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IBM's Watson Used In Life-Saving Medical Diagnosis
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 07:04 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's damn-it-Jim-I'm-a-doctor-not-a-supercomputer department:
"Supercomputing has another use," writes Slashdot reader rmdingler, sharing a story that quotes David Kenny, the General Manager of IBM Watson:
"There's a 60-year-old woman in Tokyo. She was at the University of Tokyo. She had been diagnosed with leukemia six years ago. She was living, but not healthy. So the University of Tokyo ran her genomic sequence through Watson and it was able to ascertain that they were off by one thing. Actually, she had two strains of leukemia. They did treat her and she is healthy."

"That's one example. Statistically, we're seeing that about one third of the time, Watson is proposing an additional diagnosis."

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Japan Sends Its New Space Junk-Fighting Technology To The ISS
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 05:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's orbiting-butterfly-net department:
What floats 249 miles in the sky, stretches 2,300 feet, and took over 10 years to develop?

An anonymous reader quotes Phys.org:
Japan launched a cargo ship Friday bound for the International Space Station, carrying a
"space junk" collector that was made with the help of a fishnet company... Researchers are using a so-called electrodynamic tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminum... The electricity generated by the tether as it swings through the Earth's magnetic field is expected to have a slowing effect on the space junk, which should, scientists say, pull it into a lower and lower orbit. Eventually the detritus will enter the Earth's atmosphere, burning up harmlessly long before it has a chance to crash to the planet's surface.

Bloomberg has some interesting background:
The experiment is part of an international cleanup effort planning to safeguard astronauts and about $900 billion worth of space stations, satellites and other infrastructure... Satellite collisions and testing of anti-satellite weapons have added thousands of debris fragments in the atmosphere since 2007, according to NASA... With debris traveling at up to 17,500 miles an hour, the impact of even a marble-size projectile can cause catastrophic damage.

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Twitter Reinstates White Nationalist Leader's Account
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 04:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's tweeting-again department:
An anonymous reader quotes BuzzFeed:
On Saturday evening, Twitter reinstated -- with verification -- the account of Richard Spencer, a leading figure of the so-called alt-right movement, and the head of the white nationalist think tank, The National Policy Institute. Spencer's account was suspended mid-November as part of a larger cull of prominent alt-right accounts... However, according to Twitter, Spencer was banned on a technicality: creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses. Twitter's multiple account policy was put in place as a safeguard to help curb dog piling and targeted harassment. [Twitter] offered to reinstate one of Spencer's accounts if he agreed to follow the company's protocols.

Vox says the move "raises the question of to what extent Twitter intends to enforce the 'hateful conduct' policy." But the suspension had also been criticized by David Frum, a senior editor at the Atlantic, who wrote that "The culture of offense-taking, platform-denying, and heckler-vetoing...lets loudmouths and thugs present themselves as heroes of free thought. They do not deserve this opportunity... today, a neo-Nazi has more right to build an arsenal of weapons and drill a militia than to speak on Twitter." But BuzzFeed points out that though the account's been reinstated, Spencer "is now tip-toeing around the company's three strike policy, which carries a permanent suspension."

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Robots Are Already Replacing Fast-Food Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 02:53 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's may-I-take-your-order department:
An anonymous reader quotes Recode:
Technology that replaces food service workers is already here. Sushi restaurants have been using machines to roll rice in nori for years, an otherwise monotonous and time-consuming task. The company Suzuka has robots that help assemble thousands of pieces of sushi an hour. In Mountain View, California, the startup Zume is trying to disrupt pizza with a pie-making machine. In Shanghai, there's a robot that makes ramen, and some cruise ships now mix drinks with bartending machines.

More directly to the heart of American fast-food cuisine, Momentum Machines, a restaurant concept with a robot that can supposedly flip hundreds of burgers an hour, applied for a building permit in San Francisco and started listing job openings this January, reported Eater. Then there's Eatsa, the automat restaurant where no human interaction is necessary, which has locations popping up across California.

