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'Instantly Rechargeable' Battery Could Change the Future of Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-of-automobiles department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Daily: A technology developed by Purdue researchers could provide an "instantly rechargeable" method that is safe, affordable and environmentally friendly for recharging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries through a quick and easy process similar to refueling a car at a gas station. John Cushman, Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary science and a professor of mathematics, presented the research findings "Redox reactions in immiscible-fluids in porous media -- membraneless battery applications" at the recent International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Cushman co-founded Ifbattery LLC (IF-battery) to further develop and commercialize the technology. "Designing and building enough of these recharging stations requires massive infrastructure development, which means the energy distribution and storage system is being rebuilt at tremendous cost to accommodate the need for continual local battery recharge," said Eric Nauman, co-founder of Ifbattery and a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering. "Ifbattery is developing an energy storage system that would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energize spent battery fluids much like refueling their gas tanks." Mike Mueterthies, Purdue doctoral teaching and research assistant in physics and the third co-founder of Ifbattery, said the flow battery system makes the Ifbattery system unique. "Other flow batteries exist, but we are the first to remove membranes which reduces costs and extends battery life," Mueterthies said. Ifbattery's membrane-free battery demonstrates other benefits as well. "Membrane fouling can limit the number of recharge cycles and is a known contributor to many battery fires," Cushman said. "Ifbattery's components are safe enough to be stored in a family home, are stable enough to meet major production and distribution requirements and are cost effective." For the visual learners, Purdue Research Park has uploaded a video about Ifbattery's "instantly rechargeable" method.

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Chinese 'Fireball' Malware Infects Nearly 250 Million Computers Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cinnamon-whisky department:
Check Point researchers have discovered a massive malware campaign, dubbed Fireball, that has already infected more than 250 million computers across the world, including Windows and Mac OS. The Fireball malware "is an adware package that takes complete control of victim's web browsers and turns them into zombies, potentially allowing attackers to spy on victim's web traffic and potentially steal their data," reports The Hacker News. From the report: Check Point researchers, who discovered this massive malware campaign, linked the operation to Rafotech, a Chinese company which claims to offer digital marketing and game apps to 300 million customers. While the company is currently using Fireball for generating revenue by injecting advertisements onto the browsers, the malware can be quickly turned into a massive destroyer to cause a significant cyber security incident worldwide. Fireball comes bundled with other free software programs that you download off of the Internet. Once installed, the malware installs browser plugins to manipulate the victim's web browser configurations to replace their default search engines and home pages with fake search engines (trotux.com). "It's important to remember that when a user installs freeware, additional malware isn't necessarily dropped at the same time," researchers said. "Furthermore, it is likely that Rafotech is using additional distribution methods, such as spreading freeware under fake names, spam, or even buying installs from threat actors."

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Airbnb Hosts More Likely To Reject Guests With Disabilities, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 04:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-we-live department:
A study by Rutgers University has found that travelers with disabilities using the travel hosting service Airbnb are more likely to be rejected and less likely to be pre-approved. From a report: A Rutgers University study of nearly 4,000 requests for lodging on the home-sharing platform found that guests with blindness, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and spinal cord injury were refused at rates higher than people without disabilities. In some instances, hosts who claimed that their homes were accessible were also more likely to approve guests without disabilities, according to the research published Friday. The report raises new questions about the ethics of Airbnb's business model, following the #AirbnbWhileBlack scandal that dogged the company last year, centered on revelations that African American guests were denied access at disproportionately high rates. While traditional hotels must abide by anti-discrimination laws, startups such as Airbnb have been able to skirt longstanding regulations by arguing that they are technology companies and platforms that aren't liable for the actions of their users.

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Google Could Face a $9 Billion EU Fine For Rigging Search Results In Its Favor
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's distorted-search-results department:
schwit1 quotes a report from The Independent: EU antitrust regulators aim to slap a hefty fine on Alphabet unit Google over its shopping service before the summer break in August, two people familiar with the matter said, setting the stage for two other cases involving the U.S. company. The European Commission's decision will come after a seven-year investigation into the world's most popular internet search engine was triggered by scores of complaints from both U.S. and European rivals. Fines for companies found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules can reach 10 percent of their global turnover, which in Google's case could be about $9 billion of its 2016 turnover. Apart from the fine, the Commission will tell Google to stop its alleged anti-competitive practices but it is not clear what measures it will order the company to adopt to ensure that rivals get equal treatment in internet shopping results. The company has also been charged with using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals and with blocking competitors in online search advertising related to its "AdSense for Search" platform. The platform allows Google to act as an intermediary for websites such as online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers. The Commission has warned of massive fines in both cases.

