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Google Will Display Election Results As Soon As Polls Close
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's live-results department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google has been highly involved with connecting U.S. voters to timely information throughout this election cycle, by offering everything from voter registration assistance to polling place information in its search result pages. Today, the company announced plans to display the results of the U.S. election directly in search, in over 30 languages, as soon as the polls close. Web searchers who query for "election results" will be able to view detailed information on the Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional, Gubernatorial races as well as state-level referenda and ballot propositions, says Google. The results will be updated continuously -- every 30 seconds, as indicated by a screenshot shared by the company on its official blog post detailing the new features. Tabs across the top will let you switch to between the various races, like President, House, and Senate, for example. The results will also include information like how many more electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win, how many seats are up for grabs in the House and Senate, and how many Gubernatorial races are underway, among other things. This data is presented in an easy-to-read format, with Democrats in blue, Republicans in red, and simple graphs, alongside the key numbers.

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Samsung Galaxy J5 Catches Fire and Explodes in France, Says AP
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 02:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's phone-on-fire department:
A Samsung phone user in France says her Galaxy J5 smartphone caught fire and exploded. The model is different from the Galaxy Note 7 that has been recalled worldwide. From a report on Associated Press: Lamya Bouyirdane told The Associated Press that on Sunday she noticed the phone was very hot after she asked her four-year-old son to pass it over. She said she threw the phone away when she realized it had "swollen up" and smoke was coming out. The phone then caught fire and the back of the handset blew off. Her partner quickly extinguished it.

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UK Privacy Watchdog Says Facebook Agrees To Suspend Using WhatsApp Users' Data
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 02:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's compliance-with-authority department:
Facebook's decision to change WhatsApp's privacy policy hasn't gone down well with many. While Facebook didn't even flinch when several people requested that the company shouldn't break its original promise of not sharing any data with Facebook, the social juggernaut has -- for whatever reason -- decided to comply with Britain's privacy watchdog's advisory. The watchdog said Monday that Facebook has agreed to suspend using data from UK users of its WhatsApp app. From a Reuters report: The watchdog said the social media giant faces action if it uses such data without valid consent. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) had said in August that it would monitor WhatsApp's new privacy policy, after WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook in 2014, said it would share user data with its parent company. "We're pleased that they've agreed to pause using data from UK WhatsApp users for advertisements or product improvement purposes," the head of ICO, Elizabeth Denham, said in a statement. "If Facebook starts using the data without valid consent, they may face enforcement action from my office," she said. The regulator said it had also asked Facebook and WhatsApp to sign an undertaking committing to better explaining to customers how their data would be used and to give them ongoing control over the information. However, the companies have so far not agreed.

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India's New Delhi Now Most Polluted City on Earth, Air Quality Well Beyond 'Hazardous' Level
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 12:25 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's when-fresh-air-is-luxury department:
New Delhi residents are suffocating only to find little to no relief. The city, as well as much of Northern India, home of over 400 million people, is blanketed by a thick layer of smog. The air quality has severely depreciated, hitting alarming 1,000 AQI PM2.5 level -- over 15 times of the safe limit. The air quality index hasn't gone down 400 reading, which is considered hazardous. From a report on CNN: Measurements taken at the US Embassy in Delhi put the city's Air Quality Index at 999 on Monday, off the standard chart, which finishes at the "hazardous" level of 500. By comparison, the highest AQI level recorded Monday in Baoding -- China's most polluted city -- was 298. Beijing was a pleasant 30, while India's next most polluted city, coal and industry-heavy Chandrapur, recorded levels of 824, according to the World Air Quality Index. Research released earlier this year found that air quality levels exceed World Health Organizations guidelines for 80% of those living in urban areas around the world.Though Delhi has been one of the most polluted cities for decades, burning of tens of millions of crop stubbles in the recent months and the Hindu festival of Diwali (which sees many people burn crackers) have been held responsible for the severe air quality.

