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Samsung's Latest Patent Is a Foldable Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 04:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's twist-and-bend department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: A recent patent application (PDF) shows that Samsung has ambitious ideas for future phone-design experimentation, although the South Korean manufacturer may have second thoughts about bendy phones after recent battery explosions and recalls. In April, Samsung was reported to have filed a patent with the Korean Intellectual Property Office for a foldable smartphone. The application was picked up by Dutch website Galaxy Club. The document shows a narrow Samsung device with a screen that bends and folds like an old-school flip phone handset. The device is described as something that can be "folded or unfolded semi automatically." The patent also referred to a "secondary" display, which is supposed to activate when you fold the device, according to International Business Times UK.

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Slashdot Asks: Should The US Abolish The Electoral College?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's popular-vote department:
Last night as votes were still being counted, statistician and editor-in-chief for FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver pointed out that while Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States, "it's possible, perhaps even likely, that [Hillary Clinton] will eventually win the popular vote as more votes come in from California." We now know that she has indeed won the popular vote by a slim margin. American journalist Carl Bialik adds via Silver's blog: Hillary Clinton could still conceivably win the election -- or she could lose the national popular vote. But since both outcomes look unlikely, we should start preparing ourselves for the possibility of the second split between the national popular vote and the electoral vote in the last five presidential elections. A coalition of 11 sates with 165 electoral votes between them has agreed to an interstate compact that, once signed by states with a combined 270 or more electoral votes, would bind their electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote -- in effect ending the Electoral College. New York just joined this week. It wasn't enough to affect this election, but maybe today's result will spur more states to join. The results of this election echo the 2000 results, where Democrat Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote, but George W. Bush won the White House. It brings into question whether or not the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of the popular vote. As a refresher, the Electoral College is comprised of electors that cast their votes for president. Each state has a set number of electors that is based on the state's population -- the candidate who wins the state's popular vote gets those electors. Technically, on Election Day, the American people are electing the electors who elect the president. The New York Times has a lengthy article describing how the Electoral College works, which you can view here.

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Google Safe Browsing Adds 'Repeat Offender' Category
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's repeat-offender department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google's Safe Browsing service will now brand sites which fall victim to malware repeatedly as "repeat offenders." When a site is identified as serving malware -- which usually occurs via an SQL injection attack or through auction-driven network advertising -- Google adds a "This site will harm your computer" tag to domain entries in its search results, and serves further warnings by way of interstitial pages. From today, sites which continue to succumb to attackers will not be permitted to resubmit their domain for consideration via Search Console for thirty days -- enough time to do significant SEO damage. That period does not include additional time for Google to respond to submissions about repaired sites and to remove the warnings.

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Open Source Pioneer Munich Debates Report That Suggests Abandoning Linux for Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 01:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's dilemma department:
As an open-source software pioneer, Munich spent years moving away from Windows, but now politicians are debating a report that suggests the city could eventually abandon Linux. A report on TechRepublic adds: If the authority ruling Germany's third largest city backs proposals to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available across the council, it would be a significant step away from open-source software for an organization once seen as its champion. Over a nine-year period starting in 2004, the council moved about 15,000 staff from using Windows and Office to LiMux -- a custom version of the Ubuntu desktop OS -- and other open source software. At the time, Munich was one of the largest organizations to reject Windows, and Microsoft took the city's leaving so seriously that then CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Munich to meet the mayor. Now a report commissioned by current mayor Dieter Reiter to help determine the future of IT at the council has outlined a project to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available to all departments, and give staff the choice about whether to use Windows or LiMux.

