By BeauHD from Slashdot's cash-cow department
Barclays internet analyst Ross Sandler says the new cryptocurrency that Facebook is working on could be part of a multibillion-dollar revenue opportunity. "Sandler forecasted as much as $19 billion in additional revenue by 2021 from 'Facebook Coin,'" reports CNBC. "Conservatively, the firm sees a base-case of an incremental $3 billion in revenue from a successful cryptocurrency implementation. 'Merely establishing this revenue stream starts to change the story for Facebook shares in our view,' Sandler said." From the report: Facebook is reportedly developing a cryptocurrency for global payments that will be tied to the value of traditional currencies and available to use through its messenger "WhatsApp," according to Bloomberg and The New York Times. Facebook has not publicly commented on the reports. Price volatility has been one major roadblock to bitcoin's widespread adoption as an everyday payment option. But Facebook's digital currency, a "stable coin," would likely be less attractive to speculators because of its fixed price tied to a currency like the U.S. dollar.
"Any attempt to build out revenue streams outside of advertising, especially those that don't abuse user privacy are likely to be well-received by Facebook's shareholders," Sandler said. Barclays based its Facebook revenue estimates off of Google's digital distribution service, which is also the official app store for Android's operating system. "Google Play," as it's called, generates $6 in "net" revenue per user now. Facebook could see a "similar cadence," across its nearly 3 billion users in 2021. A Facebook virtual currency would allow for more premium content to find its way back to Facebook, Sandler said, as companies re-establish themselves on the social network as a strategic partner.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's CTRL-+-Z department
Microsoft is reportedly working on a new functionality that will automatically remove botched updates from Windows 10 to fix startup issues and other bugs preventing the PC from booting. "The support document was quietly published a couple of hours ago and for some reasons, Microsoft has also blocked the search engines from crawling or indexing the page," reports Windows Latest. "In the document, Microsoft explains that Windows may automatically install updates in order to keep your device secure and smooth." From the report: Due to various reasons, including software and driver compatibility issues, Windows Updates are vulnerable to mistakes and hardware errors. In some cases, Windows Update may fail to install. After installing a recent update, if your PC experience startup failures and automatic recovery attempts are unsuccessful, Windows may try to resolve the failure by uninstalling recently installed updates. In this case, users may receive a notification with the following message: "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure."
Microsoft says that Windows will also automatically block the problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. During these 30 days, Microsoft and its partners will investigate the failure and attempt to fix the issues. When the issues are fixed, Windows will again try to install the updates. Users still have the freedom to reinstall the updates. If you believe that the update should not be removed, you can manually reinstall the driver or quality updates which were uninstalled earlier.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fearing-the-unknown department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: Fearing unknown health risks, members of the City Council in Portland, Oregon, will vote Wednesday to oppose the rollout of 5G wireless networks. In a proposed resolution, Mayor Ted Wheeler, along with Commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz, write that there's evidence suggesting wireless networks can cause health problems -- including cancer. They express concern that the Federal Communications Commission has not conducted enough research to demonstrate that 5G networks are safe, while at the same time prohibiting state and local governments from passing their own regulations on telecommunications technology. And while Wheeler, Eudaly, and Fritz are correct about the FCC's power to dictate how state and local governments manage wireless networks, the connection between 5G networks and cancer is a lot more complicated than they say it is.
"There is evidence to suggest that exposure to radio frequency emissions generated by wireless technologies could contribute to adverse health conditions such as cancer," reads the proposed resolution. This evidence comes from a large-scale study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The final results of this study, published in November 2018, showed a strong association between the type of radiation used for mobile phone signals and certain types of cancerous tumors in lab rats. But that's where the situation gets tough. The NTP study, which took place over 10 years and involved exposing more than 7,000 rats and mice to radio-frequency radiation, focused on signals used by wireless technology under the 2G and 3G standards. It's nearly impossible to say whether these results will apply to 5G hardware.
< article continued at Slashdot's fearing-the-unknown department
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By msmash from Slashdot's severe-consequences department
An international group of researchers who have been examining the source code for an internet voting system that Switzerland plans to roll out this year have found a critical flaw in the code that would allow someone to alter votes without detection. New submitter eatmorekix shares a report: The cryptographic backdoor exists in a part of the system that is supposed to verify that all of the ballots and votes counted in an election are the same ones that voters cast. But the flaw could allow someone to swap out all of the legitimate ballots and replace them with fraudulent ones, all without detection. "The vulnerability is astonishing," said Matthew Green, who teaches cryptography at Johns Hopkins University and did not do the research but read the researchers' report. "In normal elections, there is no single person who could undetectably defraud the entire election. But in this system they built, there is a party who could do that."
The researchers provided their findings last week to Swiss Post, the country's national postal service, which developed the system with the Barcelona-based company Scytl. Swiss Post said in a statement the researchers provided Motherboard and that the Swiss Post plans to publish online on Tuesday, that the researchers were correct in their findings and that it had asked Scytl to fix the issue. It also downplayed the vulnerability, however, saying that to exploit it, an attacker would need control over Swiss Postâ(TM)s secured IT infrastructure "as well as help from several insiders with specialist knowledge of Swiss Post or the cantons."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Chicken companies spent decades breeding birds to grow rapidly and develop large breast muscles. Now the industry is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with the consequences ranging from squishy fillets known as "spaghetti meat," because they pull apart easily, to leathery ones known as "woody breast." [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source.] The abnormalities pose no food safety risk, researchers and industry officials say. They are suspected side effects of genetic selection that now allows meat companies to raise a 6.3-pound bird in 47 days, roughly twice as fast as 50 years ago, according to the National Chicken Council.
That efficiency drive has helped U.S. meat giants such as Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms produce a record 42 billion pounds of chicken nuggets, tenders and other products in 2018. Now, it's adding an estimated $200 million or more in annual industry expenses to identify and divert breast fillets that are too tough, too squishy or too striped with bands of white tissue to sell in restaurants or grocery stores, according to researchers at the University of Arkansas.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's Massive-College-Admissions-Scandal department
Federal prosecutors charged dozens of people on Tuesday in a major college admission scandal that involved wealthy parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders, paying bribes to get their children into elite American universities. From a report: Federal officials have charged dozens of well-heeled parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in what the Justice Department says was a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards. The parents allegedly paid a consultant who then fabricated academic and athletic credentials and arranged bribes to help get their children into prestigious universities. "We're talking about deception and fraud -- fake test scores, fake credentials, fake photographs, bribed college officials," said Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
Lelling said 33 parents "paid enormous sums" to ensure their children got into schools such as Stanford and Yale, sending money to entities controlled by a man named William Rick Singer in return for falsifying records and obtaining false scores on important tests such as the SAT and ACT. Describing how Singer worked to present his clients' children as elite athletes, Lelling said, "In many instances, Singer helped parents take staged photographs of their children engaged in particular sports. Other times, Singer and his associates used stock photos that they pulled off the Internet -- sometimes Photoshopping the face of the child onto the picture of the athlete" and submitting it to desirable schools.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Amazon's Echo-branded smart speakers have attracted millions of fans with their ability to play music and respond to queries spoken from across the room. But almost four years after inviting outside developers to write apps for Alexa, Amazon's voice system has yet to offer a transformative new experience. From a report: Surveys show most people use their smart speakers to listen to tunes or make relatively simple requests -- "Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes" -- while more complicated tasks prompt them to give up and reach for their smartphone. Developers had less trouble creating hits for previous generations of technology.
Think Angry Birds or Pokemon Go on the iPhone, or, decades ago, spreadsheets on the first Windows computers. Amazon counts some 80,000 "skills" -- its name for apps -- in its marketplace. It seems impressive, but at this point in their development, Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store each boasted more than 550,000 applications and minted fortunes for many successful developers. "This platform is almost four years old, and you can't point me to one single killer app," says Mark Einhorn, who created a well-reviewed Alexa game that lets users operate a simulated lemonade stand and is one of 10 developers interviewed for this story.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's major-collaborative-push department
It also announced that the GraphQL Foundation is collaborating with Joint Development Foundation to encourage "contributions, stewardship, and a shared investment from a broad group in vendor-neutral events, documentation, tools, and support for the data query language."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's say-it-ain't-so department
jbmartin6 shares a report from Scientific American: In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, a group of scientists has theorized that sound waves possess mass, meaning sounds would be directly affected by gravity. They suggest phonons, particle-like collective excitations responsible for transporting sound waves across a medium, might exhibit a tiny amount of mass in a gravitational field. "You would expect classical physics results like this one to have been known for a long time by now," says Angelo Esposito from Columbia University, the lead author on the paper. "It's something we stumbled upon almost by chance."
Esposito and his colleagues built on a previous paper published last year, in which Alberto Nicolis of Columbia and Riccardo Penco from Carnegie Mellon University first suggested phonons could have mass in a superfluid. The latest study, however, shows this effect should hold true for other materials, too, including regular liquids and solids, and even air itself. And although the amount of mass carried by the phonons is expected to be tiny -- comparable with a hydrogen atom, about 10^-24 grams -- it may actually be measurable. Except, if you were to measure it, you would find something deeply counterintuitive: The mass of the phonons would be negative, meaning they would fall "up." Over time their trajectory would gradually move away from a gravitational source such as Earth. "If their gravitational mass was positive, they would fall downward," Penco says. "Because their gravitational mass is negative, phonons fall upwards." And the amount they would "fall" is equally small, varying depending on the medium the phonon is traveling through. In water, where sound moves at 1.5 kilometers per second, the negative mass of the phonon would cause it to drift at about 1 degree per second. But this corresponds to a change of 1 degree over 15 kilometers, which would be exceedingly difficult to measure.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sneaky-bastards department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Russia has told internet providers to enforce a block against encrypted email provider ProtonMail, the company's chief has confirmed. The block was ordered by the state Federal Security Service, formerly the KGB, according to a Russian-language blog, which obtained and published the order after the agency accused the company and several other email providers of facilitating bomb threats. Several anonymous bomb threats were sent by email to police in late January, forcing several schools and government buildings to evacuate.
In all, 26 internet addresses were blocked by the order, including several servers used to scramble the final connection for users of Tor, an anonymity network popular for circumventing censorship. Internet providers were told to implement the block "immediately," using a technique known as BGP blackholing, a way that tells internet routers to simply throw away internet traffic rather than routing it to its destination. But the company says while the site still loads, users cannot send or receive email. The way the KGB blocked ProtonMail is "particularly sneaky," ProtonMail chief executive Andy Yen said. "ProtonMail is not blocked in the normal way, it's actually a bit more subtle. They are blocking access to ProtonMail mail servers. So Mail.ru -- and most other Russian mail servers -- for example, is no longer able to deliver email to ProtonMail, but a Russian user has no problem getting to their inbox."
"That's because the two ProtonMail servers listed by the order are its back-end mail delivery servers, rather than the front-end website that runs on a different system," adds TechCrunch.Read Replies (0)