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Edward Snowden Kills Team Trump's Conspiracy Theory By Explaining How The FBI Can Quickly Comb Through Email
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 12:25 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's snowden-tech-support department:
FBI director James Comey told Congress Sunday that the further investigation of emails related to Hillary Clinton didn't turn up anything that would cause the bureau to recommend charges against her. The FBI had reviewed over 650,000 emails under nine days. Upon hearing this, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supported started to question whether the FBI could go through all those emails in such a short period of time. We will never know for sure until the FBI explains its process to us all (which is unlikely to happen), so people turned to Edward Snowden over the weekend for answers. And Mr. Snowden didn't disappoint. From a report on GeekWire: How easy would it be to cull out the duplicate emails? Outspoken journalist Jeff Jarvis posed that question to Snowden in a tweet, and got a quick response: "Drop non-responsive To:/CC:/BCC:, hash both sets, then subtract those that match. Old laptops could do it in minutes-to-hours."

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DirecTV Now Leak Reveals Channels, Promotions of AT&T's Upcoming TV Service
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 10:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's free-stuff department:
It seems AT&T won't leave any stone unturned for its upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service. According to a new report, the company is planning to offer a free Apple TV set-top box or an Amazon Fire USB stick to people who subscribe to the service. From a report on Variety, which also details some channels that could be featured on DirecTV Now: The leaked documents detail that consumers who are willing to commit to at least three months of paid service will be able to get a free Apple TV as part of a device promotion. Consumers who pay for one month will get a free Fire TV streaming stick. Both devices are more expensive on their own than the service charges consumers would have to pay to qualify for each promotion. AT&T officially announced DirecTV Now as an internet-based live TV service earlier this year. The telco has since given us some idea about the programming, announcing deals with Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom as well as Scripps, A&E Networks, Discovery, HBO, and Starz. Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced that DirecTV Now will cost $35 per month and carry more than 100 channels when it launches in the coming weeks. The leaked customer-support documents didn't include complete channel lineups -- those also depend on the local markets of subscribers -- but they do give us a better idea of which other channels DirecTV Now aims to launch with. A partial list of channels included not only networks from the aforementioned partners, but also Univision networks like Galavision, Univision and UniMas, Fox and MundoFox, CBS, HDNet Movies, the Hallmark Channel and the Sony Movie Channel.

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Fake Shopping Apps Are Invading the iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 10:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's state-of-the-art department:
An anonymous reader shares a NYPost report: For tech-focused scammers, knocking off sneakers and handbags is so last decade. Thieves in the digital age are slamming consumers right in the app. A slew of knockoff shopping apps have quietly infiltrated Apple's App Store in recent months, looking to lure unsuspecting iPhone owners with bogus deals on everything from jewelry to designer duds. The fake apps mimic the look of legit apps -- and have proliferated since this summer, experts said. It didn't help that earlier this month, Apple introduced search ads in its App Store. The fake apps are buying search terms, it would appear, to increase their exposure to consumers. The crooks are looking to tap into the fast-growing market for mobile sales, which last year leaped 56 percent to $49.2 billion, according to comScore.Further reading on NYTimes (NYTimes has opened its paywall till November 9).

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British Retail Tesco Bank: 20,000 Customers Lose Money
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's bank-hack department:
An anonymous reader writes:Tesco Bank has halted online payments for current account customers after money was taken from 20,000 accounts. The bank's chief executive Benny Higgins told the BBC he was "very hopeful" customers would be refunded within 24 hours. About 40,000 accounts saw suspicious transactions over the weekend, of which half had money taken, he said. Customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and bill payments. The bank is blocking customers from making online payments using their debit card, although transfers between accounts and to other people are still allowed, a spokesperson said. Earlier, the bank confirmed some accounts "have been subject to online criminal activity, in some cases resulting in money being withdrawn fraudulently."

