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Medical Startup To Begin Testing At-Home Brain Zapping Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 12:52 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stimulating-ideas department:
"A doctor's prescription for clinical depression could one day sound like this: In the comfort of your own home, slip on a brain-zapping headband a few times per week," reports IEEE Spectrum. Slashdot reader the_newsbeagle writes:
This isn't old-school brain zapping: It's not electroshock therapy... While "transcranial direct current stimulation" is being investigated as a treatment for all sorts of neuropsychiatric disorders, many researchers and doctors think depression may be the killer app. A South Korean company called Ybrain thinks its consumer-friendly headband for depression will be the product that makes this treatment mainstream...

Ybrain plans to test the device on thousands of depression patients in 70 hospitals in Korea, according to the article, then "use data from all those patients to build a case for approval in Europe...and then in the U.S." The company's founder and CEO believes that after the FDA approves the first brain-zapping device, "it will be seen as a mainstream treatment."

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Kickstarter Suspends Crowdfunding Campaign For Electronics 3D Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 11:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wisdom-of-the-crowd department:
Kickstarter has suspended a crowdfunding campaign that promised its backers "a high-end multi-material 3D liquid jet printer" that could print circuit boards. Slashdot reader PrintBetter writes: With just three days to go, backers were pulling out of Next Dynamics' NexD1 Kickstarter amidst fears the creator exaggerated progress on their prototype and tried to pass off prints purchased from Shapeways as their own... [T]he Berlin company's campaign was a darling of Kickstarter, carrying their "Projects We Love" endorsement and receiving praise from publications like TechCrunch, 3DPrint.com and Make magazine for its purported ability to mix up to six plastic and conductive resins in a single print. But as pledges grew to over half a million euros, backers started to sense things didn't add up. Kevin Holmes commented "Wow, I'm stunned -- I cancelled my pledge already ... Did they really buy parts from Shapeways and pass them off as their own?" while Anthony Webb remarked "I've backed over 100 projects on Kickstarter ... but this one takes the cake for a complete scam." The company was a no-show at events it scheduled this week, including a demonstration Monday and a live stream Tuesday.

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Solar Energy Now Employs More Americans Than Oil, Coal and Gas Combined
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 10:12 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's energy-employment department:
Solar energy now accounts for 43% of the workers in the U.S. power-generating industry, surpassing the 22% from all workers in the coal, oil, and gas industries combined, according to new figures from the Department of Energy. Slashdot reader Lucas123 writes:

In 2016, the solar workforce in the U.S. increased by 25% to 374,000 employees, compared to 187,117 electrical generation jobs in the coal, gas and oil industries... [N]et power generation from coal sources declined by 53% between 2006 and September 2016; electricity generation from natural gas increased by 33%; and solar grew by over 5,000% -- from 508,000 megawatt hours (MWh) to just over 28 million MWh.

Solar industry created jobs at a rate 20 times faster than the national average, according to the Energy Department, while 102,000 more workers also joined the wind turbine industry last year, a 32% increase. In fact, 93% of the new power in America is now coming from solar, natural gas, and wind -- but it's building out new solar-generating capacity that's causing much of the workforce increases, according to the Energy Department. "The majority of U.S. electrical generation continues to come from fossil fuels," their report points out, adding that the latest projections show that will still be true in the year 2040.

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Avaya Explains Why They've Declared Bankruptcy
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 08:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's choosing-chapter-11 department:
Friday Avaya's Corporate Treasurer explained why they're filing for a chapter 11 "restructuring." After examining their debt, "we decided it was a critical next step in our transformation from a hardware company to a software and services company and the best path forward for our customers, partners and employees."

skidv writes:

ZDNet breaks down the deal... "Avaya noted that its foreign affiliates aren't included in the filing and will operate as normal. Avaya said the $725 million in debtor-in-possession financing, via Citibank, is enough to minimize disruption and continue business operations." Not surprising, Avaya has canceled the planned IPO.

PC World reports that Avaya "emerged from Lucent Technologies in 2000 with a focus on phone switches, enterprise networking gear, and call-center systems. But with the shift toward mobile phones and cloud-based tools for communication, and a tight market for enterprise network equipment, the company has been changing its focus... Like much of the networking and collaboration industry, Avaya is looking toward software-defined networking, IoT, and cloud-based platforms that work on many different devices and the web."

