HP Hit With Age-Discrimination Suit Claiming Old Workers Purged

Slashdot - 1 hour 20 min ago
Hewlett-Packard started laying off workers in 2012, before it separated into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise last year. The company has continued to cut thousands of jobs since. As a result of the "restructuring," an age discrimination lawsuit has been filed by four former employees of HP alleging they were ousted amid a purge of older workers. The Mercury News reports: "The goal 'was to make the company younger,' said the complain filed Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in San Jose. 'In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination [...] and then systematically replacing them with younger employees. HP has hired a disproportionately large number of new employees under the age of 40 to replace employees aged 40 and older who were terminated.' Arun Vatturi, a 15-year Palo Alto employee at HP who was a director in process improvement until he was laid off in January at age 52, and Sidney Staton, in sales at HP in Palo Alto for 16 months until his layoff in April 2015 at age 54, have joined in the lawsuit with a former employee from Washington, removed at age 62, and one from Texas, out at age 63. The group is seeking class-action status for the court action and claims HP broke state and federal laws against age discrimination." The lawsuit also alleges that written guidelines issued by HP's human resources department mandated that 75 percent of all hires outside of the company be fresh from school or "early career" applicants.

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Categories: Science

Culture Podcast: We Indulge in Some Necessary Frank Oceanography About Blonde

Wired News - 1 hour 39 min ago
We spent a lot of time unpacking Frank Ocean's latest release(s) on this week's culture podcast. Join us, won't you? The post Culture Podcast: We Indulge in Some Necessary Frank Oceanography About Blonde appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

MIT Scientists Develop New Wi-Fi That's 330% Faster

Slashdot - 2 hours 5 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MSN: Scientists at MIT claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the system will shortly enter commercialization and could ease the strain on our increasingly crowded wireless networks. Multiple-input-multiple-output technology, or MIMO, helps networked devices perform better by combining multiple transmitters and receivers that work simultaneously, allowing then to send and receive more than one data signal at the same time. MIT's MegaMIMO 2.0 works by allowing several routers to work in harmony, transmitting data over the same piece of spectrum. MIT claimed that during tests, MegaMIMO 2.0 was able to increase data transfer speed of four laptops connected to the same Wi-Fi network by 330 percent. Paper co-author Rahul said the technology could also be applied to mobile phone networks to solve similar congestion issues. "In today's wireless world, you can't solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another," Ezzeldin Hamed, lead author on a paper on the topic, told MIT News. "The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum."

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Categories: Science

Bill Nye Explains That the Flooding In Louisiana Is the Result of Climate Change

Slashdot - 2 hours 43 min ago
Reader mspohr writes: Our favorite science guy has an interview (and video) in Quartz where he explains how Louisiana flooding is due to climate change:"As the ocean gets warmer, which it is getting, it expands," Nye explained. "Molecules spread apart, and then as the sea surface is warmer, more water evaporates, and so it's very reasonable that these storms are connected to these big effects."The article also notes that a National Academy of Sciences issued a report with the same findings: "Scientists from around the world have concurred with Nye that this is exactly what the effects of climate change look like, and that disasters like the Louisiana floods are going to happen more and more. According to a National Academy of Sciences report published earlier this year, extreme flooding can be traced directly to human-induced global warming. As the atmosphere warms, it retains more moisture, leading to bouts of sustained, heavy precipitation that can cause floods."

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A possible habitable planet is only 4 light-years away, astronomers discover

Kurzweil AI - 2 hours 46 min ago

Artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of the star Proxima. (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

A rocky planet called Proxima b — the closest exoplanet to us — is in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, a team of astronomers has found after painstaking observation and data analysis.

The new world orbits its cool red-dwarf parent star every 11.2 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. A paper describing this milestone finding was published online today (Aug. 24) in the journal Nature.

The star Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Centaurus, is too faint to be seen with the naked eye and is close to the much brighter pair of stars known as Alpha Centauri A and B.

A view of the skies over the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile (credit: Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO/ESA/NASA/M. Zamani)

During the first half of 2016, the HARPS spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla regularly observed the star Proxima Centauri, as did other professional and amateur telescopes around the world in a collaboration known as the Pale Red Dot campaign — looking for a tiny back-and-forth wobble in the star caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. (Other scientists have also been observing Proxima Centauri for years.)

