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Industry & Technology

Uber’s lament: “No Black or Hispanic employee holds leadership positions in tech”

Ars Technica - 55 min 11 sec ago

(credit: Uber)

For the first time, Uber released diversity figures for its employees—which does not include its thousands of drivers, whom the company considers to be contract workers.

Like many other Silicon Valley companies, Uber's labor force—in particular its tech staff—is overwhelmingly male and largely white.

According to a series of figures posted Tuesday, the company even called out the fact that its leadership "is more homogenous… no Black or Hispanic employee holds leadership positions in tech."

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Alternative facts alert: Proposed legislation bans “fake news”

Ars Technica - 1 hour 24 min ago

US Constitution. (credit: Kim Davies)

Here at Ars, we're always on the lookout for wacky, tech-focused legislation. And we've found one bill that is certain to make our Top 10 list.

Edwin "Ed" Chau.

The new proposal bars the online publication of a "false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote." Bye-bye online news. On the flip side, this legislation would probably outlaw lawmakers' and candidates' online speech, too.

The bill is proposed by California Assemblyman Edwin "Ed" Chau, a Democrat representing a section of Southern California. The proposal, which is likely unconstitutional on its face, was supposed to have a committee hearing Tuesday afternoon, but it was pulled at the 11th hour.

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China devotes $22 billion to domestic chip industry expansion - IT industry - 1 hour 40 min ago

China is pouring more money into chasing its semiconductor ambitions. The state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup, which has been building up the country’s chip-industry infrastructure, received a 150 billion yuan (US$22 billion) in financing on Tuesday.

The funds come from the China Development Bank and a national integrated circuit investment fund, two groups tied to the country’s government.

Tsinghua Unigroup hasn’t said what the money will be specifically used for. But it will go toward making it more competitive in the semiconductor space, according to a company statement.

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Uber's first diversity report reveals no surprises - CNET - News - 1 hour 45 min ago
The ride-hailing company shares its diversity stats for the first time. Guess what? Its employees are mostly white males.

Tesla employee sues the company over harassment - CNET - News - 1 hour 48 min ago
Staffer alleges that co-workers regularly used racially disparaging language toward him.

Jeep's ready to show something special at Easter Jeep Safari 2017 - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 57 min ago
As it does every year, the automaker has some unique concepts lined up for its annual off-road pilgrimage.

Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

The Register - 2 hours 1 min ago
As House passes law, here's what you should do about it

The US House of Representatives has just approved a "congressional disapproval" vote of privacy rules, which gives your ISP the right to sell your internet history to the highest bidder.…

Mistaken Twitter identity sends Daily Mail scorn to Daily Mali - CNET - News - 2 hours 2 min ago
Social Cues: After a controversially leggy front page on the UK tabloid, an innocent bystander wants to clear the record.

Amazon wants to deliver groceries to your car in 15 minutes - CNET - News - 2 hours 3 min ago
The e-commerce giant is developing several new store concepts, including grocery pickup locations in Seattle called AmazonFresh Pickup.

Galaxy S8 could get a 3D camera, according to Vodafone slip up - CNET - News - 2 hours 14 min ago
The British telecom company may have accidentally revealed the feature before the phone's unveiling.

Trump kills Clean Power Plan, orders agencies to ignore climate change

Ars Technica - 2 hours 15 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Tammy Anthony Baker)

After weeks of rumors and delays, President Trump signed an executive order on climate policies Tuesday at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency—an agency the Trump administration tried to hit with a $247 million cut for the current fiscal year, according to Politico, and is seeking a 31 percent budget cut for next year. The order includes a number of actions to undo Obama-era decisions addressing the greenhouse gas emissions that have already warmed the world’s climate about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s.

As part of the announcement, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said, "America's leadership, the president's leadership, on how we achieve energy independence while improving our environment in this country and abroad is determined more by the actions that this president is taking than at any time."