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Samsung To Launch AI Digital Assistant Service For Galaxy S8
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's with-AI department:
Samsung plans to launch an "artificial intelligence" digital assistant with its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, it told Reuters. The announcement comes a month after the company acquired AI startup Viv, a voice assistant that aims to handle everyday tasks for you on its own. The company plans to incorporate this capability on its home appliances and wearable devices as well. From the report:Samsung is counting on the Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, which will hit its profit by $5.4 billion over three quarters through the first quarter of 2017. Investors and analysts say the Galaxy S8 must be a strong device in order for Samsung to win back customers and revive earnings momentum. Samsung did not comment on what types of services would be offered through the AI assistant that will be launched on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to go on sale early next year. It said the AI assistant would allow customers to use third-party service seamlessly. "Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong during a briefing, referring to its AI assistant. "Even if Samsung doesn't do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease."

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China Adopts Controversial Cybersecurity Law; Experts Say It Will Hurt Businesses
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 08:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's when-in-China department:
The Chinese government today passed new cybersecurity regulations that will put stringent new requirements on technology companies operating in the country. The proposed Cybersecurity Law comes with data localization, surveillance, and real-name requirements. From a TechCrunch report:The regulation would require instant messaging services and other internet companies to require users to register with their real names and personal information, and to censor content that is "prohibited." Real name policies restrict anonymity and can encourage self-censorship for online communication. The law also includes a requirement for data localization, which would force "critical information infrastructure operators" to store data within China's borders. According to Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization that is opposing the legislation, the law does not include a clear definition of infrastructure operators, and many businesses could be lumped into the definition. "The law will effectively put China's Internet companies, and hundreds of millions of Internet users, under greater state control," said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director. HRW maintains that, while many of the regulations are not new, most were informal or only laid out in low-level law -- and implementing the measures on a broader level will lead to stricter enforcement.

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Wikipedia's Not as Biased as You Might Think, Say Harvard Researchers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 08:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's reasonably-fair department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on Quartz:In a sea of biased content, Wikipedia is one of the few online outlets that strives for neutrality. After 15 years in operation, it's starting to see results. Researchers at Harvard Business School evaluated almost 4,000 articles in Wikipedia's online database against the same entries in Encyclopedia Brittanica to compare their biases. They focused on English-language articles about US politics, especially controversial topics, that appeared in both outlets in 2012. In its initial years, Wikipedia's crowdsourced articles were tinted very blue, slanting more toward Democratic views and displayed greater bias than Britannica. However, with more revisions and more moderators volunteering on the platform, the bias wore away. In fact, the upper quartile of the Wikipedia's sample had enough revisions that there was no longer any difference in slant and bias from its offline counterpart. More surprisingly, the authors found that the 2.8 million registered volunteer editors who were reviewing the articles also became less biased over time.

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Nvidia Adds Telemetry To Latest Drivers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 08:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's telemetry-curiosity department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on Ghack: Telemetry -- read tracking -- seems to be everywhere these days. Microsoft pushes it on Windows, and web and software companies use it as well. While there is certainly some benefit to it on a larger scale, as it may enable these companies to identify broader issues, it is undesirable from a user perspective. Part of that comes from the fact that companies fail to disclose what is being collected and how data is stored and handled once it leaves the user system. In the case of Nvidia, Telemetry gets installed alongside the driver package. While you may customize the installation of the Nvidia driver so that only the bits that you require are installed, there is no option to disable the Telemetry components from being installed. These do get installed even if you only install the graphics driver itself in the custom installation dialog.Further reading on MajorGeeks.

