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390 Billion Tons of Snow and Ice Melt Each Year As Globe Warms, Study Suggests
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '19 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today, highlighting the key findings from a new study published in the journal Nature: Thanks to global warming, our planet's glaciers continue to melt away, losing up to 390 billion tons of ice and snow per year, a new study suggests. The largest losses were glaciers in Alaska, followed by the melting ice fields in southern South America and glaciers in the Arctic. Glaciers could almost disappear in some mountain ranges by the end of the century, including those in the U.S. The world's seas have risen about an inch in the past 50 years just due to glacier melt alone, according to the study. Since 1961, the world has lost 10.6 trillion tons of ice and snow, the study reported. Melted, that's enough to cover the lower 48 U.S. states in about 4 feet of water.

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Viewers Who Stream More Also Go To Cinemas More
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '19 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you-have-nothing-to-fear department:
Video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu don't appear to be negatively impacting the box office like many would assume. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush, expects the U.S. box office will grow about 1% to $12 billion this year, setting another record.

"Our takeaway is that Netflix and the expansion of [streaming video on demand] platforms will have minimal impact on box office given the vast supply of content, plenty of which is ideal for theatrical release (and most talent fiercely and contractually objects to a straight-to-streaming release)," Pachter wrote in a research note Monday. CNBC reports: Last year, the domestic box office had a record-breaking year, hauling in $11.9 billion, there was a 5% rise in the number of movie tickets sold, and 263 million people -- 75 percent of the population -- saw at least one movie in theaters. "Everyone has a kitchen, but everyone still goes out to eat," Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said, quoting Sterling Bagby, the late co-founder of B&B Theatres, during a "State of the Industry" panel last week.

Rivkin said that with each new innovation in the entertainment industry, there has been worry that it will kill the movie industry. Talking pictures, technicolor movies, television, basic cable and smartphones were all seen as disruptors. "And yet we're still here," Rivkin said. "The theatrical and home entertainment sectors both grew strongly in 2018, and that's great news, because we are all part of the growth together," he said.

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The ISS Is a Cesspool of Bacteria and Fungi, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 11:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's petri-dish-in-space department:
An extensive survey of bacteria and fungi on surfaces inside the International Space Station has revealed an astonishing number of microorganisms living among the astronauts -- the health impacts of which aren't entirely clear. Gizmodo reports: Since it was first established in 1998, the International Space Station has been visited by hundreds of astronauts (227 to be exact). These trips have invariably introduced an array of microbes to the orbital outpost, as have shipments of cargo. But while astronauts return to Earth, their germs stay behind. New research published today in Microbiome offers the most comprehensive catalogue to date of the bacteria and fungi living on the ISS, detailing the station's distinctive and ever-changing microbiological profile. This research will now be used by NASA and other space agencies to develop safety measures for the ISS and other long-term space missions.

< article continued at Slashdot's petri-dish-in-space department >

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London's BT Tower Broadcasted Windows 7 Error Message Over the Weekend
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 08:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's technical-difficulties department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: Generally a system crash is a private affair, but the BT Tower, one of London's tallest landmarks, spent much of the weekend displaying a Windows error message in a very public fashion. The building, originally known as the Post Office Tower, is famed for both its revolving top floor and, more recently, for the banks of LEDs at its summit that act as a very prominent billboard. Sadly for BT over the weekend it was showing what looks very like a Windows 7 error screen. "Choose operating system to start or press TAB to select a tool: (Use arrow keys to highlight your choice and then press ENTER)."

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Why Airlines Make Flights Longer On Purpose
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 07:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
dryriver shares a report from the BBC: In the 1960s it took five hours to fly from New York to Los Angeles, and just 45 minutes to hop from New York to Washington, DC. Today, these same flights now take six-plus hours and 75 minutes respectively, although the airports haven't moved further apart. It's called "schedule creep," or padding. And it's a secret the airlines don't want you to know about, especially given the spillover effects for the environment. Padding is the extra time airlines allow themselves to fly from A to B. Because these flights were consistently late, airlines have now baked delays experienced for decades into their schedules instead of improving operations.

"On average, over 30% of all flights arrive more than 15 minutes late every day despite padding," says Captain Michael Baiada, president of aviation consultancy ATH Group citing the U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report. The figure used to be 40% but padding -- not operational improvements -- boosted on-time arrival rates. 'By padding, airlines are gaming the system to fool you." He says if instead airlines tackled operational issues, customers would directly benefit. "Padding drives higher costs in fuel burn, noise and CO2 which means if airline efficiency goes up, costs go down, benefitting both the environment and fares."

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'Exodus' Spyware Found Targeting Apple iOS Users
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 05:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's threats-in-disguise department:
The surveillance tool dubbed "Exodus" has been ported to the Apple iOS ecosystem. According to Threatpost, the spyware "can exfiltrate contacts, take audio recordings and photos, track location data and more on mobile devices." From the report: Earlier this month, word came that Google had booted a raft of Exodus-laden apps. According to Lookout Security, it turns out that iOS versions had become available outside the App Store, through phishing sites that imitate Italian and Turkmenistani mobile carriers. These are notable in that they abused the Apple Developer Enterprise program. According to Lookout and other research from Security Without Borders, the spyware appears to have been under development for at least five years. It's a three-stage affair, starting with a lightweight dropper that then fetches a large second-stage payload that contains multiple binaries with most of the spy goods housed within them. Finally, a third stage typically uses the Dirty COW exploit (CVE20165195) to obtain root privileges on a targeted device. In delving into the technical details, Lookout saw evidence of a fairly sophisticated operation, suggesting that it may have been initially marketed as a legitimate package for the government or law-enforcement sectors.

< article continued at Slashdot's threats-in-disguise department >

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Fiat Chrysler Will Pay Tesla To Dodge Billions In Emissions Fines
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 05:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lowest-cost-approach department:
MDMurphy writes: While people have good and bad things to say about Tesla, one consistent thing has been that the cars emit zero emissions when operating. But in Europe, in exchange for cash, Tesla is merging its fleet with that of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The amount FCA is paying Tesla is presumably less than they would in fines if they were on their own. With this merging of the fleets, in Europe at least, a Tesla is no more clean than a diesel Fiat. "The Italian-American carmaker is behind on meeting the new standard, and the so-called open pool option available at the EU allows automakers to group their fleets together to meet the targets," reports Bloomberg. "Payments to Tesla, whose electric cars don't produce CO2 emissions, may amount to over 500 million euros, according to Jefferies." Ars Technica reports on the strict new EU regulations: "From 2020, 95 percent of an automaker's new cars sold in the EU have to meet this target, with the remaining 5 percent falling under the law in 2021. And the penalties for failing are draconian: a $107 'excess emissions premium' per gram of CO2 over the target, for every single car registered in the EU that year. For some OEMs, this has the potential to be ruinous; if FCA's portfolio were the same in 2021 as it was in 2018, the automaker would have to pay some $3.12 billion, out of total net global profits of $4.1 billion."

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Chicago Is Tracking Kids Awaiting Trial With GPS Monitors That Can Call, Record Them Without Consent
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's invasion-of-privacy department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Appeal: On March 29, court officials in Chicago strapped an ankle monitor onto Shawn, a 15-year-old awaiting trial on charges of armed robbery. They explained that the device would need to be charged for two hours a day and that it would track his movements using GPS technology. He was told he would have to be given permission to leave his house, even to go to school. But he found out that through his monitor, officers wouldn't just be able to track his location, as most electronic monitors do. They would also be able to speak -- and listen -- to him. Shawn, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, is one of hundreds of children in Chicago whose ankle monitors are now equipped with microphones and speakers. The stated purpose of these devices is to communicate with the children, but they are raising concerns among civil liberties watchers that they are actually a mechanism for surveilling the conversations of these kids and those around them -- and potentially for using the recordings in criminal cases.

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HTC Removes Many of Its Android Apps From the Play Store
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mysteriously-missing department:
A total of 14 HTC apps have been removed from the Play Store in the last three months. "Looking at the latest HTC Corporation activity in App Brain, we can see that the Sense Home launcher and contacts app People were unpublished just this month," reports Android Police. "12 more apps, including Calendar, Dot View, and Speak suffered a similar fate in February, while the Mail app that went and then returned is once again conspicuous by its absence." From the report: A few of the unpublished apps hadn't been updated in months, so it's likely they simply weren't being used or supported any longer and therefore had no reason to still be on the Play Store. However, apps like Mail, Contacts, and People are supposedly key alternative apps that come preinstalled on HTC devices, so it's a little strange to see those removed.

It's not clear exactly why this is happening, but there are a few possible reasons. HTC's smartphone business hasn't been doing all that well in recent years, and supporting a bunch of apps that few people are using doesn't make much sense. That said, there are still plenty more apps from the Taiwanese company still live on the Play Store. Perhaps the new phones HTC plans to launch in 2019 will ship with Android One, thus eliminating the need for its own stock apps altogether.

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Samsung's Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Sensor Fooled By 3D Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's April-fools department:
A Samsung Galaxy S10 user has managed to fool the in-display fingerprint reader on his smartphone using a 3D print of his fingerprint. The Verge reports: In a post on Imgur, user darkshark outlined his project: he took a picture of his fingerprint on a wineglass, processed it in Photoshop, and made a model using 3ds Max that allowed him to extrude the lines in the picture into a 3D version. After a 13-minute print (and three attempts with some tweaks), he was able to print out a version of his fingerprint that fooled the phone's sensor.

The Galaxy S10's fingerprint sensor doesn't rely on a capacitive fingerprint scanner that's been used in other versions of the phone, using instead an ultrasonic sensor that's apparently more difficult to spoof. darkshark points out that it didn't take much to spoof his own fingerprint. A concern, he notes, is that payment and banking apps are increasingly using the authentication from a fingerprint sensor to unlock, and all he needed to get into his phone was a photograph, some software, and access to a 3D printer. "I can do this entire process in less than 3 minutes and remotely start the 3d print so that it's done by the time I get to it," he writes.

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Across the US, Popular Video Doorbells Are Recording their Own Thefts
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 03:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
There has been an uptick in reports of video doorbells getting stolen, according to local news reports. A story adds: According to the reports, residents are waking up in the morning or coming home at night only to find their video doorbell devices stolen. Typically the devices are screwed into place on the outside of a house, often with mounts or braces to hold them in place. While they are wired into the wall, thieves don't seem to care too much about that. In most cases, residents appear to report the devices have been pried off the side of their home. In some cases, the cameras are able to capture an image of the perpetrator as they are stealing the device. Those images are usually available through mobile apps connected to the doorbell, which might help police track down the person responsible for the theft. However, there's no guarantee that officers will be able to find the thieves, especially if they steal the device while keeping their face and other identifying features covered while on camera. Police are suggesting that people keep track of the serial number on their devices in order to keep track of them and watch in case the devices appear on Craigslist, eBay, or other online marketplaces.

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More Jails Replace In-Person Visits With Awful Video Chat Products
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nationwide-trends department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: After April 15, inmates at the Adult Detention Center in Lowndes County, Mississippi will no longer be allowed to visit with family members face to face. Newton County, Missouri, implemented an in-person visitor ban last month. The Allen County Jail in Indiana phased out in-person visits earlier this year. All three changes are part of a nationwide trend toward "video visitation" services. Instead of seeing their loved ones face to face, inmates are increasingly limited to talking to them through video terminals. Most jails give family members a choice between using video terminals at the jail -- which are free -- or paying fees to make calls from home using a PC or mobile device.

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Most Popular Programming Languages: C++ Knocks Python Out of Top Three in New Study
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
C++ has knocked machine-learning favorite Python out of the top 3 in the TIOBE Index of popular programming languages. From a report: It marks a reversal of fortune for C++, which, after years of occupying third place in the index, was pushed down to fourth place by Python in September last year. First and second place in the list remain unchanged, with Java in pole position and C at number two. The TIOBE Index attempts to estimate the popularity of languages worldwide based on results from major search engines. The index is sometimes criticized for being a rather blunt measure, likely to be influenced by a range of factors beyond a language's popularity, but its rankings are broadly in line with others, with a similar mix of languages albeit arranged in a different order.

In an analysis alongside the latest figures, TIOBE attributes the comeback of C++ to a surge in its popularity, rather than a fall in the use of Python. "This is certainly not because Python is in decline: Python is scoring all time highs almost every month. It is just that C++ is also getting more and more popular," it writes. The report credits this growing interest in C++ to C++11, the version of the language released in 2011 that TIOBE said made C++ "much simpler, safer and more expressive."

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FBI Criticized For Delaying Breach Notifications, Including Insufficient Details
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 12:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
The Federal Bureau of Investigations does a poor job at notifying victims of a cyber-attack, a US government report released last week said. A story adds: FBI notifications arrive either too late or contain insufficient information for victims to take action, a report from the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) has concluded. The report analyzed Cyber Guardian, an FBI application for storing information about tips and ongoing investigations. The system also allows agents to enter details about suspected victims, which Cyber Guardian can later notify via automated messages. But the DOJ-OIG report said FBI agents are not using the system as it is intended. For example, interviews with 31 agents revealed that 29 entered victim information in a lead category called "Action," rather than the standard "Victim Notification."

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Two-Thirds of Consumers Don't Expect Google To Track Them the Way It Does
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 12:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
A significant majority of consumers do not expect Google to track their activities across their lives, their locations, on other sites, and on other platforms. Jason Kint, writing for Nieman Lab: Our findings show that many of Google's data practices deviate from consumer expectations. The results of the study are consistent with our Facebook study: People don't want surveillance advertising. A majority of consumers indicated they don't expect to be tracked across Google's services, let alone be tracked across the web in order to make ads more targeted. Nearly two out of three consumers don't expect Google to track them across non-Google apps, offline activities from data brokers, or via their location history.

There was only one question where a small majority of respondents felt that Google was acting according to their expectations. That was about Google merging data from search queries with other data it collects on its own services. They also don't expect Google to connect the data back to the user's personal account, but only by a small majority. Google began doing both of these in 2016 after previously promising it wouldn't.

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Remote Work Works, a New Google Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Working remotely can be really tough. To get some insight into how to do it better, Google conducted a two-year study involving data from 5,600 employees across the U.S., Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. From a report: Approximately 30% of the company's meetings involve staff in more than two time zones, and 39% involve more than two cities. Veronica Gilrane, manager of Google's People Innovation Lab, oversaw the study and has written a guide for how to make the most of distributed teams. Last week, she released a report of her findings. On the outset of the study, the team hypothesized that distributed teams might not be as productive as their centrally located counterparts. "We were a little nervous about that," says Gilrane. She was surprised to find that distributed teams performed just as well. Unfortunately, she also found that there is a lot more frustration involved in working remotely. Workers in other offices can sometimes feel burdened to sync up their schedules with the main office. They can also feel disconnected from the team. Gilrane says there are three key tricks to optimizing a remote workforce.

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Europe To Pilot AI Ethics Rules, Calls For Participants
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
The European Commission has launched a pilot project intended to test draft ethical rules for developing and applying AI technologies to ensure they can be implemented in practice. It's also aiming to garner feedback and encourage international consensus building for what it dubs "human-centric AI" -- targeting among other talking shops the forthcoming G7 and G20 meetings for increasing discussion on the topic. From a report: The Commission's High Level Group on AI -- a body comprised of 52 experts from across industry, academia and civic society announced last summer -- published their draft ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI in December. A revised version of the document was submitted to the Commission in March. It's boiled the expert consultancy down to a set of seven "key requirements" for trustworthy AI, i.e. in addition to machine learning technologies needing to respect existing laws and regulations -- namely:

Human agency and oversight: "AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy."
Robustness and safety: "Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems."
Privacy and data governance: "Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them."
Transparency: "The traceability of AI systems should be ensured."
Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: "AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility."
Societal and environmental well-being: "AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility."
Accountability: "Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes."

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EU Data Supervisor Probes EU Bodies' Software Deals with Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's twist-of-events department:
EU data protection authorities are investigating whether the European Commission and other EU institutions comply with the bloc's strict data privacy rules in their software deals with Microsoft. From a report: The 28-country European Union adopted the landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) about a year ago, giving Europeans more control over their online information and privacy enforcers the power to impose hefty fines. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), which monitors the bloc's 70 institutions on their GDPR compliance, launched its investigation on Monday. The probe will look into the Microsoft products and services used by the institutions and whether the contractual agreements between them and the U.S. software company are GDPR-compliant. "When relying on third parties to provide services, the EU institutions remain accountable for any data processing carried out on their behalf," said Assistant EDPS Wojciech Wiewiorowski

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Microsoft Launches First Chromium Edge Builds
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 09:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's it's-here department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today released the first Edge builds based on Google's Chromium open source project, the same browser that Google's Chrome is based on. Microsoft is even adopting the same naming scheme that Google uses for Chrome development: It is debuting Canary (preview builds that will be updated daily) and Developer builds (preview builds that will be updated weekly) today. They can both be installed alongside the old Edge as well as each other. You can download these builds now from the Microsoft Edge Insider site.

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Netflix Axes Apple AirPlay Support
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '19 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
If you stream Netflix on your iPhone or iPad, the app will no longer support Apple AirPlay. A report adds: This means that you won't be able to cast shows on Netflix from your iOS device to your Apple TV. Netflix's note says AirPlay is "no longer supported" due to "technical limitations." "With AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there isn't a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn't) or certify these experiences. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue Netflix AirPlay support to ensure our standard of quality for viewing is being met," a Netflix spokesperson said in an email.

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