Just 1 In 10 Companies Expect All Employees To Return To the Office

An anonymous reader writes: Only about 1 in 10 companies expect all employees to return to their pre-pandemic work arrangements, according to a new survey. The National Association for Business Economics found that just 11 percent of survey respondents expect all staff members at their companies to return eventually. Around 65 percent of companies have allowed “most” or “all” of their staff members to work from home during the pandemic, and about half of respondents said they plan to continue the policies until the second half of the year.

“For the most part, companies that are able to provide work-from-home are doing so and are continuing to do so,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of the executive outplacement and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Challenger said his conversations with human resources executives indicated a reluctance to mandate a return to the office while the virus is still circulating and parts of the country face surges. In some cases, local or state lockdowns, school and day care closings or restrictions on building capacities also limit employers’ options. According to another recent survey, 31% of professionals from 42 tech companies said they’re only putting in between three and four hours a day. However, the survey did not ask the workers to self-report productivity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

Axiom Names First Private Crew Paying $55 Million For a Trip To the ISS

An American real estate investor, a Canadian investor, and a former Israeli Air Force pilot are paying $55 million each to be part of the first fully private astronaut crew to journey to the International Space Station. The Verge reports: The trio will hitch a ride on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule early next year, with a veteran NASA astronaut as the commander. The Ax-1 mission, arranged by Houston, Texas-based space tourism company Axiom Space, is a watershed moment for the space industry as companies race to make space travel more accessible to private customers instead of governments. Private citizens have trekked to the space station in the past, but the Ax-1 mission marks the first to use a commercially built astronaut capsule: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which flew its first two crews to the ISS last year.

Larry Connor, an entrepreneur and nonprofit activist investor; Mark Pathy, the Canadian investor and philanthropist; and Eytan Stibbe, the former Israeli fighter pilot and an impact investor, were revealed by Axiom on Tuesday morning as the company’s inaugural crew. Connor, 71, is president of The Connor Group, a luxury real estate investment firm based in Ohio. He’d become the second-oldest person to fly to space after John Glenn, who flew the US space shuttle Discovery at 77 years old.

The crew’s flight to the space station, an orbital laboratory some 250 miles above Earth, will take two days. They’ll then spend about eight days aboard the station’s US segment, where they’ll take part “in research and philanthropic projects,” Axiom said in a statement. Living alongside working astronauts from the US, Russia, and likely Germany, the private crew members will roll out sleeping bags somewhere on the station. […] The Ax-1 mission will have to be approved by the Multilateral Crew Operations Panel, the space station’s managing body of partner countries that includes the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and others. That approval process kicked off today…

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

Substance Found In Antarctic Ice May Solve a Martian Mystery

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Researchers have discovered a common martian mineral deep within an ice core from Antarctica. The find suggests the mineral — a brittle, yellow-brown substance known as jarosite — was forged the same way on both Earth and Mars: from dust trapped within ancient ice deposits. It also reveals how important these glaciers were on the Red Planet: Not only did they carve valleys, the researchers say, but they also helped create the very stuff Mars is made of.

Jarosite was first spotted on Mars in 2004, when the NASA Opportunity rover rolled over fine-grained layers of it. The discovery made headlines because jarosite needs water to form, along with iron, sulfate, potassium, and acidic conditions. The work suggests jarosite forms the same way on Mars, says Megan Elwood Madden, a geochemist at the University of Oklahoma who was not involved with the research. But she wonders whether the process can explain the huge abundance of jarosite on Mars. “On Mars, this is not just some thin film,” she says. “These are meters-thick deposits.”

[Giovanni Baccolo, a geologist at the University of Milan-Bicocca] concedes that the ice core contained only small amounts of jarosite, particles smaller than an eyelash or a grain of sand. But he explains that there’s much more dust on Mars than in Antarctica, which only receives small amounts of airborne ash and dirt from northern continents. “Mars is such a dusty place — everything is covered in dust,” Baccolo says. More ash would favor more jarosite formation under the right conditions, he says. Baccolo wants to use Antarctic cores to investigate whether ancient martian ice deposits were cauldrons for the formation of other minerals. He says jarosite shows how glaciers weren’t just land carving machines, but might have contributed to Mars’s chemical makeup. “This is just the first step in linking deep Antarctic ice with the martian environment.” The researchers reported their findings this month in Nature Communications.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

Chrome OS 88 Turns Your Chromebook Into An Impromptu Smart Display

Google has started rolling out Chrome OS 88. The update includes a couple of enhancements, the most notable of which is a new screen saver you can use to get more functionality out of your computer’s lock screen. Engadget reports: By enabling the feature, your Chromebook will be able to display images from your Google Photos library, including those you’ve organized into specific albums. You can also choose from a selection of default images put together by Google. If you use the Google Photos functionality built into the Pixel Stand and Nest Hub, you’ll have a good idea of how the screen saver works.

