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America's Elderly Seem More Screen-Obsessed Than the Young
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 05:25 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's contrary-to-popular-belief department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Economist: Many parents and grandparents will grumble about today's screen-obsessed youth. Indeed, researchers find that millennials look at their phones more than 150 times a day; half of them check their devices in the middle of the night; a third glance at them immediately after waking up. And yet, when all screens are accounted for, it is in fact older folk who seem most addicted. According to Nielsen, a market-research firm, Americans aged 65 and over spend nearly ten hours a day consuming media on their televisions, computers and smartphones. That is 12% more than Americans aged 35 to 49, and a third more than those aged 18 to 34 (the youngest cohort for whom Nielsen has data). American seniors "spend an average of seven hours and 30 minutes in front of the box, about as much as they did in 2015," the report says. "The spend another two hours staring at their smartphones, a more than seven-fold increase from four years ago."

Millennials have increased the time they spend on their mobile devices, but it's been largely offset by their dwindling interest in TV. As for teenagers, a report from 2015 by Common Sense Media "found that American teens aged 13-18 spent about six hours and 40 minutes per day on screens: slightly more than Nielsen recorded for 18- to 34-year-olds that year, but less than older generations."

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LGBT Video-Makers Sue YouTube Claiming Discrimination
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 04:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's legal-action department:
AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: A group of YouTube video-makers is suing it and parent company Google, claiming both discriminate against LGBT-themed videos and their creators. The group claims YouTube restricts advertising on LGBT videos and limits their reach and discoverability. But YouTube said sexual orientation and gender identity played no role in deciding whether videos could earn ad revenue or appear in search results. A group is hoping a jury will hear its case in California.

The legal action makes a wide range of claims, including that YouTube:
- Removes advertising from videos featuring "trigger words" such as "gay" or "lesbian" - Often labels LGBT-themed videos as "sensitive" or "mature" and restricts them from appearing in search results or recommendations - Does not do enough to filter harassment and hate speech in the comments section "Our policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like 'gay' or 'transgender,'" spokesman Alex Joseph said. "In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly."

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Advertisers Are Blacklisting News Stories That Contain Forbidden Words
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 04:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's de-facto-news-blocking department:
Zorro shares a report from The Wall Street Journal: Companies are increasingly insisting their ads do not appear near articles or videos that contain any of a long list of words. Like many advertisers, Fidelity Investments wants to avoid advertising online near controversial content. The Boston-based financial-services company has a lengthy blacklist of words it considers off-limits. If one of those words is in an article's headline, Fidelity won't place an ad there. Its list earlier this year, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, contained more than 400 words, including "bomb," "immigration" and "racism." Also off-limits: "Trump." Some news organizations have had difficulty placing Fidelity's ads on their sites, ad-sales executives said, because the list is so exhaustive and the terms appear in many news articles. Top 15 Forbidden Words: Dead, Shooting, Murder, Gun, Rape, Bomb, Died, Attack, Killed, Suicide, Trump, Crash, Crime, Explosion, Accident. "The ad-blacklisting threatens to hit publications' revenue and is creating incentives to produce more lifestyle-oriented coverage that is less controversial than hard news," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Some news organizations are investing in technologies meant to gauge the way news stories make readers feel in the hopes of persuading advertisers that there are options for ad placement other than blacklisting."

The use of lengthy keyword lists "is going to force publishers to do lifestyle content and focus on that at the expense of investigative journalism or serious journalism," said Nick Hewat, commercial director for the Guardian, a U.K. publisher. "That is a long-term consequence of this sort of buying behavior."

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India Shut Down Kashmir's Internet Access
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 02:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cut-communications department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Masroor Nazir, a pharmacist in Kashmir's biggest city, Srinagar, has some advice for people in the region: Do not get sick, because he may not have any medicine left to help. "We used the internet for everything," said Mr. Nazir, 28, whose pharmacy is near the city's famed clock tower. He said he normally went online to order new drugs and to fulfill requests from other pharmacies in more rural parts of Kashmir Valley. But now, "we cannot do anything." As the Indian government's shutdown of internet and phone service in the contested region enters its 11th day, Kashmir has become paralyzed.