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LeEco's CEO Jia Yueting Says Company Overstretched, Now Running Out of Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 06:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-biting,-less-chewing department:
LeEco is a giant conglomerate in China. The company offers a range of services -- from online streaming service, to smartphones, to TV, to electric cars. On top of that, the company has been aggressively expanding into different markets with India and the United States being the two notable ones. How does it make so much cash? You wonder. It doesn't actually, according to the CEO, who has informed the employees that the company is quickly running out of cash. An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: The billionaire chairman of China's LeEco has admitted his technology empire is running out of cash to sustain a headlong rush into businesses from electric cars to smartphones. In a lengthy letter to employees, company co-founder Jia Yueting apologized to shareholders and pledged to slash his income to 1 yuan (15 cents), slow LeEco's madcap pace of expansion, and move the company toward a more moderate phase of growth. LeEco is the umbrella holding company for a sprawling family of businesses that includes sports media, automobiles, smartphones and TVs. The company known for its LeTV streaming service has aggressively pursued funding and placed bets on new ventures, from an electric car plant in Nevada to a $2 billion acquisition of California TV maker Vizio Inc. "No company has had such an experience, a simultaneous time in ice and fire," Jia wrote in a letter, obtained by Bloomberg News, describing LeEco's rise and subsequent issues. "We blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned. We got over-extended in our global strategy. At the same time, our capital and resources were in fact limited."

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Security Firm Shows How To Hack a US Voting Machine
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 05:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hypothetically department:
An anonymous reader writes: "Three days before the US Presidential Election takes place, California-based security firm Cylance showed the world how easy it is to hack one of the many [electronic] voting machine models that will be deployed at voting stations across the US on Election Day." Bleeping Computer reports that "The machine that Cylance researchers chose for their test was the Sequoia AVC Edge Mk1, one of the most popular models... The technique researchers created modifies the Public Counter, but also the Protective Counter, which is a backup mechanism that acts as a redundant verification system to ensure the first vote results are valid." Physical access is needed to hack the machine, but the hack takes a short time to perform.

FBI Director James Comey said in September that America's voting machines would be hard to compromise because they're not connect to the internet, but these researchers simply used a PCMCIA card to reflash the machine's firmware. Comey also made the reassuring point that it's hard to "hack into" America's voting system because "it's so clunky and dispersed. It's Mary and Fred putting a machine under the basketball hoop at the gym."

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Elon Musk Predicts Automation Will Lead To A Universal Basic Income
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '16 at 01:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's government-checks department:
An anonymous reader quotes Mashable's new article about Tesla/SpaceX founder Elon Musk:
Tech innovators in the self-driving car and AI industries talk a lot about how many human jobs will be innovated out of existence, but they rarely explain what will happen to all those newly jobless humans. In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Musk said that he believes the solution to taking care of human workers who are displaced by robots and software is creating a (presumably government-backed) universal basic income for all. "There's a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," said Musk. "I'm not sure what else one would do. That's what I think would happen."

And what will this world look like? "People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things," Musk told CNBC's interviewer. "Certainly more leisure time." President Obama has also talked about "redesigning the social compact" with MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, and in August predicted the question of whether there's support for the Universal Basic Income is "a debate that we'll be having over the next 10 or 20 years."

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Ask Slashdot: Why Are American Tech Workers Paid So Well?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '16 at 09:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's he-asked-you-answer department:
Slashdot reader davidwr is "an American-born, American-educated mid-career IT professional." But he's still curious about why American geeks earn more than their IT counterparts overseas:
If I'm a mid-career programmer looking for a job, why should I expect to be paid a whole lot more than my peer in India when applying for a job that could easily be outsourced to India? If I do get the job, why should I expect to keep it more than a year or two instead of being told "your job is being outsourced" before 2020? Is my American education and 5-25 years of experience in the American workplace really worth it to an employer?

Should we, as an industry, lower our salary expectations -- and that of students entering the field -- to make us more competitive with our peers in India and similar "much cheaper labor than first world" economies? If not, what should we be doing to make ourselves competitive in ways that our peers overseas cannot duplicate?

What's the secret ingredient that justifies those higher salaries? Leave your answers in the comments. Why are American tech workers paid so well?

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Gawker Pays $750,000 To That Guy Who Didn't Invent Email
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '16 at 07:53 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Hulk-Hogan's-lawyer department:
Shiva Ayyadurai still claims he invented email -- rather than the late ARPANET pioneer Ray Tomlinson. Now Gizmodo reports that Ayyadurai "will receive a $750,000 settlement from Gawker Media, the bankrupt publisher that he sued for defamation earlier this year."