The lock screen also displays the time and local weather and provides you with easy to access media controls so you can pause or play a song. You’ll find your WiFi and battery status on the bottom right corner and the option to sign out from your account if you want. You enable the feature by digging into the settings menu of Chrome OS and finding your way to the Personalization section. Once enabled, it will turn on when the operating system detects that your device has been idle for some time. The update also introduces a feature that allows you to use your pin or fingerprint, instead of a password, to log into websites that support the WebAuthn standard.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

One-Third of Tech Workers Admit To Working Only 3 To 4 Hours a Day, Report Finds

According to a survey by Blind, 31% of professionals from 42 tech companies said they’re only putting in between three and four hours a day. Fast Company reports: Additionally, the survey found, 27% of tech professionals said they work five to six hours a day, and 11% reported only working one to two hours per day. In contrast, 30% said they work between seven and 10 hours per day. The survey did not ask the workers to self-report productivity, which we know is very different for everyone.

Although the responses within the companies surveyed were anecdotal, one Amazon employee commented, “Amazon requires at least 10 hours a day, with exceptions and maybe less work on Fridays or more work on weekends. I’m working way more during COVID-19, calendar’s full back to back, leadership is asking for more.” Meanwhile, a professional at Facebook reported, “If meetings count then 9-10. If they do not… [less than] 1,” bearing out the fact that the pandemic has not impacted everyone equally.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

Biden’s Commerce Nominee Backs Changes To Section 230

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a hearing on her nomination for Commerce Department secretary on Tuesday, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo told lawmakers that she will pursue changes to Section 230 if confirmed. Responding to questions posed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Raimondo said that she would use the tools available through the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to convene stakeholders, industry leaders, lawmakers and others to identify the means of reform to the pivotal internet law.

“I think platform accountability is important because I’ve seen in my own state that misinformation hurts people,” Raimondo said. “But of course, that reform would have to be balanced against the fact that these businesses rely upon user-generated content for their innovation, and they’ve created many thousands of jobs.” […] It’s unclear how the Biden administration plans to address Section 230 concerns, but Raimondo’s comments offer some insight into what could come in the future. In an interview with The New York Times last year, Biden said that the law should be “revoked.” Once Trump signed his social media order, a Biden campaign spokesperson told The Verge that he still wanted to repeal the law but disagreed with the former president’s executive order.

When it comes to addressing monopoly power in the tech industry, Raimondo said she would leave those decisions up to Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. Still, Raimondo told Johnson, “I believe in competition and innovation and as it relates to social media companies, I think they need to be held accountable for what they put on their platform. “We have to hold these companies accountable,” Raimondo said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-Series Laptops Put To the Test

MojoKid writes: This morning, NVIDIA lifted its embargo on the performance and experiences of new GeForce RTX 30 Series-powered gaming laptops. Thinner, higher-performance form factors aren’t the only features NVIDIA is touting with this launch. A number of new laptops will also sport 1440p, high refresh rate IPS displays like the MSI GS66 Stealth with a GeForce RTX 3080 mobile GPU tested at HotHardware. This machine features a 15.6-inch IPS, 1440p panel with a 240Hz refresh rate and G-Sync support. However, the biggest difference between these new laptop GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs and their desktop counterparts, are their core counts. Desktop GeForce RTX 3080, 3070, and 3060 series GPUs have 8,704, 5,888, and 3,584 CUDA cores, respectively, whereas these new laptop offerings have 6,144, 5,120, and 3,840 — it is only the RTX 3060 laptop GPU that has more cores than its similar-branded desktop counterpart.