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General Motors To Lay Off 2,000 Workers at Two US Plants
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 01:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's letting-go department:
General Motors plans to lay off 2,000 employees at two U.S. auto plants in early 2017, the automaker said on Wednesday. From a Reuters report:GM said it will furlough the employees when it cuts the third shift at its Lordstown, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan plants in mid-January. The Lordstown plant builds the compact Chevrolet Cruze, whose U.S. sales through October were down 20 percent. The Lansing Grand River plant builds the Cadillac ATS and CTS, whose sales were down 17 percent through October.An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a Washington Examiner report, "Trump has already criticized General Motors for reports that it would shift some production to Mexico, a plan that the company hasn't confirmed and didn't allude to Wednesday. The incoming Republican president also has said that he would impose a 35 percent tariff on the products of former U.S. subsidiaries that moved out of the country. When Ford announced the opening of a new factory in Mexico earlier this year, Trump called it an "absolute disgrace" and pledged to tax its imports to the U.S."

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IBM's Project Intu brings Watson's Capabilities To Any Device
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 12:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's ai-revolution department:
IBM has launched a new system-agnostic platform called Project Intu with which it aims to bring "embodied cognition" to a range of devices. From a report on SiliconAngle: In IBM's parlance, "cognitive computing" refers to machine learning. The idea behind Project Intu is that developers will be able to use the platform to embed the various machine learning functions offered by IBM's Watson service into various applications and devices, and make them work across a wide spectrum of form factors. So, for example, developers will be able to use Project Intu's capabilities to embed machine learning capabilities into pretty much any kind of device, from avatars to drones to robots and just about any other kind of Internet of Things' device. As a result, these devices will be able to "interact more naturally" with users via a range of emotions and behaviors, leading to more meaningful and immersive experiences for users, IBM said. What's more, because Project Intu is system-agnostic, developers can use it to build cognitive experiences on a wide range of operating systems, be it Raspberry PI, MacOS, Windows or Linux. Project Intu is still an experimental platform, and it can be accessed via the Watson Developer Cloud, the Intu Gateway and also on GitHub.

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Microsoft is Adding a Virtual Trackpad To Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 12:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's windows-update department:
Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 10 build 14965 to Windows Insiders. Among other noticeable inclusions, the new build comes with a virtual trackpad for users with a touch-capable Windows 10 machine. The Verge adds: Microsoft describes the feature as a way to control external monitors with a tablet and no mouse. It's designed to sit in the taskbar, if selected, and provide a virtual trackpad on the screen that can be used to control the mouse and right-click or left-click options. You can now enable a touchpad icon in the notification area, and you can tweak the trackpad gestures in the main Windows 10 settings panel. It's an interesting addition that will be welcomed by Windows 10 tablets users that aren't using a keyboard or trackpad, or those who connect tablets up to second displays regularly.Microsoft reporter Tom Warren has made a short video to demonstrate the feature.

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Telco CEO: Consumers Have 'Double Standards' Over Data Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 11:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's in-some-other-news department:
An anonymous reader writes: Despite consumers continuing to criticize corporate attempts at monetising data, they are happily handing over data to major tech companies such as Facebook, according to the head of Telefonica Deutschland, Thorsten Dirks. Dirks argued that there is a double standard among consumers who 'scrutinize any attempt to make money off their data', while at the same time 'handing over data voluntarily to companies such as Google and Facebook.' These firms, he opined, are stealing away business across the very infrastructure that telcos have invested billions in. Calling for a wide debate around data privacy in Germany, Dirks said that he was looking into ways to make money from Telefonica Deutschland's huge store of customer data. One proposition was to leverage the anonymised data of its 44 million mobile subscribers' location and movements to support crowd and traffic control.

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Automakers, Dependent on Mexico, Face a Rougher Road with Trump
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 11:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's aftermath department:
An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report: The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president puts new pressure on automakers and other manufacturers that have become dependent on open trade with Mexico, and raises the risk they will face higher costs. Automakers could also take a hit if instability in financial markets undercuts the confidence of consumers in the United States and other major markets at a time when growth in U.S. auto sales has stalled. Investors sold off U.S. stocks and the dollar in reaction to Trump's unexpected win. Shares in Japanese automakers, which also rely on Mexico as a production hub for the U.S. market, slid as well, underperforming the benchmark Nikkei index, which fell 5 In afternoon Tokyo trade, shares in Toyota Motor Corp were down 6.5 pct, Nissan Motor Co Ltd was down 6.0 pct, while Honda Motor Co fell 7.8 pct. U.S. manufacturing groups and companies on Wednesday said they want to work with the new administration.

