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Submission + - Y Combinator's Basic Income Experiment Draws Closer

Robotron23 writes: The much anticipated research into basic income by Silicon Valley finance company Y Combinator appears to be progressing well. The company has appointed Elizabeth Rhodes as its Research Director, choosing the little-known recent PHD graduate over several applications from senior tenured professors. The location where the research will take place has been revealed as Oakland, California — chosen for its proximity to the Y Combinator headquarters, and the high inequality reported in the region.

Submission + - Erik Bauersfeld, Voice of Admiral Ackbar, Dies at 93

Robotron23 writes: Voice actor and radio dramatist Erik Bauersfeld has died, leaving behind a decades-long broadcasting legacy. He became most famous for his character in the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi, Admiral Ackbar. The line 'It's a Trap!', spoken as the Rebel fleet engages in combat with the Empire, spawned a popular following which persists to this day. As well as Ackbar, Bauersfeld also voiced Jabba the Hutt's majordomo Bib Fortuna, and was among those who read for the iconic role of Jedi master Yoda, which was eventually granted to Frank Oz.

Submission + - Startup Financer Y Combinator Considers the Universal Basic Income (

Gordon_Shure writes: Silicon Valley startup financer Y Combinator, remembered for successes like Airbnb and Dropbox, is launching an experiment to give people a Universal Basic Income. At present, the plan is for hundreds of participants to get repeated cash payments unconditionally. Then, assessors will record life consequences like changes in work patterns, self-employment, artistic endeavors, or idleness.

Recent focus on UBI in Finland, Switzerland and other countries see proponents claim a basic income will — in a world facing structural unemployment due to jobs taken by automated AI, robotics and machines — combat poverty and work insecurity. Others remain unconvinced.

Submission + - Automation of Jobs Accelerates in USA and India

Robotron23 writes: Portentous changes to the labour economies of India and the USA due to job automation by machines and robots continue to make headlines. Demand for hardware and software automation is seeing implementation burgeon in both countries, as companies seek efficiency by exchanging human labour for machines. Generally the trend sees erosion of wages in areas previously unaffected by automation — including varieties of programming — while new, albeit highly specialized, engineering jobs are created. Both articles encourage mindful changes in education, although how schools either side of the world can adapt to automation's blistering pace is unclear.

The latest volley of job automation news has arrived in the weeks since the Davos' forum predicted that machine automation will result in a net loss globally of over 5 million jobs before 2020.

Submission + - Apple May Owe $8 Billion to the EU After Tax Ruling

Robotron23 writes: The EU Commission has informed Apple that it could have to pay $8 billion in back taxes. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates Apple has paid only 1.8% tax on profits between 2004 and 2012 — this ruling increases their liability to 12.5%. This decision comes hot on the heels of a tax avoidance settlement Apple reached with Italy last month for $347 million.

Submission + - Clinton Campaign Falters as Sanders Builds Momentum, is Praised by Biden

Robotron23 writes: Not too long ago Bernie Sanders was considered an outsider for the Democratic nomination, however recent polls consistently show Hillary Clinton's hold on Iowa crumbling. Sanders' pollings in New Hampshire meanwhile have seen his ratings maintained or slightly increased over the same period. Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden praised Sanders for sticking to his guns on issues such as income inequality, while Clinton's campaign stepped up hostility vs. Sanders in an attempt to galvanize her relatively unenthused supporter base.

With the Iowa caucus taking place on February 1, and New Hampshire primary set for February 9, the view of 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination being a simple coronation for Clinton now looks outright wrong.

Comment Six points about Greek Debt (Score 1) 690

This article contains a lot of surprising points about Greek debt - namely that a large part of it was essentially preallocated to serve as bank bailouts, and as repayment of other debt. Back in 2010 those issuing the cash knew it was doomed to fail, yet it went ahead anyhow. The general populace of Greece saw relatively little of the cash borrowed by their elected government, which goes a way to explaining why the campaigns run by Syriza were so successful:

Nice how certain bloggers, not beholden to the interests that define and distort so much media now, end up presenting actual facts over the masses of bluster and propaganda that qualifies for reporting in the news media nowadays.

How many places even mention that back in the 1950s, the Greeks voted to cancel 50% of the war debt levied on Germany? Or raise the shocking idea that it would be good of Germany to reciprocate that favour?

Submission + - Republicans Block Latest Attempt at Curbing NSA Power 2

Robotron23 writes: The latest attempt at NSA reform has been prevented from passage in the Senate by a margin of 58 to 42. Introduced as a means to stop the NSA collecting bulk phone and e-mail records on a daily basis, the USA Freedom Act has been considered a practical route to curtailment of perceived overreach by security services,18 months since Edward Snowden went public. Opponents to the bill said it as needless, as Wall Street Journal raised the possibility of terrorists such as ISIS running amok on U.S. soil. Supporting the bill meanwhile were the technology giants Google and Microsoft. Prior to this vote, the bill had already been stripped of privacy protections in aid of gaining White House support. A provision to extend the controversial USA Patriot Act to 2017 was also appended by the House of Representatives.

Submission + - Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Singleplayer

Robotron23 writes: The developers behind the sequel to legendary videogame Elite has, to the anger and dismay of fans, dropped the offline singleplayer mode it promised. The game is due for full release in under a month. With the title having raised about $1.5 million from Kickstarter, and millions more in subsequent campaigns that advertised the feature, gamers are livid. A complaints thread on the official Elite forums has swelled to 450+ pages in only three days, while refunds are being lodged in the thousands. It is down to the discretion of Frontier, the game's developer, whether to process refund requests of original backers.

Submission + - Linux Community Considers NSA's Hand in systemd

Robotron23 writes: Several sources within the Linux community (here, here, here and here) have continued to discuss the possibility of NSA involvement with systemd. Various commentaries argue that the pace, scope and vociferousness surrounding the Debian kernel updates signify cause for suspicion. Discussion upon this subject has simmered since April, when Julian Assange branded the Debian project as being under the ownership of the NSA.

With examples, iGuru summarizes the arguments in this post. Noted is the worrying influence of developers working in billion-dollar corporate giant Red Hat, the potential for infiltration and manipulation within and between systemd supporters, plus numerous possible security holes and vulnerabilities in the code. Meanwhile, systemd's 217 update was announced as implemented.

Submission + - Marijuana Legalized in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.

Robotron23 writes: Coinciding with the midterm elections yesterday were state ballots proposing the legalization of cannabis. All three territories where full legalization was tabled approved the measure, joining Washington state and Colorado in giving cannabis the nod. The narrowest vote was that of Alaska at a roughly 52 to 48 percent margin. Washington D.C. meanwhile saw the vote strongly tipped in favor at about 69% to 31% opposed. Buoyed by the news, advocates of legal cannabis are already contemplating the next round of state ballots in 2016.

Comment Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (Score 2) 116

You'll notice that there was virtually no griefing or trolling in old MMOs.

I call bullshit.

From 2001 till 2004 I played the oldest of the popular online MMOs; Ultima Online. Trolling occurred through excessive player killing, disruption of guild activities and dungeoneering plus people doing some honest mining. It was characteristic celebrated amongst perpetrators and adrenaline junkies but reviled amongst those wanting a less combative, PvE experience.

It was already on the decrease when I joined up thanks to the introduction of a non-combat realm. Nowadays a few thousand people yearning for the lawlessness of the old UO have founded their own free servers replicating the 'Wild West' culture.

Trolling isn't exclusive to new MMOs or modern forums, social media and so on. It was present in the early days of Usenet, the earliest chat rooms and IRC channels, and from the very first online games venturing beyond LAN and Intranet play.

Comment Slashdot Beta's Death Star (Score 1, Flamebait) 250

CowboyNeal: Governor Alice. I should have expected to find you holding Beta's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought onboard.

Alice Hill: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate Slashdot.

CowboyNeal: [sarcastically] I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.

Hill: CowboyNeal, before Slashdot's execution, I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony that will make the Beta shitfest operational. No tech site will dare oppose Dice now.

CowboyNeal: The more you tighten your grip, Hill, the more tech sites will slip through your fingers.

Hill: Not after we demonstrate the power of this revamp. In a way, you have determined the choice of the website that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the rogue site relaunch base, I have chosen to implement Beta's destructive power on your favorite website of Slashdot.

CowboyNeal: [shocked] No! Slashdot is peaceful. We have no hot grits. You can't possibly–

Hill: You would prefer another target? Then name the system! [stepping closer to CowboyNeal and pinning him against Slashdot's editors] I grow tired of asking this, so it will be the last time. Where is the revamp based?

CowboyNeal: [looks at Slashdot for a moment, then, resigned] AltSlashdot. They're on AltSlashdot.

Hill: There. You see, editors? She can be reasonable. [to sysadmin] Continue with the operation. You may launch Beta when ready.

CowboyNeal: [panicked] What?!

Hill: You are far too trusting. AltSlashdot is too small to make an effective demonstration, but don't worry. We will deal with your revivalist friends soon enough.

CowboyNeal: No!

Fuck Beta! Everyone get in touch with Alice Hill, the person who actually runs the show at Dice - her LinkedIn.

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