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Entrepreneurs Fight Air Pollution With CO2-Reducing 'CityTrees'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's branching-out department:
CNN is reporting on "CityTree", a unique 10-foot tall mobile installation which removes pollutants from the air." An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Berlin-based Green City Solutions claims its invention has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees. But the CityTree isn't, in fact, a tree at all -- it's a moss culture. "Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants," said Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions.
The huge surfaces of moss installed in each tree can remove dust, nitrogen dioxide and ozone gases from the air. The installation is autonomous and requires very little maintenance: solar panels provide electricity, while rainwater is collected into a reservoir and then pumped into the soil... "We also have pollution sensors inside the installation, which help monitor the local air quality and tell us how efficient the tree is." Wu said. Its creators say that each CityTree is able to absorb around 250 grams of particulate matter a day and contributes to the capture of greenhouse gases by removing 240 metric tons of CO2 a year... Wu also argued that the CityTree is just one piece of a larger puzzle. "Our ultimate goal is to incorporate technology from the CityTree into existing buildings," he said.
So far they've installed 20 CityTrees -- each of which costs about $25,000.

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New Malware Downloader Can Infect PCs Without A Mouse Click
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's malware-from-mouseovers department:
An anonymous reader quotes Engadget:
You think you're safe from malware since you never click suspicious-looking links, then somebody finds a way to infect your PC anyway. Security researchers have discovered that cybercriminals have recently started using a malware downloader that installs a banking Trojan to your computer even if you don't click anything. All it takes to trigger the download is to hover your mouse pointer over a hyperlink in a carrier PowerPoint file. According to researchers from Trend Micro and Dodge This Security the technique was used by a recent spam email campaign targeting companies and organizations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The emails' subjects were mostly finance-related, such as "Invoice" and "Order #," with an attached PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint file has a single hyperlink in the center that says "Loading... please wait" that has an embedded malicious PowerShell script. When you hover your mouse pointer over the link, it executes the script.
Trend Micro writes that "while the numbers aren't impressive, it can also be construed as a dry run for future campaigns, given the technique's seeming novelty," adding "It wouldn't be far-fetched for other malware like ransomware to follow suit."

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SpaceX Releases Ultra-HD 4K Footage Of Falcon 9 Landing
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 11:12 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's final-frontiers department:
An anonymous reader quotes 4K.com:
On June 3, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was placed into low-orbit for the sake of launching its Dragon spacecraft into their eleventh Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-11) to the International Space Station... Last week SpaceX shared on their Youtube channel the remarkable 4K UHD footage of the landing, and since many of us are not used to watching this kind of footage except for Sci-Fi movies or video games, the landing seems almost Hollywood-level surreal, especially since it happens so quickly and accurately. You can watch the video at 4k and 60 fps here if you happen to own a 4K TV or UHD PC monitor with the right hardware specs... The footage above isn't SpaceX's first 4K video of one of its launches. The company has also previously released other videos of even more impressive landings directly onto the surfaces of drone ships.
The article also reminds readers that "If you are by any chance looking to send something or someone out of space, Elon Musk's company offers reasonable prices for their launching services, starting at $62 million for its Falcon 9 and $90 million for the Falcon Heavy."

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Real Estate Firm Identifies America's 'Top 25 Tech Cities'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 09:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's planning-your-next-move department:
Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world's largest real estate firms, launched a new report identifying America's top tech cities. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Washington, DC has emerged as the promising tech city center after San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco... A dominating hub for life sciences and government, Washington, DC also serves as a significant outpost for tech companies seeking proximity to policymakers as well as for burgeoning cyber-security investment. The top 25 tech cities were determined by analyzing the concentration of factors such as talent, capital, and growth opportunity -- the key ingredients that comprise a tech stew. The heartiest of these tech epicenters are: 1. San Jose, CA (Silicon Valley); 2. San Francisco, CA; 3. Washington, DC; 4. Boston/Cambridge, MA; and 5. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC...
Report co-author and Regional Director, Northwest U.S. Research at Cushman & Wakefield, in San Francisco, Robert Sammons, said that while it was not surprising to see San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco continue to dominate, that mass-transit issues and escalating housing costs in those areas have fanned a tech spillover into secondary markets such as Austin (no. 7), Denver (no. 8), San Diego (no. 9), and Salt Lake City (no. 24)... Mr. Sammons cited cost-of-living in Seattle (no. 6) as a lingering issue, somewhat mitigated by a recent uptick in residential development that's outpacing San Francisco's, as well as mass transit challenges.
There's also several cities in the Midwest among the top tech cities, including Madison, Wisconsin (no. 10), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (no. 11), Indianapolis, Indiana (no. 23), and Nashville, Tennessee (no. 25).

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Ask Slashdot: How Can Programmers Move Into AI Jobs?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 09:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's opening-the-pod-bay-doors department:
"I have the seriously growing suspicion that AI is coming for us programmers and IT experts faster than we might want to admit," writes long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino. So he's contemplating a career change -- and wondering what AI work is out there now, and how can he move into it?
Is anything popping up in the industry and AI hype? (And what are these positions called, what do they precisely do, and what are the skills needed to do them?) I suspect something like an "AI Architect", planning AI setups and clearly defining the boundaries of what the AI is supposed to do and explore.
Then I presume the requirements for something like an "AI Maintainer" and/or "AI Trainer" which would probably resemble something like an admin of a big data storage, looking at statistics and making educated decisions on which "AI Training Paths" the AI should continue to explore to gain the skill required and deciding when the "AI" is ready to be let go on to the task... And what about Tensor Flow? Should I toy around with it or are we past that stage already and will others do AI setup and installation better than me before I know how this thing really works...?
Is there a degree program, or other paths to skill and knowledge, for a programmer who's convinced that "AI is today what the web was in 1993"? And if AI of the future ends up tied to specific providers -- AI as a service -- then are there specific vendors he should be focusing on (besides Google?) Leave your best suggestions in the comments. How can programmers move into AI jobs?

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The US Can't Leave The Paris Climate Deal Until 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 2020-envisioned department:
An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times:

Last week, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But it will take more than one speech to pull out: Under the rules of the deal, which the White House says it will follow, the earliest any country can leave is November 4, 2020. That means the United States will remain a party to the accord for nearly all of Mr. Trump's current term... Nov. 4, 2019 is the earliest date that the United States can submit a written notice to the United Nations that it is withdrawing from the Paris deal -- exactly three years after it came into force. As soon as that happens, the United States can leave the accord in exactly one year... If a new president enters the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, he or she could easily submit a written notice to the United Nations that the United States would like to rejoin the Paris accord. Within 30 days, the United States could re-enter the agreement and submit a new pledge for how the country plans to tackle climate change.
The article also acknowledges "a growing coalition of states, cities and companies that are pledging to do as much as they can to meet the United States' climate goals on their own."

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Ex-Admin Deletes All Customer Data and Wipes Servers of Dutch Hosting Provider
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 07:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's resignation-letter department:
An anonymous reader quotes BleepingComputer: Verelox, a provider of dedicated KVM and VPS servers based in The Hague, Netherlands, suffered a catastrophic outage after a former administrator deleted all customer data and wiped most of the company's servers. Details of what exactly happened aren't available, but according to posts on various web hosting forums [1, 2, 3], the incident appears to have taken place Thursday, when users couldn't access their servers or the company's website.
Verelox's homepage came back online earlier Friday, but the website was plastered with a grim message informing users of the ex-admin's actions. Following the incident, the hosting provider decided to take the rest of its network offline and focus on recovering customer data. Verelox staff don't believe they can recover all data. Saturday night the web site was advising customers that the network and hosting services "will be back this week with security updates," adding that "current customers who are still interested in our services will receive compensation."