The two bright stars are (left) Alpha Centauri and (right) Beta Centauri. The faint red star in the center of the red circle is Proxima Centauri. (credit: Skatebiker/CC)

So here’s what the Pale Red Dot data — when combined with earlier observations — shows:

  • At regular intervals, the star Proxima Centauri is approaching Earth at about 5 kilometers per hour — normal human walking pace — and at opposite times in those cycles it is receding at the same speed. This regular pattern repeats with a period of 11.2 days.
  • Analysis of the resulting Doppler shifts (and removing brightness-variation artifacts from the star) indicated the presence of a planet with a mass at least 1.3 times that of the Earth, orbiting about 7 million kilometers from Proxima Centauri (about 5 percent of the distance of Earth for our Sun, and coser than the planet Mercury is to our Sun — but Proxima Centauri is cooler than our Sun).
  • Proxima b is tidally locked to its star (one side is always sunny, the other is dark) and has an estimated temperature that would allow for a liquid state on its surface, thus placing it within the “habitable zone” around the star (assuming water is present). Atmosphere: unknown.
  • Proxima may be strongly affected by ultraviolet and x-ray flares from the star — far more intense than the Earth experiences from the Sun. (Extreme sun glasses recommended if you visit.)

Meanwhile a wild project by Stephen Hawking and philanthropist Yuri Milner — who announced in April a $100 million research and engineering program, Breakthrough Starshot, to study the concept of using laser light beams to propel gram-scale “nanocraft” to 20 percent of light speed to travel to Alpha Centauri — (KurzweilAI: Breakthrough Starshot’ aims to reach Alpha Centauri 20 years after launch) has been vindicated — with a minor detour.

Abstract of A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri

At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890 or simply Proxima) is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. It has an effective temperature of only around 3,050 kelvin, a luminosity of 0.15 per cent of that of the Sun, a measured radius of 14 per cent of the radius of the Sun and a mass of about 12 per cent of the mass of the Sun. Although Proxima is considered a moderately active star, its rotation period is about 83 days and its quiescent activity levels and X-ray luminosity are comparable to those of the Sun. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface.

Categories: Science

Apple Under Tim Cook: More Socially Responsible, Less Visionary

Slashdot - 3 hours 25 min ago
Let's talk about Apple, unarguably one of the most remarkable companies on the face of the earth. (Remarkable doesn't necessarily mean great -- it just means that the company is something worth making a remark). You can like it, or hate it, but you can simply not ignore Apple. But what's the occasion, you ask? It's been five years since Tim Cook took over as Apple CEO. (Editor's note: auto-playing video ahead, which may annoy you) Under his leadership, Apple has grown to become the world's most successful company, doubling the stock price and registering a staggering 84 percent growth in its net worth. Media outlets are abuzz with articles, analysis, and over-analysis of Tim Cook's Apple today. Some excerpts from a CNN article: Apple's culture has changed noticeably, both for the better and the worse. [...] If Jobs put a dent in the universe through Apple's coveted products, Cook is making his mark by highlighting the importance of social efforts: LGBT rights, philanthropy, corporate diversity, renewable energy and improving manufacturing conditions abroad. Under Cook's leadership, Apple finally began matching charitable contributions from employees, which had long been a sore spot for staff. Apple had 110,000 full-time employees as of the end of September 2015, nearly doubling from the 60,400 employees it reported having in September 2011, shortly after Cook took over, according to annual filings with the SEC. [...] There's now a feeling among some Apple insiders that the company is just running the same product playbook that Jobs created in his final years at the helm. "For four or five years, the playbook is the same that's been done," says Amit Sharma, a former Apple exec on the online store team. But, he adds, "just because everybody is looking for new doesn't mean it's not working."

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Categories: Science

Lava Flows Added 5 Acres to Hawaii’s Shoreline This Month

Wired News - 3 hours 55 min ago
Lava flows from Kilauea have added over 5 acres to the island of Hawai'i and the lava keeps coming. The post Lava Flows Added 5 Acres to Hawaii’s Shoreline This Month appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Earth-Like Planet, With Ambitious Life Possibility, Found Orbiting the Star Next Door

Slashdot - 4 hours 10 min ago
There's another Earth out there. For real, this time. Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they had detected a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest neighbor to our solar system. Intriguingly, the planet is in the star's "Goldilocks zone," they said, a place that hints that it may not be too hot nor too cold. Which in turn means that liquid water could exist at the surface, and by extension, it raises the possibility of life. Nature reports:"The search for life starts now," says Guillem Anglada-Escude, an astronomer at Queen Mary University of London and leader of the team that made the discovery. Humanity's first chance to explore this nearby world may come from the recently announced Breakthrough Starshot initiative, which plans to build fleets of tiny laser-propelled interstellar probes in the coming decades. Travelling at 20% of the speed of light, they would take about 20 years to cover the 1.3 parsecs from Earth to Proxima Centauri. Proxima's planet is at least 1.3 times the mass of Earth. The planet orbits its red-dwarf star -- much smaller and dimmer than the Sun -- every 11.2 days. "If you tried to pick the type of planet you'd most want around the type of star you'd most want, it would be this," says David Kipping, an astronomer at Columbia University in New York City. "It's thrilling."Much about the planet is still unknown. Astronomers have some ideas about its size and distance from its parent star. Scientists say they are working off computer models that offer mere hints of what's possible. Also, there's no picture available for this planet as of yet.

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Categories: Science

The US Army Has Too Many Video Games

Slashdot - 4 hours 58 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report:The US Army sees itself in a transitional period. Unlike a decade ago, soldiers are training less today on how to conduct "stability" operations for a counter-insurgency campaign, and more on what the Army does best: fighting other armies. But training is expensive and requires time and a lot of space. Training a gunner for an M-1 Abrams tank means reserving time on a limited number of ranges and expending real ammunition. So to lower costs and make training more efficient -- in theory -- the Army has adopted a variety of games to simulate war. There's just a few problems. Some of the Army's virtual simulators sit collecting dust, and one of them is more expensive and less effective than live training. At one base, soldiers preferred to play mouse-and-keyboard games over a more "realistic" virtual room. Then again, the Army has cooler games than you do. M-1 tank gunners, for example, can train inside a full-scale, computerized mock-up of their station called the Advanced Gunnery Training System, which comes inside a large transportable container. Instead of looking through real sights down a range, the soldier squints through a replica and sees a virtual simulacrum of, say, an enemy tank. Push a button and the "cannon" fires. The Army fields similar systems for the Stryker, a wheeled armored troop transport that fits an optional 105-millimeter gun. Soldiers train inside another simulated gunnery station for the M-2 Bradley fighting vehicle. Another system, Common Driver, simulates a variety of military vehicles.

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Categories: Science

Nuclear Waste Accident 2 Years Ago May Cost More Than $2 Billion To Clean Up

Slashdot - 5 hours 10 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The Los Angeles Times is estimating that an explosion that occurred at a New Mexico nuclear waste dumping facility in 2014 could cost upwards of $2 billion to clean up. Construction began on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico's Carlsbad desert in the 1980s. The site was built to handle transuranic waste from the US' nuclear weapons program. The WIPP had been eyed to receive nuclear waste from commercial power-generating plants as well. According to the LA Times, the 2014 explosion at the WIPP was downplayed by the federal government, with the Department of Energy (DoE) putting out statements indicating that cleanup was progressing quickly. Indeed, a 2015 Recovery Plan insisted that "limited waste disposal operations" would resume in the first quarter of 2016. Instead, two years have passed since the incident without any indication that smaller nuclear waste cleanup programs around the US will be able to deliver their waste to the New Mexico facility any time soon. The 2014 explosion apparently occurred when engineers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were preparing a drum of plutonium and americium waste -- usually packed with kitty litter (yes, kitty litter) -- and decided to "substitute an organic material for a mineral one."

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Categories: Science

Manchester By The Sea Trailer: Amazon’s First Oscar Bait

Wired News - 5 hours 28 min ago
The company shelled out $10 million for director Kenneth Lonergan Sundance hit—and now it's giving the movie a limited release in November. The post Manchester By The Sea Trailer: Amazon's First Oscar Bait appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Cloudflare Faces Lawsuit For Assisting Pirate Sites

Slashdot - 5 hours 50 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: In recent months CloudFlare has been called out repeatedly for offering its services to known pirate sites, including The Pirate Bay. These allegations have now resulted in the first lawsuit after adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan filed a complaint against CloudFlare at a California federal court. [...] Copyright holders are not happy with CloudFlare's actions. Just recently, the Hollywood-affiliated group Digital Citizens Alliance called the company out for helping pirate sites to stay online. Adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan agrees and has now become the first dissenter to take CloudFlare to court. In a complaint filed at a California federal court, ALS describes piracy as the greatest threat to its business. The rise of online piracy has significantly hurt the company's profits, they argue, noting that "pirate" sites are not the only problem. "The problems faced by ALS are not limited to the growing presence of sites featuring infringing content, or 'pirate' sites. A growing number of service providers are helping pirate sites thrive by supporting and engaging in commerce with these sites," ALS writes.

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Categories: Science

Of Course Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits

Wired News - 5 hours 51 min ago
When unreported bugs get out, every petty criminal and curious teen starts taking advantage of them. The post Of Course Everyone's Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Over 25 Million Accounts Stolen After Mail.ru Forums Hacked

Slashdot - 6 hours 30 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Over 25 million accounts associated with forums hosted by Russian internet giant Mail.ru have been stolen by hackers. Two hackers carried out attacks on three separate game-related forums in July and August. One forum alone accounted for almost half of the breached data -- a little under 13 million records; the other two forums making up over 12 million records. The databases were stolen in early August, according to breach notification site LeakedSource.com, which obtained a copy of the databases. The hackers' names aren't known, but used known SQL injection vulnerabilities found in older vBulletin forum software to get access to the databases. An analysis of the breached data showed that hackers took 12.8 million accounts from cfire.mail.ru; a total of 8.9 million records from parapa.mail.ru, and 3.2 million accounts from tanks.mail.ru. The hackers were able to obtain usernames, email addresses, scrambled passwords, and birthdays.

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Categories: Science

Alien World 'Proxima b' Around Nearest Star Could Be Earth-Like | Video

Space.com - 6 hours 52 min ago
A possibly rocky planet, just 1.3x more massive than Earth, has been detected in the "habitable zone" of the nearby red dwarf star Proxima Centauri. Just 4.22 light-years away, this system is the closest to our sun.
Categories: Science

NASA's Outsourced Computer People Are Even Worse Than You Might Expect

Slashdot - 7 hours 10 min ago
Eric berger, writing for ArsTechnica: As part of a plan to help NASA "modernize" its desktop and laptop computers, the space agency signed a $2.5 billion services contract with HP Enterprise Services in 2011. According to HP (now HPE), part of the Agency Consolidated End-User Service (ACES) program the computing company would "modernize NASA's entire end-user infrastructure by delivering a full range of personal computing services and devices to more than 60,000 users." HPE also said the program would "allow (NASA) employees to more easily collaborate in a secure computing environment." The services contract, alas, hasn't gone quite as well as one might have hoped. This week Federal News Radio reported that HPE is doing such a poor job that NASA's chief information officer, Renee Wynn, could no longer accept the security risks associated with the contract. Wynn, therefore, did not sign off on the authority to operate (ATO) for systems and tools.A spokesperson for NASA said: "NASA continues to work with HPE to remediate vulnerabilities. As required by NASA policy, system owners must accomplish this remediation within a specified period of time. For those vulnerabilities that cannot be fully remediated within the established time frame, a Plan of Actions and Milestones (POAM) must be developed, approved, and tracked to closure."

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Categories: Science

Singapore To Cut Off Public Servants From the Internet

Slashdot - 7 hours 50 min ago
Singapore is planning to cut off web access for public servants as a defence against potential cyber attack, Reuters reports. The local government's move has already been criticized by many, who say that it marks a retreat for a technologically advanced city-state that has trademarked the term "smart nation". From an article on The Guardian: Some security experts say the policy, due to be in place by May, risks damaging productivity among civil servants and those working at more than four dozen statutory boards, and cutting them off from the people they serve. It may only raise slightly the defensive walls against cyber attack, they say. Ben Desjardins, director of security solutions at network security firm Radware, called it "one of the more extreme measures I can recall by a large public organisation to combat cyber security risks." Stephen Dane, a Hong Kong-based managing director at networking company Cisco Systems, said it was "a most unusual situation" and Ramki Thurimella, chair of the computer science department at the University of Denver, called it both "unprecedented" and "a little excessive".

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Categories: Science

SPACE NEWS WEBCASTS: NASA Discusses Next Space Station Spacewalk

Space.com - 7 hours 56 min ago
NASA officials discussed an upcoming spacewalk today (Aug. 24) at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). During the Sept. 1 spacewalk, NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will spend six and a half hours working outside the station.
Categories: Science

Germany’s NASA Crashes a Train to Keep You Safe

Wired News - 8 hours 9 min ago
New frontiers in the art of the crumple zone. The post Germany's NASA Crashes a Train to Keep You Safe appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

A Design Defect Is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units

Slashdot - 8 hours 30 min ago
Evan Selleck, writing for iPhoneHacks (edited and condensed): For many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners out there in the wild, a design defect is apparently causing some huge issues. Gadget repair firm iFixit has reported about a flaw dubbed "Touch Disease", which it claims is cropping up. With it, owners of the phones are experiencing, to start, a gray bar that appears at the very top of their display. And, for many others, the display itself becomes unresponsive to touch, or less responsive overall. In the blog post, iFixit says the problem stems from issues with the touchscreen controller chip, which is soldered onto the logic board. Interestingly enough, iFixit posits that the same internal design decisions that led to "Endgate" might be causing the issue leading to Touch Disease, too: "In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls -- "like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board. "At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."

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Categories: Science