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Updated: 36 sec ago

Aaron Swartz Ebook's DRM Has Been Cracked

Sat, 02/07/2016 - 5:34pm
Slashdot reader jenningsthecat writes: From Hackaday comes news that the collected writings of Aaron Swartz, released as a watermarked eBook by publishing company Verso Books, has had its watermarking scheme cracked by The Institute for Biblio-Immunology, who also published a guide for removing the BooXtream watermarks. The writings of Aaron Swartz, with DRM applied? Oh, the irony. Still, at least the DRM employed doesn't restrict a user from reading the book on any and all capable devices, so it's not a very intrusive form of DRM. But I somehow doubt that Mr. Swartz would take any comfort from that...

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Stop Bashing GMO Food, Say 109 Nobel Laureates

Sat, 02/07/2016 - 4:33pm
The New York Times reports: More than 100 Nobel laureates have a message for Greenpeace: Quit the G.M.O.-bashing. Genetically modified organisms and foods are a safe way to meet the demands of a ballooning global population, the 109 laureates wrote in a letter posted online and officially unveiled at a news conference on Thursday in Washington, D.C... "Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production," the group of laureates wrote. "There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity." Slashdot reader ArmoredDragon writes: As an echo to that comment, one of the key benefits of GMO is increased crop yield, which means a reduced need for deforestation to make way for farmland. GMO food such as Golden Rice, which improves the micronutrient content of rice, and Low Acrylamide Spuds, which are potatoes engineered to have reduced carcinogen content compared to their natural counterparts, can possibly solve many health problems that are inherent with consuming non-GMO produce. And for those concerned about patent-related issues, many of these patents have recently expired, which means anybody can freely grow them and sell the seeds without the need to pay any royalties.

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Spain Runs Out of Workers With Almost 5 Million Unemployed

Sat, 02/07/2016 - 3:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report:Spanish headhunter Samuel Pimentel just can't find the candidates. After a frustrating search for specialist consultants for a client, he's given up and is casting his net elsewhere. "We were looking for people for two months," Pimentel, a partner at Ackermann Beaumont Group for Spain and Latin America, said in a telephone interview. "We managed to find one in Spain. We turned to Argentina for others." Pimentel's experience reflects a bizarre feature of the Spanish labor market that is hampering the country's efforts to repair the damage from the economic crisis. Even with close to 5 million people out of work, the next prime minister will face labor shortages with employers struggle to find the staff they need. "It's a paradox," said Valentin Bote, head of research in Spain at Randstad, a recruitment agency. "The unemployment rate is too high. Yet we're seeing some tension in the labor market because unemployed people don't have the skills employers demand."

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Age-Discrimination Suit Against Google Seeks Class Action For Engineers

Sat, 02/07/2016 - 2:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes the Daily Mail: A potential class action lawsuit that claims Google discriminated against people over 40 is one step closer to becoming a reality. A motion for conditional certification of collective action status was filed in a San Jose federal court Wednesday, which could open up a suit to anyone over 40 who feels they had been discriminated against by the tech company and not hired because of his or her age. The suit would include "all individuals who interviewed in-person for any software engineer, site reliability engineer, or systems engineer position with Google in the United States in the time period from August 13, 2010 through the present; were age 40 or older at the time of interview; and were refused employment by Google...." We've discussed ageism before on Slashdot. Now dcblogs shares an article from Computerworld, which says the lawsuit alleges a "systematic pattern" of discrimination, citing the median age of Google's workforce as 29 (according to PayScale), while the median age for U.S. computer programmers is 43. "I think this is long overdue and potentially huge..." says Dan Lyons, who has complained about ageism during his time at HubSpot. "When it comes to age bias, the tech industry doesn't even bother to lie.... Everyone in Silicon Valley knows this and everyone just accepts it."

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Why Did The Stars Wars and Star Trek Worlds Turn Out So Differently?

Sat, 02/07/2016 - 1:30pm writes: In the Star Trek world there is virtual reality, personal replicators, powerful weapons, and, it seems, a very high standard of living for most of humanity, while in Star Wars there is widespread slavery, lots of people seem to live at subsistence, and eventually much of the galaxy falls under the Jedi Reign of Terror. Why the difference? Tyler Cowen writes about some of the factors differentiating the world of Star Wars from that of Star Trek: 1) The armed forces in Star Trek seem broadly representative of society. Compare Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu to the Imperial Storm troopers. 2) Captains Kirk and Picard do not descend into true power madness, unlike various Sith leaders and corrupted Jedi Knights. 3) In Star Trek, any starship can lay waste to a planet, whereas in Star Wars there is a single, centralized Death Star and no way to oppose it, implying stronger checks and balances in the world of Star Trek. 4) Star Trek embraces egalitarianism, namely that all humans consider themselves part of the same broader species. There is no special group comparable to the Jedi or the Sith, with special powers in their blood. 5) Star Trek replicators are sufficiently powerful it seems slavery is highly inefficient in that world.

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