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222,000 Jobs Added To US Payrolls In June; Unemployment Rate Rises To 4.4 Percent
Posted by News Fetcher on July 07 '17 at 07:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-things-are department:
From an NPR report: An estimated 222,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in June, according to the monthly employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday. "The job gains were better than expected -- most economists had predicted a gain of 180,000 jobs," NPR's Chris Arnold reports for our Newscast unit. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent -- a 16-year low that was hit in May. "Since January, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed are down by 0.4 percentage point and 658,000, respectively," the BLS says. Previous estimates of job gains in recent months were revised upwards -- from 138,000 to 152,000 in May and from 174,000 to 207,000 in June, for a net gain of 47,000.

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White House Could Use AT&T/Time Warner Deal As 'Leverage' Against CNN
Posted by News Fetcher on July 07 '17 at 06:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's family-feud department:
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: AT&T seems to be on track to close its purchase of Time Warner Inc., but President Donald Trump's hatred of Time Warner property CNN could still be a "wild card" in the deal. Trump's feud with CNN was described yesterday in a New York Times article titled "The Network Against the Leader of the Free World." Within that article is one tidbit that could affect AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner, which owns CNN and other media properties such as HBO and Turner Broadcasting System: "White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN's parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump's Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president's animus toward CNN remains a wild card."

Separately, The Daily Caller wrote today that Trump doesn't want the merger to be approved unless CNN President Jeff Zucker is fired. The conservative news website attributed the information to "a source familiar with President Trump's thinking." Zucker told the New York Times that the pending merger has not affected his journalistic or management decisions.

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Elon Musk Promises World's Biggest Lithium Ion Battery To Australia
Posted by News Fetcher on July 07 '17 at 03:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's things-Musk-does department:
Elon Musk is following through on his promise to solve an energy crisis in Australia. From a report: His electric car company, Tesla, has teamed up with a French renewable energy firm and an Australian state government to install the world's largest lithium ion battery. Paired up with a wind farm in the state of South Australia, the battery will be three times more powerful than the next biggest in the world, Musk said at a news conference in the city of Adelaide on Friday. "If South Australia's willing to take a big risk, then so are we," he said. The announcement comes after billionaire entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes threw down the gauntlet to Musk in March, asking if Tesla was serious when it claimed it could quickly end blackouts in South Australia. "Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?" Musk wrote on Twitter at the time.

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Personalized Cancer Vaccines Safely Fight, Kill Tumors In Early Human Trials
Posted by News Fetcher on July 07 '17 at 02:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's custom-made department:
Emily Mullin reports via MIT Technology Review: Now two personalized cancer vaccine approaches appear to have safely prevented cancer relapse in a dozen patients with late-stage skin cancer. In recent years, scientists have realized that each patient's tumor harbors a unique set of genetic characteristics, or mutations. So for cancer vaccines to be effective, they'll probably also have to be unique. Two clinical trials, detailed today in separate papers in Nature, are among the first to show that this might be possible. In one trial, eight of 13 melanoma patients who got a personalized cancer vaccine were tumor-free nearly two years after being treated. In a smaller study, four of the six patients who received a vaccine had no detectable cancer for more than two years after treatment. All patients had their tumors surgically removed before getting the vaccine. The customized vaccines are an emerging class of therapies that take advantage of neoantigens, proteins that appear on tumors and seem to be specific to each cancer patient. To make the vaccines, researchers first sequenced DNA and RNA extracted from each patient's tumor. They then used computer algorithms to analyze the mutations on each tumor and predict the best targets that code for neoantigens. Based on that data, they created a personalized vaccine containing up to 20 of these neoantigens. Each patient received several injections of the vaccine over a few months.

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Scientists Have Detected a New Particle At the Large Hadron Collider At CERN
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 11:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's force-is-strong-with-this-one department:
New submitter ag144 writes: First time witnessed, the Large Hadron Collider finds predicted double-heavy particle. BBC reports: "Nearly all the matter that we see around us is made of neutrons and protons, which form the centers of atoms. These are made up of three smaller particles called quarks which can be either light or heavy. There are, however, six different types of quarks which combine in different ways to form other kinds of particle. Those that have been detected so far contain at most, one heavy quark. This is the first time that researchers have confirmed the existence of one with two heavy quarks. The research team will now measure the properties of the Xi-cc++ to establish how this new arrangement of quarks behaves and how the strong force holds the system together. They also expect to find more double heavy quark particles. Another unusual property of the particle is that it has two positive charges double that of the proton and it is four times heavier."

