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Chip Reprograms Cells To Regenerate Damaged Tissue
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 08:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-from-the-dead department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American about a device that delivers infusions of DNA and other molecules to restore injured limbs in mice, and maybe someday, humans: Cells are typically reprogrammed using mixtures of DNA, RNA and proteins. The most popular method uses viruses as a delivery vehicle -- although they can infect unintended cells, provoke immune responses and even turn cells cancerous. One alternative, called bulk electroporation, exposes cells to an electric field that pokes holes in their membranes to let in genetic material and proteins. Yet this method can stress or kill them. Tissue nanotransfection, described in a study published in August in Nature Nanotechnology, involves a chip containing an array of tiny channels that apply electric fields to individual cells. "You affect only a small area of the cell surface, compared with the conventional method, which upsets the entire cell," says study co-author James Lee, a chemical and biomolecular engineer at The Ohio State University. "Essentially we create a tiny hole and inject DNA right into the cell, so we can control the dosage."

Chandan Sen, a physiologist at Ohio State, and his colleagues developed a genetic cocktail that rapidly converts skin cells into endothelial cells -- the main component of blood vessels. They then used their technique on mice whose legs had been damaged by a severed artery that cut off blood supply. New blood vessels formed, blood flow increased, and after three weeks the legs had completely healed.

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Radical Leftists Built Their Own FOSS Alternative To Reddit After It Banned Them
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 06:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's my-house-my-rules department:
eeplox shares a report from VICE, adding: "Community-built sites like these are very much needed since Reddit announced they were going closed source": After r/LeftWithSharpEdge was taken down, ziq [one of the subreddit's members] decided to leave Reddit and create an independent anarchist community free from its rules. Raddle.me, which was originally called Raddit.me, is an "alternative that is focused on community building and openness, and not controlled by a corporation," ziq told me. The original name was intended to sound similar to Reddit, but was later changed to avoid potential trademark issues. Raddle doesn't have advertisements or run analytical software, so its size is difficult to calculate -- but that's by design. The site is meant to be an alternative to social networks that profit by monitoring user behavior and serving advertisements. "We have no ads, no tracking, no user profiling and we don't collect or share any user data with anyone," ziq said. The site is community-built and anyone can contribute to the code. Ziq's commitment to privacy is an appealing virtue for Raddle's users. "I'm always very uneasy about the lack of concern for privacy online," Tequila_Wolf, a user who posts frequently to Raddle, told me in a direct message. "When you have friends on government lists who get harassed at every border because, say, they are members of Anarchists Against The Wall, you know you don't want to get on that list." Raddle ultimately came out of more broad problems ziq and Emma saw with Reddit. Ziq complained about how it has increasingly become a recruiting ground for the alt-right, the social network's overemphasis on America (r/politics, a major subreddit, only discusses U.S.-based politics, for example), and the fact that the site's code isn't open source, among other issues. Emma mentioned what she says is a problem with harassment on the site. "To me, the biggest problem with Reddit is how its administrators ignore the routine harassment and witch-hunts of marginalized people that takes place, with r/The_Donald being the most prominent example," she said.

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Apple Investigating Reports of iPhone 8 Plus Devices 'Splitting Open'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 05:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's depths-of-hell department:
Apple is currently investigating reports of the iPhone 8 Plus splitting open while being charged with the included cable and plug adapter. The first claim comes from a Taiwanese iPhone 8 Plus owner, who posted photos which show damage consistent with a swollen battery. The second claim is from a Japanese owner who posted similar photos of his device, which he says arrived in this state. The Next Web reports: The phone belonged to a Ms. Wu, who recently renewed her phone contract and purchased a 64GB rose gold iPhone 8 Plus. The issue emerged five days after purchasing the phone. Wu placed her phone on charge, using the supplied cable and adaptor. After three minutes, she reported seeing the front panel bulge, and eventually lift completely from the device. According to multiple Taiwanese outlets, the phone was later recovered by the carrier, and has since been shipped to Apple for analysis. 9to5Mac adds: While any incident affecting a new iPhone model is bound to attract media attention, it's worth noting the usual disclaimers. First, any device manufactured in the millions will include some faulty models -- the real news would be if this were not the case. Second, investigations into charging-related incidents often reveal that a third-party charger was used, even when an owner initially claims to have used the supplied Apple one.