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Linux Kernel 4.9 Officially Released
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 02:53 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's now-with-less-buggy-crap department:
"As expected, today, December 11, 2016, Linus Torvalds unleashed the final release of the highly anticipated Linux 4.9 kernel," reports Softpedia. prisoninmate shares their article:
Linux kernel 4.9 entered development in mid-October, on the 15th, when Linus Torvalds decided to cut the merge window short by a day just to keep people on their toes, but also to prevent them from sending last-minute pull requests that might cause issues like it happened with the release of Linux kernel 4.8, which landed just two weeks before first RC of Linux 4.9 hit the streets... There are many great new features implemented in Linux kernel 4.9, but by far the most exciting one is the experimental support for older AMD Radeon graphics cards from the Southern Islands/GCN 1.0 family, which was injected to the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver...
There are also various interesting improvements for modern AMD Radeon GPUs, such as virtual display support and better reset support, both of which are implemented in the AMDGPU driver. For Intel GPU users, there's DMA-BUF implicit fencing, and some Intel Atom processors got a P-State performance boost. Intel Skylake improvements are also present in Linux kernel 4.9.

There's also dynamic thread-tracing, according to Linux Today. (And hopefully they fixed the "buggy crap" that made it into Linux 4.8.)
LWN.net calls this "by far the busiest cycle in the history of the kernel project."

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Japanese City Tags Elderly Dementia Sufferers With Barcodes
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 01:25 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's scans-of-the-setting-sun department:
"The Japanese city of Iruma has introduced scannable adhesive barcodes to tag fingernails of senior citizens with dementia who are prone to getting lost as a way to help concerned families find missing loved ones," writes HughPickens.com, citing this article from Japan Times:
The adhesive QR-coded seals for nails -- part of a free service launched last month and a first in the country -- measure just 1 cm (0.4 inches) in size. "Being able to attach the seals on nails is a great advantage," says a city worker. "There are already ID stickers for clothes or shoes but dementia patients are not always wearing those items." If an elderly person becomes disorientated, police will find the local city hall, its telephone number and the wearer's ID all embedded in the QR code. Japan is grappling with a rapidly aging population, with senior citizens expected to make up a whopping 40 percent of the population around 2060.
The article describes Japan as "a country where 4.8 million people aged 75 or older hold a license... Last month, police started offering discounts for noodles at local restaurants to elderly citizens who agreed to hand in their driving licenses."

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Google Global Cache Is Coming to Cuba
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 12:05 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's island-ISP department:
"The Associated Press reports that on Monday Eric Schmidt will be in Havana to sign a deal bringing Google Global Cache to Cuba," writes lpress. Here's some details from the AP's report on the deal.

Cuba suffers from some of the world's slowest internet speeds due to a range of problems that include the convoluted, and thus slower, paths that data must travel between Cuban users and servers that are often in the U.S... home internet connections remain illegal for virtually all Cubans, forcing them to use public WiFi spots that are often shared by dozens of people at a time and run at achingly slow speeds... Both pro-detente forces and those arguing for a hard line on President Raul Castro's single-party government have been pushing for Cubans to have better access to information.

The article cites Slashdot reader Larry Press as "a California-based expert on the Cuban internet," who also shares some more thoughts on his blog. "I'd love to see a country -- even a small one -- in which Google Plus was more popular than Facebook."

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Vulnerability Prompts Warning: Stop Using Netgear WiFi Routers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 10:47 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's nixing-the-network department:
"By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted web site, a remote attacker may execute arbitrary commands with root privileges on affected routers," warns a new vulnerability notice from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT.
Slashdot reader chicksdaddy quotes Security Ledger's story about certain models of Netgear's routers:
Firmware version 1.0.7.2_1.1.93 (and possibly earlier) for the R7000 and version 1.0.1.6_1.0.4 (and possibly earlier) for the R6400 are known to contain the arbitrary command injection vulnerability. CERT cited "community reports" that indicate the R8000, firmware version 1.0.3.4_1.1.2, is also vulnerable... The flaw was found in new firmware that runs the Netgear R7000 and R6400 routers. Other models and firmware versions may also be affected, including the R8000 router, CMU CERT warned.

With no work around to the flaw, CERT recommended that Netgear customers disable their wifi router until a software patch from the company that addressed the hole was available... A search of the public internet using the Shodan search engine finds around 8,000 R6450 and R7000 devices that can be reached directly from the Internet and that would be vulnerable to takeover attacks. The vast majority of those are located in the United States.