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Microsoft Accidentally Released Internal Windows 10 Development Builds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's whoopsie-daisy department:
Microsoft is apologizing for mistakenly releasing some confidential and internal Windows 10 builds to the public. "Builds from some of our internal branches were accidentally released for PC and Mobile," reveals Dona Sarkar, Microsoft's head of its Windows Insiders program. "This happened because an inadvertent deployment to the engineering system that controls which builds / which rings to push out to insiders." The Verge reports: Microsoft says it quickly reverted the issue and put blocks in place to ensure these development builds didn't reach more people, but a "small portion" of Windows 10 users still received them. Worryingly, the accidental mobile build even reached retail devices outside of Microsoft's Windows Insiders testing. If Windows 10 testers installed the mobile build it forced phones into a reboot loop and bricked the device. Testers will have to recover and wipe the device using the Windows Device Recovery Tool. Windows 10 testers that installed the PC build, an internal Edge branch, will have to wait for Microsoft to publish a newer build or roll back using the recovery option in Windows 10 settings.

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YouTube Clarifies 'Hate Speech' Definition and Which Videos Won't Be Monetized
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ad-exodus department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In a blog post, YouTube outlined more specific definitions of hate speech and what kinds of incendiary content wouldn't be eligible for monetization. Three categories are classified as hate speech, with the broadest one being "hateful content." YouTube is defining this as anything that "promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual's or group's race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic associated with systematic discrimination or marginalization." The second category is "inappropriate use of family entertainment characters," which means content showing kid-friendly characters in "violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior," no matter if the content is satirical or a parody. The final category is somewhat broad: "incendiary and demeaning content" means that anything "gratuitously" demeaning or shameful toward an individual or group is prohibited. The updated guidelines are a response to creators asking YouTube to clarify what will and will not be deemed advertiser-friendly. YouTube acknowledges that its systems still aren't perfect, but it says it's doing its best to inform creators while maintaining support for advertisers. YouTube also launched a new course in its Creator Academy that creators can take to learn more about how to make "content appealing for a broad range of advertisers."

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Hollywood Sees Illegal Streaming Devices as 'Piracy 3.0'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's evolution-of-piracy department:
After hunting down torrent sites for more than a decade, Hollywood now has a more complex piracy threat to deal with. From a report: Piracy remains a major threat for the movie industry, MPA Stan McCoy said yesterday during a panel session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Much like Hollywood, copyright infringers are innovators who constantly change their "business models" and means of obtaining content. Where torrents were dominant a few years ago, illegal streaming devices are now the main threat, with McCoy describing their rise as Piracy 3.0. "Piracy is not a static challenge. The pirates are great innovators in their own right. So even as we innovate in trying to pursue these issues, and pursue novel ways of fighting piracy, the pirates are out there coming up with new business models of their own," McCoy said. "If you think of old-fashioned peer-to-peer piracy as 1.0, and then online illegal streaming websites as 2.0, in the audio-visual sector, in particular, we now face challenge number 3.0, which is what I'll call the challenge of illegal streaming devices."

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VR Sports? It Can Be a Billion Dollar Business, Says Intel CEO
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Ina Fried, reporting for Axios: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told Axios on Thursday that he sees virtual reality not only changing the face of sports, but also potentially being a multi-billion-dollar business for the chip giant. "I think it can be a couple billion dollar business" he said in an interview after his appearance at Code Conference. "And the reason is this is a whole new feed... things like advertising, the ability to take that data and sell it... we're the only ones who we believe can produce this stuff."

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Hundreds of Walmart Employees Say They've Been Punished For Taking Sick Days
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's ugly-side department:
A new report from the workers advocacy group A Better Balance alleges that Walmart consistently punishes employees for taking sick days, even if they have proper documentation from doctors. From a report: A Better Balance interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 Walmart workers about the company's absence control program -- which awards disciplinary "points" for absences regardless of reason -- and found the retail giant to be in violation of multiple laws. "Giving a worker a disciplinary 'point' for being absent due to a disability or for taking care of themselves or a loved one with a serious medical condition is not only unfair," the report reads, "in many instances, it runs afoul of federal, state, and local laws." Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told the Times that the allegations are false, and that the company "understand[s] that associates may have to miss work on occasion," and that they "have processes in place to assist them." The report's worker testimonials say differently. "I came down with a stomach flu and I had to call in due to vomiting and high fever and got a point cause of being sick," recalls an Illinois employee named Veronica. "I hate the fact we got to worry about getting fired cause we caught the flu."