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Canadian Police Identify Suspect From Remotely-Accessed Stolen Laptop
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 08:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's found-you-on-Facebook department:
An anonymous reader writes:
Last week a security consultant remotely logged into his stolen laptop, and gathered clues from a Facebook profile. Though it didn't provide the suspect's real name, the consultant shared the profile online, and says he's now receiving tips from other crime victims who are scouring through the profile's friends list. And according to a local newspaper, the Canadian police say they've now identified a suspect, although "there is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can lay charges." But despite this apparent victory, one officer is also warning the public against sharing a suspect's identity on social media, according to the paper, "after the social media post may have wrongly identified a suspect."

"When you get to public shaming, I urge caution..." the police officer tells the newspaper. "As a person that gets stuff stolen, I understand the want to publicly shame someone... Give us all the info, and we will follow up once we have the evidence."

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iPhone 7 Ousts Samsung Galaxy Note 4 As 'Device of Choice' For UK Defense Officials
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 06:03 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's apples-to-oranges department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Apple is to offer its iPhone 7 as the "device of choice" for the UK military's secure communications. British telecom giant BT is said to be hardening the Apple device in order for it to be able to handle the Ministry of Defense's military communications, including state secrets and highly-sensitive data. While BT has not provided further details on the development, due to security reasons, the telco is reportedly in the process of upgrading the iPhone 7 to support various modes of operation and to add secure apps or "storage containers," as well as military-grade encryption features among other enhancements. The iPhone 7 will now replace Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, which was originally selected for the project, as security in the Samsung model was found to be inadequate.

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Remote Attackers Can Force Samsung Galaxy Devices Into Never-Ending Reboot Loop
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '17 at 03:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's held-for-ransom department:
Orome1 quotes a report from Help Net Security: A single SMS can force Samsung Galaxy devices into a crash and reboot loop, and leave the owner with no other option than to reset it to factory settings and lose all data stored on it. This is because there are certain bugs in older Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets that can be triggered via SMS, and used by attackers to force maliciously crafted configuration messages onto the users' device. The bugs allow these types of messages to be executed without user interaction. As the ContextIS researchers who discovered the vulnerabilities explained, this avenue of attack can be abused by crooks to hold users' devices for ransom. "First a ransom note is sent, if ignored then the malicious configuration message can be sent," they noted. If the victim pays up, a configuration message can later be sent to stop the rebooting. The vulnerabilities in question, CVE-2016-7988 and CVE-2016-7989, can be triggered through SMS on the S4, S4 Mini, S5 and Note 4, but not on newer Samsung devices. "It's worth noting that although newer phones such as the S6 and S7 aren't affected over the air, [a similar result] could be accomplished by a malicious app abusing CVE-2016-7988," they added. These specific issues are related to modifications Samsung made to to the Android telephony framework and are found in a Samsung-specific application for handling carrier messages. They've since been patched (November 2016).

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Today Marks 50th Anniversary of Fatal Apollo 1 Disaster
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 11:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
schwit1 writes: NASASpaceFlight.com reports: "Fifty years ago Friday, the first -- but sadly not the last -- fatal spaceflight accident struck NASA when a fire claimed the lives of Virgil 'Gus' Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White during a training exercise at Launch Complex 34. The accident, a major setback for the struggling Apollo program, ushered in the first understanding of the 'bad day' effects of schedule pressure for spaceflight and brought with it words and reminders that still echo today." The article provides a very detailed and accurate look at the history and causes of the accident, as well as its consequences, which even today influence American space engineering. Are there any Slashdotters who were old enough to remember the incident? If so, we'd love to hear your take on the disaster. Where were you when the news broke and how did it affect you and the country at that time...?

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USB-C Power Meter Helps You Spot Counterfeit Accessories Before They Fry Your Gadgets
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 08:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-first department:
USB Type-C cables are not all created equally. In fact, some USB Type-C cables fail so badly that they will permanently damage your hardware. Benson Leung, an engineer on Google's Pixel team, discovered early last year that there's even more risk to your electronics when you've got a cheap USB-C cable with an older USB connector on the other end that doesn't properly regulate power draw. In an effort to weed out the bad cables from the good, a company called Satechi has released a "Type-C Power Meter" that makes it easy to tell if your USB-C gadgets are at risk of getting fried, or under-powered, by a sketchy accessory. Gizmodo reports: The simple pass-through adapter connects between a USB-C cable and a USB-C device, providing real-time data about the power draw, in either direction, including details about voltage, amps, and the amount of energy that's been transferred since it was first plugged in. The monitor can let you know if an external battery pack is providing the proper amount of power to a smartphone that it claims to, or if your MacBook or Chromebook is receiving sufficient power from a charging cable connected to its USB-C port to actually charge the battery. What the monitor can't do, however, is protect a device if there's a detected problem in the power flow. It's not a surge protector, nor does it have any built-in alarms or warnings because it has no idea what the power requirements are for whatever device you're using it with. You'll have to make sure you're aware of how much power a device is supposed to be drawing, and confirm that it matches what the Type-C Power Meter is reporting, as soon as you plug it in.

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Apple Is Moving Its Entire International iTunes Business To Ireland
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 07:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's low-tax-haven department:
Starting February 5th, Apple will be moving its entire international iTunes business from Luxembourg to its European headquarters in Cork, Ireland, according to a note sent to developers this week. The non-U.S. iTunes business consists of Apple Music and the individual stores for iTunes, iBooks and Apps. Internationally, iTunes is available in over 140 countries, while Apple Music is streaming in roughly 115 territories. Billboard reports: Apple announced its intentions to move its iTunes biz to Ireland in September when it transferred an estimated $9 billion of iTunes assets. At that time it also shuffled all existing developer contracts to Ireland-based Apple Distribution International. Like Luxembourg, Ireland is known for being a low-tax haven for international businesses. Last month, both Apple and Ireland announced they would appeal a record $14 billion tax bill from the European Commission, which earlier found it had been underpaying tax on profits across the European bloc from 2003 to 2014. Apple today is the biggest private employer in Cork, the Irish Republic's second-largest city, with a workforce exceeding 5,500. Economists estimate Apple's Cork operation pumps around $17 billion annually in salaries, tax and investment into the Irish economy.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk Joins President Trump's New Manufacturing Council
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's share-a-common-interest department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: Tesla CEO Elon Musk was already on President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, but the White House announced today that he will also be joining the administration's new manufacturing council, a private sector group that advises the U.S. secretary of commerce. He headed a meeting on Monday at the White House. Musk was present along with several other industry leaders who are now also formally joining the manufacturing council. CNBC reports: "The group of business leaders includes Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and chief executives of large American companies like Ford, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Richard Trumka, president of the labor federation AFL-CIO, will also give advice." As we recently reported, while Musk's mission to accelerate the advent of renewable energy might seem at odd with Trump's plan to unlock fossil fuel reserve, but Musk is betting that job creation is more important to the new President than simply satisfying the oil industry. If Trump wants to be the champion of job creation and Tesla shows that renewables create a lot of jobs, then their interests are aligned. Tesla currently employs over 30,000 people, more than 25,000 of which are in the U.S. The company wants to add over 3,000 manufacturing jobs at its factory in Fremont, California, 1,000 at its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, and over to 6,500 at the Gigafactory in Nevada.

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New Data Shows 85% of Humans Live Under a Corrupt Government
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-a-surprise department:
schwit1 writes: According to one think tank that studies corruption in government, 85% of the world lives under governments that are essentially corrupt. New Atlas reports: "'Corruption' is defined by Transparency International (TI) as 'the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.' Each year since 1995, TI has published a Corruption Perceptions Index that scores the world's nations out of 100 for their public sector honesty and the just-released 2016 report paints the same bleak picture we've been seeing now for two decades except it's getting worse. According to the data, despite the illusion of elected government in half the world's countries, democracy is losing. Only two countries scored 90 out of 100 this year, and just 54 of the 176 countries (30%) assessed in the report scored better than 50. Fifty percent might have constituted a pass in a High School arithmetic test, but for an elected government to be so inept at carrying out the will of the electorate, it is a clear betrayal of the people. The average country score this year is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector is the norm. Even more damning is that more countries declined than improved in this year's results. Our analysis of TI's data shows 85 percent of human beings are governed by regimes that score 50 or less, indicating that the integrity of people in authority across the globe remains sadly lacking." schwit1 notes: "Not surprisingly, the countries at the bottom of the list are almost all Middle Eastern nations, all of whom are the source of most of the world's terrorism and Islamic madness. The few others are those trying to become communist paradises, Venezuela and North Korea." New Atlas also mentions "the latest update of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, released on the same day as the Transparency International report, reflects an almost identical perspective. The EIU Democracy Index measures the state of democracy in 167 countries and the average global score fell from 5.55 out of 10 in 2015 to 5.52 in 2016, with 72 countries recording a lower score versus 38 which showed an improvement. You can register for free and download the EIU report here."

