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Blockchain Technology Could Save Banks $12 Billion a Year

Slashdot - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 01:05
Mickeycaskill quotes a report from Silicon.co.uk: Accenture research has found Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce infrastructure costs by an average of 30 percent for eight of the world's ten biggest banks. That equates to annual cost savings of $8-12 billion. The findings of the "Banking on Blockchain: A Value Analysis for Investment Banks" report are based on an analysis of granular cost data from the eight banks to identify exactly where value could be achieved. A vast amount of cost for today's investment banks comes from complex data reconciliation and confirmation processes with their clients and counterparts, as banks maintain independent databases of transactions and customer information. However, Blockchain would enable banks to move to a shared, distributed database that spans multiple organizations. It has become increasingly obvious in recent months that blockchain will be key to the future of the banking industry, with the majority of banks expected to adopt the technology within the next three years.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Verizon Looking To Buy Comcast or Charter, Says Report

Slashdot - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:20
"Two well-placed sources" told The New York Post that Verizon is considering purchasing a big cable company to help it grow demand for its wireless data products. The source said the most likely targets would be "Charter or Comcast." New York Post reports: Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam may be getting ready to answer rival ATT's moves to buy DirecTV and Time Warner. To be sure, Verizon is not in talks with any cable company and may not ever make such a move. Still, McAdam has been under pressure recently with Verizon's deal to acquire Yahoo still a question mark months after two major hacks of the internet portal were revealed. The wireless giants operate on 4G wireless networks but are preparing to become a real alternative to the cable company with phone, TV and data services. To do that more effectively, the phone companies are pouring money into 5G connections that can work with cable systems to provide more stable coverage for consumers. McAdam has already given Wall Street analysts and investors big hints that he's looking at a combination with, say, a Charter Communications. In a mid-December meeting with Wall Street analysts, McAdam said a get-together between the two "makes industrial sense." Three weeks later, at CES, his comments to friends make it clear that cable distribution is a path he is exploring, perhaps more seriously than first thought. "For regulatory reasons, Verizon can't dominate in FiOS and cable, so it appears to have to set its sights on cable," an industry source said. Charter could be a seller under the right conditions, the source added, emphasizing that Malone and Charter CEO Tom Rutledge are just getting going on their vision for Charter.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Ambulances In Sweden Will Be Able To Hijack Car Radios During Emergencies

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Digital Trends: The Swedish government wants to make it impossible to be caught off guard by a speeding ambulance. Sure, their sirens are loud -- but soon they'll be able to take over your car's radio. Swedish students at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have developed a way for emergency vehicles to transit radio signals to warn other vehicles of an approaching truck. It's called the EVAM System, according to Phys.org, and it's designed to send a signal over a specific FM radio band that'll interrupt music or radio and display a test message over the system's tuner display -- so long as the car is equipped with a Radio Data System (RDS). The number of crashes caused by muted sirens is on the rise, Florian Curinga, one of the students working on the project, said. That's because of improved sound insulation in cars. Emergency vehicles in Stockholm will begin testing the system this year. The EVAM System can also predict how far in advance the message needs to be broadcast, depending on traffic speed, according to Phys.org. It may also be helpful in warning drivers about upcoming accidents, the students added. EVAM will work on two-thirds of all vehicles on the road, Curinga said. All drivers need to do is have their radio systems turned on. If a message is broadcast then, they'll see it -- and hear it -- from the tuner.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:00
The New York Times is reporting that President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence. What this translates to is a reduced sentence for Manning, from 35 years to just over seven years. Since Manning has already served a majority of those years, she is due to be released from federal custody on May 17th. The Verge reports: While serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning leaked more than 700,000 documents to Wikileaks, including video of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad that killed two Reuters employees. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in the leak and has been held at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth for the past three years. Julian Assange, who has long been sought by U.S. and EU authorities for extradition on Swedish rape charges, had previously pledged to surrender himself to U.S. authorities if Manning was pardoned. Born Bradley Manning, Chelsea announced her gender transition the day after the verdict was handed down. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female," she said in a statement. "Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible." Obtaining the resulting medical treatments was extremely difficult for Manning, and was the subject of significant and sustained activism. After a lawsuit, Manning was approved for hormone therapy in 2015. In September 2016, she launched a hunger strike, demanding access to gender reassignment surgery; the military complied five days later.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Porn Pirates Exploit Well-Known Loophole To Upload Raunchy Videos On YouTube

