By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-first-for-everything department
According to World Health Organization data, China has overtaken the United States in healthy life expectancy at birth for the first time. The data from 2016 finds Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies. "American newborns can still expect to live longer overall -- 78.5 years compared to China's 76.4 -- but the last 10 years of American lives are not expected to be healthy," reports Reuters. From the report: The United States was one of only five countries, along with Somalia, Afghanistan, Georgia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where healthy life expectancy at birth fell in 2016, according to a Reuters analysis of the WHO data, which was published without year-on-year comparisons in mid-May. The best outlook was for Singaporean babies, who can count on 76.2 years of health on average, followed by those in Japan, Spain and Switzerland. The United States came 40th in the global rankings, while China was 37th. In terms of overall life expectancy China is also catching up with the United States, which Reuters calculations suggest it is on course to overtake around 2027. Meanwhile U.S. life expectancy is falling, having peaked at 79 years in 2014, the first such reversal for many years.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's times-they-are-a-changin department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: For the first time, new research suggests artificial intelligence may be better than highly-trained humans at detecting skin cancer. A study conducted by an international team of researchers pitted experienced dermatologists against a machine learning system, known as a deep learning convolutional neural network, or CNN, to see which was more effective at detecting malignant melanomas. The results? 'Most dermatologists were outperformed by the CNN,' the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Annals of Oncology. Fifty-eight dermatologists from 17 countries around the world participated in the study. More than half of the doctors were considered expert level with more than five years' experience. Nineteen percent said they had between two to five years' experience, and 29 percent had less than two years' experience. At first look, dermatologists correctly detected an average of 87 percent of melanomas, and accurately identified an average of 73 percent of lesions that were not malignant. Conversely, the CNN correctly detected 95 percent of melanomas. The study has been published in the journal Annals of Oncology.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drastic-times-call-for-drastic-measures department
Presto Vivace shares a report from The Intercept: Officials at the Lockport, New York, school district have purchased face recognition technology as part of a purported effort to prevent school shootings. Starting in September, all 10 of Lockport District's school buildings, just north of Buffalo, will be outfitted with a surveillance system that can identify faces and objects. The software, known as Aegis, was developed by SN Technologies Corp., a Canadian biometrics firm that specifically advertises to schools. It can be used to alert officials to whenever sex offenders, suspended students, fired employees, suspected gang members, or anyone else placed on a school's "blacklist" enters the premises. Aegis also sends alerts any time one of the "top 10" most popular guns used in school shootings appears in view of a camera. The district is spending most of its recent $4 million state "Smart School" grant on these and other enhancements to its security systems, including bullet-proof greeter windows and a mass notification system, according to the Niagra Gazette. Slashdot reader Presto Vivace adds: "This is why municipal elections are so important. Just because this stuff is on the market, does not mean your local school system has to buy it."
The report notes that "all the major school shootings in the last five years in the U.S. have been carried out by current students or alumnae of the school in question." These students wouldn't have their face entered into the face recognition system's blacklist. Furthermore, "Most shooters don't brandish their guns before opening fire; and by the time they do, an object-detection algorithm that could specify the exact type of weapon they're firing would not be of much use," reports The Intercept. "... the technology would give a school, at best, only a few extra seconds in response time to a shooting."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
schwit1 quotes a report from Newsweek: You may well have heard that Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef is dying as warmer and more acidic waters bleach the system's vibrant coral reefs. In fact, a heat wave killed nearly a third of the system's corals in 2016. Now, scientists writing in the journal Nature Geoscience have discovered the reef has bounced back from near-extinction five times in the last 30,000 years. The current stresses, however, are probably far more intense than those felt in the past.