As part of the settlement, Gawker Media has agreed to delete three stories from the archive of Gawker.com, including one about Ayyadurai. Univision, which purchased most of Gawker Media's assets [including Gizmodo] out of bankruptcy in September, deleted two Gizmodo posts concerning Ayyadurai -- over the objections of the editorial staff -- immediately after closing the transaction... The offending Gizmodo articles made the case that "a lot of people don't believe that Ayyadurai invented email," and that "networked communication actually predates [his] computer program by a few years." As Tomlinson told Gizmodo in one of the stories Ayyadurai succeeded in getting unpublished, the email formats that are so familiar today -- to:, from:, etc. -- were in use years before Ayyadurai "invented" them.
The third post was titled, "If Fran Drescher Read Gizmodo She Would Not Have Married This Fraud."

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Microsoft Promises To Defend World Chess Champion From Russian Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '16 at 06:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's checkmate department:
"World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has asked Microsoft to protect him against Russian hackers, as he expects to become the target of cyber attacks launched before the match with grandmaster Sergey Karjakin next week," reports Softpedia. An anonymous reader shares more details from The Telegraph:

The man dubbed the 'Mozart of chess' has spent months using high-powered chess computers to meticulously prepare moves for his grueling 12-game match against challenger Sergey Karjakin. But any leak of his analysis would hand a significant advantage to Crimean-born Karjakin, the fiercely-patriotic darling of Russian president Vladimir Putin... "The element of surprise is vitally important in chess," explained the Vibeke Hansen, from Microsoft Norway... She said Microsoft Norway will "ensure that he has a safe training environment and secure communication and collaboration tools".

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Scientists at De Beers Fight the Growing Threat of Man-Made Diamonds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '16 at 03:53 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ring-in-the-new department:
"In the past few years, lab-grown diamonds have become indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye..." reports the Wall Street Journal. This creates a problem for diamond-mining company De Beers. HughPickens.com writes:
While synthetics make up just a fraction of the market, they have growing appeal to younger buyers -- a headache for mine owners, who are under pressure to cut supply and lower prices, because traders, cutters and polishers are struggling to profit amid a credit squeeze and languishing jewelry sales... "Martin Roscheisen, chief executive of Diamond Foundry Inc., a San Francisco synthetic-diamond producer with a capacity of 24,000 carats, says he believes nearly all diamonds consumers purchase will be man-made in a few decades," reports the Journal. "To counter the threat, last year De Beers helped launch a trade association with other producers to market the attraction of natural diamonds. It also started marketing a new, cheap detector called PhosView, that uses ultraviolet light to detect lab-grown stones that quickly screens tiny synthetic diamonds.
It always seemed like a waste of money to me. After all, it's literally raining diamonds on Saturn.

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New Paper Explores The Prospects For Life Around M-Class Stars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '16 at 02:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's exploring-strange-new-worlds department:
Long-time Slashdot reader RockDoctor summarizes the significance of a new paper describing "The Habitability of Planets Orbiting M-Dwarf Stars":

Although Star Trek had a minor smattering of "M-class planets" -- a designation that tells one nothing of substance -- "M-class star" is a much more meaningful designation of color, with two size classes, the dwarfs and the red giants... an M-dwarf of 1/10 the mass of the Sun will burn for around 1000 times the time that the Sun does... Therefore, if humanity ever meets an alien species, the odds of them coming from an M-dwarf [system] are already high. If humanity ever meets an alien species that has been around a billion years longer than us and has technology we can't even dream of, then the odds of it coming from an M-dwarf are overwhelmingly high.

This new paper offers "a comprehensive picture of the current knowledge of M-dwarf planet occurrence and habitability," pointing out that most of these stars are apparently orbited by planets packed closely together, with "a paucity of Jupiter-mass planets and the presence of multiple rocky planets." And more importantly, roughly a third of those rocky planets are orbiting in a "habitable zone" -- far enough away from their stars to support liquid water.

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