Programming

Women Get Pull Requests Accepted More (Except When You Know They're Women) (peerj.com) 7

An anonymous reader writes: In the largest study of gender bias [in programming] to date, researchers found that women tend to have their pull requests accepted at a higher rate than men, across a variety of programming languages. This, despite the finding that their pull requests are larger and less likely to serve an immediate project need. At the same time, when the gender of the women is identifiable (as opposed to hidden), their pull requests are accepted less often than men's.
Twitter

Twitter's Timeline Option Puts Important Tweets Up Top (engadget.com) 30

Twitter is doing its best to make sure you see the best content in your timeline (at least thats what its hoping its doing with today's announcement of a new timeline option). The new feature drops what Twitter determines are the best tweets at the top of a user's timeline. For now, this feature is optional, so users can opt-in to see this timeline. In the coming weeks, it will slowly be rolled out to all users.
Open Source

DjangoCon 2016 To Be Held In Philadelphia In July (defna.org) 12

New submitter FlipperPA writes: It has just been announced that the 2016 vintage of DjangoCon US will be held in Philadelphia at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from July 17th through 22nd. DjangoCon US is a 6-day international community conference for the community by the community, held each year in North America, about the Django web framework. From its humble beginnings in a newsroom in Lawrence, KS, Django now powers some of the better known web sites on the planet, including The Washington Post, Mozilla, Instagram, Disqus, and Pinterest. Considered by many to be the "batteries included" web framework for Python, Django continues to attract new developers across the globe.
Government

Identity Thieves Obtain 100,000 Electronic Filing PINs From IRS System (csoonline.com) 40

itwbennett writes: In January attackers targeted an IRS Web application in an attempt to obtain E-file PINs corresponding to 464,000 previously stolen social security numbers (SSNs) and other taxpayer data. The automated bot was blocked by the IRS after obtaining 100,000 PINs. The IRS said in a statement Tuesday that the SSNs were not stolen from the agency and that the agency would be notifying affected taxpayers.
Government

Putin's Internet Czar Wants To Ban Windows On Government PCs 141

SmartAboutThings writes: The Russian government is allegedly looking to ban Microsoft's Windows operating system, increase taxes on foreign technology companies, develop its homegrown OS and encourage local tech companies to grow. All these proposals comes from German Klimenko, Vladimir Putin's new 'internet czar, as Bloomberg describes him. In a 90-minute interview, Klimenko said forcing Google and Apple to pay more taxes and banning Microsoft Windows from government computers are necessary measures, as he is trying to raise taxes on U.S. companies, thus helping local Russian competitors such as Yandex and Mail.ru.
Windows

Microsoft Launches Windows 10 Update History Site To Share Update Release Notes (betanews.com) 39

Mark Wilson writes: Keeping up to date with the latest updates for Windows 10 can be something of a full time job, particularly if you're signed up to get Insider builds. To make it easier to keep track of what changes each update brings, Microsoft has launched the Windows 10 update history site.The site is in response to feedback from Windows 10 users who have been looking for an accessible way of learning about updates. The site provides details of exactly what the updates delivered through Windows Update. It is something of a work in progress at the moment, but one of the recent updates featured fixes a bug that meant browsing sessions in Microsoft Edge's InPrivate mode were not necessarily completely private.
AI

NHTSA Gives Green Light To Self-Driving Cars 145

New submitter tyme writes: Reuters reports that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Google that it would recognize the artificial intelligence in a self-driving car as the "driver" (rather than any of the occupants). The letter also says that NHTSA will write safety rules for self-driving cars in the next six months, paving the way for deployment of self-driving cars in large numbers.
Encryption

Federal Bill Could Override State-Level Encryption Bans (thestack.com) 107

An anonymous reader writes: A new bill has been proposed in Congress today by Representatives Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) which looks to put a stop to any pending state-level legislation that could result in misguided encryption measures. The Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016 comes as a response to state-level encryption bills which have already been proposed in New York state and California. These near-identical proposals argued in favour of banning the sale of smartphones sold in the U.S. that feature strong encryption and cannot be accessed by the manufacturer. If these bills are passed, current smartphones, including iPhone and Android models, would need to be significantly redesigned for sale in these two states. Now Lieu and Farenthold are making moves to prevent the passing of the bills because of their potential impact on trade [PDF] and the competitiveness of American firms.
Opera

Chinese Tech Group Offers To Buy Opera; Board Endorses 90

jones_supa writes: There's been plenty of speculation around the future of web browser maker Opera, and now that looks like it will soon be resolved. Today the Norway-headquartered company confirmed that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a group fronted by Chinese consumer tech companies Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360. The deal is for 100% of the company, and it represents a 53% premium on the company's valuation based on its most recent trading price. Opera's board said in a statement (PDF) that it has "unanimously decided to recommend" its shareholders to accept the bid. The final deal is subject to government and shareholders' approvals.
Advertising

Why Stack Overflow Doesn't Care About Ad Blockers 186

Press2ToContinue writes: Forging a bold step in the right direction, Stack Overflow announced today that they don't care if you use an ad blocker when you visit their site. "The truth is: we don't care if our users use ad blockers on Stack Overflow. More accurately: we hope that they won't, but we understand that some people just don't like ads. Our belief is that if someone doesn't like them, and they won't click on them, any impressions served to them will only annoy them-- plus, serving ads to people who won't click on them harms campaign performance. ... Publishers can't win by forcing ads — especially low-quality ads — in people's faces. Think scantily-clad women selling flight deals, weight-loss supplement promos or wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube-men promoting car dealerships." It's possible that this declaration by SO might help to clarify to advertisers that it is the overabundance of low quality ads that practically force the public to seek out ad blockers. But seriously, what is the likelihood of that?
Earth