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Google Searches For 'President Impeachment', 'Canada Immigration', 'Nuclear Shelter' Skyrocket After Trump's Victory
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's speak-your-mind department:
As people celebrate Trump's victory in the United States (and many come to terms with it), the search trend on Google illustrates what's going on in many's minds. Searches for "how to impeach a president", for instance, have gone up 4,850 percent. Similarly, searches for "how to move to Canada", "are people moving to Canada", "list of people moving to Canada", "immigrate to Canada", "list of people moving to Canada if Trump wins" and "where to move if Trump wins" were also very popular, toot. Amid all of this, searches for "nuclear shelter" have skyrocketed as well. Deja vu. In the aftermath of Brexit, Brits had shown a lot of interest in making Google searches about Irish passport, meaning of EU, and why it all happened.

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GoPro Recalls Karma Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's karma-recall department:
Wearable camera maker GoPro is recalling about 2,500 of its recently introduced Karma drones because they low power during use, the company said Tuesday. From a report on USA Today: GoPro said a "very small number" of units had lost power during operation, so it was recalling all of them to fix the issue. Most GoPro sales are from the company website, but Karma was also in stock at Best Buy, the physical and online retailer. The company didn't offer a timetable for when -- or if -- Karma would return to shelves, saying it was focused on solving the problem first. GoPro said owners could return their units to the company for a full refund and that replacement units are not being offered. A company spokeswoman said GoPro would pay for the shipping.

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Android's Latest Update Doesn't Patch Major Security Flaw 'Dirty COW'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's no-relief department:
The November Android security update is live and it fixes 15 critical vulnerabilities, but it doesn't patch a major Linux kernel exploit that can give hackers quick and complete access to devices running on Google's OS. From a report on Engadget: Researcher Phil Oester discovered the flaw (CVE-2016-5195) in October, though he believes it's existed since 2007. The exploit is known as "Dirty COW" because of its basis in copy-on-write systems (and maybe because that name is adorable). With this month's security update, Google did roll out a "supplemental" firmware fix for Dirty COW across Nexus and Pixel devices. Plus, Samsung released a patch for its devices this month, according to Threatpost. An official Android patch for the Dirty COW issue is expected to land in December.

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Australia To Play Strategic Role in Biggest Ever Search For Extra-Terrestrial Life
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's final-frontier department:
Australia's role in the biggest ever search for alien life has officially begun, with the Parkes Telescope in central west NSW set to play a strategic part in the 10-year journey. From a report on ABC:The $100 million Breakthrough Listen initiative has been underway in the United States for about nine months. Overnight, the telescope -- affectionately known as the Dish -- achieved first light with an observation of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri. According to CSIRO program director John Reynolds, that so-called "exo-Earth" would be a good place to start looking for other life forms. "Alpha Centauri, or its little companion, Proxima Centauri, is actually the closest star to Earth -- it's only 4.3 light years away," Dr Reynolds said. "Just this year a planet was discovered around Proxima Centauri -- it's called an exo-Earth because it has some of the properties of Earth."

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Bitcoin Boosted by Safe-Haven Demand After Trump Victory
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 06:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's aftermath department:
Donald Trump's historic victory in the U.S. presidential elections has pushed up prices for the digital currency bitcoin. As the results for the election began to trickle in, the cryptocurrency quickly began to rise at around 2 a.m. London time. From a report on CNBC: The price for bitcoin was around 3.5 percent higher at 11:00 a.m. London time Wednesday at $733.84. Since November 4, the cryptocurrency has been stuck around the $700-709 trading band. The weakening dollar may have added to the rise, but the digital currency is also higher when priced in other currencies like the Chinese yuan, sterling and the euro. Charles Hayter, CEO and founder of Crypto Compare, said that the price is rising on safe-haven demand in reaction to the uncertainty created as a result of Trump's victory.