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Getting Rid of Carpool Lanes Could Double Travel Times
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 07:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-is-better-than-one department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Magazine: Eliminating carpool lanes could almost double drivers' traveling times, according to a new study. The findings come thanks to an unusual decision made by the government of Jakarta last year. Following allegations that drugged babies from poor households were being used as "jockeys," or passengers for hire, Indonesian lawmakers repealed the so-called three-in-one restriction. The law had required cars driving on the business district's main roads to carry at least three passengers during rush hours. To determine the impact on the city's drivers, Benjamin Olken, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues queried Google Maps for real-time driving-speed data before and after the new policy went into effect. Following the policy lift, travel delays, defined as the time it takes to travel 1 kilometer, increased by 46% in the morning and almost 90% in the evening, the team reports today in Science. But the most startling result is that phasing out the three-in-one policy led to worse traffic during times of the day and on roads where there had never been restrictions in place, Olken says. One possible explanation, he says, is that the three-in-one restriction led fewer people to drive into the city. "Maybe they carpooled, took public transit, or worked from home."

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France Set To Ban Sale of Petrol and Diesel Vehicles By 2040
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 06:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fossil-fuels department:
France is planning to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040. The planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles is part of a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal, reports BBC. From the report: Hybrid cars make up about 3.5% of the French market, with pure electric vehicles accounting for just 1.2%. It is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel vehicles still in use in 2040. President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement in June was explicitly named as a factor in France's new vehicle plan. "France has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision," Nicolas Hulot, France's ecology minister, said, adding that the government would have to make investments to meet that target. Poorer households would receive financial assistance to replace older, more polluting vehicles with cleaner ones, he said. Other targets set in the French environmental plan include ending coal power plants by 2022, reducing nuclear power to 50% of total output by 2025, and ending the issuance of new oil and gas exploration licenses.

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SoundCloud Lays Off Nearly Half Its Staff, Closes Two Offices
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 06:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's push-for-profitability department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: SoundCloud is cutting about 40 percent of its staff in a cost-cutting move the digital music service says will give it a better financial footing to compete against larger rivals Spotify and Apple. SoundCloud, which in January said it was at risk of running out of money, informed staff on Thursday that 173 jobs would be eliminated. It had 420 employees. The company's operations will be consolidated at its headquarters in Berlin and another office in New York. Offices in San Francisco and London will be shut. "We need to ensure our path to long-term, independent success," Alex Ljung, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a blog post published on SoundCloud's website. He said the company has doubled its revenue over the past 12 months -- without providing specifics -- and that the cuts put it on a path to profitability.

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Space Data Lawsuit Has Alphabet's Project Loon In Jeopardy
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 04:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's popped-balloons department:
mirandakatz writes: When a small company called Space Data sued Alphabet's Project Loon last summer, not much came of it. But last month, Space Data scored a major win: It got the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel most of one of Project Loon's foundational patents, and say that Space Data came up with the idea first. That means it can now file for an injunction, and get Project Loon to stop using its internet-beaming balloons. At Backchannel, Mark Harris has dug into court records to present the full story of how Alphabet, which is currently suing Uber over trade secrets, came to be accused of doing exactly the same thing.

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RED Launches a $1,200 Smartphone With a 'Hydrogen Holographic Display'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 04:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pretty-penny department:
RED, a company known for its high-end $10,000+ cameras, is launching a smartphone called the RED Hydrogen One. Some of the features include a 5.7-inch "Hydrogen holographic display" capable of viewing holographic RED Hydrogen 4-View content, 3D content, and 2D/3D virtual-reality and augmented-reality content, a built-in H3O algorithm that can convert stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio, and support for modular components. PhoneDog reports: RED isn't really talking about any of the Hydrogen One's raw specs like its processor, camera resolution, RAM, or battery size. We do know that it runs Android and that it'll have a microSD slot, and we can see in RED's sole teaser image that the phone will also have a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB Type-C port. The RED Hydrogen One is currently slated to begin shipping in Q1 2018. If you're already sold on the device, you can pre-order an aluminum model for $1,195 or a titanium version of $1,595. RED does say that these prices will be available for a limited time only.