Shopkeepers said that vital supplies like insulin and baby food, which they typically ordered online, were running out. Cash was scarce, as metal shutters covered the doors and windows of banks and A.T.M.s, which relied on the internet for every transaction. Doctors said they could not communicate with their patients. Only a few government locations with landlines have been available for the public to make phone calls, with long waits to get a few minutes of access. The information blockade was an integral part of India's unilateral decision last week to wipe out the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, an area of 12.5 million people that is claimed by both India and Pakistan and has long been a source of tension. That has brought everyday transactions, family communications, online entertainment and the flow of money and information to a halt.According to Access Now, a global digital rights group, India is the world leader in shutting down the internet. The country has blocked the internet 134 times, compared with 12 shutdowns in Pakistan, the No. 2 country.

< article continued at Slashdot's cut-communications department >

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Netflix's Biggest Bingers Get Hit With Higher Internet Costs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 02:44 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-challenge department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: James Wright had never worried about staying under his data cap. Then he bought a 4K TV set and started binge-watching Netflix in ultra-high definition. The picture quality was impressive, but it gobbled up so much bandwidth that his internet service provider, Comcast, warned that he had exceeded his monthly data limit and would need to pay more. "The first month I blew through the cap like it was nothing," said Wright, 50, who lives with his wife in Memphis, Tenn. With a 4K TV, he said, "It's not as hard to go through as you'd think." All that bingeing and ultra-HD video can carry a high price tag. As online viewing grows, more subscribers are having to pay up for faster speeds. Even then, they can run into data limits and overage fees. Some opt for an unlimited plan that can double the average $52-a-month internet bill.

Wright is what the cable industry calls a power user -- someone who chews through 1 terabyte of data or more each month. Though still rare, the number of power users has doubled in the past year as more families stream TV shows, movies and video games online. They should continue to grow as new video services from Disney, AT&T, Apple and NBCUniversal arrive in coming months. In the first quarter of this year, about 4% of internet subscribers consumed at least 1 terabyte of data -- the limit imposed by companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Cox. That's up from 2% a year ago, according to OpenVault, which tracks internet data usage among cable subscribers in the United States and Europe. "The percentage of subscribers exceeding this level will continue to grow rapidly," OpenVault founder Mark Trudeau said.

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A New Way To Help Students Turn in Their Best Work
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 01:26 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-tools department:
Google announces in a blog post: Today's students face a tricky challenge: In an age when they can explore every idea imaginable on the internet, how do they balance outside inspiration with authenticity in their own work? Students have to learn to navigate the line between other people's ideas and their own, and how and when to properly cite sources. We've heard from instructors that they copy and paste passages into Google Search to check if student work is authentic, which can be repetitive, inefficient and biased. They also often spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. By integrating the power of Search into our assignment and grading tools, we can make this quicker and easier.

That's why Google is introducing originality reports. This new feature -- with several reports included free in every course -- will be part of Classroom and Assignments, which was also announced today. We create originality reports by scanning student work for matched phrases across hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books. When assigning work in Classroom and Assignments, instructors will have the option to enable originality reports. Students will then be able to run up to three originality reports on documents they attach to the assignment before submitting their work. This heads-up gives students an opportunity to proactively improve their work, and also saves time for instructors.

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Japanese Researchers Build Robotic Tail To Keep Elderly Upright
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 01:26 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Millions of years after the ancestors of humans evolved to lose their tails, a research team at Japan's Keio University have built a robotic one they say could help unsteady elderly people keep their balance. From a report: Dubbed Arque, the grey one-meter device mimics tails such as those of cheetahs and other animals used to keep their balance while running and climbing, according to the Keio team. "The tail keeps balance like a pendulum," said Junichi Nabeshima, a graduate student and researcher at the university's Embodied Media Project, displaying the robotic tail attached to his waist with a harness. "When a human tilts their body one way, the tail moves in the opposite direction." As Japan greys it is leading the industrial world in seeking ways to keep its aging population mobile and productive.