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Denmark Is Killing Tesla and Other Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's roadblock department:
An anonymous shares an article: The electric car has dropped out of favor in the country that pioneered renewable energy. Sales in Denmark of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (ECV), which include plug-in hybrids, plunged 60.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first three months of 2016, according to latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That contrasts with an increase of nearly 80 percent in neighboring Sweden and an average rise of 30 percent in the European Union. Denmark, a global leader in wind power whose own attempt at an electric car in the early 1980s famously flopped, used to be enthralled with them. Its bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark's. The figures suggest clean-energy vehicles still aren't attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy. However, it turns out that those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.

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Walmart Is Turning Its Employees Into Delivery Drivers To Compete With Amazon
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-moves department:
Walmart, which is aggressively investing in e-commerce to better compete with Amazon, is unveiling a new strategy: turning its army of 1.5 million US employees into delivery drivers. From a report: The tactic is being tested at three stores in New Jersey and Arkansas, and designed to shave costs out of the "last mile" of distribution, the most expensive part of getting goods to customers. Under the initiative, store employees will be given the option to deliver packages on their way home after work, in exchange for extra pay. They'll be given an app that allows them to input their routes, and an algorithm will plot the most efficient path. To take part, the employees will have to pass a background and vehicle check.

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After Bomb Threats, FCC Proposes Letting Police Unveil Anonymous Callers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tightening-bolts department:
Police should be allowed to unmask anonymous callers who have made serious threats over the phone, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed. From a report: The proposal would allow law enforcement, and potentially the person who's been called, to learn the phone number of an anonymous caller if they receive a "serious and imminent" threat that poses "substantial risk to property, life, safety, or health." Specifics are still up in the air. The FCC is asking (PDF), for instance, whether unveiled caller ID information should only be provided to law enforcement officials investigating a threat, to ensure that this exemption isn't abused.

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Trump Misunderstood MIT Climate Research, University Officials Say
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's lost-in-the-translation department:
MIT officials said U.S. President Donald Trump badly misunderstood their research when he cited it on Thursday to justify withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. From a report: Trump announced during a speech at the White House Rose Garden that he had decided to pull out of the landmark climate deal, in part because it would not reduce global temperatures fast enough to have a significant impact. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100," Trump said. "Tiny, tiny amount." That claim was attributed to research conducted by MIT, according to White House documents seen by Reuters. The Cambridge, Massaschusetts-based research university published a study in April 2016 titled "How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?" showing that if countries abided by their pledges in the deal, global warming would slow by between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. "We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement," said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study's authors. "If we don't do anything, we might shoot over 5 degrees or more and that would be catastrophic," said John Reilly, the co-director of the program, adding that MIT's scientists had had no contact with the White House and were not offered a chance to explain their work.

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EU Commissioner Says No to Bill Gates' Robot Tax Idea
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's different-perspective department:
Andrus Ansip, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Single Market, has said that he does not support Bill Gates' idea of taxing robots that replace human workers. From a report: Microsoft founder Gates made an argument for robots incurring taxes equivalent to that worker's income taxes during an interview in February. "Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed," he said. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think that we'd tax the robot at a similar level." But Ansip has made it clear that he is not in favor of a robot tax. Speaking during a CNBC-hosted panel at the Pioneers tech conference in Vienna on Thursday, Ansip said the "aim of taxation is not just (to) collect revenues... but to increase salaries of teachers and police," CNBC reports. "No way. No way," he added, when asked if he would support the tax.

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LG Joins NFC Payment Party With LG Pay
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's gaining-momentum department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple and Samsung have been fattening their pockets with digital wallets for years, and now LG wants in. The company rolled out LG Pay in South Korea on Friday, it said in a statement. South Korean users of the LG G6 will be the first to be able to use the service. LG Pay allows users to register up to 10 of their frequently used cards, including credit, membership and transportation cards. To make payment with LG Pay, users tap their phone against a credit card terminal and scan their fingerprint.