Study Finds You Can Grow Brain Cells Through Exercise 89

phantomfive writes: Researchers have discovered that aerobic exercise may increase neurogenesis. Based on the results, rats that were put on a treadmill grew more brain cells than rats that didn't. Resistance training seemed to have no effect. This is significant, because the neuron reserve of the hippocampus can be increased, thus preconditions for learning for humans could be improved simply through aerobic exercise.
Earth

Scientists Turn Paper Waste Into Aerogel (inhabitat.com) 48

Kristine Lofgren writes: A team of scientists have successfully turned paper waste into aerogel. Aerogels are used in insulation, and they are usually made out of polymers and silica. But a research team at the National University of Singapore managed to make the highly sought-after product using recycled paper, which could have huge implications not only for the rate at which we are filling up our landfills, but also for the amount of chemicals that we are producing and releasing into the environment.
Open Source

SourceForge Eliminates DevShare Program (sourceforge.net) 328

SourceForge has officially eliminated its DevShare program. The DevShare program delivered installer bundles as part of the download for participating projects. We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We are more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit. This is just the first step in a number of improvements we will outline in the coming weeks. SourceForge and Slashdot were acquired in late January by BIZX.
Books

Uborne Children's Books Release For Free Computer Books From the '80s (usborne.com) 112

martiniturbide writes: To promote some new computer coding books for kids, Uborne Children's Books has put online 15 of its children books from the '80s to learn how to code games. The books are available for free in PDF format and has samples to create your game for Commodore 64, VIC 20, Apple, TRS 80, Spectrum and other. Maybe you read some of them like "Machine Code for Beginners" or "Write your own Adventure Program for MicroComputers." Should other publishers also start to make their '80s and '90s computer books available for free?
Censorship

FBI Gripes "We Can't Read Everyone's Secrets" (reuters.com) 154

New submitter rdukb writes: FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that investigators still can't access the phone contents of one of the San Bernadino killers. He went on to argue that the phenomenon of communications "going dark" due to more sophisticated technology and wider use of encryption is "overwhelmingly affecting" law enforcement operations, including, not only the San Bernadino murders, but also investigations into other murders, car accidents, drug trafficking and the proliferation of child pornography. This might increase pressure on Apple to loosen the backdoor restrictions. Will the industry relent and allow Government access to data from these devices?
Twitter

Twitter Launches Trust and Safety Council To Help Put End To Trolling (thestack.com) 191

An anonymous reader writes: Twitter has announced a new trust and safety council to stamp out bullying and trolling on the microblogging site. The Twitter Trust & Safety Council will initially be formed of around 40 bodies, including the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, ICT Watch, NetSafe, and Samaritans. These organisations, along with safety experts, academics and security researchers, will work to ensure a safe and secure platform for users to express themselves freely and safely. The Council's main focus will be to protect minors, encourage 'greater compassion and empathy on the internet,' and promote efforts in media literacy and digital citizenship. Community groups will also participate to help prevent online 'abuse, harassment, and bullying,' as well as mental health problems and suicide.
Debian

Raspberry Pi's Raspbian OS Finally Ships With Open-Source OpenGL Support (phoronix.com) 52

An anonymous reader writes: With this month's Raspbian OS update, the Debian-based operating system for the Raspberry Pi ships experimental OpenGL driver support. This driver has been developed over the past two years by a former Intel developer with having a completely open and mainline DRM kernel driver and Mesa Gallium driver to open up the Pi as a replacement to the proprietary GPU driver.
Earth

Windmill Blade Molds 3D Printed By National Labs (energy.gov) 69

MountainLogic writes: Last year ORNL produced a 3D printed Shelby. This year, the National Labs are using the mother of all 3D printers to make windmill molds cheaper and faster to produce in the US. The size of the current 150 foot utility scale blades are being extended with these techniques. US DOE is providing a leading role to advance US manufacturing technology and competitiveness. Welcome back rust belt, we missed you.
Space

LIGO Will Make Gravitational Waves Announcement on Thursday 112

StartsWithABang writes: When we look out into the Universe, we normally gain information about it by gathering light of various wavelengths. However, there are other possibilities for astronomy, including by looking for the neutrinos emitted by astrophysical sources - first detected in the supernova explosion of 1987 - and in the gravitational waves emitted by accelerating masses. These ripples in the fabric of space were theorized back in the early days of Einstein's General Relativity, and experiments to detect them have been ongoing since the 1960s. However, in September of 2015, Advanced LIGO came online, and it was the first gravitational wave observatory that was expected to detect a real gravitational wave signal. The press conference on Thursday is where the collaboration will make their official announcement, and in the meantime, here's an explainer of what gravitational waves are, what Advanced LIGO can teach us, and how.
Security

President Obama Unveils $19 Billion Plan To Overhaul U.S. Cybersecurity 179

erier2003 writes: President Obama on Tuesday unveiled an expansive plan to bolster government and private-sector cybersecurity by establishing a federal coordinator for cyber efforts, proposing a commission to study future work, and asking Congress for funds to overhaul dangerously obsolete computer systems. His newly signed executive orders contain initiatives to better prepare college students for cybersecurity careers, streamline federal computer networks, and certify Internet-connected devices as secure. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan also establishes a Federal Privacy Council (to review how the government stores Americans' personal information), creates the post of Chief Information Security Officer, and establishes a Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.

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