We’re increasing our carbon fee as we double down on sustainability | Microsoft on the Issues

Phot of forest trees being inventoried
Image of trees with data and insights provided by Microsoft AI.

Since 2009, Microsoft has made and met a series of commitments to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. While we’ve made progress toward our goal of cutting our operational carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030, the magnitude and speed of the world’s environmental changes have made it increasingly clear that we must do more. And we are taking new steps to do just that.

 

Today, I’d like to share new steps we’re taking in four areas:

 

Building sustainable campuses and data centers

 

Accelerating research through data science

 

Helping our customers build sustainable solutions

 

Advocating for environmental policy change

 

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‘Netizens’ highlights the need for collaboration to fight online harassment, ‘revenge porn’ | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft recently hosted a screening of the documentary film “Netizens”, which examines the online harassment of women and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, what is commonly but unartfully referred to as “revenge porn.” The event, which included a multi-stakeholder panel discussion, underscores the need for all groups to work together to tackle online hate and abuse and to promote digital civility and safer and more respectful online interactions.

 

Microsoft’s approach

 

At Microsoft, we believe “whole society” strategies hold the greatest promise for addressing issues like online harassment and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. It was nearly four years ago that we announced our approach to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images on our consumer services. At the time, we sought to put victims back in control of their privacy, stating that when contacted by a victim or his or her representative, Microsoft would remove links to photos and videos from Bing search results and remove the content itself when it was shared on OneDrive or Xbox Live. We created a dedicated web form for making such reports to us.

 

Digital civility and ‘Netizens’

 

In addition, Microsoft was eager to collaborate with Lowen and her team given the close alignment to our own ongoing campaign for digital civility, fostering safer, healthier and more respectful online interactions among all people. Our work in digital civility started in 2016, and we’re about to field our fourth installment of global perception and attitudinal research. Each year, we survey teens and adults about their exposure to more than 20 online risks, including “sexploitation” and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

 

Learn more

 

To learn more about the film, visit the “Netizens” website and consult these Microsoft resources: online bullying and harassment factsheet, risks of sexting factsheet. For more on general online safety issues, visit our website and resources page. And, for regular news and information about online safety, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Lawsuit Challenges Indiana’s Ban on Telemedicine for Eye Exams

A telehealth company that offers online eye tests has filed a lawsuit challenging Indiana’s ban on the use of telemedicine for eye exams.

 

Source: Lawsuit Challenges Indiana’s Ban on Telemedicine for Eye Exams

In the story, I should point out that this statement as screenshotted:

Chrome-screenshot-getliner.com-2019.04.16-20-40-39

is not totally accurate. The representative in question is actually from Washington State, not South Carolina.

The company mentioned in the article has the ability to conduct eye exams in selected states that include North Carolina and charges $35 to do so. This is one of those infrequent occasions where something is valid in North Carolina and not in South Carolina; the states tend to enable similar laws, for good or bad.

How Microsoft is helping other companies hire people with autism | A Certified Warditorial

Just as Microsoft makes its technology available to other companies to help them achieve more, it is doing the same with its model for hiring people with autism.

 

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects one percent of the world’s population, about 3.5 million, or one out of 59 American births according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Autism Society.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder encompasses a range of conditions that present challenges with speech, social skills, non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. On the flip side, many people with autism possess unique strengths in other areas that enable them to excel in certain disciplines.

 

Unfortunately, according to Easter Seals, 80% of people with autism are either unemployed or underemployed. Consequently, the skills and contributions that they would bring to many companies and to the products and services those companies offer are lost.

 

To address this untapped resource and to foster a culture of empathy and inclusion, Microsoft — on Autism Awareness Day in 2015 — established its Autism Hiring Program. This year, parallel to its commitment to open sourcing its technologies and tools to create a “Microsoft platform” that companies integrate into their businesses, the company is “democratizing” its Autism Hiring program. The goal is to bring more people with autism to the workforce so that they and the companies they join can achieve more.

 

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PyDev of the Week: Pierre Denis

PyDev of the Week: Pierre Denis

This week we welcome Pierre Denis as our PyDev of the Week! Pierre is the creator of Lea, a probabilistic programming package in Python. He can be found on LinkedIn where you can see his CV and learn more about some of the things he is up to. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Pierre better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’ve a Master in Computer Science from UCL Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, where I reside. I’m working since 20 years as software engineer in [Spacebel](http://www.spacebel.be), a company developing systems for Space. Basically, I like everything creative and elegant. Beside arts, music, literature, I ‘m looking for this in physics, algorithmic, GUI and mathematics. I love programming, especially in Python. So far, I have initiated three open-source Python projects: UFOPAX (textual virtual universe), Unum (quantities with unit consistency) and Lea (probabilistic programming). For these developments, I tend to be perfectionist and consequently slow: I’m the kind of guy that re-write the same program ten times, just for the sake of inner beauty!

 

Beside programming, I’m doing research in number theory (twin primes conjecture). Also, I’m writing short stories in French, my mother tongue, with some reference to the ‘Pataphysics of Alfred Jarry and a lot of nonsense. Incidentally and fortunately, programs can be good for producing nonsense, as I showed in my bullshit generator!

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

One day, a colleague showed me very interesting things he made with that language, completely unknown for me. It was Python 1.5, in 1999! At that time, I was much in favor of statically-typed languages (C++, Java, Ada, …). Intrigued, I read “Whetting your appetite” of G. van Rossum, then I swallowed the wonderful “Learning Python” book of M. Lutz and D. Asher. I was quickly conquered by the clarity, the conciseness, the beauty of the language. So, I started Python basically because it was so appealing: having the simplicity of an interpreted language with built-in containers, exceptions, OO, operator overloading, and many, many more. I became soon a zealous advocate of Python in my company.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Well, I’ve practiced Pascal, Ada, C, C++, Smalltalk, Java, Prolog, Scala and a few others. Python is my favorite one, by far. Now, if I had to award a silver medal, this would be Scala. Actually, my programming experience with Scala changed a bit the way I program in Python: I smoothly shifted to a more functional style, in particular, preferring immutable objects to mutable ones. Beside this choice, I’ve to mention that C, Smalltalk and Prolog have been very influential for me.

 

Thanks for doing the interview!

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It’s time for a new approach for mapping broadband data to better serve Americans|Microsoft on the Issues

Every day, our world becomes a little more digital. But reaping the benefits of this digital world – pursuing new educational opportunities through distance learning, feeding the world through precision agriculture, growing a small business by leveraging the cloud, and accessing better healthcare through telemedicine – is only possible for those with a broadband connection, a link not available to at least 25 million people, 19 million of whom live in this country’s rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This lack of connectivity has a very real impact on economic well-being.  There are at least six independent studies that show that broadband has a direct impact on jobs and GDP growth.  Our analysis shows that the counties with the highest unemployment also have the lowest broadband usage (and broadband access).

US map of broadband usage by state

Despite the importance of this issue, we are not making very much progress in closing the broadband gap. In the past five years, there’s been more than $22 billion in subsidies and grants to carriers to sustain, extend and improve broadband in rural America. But adoption has barely budged.

Learn more about our data here: https://news.microsoft.com/rural-broadband/

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PyDev of the Week: Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

PyDev of the Week: Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

This week we welcome Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer as our PyDev of the Week! Abdur-Rahmaan is the French translator of Think Python. You can see what he is up to on his blog as well as on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know him better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’m Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer from Mauritius, a paradise island in the Indian Ocean and currently one of the best tourist destinations. I have an IT business and I am shyly becoming a Python Trainer.

 

I am mostly self-taught in programming. Concerning Python, I’m the Arabic Coordinator for the Python docs, translator of Think Python into French (publishing soon) and organising member for the py user-group of Mauritius. I also did some really tiny contributions to LinuxMint, Numpy, and Odoo.

 

As “hobby”, i like to dig into Compiler Theory and code some toy langs in my spare time. Being a gallery moderator, I use InkScape to design logos and business cards for people. Playing around with graphics!

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

It was when I was a great fan of Java, was really hooked into it’s OOP style. If you understand that things are objects in Java, many weirdnesses clear away. One day I found myself writing an IRC bot. The skeleton was so counter-intuitive to me that I searched for something simpler. I remembered a language called Python which people said was simple to use. I always thought that Python was not a “serious” language but decided to try it anyway. Yes, I was googling: “print in python” …

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Since I wanted to learn programming, I learnt the popular ones. C++, Java, Html, CSS, Js, PHP+SQL, ruby. Functional I only learnt Haskell to get a taste. Also learnt Processing, though it’s more of a library nowadays, or a canvas API if you wish. Besides Python, I use other langs according to needs but processing is a favourite, it’s a whole new world. Loops, OOP, and whatever you want are illustrated. Learning and teaching coding is more lively. You also have a python flavour of it but runs on Jython.

 

Thanks for doing the interview!

 

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