth of collective damage to the companies he made coupons for, but a fraud consultancy believes the total financial cost of his actions was much higher. Wattigney also offered expensive lessons that taught people how to make their own coupons. "In his tutorials, [he] explained the simple breakdown of barcode creation using the increasingly universal GS1 standard: GS1 codes begin with a 'company prefix' that can be copied from any of the company's products. The next six digits are the 'offer code,' which can be any random number for a counterfeit coupon, followed by the savings amount listed in cents and the required number of item purchases necessary to receive the discount."
Education

Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the grades-for-pay dept.
Vadim Makarov writes: Fifteen Chinese nationals living in the U.S. have been charged with creating an elaborate scheme to take U.S. college entrance exams on behalf of students. For the past four years, the accused provided counterfeit Chinese passports to impostors, who sneaked into testing centers where they took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and others, while claiming to be someone else, according to a federal grand jury indictment. Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan for Homeland Security Investigations of Philadelphia said: "These students were not only cheating their way into the university, they were also cheating their way through our nation's immigration system."
Programming

Australia's Prime Minister Doesn't Get Why Kids Should Learn To Code 296

Posted by samzenpus
from the seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees dept.
New submitter Gob Gob writes: The Prime Minister of Australia has come out and ridiculed an opposition policy aimed at teaching kids to code. In response to the leader of the Labor Party's question about whether he would commit to supporting Labor's push to have coding taught in every primary school in Australia, the Prime Minister said: "He said that he wants primary school kids to be taught coding so they can get the jobs of the future. Does he want to send them all out to work at the age of 11? Is that what he wants to do? Seriously?"
Earth

Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing? 637

Posted by samzenpus
from the mad-max-time dept.
ourlovecanlastforeve writes: With biologists getting closer and closer to reversing the aging process in human cells, the reality of greatly extended life draws closer. This brings up a very important conundrum: You can't tell people not to reproduce and you can't kill people to preserve resources and space. Even at our current growth rate there's not enough for everyone. Not enough food, not enough space, not enough medical care. If — no, when — age reversal becomes a reality, who gets to live? And if everyone gets to live, how will we provide for them?
The Internet

FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband 371

Posted by samzenpus
from the internet-to-the-people dept.
jfruh writes: The FCC's Lifeline program subsidizes phone service for very poor Americans; it gained notoriety under the label "Obamaphone," even though the program started under Reagan and was extended to cell phones under Clinton. Now the FCC is proposing that the program, which is funded by a fee on telecom providers, be extended to broadband, on the logic that high-speed internet is as necessary today as telephone service was a generation ago.
Upgrades

New Freescale I.MX6 SoCs Include IoT-focused UltraLite 24

Posted by timothy
from the update-from-the-race-to-the-bottom dept.
DeviceGuru writes: Freescale has announced three new versions of its popular i.MX6 SoCs, including new DualPlus and QuadPlus parts featuring enhanced GPUs and expanded memory support, and a new low-end, IoT focused 528MHz UltraLite SoC that integrates a more power-efficient, single-core ARM Cortex-A7 architecture. The UltraLite, which will be available in a tiny 9x9mm package, is claimed by Freescale to be the smallest and most energy-efficient ARM based SoC. It has a stripped-down WXGA interface but adds new security, tamper detection, and power management features. All the new Freescale i.MX6 SoCs are supported with Linux BSPs and evaluation kits.
Space

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race 268

Posted by timothy
from the autocorrect-says-neil-degrease-tyson dept.
An anonymous reader writes: According to a Tuesday story in the UK edition of the International Business Times, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist and media personality, advocates a space race between the United States and China. The idea is that such a race would spur innovation and cause industry to grow. The Apollo race to the moon caused a similar explosive period of scientific research and engineering development. You might prefer the Sydney Morning Herald piece on which the IB Times article is based.
The Media

How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims 253

Posted by timothy
from the tongue-in-cheek-sandwich-diet-works-too dept.
__roo writes: Did you know chocolate helps you lose weight? You can read all about this great news for chocoholics in the Daily Star, Daily Express, Irish Examiner, and TV shows in Texas and Australia, and even the front page of Bild, Europe's largest daily newspaper. The problem is that it's not true. A researcher who previously worked with Science to do a sting operation on fee-charging open access journals ran a real—but obviously flawed—study rigged to generate false positives, paid €600 to get it published in a fee-charging open access journal, set up a website for a fake institute, and issued press releases to feed the ever-hungry pool of nutrition journalists. The doctor who ran the trial had the idea to use chocolate, because it's a favorite of the "whole food" fanatics. "Bitter chocolate tastes bad, therefore it must be good for you. It's like a religion."
Stats

A Tool For Analyzing H-1B Visa Applications Reveals Tech Salary Secrets 121

Posted by timothy
from the sifting-and-stacking dept.
Tekla Perry writes: The golden age of engineers is not over,' says a French software engineer who developed a tool for mining U.S. Department of Labor visa application data, but, he says, salaries appear to be leveling off. Indeed, salary inflation for software engineers and other technical professionals at Google and Facebook has slowed dramatically, according to his database, and Airbnb and Dropbox pay is down a little, though Netflix pay is through the roof. The data also shows that some large companies appear to be playing games with titles to deflate salaries, and Microsoft is finally offering technology professionals comparable salaries to Apple and Google. There's a lot more to be discovered in this interactive database, and researchers are getting ready to mine it.