By BeauHD from Slashdot's quick-before-it's-too-late department
Researchers at the University of Geneva Switzerland have used NASA's Hubble telescope to find an exoplanet that's evaporating. The exoplanet, GJ 3470b, shows signs of losing hydrogen in its atmosphere, causing it to shrink. USA Today reports: The study is part of exploration into "hot Neptunes," planets that are the size of Neptune, sit very close to their star, and have atmospheres as hot at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, says NASA. Finding a "hot Neptune" is rare because they sit so close to their star and tend to evaporate more quickly. In the case of GJ 3470b, scientists classify it as a "warmer" Neptune because it sits farther away from its star. The exoplanet discovered by astronauts is losing its atmosphere at a rate 100 times faster than a previous "warmer" Neptune planet discovered a few years before, according to a study published Thursday in the journal "Astronomy & Astrophysics." The planet sits 3.7 million miles from its star. For comparison, Earth is 92.9 million miles from the sun. Researchers say these "hot Neptune" planets shrink in size and morph into "Super Earths," versions of our planet that are massive and more rocky.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's going-forward department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: A panel of 19 scientists drawn from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended yesterday that the Department of Energy should continue an international experiment on nuclear fusion energy and then develop its own plan for a "compact power plant." A panel of 19 scientists drawn from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended yesterday that the Department of Energy should continue an international experiment on nuclear fusion energy and then develop its own plan for a "compact power plant."
But as the National Academies' report noted, major challenges must be overcome to reach these goals, beginning with how to contain and control a burning "plasma" of extremely hot gas, ranging from 100 million to 200 million degrees Celsius, that can produce more heat than it consumes. The report calls the resulting plasma "a miniature sun confined inside a vessel." The world's biggest experiment intended to create and draw energy from burning plasma is under construction at Cadarache, France. It's called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, and its centerpiece is a large, doughnut-shaped, Russian-inspired reactor called a tokamak. Several member nations have already developed their own national programs, and the assembled National Academies experts concluded that the United States should eventually follow, once the ITER experiment shows there are ways to contain and manipulate a sustained fusion reaction. "It is the next critical step in the development of fusion energy," says the report.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's up-up-and-away department
schwit1 shares a report from Variety: Streaming services snatched their biggest piece of the TV pie ever in 2018. According to FX's annual report on the number of scripted originals on TV, the number of streaming shows has surpassed the number of basic cable and broadcast shows for the first time ever. Out of 495 scripted originals that aired in 2018, 160 of them did so on a streaming platform. That is compared to 146 on broadcast and 144 on basic cable. Pay cable accounted for the remaining 45 shows. Streaming shows also saw the biggest increase year-to-year, growing from 117 last year. Broadcast dipped slightly, dropping from 153 in 2017. Basic cable saw a more sharp decline, compared to the 175 shows that aired on basic cable the previous year. Pay cable was up slightly from 42. On a percentage basis, streaming shows now account for approximately one third of all scripted originals, with approximately 32%. Broadcast made up 30% and basic cable 29%, with pay cable making up 9%. The total number of shows across all of TV was up again as well, rising from 487 in 2017. The year-to-year growth was less than that of previous years, however. For example, the number of shows grew from 455 to 487 between 2016 and 2017. The 495 scripted originals this year was also off from FX Networks CEO John Landgraf's prediction that 520 such shows would air this year.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's legal-jeopardy department
Cloudflare is facing accusations that it's providing cybersecurity protection for at least seven terrorist organizations. "On Friday, HuffPost reported that it has reviewed numerous websites run by terrorist organizations and confirmed with four national security and counter-extremism experts that the sites are under the protection of Cloudflare's cybersecurity services," reports Gizmodo.
"Among Cloudflare's millions of customers are several groups that are on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, al-Quds Brigades, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas -- as well as the Taliban, which, like the other groups, is sanctioned by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)," reports HuffPost.
< article continued at Slashdot's legal-jeopardy department
>Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's intimate-intel department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: The biggest and perhaps best source of data about what people like to watch on the internet and what they would pay for doesn't come from streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu. It comes from porn. While consuming porn is typically a private and personal affair, porn sites still track your every move: What content you choose, which moments you pause, which parts you repeat. By mining this data to a deeper degree than other streaming services, many porn sites are able to give internet users exactly what they want -- and they want a lot of it. [...] MindGeek is the world's biggest porn company -- more specifically, it's a holding company that owns numerous adult entertainment sites and production companies, including the Pornhub Network. Like other streaming giants, MindGeek's sites analyze user data, but the company has an edge when it comes to producing tailor-made content in-house. With at least 125 million daily visits, MindGeek has a massive range of users to draw data from and create content for.