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Former Female Oracle Employees Sue Company For Alleged Pay Discrimination
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 05:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's class-action department:
Three female, former Oracle employees are suing Oracle for allegedly paying women less than men in similar jobs. Rong Jewett, Sophy Wang and Xian Murray filed a lawsuit August 28, seeking a class-action status to represent all other women who have worked at the company. TechCrunch reports: The lawsuit, first reported by The Information, alleges that Oracle discriminated against women by "systematically paying them lower wage rates than Oracle pays to male employees performing substantially equal or similar work under similar working conditions," the filing states. The time period the lawsuit references is four years prior to the filing and through the date of the trial in California. Referencing how the U.S. Department of Labor sued Oracle in January based on its compliance review that found "systemic discrimination against women" and "gross disparities in pay," the lawsuit states Oracle had known or should have known about the pay disparity between its male and female employees. The plaintiffs are seeking wages due, interest and liquidated damages plus interest. They also want Oracle to guarantee they won't pay women less than men for similar work in the future.

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Apple Reports 400 Percent Rise In National Security Requests
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's threefold-increase department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Apple received a record number of national security orders this year, according to its bi-annual report published this week. The company stated it received more than 13,250 national security requests affecting over 9,000 accounts in the first half of 2017. Compared to the same period in 2015, this represents a threefold increase. National Security Requests are subpoenas by the government which oblige companies or individuals to share their data for national security purposes. The requests are usually made in the form of National Security Letters and are demanded only when it's indispensable to an investigation. The reason for this rise in numbers is still unclear. The company also revealed it provided data in 44 non-civil governmental cases, information which hadn't been revealed in its previous reports.

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Department of Justice Demands Facebook Information From 'Anti-Administration Activists'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hand-it-over department:
PopeRatzo shares a report from CNN: Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN. The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies." One of those users, Emmelia Talarico, operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed; the page was visited by an estimated 6,000 users whose identities the government would have access to if Facebook hands over the information sought in the search warrants. In court filings, Talarico says if her account information was given to the government, officials would have access to her "personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information," plus "the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page."

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US Slashing Embassy Staff In Cuba Because of Apparent Sonic 'Attacks'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-concerns department:
PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from The Washington Post (Warning: may be paywalled; alternative source): The United States is yanking more than half its diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Havana and warning Americans not to visit Cuba, saying it is for their own safety after a string of mysterious injuries harmed at least 21 Americans stationed there. "We have no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected, but the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement. "The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure." Investigators are looking into the possibility that they were subjected to some sort of "sonic attack," among other theories, though it is not clear why American diplomats and a handful of Canadian envoys would be the only ones to complain of symptoms. Cuba has denied having anything to do with the injuries. Among the possibilities being explored is that agents acting on behalf of a third country may be responsible.

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South Korea Bans Initial Coin Offerings
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's chopping-block department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: South Korea's financial regulator on Friday said it will ban raising money through all forms of virtual currencies, a move that follows similar restrictions in China on initial coin offerings. The Financial Services Commission said all kinds of initial coin offerings (ICO) will be banned as trading of virtual currencies needs to be tightly controlled and monitored. The decision to ban ICOs as a fundraising tool was made as the government sees such issues as increasing the risk of financial scams.

"Raising funds through ICOs seem to be on the rise globally, and our assessment is that ICOs are increasing in South Korea as well," the regulator said in a statement after a meeting with the finance ministry, the Bank of Korea and the National Tax Service. "Stern penalties" will be issued on financial institutions and any parties involved in issuing of ICOs, the statement added, without elaborating further on the details of those penalties.