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Twitter Releases National Security Letters
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's put-a-sock-in-it department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Today, Twitter joined the ranks of Yahoo, Cloudflare and Google by announcing it had received two national security letters, one in 2015 and one in 2016. The NSLs came with gag orders that prevented Twitter from telling the public or the targeted users about the government's demands. The FBI recently lifted these gag orders, allowing Twitter to acknowledge the NSLs for the first time. In the newly-published NSLs, the FBI asked Twitter to turn over "the name, address, length of service, and electronic communications transactional records" of two users. Twitter associate general counsel Elizabeth Banker said that the company provided a "very limited set of data" in response to the requests, but did not make clear exactly what kind of data Twitter provided. "Twitter remains unsatisfied with restrictions on our right to speak more freely about national security requests we may receive," Banker wrote in a blog post. "We would like a meaningful opportunity to challenge government restrictions when 'classification' prevents speech on issues of public importance."

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Says PC Market Is Finally Stabilizing
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cardiopulmonary-resuscitation department:
In a call with analysts on Thursday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the consumer PC market is finally stabilizing after being in a long decline. His statement echoes a recent report by International Data Corporation in which the market research firm said it was optimistic that the PC market would rebound this year after five years of contraction as people switched to mobile devices. Fortune reports: Nadella, however, did not cite specific numbers showing that the consumer PC market was rallying. He merely said that video gamers seem to be buying high-end computers loaded with Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, raising hope of an overall recovery in the PC market. Additionally, Nadella said that businesses are increasingly upgrading to Windows 10, which is noteworthy because several other third-party research firms said in November that Windows 10 adoption numbers seemed low. "I think the overall adoption cycle of Windows 10 in the enterprise is perhaps the best we have seen for any new release of Windows," Nadella said. Still, Microsoft's personal computing business unit that includes Windows 10 dropped 5% year-over-year in the latest quarter to $11.8 billion. Still, the unit's revenue was better than what the company had originally projected because of an unexpected uptick in Windows 10 sales, said chief financial officer Amy Hood. Microsoft said that the money it collects from sales of Windows by other PC makers rose 5% in the latest quarter, which Nadella said highlights an "improving commercial PC market and enterprise demand." Nadella said that computer manufacturers that use Windows are seeing an uptick in sales of high-end PCs. He took credit for the rise by saying that the Surface blazed the trail for other manufacturers to create similar devices, which are selling well. "The enterprise adoption of these new devices is driving the all around excitement of Windows 10," Nadella said.

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US Intelligence Seeks a Universal Translator For Text Search In Any Language
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Starbase-Yorktown department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), the U.S. Intelligence Community's own science and technology research arm, has announced it is seeking contenders for a program to develop what amounts to the ultimate Google Translator. IARPA's Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language (MATERIAL) program intends to provide researchers and analysts with a tool to search for documents in their field of concern in any of the more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide. The specific goal, according to IARPA's announcement, is an "'English-in, English-out' information retrieval system that, given a domain-sensitive English query, will retrieve relevant data from a large multilingual repository and display the retrieved information in English as query-biased summaries." Users would be able to search vast numbers of documents with a two-part query: the first giving the "domain" of the search in terms of what sort of information they are seeking (for example, "Government," "Science," or "Health") and the second an English word or phrase describing the information sought (the examples given in the announcement were "zika virus" and "Asperger's syndrome"). The system would be used in situations like natural disasters or military interventions in remote locations where the military has little or no local language expertise. Those taking on the MATERIAL program will be given access to a limited set of machine translation and automatic speech recognition training data from multiple languages "to enable performers to learn how to quickly adapt their methods to a wide variety of materials in various genres and domains," the announcement explained. "As the program progresses, performers will apply and adapt these methods in increasingly shortened time frames to new languages... Since language-independent approaches with quick ramp up time are sought, foreign language expertise in the languages of the program is not expected." The good news for the broader linguistics and technology world is that IARPA expects the teams competing on MATERIAL to publicly publish their research. If successful, this moonshot for translation could radically change how accessible materials in many languages are to the rest of the world.