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Unique Kaspersky AV User ID Allowed 3rd-Party Web Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 12:05 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
Kaspersky antivirus solutions injected in the web pages visited by its users an identification number unique for each system. This started in late 2015 and could be used to track a user's browsing interests. From a report: Versions of the antivirus product, paid and free, up to 2019, displayed this behavior that allows tracking regardless of the web browser used, even when users started private sessions. Signaled by c't magazine editor Ronald Eikenberg, the problem was that a JavaScript from a Kaspersky server loaded from an address that included a unique ID for every user. Scripts on a website can read the HTML source and glean the Kaspersky identifier, which Eikenberg determined to remain unchanged on the system.

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Cloudflare Says Cutting Off Customers Like 8chan is an IPO 'Risk Factor'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 12:05 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-calls department:
Networking and web security giant Cloudflare says the recent 8chan controversy may be an ongoing "risk factor" for its business on the back of its upcoming initial public offering. From a report: The San Francisco-based company, which filed its IPO paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, earlier this month took the rare step of pulling the plug on one of its customers, 8chan, an anonymous message board linked to recent domestic terrorist attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which killed 31 people. The site is also linked to the shootings in New Zealand, which killed 50 people. 8chan became the second customer to have its service cut off by Cloudflare in the aftermath of the attacks. The first and other time Cloudflare booted one of its customers was neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer in 2017, after it claimed the networking giant was secretly supportive of the website.

"Activities of our paying and free customers or the content of their websites and other Internet properties could cause us to experience significant adverse political, business, and reputational consequences with customers, employees, suppliers, government entities, and other third parties," the filing said. "Even if we comply with legal obligations to remove or disable customer content, we may maintain relationships with customers that others find hostile, offensive, or inappropriate."

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Trump Administration Asks Congress To Reauthorize NSA's Deactivated Call Records Program
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 10:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Breaking a long silence about a high-profile National Security Agency program that sifts records of Americans' telephone calls and text messages in search of terrorists, the Trump administration on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the system has been indefinitely shut down -- but asked Congress to extend its legal basis anyway. From a report: In a letter to Congress delivered on Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, the administration urged lawmakers to make permanent the legal authority for the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans' domestic communications, the USA Freedom Act. The law, enacted after the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, is set to expire in December, but the Trump administration wants it made permanent. The unclassified letter, signed on Wednesday by Dan Coats in one of his last acts as the director of National Intelligence, also conceded that the N.S.A. has indefinitely shut down that program after recurring technical difficulties repeatedly caused it to collect more records than it had legal authority to gather. That fact has previously been reported, but the administration had refused to officially confirm its status.

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Slashdot Asks: Do You (Ever) Shut Down Your Computer?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 10:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-do-we-stand-with-this? department:
New submitter dvda247 writes: A discussion of if people turn off their Windows 10 PCs anymore? Newer hardware and operating system changes make PCs work differently. Do you shut off your Windows 10 PC anymore? Or do you put it in sleep or hibernate mode? We are broadening the discussion to include desktop computers and laptops that are running Linux-based operating systems, or macOS, or ChromeOS. Additionally, how often do you restart your computer?

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Spotify Plans To Sell a More Expensive Version of Its Music Service in Scandinavia in a Test To See Whether It Can Raise Prices Around the World
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 09:24 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Spotify plans to sell a more-expensive version of its music service in Scandinavia, a test to see whether it can raise prices around the world, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: Spotify will raise the price of its family plan by about 13%, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the increase hasn't been announced. The test doesn't mean Spotify will raise prices elsewhere or do so permanently in Scandinavia, they said. Raising prices could boost revenue in markets where Spotify already has a strong presence. The company is based in Stockholm, and its music service is the dominant player across Northern Europe. The current family plan costs about $15 a month and lets up to five people use the service. Spotify has also tested a plan called Premium Duo that offers two subscriptions for 12.49 euros ($13.91) a month.