Low sea levels 30,000 and 22,000 years ago killed coral by air exposure. The remaining reef shifted seaward and eventually bounced back. Rising sea levels -- like those we see today -- killed off the coral twice between 13,000 and 17,000 years ago. This time, coral inched close to land to survive. The reef system, the scientists think, migrated up to 60 inches a year in the face of a changing environment. The last of the five great die-offs occurred about 10,000 years ago, and was likely caused by a huge influx of sediment, a reduction in water quality and a general sea level rise. The reef system may be due for another die-off sometime in the next few thousand years "if it follows its past geological pattern," study author Jody Webster told AFP. "But whether human-induced climate change will hasten that death remains to be seen."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's next-up department
Hoping to maintain the high ground in AI and high-performance computing, Nvidia late Tuesday debuted a new computing architecture that it claims will unify both fast-growing areas of the industry. From a report: The announcement of the HGX-2 cloud-server platform, made by Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang at its GPU Technology Conference in Taipei, Taiwan, is aimed at many new applications that combine AI and HPC. "We believe the future requires a unified platform for AI and high-performance computing," Paresh Kharya, product marketing manager for Nvidiaâ(TM)s accelerated-computing group, said during a press call Tuesday. Others agree. "I think that AI will revolutionize HPC," Karl Freund, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told SiliconANGLE. "I suspect many supercomputing centers will deploy HGX2 as it can add dramatic computational capacity for both HPC and AI." More specifically, the new architecture enables applications involving scientific computing and simulations, such as weather forecasting, as well as both training and running of AI models such as deep learning neural networks, for jobs such as image and speech recognition and navigation for self-driving cars.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-fully-supported department
A prominent Gartner analyst argues that Windows 10 Pro is a dead end for enterprises, citing recent changes by Microsoft to the Windows 10 support schedule. "[We] predict that Microsoft will continue positioning Windows  Pro as a release that is not appropriate for enterprises by reducing [...] support and limiting access to enterprise management features," Stephen Kleynhans, a research vice president at Gartner and one of the research firm's resident Windows experts, said in a report he co-authored. Computerworld reports: Last year, the Redmond, Wash. developer announced a six-month support extension for Windows 10 1511, the November 2015 feature upgrade, "to help some early enterprise adopters that are still finishing their transition to Windows as a service." In February, Microsoft added versions 1609, 1703 and 1709 -- released in mid-2016, and in April and October of 2017, respectively -- to the extended support list, giving each 24 months of support, not the usual 18. There was a catch: Only Windows 10 Enterprise (and Windows 10 Education, a similar version for public and private school districts and universities) qualified for the extra six months of support. Users running Windows 10 Pro were still required to upgrade to a successor SKU (stock-keeping unit) within 18 months to continue receiving security patches and other bug fixes.
Another component of Microsoft's current Windows 10 support strategy, something the company has labeled "paid supplemental servicing," was also out of bounds for those running Windows 10 Pro. The extra support, which Microsoft will sell at an undisclosed price, is available only to Enterprise and Education customers. Paid supplemental servicing adds 12 months to the 18 months provided free of charge.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's mighty-has-fallen department
According to Alexa, the Amazon-owned web traffic analyzing platform, more people now visit Reddit than Facebook in the US. From a report: Spotted, of course, on Reddit by user IamATechieNerd, the stats will be a big boost for the social sharing platform, especially with many users still irked about the recent re-design. It's important to note that analyzing web traffic using a tool like Alexa is not an exact science, but it's interesting that it has now put Reddit ahead of Facebook. If the stats are to be believed, Google is still the most visited site, followed by YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook, with Amazon rounding out the top five.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's kudos-to-you department
Walmart will begin offering to subsidize college tuition for its 1.5 million workers in the United States, joining a growing list of companies that are helping employees pay for higher education as a perk in a tight labor market. From a report: The retailer's 1.5 million employees can now pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in business or supply-chain management at three nonprofit schools for $1 a day, according to a statement Wednesday. Walmart will subsidize tuition, books and fees and provide support with the application and enrollment processes. As many as 68,000 employees might sign up, Walmart executives estimated. "Many of our associates don't have the opportunity to complete a degree," said Drew Holler, Walmart's U.S. vice president of people innovation, in an interview. "We felt strongly that this is something that would improve their lives and help us run a better business." The tuition program -- offered to part-time staff as well as full-timers -- is the latest move by Walmart to improve employee retention and engagement. A handful of other companies, including Starbucks and Amazon, also offer tuition support.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's a-look-back department
Mary Meeker has published her anticipated internet trends report of 2018. This year, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner released 284 slides in rapid succession, covering everything from smartphone behavior in the U.S. to tech company competition in China. Some takeaways: 1. 2017 was the first year in which smartphone unit shipments didn't grow at all. As more of the world become smartphone owners, growth has been harder and harder to come by. The same goes for internet user growth, which rose 7 percent in 2017, down from 12 percent the year before. With more than half the world online, there are fewer people left to connect. 2. People, however, are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption. 3. Despite the high-profile releases of $1,000 iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Notes, the global average selling price of smartphones is continuing to decline. 4. Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017. 5. Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo's installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter. 6. Tech companies are facing a "privacy paradox." They're caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy. The most popular courses on learning platform Coursera last year were (in descending order): Machine Learning (Stanford), Neural Networks & Deeper Learning (Deeplearning.ai), Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects (UC San Diego), Introduction to Mathematical Thinking (Stanford), Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Technologies (Princeton), Programming for Everybody (University of Michigan), Algorithms, Part I (Princeton), English for Career Development (University of Pennsylvania), Neural Networks / Machine Learning (University of Toronto), and Financial Markets (Yale).Read Replies (0)