The average user can watch as much porn as they'd like without so much as making an account, let alone paying, but in exchange for meeting desires that can't always be met elsewhere, companies like MindGeek access user data because the user more willingly lets them. And it eventually pays off, when users decide to pay for premium content and the habits of paying subscribers become even clearer. What's more, Pornhub, in particular, operates one of the most sophisticated digital data analysis operations that caters primarily to users and not advertisers. Pornhub Insights provides transparency into its data collection -- on the most intimate of subjects -- by making research and analysis from billions of data points about viewership patterns, often tied to events from politics to pop culture, available to the public. It offers more than many other tech giants do.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-pressure department
According to CNBC, T-Mobile and Sprint are expecting their merger to be approved by a U.S. national security panel as early as next week, after their respective parent companies said they would consider dropping Huawei. From the report: U.S. government officials have been pressuring T-Mobile's German majority owner, Deutsche Telekom, to stop using Huawei equipment, the sources said, over concerns that Huawei is effectively controlled by the Chinese state and its network equipment may contain "back doors" that could enable cyber espionage, something which Huawei denies. That pressure is part of the national security review of T-Mobile's $26 billion deal to buy U.S. rival Sprint, the sources said.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been conducting a national security review of the Sprint deal, which was announced in April. Negotiations between the two companies and the U.S. government have not been finalized and any deal could still fall through, the sources cautioned. Sprint's parent, SoftBank Group, plans to replace 4G network equipment from Huawei with hardware from Nokia and Ericsson, Nikkei reported on Thursday, without citing sources.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shared-revenue department
DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: Discord has announced that it will start taking a reduced, 10-percent cut from game revenues generated on its online store starting next year, one-upping the Epic Games Store and its recently announced 12-percent cut on the Epic Games Store. The move comes alongside a coming expansion of the Discord Games Store, which launched earlier this year with a tightly curated selection of games that now includes roughly 100 titles. The coming "self-serve publishing platform" will allow developers "no matter what size, from AAA to single-person teams" to access the Discord Store and the new 90-percent revenue share. "We talked to a lot of developers, and many of them feel that current stores are not earning their 30% of the usual 70/30 revenue share," Discord writes in the announcement. "Because of this, we now see developers creating their own stores and launchers to distribute their games instead of focusing on what's really important --making great games and cultivating amazing communities." "Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018," the announcement continues. "After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-demand department
An anonymous reader writes: Job-search site Indeed crunched its Silicon Valley hiring numbers for 2018, looking at tech job searches, salaries, and employers, and found that engineers who combine tech skills with business skills as directors of product management earn the most, with an average salary of US $186,766. Last year, the gig came in as number two, at $173,556. Also climbing up the ranks, and now in the number two spot with an average annual salary of $181,100, is senior reliability engineer. Application security engineer is third at $173,903. Neither made the top 20 in 2017. And while it seems that machine learning engineers have been getting all the love in 2018, those jobs came in eighth place, at $159,230. That's still a bit of a leap from last year, when the job made its first appearance on Indeed's top 20 highest-paying jobs in the 13th spot at $149,519. This year's top 20 is below; last year's numbers are here.
Further reading: 'Blockchain Developer' is the Fastest-Growing US Job (LinkedIn study).Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department
In addition to relying on Windows Insiders, employees, and willing participants for testing updates, Microsoft is pushing patches before they are known to be stable to regular users too if they opt to click the "check for updates" button on their own, the company said. From a report: In a blog post by Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President for Windows, it is made clear that home users are intentionally being given updates that are not necessarily ready for deployment. Many power users are familiar with Patch Tuesday. On the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft pushes out a batch of updates at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on this day containing security fixes, bug patches, and other non-security fixes. Updates pushed out as part of Patch Tuesday are known as "B" release since it happens during the second week of the month.
During the third and fourth weeks of the month are where things begin to get murky. Microsoft's "C" and "D" releases are considered previews for commercial customers and power users. No security fixes are a part of these updates, but for good reasoning. Microsoft has come out to directly say that some users are the guinea pigs for everyone else. In some fairness to Microsoft, C and D updates are typically only applied when a user manually checks for updates by clicking the button buried within Settings. However, if end users really wanted to be a part of testing the latest features, the Windows Insider Program is designed exactly for that purpose.
