Day: July 14, 2022

Construction Industry

Union construction firms better off during labor shortage

The Great Resignation has impacted every industry in the U.S. as workers continue to demand better compensation, benefits and treatment from their employers — and the construction industry is no exception. 

Associated Builders and Contractors estimates an over half-million construction worker shortage in 2022. Meanwhile, demand for construction workers is only expected to rise beyond this year, especially after President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is investing $1.2 trillion in construction projects across the country. 

While filling these roles seems daunting for employers, tapping into union-backed talent has been found to more easily bridge these gaps. Union construction firms are 16% less likely to report difficulty in filling open positions, 13% less likely to fail in retaining skilled workers and 21% less likely to report project delays due to retention issues, according to a study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Read more: Why this organization is recruiting veterans into the funeral service industry

“The union segment of the industry offers competitive earnings and benefits that rival those with a bachelor’s degree,” says Frank Manzo IV, the executive director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the study. “Non-union construction workers are more likely to live in poverty and rely on government assistance. It’s a simple fact that the non-union contractors have just not been competitive in the current labor market.”

The study examined 1,768 union contractors and 3,893 non-union contractors between 2018 and 2021, noting that on average, skilled union construction workers earned 42% higher wages, were 34% more likely to have private health insurance and 6% less likely to live in poverty or rely on Medicaid. Larissa Petrucci, a postdoctoral research associate with the Project for Middle Class

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Technology Business

Lime has built its own camera-based sidewalk detection

Shared micromobility giant Lime is finally bringing on some of its own city-appeasing advanced rider assistance system (ARAS) technology. At a Lime event in Paris, the startup shared plans to pilot an in-house built computer vision platform that will leverage cameras to detect when users are riding on the sidewalk. While it will be at the discretion of the cities whether to both audibly alert the riders to their transgressions and actually slow them down, both functions are available.

Lime will be piloting the tech on close to 400 scooters in San Francisco and Chicago starting early to mid-August. By the end of the year, Lime hopes to expand its pilot to six cities in total, including Paris, where the company held a demo of the new tech on Wednesday.

Because it’s easier for cities to blame micromobility companies and scooter riders for sidewalk riding, rather than invest the proper time and money in building protected bike lanes, almost every major operator has been implementing some form of scooter ARAS over the past year.

Bird, Superpedestrian and Neuron rely on a location-based systems to determine where scooters are riding and parking. And Voi, Spin and Zipp have all piloted the computer vision tech of third-party providers, Drover AI and Luna. Lime said it, too, has tested third-party computer vision systems to test the viability of the business model before investing in its own system, which will be the first operator-built camera-based platform to detect sidewalk riding. That said, it’s not the first company to integrate such a system into a scooter. Segway, which supplies many micromobility companies, recently announced its own AI-powered scooter.

Both scooter ARAS camps — localization and computer vision — have their champions. Localization advocates say their tech is cheaper and easier to implement today, whereas

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Computer Forensics

Five Anti-Forensic Techniques Used to Cover Digital

Americans lost over USD 4 billion to cyberattacks in 2020 (McCarthy, 2021). Along with this rise in internet crime, advances in anti-forensic techniques have added new layers of complexity for digital forensic investigators.

Anti-forensic techniques are designed to prevent individuals who commit cyberattacks from being discovered. In this article, we’ll explain the five anti-forensic techniques that present the most significant challenges for today’s digital forensic investigators

1. Disk Wiping

The first technique is disk wiping: deleting all of the data on a hard drive or media storage device. Anti-forensic tools can be used to erase the contents of a drive, making it difficult for forensic analysts to recover the data. Drive Wiper, for example, is a Windows-based tool that offers the option to wipe a drive securely, erasing the data beyond recovery. Likewise, File Shredder is a Java-based tool that can overwrite files to prevent recovery.

2. File Encryption

The second technique is file encryption, or the process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format using various encryption algorithms. While encrypting files is an effective way to protect them from prying eyes, anti-forensic tools can also be used to encrypt files with the intent of making them difficult to access or decode.

3. Steganography

The third technique is steganography (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2018). Steganography is the process of hiding messages or files within another file. Anti-forensic tools like Hidden Tear and Stego Watch can be used to hide information in images, audio, and video, among other file types, so that it is difficult for forensic analysts to uncover. Hidden Tear is a Windows-based tool that can hide files within .jpeg, .gif, and .bmp images. Stego Watch is a Java-based tool that can be used to embed hidden information in .jpeg, .gif, and .png image formats.

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Branding

Office policy as branding

When Apple’s director of machine learning Ian Goodfellow resigned from the company last month over its return to office mandate, it should have been a wake-up call for executives everywhere. In the post-COVID-19 world, the job feature that employees care most about is the flexibility to work from anywhere. There is an overwhelming amount of data to back this up. Yet, many executives would rather put their blinders on and pretend that things will go back to how they were before March 2020. Instead of giving their employees what they really want, they double down on elevated swag, pandering mission statements, and open bars to lure employees back to their fancy new offices.

These executives believe that their efforts are building a brand that will draw employees. But what they don’t realize is that things have changed. Today, a company’s office policy is its brand—full stop.

This was explicitly acknowledged by a group of Apple employees last year in an open letter to CEO Tim Cook about the company’s return to office policies. These Apple employees spoke for knowledge workers everywhere when they wrote:

Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple. This is a decision none of us take lightly, and a decision many would prefer not to have to make.

If a company like Apple—which has one of the strongest brands ever created and is among those with the largest market caps in the world—can’t retain talent due to its return-to-office policy, do you really think other businesses will fare much better? I doubt it. Executives who don’t acknowledge that all the branding tricks in the world won’t work

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