Category Archives: Corruption

University of California to drop the SAT and ACT testing requirement

Yes! This is a permanent elimination:

The University of California board of regents, in a landmark move that could reshape the college admissions process across the country, voted Thursday to drop the SAT and ACT testing requirement.

Source: UC regents unanimously approve plan to drop SAT and ACT from admissions – SFChronicle.com

My own state has also eliminated SAT and ACT tests for public college admissions, starting this fall.

As the victim of a GRE testing failure decades ago that shaped my entire life, I am thrilled to see the end of these absurd testing regimes.

In the case of the GRE, the year I took the exam they introduced a new section to evaluate a student’s “logical reasoning” ability. Even though I scored above the 90th percentile on English and Math, I scored 28th percentile on this new section. That’s a failing grade.

Years later I learned, hidden in a footnote, that  colleges had been instructed to ignore the “logical reasoning” score the year I took the exam, as there were errors in the test. GRE never notified students of these errors in their test. Consequently, I made wrong decisions, with life time impacts, based on their incompetence.

Numerous graduate programs are now dropping the GRE requirement too! 

This is fantastic news!   Standardized testing grew out of tests given to military recruits in the early 20th century – the tests were designed to filter out minorities. Some think the tests have continued to do that – we know that SAT scores correlate very well with household income, for example.

The tests appear to filter out students based on cultural backgrounds and household income – something that is not good for anyone.

Business: A Nationwide Scam on Airbnb

How easy is it to exploit Airbnb? While searching for my grifter, I found out.

Source: I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb – VICE

After reading this, I might not stay in an AirBnb again. You need to at least skim through this article if you ever stay via AirBnb. Worse, AirBnb rarely – if ever – refunds the costs to those customers who have been scammed.

AirBnb refuses to talk publicly about the scam unearthed in this report.

The FBI is now involved.

Bloomberg’s “hacked” Supermicro server boards article comes under fire

We thoroughly evaluate the claims made by Bloomberg in their Supermicro China tampering stories and found them likely impossible or implausible at best. We take stock of sources and discuss the next steps calling for formal SEC and shareholder investigations of Bloomberg.

Source: Investigating Implausible Bloomberg Supermicro Stories

Apple and Amazon, both named as allegedly using the allegedly hacked servers, have denied the Bloomberg accusations. Apple has called for Bloomberg to retract the article. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a statement appearing to agree with Apple.

The Bloomberg article, as noted in the linked story, appears to have numerous technical inaccuracies.

FDA hit with one quarter million fake comments to proposed rules

More than a quarter million comments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration about flavored vapor products were fake, according to a watchdog group.

Source: FDA hit with bot-generated wave of fake comments on flavored vapor products

About one half million comments were filed of which 255,000 have already been evaluated as fake; and additional 200,000 are also thought to be fake.

Fake news, fake reviews, fake social media propaganda, fake public comments – this isn’t the great Internet world of the future we were promised 🙁

Facebook’s ad placement tools  used by many companies to avoid hiring older workers

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleging Facebook’s ad placement tools facilitate discrimination against older job seekers has been expanded to identify additional companies, further widening the latest front in claims that candidates are being filtered out by gender, geography, race and age.

“When Facebook’s own algorithm disproportionately directs ads to younger workers at the exclusion of older workers, Facebook and the advertisers who are using Facebook as an agent to send their advertisements are engaging in disparate treatment,”

In its amended lawsuit, the union alleged that Facebook also uses age-filtering in ads intended to find its own new employees.

Source: Facebook Tools Are Used to Screen Out Older Job Seekers, Lawsuit Claims – Bloomberg

More on this on my other blog:

Major U.S. employers use social media’s ability to display job ads only to those in certain age groups, such as between age 25 to 36, or below age 38 or below age 50. They are using this feature to advertise job openings only to younger workers, thereby removing older workers from their candidate pool.

Examples:

  • Verizon targeted showed ads only to those age 25 to 36 years old

  • UPS targeted age 19 to 35

  • State Farm targeted age 19 to 35

The story is well past the “alleged discrimination” phase as many companies admitted they were targeting ads by age, including Verizon, Target, Facebook, Goldman-Sachs and so on. Facebook defends age discrimination in job advertising as “an accepted industry practice”.

Facebook is a global surveillance and propaganda platform that engages and supports age, gender and racial discrimination.