Further reading: Windows 10's 'Check for updates' button may download beta code.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
A notorious millennial dating practice is starting to creep into the workplace: ghosting. Employers are noticing with increasing frequency that workers are leaving their jobs by simply not showing up and cutting off contact with their companies [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; syndicated source]. From a report: "A number of contacts said that they had been 'ghosted,' a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact," the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted in December's Beige Book, which tracks employment trends. National data on economic "ghosting" is lacking. The term, which usually applies to dating, first surfaced in 2016 on Dictionary.com. But companies across the country say silent exits are on the rise. Analysts blame America's increasingly tight labor market. Job openings have surpassed the number of seekers for eight straight months, and the unemployment rate has clung to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent since September. Janitors, baristas, welders, accountants, engineers -- they're all in demand, said Michael Hicks, a labor economist at Ball State University in Indiana. More people may opt to skip tough conversations and slide right into the next thing.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department
An anonymous reader shares a report (may be paywalled): Every morning, time once was, a giant roar from Heathrow Airport would announce the departure of flight BA001 to New York. The roar was caused by the injection into the aircraft's four afterburners of the fuel which provided the extra thrust that it needed to take off. Soon afterwards, the pilot lit the afterburners again -- this time to accelerate his charge beyond the speed of sound for the three-and-a-half hour trip to JFK. The plane was Concorde.
Supersonic passenger travel came to an end in 2003. The crash three years earlier of a French Concorde had not helped, but the main reasons were wider. One was the aircraft's Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus engines, afterburners and all, which gobbled up too much fuel for its flights to be paying propositions. The second was the boom-causing shock wave it generated when travelling supersonically. That meant the overland sections of its route had to be flown below Mach 1. For the Olympus, an engine optimised for travel far beyond the sound barrier, this was commercial death.
That, however, was then. And this is now. Materials are lighter and stronger. Aerodynamics and the physics of sonic booms are better understood. There is also a more realistic appreciation of the market. As a result, several groups of aircraft engineers are dipping their toes back into the supersonic pool. Some see potential for planes with about half Concorde's 100-seat capacity. Others plan to start even smaller, with business jets that carry around a dozen passengers. The chances of such aircraft getting airborne have recently increased substantially.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Some YouTube channels are publishing full-length episodes of TV shows, rights of which they obviously do not own, and on top of this, they are trying to crowdfund their piracy efforts by asking viewers to donate some cash. From a report: YouTube creators asking for money is nothing new, be it through the site's built-in membership features or third-party services such as Patreon. But trying to profit off someone else's intellectual property isn't the same as asking for support on an original video they've created. The person who runs the Kitchen Nightmares Hotel Hell and Hell's Kitchen channel did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Engadget, but their Patreon page (named YoIUploadShows) isn't coy.
"Hey! It's not as easy as you might think to make my content, I have to look for the best quality episodes I can find, download them, convert them, edit them, render them and upload them," YoIUploadShows' Patreon page reads. "This can sometimes take at least a few hours. Especially because the downloads are usually slow and the rendering itself can take a couple hours, because I started making all my uploads in HD instead of 480p to give them a little extra clarity." It's not easy, folks, so for that he or she "would really appreciate the extra support if you have any money to spare :)"Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department
Chinese hackers are breaching Navy contractors to steal everything from ship-maintenance data to missile plans, triggering a top-to-bottom review of cyber vulnerabilities, WSJ reported Friday, citing officials and experts. From the report: A series of incidents in the past 18 months has pointed out the service's weaknesses, highlighting what some officials have described as some of the most debilitating cyber campaigns linked to Beijing. Cyberattacks affect all branches of the armed forces but contractors for the Navy and the Air Force are viewed as choice targets for hackers seeking advanced military technology, officials said. Navy contractors have suffered especially troubling breaches over the past year, one U.S. official said. The data allegedly stolen from Navy contractors and subcontractors often is highly sensitive, classified information about advanced military technology, according to U.S. officials and security researchers. The victims have included large contractors as well as small ones, some of which are seen as lacking the resources to invest in securing their networks. One major breach of a Navy contractor, reported in June, involved the theft of secret plans to build a supersonic anti-ship missile planned for use by American submarines, according to officials.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
An anonymous reader writes: Plenty of high-tech electronic components, like solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and complex circuits require specific rare metals. These can include magnetic neodymium, electronic indium, and silver, along with lesser-known metals like praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium. These metals are mined in large quantities in countries around the world, and they make their way into the supply chains of all sorts of electronics and renewables companies.
A group of researchers from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure determined how many of these important metals will be required by 2050 in order to make enough solar panels and wind turbines to effectively combat climate change. With plenty of countries, states, cities, and companies pledging to go 100 percent renewable by 2050, the number of both solar panels and wind turbines is expected to skyrocket. According to the analysis, turbines and solar panels might be skyrocketing a bit too much. Demand for some metals like neodymium and indium could grow by more than a dozen times by 2050, and there simply might not be enough supply to power the green revolution.Read Replies (0)