By EditorDavid from Slashdot's satellite-internet department
SpaceX just filed a new earth-station license application with America's Federal Communications Commisions, seeking blanket approval "for up to a million earth stations" for customers of their Starlink satellite internet service, reports GeekWire:
Those satellites have already received clearance from the FCC, and SpaceX plans to launch the first elements of the initial 4,425-satellite constellation this year, using Falcon 9 rockets.... Eventually, SpaceX wants to build up the network to take in as many as 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit...
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said the Starlink project aims is to provide high-speed, reliable and affordable broadband data services to consumers in the U.S. and around the world, including an estimated 3.8 billion people who are underserved by existing networks. When he unveiled the project four years ago in Seattle, he said revenue from the internet service would pay for his vision of creating a city on Mars.
The application assures regulators that the earth stations will "incorporate advanced technologies to enable highly efficient use of the spectrum and enhance the customer's broadband experience."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's world-domination department
Writing at Linux Journal, Glyn Moody reports that dozens of government IT systems are switching to open source software.
"The fact that this approach is not already the norm is something of a failure on the part of the Free Software community..."
One factor driving this uptake by innovative government departments is the potential to cut costs by avoiding constant upgrade fees. But it's important not to overstate the "free as in beer" element here. All major software projects have associated costs of implementation and support. Departments choosing free software simply because they believe it will save lots of money in obvious ways are likely to be disappointed, and that will be bad for open source's reputation and future projects.
Arguably as important as any cost savings is the use of open standards. This ensures that there is no lock-in to a proprietary solution, and it makes the long-term access and preservation of files much easier. For governments with a broader responsibility to society than simply saving money, that should be a key consideration, even if it hasn't been in the past.... Another is transparency. Recently it emerged that Microsoft has been gathering personal information from 300,000 government users of Microsoft Office ProPlus in the Netherlands, without permission and without documentation.
He includes an inspiring quote from the Free Software Foundation Europe about code produced by the government: "If it is public money, it should be public code as well. But when it comes to the larger issue about the general usage of proprietary vs. non-proprietary software -- what do Slashdot's readers think?
Should all government IT systems be using open source software?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's health-plans department
"Verily, Alphabet's life science division, is building a tech-focused rehab campus in Dayton, Ohio to combat the opioid crisis," reports CNBC.
Verily will join two health networks, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health, to create a nonprofit named OneFifteen. Alexandria Real Estate Equities will design and develop the campus, which will offer both inpatient and outpatient services. There is no single solution to treating substance abuse, with strategies spanning from intensive rehabilitation programs to drop-in meetings. Verily hopes to get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work in helping people get and stay sober....
Initially, Verily will focus on understanding what works in the clinic and then track patient behavior when they get out to see what sticks, Danielle Schlosser, senior clinical scientist of behavioral health at Verily, said in an interview. Verily will use a "variety of means" to track what works, she said, adding that patients would have to consent to being monitored... OneFifteen CEO Marti Taylor said "Because we will have facilities, an entire ecosystem and data, we'll be able to take a more holistic understanding of a person's health both inside and outside as we follow them long-term."
Verily's blog points out that Americans under 50 years old are more likely to die from unintentional overdoses than any other cause, and that two-thirds of those deaths involve an opioid. "In the face of one of the greatest public health crises the U.S. has seen, we feel compelled to act," they write, saying their company is "focused on making health information useful so people can live healthier lives."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's surveying-surveillance-capitalism department
An anonymous reader quotes Forbes:
A massive majority of consumers believe that using their data to personalize ads is unethical. And a further 76% believe that personalization to create tailored newsfeeds -- precisely what Facebook, Twitter, and other social applications do every day -- is unethical.
At least, that's what they say on surveys.
RSA surveyed 6,000 adults in Europe and America to evaluate how our attitudes are changing towards data, privacy, and personalization. The results don't look good for surveillance capitalism, or for the free services we rely on every day for social networking, news, and information-finding. "Less than half (48 percent) of consumers believe there are ethical ways companies can use their data," RSA, a fraud prevention and security company, said when releasing the survey results. Oh, and when a company gets hacked? Consumers blame the company, not the hacker, the report says.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's there's-an-app-for-that department
An anonymous reader quotes CNBC:
It is inevitable that artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will take over some jobs, internet entrepreneur Arianna Huffington told CNBC in a recent email exchange, but that will place a premium on uniquely human qualities in the future labor market -- creativity, compassion, empathy and complex problem-solving. That's where Huffington sees a pressing problem to solve. She says these human qualities are at risk today and the cause is -- no surprise -- too much technology. Her advice: Reevaluate your relationship with technology before it is too late. "These are the very qualities that are diminished when we're burned out from being always on," Huffington said of human abilities like creativity. "One of the next frontiers in the tech world is technology that helps us disconnect from technology and create time and space to connect not with screens but with other people and with ourselves...."
Huffington, who is an executive producer on the new '90s tech-sector docudrama "Valley of the Boom," said the consumer relationship with technology is one of the most important issues of the modern era, and it is time to reevaluate the seeds that were planted back in the '90s during that first internet boom.... "Even for those of us old enough to remember the first boom and to have lived through it, it's sometimes hard to remember that there was a time before we were all hyperconnected and glued to our screens. And seeing the decisions that were made that led to our current moment makes us realize we can also make decisions about how we use this technology."
To this end Huffington has launched a startup called Thrive Global "to go beyond raising awareness and create something real and tangible that would help individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's reminiscing-about-RealPlayer department
An anonymous reader quotes MovieWeb:
The official Captain Marvel website is a blast from the past... Marvel Studios is preparing its final promotional push for the project. This includes TV spots, various forms of merchandise, posters, and in this case, a perfect retro website, tailor made to take us all back to a time when the internet was a whole lot simpler.
Instead of flashy high resolution images, we are treated to pixelated versions, which perfectly reimagines the 1990s websites. There's a lot of Word art, a ticker to count how many unique views that the site gets, a guest book, and even a game that lets fans spot the Kree. Instead of the trailers coming through YouTube, they are played using the "Kree Player," which is take on the old Real Player.
MovieWeb writes that the site "also gives younger Marvel Cinematic Universe fans a chance to see what the internet looked like back in the day...."
And though the movie's slogan is "Higher, further, faster," they argue that "The only thing that could have made the Captain Marvel site even better is slow page loading, just to give it a real touch of what it was like surfing the net in the dark ages."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's screen-time-vs-bed-time department
UPI reports: Too little sleep. Not enough exercise. Far too much "screen time." That is the unhealthy lifestyle of nearly all U.S. high school students, new research finds. The study, of almost 60,000 teenagers nationwide, found that only 5 percent were meeting experts' recommendations on three critical health habits: sleep; exercise; and time spent gazing at digital media and television... "Five percent is a really low proportion," said study leader Gregory Knell, a research fellow at University of Texas School of Public Health, in Dallas. "We were a bit surprised by that...."
"If kids are viewing a screen at night -- staring at that blue light -- that may affect their ability to sleep," Knell said. "And if you're not getting enough sleep at night, you're going to be more tired during the day," he added, "and you're not going to be as physically active."
Experts recommend a minimum of 8 hours of sleep at night for teenagers, plus at least one hour every day of "moderate to vigorous" exercise.
One professor of adolescent medicine points out that some high school homework now even requires using a computer -- even though too much screen time can affect teenagers' abiity to sleep.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-so-heavy-metal department
Titanium "has long been touted as the metal of the future," writes Dwell, "due to its strength, rust resistance, and amazing lightness." But can careful atom-stacking lead to something better?
An anonymous reader writes:
Researchers have discovered a way to create a new "metallic wood" material that is as strong as titanium, but five times lighter, reports Dwell. "So far, the researchers have built a sheet of nickel with nanoscale pores that is almost 70 percent empty space... It was created by building tiny plastic spheres, suspending them in water, allowing the water to evaporate, and then electroplating the spheres with nickel. Researchers then dissolved the plastic spheres, producing an incredibly strong, porous metal that floats on water."
Researchers are also considering the possibility of filling its empty space with an energy-storing material. "For example, a prosthetic leg made from this material and infused with anode and cathode materials, could also be a battery."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's probing-your-profile department
"While it's creepy to imagine companies are listening in to your conversations, it's perhaps more creepy that they can predict what you're talking about without actually listening," writes an NBC News technology correspondent, arguing that data, not privacy, is the real danger.
Your data -- the abstract portrait of who you are, and, more importantly, of who you are compared to other people -- is your real vulnerability when it comes to the companies that make money offering ostensibly free services to millions of people. Not because your data will compromise your personal identity. But because it will compromise your personal autonomy. "Privacy as we normally think of it doesn't matter," said Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology [and a former Mozilla team leader]. "What these companies are doing is building little models, little avatars, little voodoo dolls of you. Your doll sits in the cloud, and they'll throw 100,000 videos at it to see what's effective to get you to stick around, or what ad with what messaging is uniquely good at getting you to do something...."
With 2.3 billion users, "Facebook has one of these models for one out of every four humans on earth. Every country, culture, behavior type, socio-economic background," said Raskin. With those models, and endless simulations, the company can predict your interests and intentions before you even know them.... Without having to attach your name or address to your data profile, a company can nonetheless compare you to other people who have exhibited similar online behavior...
A professor at Columbia law school decries the concentrated power of social media as "a single point of failure for democracy." But the article also warns about the dangers of health-related data collected from smartwatches. "How will people accidentally cursed with the wrong data profile get affordable insurance?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's dissing-by-disliking department
"YouTube is no stranger to viewers weaponizing the dislike button, as seen by the company's recent Rewind video, but the product development team is working on a way to tackle the issue," writes the Verge.
Suren Enfiajyan shares their report on a new video by Tom Leung, YouTube's director of project management.
"Dislike mobs" are the YouTube equivalent to review bombings on Steam -- a group of people who are upset with a certain creator or game decide to execute an organized attack and downvote or negatively review a game or video into oblivion. It's an issue on YouTube as well, and one that creators have spoken out against many times in the past.... Now, the company is planning to experiment with new ways to make it more difficult for organized attacks to be executed. Leung states that these are just "lightly being discussed" right now, and if none of the options are the correct approach, they may hold off until a better idea comes along.
Ironically, Leung's video itself drew 2,654 "dislike" votes -- nearly double its 1,377 upvotes.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's great-first-languages department
Over 20,000 programmers from more than 150 different countries provided answers for the second annual Python Developers Survey (conducted by the Python Software Foundation and JeBrains).
An anonymous reader submitted this condensed version of their results:
When asked "What do you use Python for?" data analysis has become more popular than Web development, growing from 50% in 2017 to 58% in 2018. Machine learning also grew by 7 percentage points. These types of development are experiencing faster growth than Web development, which has only increased by 2 percentage points when compared to the previous year...
Almost two-thirds of respondents selected Linux as their development environment OS. Most people are using free or open source databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, or SQLite... Twenty-something was the prevalent age range among our respondents, with almost a third being in their thirties. [31% more were between the ages of 30 and 39.]Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wisdom-versus-crowds department
CBS News reports that as Washington state confronts a measles outbreak which has sickened at least 56 people, "hundreds rallied to preserve their right not to vaccinate their children."
They packed a public hearing for a new bill making it harder for families to opt out of vaccination requirements, reports The Washington Post:
An estimated 700 people, most of them opposed to stricter requirements, lined up before dawn in the cold, toting strollers and hand-lettered signs, to sit in the hearing.... The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the nation's most vocal and organized anti-vaccination activists. That movement has helped drive down child immunizations in Washington, as well as in neighboring Oregon and Idaho, to some of the lowest rates in the country, with as many as 10.5 percent of kindergartners statewide in Idaho unvaccinated for measles. That is almost double the median rate nationally.... One activist who spoke Friday, Mary Holland, who teaches at New York University law school and said her son has a vaccine-related injury, warned lawmakers that if the bill passes, many vaccine opponents will "move out of the state, or go underground, but they will not comply."
The sponsor of a similar bill in Oregon says that anti-vaxxers "have every right to make a bad decision in the health of their child, but that does not give them the right to send an unprotected kid to public school. So if they want to homeschool their kid and keep them out of other environments, that's their decision."
But there are still 17 U.S. states that allow "personal or philosophic exemptions to vaccination requirements," reports the Post, "meaning virtually anyone can opt out." (Though some states are now considering changes.) "The enablers are state legislators in those states, that have allowed themselves to be played," complains Dr. Peter Hotez, a co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
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