Google loses up to 250 bikes a week, Oracle worker even helps herself to them: report

Found on Silicon Beat on Sunday, 07 January 2018
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Last summer, it emerged that some of the company’s bikes — intended to help Googlers move quickly and in environmentally friendly fashion around the company’s sprawling campus and surrounding areas — were sleeping with the fishes in Stevens Creek.

The firm has 30 contractors in five vans, tasked with recovering lost or stolen bikes — and they carry waders and grappling hooks for pulling bikes out of a creek, the WSJ reported Jan. 5. Still, Google’s not certain how many bikes disappear for good.

With people being like that, in the end you will have to enforce controls. Users register for a bike and will be held responsible for it; since obviously it does not work otherwise.

Why American doctors keep doing expensive procedures that don’t work

Found on Vox on Sunday, 31 December 2017
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Each year, hundreds of thousands of American patients receive stents for the relief of chest pain, and the cost of the procedure ranges from $11,000 to $41,000 in US hospitals.

But in fact, American doctors routinely prescribe medical treatments that are not based on sound science.

As surgeon and health care researcher Atul Gawande observes, “Millions of people are receiving drugs that aren’t helping them, operations that aren’t going to make them better, and scans and tests that do nothing beneficial for them, and often cause harm.”

The more you sell, the more profit you make. It should be obvious.

Leaky RootsWeb Server Exposes Some User Data

Found on Threatpost on Saturday, 30 December 2017
Browse Various said it closed portions of its community-driven genealogy site RootsWeb as it investigated a leaky server that exposed 300,000 passwords, email addresses and usernames to the public internet. said RootsWeb has “millions” of members who use the site to share family trees, post user-contributed databases and host thousands of messaging boards.

The leak aside, it should make one feel a little uneasy to store your entire family history and all relationships online.

Filmmakers Want The Right to Break DRM and Rip Blu-Rays

Found on Torrentfreak on Friday, 29 December 2017
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Technically speaking it’s not hard to rip a DVD or Blu-Ray disc nowadays, and the same is true for ripping content from Netflix or YouTube. However, people who do this are breaking the law.

Interestingly, filmmakers are not happy with the current law either. They often want to use small pieces of other videos in their films, but under the current exemptions, this is only permitted for documentaries.

The MPAA and others have previously argued that these changes are not required. Instead, they pointed out that people could point their cameras or phones at the screen to record something, or use screen capture software.

They fought for this law, so they keep it. Or drop it completely and make it legal for everybody to rip movies.

Cash Might Be King, but They Don't Care

Found on Slashdot on Tuesday, 26 December 2017
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Cashless businesses were once an isolated phenomenon, but now, similarly jarring experiences can be had across the street at Sweetgreen, or two blocks up at Two Forks, or next door to Two Forks at Dos Toros, or over on 41st Street at Bluestone Lane coffee.

Not surprisingly, the credit card companies, who make a commission on every credit card purchase, applaud the trend. Visa recently offered select merchants a $10,000 reward for depriving customers of their right to pay by the method of their choice. A Visa executive described this practice to CNN as offering shoppers "freedom from carrying cash."

You don't want my money, I don't want your products. Thank you very much for giving me the freedom from being monitored. Going cashless sounds like a hype, but it's much more likely an astroturfing campaign. It may sound convenient if you just need a piece of plastic, but in the end you give up the control over your money and finances. $0.01 or $10,000? Same swipe. Accept the coming negative interest because you cannot withdraw your money. Be prepared for even more targeted advertising because credit card companies will sell your transaction history to advertisers for even more profit; and who knows, maybe your next employer wants to see such a history too to determine if you fit into the company.

UFO Existence “Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt,” Says Former Head of Pentagon Alien Program

Found on Newsweek on Monday, 25 December 2017
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Elizondo was not able to discuss specifics of the program. But he told The Telegraph that there had been “lots” of UFO sightings and witnesses interviewed during the program’s five years.

Despite Pentagon funding running out in 2012, Elizondo oversaw UFO work for another five years before resigning in October 2017 out of frustration with the secrecy of the investigations. He had pushed for videos of the possible alien sightings to be made public so people could see the footage.

Of course he cannot provide any undeniable proof. No flying saucer, nobody from outer space saying hello; not even an alien weather balloon.

Fortinet VPN Client Exposes VPN Creds, Palo Alto Firewalls Allow Remote Attacks

Found on Bleeping Computer on Thursday, 14 December 2017
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According to researchers, the FortiClient software stores VPN credentials in a local file on each computer, which is encrypted with a key to preventing easy access to the data. SEC Consult says this key is the same for all users and it's stored by default in the FortiClient binary itself. The key can easily be extracted and used to decrypt and access the VPN credentials.

Security researcher Philip Pettersson discovered that by combining three vulnerabilities together, he could run code on a Palo Alto firewall from a remote location with root privileges.

It happens way too often that so-called security products make the situation actually worse for the user. Especially antivirus software is often the source for a wide range of problems and it cannot protect from yet unknown malware which gets pushed out daily by the authors.

Amazon drivers forced to deliver 200 parcels a day while earning less than minimum wage

Found on Sunday Mirror on Sunday, 10 December 2017
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Drivers are being asked to deliver up to 200 parcels a day for Amazon while earning less than the minimum wage, a Sunday Mirror investigation reveals today.

Yet they have so little time for food or toilet stops they snatch hurried meals on the run and urinate into plastic bottles they keep in their vans.

The delivery giant, which makes £7.3billion a year, does not employ them directly but uses an army of agencies instead. These agencies recruit drivers who work via an Amazon app and follow a delivery route set by the company.

The end of the story is that people won't care. They will still complain that their parcel arrived 5 minutes after it should, and that everything takes too long anyway. The majority of shoppers at Amazon are part of the problem too.

Top-selling handgun safe can be remotely opened in seconds—no PIN needed

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 09 December 2017
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The Vaultek VT20i handgun safe, ranked fourth in Amazon's gun safes and cabinets category, allows owners to electronically open the door using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app.

The feat required no knowledge of the unlock PIN or any advanced scanning of the vulnerable safe. The hack works reliably even when the PIN is changed. All that's required to make it work is that the safe have Bluetooth connectivity turned on.

Why would anybody with a single braincell build a bluetoothed safe? Is this all the world as come to: "App! App! App!"?

Degree Inflation Hurting Bottom Line of U.S. Firms, Closing Off Economic Opportunity for Millions of Americans

Found on Havard Business School on Saturday, 25 November 2017
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According to new research released today, more than six million middle-skills jobs in the U.S. are now at risk of “degree inflation”—the practice of preferring or requiring a college degree for jobs that were traditionally held by middle-skills workers.

The trend impacts positions such as supervisors, support specialists, sales representatives, inspectors and testers, clerks, as well as secretaries and administrative assistants. Those jobs were traditionally held by many middle-class Americans without a college degree. When the same job is posted today with the minimum education requirement of a college degree, it is placed beyond the reach of Americans who may not have a college degree, but do have relevant experience.

You should pick the "right tool for the job". Sadly, too many think that a college degrees automatically makes the person better than others, so naturally, more and more want such a degree. As a result, the quality of a degree these days is lower than a few decades ago.