Age discrimination in tech industry becomes a global phenomena

In China, high skilled tech workers become unemployable as early as 30 years old.

“Most people in their 30s are married and have to take care of their family—they’re not able to focus on the high-intensity work.”

Source: China’s Tech Industry Wants Youth, Not Experience – Bloomberg

Personal note – I graduated in 2012 with an M.S. in software engineering (GPA 4.0, thesis on Android and smart device power management). I already had an M.B.A. and a B.S. in computer science and had worked in Silicon Valley, at Microsoft and for other organizations. I had 3 degrees – in fact, the top 3 most in demand degrees in the United States at the time.

After completing the M.S., I applied for jobs. I did not receive a single response. Not one.

I was unemployable in tech because of age.

When the tech industry tells you they do not discriminate on the basis of age they are straight up lying. Former colleagues were dismissed because of age (one received a large settlement from his former employer).

The latest fads in tech are almost always short lived. Having 10 years experience is a negative – no one needs someone experienced in tech that is fading. What they want is a constant influx of young talent fresh out of college and trained in the latest fad. (I was fresh out of grad school but I was not young.) There is a presumption that older workers, bogged down with family life, cannot learn new technology (earning an MS in software engineering in my 50s proves that assertion wrong).

The tech sector is a mess from a career standpoint and is why I discourage young people from pursuing “high tech” (which has become a synonym for software). I encourage youth to consider other fields of engineering and science where they can put software skills to use.

Tech’s problem with age discrimination has been around forever. Growing up in Silicon Valley, my neighbor’s house was inhabited by 3 engineers, in sequence. Every one of them was laid off by age 30 and all left the field. Nothing has changed.

The H-1B and OPT visas staff about 3 million positions in the U.S. (almost all in high tech and most in software). These worker visas are temporary – after up to 6 years of work, they too are expendable. We have institutionalized the consumption of young tech talent. Neither of these visas is an immigrant visa – if we require more tech talent from abroad, we should be granting permanent residency visas but we are not. Its because we need a constant stream of young talent to be treated as a consumable commodity.

That companies can intentionally discard half or more of the potential work force tells you that the field has a surplus of workers, not a shortage. The only “shortage” is of young tech workers but this is a manufactured shortage.

From an employment and career standpoint, this is a mess but it seems to work great for shareholders so this status quo will remain.

Private Prison Phone Company tracking location of all cell phone users, nationwide

They collect cell phone location data collected by all major cellular phone carriers, and then sell that location data to law enforcement agencies (no warrant needed). The data is used to conduct surveillance on potentially everyone in the U.S. who has a cellular phone.

Source: Senator Wyden Demands Answers from Prison Phone Service Caught Sharing Cellphone Location Data | Electronic Frontier Foundation

When the FCC mandated “wireless 911” technology so that phones would be required to report their position to 911 operators, I predicted this would be used for surveillance purposes and was, in fact, the primary goal.

Should you delete your #Facebook account? Yes, if you can #DeleteFacebook

I’ve written a detailed of explanation of the enormous quantity of data that Facebook is accumulating on each of us, and some of the shocking methods they use to spy on us. That explanation is available at my Learn2C (programming) web site.

At its core, Facebook is a global surveillance and propaganda platform and nothing more.

They are using every possible method to track our online activities, our mobile device activities (location, phone and text message data, web access), our offline activities (yes, they know when you bought something at a retail store having nothing to do with Facebook) and how they harvest our Group memberships, Page Likes and Post Likes to develop elaborate models for each of us – to describe our behavior, our interest and activities, our physical and mental health, our “hot issues” and more. It is truly frightening what Facebook is doing.

For those reasons I no longer believe it is save for anyone to use Facebook. If you do not understand what the problem is with Facebook , you need to read my essay.

A follow up post will discuss ways to minimize Facebook’s surveillance if you are not able to delete your account at this time.

80% of VC money goes to just 3 states

A whopping 80 percent of all venture capital investment goes to just three states. That has to change. – Recode

VCs discriminate against women: Just 2.19% of total VC money went to female-founded startups in 2016.

VCs discrimate against anyone over age 30 and especially over age 40

Meanwhile, Facebook spies on everyone and uses that data to propagandize us with messaging designed to control our minds.

The tech industry is looking pretty damned awful right now.