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 22:20
Adult video websites appear to be exploiting a YouTube loophole to host explicit material on the platform. An anonymous reader shares a report on The Next Web: A number of adult streaming websites have begun using a known backdoor that ultimately makes it possible to store infringing material on Google's servers -- entirely free of charge. To pull this off, the pirates essentially take advantage of YouTube's option to upload content without sharing it publicly, which effectively allows them to embed the videos on their websites and bypass Google's Content-ID takedown system. This means the content remains unlisted on YouTube and is served directly from the GoogleVideo.com domain instead. While the move hasn't gone unnoticed by the porn industry, California-based adult content-maker Dreamroom Productions claims it has made it much harder for producers to hunt down and flag infringing material, since the videos are not shared publicly.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Uber Sues City of Seattle To Block Landmark Driver Union Ordinance

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 21:40
Seattle's landmark law that lets drivers for ride-hailing companies decide if they want to bargain collectively was set to go into effect today, but an Uber subsidiary has sued to block key rules of the ordinance governing which drivers get to vote on unionization and other key rules. From a report: Uber subsidiary Rasier filed a petition in King County Superior Court Tuesday to block recently-published rules from Seattle's department of Finance and Administrative Services that cover issues like which drivers get a say in whether they want to unionize, working conditions subject to bargaining and how an organization gets certified to represent drivers exclusively. In court documents, Uber called the city's process flawed and asked the court to suspend the new rules. Uber wants the city to go back and tweak the rules so that they better reflect driver conditions in the ride-hailing industry. "The City failed to provide comprehensive rules and disregarded the facts and circumstances of drivers and the industry," according to Uber's petition. "Moreover, the Cityâ(TM)s rules are inconsistent with fundamental labor law principles ensuring every worker has a voice in whether to be represented by a labor organization."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Netflix is 'Killing' DVD Sales, Research Finds

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 21:00
Netflix has become the go-to destination for many movie and TV fans. The service is bringing in billions for copyright holders, but it also has a downside. New research shows that the availability of content on Netflix can severely hurt physical disc sales, which traditionally have been the industry's largest revenue source. From a report: A new study published by researchers from Hong Kong universities provides some empirical evidence on this issue. Through a natural experiment, they looked at the interplay between Netflix availability and DVD sales in the United States. The experiment took place when the Epix entertainment network, which distributes movies and TV-shows from major studios including Paramount and Lionsgate, left Netflix for Hulu in 2015. Since Hulu has a much smaller market share, these videos no longer reached a large part of the audience. At least not by default. The researchers used difference to examine the effect on DVD sales, while controlling for various other variables. The results, published in a paper this week, show that DVD sales increased significantly after the content was taken off Netflix, almost by a quarter. "Our difference-in-difference analyses show that the decline in the streaming availability of Epix's content leads to a 24.7% increase in their DVD sales in the three months after the event," the paper reads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Toshiba Might Spin Off Its Semiconductor Business

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 20:20
Toshiba is considering spinning off its semiconductor business and selling a partial stake in the unit to Western Digital, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Wednesday. From the report: Toshiba will sell a roughly 20% interest in the unit for about 200 billion yen-300 billion yen ($1.77 billion-$2.66 billion) while retaining a majority stake, the newspaper reported. Besides Western Digital, U.S. investment funds are also showing interest in Toshiba's semiconductor business, the Nikkei reported, sources familiar with the matter.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Windows 10 Privacy Changes Appease Watchdogs, But Still No Data 'Off-Switch'