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WikiLeaks Unveils CIA Implants That Steal SSH Credentials From Windows, Linux PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's remote-entry department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hacker News: WikiLeaks has today published the 15th batch of its ongoing Vault 7 leak, this time detailing two alleged CIA implants that allowed the agency to intercept and exfiltrate SSH (Secure Shell) credentials from targeted Windows and Linux operating systems using different attack vectors. Secure Shell or SSH is a cryptographic network protocol used for remote login to machines and servers securely over an unsecured network. Dubbed BothanSpy -- implant for Microsoft Windows Xshell client, and Gyrfalcon -- targets the OpenSSH client on various distributions of Linux OS, including CentOS, Debian, RHEL (Red Hat), openSUSE and Ubuntu. Both implants steal user credentials for all active SSH sessions and then sends them to a CIA-controlled server.

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Tesla Model S Fails To Get Top IIHS Crash Rating
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
mrspoonsi writes: Shares in Tesla have plummeted more than 13 percent this week after lower than expected deliveries and the Model S only attaining an acceptable result in recent crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states: "Tesla made changes to the safety belt in vehicles built after January with the intent of reducing the dummy's forward movement. However, when IIHS tested the modified Model S, the same problem occurred, and the rating didn't change. Although the two tested vehicles had identical structure, the second test resulted in greater intrusion into the driver's space because the left front wheel movement wasn't consistent. Maximum intrusion increased from less than 2 inches to 11 inches in the lower part and to 5 inches at the instrument panel in the second test. The first test resulted in a good rating for structural integrity, while the second test resulted in an acceptable structural rating. The two tests' structural ratings were combined, resulting in acceptable structure and an acceptable rating overall for the Model S." A Tesla spokesperson responded to the IIHS's crash rating in a statement to Forbes: "IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes."

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YouTube Stars Defend Net Neutrality In Open Letter To the FCC
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 02:16 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's open-letter department:
More than 100 YouTube creators from the Internet Creators Guild have signed an open letter to the FCC calling on the agency to keep strong net neutrality protections. "Our rapidly growing industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and yet it barely existed more than a decade ago," reads the letter. "As creators in this fast-moving industry, changes to the existing Net Neutrality rules would have an outsized impact on our field and jeopardize our livelihood." The Verge reports: The letter has been signed by major names in the YouTube community, such as the Fine Brothers. In total, the guild says, the letter represents video creators with an audience of more than 150 million people. The YouTube creators directly address FCC chairman Ajit Pai in the letter. The letter argues that the removal of protections would lead to "the inevitable creation of fast lanes that would privilege the large media companies that can afford to pay for such service," putting smaller media creators in danger. "We strongly urge you to oppose anything that would threaten this level playing field," the letter from video makers concludes. "The stakes are simply too high for our democracy, culture, and economy."

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OneDrive Has Stopped Working On Non-NTFS Drives
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 02:16 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's head-scratching department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: OneDrive users around the world have been upset to discover that with its latest update, Microsoft's cloud file syncing and storage system no longer works with anything other than disks formatted with the NTFS file system. Both older file systems, such as FAT32 and exFAT, and newer ones, such as ReFS, will now provoke an error message when OneDrive starts up. To continue to use the software, files will have to be stored on an NTFS volume. While FAT disks can be converted, ReFS volumes must be reformatted and wiped. This has left various OneDrive users unhappy. While NTFS is the default file system in Windows, people using SD cards to extend the storage on small laptops and tablets will typically use exFAT. Similarly, people using Storage Spaces to manage large, redundant storage volumes will often use ReFS. The new policy doesn't change anything for most Windows users, but those at the margins will feel hard done by. Microsoft said in a statement that it "discovered a warning message that should have existed was missing when a user attempted to store their OneDrive folder on a non-NTFS filesystem -- which was immediately remedied." According to Ars, Microsoft's position, apparently, is that OneDrive should always have warned about these usage scenarios and that it's only a bug or an oversight that allowed non-NTFS volumes to work.

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TV Networks Hide Bad Ratings With Typos, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 12:53 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's clever-hack department:
A report Thursday in The Wall Street Journal details how networks are taking advantage of that fact to disguise airings that underperform with viewers. From a report: It's described as a common practice in the world of TV ratings, where programs with higher ratings can charge advertisers more to run commercials. When an episode performs poorly with viewers, the networks often intentionally misspell the show title in their report to Nielsen, according to the Journal. This fools the system into separating that airing out as a different show and keeping it from affecting the correctly-spelled show's average overall rating. The report says the practice was initially used sparingly -- for instance, when a broadcast would go up against a major sporting event.

