By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to research published last week. From a report: The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change. "That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it's 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010," said Chris Free, the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science. Scientists have warned that global warming will put pressure on the world's food supplies in coming decades. But the new findings -- which separate the effects of warming waters from other factors, like overfishing -- suggest that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood.
[...] As the oceans have warmed, some regions have been particularly hard-hit. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Japan, fish populations declined by as much as 35 percent over the period of the study. "The ecosystems in East Asia have seen some of the largest decline in fisheries productivity," Dr. Free said. "And that region is home to some of the largest growing human populations and populations that are highly dependent on seafood."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's strange-bug department
Over the weekend, a disturbed Android TV owner took to Twitter when he realized, through the Google Home app, he could access a massive list of random accounts, as well as photos they'd added to their Google Photos albums. From a report: If someone were to click on "linked accounts" while setting your Google Photos screensaver, the Google Home bug apparently showed a giant, scrolling list of users. From there, the bug allowed limited access to users' personal images in Google Photos, which could then be displayed as Ambient Mode screensavers. That is, someone could have theoretically displayed your photos as screensavers on their Android TV without you knowing it. The user who discovered this bug theorized that the list of accounts were other users with the same TV model, but that hasn't been confirmed yet. There's no answer yet on where this bug came from, but Google is working on a fix and has disabled Google Photos screensavers in the meantime.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Thousands of people could soon be receiving letters threatening to cut off vital housing benefits as they face being incorrectly targeted by a new automated fraud detector. From a report: The government-backed London Counter Fraud Hub, developed by BAE, has been hailed a success after being trialled in four boroughs - Camden, Ealing, Croydon and Islington. Using vast quantities of data from millions of households, it is designed to target potential fraud cases involving the single person council tax discount, subletting in local authority housing and business rate relief and rating.
Ealing, the lead council for the project, found the automated elements of the system targeting single person discount fraud was 80% effective -- which is seen as an acceptable benchmark. With just over one million claimants of council tax single person discount in London, the London Counter Fraud Hub estimates it will detect around 40,000 fraudulent cases in the first year. Critics say the 20% error rate is unacceptable as around 8,000 people will receive letters wrongly accusing them of fraud.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: The median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco has reached a new peak of $3,690, according to survey data from Zumper, a home and apartment rental app. That's also a rise of nearly 9 percent from the same time last year, the survey found. Not only are those figures high enough to make your bank account cringe, but they're also nearly 30 percent higher than New York City and more than double the prices in Miami. Seattle, home to Amazon and Microsoft, rang in at $1,970 and Washington, DC, hit $2,150.
Oh, and by the way, while San Francisco's prices rose, the median price of one bedroom apartments across the US dropped nearly half a percent during this same time. That means while San Francisco's prices climbed, the country's prices fell. "Though there may be a ton of cash flowing through the city and surrounding areas soon, many of these workers will not immediately invest in a home and may, instead, take their money to both travel and upgrade their rental situation," Zumper wrote in a blog post Thursday.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today declared that the Web Authentication API (WebAuthn) is now an official web standard. From a report: First announced by the W3C and the FIDO Alliance in February 2016, WebAuthn is now an open standard for password-free logins on the web. It is supported by W3C contributors, including Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, PayPal, SoftBank, Tencent, and Yubico. The specification lets users log into online accounts using biometrics, mobile devices, and/or FIDO security keys. WebAuthn is supported by Android and Windows 10. On the browser side, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge all added support last year. Apple has supported WebAuthn in preview versions of Safari since December.Read Replies (0)
Linux 5.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 04 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's new-milestones department
An anonymous reader writes: Linus Torvalds has released Linux 5.0 in kicking off the kernel's 28th year of development. Linux 5.0 features include AMD FreeSync support, open-source NVIDIA Turing GPU support, Intel Icelake graphics, Intel VT-d scalable mode, NXP PowerPC processors are now mitigated for Spectre Variant Two, and countless other additions. eWeek adds: Among the new features that have landed in Linux 5.0 is support for the Adiantum encryption system, developed by Google for low power devices. Google's Android mobile operating system and ChromeOS desktop operating system both rely on the Linux kernel. "Storage encryption protects your data if your phone falls into someone else's hands," Paul Crowley and Eric Biggers, Android Security and Privacy Team at Google wrote in a blog post. "Adiantum is an innovation in cryptography designed to make storage encryption more efficient for devices without cryptographic acceleration, to ensure that all devices can be encrypted. Memory management in Linux also gets a boost in the 5.0 kernel with a series of improvements designed to help prevent memory fragmentation, which can reduce performance.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's digging-Mars department
"The 'mole' aboard NASA's InSight Mars lander has encountered stiff resistance on its first subsurface sojourn beneath the surface of the Red Planet," reports Space.com:
In a major mission milestone, InSight's Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument burrowed underground for the first time on Feb. 28. After 400 hammer blows over the course of four hours, the instrument apparently got between 7 inches and 19.7 inches (18 to 50 centimeters) beneath the red dirt -- but obstacles slowed its progress, mission team members said...
The $850 million InSight lander -- whose name is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport -- touched down on Nov. 26. The spacecraft aims to map the Red Planet's interior in unprecedented detail. It will do this primarily by characterizing "marsquakes" and other vibrations with a suite of supersensitive seismometers, which was built by a consortium led by the French space agency CNES; and measuring subsurface heat flow with HP3, which DLR provided.
"I'm digging Mars!" announced NASA's official Twitter feed for the InSight robotic lander, adding "My self-hammering mole has started burrowing in, and my team is poring over the data..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I,-predict department
For 22 years technology writer Robert X. Cringely has been making predictions for the year to come -- but this year may be his last. So at age 66, he's promising his 2019 predictions will also "take a look out several years...because I sense the tech industry about to enter an unprecedented correction."
And last week he unveiled his first prediction -- that Apple under Tim Cook "emulates GE under Jack Welch.... Jack Welch took GE into financial services in 1981, transforming the company and increasing its market cap by 4000 percent over his 20 years. "
Tim Cook has already started in 2019 along the same path forged by GE's Jack Welch back in 1981. This strategic shift started to show just this week with Apple directly financing iPhone sales in China and announcing an Apple credit card with Goldman Sachs... Look for Apple to start financing lots of things in 2019. Remember your car dealer would rather lend you money than have you pay cash for that ride because financing is its own profit center. So iPhone prices will continue to rise, but iPhone payments will probably decline as Apple cuts out middle men and efficiently sucks-up that aspect of the phone supply chain. This is how Apple will arrest iPhone market share declines -- by assisting sales and making even more money in the process.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's French-revolutions department
France's Finance Minister has drafted a new law to tax internet giants, reports Reuters:
A three percent tax on the French revenue of large internet companies could yield 500 million euros [$568 million U.S. dollars or £429 million] per year, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday. Le Maire told Le Parisien newspaper the tax is aimed at companies with worldwide digital revenue of at least 750 million and French revenue of more than 25 million euros.
He said the tax would target some 30 companies, mostly American, but also Chinese, German, Spanish and British, as well as one French firm and several firms with French origins that have been bought by foreign companies. The paper listed Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (the four so-called "GAFA" companies) but also Uber, Airbnb, Booking and French online advertising specialist Criteo as targets. "A taxation system for the 21st century has to built on what has value today, and that is data," Le Maire said. He added it is also a matter of fiscal justice, as the digital giants pay some 14 percentage points less tax than European small-and-medium sized companies.
The draft law will be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday, and then presented to France's parliament, Reuters reports.
"The tax would also target the sales of personal data for advertising purposes."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's super-chargers department
"For anyone who thought that there was too much Tesla news this weekend, I've got some bad news for you," writes long-time Slashdot reader Rei, sharing new information gleaned from a series of tweets.
"Elon Musk just announced the unveiling of the Model Y SUV on March 14th at Tesla's LA Design Studio."
A surprising number of details were revealed, including non-falcon doors, a similar appearance to the Model 3, and pricing about 10% more than a Model 3, with slightly lower range, due to the increased mass and cross section.
The unveiling will not include the Tesla pickup truck; that will be later this year. Model Y is to share 75% of its hardware with Model 3 to simplify the development process, with volume production targeted for late 2020, and initial production in early 2020. Musk also stated: "First public Tesla V3.0 Supercharger Station goes live Wed 8pm" (V3 is the much awaited new generation of higher power, cheaper to operate Superchargers).
"Personally, I'm most excited by the Tesla Truck," Musk posted on Twitter. "Maybe it will be too futuristic for most people, but I love it."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's digital-downloads department
An anonymous reader quotes BGR:
Sales from individual song downloads have unsurprisingly been falling with no end in sight, thanks to the convenience of streaming options like Spotify and Apple Music. A new report, though, makes clear just how few people there are these days who will buy individual digital songs -- there are so few of them, in fact, that they were outnumbered in 2018 by people who went old-school and bought actual compact discs and vinyl records.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, total download sales in 2018 -- for which iTunes led the pack -- dropped almost 30%, to a little more than $1 billion. Purchases of full album downloads likewise fell, by 25%. To put that in context, download sales represented more than 40% of the music industry's revenue back in 2013. Last year? About 11%.
Meanwhile, that drop in sales has resulted in a lop-sided reality that harkens back to the pre-iTunes days. Sales of physical media including CDs and vinyl, according to the RIAA's new report, were down 23 percent but totaled $1.15 billion, thus edging out digital download sales. Another interesting takeaway from the new report: Music fans bought almost $420 million worth of vinyl in 2018, which Cult of Mac notes in a piece today is almost as much as people spent buying album downloads from iTunes last year.
The RIAA reports that "virtually all the revenue growth" for 2018 came from streaming music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal, which last year collectively added 1 million new subscribers every single month, and now have a record number of more than 50 million subscribers.
"By the way, don't be fooled into reading something positive about CDs from the title of this post," adds BGR. "While physical media sales were down 23%, CD sales themselves slipped 34% for the year to $698 million. That's the first time CD yearly revenue has come in below $1 billion since 1986."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's finite-resources department
"The attention economy is dying, and it's not pretty," argues the Verge, adding "there is only so much time in the day to pay attention to things, and we as a society have reached the limit..."
"The base assumption that the whole edifice is built on is becoming unstable, because what happens when society's attention is entirely monopolized?
A recent report put out by the media and technology research firm Midia underscores that point: "[E]ngagement has declined throughout the sector, suggesting that the attention economy has peaked. Consumers simply do not have any more free time to allocate to new attention seeking digital entertainment propositions, which means they have to start prioritising between them." The trend, they write, has persisted for a while, and only now promises a revenue slowdown -- as told through disappointing quarterly results from a few of the major games publishers. "Arguably sooner than most of the games industry would have thought." As Midia researcher Karol Severin says, "competition within the attention economy is now more intense than ever before."
The problem is attention doesn't scale. There is only so much time in the day to be advertised to; ads themselves are becoming less effective, because they're now everywhere. When was the last time you consumed something that wasn't trying to sell you something, or harvest your personal data to sell you things better?
The article also argues that a "substantial portion" of the attention economy has been captured by the videogame Fortnite. "Last month, Netflix mentioned in its 2018 earnings report that 'we compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO'...
"That Netflix is even acknowledging Fortnite as a competitor is important, because it means that digital media companies are beginning to concede that growth isn't infinite, and are shifting their ambitions in response."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's brain-drain department
"Deep, non-REM sleep helps people's brains to wash away toxic proteins and waste, a new study found, reinforcing the link between sleep deprivation, aging and Alzheimer's disease," reports U.S. News & World Report.
Or, as Discover magazine puts it, "Getting enough deep sleep might be the key to preventing dementia."
The discovery reinforces how critical quality sleep is for brain health and suggests sleep therapies might curb the advance of memory-robbing ailments, like Alzheimer's disease... Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) churns through a system of brain tunnels piped in the spaces between brain cells and blood vessels. Scientists call it the glymphatic system. This system circulates nutrients like glucose, the brain's primary energy source, and washes away potentially toxic waste. And it may be the reason why animals even need sleep. The system takes out the brain's trash when we're asleep, and it shuts down when we're awake.
Maiken Nedergaard, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, who led the new research, and her team were curious if the system works best and clears more waste -- like Alzheimer's causing beta amyloid plaque -- when animals are in deep sleep. To find out, the researchers used six different anesthetics to put mice into deep sleep. Then they tracked cerebrospinal fluid as it flowed into the brain. As the mice slept, the researchers watched the rodents' brain activity on an electroencephalograph, or EEG, and recorded the animals' blood pressures and heart and respiratory rates. Mice anesthetized with a combination of two drugs, ketamine and xylazine, showed the strongest deep sleep brain waves and these brain waves predicted CSF flow into the brain, the researchers found.
The lead researcher now argues that focusing on sleep in the early stages of dementia "might be able to slow progression of the disease."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's calling-out-Call-of-Duty department
This week the Washington Post shared the story of 20-year-old Sam Haberern, who was playing Call of Duty on his Xbox when the other players "started asking him whether he had ever testified in court or murdered anyone."
"They said they were from Maryland and that they were going to come and kill me," he said. By then it was 3 a.m., and Haberern decided to quit. One of the gamers in the party then sent him a message via Xbox Live. It contained his home address. Next his house phone rang, then his mother's cellphone. A message appeared on his TV screen from one of the party members -- it was asking why he didn't answer... Haberern contacted Microsoft, which makes Xbox, via its website and reported what happened. Unsatisfied with that process, he then typed a Reddit post, which would go viral, asking what recourse was available to him. The varied and ultimately unsatisfying answers centered on a common theme: There was no good solution.
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