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 19:40
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced several privacy changes in Windows 10, but it didn't give users an option to completely opt-out of data-collection feature. The announcement came at a time to coincide with a statement by the Swiss data protection and privacy regulator, the FDPIC, which last week said it would drop its threats of a lawsuit after the company "agreed to implement" a string of recommendations it made last year. The news closed the books on an investigation that began in 2015, shortly after Windows 10 was released. Though the Swiss appear satisfied, other critics are waiting for more. The French data protection watchdog, the CNIL, was equally unimpressed by Microsoft's actions, and it served the company with a notice in July to demand that it clean up its privacy settings. In an email, the CNIL said that the changes "seem to comply" with its complaint, but it's "now analyzing more in [sic] details Microsoft answers in order to know whether all the failures underlined in the formal notice do now comply with the law." ZDNet adds: Microsoft still hasn't said exactly what gets collected as part of the basic level of collection, except that the data is used to improve its software and services down the line; a reasonable ask -- but one that nonetheless lacks specifics. Microsoft said it wants users to "trust" it. And while the likelihood that the company is doing anything nefarious with users' information is frankly unlikely, the running risk is that the data could somehow be turned over to a government agency or even stolen by hackers is inescapable. That risk alone is enough for many to want to keep what's on their computer in their homes. While changing the privacy controls is a move in the right direction, it's still short of what many have called for. By ignoring the biggest privacy complaint from its consumer users -- the ability to switch off data collection altogether -- Microsoft has favored the "just enough" approach to appease the regulators. Without a way to truly opt-out, Microsoft's repeated pledge (eight times in the blog post, no less) to give its users "control" of their data comes off as a hollow soundbite.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video On YouTube in Native Resolution

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 19:00
It appears Google recently turned on VP9 codec on YouTube for delivering 4K video. However, because of this, Safari users are unable to watch videos uploaded to the service since early December in full 4K resolution. From a report: Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p. Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website. Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different browser.John Gruber of DaringFireball writes, "I'm curious what Google's thinking is here. My guess: a subtle nudge to get more Mac users to switch from Safari to Chrome. 4K playback is going to require H.264 support if they want it to work on iOS, though."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Facebook's Price Tag For Oculus Actually $3 Billion, Zuckerberg Reveals in Court

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 18:20
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed in court testimony Tuesday that the company actually paid $3 billion to buy Oculus. From a report on CNBC: His testimony came in a Dallas courtroom, when game maker ZeniMax alleges that Oculus, bought by Facebook in 2014, stole the company's intellectual property. ZeniMax's attorney pressed Zuckerberg on the total Facebook paid for the company. Zuckerberg revealed that beyond the $2 billion price tag, that was widely reported, Facebook paid an additional $700 million to retain employees and another $300 million earnout for hitting key milestones. Nearly three years after Oculus' acquisition Zuckerberg defended against allegations that Oculus stole ZeniMax's intellectual property, also explaining his interest in VR and how it fits into his vision for Oculus.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

People Don't Realize How Deep AI Already Is In So Many Things, Salesforce CEO Benioff Says

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 17:40
Evolving technologies should develop at a steady enough pace to adequately replace the jobs they eliminate, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC on Tuesday. From the report: "Technology's always taken jobs out of the system, and what you hope is that technology's going to put those jobs back in, too. That's what we call productivity," Benioff said on "Squawk Box" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I think a lot of people don't understand how deep AI already is in so many things," he said, one being Salesforce's newly updated Einstein product, which Benioff said is not yet available to clients but can tell the company whether it will make or miss earnings estimates using artificial intelligence What business leaders at the WEF have been calling the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" is at the center of a global transformation in the technology space, as artificial intelligence, robotics and cloud computing gain traction, he said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Opera Presto Source Code Leaks Online

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 17:01
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: An unknown third-party has leaked the source code of the old Opera Presto browser engine on GitHub, and later on Bitbucket, two services for hosting and sharing source code online. Opera Presto is the layout engine at the heart of the old Opera browser. Opera Software used Presto between Opera 7 and Opera 14 and replaced Presto with Blink, Chrome's layout engine, in Opera 15, released in May 2013. Despite its removal from the company's main product, Opera engineers continued to use Opera Presto for the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers. According to timestamps, the Opera Presto source code was first uploaded on GitHub but was taken down last Friday, on January 13, after Opera's lawyers filed a DMCA request.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Facebook To Stop Paying Publishers To Make Live Videos