Proof-of-concept exploit code was released by a Twitter user who, according to the article, said "he informed Netgear of the flaw more than four months ago, but did not hear back from the company since then."

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Magic Leap CEO Promises Production Tests Have Begun For 'Mixed Reality' Headsets
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 10:47 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's magic-leap-of-faith department:
"[A]fter a particularly critical report earlier this week, the notoriously secretive company appears to be in damage control mode," writes Mashable. An anonymous reader summarizes their report:

Thursday a reporter "highlighted the company's first promotional video as more Weta Workshop special effects than a direct example of Magic Leap technology," and announced on Reddit that "employees in the company were concerned about [the first video] being misleading to the public" -- which apparently provoked a response Friday from the company's CEO.

"The message at first appears to be a simple status update, but then Abovitz gets more specific, indicating that the blog post is almost certainly an indirect response to the previous day's critical story. 'The units we are building now are for engineering and manufacturing verification/validation testing, early reliability/quality testing, production line speed, and a bunch of other important parameters. There is also a lot more going in our development of software, applications, cool creative experiences and overall operational readiness. Stay tuned -- the fun is just beginning.'"

Mashable adds that when reached for a comment, "the company gave a similarly short 'stay tuned' message, hinting that something may finally be about to be revealed. Or not... [W]ith billions on the line, it's beginning to look like the secretive, NDA-fueled, hype-framed honeymoon is over."

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NSA's Best Are 'Leaving In Big Numbers,' Insiders Say
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 09:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blaming-Oliver-Stone department:
schwit1 quotes CyberScoop: Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency's most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity executives Tuesday. The retired general and other insiders say a combination of economic and social factors including negative press coverage -- have played a part... "I am honestly surprised that some of these people in cyber companies make up to seven figures. That's five times what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes. Right? And these are people that are 32 years old. Do the math. [The NSA] has great competition," he said.

The rate at which these cyber-tacticians are exiting public service has increased over the last several years and has gotten considerably worse over the last 12 months, multiple former NSA officials and D.C. area-based cybersecurity employers have told CyberScoop in recent weeks... In large part, Alexander blamed the press for propagating an image of the NSA that causes people to believe they are being spied on at all times by the U.S. government regardless of their independent actions.
"What really bothers me is that the people of NSA, these folks who take paltry government salaries to protect this nation, are made to look like they are doing something wrong," the former NSA Director added. "They are doing exactly what our nation has asked them to do to protect us. They are the heroes."

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Researchers Successfully Fight Colon Cancer Using Immunotherapy
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 08:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fighting-a-terrorist-cell department:
Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes the New York Times:
The remarkable recovery of a woman with advanced colon cancer, after treatment with cells from her own immune system, may lead to new options for thousands of other patients with colon or pancreatic cancer, researchers are reporting. (Shorter non-paywalled version of the article here). Her treatment was the first to successfully target a common cancer mutation that scientists have tried to attack for decades... so resistant to every attempt at treatment that scientists have described it as "undruggable"... The researchers analyze tumors for mutations -- genetic flaws that set the cancer cells apart from normal ones. They also study tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, looking for immune cells that can recognize mutations and therefore attack cancerous cells but leave healthy ones alone.
The patient, a 50-year-old database programmer in Michigan, is now cancer-free, according to the article. "Researchers twice denied her request to enter the clinical trial, saying her tumors were not large enough, she said. But she refused to give up and was finally let in."

The treatment ultimately eliminated six of her seven tumors, and because it targeted a cell mutation that's common in colon cancer patients, "Researchers say they now have a blueprint that may enable them to develop cell treatments for other patients as well."

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Does The 'Snoopers Charter' Also Enshrine Lying In Court?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 06:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's investigatory-prevarications department:
The U.K.'s newly-based Investigatory Powers Act (the Snoopers' Charter) "allows the State to tell lies in court," according to The Register, saying it enshrines into law "the practice where prosecutors lie about the origins of evidence to judges and juries." Jigsy shares their report:
The operation of the oversight and accountability mechanisms...are all kept firmly out of sight -- and, so its authors hope, out of mind -- of the public. It is up to the State to volunteer the truth to its victims if the State thinks it has abused its secret powers. "Marking your own homework" is a phrase which does not fully capture this...