Clean Power Plan ended

The main target of the effort is the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule. The EPA finalized the rule last August, but a court challenge by a number of Republican state attorneys general (including new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) has kept it in legal limbo. The goal of the Clean Power Plan was to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The rule set reduction targets for each state to meet but left it to the states to decide how they wanted to meet it. It would have been particularly difficult for coal-burning plants to meet the new standards, and less burning coal would result in reductions of other pollutants as well.

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Potent LastPass exploit underscores the dark side of password managers

Ars Technica - 2 hours 37 min ago

(credit: Wikimedia)

Developers of the widely used LastPass password manager are scrambling to fix a serious vulnerability that makes it possible for malicious websites to steal user passcodes and in some cases execute malicious code on computers running the program.

The flaw, which affects the latest version of the LastPass browser extension, was briefly described on Saturday by Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google's Project Zero vulnerability reporting team. When people have the LastPass binary running, the vulnerability allows malicious websites to execute code of their choice. Even when the binary isn't present, the flaw can be exploited in a way that lets malicious sites steal passwords from the protected LastPass vault. Ormandy said he developed a proof-of-concept exploit and sent it to LastPass officials. Developers now have three months to patch the hole before Project Zero discloses technical details.

"It will take a long time to fix this properly," Ormandy said. "It's a major architectural problem. They have 90 days, no need to scramble!"

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I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

The Register - 2 hours 42 min ago
Not exactly getting with the program

Despite being the third-largest internet provider in the UK, Virgin Media is not exactly looking toward the future.…

Motorola Moto X leaked photos show dual cameras - CNET - News - 2 hours 44 min ago
Photos of an alleged Moto X reveal dual cameras, internal specs and some cool design cues.

Facebook fury follows video of son's 'horrifying' TSA patdown - CNET - News - 3 hours 13 min ago
Commentary: More than 5.6 million people have already watched a video of a TSA agent performing what appears to be an extensive patdown on a boy.

Google Home welcomes 12 new partners in big smart home update - CNET - News - 3 hours 13 min ago
Starting today, Google's smart speaker can control a variety of new devices, including locks and sprinklers.

Sponges innocent of producing a toxic industrial chemical

Ars Technica - 3 hours 34 min ago

Enlarge / This branching tube sponge wouldn't seem to benefit much from a flame retardant. (credit: NOAA)

Scientific advancements have led to the introduction of many new chemicals into daily life. Unfortunately, along with their benefits, some of those chemicals have brought problems with toxicity. One group of chemicals that has faced this challenge is called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); they have been widely used as fire retardants but are now restricted due to their toxicity and tendency to accumulate in organisms.

Surprisingly, these complicated chemicals are also made naturally. In some cases, the natural compounds actually exhibit higher toxicity than their man-made counterparts. These naturally occurring chemicals are found across all levels of the marine food-chain, from cyanobacteria to whales, and they have also shown up in humans.

Oddly, most of the chemicals come from sponges that live in the tropics. PBDEs can account for more than 10 percent of the sponge’s tissue by dry weight, and these sponges also harbor other related polyhalogenated compounds. Although scientists have been aware of the natural occurrence of PBDEs in these sponges, little has been known about how they were made. In a recent investigation published in Nature Chemical Biology, researchers have found out that the toxic chemicals aren't the sponges' fault. Instead, bacteria living inside the sponge produce them.

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Police break up a plot to steal Enzo Ferrari's body - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 35 min ago
This is the Ferrari movie Hollywood needs to make.

All the Galaxy S8 questions we want answered (The 3:59, Ep. 201) - CNET - News - 3 hours 39 min ago
Will the Galaxy S8 blow us away? We do one final preview show before the big day. Also, we geek out over the new "Spider-Man: Homecoming" trailer!

See the horror of Stretch Armstrong in a hydraulic press - CNET - News - 3 hours 44 min ago
Witness the stomach-turning destruction of iconic toy Stretch Armstrong beneath the unrelenting weight of a hydraulic press.

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