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 16:22
Last year, publishers worldwide began making live videos on Facebook. The social juggernaut had cut deals with them, offering lofty amounts and promising big future moving forward. Turns out, Facebook's experimental project is over. Recode reports: Facebook spent more than $50 million last year paying publishers and celebrities to create live video on the social network. Now numerous publishers tell Recode that Facebook is de-emphasizing live video when it talks to them. And none of the publishers we've spoken with expect Facebook to renew the paid livestreaming deals it signed last spring to get live video off the ground. Instead, Facebook is pushing publishers to create longer, premium video content as part of a larger effort led by Facebook exec Ricky Van Veen. The hope is to get more high-quality video onto the platform and into your News Feed -- the kind of stuff, presumably, you might find on Netflix.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Announcements: Sponsor Announcement: Hired

The Daily WTF - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 16:00

There are certain tropes that show up in our articles, and judging from our comments section, our readers are well aware of them. For example, if a manager in a story says, “You’re going to love working with $X, they’re very smart,” it’s a pretty clear sign that the character in question is not very smart, and is almost certainly sure to be TRWTF in the story.

Part of this is narrative convenience- we try and keep our articles “coffee-break length”, and dropping a few obvious signals in there helps keep it concise. Most of it, however, really boils down to the fact that reality is full of certain patterns. The world is full of people who aren’t half as smart as they think they are. There are legions of PHBs ready to micromanage even if they haven’t a clue what they’re doing. And there are a lot of employers that can make a terrible job sound really great for the duration of the interview process.

Let’s focus on that last bit: finding a new job is hard. Finding a good job is even harder. At its worst, you end up suffering your way through a horror story that ends up on this site (so hey, Internet “fame”, it’s not all bad, right?). Maybe you just end up trading hours of your life for a paycheck, doing work that you don’t hate but you don’t love. If you’re really lucky, you land something that you really care about doing, and you get paid exactly what you’re worth.

And let’s not even get into the job search process- it’s stressful and eats enough time to be a job in itself. You have to dance around recruiters who just want the commission and don’t care if the job’s a fit for anyone involved. You chuck your resume on job sites, which might as well be a black hole. You can end up investing countless hours into a company’s interview process only to get an offer that isn’t sufficient, or to discover that the company culture isn’t what you were looking for.

Which brings us to our newest sponsor, Hired. Hired flips the script on the traditional job site. Once you fill out a simple application, employers start applying to interview you, instead of you applying for an interview. Whether you’re looking for a full-time or a contract gig, whether you’re looking for engineering, development, design, product management or data-science- Hired will match you up with top employers.

And “top” doesn’t mean “gigantic” or “corporate”. Sure, there’s companies like Facebook on there. But in their pool of over 6,000 employers, they have everything from titans of industry to small startups, spread across 17 major cities in North America, Europe, Asia, & Australia.

Okay, sure, there are lots of companies you might work for there, but what does this “apply to interview you” stuff mean? It sounds like marketing copy that Remy just pasted into this article to make the sponsor happy, and you’re right- but it’s also so much more.

Once you have filled out Hired’s application, employers who are interested in your profile will send you a personalized interview request which includes salary information up front. Hired’s going to provide a “talent advocate” who can provide unbiased career advice to help you put the best foot forward. And Hired solves one of the worst problems of the job search: they hide your profile from current and past employers, so your boss will never find out you’re searching for a new job until you’re ready to tell them.

And most important: you’ll never pay a dime for this service. So try it out and plan your next career change.

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Categories: Fun/Other

Worldwide App Downloads Grew 15% and Revenue Soared 40% in 2016

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 15:43
Downloads, revenue, and time spent in apps all grew by double digits during 2016, according to a report by market researcher App Annie. From a report on VentureBeat: Time spent in apps grew more than 20 percent to nearly 900 billion hours in 2016, according to the year-end report. That's just one sign that the global app economy saw healthy growth during the past year. In its year-end retrospective, App Annie said U.S. time spent in apps grew more than 25 percent. Worldwide, downloads increased 15 percent by more than 13 billion across both iOS and Google Play. The platform owners paid out nearly $89 billion in revenues to publishers from in-app ads and app store revenue, up 40 percent from the year before. That means apps generated $127 billion in revenues overall, as platform owners take about 30 percent of the revenue.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Apple App Store Prices Rise in UK, India and Turkey

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 15:04
Apple is to put up the price it charges for apps in the UK, India and Turkey. From a report on BBC: UK costs will numerically match those of the US, meaning that a program that costs $0.99 will now be 99p. That represents a 25% rise over the previous currency conversion, which was 79p. "Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business," it said. "These factors vary from region to region and over time." The rise will also affect in-app purchases but not subscription charges. The cost of a $0.99 app will become 80 rupees in India, representing a 33% rise from the previous price of 60 rupees.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Caffeine May Counter Age-Related Inflammation, Says Study

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 14:00
According to a new Stanford study published in the journal Nature Medicine, caffeine may help to counter the inflammatory process that occurs in some older people. The researchers have found a connection between advancing age, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular disease and coffee consumption by analyzing blood samples, survey data and medical and family histories obtained from more than 100 human participants in a multiyear study. Stanford Medical Center Report adds: The study implicates this inflammatory process as a driver of cardiovascular disease and increased rates of mortality overall. Metabolites, or breakdown products, of nucleic acids -- the molecules that serve as building blocks for our genes -- circulating in the blood can trigger this inflammatory process, the study found. The study also provides evidence that caffeine and its own metabolites may counter the action of these circulating nucleic-acid metabolites, possibly explaining why coffee drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers. Notably, this inflammatory mechanism was found to be activated only in some, but not all, of the older study participants. Those in whom it was relatively quiescent tended to drink more caffeinated beverages. Laboratory experiments revealed that the mechanism was directly countered by caffeine and associated compounds. For the new study, the researchers compared blood drawn from older versus younger study participants to see which genes tended to be more highly activated in older people. They zeroed in on two clusters of genes whose activity was associated with the production of a potent circulating inflammatory protein called IL-1-beta. The genes within each cluster appeared to work in coordination with one another. The researchers found that incubating a type of immune cell with two of those nucleic-acid metabolites boosted activity in one of the gene clusters, resulting in increased IL-1-beta production. When injected into mice, the substances triggered massive systemic inflammation, along with high blood pressure. In addition, immune cells infiltrated and clogged the animals' kidneys, increasing renal pressure substantially. Intrigued by the correlation between older participants' health, gene-cluster activation and self-reported rates of caffeine consumption, the researchers followed up and verified that blood from the group with low cluster activity was enriched for caffeine and a number of its metabolites, compared with blood from the group with high cluster activity. (Examples of these metabolites are theophylline, also found in tea, and theobromine, which abounds in chocolate.) Incubating immune cells with caffeine and its breakdown products along with the inflammation-triggering nucleic acid metabolites substantially prevented the latter from exerting their powerful inflammatory effect on the cells.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

The 3,000 Mile Commute

The Daily WTF - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 12:30
A true story, recounted from personal experience by our own Snoofle.

Many decades ago, DefCon Inc, a defense contractor working for the US military was attempting to get awarded a new contract to build some widget needed for combat. As part of their proposal, they wished to demonstrate that they had the available staff to dedicate to the project. Toward this end, they hired more than 1,000 assorted programmers, project leads, managers and so forth. The military folks that were evaluating the various proposals saw a slew of new employees that were completely unfamiliar with the relevant processes, procedures and requirements, and awarded the contract to another firm. In response, the contractor laid off all 1,000 folks.

A few months later, another such contract came up for grabs. Again, they hired 1,000 folks to show that they had the staff. A few months later, that contract was also awarded to another contractor, and again, all 1,000 folks were laid off.

This repeated a few times over two years.

After all of this, the base of available employees was wise to the very short repeating hire/fire cycle, and the contractor was unable to attract anyone beyond folks fresh out of school. Finally, some C-level executive realized that all of these people just out of school were far cheaper than the experienced developers that were on staff and those that they had previously hired and fired for the potential projects, and so issued an edict that all in-house senior staff was to be cycled into cheap young employees. It took two years, but it happened.