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Resumes Are Starting To Look Like Instagram -- and Sometimes Even Tinder
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 09:24 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's times,-they-are-a-changin' department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The stodgiest of business documents is in the midst of its most extreme makeover yet -- whether employers want it or not [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. Gone are the utilitarian, black-and-white documents covered in bullet points. As Gen Z enters the workforce, companies are seeing digital CVs filled with artistic flourishes, including illustrations of college mascots, logos of past employers and icons to denote hobbies such as home renovation and watching movies. Job seekers have been striving for years to make their resumes stand out from the pile. While earlier generations played with eye-catching print fonts and horizontal lines, today's tech-savvy young people have a new arsenal of tricks. Many throw in headshots. Some add bitmojis, the personalized avatars used in text messages and on social media.

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NYC Has Hired Hackers To Hit Back at Stalkerware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 08:05 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Abusers leverage high-tech tools in the oldest of crimes, stalking their victims through tools like Facebook Messenger and Apple Maps. They spy on their targets through stalkerware apps and Amazon Alexas. But hackers are now teaming up with victim advocates to catch up. From a report: In a pilot study the New York City government has been running since 2018, technologists work in collaboration with the Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to offer practical computer security and privacy services to survivors of intimate partner violence. The program, which involves a team of academics from Cornell Tech and New York University, has already seen early success and is growing, Cornell Tech's Sam Havron said on Wednesday at the USENIX Security Symposium in Santa Clara, California. There are hundreds of apps sold on the market today that stalkers use to track a victim's location, secretly record voice audio, steal text messages, or engage in other illegal surveillance. Since November 2018, the New York-based technologists have met with 44 clients and have discovered that 23 of them may have been targeted by spyware, account compromise, or exploitable misconfigurations. Over half the victim cases have connections to digital abuse, according to a newly published paper, "Clinical Computer Security for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence."

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Amazon is Launching a New Program To Donate Unsold Products, After Reports that Millions Were Being Destroyed
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 08:05 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department:
Amazon wants its third-party sellers to make better use of their unsold or unwanted products that often get dumped -- by giving them away to charity. From a report: Amazon is launching a new donations program, called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, for third-party sellers that store their inventory in Amazon's warehouses in the U.S. and UK, CNBC has learned. Starting on September 1, the donation program will become the default option for all sellers when they choose to dispose of their unsold or unwanted products stored in Amazon warehouses across those two countries. Sellers can opt out of the program, if they want. The donations will be distributed to a network of U.S. nonprofits through a group called Good360 and UK charities such as Newlife and Barnardo's. After this story was published, Amazon announced the program via a blog post on Wednesday afternoon. [...] Recent reports found that Amazon routinely discards unsold inventory, with one French TV documentary estimating Amazon to have destroyed over 3 million products in France last year. Further reading: The Painful, Costly Journey of Returned Goods -- and How You End Up Purchasing Some of Them Again.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 Are Throttle Locking To 'Pentium 2 Speeds' of 400 MHz, Users Say
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 06:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-going-on department:
intensivevocoder writes: Owners of Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 systems are finding themselves stuck at Pentium 2 speeds, as numerous user complaints indicate that the ultra-portables are throttling the processor down to 400 MHz, a state that -- in some instances -- persists across reboots. While similar issues with Surface devices have occurred in the past, reports of issues have increased in frequency following a firmware update for the Surface Pro 6.

The throttle-lock appears to be caused by an Intel CPU flag called BD PROCHOT (bi-directional processor hot), which can be set by any peripheral, telling the processor to throttle down in order to decrease system temperature -- a useful flag in cases where the CPU is operating within thermal limits, but other components tied to the CPU are running too hot, because of the demands placed on other components by processes on the CPU.

