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Social Networks

Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the countering-free-speech-with-more-free-speech dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals, he hints, "I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who'd been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the 'I'm so sorry' apology used by those only sorry because they got caught."
Space

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-up-and-away dept.
JoeSilva writes SpaceX successfully launched two satellites towards Geosynchronous Orbit. There's already a video of one deployment. Word is the launch went very smoothly and bodes well for their next launch in three weeks, as they work to fulfill what is now a very full launch manifest. In addition Elon had one more thing to share: "Upgrades in the works to allow landing for geo missions: thrust +15%, deep cryo oxygen, upper stage tank vol +10%."
Twitter

ISIS Threatens Life of Twitter Founder After Thousands of Account Suspensions 517

Posted by samzenpus
from the dont-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes After a wave of account bannings that marks Twitter's most aggressive move ever against ISIS, new images circulated from militants shows founder Jack Dorsey in crosshairs with the caption "Twitter, you started this war." The famously tech-savy ISIS has met a number of defeats on American-built social media recently with sites like Twitter and YouTube banning the group's efforts in unprecedented numbers.
Science

Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black? 410

Posted by timothy
from the enoy-your-lovely-ochre-sky dept.
HughPickens.com writes Color scientists already have a word for it: Dressgate. Now the Washington Post reports that a puzzling thing happened on Thursday night consuming millions — perhaps tens of millions — across the planet and trending on Twitter ahead of even Jihadi John's identification. The problem was this: Roughly three-fourths of people swore that this dress was white and gold, according to BuzzFeed polling but everyone else said it's dress was blue. Others said the dress could actually change colors. So what's going on? According to the NYT our eyes are able to assign fixed colors to objects under widely different lighting conditions. This ability is called color constancy. But the photograph doesn't give many clues about the ambient light in the room. Is the background bright and the dress in shadow? Or is the whole room bright and all the colors are washed out? If you think the dress is in shadow, your brain may remove the blue cast and perceive the dress as being white and gold. If you think the dress is being washed out by bright light, your brain may perceive the dress as a darker blue and black.

According to Beau Lotto, the brain is doing something remarkable and that's why people are so fascinated by this dress. "It's entertaining two realities that are mutually exclusive. It's seeing one reality, but knowing there's another reality. So you're becoming an observer of yourself. You're having tremendous insight into what it is to be human. And that's the basis of imagination." As usual xkcd has the final word.
It would make the comments more informatively scannable if you include your perceived color pair in the title of any comments below.
Twitter

Twitter Adds "Report Dox" Option 101

Posted by timothy
from the better-late-than-never dept.
AmiMoJo writes Twitter announced that its abuse-report system, which was recently refined to simplify and shorten the reporting process, has now expanded to allow users to report content such as self-harm incidents and "the sharing of private and confidential information" (aka doxing). The announcement, posted by Twitter Vice President of User Services Tina Bhatnagar, explained that December's report-process update was met with a "tripling" of the site's abuse support staff, which has led to a quintupling of abuse report processing. Chat logs recently revealed how Twitter is used by small groups to create vast harassment campaigns, thanks to sock puppet account and relative anonymity.
Facebook

Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-an-eye-on-things dept.
Mark Wilson writes A few months ago Twitter was criticized for teaming up with suicide prevention charity Samaritans to automatically monitor for key words and phrases that could indicate that someone was struggling to cope with life. Despite the privacy concerns that surrounded Samaritans Radar, Facebook has decided that it is going to launch a similar program in a bid to prevent suicides. Working with mental health organizations including Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Save.org, Facebook aims to provide greater help and support for anyone considering suicide or self-harm.
Security

Lizard Squad Claims Attack On Lenovo Days After Superfish 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-publicity-is-bad-publicity dept.
Amanda Parker writes with news that hacker group Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for a defacement of Lenovo's website. This follows last week's revelations that Lenovo installed Superfish adware on consumer laptops, which included a self-signed certificate authority that could have allowed man-in-the-middle attacks. The hackers seemingly replaced the manufacturer's website with images of an unidentified youth, displayed with a song from the Disney film High School Musical playing in the background. Taking to a new Twitter account that has only been active a matter of days, the Lizards also posted emails alleged to be from Lenovo, leading some to speculate that the mail system had been compromised. While some have seen the attack as retaliation for the Superfish bug, it is also possible that Lizard Squad are jumping on the event merely to promote their own hacking services.
Programming