Now that their payroll was drastically reduced, and they had royally pissed off the potential pool of experienced developers, they could increase their permanent headcount without increasing their long term payroll costs - by hiring only young, inexperienced developers - which enabled them to finally get awarded a contract.

Unfortunately, all those junior developers had very little experience, and there was nobody at the firm who had been through the war to guide them. As a result, their two year contract yielded a flaky project that frequently crashed, acted unpredictably and could not be modified. When you're dealing with a system that can shoot at and blow things up, these are not desirable or tolerable attributes.

At some point, some high level exec realized what had happened, and forced the company to stick a crowbar into its pocket and hire some highly paid consultants. Unfortunately, the HPCs remembered the hire/fire cycle and wanted nothing to do with the place. After some time, this led to substantial sweetening of the pot until a few experienced folks finally agreed to come on board as full time employees. This happened in New Jersey.

After management got the new folks up to speed on the project, the new folks said Hold on; there's a gaping hole in the middle of this project! Management replied that this part of the project was classified and could only be viewed by folks with secret clearances, and from the facility in California. OK, so relevant clearances were applied for and granted, and the senior folks were assigned to go to the CA facility for two weeks.

Before agreeing to go, the developers wanted some information as to how they'd be able to access this stuff after being familiarized with it since it could only be accessed from CA, and they all lived and worked in NJ. They were told that they'd be advised of the details when they got to CA.

OK, they all fly to the Left Coast, get settled in their hotels and go to the office.

At this point, they were informed about all of the problems that had to be fixed. On Thursday of the second week, it was determined that there was about two years of work to do all of the retrofitting that needed to be done. Again, the developers all asked How will we access this stuff from NJ? The managers replied that it had to be done locally, and that they would all be located locally for the next two years. Starting Monday.

Wait; they don't get the opportunity to discuss it with their spouses? How it might affect the kids to have one parent away 90+% of the time? Would they be willing to live in hotels and airports for two years? Why the F*** didn't they just hire talent at the CA location instead of NJ?

It turns out that because the contractor is based in NJ, the personnel they hired needed to be based there as well. Of course, had any of this been mentioned before people were hired, most (if not all) of the folks they hired wouldn't have accepted the jobs. If they had known, none of the folks would have even gotten on the plane to go for the briefing and ramp-up required to familiarize themselves with the project.

Needless to say, Thursday afternoon was spent with managers barking demands about sacrificing for the company, and developers saying WTF?! Thursday evening was spent with countless phone calls home. Friday morning was spent with everyone resigning and heading for the airport to go home.

The representatives of the military acted as decent folks and were very understanding as to why people wouldn't just leave their homes and families for two years. They were far less sensitive when it came to holding the contractor to their promise of an on-site experienced staff to do the work.

In the end, the contractor was fired and a new one was hired to clean up the mess.

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Categories: Fun/Other

Scientists Turn Docile Mice Into Ruthless Hunters

Slashdot - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 11:00
BenBoy writes: A couple of years ago, a story surfaced about smarter mice: Scientists Create Super-intelligent Mice, Discover They're Also Very Laid Back. Well, implicit challenge accepted! 2017 brings us a report from Cell, via The Scientist: "Neural circuits in the amygdala are responsible for predatory behavior in mice, according to a study published January 12 in Cell. Using optogenetics, a technique that uses light to turn neural circuits on and off, a group of researchers led by neuroscientist Ivan de Araujo of Yale University was able to turn docile mice into ruthless hunters. Earlier research revealed that the amygdala, an almond-shaped brain structure most commonly linked to fear, was active when rats were hunting and feeding. To see whether this brain region was actually controlling predatory behavior, Araujo and colleagues decided to use optogenetics to selectively activate specific neurons in mice, with light. When the researchers activated the amygdala, docile mice attacked everything from bottle caps to live insects. Even when there was no prey in sight, the mice displayed feeding behavior -- moving their jaws and lifted their paws as if holding a piece of food. Once the light was switched off, the animals went back to peacefully strolling around their cages." Nuclear death-mice are, we assume, right around the corner.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

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