Hollywood studios can require COVID vaccines for actors, crews under new union pact

A new pact between Hollywood unions and studios allows producers to require that actors and crews on some sets be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

The deal comes as cases again begin to spiral upward in Los Angeles and across the nation as the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant spreads.

The agreement, reached between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and several Hollywood unions including those representing actors and directors, expires Oct. 1 unless extended, The Wrap said.

It allows producers to mandate COVID vaccines for actors and crew who work on sets with the most close contact, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But the new rules also . . . . full story here

Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week. The results will (not) shock you.

Why aren’t we doing this already?

From 2015 to 2019, Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter working week. An analysis of the results was finally published this week, and surprise! Everyone was happier, healthier, and more productive. Please pretend to be surprised. . . . “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, Autonomy’s director of research. “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments.” . . . . Productivity either remained the same or actually increased, and worker wellbeing was considerably improved. Perceived stress and burnout went down, while health and work-life balance went up, as employees were given more time for housekeeping, hobbies, and their families. Both managers and staff considered the trials a major success . . . . full story at Mashable here

Ohio GOP ends attempt to ban municipal broadband after protest from residents

Axed plan’s 10Mbps standard could have banned public networks in 98% of Ohio

After coming close to imposing a near-total ban on municipal broadband networks, Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature has reportedly dropped the proposed law in final negotiations over the state budget. The final budget agreement “axed a proposal to limit local governments from offering broadband services,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote. With a June 30 deadline looming, Ohio’s House and Senate approved the budget and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval on Monday night.

As we wrote earlier this month, the Ohio Senate approved a version of the budget containing an amendment that would have forced existing municipal broadband services to shut down and prevented the formation of new public networks. The proposed law was reportedly “inserted without prior public discussion,” and no state senator publicly sponsored the amendment. It was approved in a party-line vote as Democrats opposed the restrictions in municipal broadband. The House version did not contain the amendment, and it was dropped during negotiations between the House and Senate.

“Real grassroots movement”

Lawmakers apparently relented to public pressure from supporters of municipal broadband and cities and towns that operate the networks. People and businesses from Fairlawn, where the city-run FairlawnGig network offers fiber Internet, played a significant role in the protests. FairlawnGig itself asked users  to put pressure on lawmakers, and the subscribers did so in great numbers. . . . . full story here at Ars Technica

And here is a website that lists the Municipal Broadband providing cities in California (hint: Burbank is one of them.)

LinkedIn’s job-matching AI was biased. The company’s solution? More AI.

ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn—most of the world’s biggest job search sites use AI to match people with job openings. But the algorithms don’t always play fair.

excerpt: For example, while men are more likely to apply for jobs that require work experience beyond their qualifications, women tend to only go for jobs in which their qualifications match the position’s requirements. The algorithm interprets this variation in behavior and adjusts its recommendations in a way that inadvertently disadvantages women.

“You might be recommending, for example, more senior jobs to one group of people than another, even if they’re qualified at the same level,” Jersin says. “Those people might not get exposed to the same opportunities. And that’s really the impact that we’re talking about here.”

Men also include more skills on their résumés at a lower degree of proficiency than women, and they often engage more aggressively with recruiters on the platform.

To address such issues, Jersin and his team at LinkedIn built a new Ai designed to produce more representative results and deployed it in 2018. It was essentially a separate algorithm designed to counteract recommendations skewed toward a particular group. The new AI ensures that before referring the matches curated by the original engine, the recommendation system includes a representative distribution of users across gender. 

Kan says Monster, which lists 5 to 6 million jobs at any given time, also incorporates behavioral data into its recommendations but doesn’t correct for bias in the same way that LinkedIn does. Instead, the marketing team focuses on getting users from diverse backgrounds signed up for the service, and the company then relies on employers to report back and tell Monster whether or not it passed on a representative set of candidates. . . . full story here

Fierce Cyber Attacks Demand Enhanced IoT Security. But how to Best Prepare?

With all the ongoing ransomware and cyber-attacks, connected IoT devices need an extra layer of security. New legislation in both Europe and the US are mandating such strengthened security. But what tools are available for embedded IoT engineers to meet these new requirements?

To learn more about providing enhanced protection of connected devices, Design News reached out to Haydn Povey, CEO of Secure Thingz and General Manager for the division Embedded Security Solutions at IAR Systems. What follows is a portion of that discussion.

“The requirements of new legislation for security in IoT devices are impacting us now. With the advent of EN 303 645 and the US IoT, Cyber Security Act signed into law last year, there is now mounting pressure on the Consumer IoT market to meet security standards. However, this is not just limited to Consumer IoT, with regulationsevolving quickly in other markets, such as the IEC 62443 requirement for Industrial IoT (Industry 4.0) and similar requirements in medical and automotive.” . . . full story here

The seven industries most desperate for workers

Sawmills, veterinary clinics and psychologists’ offices are among the businesses gripped by escalating worker shortages, as employers in a few pockets of the economy step up competition for workers and sharply increase wages. . . . Compare restaurant and hotel openings to a sector such as manufacturing of nondurable goods — things that don’t last — such as pants and pancake mix. Before the novel coronavirus hit, those manufacturers sometimes drew a new worker for every job opening posted, similar to what restaurants are seeing now, meaning their labor market was tight but there was no shortage. As of April, the same companies were able to hire only one worker for every two job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a strong sign that workers are in short supply. . . . full story at Washington Post

“Great resignation” wave coming for companies – Upwards of 40% of Workers May Leave

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave. Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks’ noticeand make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

“The great resignation” is what economists are dubbing it.

  • Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.
  • “I don’t envy the challenge that human resources faces right now,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.

A number of colliding trends are driving the resignation boom, experts say. 

  • University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson tells Axios, “People have had a little more space to ask themselves, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?'” So some are deciding they want to work fewer hours or with more flexibility to create more time for family or hobbies. . . . full story at Axios

Technology: We could see federal regulation on face recognition as early as next week

5-21-21: Amazon and others are indefinitely suspending police use of face recognition products, but proposed legislation could make bans bigger or more permanent.

On May 17, Amazon announced it would extend its moratorium indefinitely, joining competitors IBM and Microsoft in self-regulated purgatory. The move is a nod at the political power of the groups fighting to curb the technology—and recognition that new legislative battle grounds are starting to emerge. Many believe that substantial federal legislation is likely to come soon. 

“People are exhausted” – The past year has been pivotal for face recognition, with revelations of the technology’s role in false arrests, and bans on it put in place by almost two dozen cities and seven states across the US. But the momentum has been shifting for some time.

In 2018, AI researchers published a study comparing the accuracy of commercial facial recognition software from IBM, Microsoft, and Face++. Their work found that the technology identified lighter-skinned men much more accurately than darker-skinned women; IBM’s system scored the worst, with a 34.4% difference in error rate between the two groups. Also in 2018, the ACLU tested Amazon’s Rekognition and found that it misidentified 28 members of Congress as criminals—an error disproportionately affecting people of color. The organization wrote its own open letter to Amazon, demanding that the company ban government use of the technology, as did the Congressional Black Caucus—but Amazon made no changes. . . . full story here at MIT Technology Review


RESCHEDULED! – Glendale Tech on Tap Meetup: NFT’s, Blockchain & Crytocurrency 101, Online Event Thursday JULY 8, 2021

Want to learn more about NFT’s, Blockchain, and Crypto? Thinking of entering the “crypto space”? Join our special guest speakers, Armen Chircorian and Levon Muradian of pxmlmade, to discuss the future integration of NFT’s, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies, into products, artworks, music, web applications, and more! In this month’s Tech on Tap event, our guest speakers will highlight the research needed before entering the “crypto space,” the current investments being made into developing second lifeworlds with NFT’s and blockchain, and how the world is utilizing cryptocurrencies as the vessel in an ever-evolving frontier – the new internet. Sign up today!

Thursday, May 27, 2021, 1:00pm to 2:30pm online

Go to Meetup dot com to register for event


World’s First Fully-Recyclable Electronic Transistor Produced By 3D Printers at Duke University

image recyclable electronic transistor


Engineers at Duke University have developed the world’s first fully recyclable printed electronics. Their recycling process recovers nearly 100% of the materials used—and preserves most of their performance capabilities for reuse. By demonstrating a crucial and relatively complex computer component—the transistor—created with three carbon-based inks, the researchers hope to inspire a new generation of recyclable electronics.

“Silicon-based computer components are probably never going away, and we don’t expect easily recyclable electronics like ours to replace the technology and devices that are already widely used,” said Aaron Franklin, the Addy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke. “But we hope that by creating new, fully recyclable, easily printed electronics and showing what they can do, that they might become widely used in future applications.”

Even though the ever-growing pile of discarded electronics is now on the decline, less than a quarter of it each year is recycled, according to a United Nations estimate. Part of the problem is that electronic devices are difficult to recycle. Large plants employ hundreds of workers who hack at bulky devices. But while scraps of copper, aluminum and steel can be recycled, the silicon chips at the heart of the devices cannot. . . . . full story