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What the Trump Win Means For Tech and Science
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 06:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's your-future department:
Republican nominee Donald Trump has won the US Presidential election to become the country's 45th president. Now that he is going to run the government, it's a good time to look back on the kind of policies and changes he is likely to bring in the United States. From an article on ArsTechnica:Trump's presidency could bring big changes to regulation of Internet service providers -- but most of them are difficult to predict because Trump rarely discussed telecom policy during his campaign. The Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules could be overturned or weakened, however, if Trump still feels the same way he did in 2014. At the time, he tweeted, "Obama's attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media. [...] With Trump's win, it's still not clear what a Trump administration would do on the issues of cybersecurity and encryption. As Ars reported last month, Trump and his campaign team have been vague on many such details. During the presidential debates, he brushed off the intelligence community's consensus that the attacks against the Democratic National Committee were perpetrated or silently condoned by the Russian government. But Trump did call for a boycott of Apple -- a boycott of which he didn't even abide by -- during Cupertino's fight with federal prosecutors about whether Apple should be forced to help the authorities unlock a killer's encrypted iPhone. [...] Trump's presidency, by some accounts, is likely to be a disaster for science. Most analyses of his proposed budgets indicate they will cause deficits to explode, and a relatively compliant Congress could mean at least some of these cuts will get enacted. That will force the government to figure out how to cut, or at least limit, spending. Will science funding be preserved during that process? Trump's given no indication that it would. Instead, many of his answers about specific areas of science focus on the hard choices that need to be made in light of budget constraints. With the exception of NASA, Trump hasn't identified any areas of science that he feels are worth supporting. More generally, Trump has indicated little respect for the findings of science.The Silicon Valley top heads were largely upset with the outcome of the Presidential Election, to say the least.

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Apple Now Sells Refurbished iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 05:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's like-new department:
In the past, Apple has only sold refurbished Macs, iPads and various niche devices on its refurb store. Now the company is officially selling refurbished iPhones, offering the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in its refurb store. 9to5Mac reports: Apple has sort of sold refurbished iPhones before, but those sales were relegated to an eBay store front and never fully acknowledged by the company. This is the first time that the company has offered iPhones on its official refurb store online. Customers will find the iPhone 6s in 16 GB storage varieties for $449.00. The larger iPhone 6s Plus is being offered in two storage varieties: 16Gb and 64GB for $529 and $589, respectively. It seems that all colors are currently available, which includes Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold. In the end, users can expect to save up to 15% ($110) by going the refurbished route, and remember that these devices come with a full 1-year factory warranty, which makes refurb units a great idea for budget-conscious shoppers. It's also worth noting that all of Apple's official refurbished iPhones are unlocked and come SIM-free, plus they all include a brand new battery and outer shell. It's as close to a new iPhone as you'll get without actually buying one brand new.

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Google Is Making Android Auto Available In Any Car
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 05:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hands-free department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Earlier this year, Google announced its plans to bring Android Auto, its phone-centric in-car infotainment platform, "to every car" by launching it as a stand-alone Android app, too. It's taken a while, but the company today launched an update to the Android Auto app for -- well -- Android that makes good on this promise. Even if your car isn't Android Auto compatible, you can now get all the benefits of Android Auto without the cost of a new mid-size sedan. Android Auto on the phone provides you with a simplified interface that combines directions, music, and incoming messages into a relatively distraction free experience. That's essentially the same interface you would see on an in-car display with Android Auto support. Android Auto works with popular apps like Spotify, Pandora, Google Maps and others. Like all things Google, the app will also soon let you use "Ok Google" commands to use directions, send messages and control your music. What's more is that the app will automatically boot-up when the phone connects to your car's Bluetooth network. It's compatible with smartphones running Android 5.0 and newer and will be available to users in more than 30 countries over the course of the next few days.