In the benchmarks, with a retail-ready Alienware m15 R4 gaming laptop powered by a GeForce RTX 3070 mobile GPU, the new platform offered sizable performance gains of 15-25% over the previous generation RTX 20 series mobile offering, and an even stronger performance lift with ray tracing enabled, sometimes in excess of 40%. NVIDIA GeForce 30 Series laptops are in production now and available in the next few weeks from major OEMs like Alienware, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte and others.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

YouTube Extends Trump’s Suspension For a Second Time

YouTube on Tuesday said it’s again extending its suspension of former President Donald Trump, who’s been banned from posting videos to his channel since Jan. 12. Comments on Trump’s videos will also remain disabled indefinitely. CNET reports: “In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, the Donald J. Trump channel will remain suspended,” a YouTube spokesperson confirmed to CNET. “Our teams are staying vigilant and closely monitoring for any new developments.” YouTube first extended Trump’s suspension last week, saying it would reevaluate the situation in a week. The company gave no indication on Tuesday of how long the latest extension would last.

YouTube has a three-strikes policy when it comes to policing its platform. Three infractions within a 90-day period results in being permanently kicked off the platform. The first strike typically comes with a one-week ban that prohibits the posting of new content. A second strike comes with a two-week ban. YouTube also suspended Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, from a program that allows partners to make money from ads on their videos, after Giuliani broke YouTube’s rules by repeatedly sharing election misinformation.

Over the last three years, YouTube’s Partner Program paid out more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media organizations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

GameStop Jumps After Hours As Elon Musk Tweets Out Reddit Board That’s Hyping Stock

Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed to rally behind GameStop’s epic surge on Tuesday, tweeting out a link to the Reddit board that’s largely hyped the stock. CNBC reports: Shares of GameStop, which jumped 92.7% Tuesday, were up more than 60% in after hours trading following Musk’s tweet, which linked to the “wallstreetbets” Reddit chat room that has more than 2 million subscribers. The Tesla CEO tweeted “Gamestonk!!” The stock surged earlier in the day after Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya said in a tweet that he bought GameStop call options, betting the stock will go higher. The degenerates over at r/wallstreetbets don’t appear to be very fond of CNBC’s coverage of the investing forum. In an open letter to CNBC, u/RADIO02118 writes: Before you spend another day hosting your shill hedge fund buddies to come on the air and demonize r/wallstreetbets I hope you read this.

Your contempt for the retail investor (your audience) is palpable and if you don’t get it together, you’ll lose an entire new generation of investors.

I keep thinking about these funds that are short GME like your boys at Melvin Capital / your coverage of this subreddit and I’m getting madder and madder.

These funds can manipulate the market via your network and if they screw up big because they don’t even know the basics of portfolio risk 101 and using position sizing, they just get a bailout from their billionaire friends at Citadel. Then they have the nerve to turn us into public enemy #1 just because we believe in an underdog company getting a second chance.

We don’t have billionaires to bail us out when we mess up our portfolio risk and a position goes against us. We can’t go on TV and make attempts to manipulate millions to take our side of the trade. If we mess up as bad as they did, we’re wiped out, have to start from scratch and are back to giving handjobs behind the dumpster at Wendy’s.

Seriously. Motherfuck these people. I sincerely hope they suffer. We want to see the loss porn.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot

Facebook’s Secret Settlement On Cambridge Analytica Gags UK Data Watchdog

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Remember the app audit Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised to carry out a little under three years ago at the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Actually the tech giant is very keen that you don’t. The UK’s information commissioner just told a parliamentary subcommittee on online harms and disinformation that a secret arrangement between her office and Facebook prevents her from publicly answering whether or not Facebook contacted the ICO about completing a much-trumpeted ‘app audit’. “I think I could answer that question with you and the committee in private,” information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told questioner, Kevin Brennan, MP.

Pressed on responding, then and there, on the question of whether Facebook ever notified the regulator about completing the app audit — with Brennan pointing out “after all it was a commitment Mark Zuckerberg gave in the public domain before a US Senate committee” — Denham referred directly to a private arrangement with Facebook which she suggested prevented her from discussing such details in public. “It’s part of an agreement that we struck with Facebook,” she told the committee. “In terms of our litigation against Facebook. So there is an agreement that’s not in the public domain and that’s why I would prefer to discuss this in private.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot