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Employees Call On Microsoft To Protect GitHub From China Censors

Slashdot - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:20
The GitHub repository at "996.ICU" in China has been calling out tech companies in the country that pressure their employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week. "Since it went up last month, the page has been starred over 229,000 times, making it one of the most popular GitHub repositories on the site," reports PC Magazine. "But now a group of Microsoft employees are worried the Chinese government will force their employer to take the page down. So in response, they've been circulating an internal letter, urging Microsoft to stand up to any potential pressure to censor the GitHub page." From the report: "We encourage Microsoft and GitHub, companies which firmly believe in a healthy work-life balance, to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone," reads the letter, which was shared with PCMag and started circulating internally on Sunday. The GitHub repository now hosts a list of over 140 Chinese companies that allegedly demand their employees work 60 hours a week. Many foreign media outlets have also reported on the protest page. But reportedly, some attempts have been made to censor mention of the 996.ICU repository within China. Domestic browsers from Tencent, Qihoo 360, and Xiaomi recently prevented users from visiting the GitHub page, according to Abacus. It's why a group of Microsoft employees based largely in the U.S. decided to circulate a protest letter calling on Redmond to protect the GitHub page from censorship. Microsoft hasn't commented, but the company's two other web properties, Bing and LinkedIn, "have been forced to comply with the country's strict censorship demands," the report notes.

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Categories: Geek

They Grow Up So Fast

Balloon Juice - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:55

Move the first round of seedlings into peat containers today, aka kindergarten for plants:

This is all okra and butternut squash. Broccoli is already planted. Tomatoes are still too wee to move to peat containers. May put in a run of green beans and peas in in the next few days and roll the dice on frost. Screw it, the seeds are only a buck.

Categories: Politics

Tesla Will Allow Aggressive Autopilot Mode With 'Slight Chance of a Fender Bender'

Slashdot - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:40
During Tesla's "Autonomy Investor Day" today, Elon Musk said that the company will someday allow drivers to select aggressive modes of its Autopilot driver assistance system that have a "slight chance of a fender bender." "Musk didn't say when Tesla might roll out that option, only that the company would have to have "higher confidence" in Autopilot's capabilities before allowing it to happen," reports The Verge. From the report: "Do you want to have a nonzero chance of a fender bender on freeway traffic?" Musk asked at the event, which was for investors in the company. He dubbed it "LA traffic mode," because "unfortunately, [it's] the only way to navigate LA traffic." Tesla already allows its owners to select a "Mad Max" setting for Navigate on Autopilot, which is a feature that handles highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp. The Mad Max setting makes quicker lane changes than if the car is in "Mild" or "Average" modes. Musk suggested Tesla will eventually allow drivers to choose "gradually more aggressive behavior" by "dial[ing] the setting up." Musk also said Tesla's full self-driving computer is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, and a next-gen chip that's "three times better" than the current system is already "halfway done."

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Categories: Geek

Sprint and AT&T reach settlement over misleading 5G E logo, but nothing will change

9to5Mac - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:07

Earlier this year, Sprint sued AT&T over its “blatantly misleading” 5G E network. Now, the two carriers have settled the lawsuit, but AT&T will continue advertising and displaying its controversial 5G E branding.

more…

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Categories: Geek

NIH, FBI Accuse Scientists In US of Sending IP To China, Running Shadow Labs

Slashdot - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas has forced out three senior researchers with ties to China. The move comes amid nationwide investigations by federal officials into whether researchers are pilfering intellectual property from U.S. research institutions and running "shadow laboratories" abroad, according to a joint report by Science magazine and the Houston Chronicle. The National Institutes of Health began sending letters to the elite cancer center last August regarding the conduct of five researchers there. The letters discussed "serious violations" of NIH policies, including leaking confidential NIH grant proposals under peer review to individuals in China, failing to disclose financial ties in China, and other conflicts of interest. MD Anderson moved to terminate three of those researchers, two of whom resigned during the termination process. The center cleared the fourth and is still investigation the fifth. MD Anderson isn't the only institution dealing with this issue. The NIH sent similar letters to at least three other institutions, according to reporting by Science and the Houston Chronicle. Some advocates expressed concern over what they considered racial profiling while other researchers worried that such efforts to protect intellectual property would actually backfire. "These are the top talents foreign countries have been trying to recruit unsuccessfully," said Steven Pei, a University of Houston professor critical of the actions by MD Anderson. "We are now pushing them out of the Texas Medical Center, out of Houston, out of Texas, and out of the U.S. It seems we're helping foreign countries to accomplish what they could not do by themselves. We are hurting the American competitiveness."

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Categories: Geek

Country singer Jake Owen to headline Medina County Fair

Medina Gazette - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:43
MEDINA — After Kane Brown packed the grandstands at the Medina County Fair in 2018 with more than 8,000 people, many wondered who the fair would get to headline this year’s event.
Categories: News

WormBase Manet is DOWN, 1555971367

WormBase Manet - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:35
Categories: Bio

Open Thread: It’s All Fun & Games Until Pence Gets His Hands on the Rapture Nuclear Codes

Balloon Juice - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:27

It’s a delicious read, actually, if you’re not already surfeited. (Also: keep an eye on Don McGahn, aka Brutus):

By the time President Donald Trump had passed through the prime rib buffet at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday to sit for dinner with family and a top aide, the damning picture Robert Mueller’s report painted of his presidency had become clear…

Perhaps more angering to a leader who detests weakness — but doesn’t necessarily mind an amoral reputation — were the number of underlings shown ignoring his commands, privately scoffing at the “crazy sh**” he was requesting and working around him to avoid self-implication.

Now, those close to him say Trump is newly furious at the people — most of whom no longer work for him — whose extensive interviews with the special counsel’s office created the epic depiction of an unscrupulous and chaotic White House. And he’s seeking assurances from those who remain that his orders are being treated like those of a president, and not like suggestions from an intemperate but misguided supervisor…

It was a sharp turn away from his earlier statements, which welcomed the report’s findings on collusion and falsely claimed total exoneration. Hours before his Mar-a-Lago dinner, Trump insisted to a crowd on the tarmac in Florida the dark days of Mueller’s special counsel investigation had ended.

“Game over, folks,” he said over the sounds of a busy airport. “Now, it’s back to work.”

It’s hard to tell, however, what Trump intends to head back to. Mueller’s probe and Trump’s constant focus on it have been the backdrop for all but a few months of the presidency, often diminishing whatever policy efforts have been orchestrated by officials or Republican lawmakers. The report depicts a President who for two years has been largely consumed by the Russia investigation, intent on short-circuiting it but repeatedly stymied in his efforts by aides…

What is clear is many of those who avoided carrying out Trump’s demands related to Mueller’s probe — often, it seemed, in a bid to protect themselves from criminal wrongdoing — are no longer employed by the White House. Instead, the aides who now surround the President appear less willing to write him off and more likely to encourage him to follow his gut.

Among those who have moved on: the White House counsel who refused Trump’s demand to fire Mueller [Don McGahn], the chief of staff and senior adviser who anxiously tried to retrieve a resignation letter from the attorney general, the staff secretary who declined Trump’s order to gauge the loyalty of a Justice Department official, the attorney general who refused to un-recuse himself and the communications chief who seemed most expert in Trump’s whims.

Even Steve Bannon, once viewed as the ultimate advocate for following Trump’s instincts, is depicted in the report as a constraining force… Instead, the most prominent aides who do remain are depicted in the report as the most dishonest…

Among those who Trump dined with in Florida on Thursday was Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff who still fills the role in an acting capacity but who, according to officials, has done less than either of his two predecessors to restrain Trump in his hardline instincts.

Indeed, since Mulvaney’s tenure began at the start of the year, Trump has overseen the longest government shutdown in US history, a dramatic shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security, a sharp turn toward harsher policies on the border, a decision to ask a court to scrap the entire Affordable Care Act and a confusing dictate on North Korea sanctions that still has advisers scratching their heads…

In the report, Trump is described as having several tense encounters with McGahn during his White House tenure, including episodes when McGahn was prepared to resign rather than carry out Trump’s demands.

McGahn described Trump asking him to do “crazy sh**,” according to Priebus. Trump, meanwhile, deemed McGahn a “lying bastard” whose habit of taking contemporaneous notes raised suspicion. In an anecdote relayed in the report, Trump and McGahn went back-and-forth over the note-taking, which Trump insisted good lawyers — such as his onetime counsel Roy Cohn — never did…

Categories: Politics

Every Trump Proxy Is A Reminder Of This Administration's Lawlessness

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:27

From the moment Bob Barr issued his highly selective and deceptive summary of the Mueller report, the Trumpers have been pushing to frame the narrative, confident that the mainstream media will dutifully repeat it over and over. It's the same tactic they've taken from the beginning, with fair success.

But now that we KNOW that Donald Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for office and violating laws left and right, the spin has become a little more desperate and nonsensical.

And as Professor Jason Johnson reminds all of us, when you see this surreal level of craziness like this Rudy Giuliani interview, it should serve as a reminder of the lawlessness of this administration.

Every crazy thing out of Giuliani's mouth is designed for one thing: to distract you while Trump continues to break laws unchecked.

Every stupid deflection made by Kellyanne Conway is in service to allowing Trump to continue to violate the Constitution.

Categories: Politics

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn Subpoenaed By House Democrats

Crooks and Liars - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:25

The House Judiciary Committee has officially subpoenaed former White House counsel, Don McGahn to testify within the next month regarding a litany of topics "pertaining to federal investigations of President Trump, his finances, his campaign, and charges he sought to obstruct justice."

According to the subpoena, requested documents and records must be provided by May 7 and McGahn is to testify on May 21st.

The Washington Post is reporting that Chairman Nadler said, in a statement, “The special counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses."

He further stated that McGahn is, “A critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report. His testimony will help shed further light on the president’s attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same."

This is the first time a former White House staff member has received a subpoena to testify in front of Congress, but I guarantee he won't be the last. Stay tuned for angry tweets from Donald Trump. Will McGahn be called a "coffee boy" or will he be called "another angry Democrat"?

Categories: Politics

Toyota Establishes Research Institute In China To Study Hydrogen, Green Tech

Slashdot - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:20
Japan announced on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China. Reuters reports: The initiative, outlined by Toyota's President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker's efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said. The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said in a statement. The institute will "cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China's energy problems," the company said. The move dovetails with Toyota's announcement this month that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies.

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Categories: Geek

The Social Security Trust Fund Will Reach Zero in 2035

Kevin Drum - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:15

The Social Security Trustees announced today that they expect the Social Security trust fund to reach exhaustion in 2035, a year better than they predicted last year. Here are their predictions for every year since the program was overhauled in 1984:

As you can see, everyone was pretty optimistic after the 1984 reform, but reality set in quickly and then a recession in 1991 made things even worse. By the mid-90s, the trustees were predicting trust fund exhaustion by 2030.

But then we had the dotcom boom followed by the housing boom and predictions got rosier. But then we had the Great Recession and predictions once again got gloomier. Finally, we split the difference during the long, modest expansion of the Obama years. That brings us to the present, and at this point it looks like the trust fund really will run out of money around 2033-35

So what happens then? One of two things. If Congress does nothing, everyone’s Social Security check suddenly gets cut by 25 percent. But if Congress decides to fix things—which seems likely given the political suicide of impoverishing millions of seniors—then taxes go up and Social Security payments stay about the same as scheduled. If we do this now, the tax increase could be done slowly over time. If we wait until 2035, it will probably have to happen pretty quickly. Realistically, those are our only choices.

Categories: Politics

Low-cost streaming TV service Philo announces price increase, now starts at $20/month

9to5Mac - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:03

Philo, one of the most affordable streaming TV services on the market, announced today that it is slightly increasing its prices. Furthermore, new data from Convergence Research Group published today shows increasing interest in cord cutting, but questions the fate of over-the-top streaming services.

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Categories: Geek

Daily Deals: $13 wireless charging stand, 15% off iTunes gift cards, and more

iDownloadBlog - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:55

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you'll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and more. But you better hurry, these prices won't be around forever!
Categories: Geek

Cartoon: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Daily Kos - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:50

Consider supporting my cartoons on my Patreon Page so I can continue creating them. 

Categories: Politics

Republican bills supposed to be protecting people with pre-existing conditions don't do that—at all

Daily Kos - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:46

There's a lot of ass-covering in the latest Republican plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but not necessarily a whole lot of actual covering of those people. The plans from Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon aren't what they claim to be: affordable coverage for people who need it most.

The 2019 plans have done away with the most glaring problem they included in 2018. While insurers couldn't deny plans to people with pre-existing conditions, they could refuse to cover the treatment of those conditions. That glaring hole has been closed, but the plans still fall far, far short of the comprehensive Affordable Care Act provisions. For example, they don't include benefits that must be provided, as the ACA does with essential health benefits like maternity or mental health care, or prescription drugs. By leaving out these benefits or making policies that do allow them to be prohibitively expensive, insurers could de facto deny that care while still complying with the law.

The Republican bills also don't ban insurers from charging more for women than men (the "pro-life" party is fine with adding even more of a financial burden to their forced birth plans). They would also not ban insurance companies from putting caps on how much they pay out in either annual or lifetime benefits. That means someone with a serious illness or accident could blow through their allowed coverage in a matter of months, and be left hanging to pay for care on their own. Both bills have provisions "prohibiting discrimination" based on a person's health status for either eligibility for coverage or for premium costs, but an expert in writing legislation—a former lawyer in the House Office of the Legislative Counsel, the staff that helps write legislation—says that there are other provisions in these two bills that "could be read as undermining those protections against discriminatory premiums." For example, the legislation says insurers can't charge one individual more than another "on the basis of any health status-related factor," but it is qualified by language saying that this provision shall not be interpreted as restricting how much an employer or individual could be charged. That's known as a loophole.

Categories: Politics

Judiciary Chair subpoenas ex-White House counsel Don McGahn, who painted damning portrait of Trump

Daily Kos - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:41

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler subpoenaed Donald Trump's former White House counsel, Don McGahn, on Monday to both turn over documents and testify publicly before the committee.

Nadler has given McGahn a deadline of May 7 to produce the requested documents and set May 21 for a hearing date, following testimony from Attorney General William Barr on May 2. McGahn is central to some of the Mueller report's most vivid descriptions of Trump's efforts to halt the Russia probe. In particular, McGahn testified under oath that Trump had told him to fire Mueller, which McGahn described as some "crazy shit" at the time.

In his statement, Nadler said that Mueller's report, even in redacted form, revealed "substantial evidence" that Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses of power.

"Congress has a constitutional obligation to hold the President accountable," Nadler wrote, "and the planned hearings will be an important part of that process." 

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Categories: Politics

Game of Thrones 8.2 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms'

Daily Kos - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:41

All problems in Game of Thrones can be boiled down to one simple point: Lyanna Stark makes people stupid. And by people, I mean men. Not only did Robert Baratheon launch a kingdom-ripping rebellion over her, but even decades after her death, simply standing in front of Lyanna’s statue is still the go-to place for people to make very poor political decisions. And by people, I mean Jon Snow.

This week’s outing in Game of Thrones was all about the calm before the storm. We know the Night King and his endless supply of ice zombies is coming. Everyone in Winterfell knows they’re coming. And quite early in the episode, the timeline for coming Battle of Winterfell is set—everyone, and everything, stands a very good chance of being dead before the dawn.

That gives every character a chance to take the stage for a moment and have one—possibly—last chance to show us who they have become over the course of seven plus seasons. Some of these are spot on: Tormund Giantsbane gets to tell a tall tale about the origin of his name, and to leer appreciatively at Brienne. Jaime and Tyrion get to admit to each other that their days of wanton incest and carefree debauchery, respectively, are behind them. And in what might be the most touching moment of an episode chockablock with tender glances and rueful last statements, Brienne of Tarth kneels on the cold stones of Winterfell and is made a knight of the seven kingdoms by the man who knows all about losing … and regaining … the honor that knighthood is supposed to embody.

Oh, and Arya has sex. Which is a perfectly acceptable response to impending doom, and a much better option than setting around with a morose Sandor Clegane and a preachy Beric Dondarrion, both of whom are former members of Arya’s bedtime Kill List. However, let us say thanks that the producers of Game of Thrones for once restricted themselves to shots of Arya’s scarred back … because for those of us who have just finished rewatching the whole series, a girl is perpetually twelve.