H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads 176

Posted by timothy
from the quick-get-the-pitchforks dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Ever wanted to know how much H-1B holders make per year? Developer Swizec Teller, who is about to apply for an H-1B visa, took data from the U.S. Department of Labor and visualized it in a series of graphs that break down H-1B salaries on a state-by-state basis. Teller found that the average engineer with an H-1B makes $87,000 a year, a good deal higher than developers ($74,000) and programmers ($61,000) with the same visa. ("Don't call yourself a programmer," he half-joked on Twitter.) Architects, consultants, managers, administrators, and leads with H-1Bs can likewise expect six-figure annual salaries, depending on the state and company. Teller's site is well worth checking out for the interactive graphs, which he built with React and D3.js. The debate over H-1Bs is an emotional one for many tech pros, and research into the visa's true impact on the U.S. labor market wasn't helped by the U.S. Department of Labor's recent decision to destroy H-1B records after five years. "These are the only publicly available records for researchers to analyze on the demand by employers for H-1B visas with detail information on work locations," Neil Ruiz, who researches visa issues for The Brookings Institution, told Computerworld after the new policy was announced in late 2014.
AT&T

Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan 237

Posted by timothy
from the electronic-lips-are-moving dept.
reifman (786887) writes "Last June, my post "Yes, You Can Spend $750 in International Data Roaming in One Minute on AT&T" was slashdotted and this led to T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeting 'how crappy @ATT is' and welcoming me to the fold. Unfortunately, now it's TMobile that's having trouble tracking data; it seems to be related to the rollout of their new DataStash promotion. Just like AT&T, they're blaming the customer. Here are the ten lies T-Mobile told me about my data usage today."
ISS

In Space, a Laptop Doubles As a VR Headset 26

Posted by Soulskill
from the elegant-hardware-solutions dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: On Earth, the engineers and developers in charge of building the Oculus Rift and other virtual-reality headsets are concerned about weight: Who wants to strap on something so heavy it cricks their neck? But in space, weight isn't an issue, which is why an astronaut can strap a laptop to his head via a heavy and complicated-looking rig and use it as a virtual-reality device. NASA astronaut Terry Virts recently did just that to train himself in the use of SAFER (Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue), a jetpack worn during spacewalks. (In the movie Gravity, George Clooney's character uses a highly unrealistic version of SAFER to maneuver around a space shuttle.)
The Internet

Notorious 8chan Board Has History Wiped After Federal Judge's Doxing 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the wiping-it-clean dept.
AmiMoJo writes On Monday, imageboard site 8chan's "baphomet" subboard, an Internet destination known for hosting aggressive "doxing" posts, received a major history wipe the day after one of its users posted the personal information of a federal judge in the Silk Road case. A follow-up post by baphomet's "Board Owner" account stated that "HW," a reference to site founder Frederick "hotwheels" Brennan, deleted "the SSN posts" and told the baphomet board founder, previously identified via an associated Twitter handle as Benjamin Biddix, to "lay low." The same day baphomet's "Board Owner" announced a "doxing for hire" service due to "running low on funds."
Facebook

Facebook Launches ThreatExchange To Let Companies Share Threat Info 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
An anonymous reader writes Facebook today launched ThreatExchange, described as "an API-based clearinghouse for security threat information." It's really a social platform, which Facebook naturally excels at building, which allows companies to share with each other details about malware and phishing attacks. Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Yahoo participated in ThreatExchange and gave feedback as Facebook was developing it. New contributors Bitly and Dropbox have also recently joined, bringing the initial participant list to seven major tech companies.
The Media

An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos 400

Posted by timothy
from the what's-actually-happening dept.
A few days ago, we posted a story that asked whether posting horrific videos online served a legitimate journalistic purpose; some images that are shocking in their violence are now routinely available, including and especially the recent video of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive. Matthew Ingram writes at GigaOm that, whatever you think of the motives or results of the traditional news media showing such videos or choosing not to, there's good reason for social media sites not to reflexively remove such content.
Social Networks

NYPD Creates Fake Social Media Profiles To Track Loud Parties, Underage Drinking 135

Posted by timothy
from the kid-vs-the-state dept.
v3rgEz writes Is that Facebook friend request from the cute girl in third period, or an undercover officer looking to bust up the next high shool kegger? That's the question more students in New York City might be asking, as newly released documents from the NYPD disclose its process for agents creating undercover social media aliases with the aims of uprooting terrorist plots, tracking "political activity," and other nefarious crimes like underage drinking or pre-meditated loud partying. Fake profiles must be approved by bureau brass, unless it would "seriously impair" an investigation or risk life or property damage.
Transportation

Automakers Move Toward OTA Software Upgrades 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the granted-features-like-a-wizard dept.
Lucas123 writes: While some carmakers today offer over-the-air software upgrades to navigation maps and infotainment head units, Tesla became the first last week to perform a powertrain upgrade overnight. But as the industry begins adopting internal vehicle bus standards with greater bandwidth and more robust security, experts believe vehicle owners will no longer be required to visit dealerships or perform downloads to USB sticks. IHS predicts that in the next three to five years, most, if not all automakers, will offer fully fledged OTA software-enabled platforms that encompass upgrades to every vehicle system — from infotainment, safety, comfort, and powertrain. First, however, carmakers must deploy more open OS platforms, remove hardened firewalls between vehicle ECUs, and deploy networking topologies such as Ethernet, with proven security.
Twitter

Twitter CEO: "We Suck" At Dealing With Trolls, Vows To Kick Them Out 467

Posted by timothy
from the on-the-internet-everyone-knows-you're-a-troll dept.
AmiMoJo writes "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we've sucked at it for years," wrote Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in a leaked internal post. "We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day." Gamergate is only the latest and loudest example of harassment. Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda Williams, left the service last August because of the disturbing images and attacks she received after her father's suicide. Advocates have offered numerous suggestions for fixing the problem, including improving responsiveness to reports and better blocking tools.
Businesses

Female-Run Companies Often do Better Than Male-Run Ones (Video) 271

Posted by Roblimo
from the sometimes-the-best-man-for-the-job-is-a-woman dept.
Today's interviewee, Viktoria Tsukanov, is one of the executives at predictive marketing company Mintigo who did a study in January, 2015 that seemed to show that large companies with female CEOs "achieve up to 18% higher revenue per employee than male CEOs." The study, titled "She’s the CEO and She’s Sensational," used financial data Mintigo collected on 20 million companies, and determined CEOs' genders by analyzing first names, so it was not subject to survey vagaries but was a straight data analysis job. Could this be a case of correlation and causation being unrelated? It's possible. It's also possible that the revenue per employee figures are affected by the fact that female CEOs are more common in healthcare and non-profit organizations, while men dominate manufacturing and construction -- and, as Viktoria pointed out in a blog post headlined "Women Just Raised the Bar. Big Time." there may be other factors at work as well.

The "18% higher revenue" figure specifically applies to companies with more than 1000 workers, while companies with fewer workers may average more revenue per employee if they have male CEOs. Besides discussing the study itself, in our interview Viktoria talks about how male employees might want to alter (or not alter) their behavior if they find themselves working for a female boss for the first time. She also discusses challenges a woman might face if she is suddenly put in charge of a heavily male IT or programming staff. Other thoughts she shares have to do with finding mentors and dealing with negative people, both of which apply to people of all genders. Interesting food for thought all around.
Businesses

Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the putting-a-team-together dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes It's a pretty good market out there for tech professionals, at least on a statistical level. That can make it difficult for companies (both large ones and startups) to find good talent for their developer and engineering ranks. According to Ron Pragides, who rode the wave of IPOs at Salesforce and Twitter before joining Bigcommerce, the trick to hiring good tech people isn't necessarily a matter of offering the best perks, or the most money, or even an office with all sorts of fun stuff (although those can help). Instead, it's often a matter of selling them on a vision of the company's future. "It is about presenting the opportunity and the potential of what it could be if we have the right attitude, the right focus, the right work ethic," he said in an interview, "It's about making people feel like this is your company and making them understand they are going to help the culture and will have a big direction in how the office develops. I tell them, 'This is your company, this is your startup.'" But even that might not be enough in places like Silicon Valley, where lots of companies offer that "vision thing." So what does it take to pull in good people to work on your projects? Or does it really just come down to money in the end?
Education

WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes 779

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-things-equal dept.
theodp writes Boys' over-representation in K-12 computer classes has perplexed educators for 30+ years. Now, following on the heels of Code.org's and Google's attempts to change the game with boys-don't-count gender-based CS teacher funding schemes, Washington State lawmakers have introduced House Bill 1813, legislation that requires schools seeking K-12 computer education funding to commit to preventing boys from ruling the computer class roost. Computer science and education grant recipients, HB 1813 explains, "must demonstrate engaged and committed leadership in support of introducing historically underrepresented students [including girls, low-income students, and minority students]" and "demonstrate a plan to engage historically underrepresented students with computer science." Calling it "a bold new bill that we hope more states will follow," corporate and tech billionaire-backed Code.org tweeted its support for the bill.
Security

Lizard Squad Hits Malaysia Airlines Website 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the kicking-them-when-they're-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Lizard Squad, the hacking collaborative that went after the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and the North Korean internet last year, has now targeted Malaysia Airlines with an attack. Bloomberg links to images of the hacks (including the rather heartless 404 jab on its home page) and columnist Adam Minter wonders why Malaysia Airlines, which has had so much bad press in the past 12 months, was worthy of Lizard Squad's ire. In apparent answer, @LizardMafia (the org's reputed Twitter handle) messaged Mr. Minter this morning: "More to come soon. Side Note: We're still organizing the @MAS email dump, stay tuned for that."