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Skype Users Slam Microsoft's Attempt To Infuse App With Social Media Magic
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 12:53 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's know-your-audience department:
Last month Skype announced a major update to its messaging and video calling app. The update brought a visual revamp, as well as "social features" such as Highlights that were first introduced by Snapchat. At any rate, it turns out, people are not enjoying the update as much as Microsoft had hoped. From a report: Reviews of the Android and iOS versions of the app have been mostly terrible, and those posted to the Windows App Store have not been much better. Chief among the issues is that the redesign imagines Skype as a youth-oriented social media app along the lines of Instagram or Snapchat, rather than a staid business communications tool. "This new app is absolutely terrible," observes an individual posting to Google Play under the name Kulli Kelder. "Skype is mostly used by people for professional use or for connecting with friends far away. This looks as far from simple and professional as it can be. Skype does NOT need to be Snapchat
." The Skype team clearly has a different view of its work. "We think it's the best Skype we've ever built -- inside and out -- and it's been designed to make it easier for you to use for your everyday communications," the company said last month. A few individuals have expressed similar enthusiasm, but among those reviewing the most recent update, one-star ratings dominate. Of the 20 most-recent reviews posted to the iTunes App Store, 19 out of 20 award one star out of five. The other is two stars.

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New Attack Can Now Decrypt Satellite Phone Calls in 'Real Time'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 11:33 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Chinese researchers have discovered a way to rapidly decrypt satellite phone communications -- within a fraction of a second in some cases. From a report on ZDNet: The paper, published this week, expands on previous research by German academics in 2012 by rapidly speeding up the attack and showing that the encryption used in popular Inmarsat satellite phones can be cracked in "real time." Satellite phones are used by those in desolate environments, including high altitudes and at sea, where traditional cell service isn't available. Modern satellite phones encrypt voice traffic to prevent eavesdropping. It's that modern GMR-2 algorithm that was the focus of the research, given that it's used in most satellite phones today. The researchers tried "to reverse the encryption procedure to deduce the encryption-key from the output keystream directly," rather than using the German researchers' method of recovering an encryption key using a known-plaintext attack. Using their proposed inversion attack thousands of time on a 3.3GHz satellite stream, the researchers were able to reduce the search space for the 64-bit encryption key, effectively making the decryption key easier to find. The end result was that encrypted data could be cracked in a fraction of a second.

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Russia Jails Hacker For Spilling Top Government Officials' Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department:
A Russian court sentenced a prominent hacker to two years in jail on Thursday after a secret trial which heard how he had accessed and leaked the email accounts of top government officials, Russian news agencies reported. From a report: The court found Vladimir Anikeyev, named as head of a famous hacking collective called Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty), guilty of illegally accessing computer data in collusion with a criminal group. The TASS news agency said he was accused of breaking into the email account of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman as well as the account of an official in the presidential administration among many others.

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HBO and Cinemax Come To Hulu, But You'll Need the New App To Watch
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-moves department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Hulu this morning announced it's finally adding HBO as an optional add-on for subscribers, as well as HBO-owned Cinemax. The premium networks will be offered to those who subscribe to Hulu's on-demand service plus those who pay for Hulu's new live TV service, including both the ad-supported and commercial-free versions. As on most other streaming services, including HBO NOW, the HBO add-on will cost subscribers an extra $14.99 per month. Cinemax is a more affordable upgrade at $9.99 per month. The deal's timing comes just ahead of "Game of Thrones" big summer release, which will allow Hulu the opportunity to capture some number of subscribers for this premium upgrade. Many HBO viewers only pay for the streaming service while the flagship series is airing, as they want to watch it live but no longer pay for cable TV. Now, they'll be able to watch the show live or on-demand, along with past seasons of other popular HBO series, like the "The Sopranos," or catch up on newcomers like "Westworld," along with all the other shows, sports, comedy and music specials, and movies that HBO offers. Some of HBO's other notable originals include "Veep," "Last Week Tonight," "Vice," "Silicon Valley," "Big Little Lies," and "The Night Of." It's now home to kids classic "Sesame Street," too.

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Microsoft Plans Up To 3,000 Job Cuts In a Sales Staff Overhaul To Fuel Cloud Growth
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's job-cuts department:
Microsoft announced a major reorganization on Wednesday that will include thousands of layoffs, largely in sales. From a report: The job cuts amount to less that 10 percent of the company's total sales force, and about 75 percent of them will be outside the U.S., the company said. Reports from last week suggested this was going to happen, and that Microsoft was going to specifically focus on how it sells its cloud services product, Azure. Microsoft's cloud business has been booming over recent quarters -- Microsoft noted Azure sales growth of 93 percent last quarter. While Amazon has become a bigger competitor in the space, Microsoft's restructuring is to pivot to software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure.

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