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Spanish Court Orders Google To Delete App Used For Catalan Independence Vote
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 01:23 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's strict-conditions department:
From a report: Catalonia's High Court on Friday ordered Google to delete an application that it said Catalan separatists were using to spread information about a disputed independence vote this Sunday. The court said the "On Votar 1-Oct" application on the Google Play smartphone app store opposed an order in September from Spain's Constitutional Court to suspend the referendum while it determined its legality. The court also ordered Google to block any future applications developed by the gmail address "Onvotar1oct@gmail.com', according to a written ruling. Nobody at Google in Spain was immediately available to comment.

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Internet Activists Urge Congress to Fire Trump's FCC Chief Ajit Pai
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 12:03 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's before-it's-too-late department:
Open internet advocates and Democratic lawmakers are mounting a last-ditch effort to remove Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai over his anti-net neutrality stance, just days before Pai is set to be approved by the Senate for a new term. From a report: Since being elevated by President Trump to lead the FCC in January, Pai has become the bete noire of open internet advocates for a variety of anti-consumer actions, but none more so than his crusade to kill federal rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers. [...] During a blistering floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, portrayed Pai, a Republican former Verizon lawyer, as an industry stooge who has worked relentlessly to deliver gift after gift to the nation's largest broadband companies. "Mr. Pai has a long track record of putting big cable before consumers, big corporations above small businesses, and pay-to-play over the free and open internet," Wyden wrote in a blog post accompanying his speech. Free Press, a DC-based public interest group, has also launched a campaign to pressure the Senate to "fire Pai," citing his proposal to kill the FCC's net neutrality policy and other anti-consumer actions. But if reconfirmed, Pai is expected to try to ram through his plan to torpedo the FCC's net neutrality rules before the end of the year. "Rehiring Pai to head the agency that oversees US communications policies would be a boon for the phone and cable companies he eagerly serves," Tim Karr, Free Press Senior Director of Strategy, wrote in a blog post.

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What Isn't Telegram Saying About Its Connections To the Kremlin?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 12:03 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
The supposedly secure messaging app Telegram has employees in St. Petersburg in the same building as Kremlin-influenced social network VK, news outlet the Outline reported on Friday citing multiple sources. William Turton, reporting for The Outline: Anton Rozenberg, a software developer and former employee of Telegram's parent company, is saying that there are Telegram employees working out of the historic Singer House in St. Petersburg, Russia's former imperial capital, a claim that has since been corroborated by others. That's significant because the Singer House is also home to VK, which is now owned by the oligarch and Putin ally Alisher Usmanov. (It's also the building where in 2012 Durov and coworkers infamously folded 5,000 ruble notes, worth about $150 each, into paper airplanes and threw them out the window, sparking violence in the street below.) The revelation casts doubt on Durov, who denies Telegram has an office in Russia, and continues to style himself as a rebel at odds with the complex Russian power structure that includes the government and oligarchy. It also raises questions about how safe Telegram is from Kremlin interference, given that VK is owned by a Kremlin sympathizer and that the Kremlin has an obvious interest in monitoring and controlling popular social networks. "As a security specialist, I have some questions about how their office isn't physically protected from the offices that surround it," Rozenberg told The Outline. "VK employees, for a long time, have had access to Telegram offices."

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Critical EFI Code in Millions of Macs Isn't Getting Apple's Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 10:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Andy Greenberg, writing for Wired:At today's Ekoparty security conference, security firm Duo plans to present research on how it delved into the guts of tens of thousands of computers to measure the real-world state of Apple's so-called extensible firmware interface, or EFI. This is the firmware that runs before your PC's operating system boots and has the potential to corrupt practically everything else that happens on your machine. Duo found that even Macs with perfectly updated operating systems often have much older EFI code, due to either Apple's neglecting to push out EFI updates to those machines or failing to warn users when their firmware update hits a technical glitch and silently fails. For certain models of Apple laptops and desktop computers, close to a third or half of machines have EFI versions that haven't kept pace with their operating system system updates. And for many models, Apple hasn't released new firmware updates at all, leaving a subset of Apple machines vulnerable to known years-old EFI attacks that could gain deep and persistent control of a victim's machine.