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Mark Zuckerberg Drops Lawsuits To Force Hundreds of Hawaiians To Sell Him Land
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's change-of-heart department:
Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit to force owners of several small parcels of land to sell to the highest bidder since these property owners are surrounded by Zuckerberg's land holdings and therefore have lawful easement to cross his private property. Ever since the story broke, Zuckerberg has faced major backlash from people all over the world, especially those living on the Hawaiian islands. On Wednesday, said he was "reconsidering" the set of lawsuits; today he announced that he will drop the lawsuits altogether. The Guardian reports: "Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead," Zuckerberg wrote. "Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake." The process is controversial in Hawaii, where many view it as a tool of dispossession first employed by sugar barons, but later adopted by the wealthy malihini (newcomers) seeking vacation homes. Hawaii state representative Kaniela Ing, who emerged as one of the key critics of the lawsuits, said that he was "happy" and "humbled" by Zuckerberg's announcement. "It's not everyday where you face off with one of the most influential billionaires, best PR professionals and best attorneys in the world and win," he said. "It's a victory for everyone who shared the story on social media, for native Hawaiians, and for people everywhere. The parcels at stake in the Zuckerberg case were kuleana -- land granted to native Hawaiians in the 1850s after land was privatized for the first time in Hawaii -- contained within the boundaries of his 700-acre, $100m estate. Kuleana lands are especially important, law professor Kapua Sproat explained to the Guardian, because native Hawaiians view land as an "ancestor" or family member, rather than as a possession. "We understand that for native Hawaiians, kuleana are sacred and the quiet title process can be difficult," he wrote. "We want to make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach." The CEO promised to hold discussion with "community leaders" representing native Hawaiians and environmentalists, and added that he is "looking for more ways to support the community as neighbors."

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Apple Patents a Vaporizer
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 03:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's you-read-it-right department:
Apple's product lineup may extend beyond cars and the connected home. A patent filed last year and published January 26 reveals a concept for a vaporizer. From a report on CNN Money, shared by reader JoshTops: The details are a bit hazy -- that is, Apple's patent only describes "a substance that is to be vaporized or sublimated into a vapor," not what the substance might be. The patent, filed by Apple employee Tetsuya Ishikawa, outlines plans for a temperature-regulated plate inside a chamber that heats up a substance to form a vapor. Many people use vapes to inhale nicotine or marijuana, and they are sometimes used as a replacement for cigarettes. The FDA began regulating vaping last year, and set rules for the manufacturing and distribution of vapes and their components. Vaporizers are also used in industries like healthcare and agriculture, so it's possible Apple is thinking bigger than personal use.

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Microsoft's Market Value Tops $500 Billion Again After 17 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's exceeding-expectations department:
Microsoft's market capitalization topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 on Friday, after the technology giant's stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street's expectations. From a report: Shares of the world's biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion. The last time Microsoft was valued more was in March 2000, during the heyday of the dotcom era, when it had a market value of a little above $550 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. Despite the gains, Microsoft still lags Apple's market capitalization of about $642 billion and Google-parent Alphabet's market value of a little more than $570 billion. Microsoft reported second-quarter results on Thursday that beat analysts' average estimate for both revenue and profit, mainly due to its fast-growing cloud computing business. The company's profit and revenue have now topped Wall Street's expectations in seven of the last eight quarters.

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Smart Baby-Trackers Mostly Unnecessary, Say US Doctors
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's calling-'em-out department:
A group of pediatricians has called for smart health-trackers, designed to monitor babies while they sleep, to be regulated by the same US body that oversees other medical equipment. An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: The monitors, which often take the form of sensors fitted to clothing or nappies, measure signs such as heart rate and breathing during sleep. The data is shared with a phone app. The doctors spoke out after seeing babies being brought to A&E after smart-monitor false alarms. The team from the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia said the devices should be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One brand they mentioned was Owlet, which sells a $250 monitor that tracks sleeping babies' heart rates and oxygen levels via a sensor concealed inside his or her sock. It says on its website that it has already submitted a medical version to the FDA for approval. "For most healthy babies there is not a role for home monitoring at all," said neonatologist Dr Elizabeth Foglia, one of the authors of the opinion piece published by the American Medical Association journal Jamanet.

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PayPal Has Been Talking With Amazon on Payments, CEO Says
Posted by News Fetcher on January 27 '17 at 12:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-better-or-worse department:
A new feature could be coming to your Amazon checkout process. It's called PayPal. Amazon and PayPal are in talks about the possibility of the online retail giant supporting PayPal payments at checkout, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in an interview. While Schulman didn't say when -- or even if -- a deal might happen between the companies, he did tell Bloomberg that the companies are trying to determine how they can "use one another's assets to the mutual benefit" of their customers. From the report:"We're closing in on 200 million users on our platform right now. At that scale, it's hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal," Schulman said.

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