Section 56(1)(b) creates a legally guaranteed ability -- nay, duty -- to lie about even the potential for State hacking to take place, and to tell juries a wholly fictitious story about the true origins of hacked material used against defendants in order to secure criminal convictions. This is incredibly dangerous. Even if you know that the story being told in court is false, you and your legal representatives are now banned from being able to question those falsehoods and cast doubt upon the prosecution story. Potentially, you could be legally bound to go along with lies told in court about your communications -- lies told by people whose sole task is to weave a story that will get you sent to prison or fined thousands of pounds.

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David Pogue Calls Out 18 Sites For Failing His Space-Bar Scrolling Test
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 05:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spacebar-odyssey department:
An anonymous reader quotes Yahoo Finance's David Pogue:
You know this tip, don't you? When you tap the Space bar, the web page you're reading scrolls up exactly one screenful... But in recent years, something clumsy and unfortunate has happened: Web designers have begun slapping toolbars or navigation bars at the top of the page. That's fine -- except when it throws off the Space-bar scrolling! Which, most of the time, it does. Suddenly, tapping Space doesn't scroll the right amount. The lines you were supposed to read next scroll too high; they're now cut off. Now you have to use your mouse or keyboard to scroll back down again. Which defeats the entire purpose of the Space-bar tip.

Over the last few months, I've begun keeping track of which sites do Space-bar scrolling right -- and which are broken. I want to draw the public's attention to this bit of broken code, and maybe inspire the world's webmasters to get with the program.

Pogue's article announces "the world's first Space-Bar Scrolling Report Card," shaming sites like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Yorker, and Scientific American for their improperly-scrolling web sites. (As well as, ironically, Yahoo -- the parent company of the site Pogue is writing for.) Pogue writes that web programmers "should get their act together so that the scroll works as it's supposed to. (And if you work for one of those sites, and you manage to get the scrolling-bug fixed, email me so I can update this article and congratulate you.)"

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Inside Peter Thiel's Genius Factory
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '16 at 01:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's founding-a-founders-factory department:
In 2011 the Thiel Fellowship "was created to prove that a college degree doesn't matter," writes Backchannel, saying it's now evolved into something much more Silicon Valley. mirandakatz quotes their article:
What began as an attempt to draw teen prodigies to the Valley before they racked up debt at Princeton or Harvard and went into consulting to pay it off has transformed into the most prestigious network for young entrepreneurs in existence -- a pedigree that virtually guarantees your ideas will be judged good, investors will take your call, and there will always be another job ahead even better than the one you have.
This year's class are all established entrepreneurs -- some of whom have already graduated from college, according to the article, although having at least "stopped out" at some point remains a requirement for the program. "It's offensive, the way people ask about it," one fellow tells the reporter, who summarized his belief that "To go back [to Stanford] would imply personal failure. Why would he ever do that? He had his network started already, and clearly the opportunities came through the network... This network, he contended, was far more valuable than any he could build in college -- even at Stanford."

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Ask Slashdot: What's The Best Geeky Gift For Children?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 10:15 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's explosions-optional department:
Everyone's suggesting gifts to teach the next generation of geeks about science, technology, engineering, and math. Slashdot reader theodp writes:

In "My Guide to Holiday Gifts," Melinda Gates presents "a STEM gift guide" [which] pales by comparison to Amazon's "STEM picks". Back in 2009, Slashdot discussed science gifts for kids. So, how about a 2016 update?

I've always wanted to ask what geeky gifts Slashdot's readers remember from when they were kids. (And what geeky gifts do you still bitterly wish some enlightened person would've given you?) But more importantly, what modern-day tech toys can best encourage the budding young geeks of today? Leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best geeky gift for children?

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Why Apple Just Invested in Wind Turbines In China
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 10:15 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blowing-money department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money:
Apple's latest deal in China doesn't have anything to do with smartphones. The tech giant is investing in the Chinese wind power industry, turning to the world's most populous country to help it achieve its goal of getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources. The iPhone maker struck a deal this week to buy a 30% stake in three subsidiaries of Goldwind, China's biggest wind-turbine manufacturer... it's Apple's largest clean energy project to date and the first of its kind in the wind power sector, Lisa Jackson, vice president of Apple's environment initiatives, told state-run newspaper China Daily...

Environmental group Greenpeace has warned that electronics manufacturing uses a lot of energy in China, drawing on the country's high number of polluting coal power stations. Apple's moves into renewable energy are an attempt to compensate for this... The new wind project will add 285 megawatts of clean energy to China's grid, which Apple says will offset some of the other sources used by its operations and those of its immediate suppliers Foxconn, Lens, Catcher and Solvay.

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Struggling Workers Found Sleeping In Tents Behind Amazon's Warehouse
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 06:29 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's watch-out-for-lightning-deals department:
"At least three tents have been spotted in woodland beside the online retail giant's base," reports a Scottish newspaper -- hidden behind trees, but within sight of Amazon's warehouse, and right next to a busy highway. An anonymous reader writes:
Despite Scotland's "bitterly cold winter nights" -- with lows in the 30s -- the tent "was easier and cheaper than commuting from his home," one Amazon worker told the Courier. (Though yesterday someone stole all of his camping equipment.) Amazon charges its employees for shuttle service to the fulfillment center, which "swallows up a lot of the weekly wage," one political party leader told the Courier, "forcing people to seek ever more desperate ways of making work pay.

"Amazon should be ashamed that they pay their workers so little that they have to camp out in the dead of winter to make ends meet..." he continued. "They pay a small amount of tax and received millions of pounds from the Scottish National Party Government, so the least they should do is pay the proper living wage." Though the newspaper reports that holiday shopping has created 4,000 temporary jobs in the small town of Dunfermline, "The company came under fire last month from local activists who claimed that agency workers are working up to 60 hours per week for little more than the minimum wage and are harshly treated."

Amazon responded, "The safety and well-being of our permanent and temporary associates is our number one priority."

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Analysts Tout 'State of The Developer' Survey By Awarding RPG Characters
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 06:29 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 20-sided-dice department:
An anonymous reader writes: Analysts at VisionMobile have begun conducting this year's "State of the Developer" Survey -- their perennial assessment of salaries, skills, and tools -- but this time with a twist. "Based on your responses, you'll find out what kind of character you'd be in a fantasy world: A mage? A fighter? A dragon slayer?" according to a blog post publicizing the event by Amazon's manager of developer marketing.
"As in previous years, you'll also receive your personal Developer Scorecard showing how you compare to other developers in your country, a free copy of the final State of the Developer Nation report, and a chance to win some cool prizes."
The survey presents a map of seven "kingdoms" -- IoT, Mobile, Desktop, Backend, Web, Machine learning, and AR/VR -- and invites developers to complete their "quest," awarding virtual badges and real-world prizes, which include an Oculus Rift headset, a Surface Pro 3, an Apple Watch, and a Pixel Phone. Along your "journey," a developer owl even dispatches encouraging geeky jokes. (Like "Whenever I see a door that says 'push', I always pull first, to avoid conflicts.")

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Inside the NYPD's Attempt To Build Community Trust Through Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 03:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's America's-most-tweeted department:
mirandakatz writes: When the NYPD rolled out its Twitter presence a couple years back, it didn't go so smoothly: the @NYPDNews account tweeted a request: 'Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,' and by midnight the same day, more than 70,000 people had responded decrying police brutality. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford looks at the department's attempt to use Twitter to rebuild community trust, noting that while the NYPD has a long ways to go, any opening up of communication is an improvement on the traditionally tight-lipped culture.
They're currently reaching about 10% of the city's population, tweeting pictures of "wanted" suspects and sharing information on recent criminal activity, as the police commissioner describes shifting their mindset from "warrior" to guardian.

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Fedora-based Linux Distro Korora (Version 25) Now Available For Download
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '16 at 02:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's codename-Gurgle department:
BrianFagioli writes:
If you want to use Fedora but do not want to spend time manually installing packages and repos, there is a solid alternative -- Korora. Despite the funny-sounding name, it is a great way to experience Fedora in a more user-friendly way. Wednesday, version 25, code-named 'Gurgle', became available for release.

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