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Linux LTS Kernels To Now Be Maintained For Six Years
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 10:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's improving-things department:
An anonymous reader writes: In a bid to help Android smartphone vendors the Linux LTS (Long Term Support) kernels will now be maintained for a period of six years. The Linux LTS initiative backed by the Linux Foundation has supported annual LTS kernels for two years worth of updates, but that is being changed for Linux 4.4+ at the request of Google and their Project Treble. This means the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel will be maintained through 2022 and the upcoming Linux 4.14 LTS through 2023 for security/bug fixes in order to last a complete "device lifecycle."

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Ask Slashdot: Whatever Happened To the 'Year of Linux on Desktop'?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 09:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's curious-case department:
An anonymous reader writes: Investors, enthusiasts, and Linux distro makers have for more than a decade projected that the upcoming year will be the year of Linux on the desktop platform. But we just can't seem to get to that year for some reason. Windows continues to dominate the consumer market. Apple's macOS X is quickly gaining ground among business customers and designers, and is already ahead of Linux. Do you see Linux getting a significant boost in the desktop market in the coming years?

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Elon Musk Proposes City-to-City Travel By Rocket, Right Here on Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 09:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's musk's-dreams department:
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled revised plans to travel to the Moon and Mars at a space industry conference today, but he ended his talk with a pretty incredible promise: using that same interplanetary rocket system for long-distance travel on Earth. From a report: Musk showed a demonstration of the idea onstage, claiming that it will allow passengers to take "most long-distance trips" in just 30 minutes, and go "anywhere on Earth in under an hour" for around the same price as an economy airline ticket. Musk proposed using SpaceX's forthcoming mega-rocket (codenamed Big Fucking Rocket or BFR for short) to lift a massive spaceship into orbit around the Earth. The ship would then settle down on floating landing pads near major cities. Both the new rocket and spaceship are currently theoretical, though Musk did say that he hopes to begin construction on the rocket in the next six to nine months. In SpaceX's video that illustrates the idea, passengers take a large boat from a dock in New York City to a floating launchpad out in the water. There, they board the same rocket that Musk wants to use to send humans to Mars by 2024. But instead of heading off to another planet once they leave the Earth's atmosphere, the ship separates and breaks off toward another city -- Shanghai. Just 39 minutes and some 7,000 miles later, the ship reenters the atmosphere and touches down on another floating pad, much like the way SpaceX lands its Falcon 9 rockets at sea. Other routes proposed in the video include Hong Kong to Singapore in 22 minutes, London to Dubai or New York in 29 minutes, and Los Angeles to Toronto in 24 minutes.

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Ubuntu To Stop Offering 32-Bit ISO Images, Joining Many Other Linux Distros
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 08:04 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-on department:
An anonymous reader writes: Canonical engineer Dimitri John Ledkov announced on Wednesday that Ubuntu does not plan to offer 32-bit ISO installation images for its new OS version starting with the next release — Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) scheduled for release on October 19. The decision comes after month-long discussions on the dwindling market share of 32-bit architectures. Ledkov made it clear that Canonical does not plan to stop support for 32-bit architectures. The Ubuntu team plans to continue to offer security updates and bug fixes, but they won't be offering new ISO images. Lubuntu and Xubuntu, which are Ubuntu offshoots created to run on older computers, will most likely continue to provide 32-bit ISO images, as this is their bread and butter. Manjaro, Tails, and Arch Linux announced similar decisions. Even Google dropped support for Chrome on 32-bit Linux platforms, way back in 2015, predicting the overall trend.