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Donald Trump Wins US Presidency
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 12:00 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-finally-over department:
It's official: Donald Trump has won the 2016 presidential election. Slashdot reader Xenographic writes: Google's map of results is now calling the race for Donald J. Trump. This is something that Nate Silver jokingly predicted back on May 10th when he wrote "Reminder: Cubs will win the World Series and, in exchange, President Trump will be elected 8 days later." The House and Senate are also under Republican control. In other news, the Canadian immigration site has crashed under heavy load.

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New Theory of Gravity Might Explain Dark Matter
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '16 at 12:00 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's spacetime department:
vikingpower writes: Dutch prodigy and Amsterdam University Professor Erik Verlinde published a paper on arXiv yesterday, November 7, titled "Emergent Gravity and the Dark Universe." In the paper, Verlinde derives gravity from the so-called Holographic Principle, which -- simply put -- states that gravity emerges from the interplay between and entropy re-arrangement of sub-atomic "strings" that live in a negatively curved spacetime. At that level [...] spacetime and gravity are emergent from an underlying microscopic description in which they have no a priori meaning." Most importantly, Verlinde's paper has as a consequence that dark matter, nemesis of many an astronomer, is nothing more than an illusion. Verlinde, who was awarded the Dutch national Spinoza science prize in the recent past, already completed the tour de force of deriving Newtonian gravity from the same principles in a 2010 paper, also on arXiv. We are probably looking at Nobel-prize material here, as Verlinde is acknowledged by his peers to "go one better than Einstein's General Theory of Relativity." Slashdot reader turkeydance adds from a report via Forbes (Warning: source may be paywalled): As dark matter continues to vex astronomers, new solutions to the dark matter question are proposed. Most focus on pinning down the form of dark matter, while others propose modifying gravity to account for the effect. But a third proposal is simply to remove gravity from the equation. What if the effects of gravity aren't due to some fundamental force, but are rather an emergent effect due to other fundamental interactions? A new paper proposes just that, and if correct it could also explain the effects of dark matter.

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Sea Levels Will Rise Faster Than Ever If Earth's Warming Continues, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '16 at 08:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's day-after-tomorrow department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: Sea levels across the globe will rise faster than at any time throughout human history if the Earth's warming continues beyond 2 degrees Celsius. The Atlantic coast of North America will be one of the worst-hit areas as melting glaciers cause the sea level to rise over the next century, a new study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds. However, that rise is not expected to be uniform, as gravity and the movement of the ocean will play a role in how the water is distributed, and some areas will be hit worse than others. New York and other cities along the East Coast could see seas rise by more than 3 feet by the end of the century if the Earth warms by 4 or 5 degrees beyond preindustrial levels. If the rate of carbon emissions continues unabated, the authors said, the globe would warm by 2 degrees and cause significant sea-level rise by 2040. It would be worse along the East Coast of North America and Norway, which are expected to experience a sea-level rise of about a foot. The relative speed of the sea's rise means many areas won't have time to adapt, researchers found. And from there, warming would accelerate even faster. Two degrees of warming is expected to cause an average global sea-level rise of 8 inches, but virtually all coastal areas will see more of a rise, [researcher and lead author of the study Svetlana Jevrejeva], found. If warming exceeds 2 degrees by 2100, as some climate scientists worry it might, about 80 percent of the global coastline could experience a rise in sea levels of 6 feet. Such a rapid rise in sea levels is unprecedented since the dawn of the Bronze Age about 5,000 years ago, according to the study. The research takes further the potential for sea-level rise posed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which argued that sea-level rise of 11 to 38 inches is possible by 2100. Many climate scientists have since claimed that estimate is too conservative.

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