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.Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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.Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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 18.104.22.168_1.1.93 (and possibly earlier) for the R7000 and version 22.214.171.124_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 126.96.36.199_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."Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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.)"Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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."Read Replies (0)
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.")Read Replies (0)