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Chaos and Hackers Stalk Investors on Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 08:04 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-money department:
From a report: Dan Wasyluk discovered the hard way that trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin happens in an online Wild West where sheriffs are largely absent. Wasyluk and his colleagues raised bitcoins for a new tech venture and lodged them in escrow at a company running a cryptocurrency exchange called Moolah. Just months later the exchange collapsed; the man behind it is now awaiting trial in Britain on fraud and money-laundering charges. He has pleaded not guilty. Wasyluk's project lost 750 bitcoins, currently worth about $3 million, and he believes he stands little chance of recovering any money. [...] Cryptocurrencies were supposed to offer a secure, digital way to conduct financial transactions, but they have been dogged by doubts. Concerns have largely focused on their astronomical gains in value and the likelihood of painful price crashes. Equally perilous, though, are the exchanges where virtual currencies are bought, sold and stored. These exchanges, which match buyers and sellers and sometimes hold traders' funds, have become magnets for fraud and mires of technological dysfunction, a Reuters examination shows, posing an underappreciated risk to anyone who trades digital coins. Huge sums are at stake.

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Equifax CEO Richard Smith Who Oversaw Breach To Collect $90 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 06:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's other-side department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The CEO of Equifax is retiring from the credit reporting bureau with a pay day worth as much as $90 million -- or roughly 63 cents for every customer whose data was potentially exposed in its recent security breach. Richard Smith, 57, is the third Equifax executive to retire under pressure following the company's massive data breach revealed earlier this month, putting the personal information of as many as 143 million people at risk. Equifax said Tuesday that as a condition of Smith's retirement, he "irrevocably" forfeits any right to a bonus in 2017, an amount that under normal circumstances would have totaled more than $3 million -- the bonus he received in 2016 -- according to the company's retirement policy. But the CEO is still set to collect about $72 million this year alone (including nine months' worth of his $1,450,000 salary), plus another $17.9 million over the next few years. That's when the rest of Smith's stock compensation hits a few important milestones or "vests," allowing Smith to essentially put it in his bank account. Altogether, it adds up to a total potential paycheck of more than $90.1 million, according to Fortune's calculations based on Equifax securities filings.

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EU Gives Ultimatum To Facebook and Twitter: Obey Us Or We'll Start Regulating
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 05:23 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shots-fired department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: The EU Commission has fired a shot across Facebook and Twitter's bows, having issued a proclamation decreeing that "social media platforms" must do more to remove "illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online." Although what is said in the EU proclamation is nothing new -- indeed, in the UK, the measures proposed by the EU's talking heads have been standard practice for years -- what matters here is not what is being said publicly, but instead the threat of what might happen unless Facebook appeases the bloc's leaders. The EU said that platforms should appoint dedicated points of contact for police forces and other State agencies to talk to about illegal content; appoint trusted content moderators ("flaggers," in EU-ese); and invest in "automatic detection technologies." In addition, illegal content should be deleted within "specific timeframes."

All straightforward; nothing new there, at least from the British perspective. Yet the threat is in the EU's later words: "Today's communication is a first step and follow-up initiatives will depend on the online platforms' actions to proactively implement the guidelines. The Commission will carefully monitor progress made by the online platforms over the next months and assess whether additional measures are needed."

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IBM Now Has More Employees In India Than In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '17 at 02:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's migrating-workforce department:
New submitter Zorro shares a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): Over the last decade, IBM has shifted its center of gravity halfway around the world to India, making it a high-tech example of the globalization trends that the Trump administration has railed against. Today, the company employs 130,000 people in India -- about one-third of its total work force, and more than in any other country. Their work spans the entire gamut of IBM's businesses, from managing the computing needs of global giants like AT&T and Shell to performing cutting-edge research in fields like visual search, artificial intelligence and computer vision for self-driving cars. One team is even working with the producers of Sesame Street to teach vocabulary to kindergartners in Atlanta. The work in India has been vital to keeping down costs at IBM, which has posted 21 consecutive quarters of revenue declines as it has struggled to refashion its main business of supplying tech services to corporations and governments. The company's employment in India has nearly doubled since 2007, even as its work force in the United States has shrunk through waves of layoffs and buyouts. Although IBM refuses to disclose exact numbers, outsiders estimate that it employs well under 100,000 people at its American offices now, down from 130,000 in 2007. Depending on the job, the salaries paid to Indian workers are one-half to one-fifth those paid to Americans, according to data posted by the research firm Glassdoor.

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