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British Airways Testing VR Headsets For First-Class Passengers This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 05:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's prepare-for-takeoff department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: British Airways announced that it is testing out virtual reality headsets for the rest of this year on flights between London's Heathrow and New York City's John F. Kennedy airport. The airline is tapping SkyLights for the VR eyewear headsets that will be available for its first-class passengers. The AlloSky hardware can present 3D views even when the viewer is lying flat. As far as programming, British Airways will have options. The VR headsets will offer visual entertainment in 2D, 3D, or 360-degree formats. The airline will also provide more therapeutic programs to help people who have a fear of flying. These VR experiences include guided meditation and sound therapy. This marks the first time British Airways is bringing virtual reality onto its aircrafts. The company also used SkyLights' hardware at its ticket counters in Heathrow to show passengers the experience of its first-class travel in an effort to encourage upgrades.

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London University Is Banning Beef To Help Fight Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 02:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's where's-the-beef department:
Goldsmiths, a part of the University of London, is fighting climate change by taking beef off the menu. "[The university] will no longer serve beef burgers, beef burritos and the like on its campus," reports CBS News. From the report: Goldsmiths will take beef products off the menu starting in September, it announced Monday. The effort is part of a mission to become carbon neutral by 2025. Removing beef products on campus isn't the only action the university is taking. It also plans to install more solar panels, switch to a 100% clean energy supplier, plant more trees and make climate change education more accessible to students. Perhaps the biggest change the university is making aside from the elimination of beef is a fee of 10 pence (12 cents) on bottled water and single-use plastic cups. The goal is to "discourage use, with the proceeds directed into a green student initiative fund," the college's new warden, Professor Frances Corner, said.

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Scientists Reverse Aging Process In Rat Brain Stem Cells
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '19 at 12:04 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fountain-of-youth department:
Scientists who discovered aging appears to be related to the stiffness of the environment where cells live have reversed the process in rat brain stem cells. Newsweek reports: Researchers studied oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in young and old rat brains, and found they were affected by stiffness in the organ caused by aging. These stem cells, meaning they can turn into other types of cell, are found in the central nervous system. Researchers studied oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in young and old rat brains, and found they were affected by stiffness in the organ caused by aging. These stem cells, meaning they can turn into other types of cell, are found in the central nervous system.

Kevin Chalut, a biophysicist at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the study published in the journal Nature told Newsweek: "The study tells us that aging, at least for stem cells we studied, is not driven by anything intrinsic to the cell. It is instead driven by the environment. This was already known to be a factor, but the true significance here is to show that it is the stiffness of the environment alone that drives the aging of the stem cells. "This is rather remarkable because it suggests an entirely new way of thinking about what controls aging in stem cells, and furthermore, since stiffness is a single factor from the environment, it suggest a means to straightforwardly reverse aging in stem cells'" Chalut explained.

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Scientists Have Created a Vaccine For Cat Allergies, But You Can't Have It Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '19 at 08:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's allergy-free department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: People unjustly kept away from feline companionship due to an allergy are rejoicing this week, after news resurfaced of a potential vaccine that makes cats less able to cause allergies. But while this research is promising, a finished product won't be available any time soon. The vaccine in question is being developed by Swiss-based Hypocat and is the company's lead experimental and namesake drug. This April, Hypocat published results from a study on the vaccine. And it's this news that the internet has, for reasons lost to the void, started to buzz about again.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, details a very clever strategy to tackle cat allergies. The vaccine doesn't try to desensitize the immune system of people allergic to cats, as other existing immunotherapies like allergy shots do. Rather, it attempts to train the immune system of cats to go after a specific protein, or allergen, that they naturally produce called Fel d 1. It's supposed to accomplish this trick by hitching a genetically modified version of the protein to a virus-like particle derived from a plant virus (only being a particle, it shouldn't be capable of causing disease). Some 90 percent of people with a cat allergy produce antibodies to Fel d 1. So if successful, the vaccine would basically turn cats hypoallergenic by greatly reducing the amount of Fel d 1 they make and eventually spew into our noses and mouths. While the company behind the vaccine says it's been in discussions with both U.S. and European drug approval agencies, Gizmodo notes that "even if these trials started today and the vaccine passed them with flying colors, you'll still have to wait years before it could hit the market."

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