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62% Americans Get News On Social Media

Slashdot - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 11:30am
More people in the United States are now turning to social media instead of traditional media for news. According to Pew Research Center, which surveyed over 4,500 people with various backgrounds, an increasingly number of Americans -- 62% to be exact -- are getting their news from social media platforms such as Facebook, and Instagram. Of the 62% people, 66% of them get their news from Facebook, 23% from Instagram, 21% from YouTube, and 19% from LinkedIn. From a Huffington Post article: It's easy to believe you're getting diverse perspectives when you see stories on Facebook. You're connected not just to many of your friends, but also to friends of friends, interesting celebrities and publications you "like." But Facebook shows you what it thinks you'll be interested in. The social network pays attention to what you interact with, what your friends share and comment on, and overall reactions to a piece of content, lumping all of these factors into an algorithm that serves you items you're likely to engage with. It's a simple matter of business: Facebook wants you coming back, so it wants to show you things you'll enjoy.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Department of Homeland Security Still Uses COBOL

Slashdot - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 10:30am
The Department of Defense has promised to finally stop managing the U.S. nuclear arsenal with floppy disks "by the end of 2017". But an anonymous reader shares Softpedia's report about another startling revelation this week from the Government Accountability Office: Another agency that plans to upgrade is the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which uses COBOL, a programming language from the '50s to manage a system for employee time and attendance. Unfortunately for the VA, there were funds only to upgrade that COBOL system, because the agency still uses the antiquated programming language to run another system that tracks claims filed by veterans for benefits, eligibility, and dates of death. This latter system won't be updated this year. Another serious COBOL user is the Department of Homeland Security, who employs it to track hiring operations, alongside a 2008 IBM z10 mainframe and a Web component that uses a Windows 2012 server running Java. Personnel files are serious business. A 2015 leak of the secret service's confidential personnel files for a Utah Congressman (who was leading a probe into high-profile security breaches and other missteps) led the Department of Homeland Security to discipline 41 secret service agents.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sources: the Feinstein-Burr encryption bill has lost support in Congress, likely won't be introduced this year (Reuters)

TechMeme - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 10:15am

Reuters:
Sources: the Feinstein-Burr encryption bill has lost support in Congress, likely won't be introduced this year  —  After a rampage that left 14 people dead in San Bernardino, key U.S. lawmakers pledged to seek a law requiring technology companies to give law enforcement agencies a “back door” …

Categories: Technology

EFF Warns of Harsher CFAA

Slashdot - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 9:30am
An anonymous reader writes: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is "vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today," warns the EFF. But instead of reforming it, two U.S. Senators "are on a mission to make things worse..." The senators' proposed Botnet Prevention Act of 2016 "could make criminals of paid researchers who test access in order to identify, disclose, and fix vulnerabilities," according to the EFF. And the bill would also make it a felony to damage "critical infrastructure," which may include software companies and ISPs (since they're apparently using the Department of Homeland Security's definition). The harsher penalties would ultimately give prosecutors much more leverage for plea deals. But worst of all, the proposed bill even "empowers government officials to obtain court orders to force companies to hack computer users for a wide range of activity completely unrelated to botnets. What's worse is that the bill allows the government to do this without any requirement of notice to non-suspect or innocent customers or companies, including botnet victims... These changes would only increase -- not alleviate -- the CFAA's harshness, overbreadth, and confusion." The CFAA was originally written in 1986, and was partly inspired by the 1983 movie "WarGames".

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Finnish Government Criticizes Microsoft For Job Cuts, 'Broken Promises'

Slashdot - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 8:30am
jones_supa writes: Softpedia reports: "Microsoft has recently announced a new round of job layoffs at its Mobile unit in Finland, as it moves forward with its restructuring and reorganization plan following the acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services unit. The Finnish government has criticized Microsoft for turning to more job cuts in the country, pointing out that the company has a huge responsibility to help those who are being let go. Microsoft's latest job cut round included 1,850 people, 1,350 of which are said to be working in Finland. 'I am disappointed because of the (initial) promises made by Microsoft,' Finance Minister Alexander Stubb was quoted as saying by Reuters. 'One example is that the data center did not materialize despite the company's promise.'" He refers to Microsoft's promise in 2013 to invest $250 million in a data center located in Finland that was specifically meant to provide services to European customers. All of these worries are not unfounded as the employment situation in Finland is still quite terrible, and the decline of Nokia's former phone business certainly exacerbates the situation.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Economic Lessons of Star Trek’s Money-Free Society

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
In the latest 'Geek's Guide to the Galaxy' podcast, writer Manu Saadia discusses what we can learn about post-money life from the 'Star Trek' franchise. The post The Economic Lessons of Star Trek's Money-Free Society appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Xiaomi’s Cheap New Drone Achieves Impulse-Buy Airspace

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
It's a lot of drone for a (relatively) little price. The post Xiaomi's Cheap New Drone Achieves Impulse-Buy Airspace appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Got a Beef With the Media? Pay Someone Else to Sue Them

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
The Thiel-Gawker feud isn't about Gawker—it's about the obscure legal tool Thiel used to win it. And that tool sets a dangerous precedent for the media. The post Got a Beef With the Media? Pay Someone Else to Sue Them appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Space Photos of the Week: Hangry Stars Munch Down a Cloud

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
Space photos of the week, May 22—28, 2016. The post Space Photos of the Week: Hangry Stars Munch Down a Cloud appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

In a World of Self-Driving Cars, We’ll Still Need the Miata

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
What will you do when driving becomes a pastime instead of a necessity? The post In a World of Self-Driving Cars, We'll Still Need the Miata appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Security News This Week: Apple Hires a Crypto Guru for Future Battles With the Feds

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
Each Saturday we round up the biggest security news stories of the week. The post Security News This Week: Apple Hires a Crypto Guru for Future Battles With the Feds appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Mathematicians Bridge the Divide Between Infinity and the Physical World

Wired - Top Stories - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 7:00am
A surprising new proof is helping to connect the mathematics of infinity to the physical world. The post Mathematicians Bridge the Divide Between Infinity and the Physical World appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology