By EditorDavid from Slashdot's calling-in-sick department
Slashdot reader krenaud tipped us off to this story from The Next Web:
The audio recordings of 2.7 millions calls made to 1177 Vardguiden -- Sweden's healthcare hotline -- were left exposed to anyone online, according to Swedish tech publication Computer Sweden. The 170,000 hours of incredibly sensitive calls were stored on an open web server without any encryption or authentication, leaving personal information completely exposed for anyone with a web browser....
The calls included sensitive information about patients' diseases and ailments, medication, and medical history. Some examples had people describing their children's symptoms and giving their social security numbers. Some of the files include the phone numbers the calls were made from. Around 57,000 numbers appear in the database and many of those are the callers' personal numbers, making it easy to match information with a particular person.
When reached for comment, the CEO of the subcontractor receiving the calls "denied it happened."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's car-costs-keep-ballooning department
German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has spent 10 years working on external airbags for cars, according to Popular Mechanics, and "The tech is finally ready for carmakers -- that is, if ZF can convince them to buy it."
With ZF's system, each side sill (the outside bodywork underneath the car doors) packs one airbag that runs the full length of the doors. Sensors on the car will watch out for any objects that look likely to slam into the side of the car. When the computers decide a crash is imminent and unavoidable, they deploy from the side sill, revealing the airbag. In no more than 100 milliseconds, inflators pump up the airbag to the height of a typical front bumper.
One advantage of outside airbags is that they disperse the forces of impact. An oncoming car about the slam into the side of your vehicle would strike with the relatively small surface area of its front bumperâ"and an even smaller surface if it strikes at an angle. But when a car hits an inflated airbag, the impact force is spread through the airbag and along the length of the vehicle's side structure, which reduces energy loads. ZF says its tech reduces intrusions into the passenger cabin by 30 up to percent, and reduces injury levels by 20 to 30 percent.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's saving-electricity department
"A scientist working for the U.S. Navy has filed for a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems," reports Phys.org:
Salvatore Cezar Pais is listed as the inventor on the Navy's patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition.
An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity. "This concept enables the transmission of electrical power without any losses and exhibits optimal thermal management (no heat dissipation)," according to the patent document, "which leads to the design and development of novel energy generation and harvesting devices with enormous benefits to civilization."
Long-time Slashdot reader resistant writes:
NextBigFuture says the same individual appears to have made other startling claims that arguably stretch the boundaries of belief, such as a "high-frequency gravitational wave generator" that could supposedly drive a spaceship without conventional propellants as well as an "inertial mass reduction device." Prudence would appear to dictate examining these and other claims by Mr. Salvatore Cezar Pais with great caution.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sound-of-silence department
"It's an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts in the year 2019," writes New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose, in an article shared by DogDude. "I don't love referring to what we have as an 'addiction.' That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what's happening to our brains in the smartphone era."
We might someday evolve the correct biological hardware to live in harmony with portable supercomputers that satisfy our every need and connect us to infinite amounts of stimulation. But for most of us, it hasn't happened yet... [S]ometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren't helping...
Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. For years, I've used my phone every time I've had a spare moment in an elevator or a boring meeting. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate. If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing.
Another science journalist helped him through "phone rehab," and "now, the physical world excites me, too -- the one that has room for boredom, idle hands and space for thinking." After a final 48 hour digital detox, "I also felt twinges of anger -- at myself, for missing out on this feeling of restorative boredom for so many years; at the engineers in Silicon Valley who spend their days profitably exploiting our cognitive weaknesses; at the entire phone-industrial complex that has convinced us that a six-inch glass-and-steel rectangle is the ideal conduit for worldly experiences...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's better-living-through-chemistry department
A new adsorbent material "soaks up uranium from seawater, leaving interfering ions behind," reports the ACS's Chemical & Engineering News, in an article shared by webofslime:
The world's oceans contain some 4 billion metric tons of dissolved uranium. That's roughly 1,000 times as much as all known terrestrial sources combined, and enough to fuel the global nuclear power industry for centuries. But the oceans are so vast, and uranium's concentration in seawater is so low -- roughly 3 ppb -- that extracting it remains a formidable challenge... Researchers have been looking for ways to extract uranium from seawater for more than 50 years...
Nearly 20 years ago, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) confirmed that amidoxime-functionalized polymers could soak up uranium reliably even under harsh marine conditions. But that type of adsorbent has not been implemented on a large scale because it has a higher affinity for vanadium than uranium. Separating the two ions raises production costs. Alexander S. Ivanov of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, together with colleagues there and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other institutions, may have come up with a solution. Using computational methods, the team identified a highly selective triazine chelator known as H2BHT that resembles iron-sequestering compounds found in bacteria and fungi.... H2BHT exhibits little attraction for vanadium but has roughly the same affinity for uranyl ions as amidoxime-based adsorbents do.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fast-flights department
pgmrdlm quotes CBS News: On Monday night, the river of air 35,000 feet above the New York City area, known as the jet stream, clocked in at a blazing 231 mph. This is the fastest jet stream on record since 1957 for the National Weather Service in Upton, New York — breaking the old record of 223 mph, according to NWS forecaster Carlie Buccola. This wind provided a turbo boost to commercial passenger planes along for the ride. With the help of this rapid tailwind, Virgin Atlantic Flight 8 from Los Angeles to London hit what could be a record high speed for a Boeing 787: 801 mph over Pennsylvania at 9:20 p.m. Monday night...
"The typical cruising speed of the Dreamliner is 561 mph," CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave points out. "The past record for the 787 is 776 mph set in January 2017 by a Norwegian 787-9 flying from JFK to London Gatwick. That flight set a record for the fastest subsonic transatlantic commercial airline flight -- 5 hours and 13 minutes, thanks to a 202 mph tailwind."
FlightAware, a global aviation data services company, reminds CBS that even a 100 mph increase in the jet stream can shorten a flight by an hour.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's guilty-until-proven-innocent department
An anonymous reader writes:
The Verge reports that San Francisco Bay Area police "pulled over a California privacy advocate and held him at gunpoint after a database error caused a license plate reader to flag a car as stolen, a lawsuit alleges." Brian Hofer, the chairman of Oakland's Privacy Advisory Commission, was handcuffed and surrounded by multiple police cars, and says a police deputy injured his brother by throwing him to the ground. They were finally released -- 40 minutes later. But ironically, Hofer has been a staunch critic of license plate readers, "which he points out have led to wrongful detentions, invasions of privacy and potentially costly lawsuits." (California bus driver Denise Green was detained at gunpoint when her own car was incorrectly identified as stolen -- leading to a lawsuit which she eventually settled for nearly $500,000.) And at least one thief simply swapped license plates with an innocent driver.
The executive director of Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, a state government program, acknowledged that the accuracy rate of the license plate readers is about 90 percent, yet "added that in some cases, the technology has actually exonerated people, or given potential suspects alibis. But there is no way for the public to know just how effective the license plate reader technology is in capturing criminals" -- apparently because police departments aren't capturing that data. Only one of the region's police departments, in Piedmont, California, reported its "efficacy metrics" to the agency -- with 7,500 "hits" which over 11 months led to 28 arrests (and the recovery of 39 cars) after reading 21.3 million license plates. The license plate readers cost $20,000 per patrol car.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's higher-further-faster department
"If you're willing to spend $250,000 for a quick trip to space, that option is getting closer to reality," reports CNN.
VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic's rocket-powered plane, climbed to a record altitude of nearly 56 miles during a test flight on Friday, marking the second time Richard Branson's startup has reached space. Two pilots, and for the first time, an additional crew member, were on board. Beth Moses, Galactic's chief astronaut trainer and an aerospace engineer, rode along with the pilots. The trip allowed her to run safety checks and get a first look at what Galactic's customers could one day experience. Moses has logged hundreds of hours on zero gravity aircrafts, and she described the G Forces aboard the supersonic plane as "mildly wild." Some moments were intense, she told CNN Business, but it was never uncomfortable. "I was riveted and I think our customers will be as well."
Unity took off from a runway in California's Mojave Desert just after 8 am PT and cruised to about 45,000 feet attached to its mothership before it broke away and fired its rocket motor. The plane then swooped into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, 295,000 feet high, at supersonic speeds. It's top speed was Mach 3. At the peak of its flight path, Unity experienced a few minutes of weightlessness and looked out into the black skies of the cosmos. Moses said she was able to leave her seat and take in the view. "The Earth was beautiful -- super sharp, super clear," she said, "with a gorgeous view of the Pacific mountains."
America's Federal Aviation Administration says they'll now award commercial astronaut wings to all three members of the crew, and CNN reports that this second successful test flight suggests Galactic "could be on track" to start flying tourists into space this year.
"About 600 people have reserved tickets, priced between $200,000 and $250,000, to fly with Galactic. And the company says it wants to eventually lower prices to broaden its customer base."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's animated-talking-paper-clips department
An anonymous reader quotes Business Insider's update on Microsoft Clippy, the animated cartoon paperclip that was Office's virtual assistant until the early 2000s, that "everyone loved to hate."
After 18 years, has it become retro chic?
When Chloe Condon, a newly hired Microsoft cloud evangelist, ordered new business cards, she avoided the standard corporate look and instead went with Clippy-themed cards and tweeted them out... They've got a picture of Clippy on the front and on the back they say, "It looks like you are trying to get in touch with Chloe," with her contact info listed below...
Naturally, the Clippy The Paperclip Twitter account loved these cards. He tweeted, "@chloecondon It looks like you're using my likeness on your new business cards. Would you like help with WAIT I'M ON BUSINESS CARDS NOW?!" And then former Microsoft exec Steven Sinofsky, the man credited for developing Microsoft Office into a massive hit, noticed the cards and tweeted, "I suppose if you live long enough, others will wear your failures as a badge of honor...."
After four years of scorn, Clippy was officially retired in 2001. Sinofsky tells Business Insider that the company even issued a funny press release about it.... Microsoft even held an official retirement party for him in San Francisco, too. Sinfosky shared a photo from that party with us... If you look closely, you'll see unemployed Clippy is actually using the party thrown in his honor to collect charity for himself and beg for food.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's getting-a-reaction department
An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian:
An American 14-year-old has reportedly become the youngest known person in the world to create a successful nuclear reaction. The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, a hobbyist group, has recognised the achievement by Jackson Oswalt, from Memphis, Tennessee, when he was aged 12 in January 2018....
The enterprising teenager said he transformed an old playroom in his parents' house into a nuclear laboratory with $10,000 (£7,700) worth of equipment that uses 50,000 volts of electricity to heat deuterium gas and fuse the nuclei to release energy. "The start of the process was just learning about what other people had done with their fusion reactors," Jackson told Fox. "After that, I assembled a list of parts I needed. I got those parts off eBay primarily and then oftentimes the parts that I managed to scrounge off of eBay weren't exactly what I needed. So I'd have to modify them to be able to do what I needed to do for my project...."
[S]cientists are likely to remain sceptical until Oswalt's workings are subject to verification from an official organisation and are published in an academic journal. Still, the teenager may now have usurped the previous record holder, Taylor Wilson, who works in nuclear energy research after achieving fusion aged 14.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's taking-license department
"Redis Labs is dropping its Commons Clause license in favor of its new 'available-source' license: Redis Source Available License (RSAL)," reports ZDNet -- adding "This is not an open-source license."
Redis Labs had used Commons Clause on top of the open-source Apache License to protect its rights to modules added to its 3-Clause-BSD-licensed Redis, the popular open-source in-memory data structure store. But, as Manish Gupta, Redis Labs' CMO, explained, "It didn't work. Confusion reigned over whether or not the modules were open source. They're not open-source." So, although it hadn't wanted to create a new license, that's what Redis Labs ended up doing....
The RSAL grants, Gupta said, equivalent rights to permissive open-source licenses for the vast majority of users. With the RSAL, developers can: Use the software; modify the source code; integrate it with an application; and use, distribute, support, or sell their application. But -- and this is big -- the RSAL forbids you from using any application built with these modules in a database, a caching engine, a stream processing engine, a search engine, an indexing engine, or a machine learning/artificial intelligence serving engine. In short, all the ways that Redis Labs makes money from Redis. Gupta wants to make it perfectly clear: "We're not calling it open source. It's not."
Earlier this month the Open Source Initiative had reaffirmed its commitment to open source's original definition, adding "There is no trust in a world where anyone can invent their own definition for open source, and without trust there is no community, no collaboration, and no innovation."
And earlier this week on Twitter a Red Hat open-source evangelist said they wondered whether Redis was just "clueless. There are a lot of folks entering #opensource today who are unwilling to do the research and reading, and assume that these are all new problems."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fair-and-square department
hackingbear writes: In a tweet, President Trump said he wanted "5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind." While he did not specifically mention China's Huawei, many interpreted the comments as Mr Trump taking a softer stance on the firm. The U.S. has been pressuring allies to block out the Chinese telecom giant from their future 5G mobile networks, but the tactic meets considerable resistance. "Mr. President. I cannot agree with you more. Our company is always ready to help build the real 5G network in the U.S., through competition," Huawei President Ken Hu replied in a tweet, mocking Trump's frequent usages of the word "real." Huawei is the second biggest holder of 5G patents after Samsung and the top contributor to the 5G standard, and is setting its sight on 6G.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mission-accomplished department
Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has successfully touched down on the asteroid Ryugu at around 11:30 GMT on Thursday. "Data from the probe showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had reached the asteroid's surface, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)," reports The Guardian. From the report: The probe was due to fire a bullet at the Ryugu asteroid, to stir up surface matter, which it will then collect for analysis back on Earth. The asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born. The complicated procedure took less time than expected and appeared to go without a hitch, said Hayabusa 2 mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa. The spacecraft is seeking to gather 10g of the dislodged debris with an instrument named the Sampler Horn that hangs from its underbelly. Whatever material is collected by the spacecraft will be stored onboard until Hayabusa 2 reaches its landing site in Woomera, South Australia, in 2020 after a journey of more than three billion miles. UPDATE: JAXA says it successfully fired a "bullet" into Ryugu, collecting the disturbed material. "JAXA scientists had expected to find a powdery surface on Ryugu, but tests showed that the asteroid is covered in larger gravel," reports CNN. "As a result the team had to carry out a simulation to test whether the projectile would be capable of disturbing enough material to be collected by [the Sampler Horn]. The team is planning a total of three sampling events over the next few weeks."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's astronomical-fees department
Frontier Communications reportedly charged a cancellation fee of $4,302.17 to the operator of a one-person business in Wisconsin, even though she switched to a different Internet provider because Frontier's service was frequently unusable. From the report: Candace Lestina runs the Pardeeville Area Shopper, a weekly newspaper and family business that she took over when her mother retired. Before retiring, her mother had entered a three-year contract with Frontier to provide Internet service to the one-room office on North Main Street in Pardeeville. Six months into the contract, Candace Lestina decided to switch to the newly available Charter offering "for better service and a cheaper bill," according to a story yesterday by News 3 Now in Wisconsin. The Frontier Internet service "was dropping all the time," Lestina told the news station. This was a big problem for Lestina, who runs the paper on her own in Pardeeville, a town of about 2,000 people. "I actually am everything. I make the paper, I distribute the paper," she said. Because of Frontier's bad service, "I would have times where I need to send my paper -- I have very strict deadlines with my printer -- and my Internet's out."
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has launched yet another graphics card today based on the company's new Turing GPU. This latest GPU, however, doesn't support NVIDIA's RTX ray-tracing technology or its DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) image quality tech. The new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti does, however, bring with it all of the other GPU architecture improvements NVIDIA Turing offers. The new TU116 GPU on board the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti supports concurrent integer and floating point instructions (rather than serializing integer and FP instructions), and it also has a redesigned cache structure with double the amount of L2 cache versus their predecessors, while its L1 cache has been outfitted with a wider memory bus that ultimately doubles the bandwidth. NVIDIA's TU116 has 1,536 active CUDA cores, which is a decent uptick from the GTX 1060, but less than the current gen RTX 2060. Cards will also come equipped with 6GB of GDDR6 memory at 12 Gbps for 288GB/s of bandwidth. Performance-wise, the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is typically slightly faster than a previous gen GeFore GTX 1070, and much faster than a GTX 1060. Cards should be available at retail in the next few days, starting at $279.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
A group of Microsoft workers have addressed top executives in a letter demanding the company drop a controversial contract with the U.S. army. The Verge reports: The workers object to the company taking a $479 million contract last year to supply tech for the military's Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. Under the project, Microsoft, the maker of the HoloLens augmented reality headset, could eventually provide more than 100,000 headsets designed for combat and training in the military. The Army has described the project as a way to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy." "We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the US Military, helping one country's government 'increase lethality' using tools we built," the workers write in the letter, addressed to CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith. "We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used."
The letter, which organizers say included dozens of employee signatures at publication time, argues Microsoft has "crossed the line into weapons development" with the contract. "Intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology," it reads. The workers are demanding the company cancel the contract, stop developing any weapons technology, create a public policy committing to not build weapons technology, and appoint an external ethics review board to enforce the policy. While the letter notes the company has an AI ethics review process called Aether, the workers say it is "not robust enough to prevent weapons development, as the IVAS contract demonstrates." "As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers," the letter sent today concludes. "To that end, we believe that Microsoft must stop in its activities to empower the U.S. Army's ability to cause harm and violence."Read Replies (0)