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Nutella Used An Algorithm To Design 7 Million Unique Labels
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 05:53 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sweetened-hazelnut-cocoa-spread department:
An anonymous reader quotes Inc.
Millions of Italians can now say they own a one-of-a-kind Nutella jar. In February, 7 million jars appeared on shelves in Italy, all of them boasting a unique label design... "An algorithm has usurped the traditional role of a designer," writes design magazine Dezeen. There are jars with polka dots. Jars with zigzags. Jars with splotchy shapes. All sorts of other patterns, too... All 7 million jars sold out within a month... Due to the sell-out success of these jars, Nutella is reportedly launching the same campaign soon in other European countries, starting with France.

The article includes a video showing some of the labels. The algorithm always kept the original logo, but then "pulled from dozens of patterns and thousands of color combination."

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Does Silicon Valley Need More Labor Unions?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 03:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's organizations-vs-organizing department:
Salon recently talked to Jeffrey Buchanan, who two years ago co-founded a labor rights group "that highlights the plight of security officers, food-service workers, janitors and shuttle-bus drivers in the region." An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The situation among Silicon Valley's low-wage contract workers has become so perilous that in January, thousands of security guards working at immensely profitable companies like Facebook and Cisco followed the shuttle-bus drivers and voted to unionize in an effort to collectively bargain for higher wages and better benefits. The upcoming labor contract negotiations between the roughly 3,000 security guards (represented by SEIU United Service Workers West) and their employers is one of the biggest developments in Silicon Valley labor organizing to happen this year. Buchanan says there's also a broader push this year to get tech companies to be proactive in ensuring these workers can make ends meet, even if these companies have to pay more for the services they procure...

A paper published last year by University of California at Santa Cruz researchers Chris Brenner and Kyle Neering estimates between 19,000 and 39,000 contracted service workers are employed in the Valley at any given time... An additional 78,000 workers are at risk of becoming contract employees, according to the study, a number which includes administrative assistants, sales representatives and medium-wage computer programmers. This is part of a larger societal shift in which salaried workers are converted to contractors -- a transition that benefits business owners, in that they don't have to pay benefits and can hire and fire contractors at will.
Buchanan's group represents contractors typically earning "as little as $20,000 a year." But Salon's headline argues that "programmers may be next" in the drive to organize contractors.

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Linux Malware Infects Raspberry Pi Devices And Makes Them Mine Cryptocurrency
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '17 at 12:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's easy-as-Pi department:
An anonymous reader quotes Hot Hardware:
If you're a Raspberry Pi user who's never changed the default password of the "pi" user, then heed this warning: change it. A brand new piece of malware has hit the web, called "Linux.MulDrop.14", and it preys on those who haven't secured their devices properly... After scanning for RPis with an open (and default) SSH port, the "pi" user is logged into (if the password is left default), and the password is subsequently changed. After that, the malware installs ZMap and sshpass software, and then it configures itself. The ultimate goal of Linux.MulDrop.14 is to make digital money for someone else, namely the author of the malware, using your Raspberry Pi.

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Developer Accidentally Deletes Production Database On Their First Day On The Job
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 08:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-a-good-impression department:
An anonymous reader quotes Quartz:
"How screwed am I?" asked a recent user on Reddit, before sharing a mortifying story. On the first day as a junior software developer at a first salaried job out of college, his or her copy-and-paste error inadvertently erased all data from the company's production database. Posting under the heartbreaking handle cscareerthrowaway567, the user wrote, "The CTO told me to leave and never come back. He also informed me that apparently legal would need to get involved due to severity of the data loss. I basically offered and pleaded to let me help in someway to redeem my self and i was told that I 'completely fucked everything up.'"
The company's backups weren't working, according to the post, so the company is in big trouble now. Though Qz adds that "the court of public opinion is on the new guy's side. In a poll on the tech site the Register, less than 1% of 5,400 respondents thought the new developer should be fired. Forty-five percent thought the CTO should go."

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Delays In Unlocking Cellphones Seized In Inauguration Day Protests?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 05:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unlimited-data department:
Cellphone data may play a key role in prosecuting people arrested at inauguration day protests, according to an article shared by Slashdot reader Mosquito Bites. A U.S. attorney acknowledged that "the government recovered cell phones from more than 100 indicted defendants and other un-indicted arrested" in a filing last March, adding "The government is in the process of extracting data from the Rioter Cell Phones pursuant to lawfully issued search warrants, and expects to be in a position to produce all of the data from the searchers Rioter Cell Phones in the next several weeks."

But 11 weeks later, it's a different story. Prosecutors "have provided defense lawyers with access to hundreds of hours of video footage from January 20, but have yet to turn over data extracted from more than 100 cell phones seized during the arrests, according to lawyers who spoke with BuzzFeed News." In addition, they report that now more than half the 200-plus defendants "are vowing not to cooperate with prosecutors, even in the face of a new set of felony charges that carry stiff maximum prison sentences."

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Has the 40-year Old Mystery of the 'Wow!' Signal Been Solved?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 03:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's truth-is-out-there department:
"Astronomers have confirmed that the Wow! signal, thought to be the most promising detection by SETI of alien life, was actually caused by a comet," writes schwit1. New Atlas reports:

Last year, a group of researchers from the Center of Planetary Science proposed a new hypothesis that argued a comet might be the culprit. The frequency could be caused by the hydrogen cloud they carry, and the fact that they move accounts for why it seemingly disappeared. Two comets, named 266/P Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs), happened to be transiting through that region of space when the Wow! signal was detected, but they weren't discovered until after 2006. To test the hypothesis, the team made 200 radio spectrum observations between November 2016 and February 2017. Sure enough, 266/P Christensen was found to emit radio waves at a frequency of 1,420 MHz, and to double check, the researchers moved their radio telescope by one degree. As expected, the signal vanished, and only returned when the telescope was trained back on the comet.

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New iOS 11 Settings Will Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 03:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's where's-Waldo department:
An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:
Apple is giving users the option to enable much stricter location rules with iOS 11, according to MacRumors. The company began this effort last year by adding a new option to iOS 10 that grants apps access to your location only while they're actively being used. But this "while in use" setting is up to developers to actually enable. The vast majority of popular apps did integrate that new feature. Others, however -- Uber chief among them -- still force iPhone users to choose between always or never providing location data. The latter choice breaks the functionality of an app like Uber, leaving customers with really only one option. Apple seems poised to eliminate this false choice in iOS 11 by making the "while in use" restriction available for every app.

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A Power Outage In Silicon Valley Was Caused By A Drone Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's user-error department:
An anonymous reader quotes the San Jose Mercury News:
A drone crashed into a high-voltage wire Thursday night, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and knocking out power to roughly 1,600 people for about two hours, police said... "The FAA has rules and regulations in place to prevent this exact type of incident from happening," said Mountain View police spokeswoman Katie Nelson. "We simply ask that people comply with the rules and that they operate drones safely and sensibly."

The town's city hall was without power -- along with the rest of the 1,600 homes -- prompting a Google software engineer to tweet that "drones are fun until someone flies one into high-voltage power lines." They added later that "apparently the owner 'fled in a white hatchback', which is the least dignified way that someone can flee, I think."

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That Time Adam West, TV's 'Batman', Also Advocated For Videogames
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Pow!-Biff!-Whack! department:
Adam West, star of the 1960s TV series Batman, has died at age 88. An anonymous reader shares a memory of that time the 53-year-old actor wrote an op-ed for a 1982 issue of Videogame and Computer Gaming Illustrated.
"I've been playing with computers longer than most," West wrote on page 6. [PDF] "I had onboard computers in Robinson Crusoe on Mars, having learned in an episode of TV's The Outer Limits that you can't survive on the Red Planet without them. Then, of course, I was up to my cowl in computers as television's Batman... In 1966, when the series began its three season run, all of that was science fiction. Computers were playthings of the researchers at MIT... Today, a lot of the apparatus we had in Batman -- dressed, of course, in less imposing names -- is fact. And we're lucky this is so."
West called videogames "an ideal means to broaden the imaginations of young people," saying the medium "can expand our awareness of the world as it is, was, or might be. The medium is still in its infancy, but read this again in a few years and see if this prediction hasn't come true: as videogaming grows, we will grow."

My favorite story is how West was cast as Batman after the show's producer spotted his performance as super-spy Agent Q in a commercial for Nestle Quik. And CNN also remembers that "later in life, West made appearances on the animated series 'Family Guy' as Mayor Adam West, the oddball leader of Quahog, Rhode Island."

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Docker's LinuxKit Launches Kernel Security Efforts, Including Next-Generation VPN
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 11:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's verge-of-virtual-privacy department:
darthcamaro writes: Back in April, when Docker announced its LinuxKit effort, the primary focus appeared to just be [tools for] building a container-optimized Linux distribution. As it turns out, security is also a core focus -- with LinuxKit now incubating multiple efforts to help boost Linux kernel security. Among those efforts is the Wireguard next generation VPN that could one day replace IPsec. "Wireguard is a new VPN for Linux using the cryptography that is behind some of the really good secure messaging apps like Signal," said Nathan McCauley, Director of Security at Docker Inc.
According to the article, Docker also has several full-time employees looking at ways to reduce the risk of memory corruption in the kernel, and is also developing a new Linux Security Module with more flexible access control policies for processes.

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Cancer Drug Proves To Be Effective Against Multiple Tumors
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cellular-service department:
An anonymous reader writes:
86 cancer patients were enrolled in a trial of a drug that helps the immune system attack tumors. Though they had different kinds of tumor -- pancreas, prostate, uterus or bone -- they all shared a genetic mutation that disrupts their cells' ability to fix damaged DNA, found in 4% of all cancer patients. But tumors vanished and didn't return for 18 patients in the study, reports the New York Times, while 66 more patients "had their tumors shrink substantially and stabilize, instead of continuing to grow." The drug trial results were "so striking that the Food and Drug Administration already has approved the drug, pembrolizumab, brand name Keytruda, for patients whose cancers arise from the same genetic abnormality. It is the first time a drug has been approved for use against tumors that share a certain genetic profile, whatever their location in the body."
The researchers say that just in the U.S. there are 60,000 new patients every year who could benefit from the new drug.

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America's Five Biggest Tech Stocks Lost $97 Billion Friday
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's tumbling-techs department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNBC:
The so-called "big five" -- Apple , Alphabet Class A shares, Microsoft , Facebook and Amazon -- lost more than $97.5 billion in market value between the close on Thursday and the close on Friday, according to FactSet, dragging the Nasdaq to its worst week of the year. Shares of Apple fell nearly 4 percent on Friday, while the other four companies fell more than 3 percent. For most of the day, only 3 stocks in the S&P 500 tech sector were in the green: IBM , Teradata and Western Union . Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet all traded more than 2 times their 30-day average volume... "They're just plain overbought," said David Bahnsen founder, managing director and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management firm. "They are extremely stretched from a valuation standpoint."
CNN notes the drop occurred "after a Goldman Sachs analyst questioned this year's run-up in the industry's five biggest names." They also added that "The top five techs today account for 13% of the market value weighting in the S&P 500, even though they are only 1% of the companies in the index."

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No, Your Phone Didn't Ring. So Why Voice Mail From a Telemarketer?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '17 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stealthy-marketing department:
Slashdot reader midwestsilentone tipped us off to a growing problem. Lifehacker reports:
New technology allows telemarketers to leave ringless voicemail messages, and it's a method that's gaining traction. While there are laws to regulate businesses when they call consumers, some groups argue that ringless voicemail shouldn't count. The New York Times reports,"ringless voicemail providers and pro-business groups...argue that these messages should not qualify as calls and, therefore, should be exempt from consumer protection laws that ban similar types of telephone marketing"... After receiving a petition from a ringless voicemail provider, the Federal Trade Commission has started to collect public comments on this issue. So what can you do about it? First, you can head here to leave your public comment and if you're getting these voicemails, you can file a complaint with the FCC here.
Presumably that only applies if you're in the U.S. But I'd be curious to hear how many Slashdot readers have experienced this.

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