New media noncompetes are destroying the careers of young journalists

When Stephanie Russell-Kraft signed up to work for Law360, she naively entered into a probably unenforceable noncompete "agreement" that asserted that by looking at court filings for interesting news stories, she'd be privy to "critical and sensitive proprietary information" -- but she didn't really think about it until Law360 used her signature on the agreement to get her fired from her second industry job, with Reuters, costing her a generous compensation package that included overtime and health insurance. Read the rest

Programmer pay and indent-style: tab-using coders earn less than space-using coders

David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay. Read the rest

Will robots take your job?

Are you going to lose your job to a robot? This interactive website will tell you the percentage probability of automation.

In 2013 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne published a report titled "The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?”. The authors examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation, by implementing a novel methodology to estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, using a Gaussian process classifier.

According to their estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk. Although the report is specific to the US job market, it is easy to see how this might apply all over the world.

We extracted the jobs and the probability of automation from the report and have made it easy to search for your job. We’ve added some additional information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide some additional information about the jobs.

Read the rest

Customs and Border Patrol can't find qualified applicants for Trump's immigration crackdown

Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on immigration in America and has attempted to turn immigration cops into a kind of Praetorian Guard with flattery and promises of hiring bonanzas (the agencies have been very amenable to this sort of thing, ignoring judges and Congress and insisting that they will do anything Trump orders them to do). Read the rest

Freaked out about Trump's assault on net neutrality? Come work for EFF on keeping the net free and open

Trump's FCC is shaping up to be a complete disaster: the new Chairman is dismantling privacy protections and broadband subsidies for low-income Americans, plans to allow the pending Time-Warner/AT&T merger, and, of course, he's planning to gut net neutrality. Read the rest

EFF is hiring! Ops manager, legislative counsel, legal fellow, technologist, membership ass't, tech projects manager

Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will be graduating this Spring and have an interest in developing an expertise in First Amendment issues as they relate to new technologies); Staff Technologist/Senior Staff Technologist; Membership Assistant (energetic and enthusiastic Membership Assistant to support fundraising operations and outreach to EFF's 30,000+ annual donors); Technology Projects Manager/Technology Projects Director. Read the rest

South Dakota lawmaker blocks workplace protection for pregnant workers: "It's not prison. You can quit."

South Dakota state Rep. Wayne H Steinhauer [R-9] (Phone: 605-526-4269/ 605-773-3851/ 605-359-6298); Email: Wayne.Steinhauer@sdlegislature.gov, never-used Twitter account) was part of a group of eight male, GOP reps who killed a bill that would have guaranteed workplace accommodations to pregnant South Dakotans. During the hearing, Rep Steinhauer told women "It’s not prison. You can quit." Read the rest

Former Scalia Clerk offers legal advice, free representation to civil servants who defy Trump's illegal orders

Harvard law lecturer Ian Samuel -- a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- has written an extensive primer for civil servants who are worried about getting fired for defying illegal orders from their superiors, and if you follow his advice and get fired anyway, he's offering "to represent, pro bono, any government official who refuses to execute a Trump order on the grounds that the order is illegal" (he notes that there are many other "lawyers, paralegals, law students, legal secretaries, and even (my favorite) a bartender in Cleveland" who've made the same offer). Read the rest

Facebook CSO Alex Stamos is a human warrant-canary for the Trump era

Even before he took the job of Chief Security Officer of Yahoo, Alex Stamos had a reputation for being a badass: a thoughtful security ethicist who served as an expert witness in defense of Aaron Swartz, Stamos cemented his reputation by publicly humiliating the director of the NSA over mass surveillance. Read the rest

What a 19th-century rebellion against automation can teach us about the coming war in the job market

Our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson has a piece in the January/February issue of Smithsonian magazine entitled "Rage Against the Machines." He explores the 19th century Luddite Revolution, the first rebellion against automation, comparing it to the upcoming robot workforce revolution.

I didn't know that pre-industrial textile workers were well-paid and had lots of free time. No wonder they fought so hard against textile automation!

At the turn of 1800, the textile industry in the United Kingdom was an economic juggernaut that employed the vast majority of workers in the North. Working from home, weavers produced stockings using frames, while cotton-spinners created yarn. “Croppers” would take large sheets of woven wool fabric and trim the rough surface off, making it smooth to the touch.

These workers had great control over when and how they worked—and plenty of leisure. “The year was chequered with holidays, wakes, and fairs; it was not one dull round of labor,” as the stocking-maker William Gardiner noted gaily at the time. Indeed, some “seldom worked more than three days a week.” Not only was the weekend a holiday, but they took Monday off too, celebrating it as a drunken “St. Monday.”

Croppers in particular were a force to be reckoned with. They were well-off—their pay was three times that of stocking-makers—and their work required them to pass heavy cropping tools across the wool, making them muscular, brawny men who were fiercely independent. In the textile world, the croppers were, as one observer noted at the time, “notoriously the least manageable of any persons employed.”

But in the first decade of the 1800s, the textile economy went into a tailspin.

Read the rest

Artist in residence sought for Bioprocess Labratory in Zurich

Are you an "artist, designer, biohacker, or other cultural practitioner" who's interested in synthetic biology? You could spend 4-6 weeks in Zurich at the Bioprocess Laboratory, where you will "actively engage with scientists working on a synthetic biology related project with focus on the design of antibiotics." Read the rest

Company town + Internet of Things + Drones = total surveillance of remote mine workers

Rio Tinto is a giant UK/Australian mining corporation that operates many facilities in Australia's remotest reaches, where there is no housing for workers, so the company ends up building "company towns" where their laborers live, closing the loop between home and worklife, and putting them both under control of a corporation; now the company is flirting with the kind of "smart city" technology that has been tried elsewhere, but generally in places where the residents are citizens, not employees, and the governing law is created by a legislature, not a non-negotiable employment contract. Read the rest

Facebookers defy Zuckerberg, form fake news "task force"

Days after Mark Zuckerberg called the idea that Facebook -- and specifically, the fake news circulated on Facebook -- had influenced the US election as "a pretty crazy idea," a group of "renegade" Facebook employees have formed themselves into a "task force" to tackle the issue, and have been warned by their managers that they may not speak to the press about this on pain on termination. Read the rest

Walmart smears worker-based chat app with lies and scare tactics

Workit is an Android app from OUR Walmart, a pro-labor/pro-union organization: it allows Walmart workers to ask questions about Walmart policy and employee rights, which are answered by a database compiled by using IBM's Watson to come up with answers to hundreds of frequently posed questions; questions can also be answered by other users. Read the rest

Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

Earlier this month, Planet Money aired an interview with a Wells Fargo whistleblower who was fired for trying to alert the bank to the millions of criminal frauds being committed against its customers, and we learned that the whistleblower had been added to a confidential blacklist used by the finance industry, preventing her from ever getting work in the industry again. Read the rest

One week left! Apply for a Shuttleworth Fellowship

The Shuttleworth Fellowships hand millions directly to people starting out on a journey to radically transform the world to make it more open; this year, I'm Honourary Steward, meaning I'll help pick the grantees. Read the rest

Help wanted: Director of Technology Policy for Consumer Reports

This is a pretty amazing vacancy: "You will lead Consumer Reports in our effort to realize a market where consumer safety is protected through strong encryption; consumers’ rights to test, repair, and modify their devices are supported by copyright, security, and consumer protection laws; and consumers are empowered to make informed choices about IoT products while being protected by privacy policies regulating the collection, use, and storage of their data. This is a chance to build something big, meaningful, and new." Read the rest

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