Facebook

FB Reveals Woeful Diversity Numbers 256 256

theodp writes: There's more work to do," said Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, who issued a straight-out-of-How-to-Lie-With-Statistics diversity update on Thursday that essentially consisted of a handful of bar charts labeled with only percentages for select measures of the social networking giant's current demographics. In search of real numbers, the Guardian turned to Facebook's most recent Equal Employment Opportunity report filing, which showed that the ranks of black employees swelled by a grand total of seven (7) (1 woman) in the year covered by the filing, during which time Facebook saw an overall headcount increase of 1,231. Comparing Facebook's new bar charts of US tech employees to those issued last year shows the proportion of Hispanic and Black employees remained flat at 3% and 1% respectively, while a decline in the proportion of white employees from 53% to 51% was offset by an increase in the proportion of Asian employees from 41% to 43%.
Data Storage

When Will Your Hard Drive Fail? 297 297

jfruh writes: Tech writer Andy Patrizio suffered his most catastrophic hard drive failure in 25 years of computing recently, which prompted him to delve into the questions of which hard drives fail and when. One intriguing theory behind some failure rates involve a crisis in the industry that arose from the massive 2011 floods in Thailand, home to the global hard drive industry.
Spam

86.2 Million Phone Scam Calls Delivered Each Month In the US 193 193

An anonymous reader writes with a report from Help Net Security which assigns some numbers to the lucrative fraud-by-phone business in the U.S. -- and it's not just the most naive who are vulnerable. "Phone fraud continues to threaten enterprises across industries and borders, with the leading financial institutions' call centers exposed to more than $9 million to potential fraud each year," says the article. "Pindrop analyzed several million calls for threats, and found a 30 percent rise in enterprise attacks and more than 86.2 million attacks per month on U.S. consumers. Credit card issuers receive the highest rate of fraud attempts, with one in every 900 calls being fraudulent."

What's been your experience with fraudulent robocalls? I've been getting them on a near-daily basis -- fake credit card alerts, "computer support" malware-install attempts, and more -- for a few years now, which makes whitelisting seem attractive. ("Bridget from account services" has been robo-calling a lot lately, and each time she says it is my final notice.) My biggest worry is that the people behind these scams, like spammers, will hire copywriters who can fool many more people.
Security

The Words That Indicate Malicious Domain URLs 84 84

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from AT&T have released research which improves the identification-rate of malicious URLs — such as those used for C&C servers or to distribute malware to redirected victims — by individuating words in the domain names. Though many of the words that Wei Wang and Kenneth Shirley were able to group as 'malign' are predictable, there is a strange recurrence of basketball-related words in the URL lexicon of malice, with 'bad' domains using names such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. By contrast 'golf' is least likely to be seen in a dangerous URL, along with state names, scenery and realty.
Stats

CDC: Americans Getting Heavier, Average Woman Weighs As Much As 1960s Man 409 409

schwit1 writes: New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the average American has packed on the pounds in the past 50 years. Both men and women have gained a considerable amount of weight since 1960, with the average American woman now weighing 166.2 pounds — nearly identical to what American men weighed in the 1960s. U.S. men have been getting bigger too, gaining nearly 30 pounds from the 1960s to 2010 — 166.3 pounds to 195.5 pounds today. The good news is that both sexes have gained almost an inch in height since then, so that accounts for some of the overall weight gain.
Education

San Francisco Public Schools To Require Computer Science For Preschoolers 179 179

theodp writes: Never underestimate the ability of tech and its leaders to create a crisis. The S.F. Chronicle's Jill Tucker reports that the San Francisco School Board unanimously voted Tuesday to ensure every student in the district gets a computer science education, with coursework offered in every grade from preschool through high school, a first for a public school district. Tech companies, including Salesforce.com, as well as foundations and community groups, are expected to pitch in funding and other technical support to create the new coursework, equip schools and train staff to teach it. From Resolution No. 155-26A2 (PDF), In Support of Expanding Computer Science and Digital Learning to All Students at All Schools from Pre-K to 12th Grade: 1. "All students are capable of making sense of computer science in ways that are creative, interactive, and relevant." 2. "All students, from pre-K to 12, deserve access to rigorous and culturally meaningful computer science education and should be held to high expectations for interacting with the curriculum." 3. "Students' access to and achievement in computer science must not be predictable on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, language, religion, sexual orientation, cultural affiliation, or special needs." MissionLocal has a two-page SFUSD flyer on the project, which aims to illustrate the "importance of computer science" with the same Code.org jobs infographic that Microsoft used to help achieve its stated goal of creating a national K-12 CS crisis, and demonstrate "disparities in accessing CS education" for SFUSD's 57,000 students with a small-sample-size-be-damned bar chart of the racial demographics of the school district's 209 AP Computer Science participants (181 Asian, 0 African American, 6 Latino, 1 Native American, 14 White, 7 Other).
Networking

How Ready Is IPv6 To Succeed IPv4? 595 595

New submitter unixisc writes: Over the last 2 years, June 6th had been observed as IPv6 day. The first time, IPv6 connections were turned on by participants just for a day, and last year, it was turned on for good. A year later, how successful is the global transition to IPv6? According to Cisco 6labs, adoption rates vary from 50% in Belgium to 6% in China, with the U.S. coming somewhere in the middle at 37%. A lot of issues around IPv6, such as the absence of NAT, have apparently been resolved (NAPT is now available and recognized by the IETF). So what are the remaining issues holding people up — be it ISPs, businesses, consumers or anybody else? When could we be near a year when we could turn off all IPv4 connectivity worldwide on an IPv6 only day and nobody would notice?
Transportation

Google Releases Report On Autonomous Vehicle Accidents 74 74

An anonymous reader writes: Back in May, a report from the Associated Press pieced together information on car accidents that involved autonomous vehicles. Google, the company testing the most self-driving cars on public roads right now, said the automation technology was not at fault in any of the accidents. However, they took criticism for declining to provide any detail. Now, they've changed that stance, releasing specifics on all of the accidents involving their autonomous cars. They set up a new website for releasing monthly reports. According to their first report (PDF), there have been 12 accidents since 2010. The vast majority of them involved another car rear-ending the Google car while waiting at a stop sign/light. There was one incident where another car rolled a stop sign, one in which another car veered into the AV's lane, and one incident where a Google employee driving the car in manual mode rear-ended another car. None of the accidents resulted in an injury.
Earth

NOAA: Global Warming 'Pause' Never Happened 639 639

Taco Cowboy writes: The whole global warming debate is as confusing as ever. Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have published a new study in Science saying there was no "pause" in global warming. Dr. Thomas Karl points out that the warming rate over the past 15 years is "virtually identical" to warming over the last century, and updated observations show temperatures did not plateau.

"The idea of a global warming 'hiatus' arose from questions over why the trend of warming temperatures appeared to be stalling recently compared to the later part of the 20th century. ... The new analysis corrects for ocean observations made using different methods as well as including new data on surface temperatures."

"According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global average temperatures have increased by around 0.05C per decade in the period between 1998 and 2012. This compares with an average of 0.12 per decade between 1951 and 2012. The new analysis suggests a figure of 0.116 per decade for 2000-2014, compared with 0.113 for 1950-1999."
Google

Google Chrome Tops 1 Billion Users 102 102

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Venture Beat: At the I/O 2015 developer conference today, Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of product, announced that Chrome has passed 1 billion active users. Less than a year ago, Google revealed Android has over 1 billion active users. These are indeed Google's biggest ecosystems. Google also shared that Google Search, YouTube, and Google Maps all have over 1 billion users as well. Gmail will reach the milestone next; it has 900 million users.
Data Storage

No, Your SSD Won't Quickly Lose Data While Powered Down 106 106

An anonymous reader writes: A few weeks ago, we discussed reports that enterprise SSDs would lose data in a surprisingly short amount of time if left powered off. The reports were based on a presentation from Alvin Cox, a Seagate engineer, about enterprise storage practices. PCWorld spoke to him and another engineer for Seagate, and they say the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Alvin Cox said, "I wouldn't worry about (losing data). This all pertains to end of life. As a consumer, an SSD product or even a flash product is never going to get to the point where it's temperature-dependent on retaining the data." The intent of the original presentation was to set expectations for a worst case scenario — a data center writing huge amounts of data to old SSDs and then storing them long-term at unusual temperatures. It's not a very realistic situation for businesses with responsible IT departments, and almost impossible for personal drives.
Graphics

Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation Packs Thunderbolt 2, Quadro, IGZO2 Panel 133 133

MojoKid writes: Dell recently revamped their M3800 model to better entice graphic designers, engineers, and other high-end users who often work in the field, with a true mobile workstation that's both sufficiently equipped to handle professional grade workloads and is thin and light to boot. Dell claims the M3800 is the "world's thinnest and lightest 15-inch mobile workstation" and at 4.15 pounds, it could very well be. In addition, ISV tools certifications matter for workstation types, so the M3800 gets its pixel pushing muscle from an NVIDIA Quadro K1100M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Other notable specs include an Intel Core i7-4712HQ quad-core processor, 16GB of DDR3L memory, and a 256GB mSATA SSD. One of the new additions to the M3800 is a Thunderbolt 2 port with transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps that allows for the simultaneous viewing/editing and backing up of raw 4K video. Finally, the M3800 is equipped with a 3840x2160 native resolution IGZO2 display, which equates to a 60 percent increase in pixel density over a current gen MacBook Pro with Retina display. Performance-wise, the M3800 holds up pretty strong with standard productivity workloads, though as you can image it excels more-so in graphics rendering throughput.
Crime

'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely 164 164

sciencehabit writes: One of the most important questions relating to incarceration and rehabilitation is how to discourage recidivism. After a prison stint, about half of convicts wind up back in the slammer within three years. But sociologist David Kirk noticed a pattern: convicts who moved away from their old neighborhood when released from prison had a much smaller recidivism rate. Kirk found that the concentration of former prisoners in a neighborhood had a dramatic effect on the likelihood of committing another offense (abstract). "So if an ex-con’s average chance of returning to prison after just 1 year was 22%—as it was in 2006—an additional new parolee in the neighborhood boosted that chance to nearly 25%. The numbers climb for each new parolee added. In some of the most affected neighborhoods—where five of every thousand residents were recent parolees—nearly 35% were back behind bars within a year of getting out." The rates stayed consistent even when controlling for chronic poverty and other neighborhood characteristics.
Stats

Poker Pros Win Against AI, But Experts Peg Match As Statistical Draw 65 65

hypnosec writes with some positive news for Skynet watchers, in that humans still have at least a slight lead against the AIs who might one day imprison us in energy-harvesting goo tanks, or at least beating us in Las Vegas. The two-day poker showdown involving four of the world's top (human) players and a Carnegie Mellon University AI program called Claudico saw the professionals win, after several days of heads-up no-limit Texas Hold'em. "Despite the win, the poker players' $732,713 collective lead over Claudico wasn't quite large enough to attain statistical significance, experts have said. This means that the results can't be accepted as scientifically reliable thereby indicating that the "Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence" competition effectively ended in a statistical tie." On the other hand, the computers sure got over what looked like a rout by the humans.
Stats

Interactive Map Exposes the World's Most Murderous Places 187 187

Lashdots writes with this selection from a Fast Company story: In 2012, 437,000 people were killed worldwide, yielding a global average murder rate of 6.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. A third of those homicides occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, home to just 8% of the world's population. But data on violent death can be difficult to obtain, since governments are often reluctant to share their homicide statistics. What data is available is sometimes inconsistent and inconclusive. Adds Lashdots: To make this data clear and to better address the problem of global homicide, a new open-source visualization tool, the Homicide Monitor, tracks the total number of murders and murder rates per country, broken down by gender, age and, where the data is available, the type of weapon used, including firearms, sharp weapons, blunt weapons, poisoning, and others. For the most violent region in the world, the 40 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, you can also see statistics by state and city. That geographic specificity helps to underscore an important point about murders, says Robert Muggah, the research director and program coordinator for Citizen Security at the Rio de Janeiro-based Igarapé Institute, in the above-lined story: "In most cities, the vast majority of violence takes place on just a few street corners, at certain times of the day, and among specific people."
Earth

Empty Landscape Looms, If Large Herbivores Continue to Die Out 146 146

From the BBC comes this depressing excerpt: Populations of some of the world's largest wild animals are dwindling, raising the threat of an "empty landscape", say scientists. About 60% of giant herbivores - plant-eaters - including rhinos, elephants and gorillas, are at risk of extinction, according to research. Analysis of 74 herbivore species, published in Science Advances, blamed poaching and habitat loss. A previous study of large carnivores showed similar declines. Prof William Ripple, of Oregon State University, led the research looking at herbivores weighing over 100kg, from the reindeer up to the African elephant. "This is the first time anyone has analysed all of these species as a whole," he said. "The process of declining animals is causing an empty landscape in the forest, savannah, grasslands and desert." Here's the study, published in Science Advances, on which the BBC article is based.
Stats

Humans Dominating Poker Super Computer 93 93

New submitter IoTdude writes: The Claudico super computer uses an algorithm to account for gargantuan amounts of complexity by representing the number of possible Heads-Up No-limit Texas Hold'em decisions. Claudico also updates its strategy as it goes along, but its basic approach to the game involves getting into every hand by calling bets. And it's not working out so far. Halfway through the competition, the four human pros had a cumulative lead of 626,892 chips. Though much could change in the week remaining, a lead of around 600,000 chips is considered statistically significant.
Social Networks

Can Riots Be Predicted By Social Media? 141 141

sciencehabit writes: The broken glass and burned wreckage are still being cleared in the wake of the riots that convulsed Baltimore's streets on 27 April. The final trigger of the unrest was the funeral of a 25-year-old African-American man who had died in police custody, but observers point to many other root causes, from income inequality to racial discrimination. But for a few researchers who are studying Baltimore's unrest, the question is not the ultimate causes of the riot but its mechanism: How do such riots self-organize and spread? One of those researchers, Dan Braha, a social scientist at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been collecting data from Twitter that spans the riot from buildup to aftermath, part of a larger study of social media and social unrest around the world. He spoke to Science about how researchers are helping to predict the riots of the future.
Businesses

Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss On the Peter Principle 211 211

Nerval's Lobster writes: You've heard of the Peter Principle, which suggests that all employees manage to rise to the level of their incompetence. (That is to say, everybody is promoted until their skills and strengths no longer align with their current position.) While the Peter Principle is often treated as a truism, a recent Gallup study (registration required)—the result of four decades' worth of research, involving 2.5 million manager-led teams—suggests that it holds a significant degree of real-world truth. "Gallup has found that only 10 percent of working people possess the talent to be a great manager," the study mentions in its introduction. "Companies use outdated notions of succession to put people in these roles." In Gallup's estimation, there are so many bad managers out there that one out of every two employees have "left their job to get away," according to the study. "Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually." In other words, there are a lot of pointy-haired managers out there.
Wikipedia

An Open Ranking of Wikipedia Pages 39 39

vigna writes: The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Università degli studi di Milano did it again: after creating the first open ranking of the World Wide Web they have put together the first entirely open ranking of Wikipedia, using Wikidata to categorize pages. The ranking is based on classic and easily explainable centrality measures or page views, and it is entirely open — all data (Wikipedia and Wikidata dumps) and all software used is publicly available. Just in case you wonder, the most important food is chocolate, the most important band are the Beatles and the most important idea is atheism.