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Anti-Aging Start-Up Is Charging Thousands of Dollars for Teen Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-Silicon-Valley department:
An anonymous reader writes: A startup called Ambrosia is charging about $8,000 a pop for blood transfusions from people under 25, Jesse Karmazin said at Code Conference. Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists, like Thiel, though Karmazin stressed that tech types aren't Ambrosia's only clients, and that anyone over 35 is eligible for its transfusions. Karmazin was inspired to found Ambrosia after seeing studies researchers had done involving sewing mice together with their veins conjoined. Some aspects of aging, one 2013 study found, could be reversed when older mice get blood from younger ones, but other researchers haven't been able to replicate these results, and the benefits of parabiosis in humans remains unclear. "I think the animal and retrospective data is compelling, and I want this treatment to be available to people," Karmazin told the MIT Technology Review.

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British Airways IT Outage Caused By Contractor Who Accidentally Switched off Power
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 06:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's getting-to-the-bottom-of-things department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A contractor doing maintenance work at a British Airways data centre inadvertently switched off the power supply, knocking out the airline's computer systems and leaving 75,000 people stranded last weekend, according to reports. A BA source told The Times the power supply unit that sparked the IT failure was working perfectly but was accidentally shut down by a worker.

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Intel Predicts a $7 Trillion Self-Driving Future Where Over a Million Lives Will Be Part of the 'Passenger Economy'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 05:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's passenger-economy department:
Intel has released a new study that predicts a $7 trillion annual revenue stream from the emerging passenger economy. In the report, Intel says that the companies that don't prepare for self-driving risk failure or extinction. Additionally, the report finds that over a half a million lives could be saved by self-driving cars over just one decade. The Verge reports: The study, prepared by Strategy Analytics, predicts autonomous vehicles will create a massive economic opportunity that will scale from $800 billion in 2035 (the base year of the study) to $7 trillion by 2050. An estimated 585,000 lives could be saved due to autonomous vehicles between 2035 and 2045, the study predicts. This âoepassenger economy,â as Intel is calling it, includes the value of the products and services derived from fully autonomous vehicles as well as indirect savings such as time. Autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries, the study predicts, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector. These autonomous vehicles will first appear in developed markets and will reinvent the package delivery and long-haul transportation sectors, says Strategy Analytics president Harvey Cohen, who co-authored the study. This will relieve driver shortages, a chronic problem in the industry, and account for two-thirds of initial projected revenues. One of the bolder predictions is that public transportation as we know it today â" trains, subways, light rails, and buses -- will be supplanted, or at least radically changed, by the rise of on-demand autonomous vehicle fleets. The study argues that people will flock to suburbs as population density rises in city centers, pushing commute times higher and âoeoutstripping the ability of public transport infrastructure to fully meet consumer mobility needs.â

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Take-Two Acquires Kerbal Space Program
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 02:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mergers-and-acquisitions department:
Eloking quotes a report from Polygon: Take-Two Interactive has purchased physics-based space simulation Kerbal Space Program, according to announcements from publisher Take-Two and developer Squad. "We have been impressed with Kerbal Space Program since its launch, and we are committed to grow this unique experience while continuing to support its passionate community," said Michael Worosz, senior vice president, head of corporate development and independent publishing at Take-Two, in a release. "We view Kerbal Space Program as a new, long-term franchise that adds a well-respected and beloved IP to Take-Two's portfolio as we continue to explore opportunities across the independent development landscape." Kerbal Space Program officially launched on PC in 2015. The game had been available through Steam's Early Access program since 2013. It has since gone on to sell more than 2 million copies on console and PC. Developer Squad said in a statement that the acquisition won't alter its plan for continued development of Kerbal Space Program. The developer is currently working on the Making History Expansion for the game.

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Third Gravitational Wave Detected From Black-Hole Merger 3 Billion Light Years Away
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-together department:
sycodon quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source): Astronomers said Thursday that they had felt space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns, some 3 billion light-years from here. This is the third black-hole smashup that astronomers have detected since they started keeping watch on the cosmos back in September 2015, with LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. All of them are more massive than the black holes that astronomers had previously identified as the remnants of dead stars. The latest detection was made at 10:11 GMT on January 4, and is described in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters. "The analysis suggests the two black holes that coalesced had starting masses that were just over 31 times and 19 times that of our Sun," reports BBC. "And when they finally came together, they produced a single object of a little under 49 solar masses. It means the unison radiated a simply colossal quantity of pure energy."

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