Despite all these moments ranging from sex to introspection to drunkeness to drunken introspective sex, the episode sometimes falls flat when it comes to making the audience feel the impending doom coming closer by the moment. Soldiers have long had the saying that their job is long stretches of boredom interrupted by rare moments of sheer terror, but even knowing that one of those rarities is right ahead doesn’t make the boredom a whole lot more interesting.

However, there are a number of instances in the episode whose impact will surely echo even after the local scramble against the deadites is done. Assuming, as the increasingly slappable Bran puts in doubt, there is an after.

Categories: Politics

TurboTax Uses Dark Patterns To Trick You Into Paying To File Your Taxes

Slashdot - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:40
ProPublica reports on the shady tactics TurboTax and other tax software companies use to prevent most Americans from filing their taxes for free. According to an agreement with the IRS, tax software companies are supposed to offer a "Free File" product to Americans making less than $66,000 a year. From the report: Here's what happened when we went looking. Our first stop was Google. We searched for "irs free file taxes." And we thought we found what we were looking for: Ads from TurboTax and others directing us to free products. The first link looked promising. It contained the word "free" five times! We clicked and were relieved to see that filing for free was guaranteed. We started the process by creating the profile of a TaskRabbit house cleaner who took in $29,000. We entered extensive personal information. TurboTax asked us to click through more than a dozen questions and prompts about our finances. After all of that, only then did we get the bad news: TurboTax revealed this wasn't going to be free at all. Turns out the house cleaner didn't qualify because he is a independent contractor. The charge? $119.99. Then we tried with a second scenario. We went back to TurboTax.com and clicked on "FREE Guaranteed." This time, we went through the process as a Walgreens cashier without health insurance, entering personal information and giving the company lots of sensitive data. Again, TurboTax told us we had to pay -- this time because there's an extra form if you don't have insurance. The charge? $59.99. But wait. Are the house cleaner and the cashier not allowed to prepare and file their taxes for free because of their particular tax situations? No! According to the agreement between the IRS and the companies, anyone who makes less than $66,000 can prepare and file their taxes for free. After doing some digging in the source code, ProPublica found that TurboTax had branded them as "Non Free File Alliance" or NONFFA. "Even though TurboTax could tell we were eligible to file for free, the company never told us about the truly free version. It turns out that if you start the process from TurboTax.com, it's impossible to find the truly free version. The company itself admits this." Another Google search brought them to a page with two options: "See If You Qualify" and "Start for Free." The "Start for Free" link brought them back to the version of TurboTax where they had to pay, but the "See If You Quality" link finally took them to the real Free File program.

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Categories: Geek

McConnell ready to 'move on' from high crimes and misdemeanors he sought to impeach Clinton for

Daily Kos - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:19

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s mastery of hypocrisy was on full display Monday when he was asked about impeachment during a stop in his home state of Owensboro, Kentucky.

“Well, look, I think it’s time to move on. This investigation was about collusion, there’s no collusion, no charges brought against the president on anything else, and I think the American people have had quite enough of it,” McConnell responded.

Actually, Mitch, the probe wasn’t about collusion: it was about conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Also, Mitch, a quick skim of the report reveals plenty of collusion did occur, even though special counsel Robert Mueller concluded it didn’t rise to the level of a provable criminal conspiracy. As for the obstruction of justice piece McConnell so conveniently ignored, that’s something he used to find pretty compelling ... back when Bill Clinton was president.  

“I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on February 12, 1999.

Perplexed is right. Republicans, rather than grappling with Trump’s lawless effort to obstruct justice, are hoping the public will simply forget about Volume II of Mueller’s report, the least redacted and most vivid and arresting portion of the document. In fact, McConnell was a happy enabler of Trump’s obstructive efforts. Remember all those times he was asked whether he was worried about Trump potentially firing Mueller, and McConnell assured us there was no reason to suspect Trump would do that? Now we know that McConnell was either gleefully lying or dancing the jig of studied ignorance.

Either way, McConnell has made a habit of being wrong about Trump/Russia. He was woefully wrong about preventing then-President Obama from more ardently warning the public of Russian interference, he was woefully wrong about Trump not trying to interfere with Mueller’s investigation, and now he’s woefully wrong about moving quickly past Trump’s lawlessness. 

And it’s pretty interesting how eager McConnell is to move along now, as he was pretty adamant about dwelling on similar issues when a Democrat was president. 

Categories: Politics

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