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World's Largest Commercial Aircraft Engine Fired Up For The First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on April 21 '16 at 03:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's world-record department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Gizmag: With a front fan spreading a full 11 ft (3.35 m), the GE9X is a world record holder and generates thrust in the order of 100,000 lb. To accommodate the aeronautical behemoth, the Peebles facility was recently upgraded with a larger air intake, extra fuel tanks to feed the giant engine, and high temperature gear to deal with the hotter, more efficient design. GE says that the GE9X is currently undergoing its first Full Engine To Test (FETT). This is the next level of the test series, which began in 2011 at the component level, and marks the first test of the complete system, which comes only six months after the engine design was finalized. GE says that this relatively early testing was to ensure that the test data was available as soon as possible for the certification engines, which are scheduled to be installed in GE Aviation's flying test bed for certification of flight testing in 2018.

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Magic Leap Adds Virtual Reality Head-Tracking and Possibly Hand-Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on April 21 '16 at 12:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hype-is-real department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Networkworld: Magic Leap has made progress. A year ago, the MR apparatus wasn't really wearable. This may have been due to the sheer size of the prototype hardware, or the software that adjusts the illusion for head movement and changes in perspective may not have been completed. The complexity of the mathematics of this head-tracking applied to the complexity of the mathematics of Magic Leap's proprietary light-field chip may have required more development time. The Wired report of Kellyâ(TM)s experience indicates the prototype headset he tested is now wearable, perhaps untethered from a high-powered graphics-rendering computer used by the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Kellyâ(TM)s report raises the question: Could Magic Leap have implemented hand-tracking, too? He writes, âoeWhen I raise a hand, it approaches and extends a glowing appendage to touch my fingertip.â

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The 'Impossible' EM Drive Being Tested By NASA May Finally Be Explained
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's curious-link department:
MarkWhittington writes: The EmDrive, the so-called "impossible" space drive that uses no propellant, has roiled the aerospace world for the past several years ever since it was proposed by British aerospace engineer Robert Shawyer. In essence, the claim advanced by Shawyer and others is that if you bounced microwaves in a truncated cone, thrust would be produced out the open end. Most scientists have snorted at the idea, noting correctly that such a thing would violate physical laws. However, organizations as prestigious as NASA have replicated the same results, that prototypes of the EmDrive produces thrust. How does one reconcile the experimental results with the apparent scientific impossibility? MIT Technology Review suggested a reason why.

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Prescription Meds Get Trapped In Disturbing Pee-To-Food-To-Pee Loop
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's I-have-no-appetite department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A study published Tuesday in Environmental Science and Technology is the first to validate the long-held suspicion that pharmaceuticals may get trapped in infinite pee-to-food-to-pee loops, exposing consumers to drug doses with unknown health effects. In a randomized, single-blind pilot study, researchers found that anti-convulsive epilepsy drug carbamazepine, which is released in urine, can accumulate in crops irrigated with recycled water -- treated sewage -- and end up in the urine of produce-eaters not on the drugs. While the amounts of the drug in produce-eater's pee were four orders of magnitude lower than what is seen in the pee of patients purposefully taking the drugs, researchers speculate that the trace amounts could still have health effects in some people, such as those with a genetic sensitivity to the drugs, pregnant women, children, and those who eat a lot of produce, such as vegetarians. And with the growing practice of reclaiming wastewater for crop irrigation -- particularly in places that face water shortages such as California, Israel, and Spain --- the produce contamination could become more common and more potent, the authors argue.

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Comcast To Allow TV Customers To Ditch Set-Top Box
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's throwing-money-away department:
An anonymous reader writes: In response to the FCC's efforts to open up the pay-TV set-top box market, Comcast said today it will allow some of its subscribers to watch TV without leasing a set-top box. Customers with a Roku TV, Roku streaming media player, or 2016 Samsung Smart TV will be able to watch Comcast's TV programming through the Xfinity TV app embedded in the TV set or Roku devices later this year. However, customers will still have to subscribe to a standard cable TV package from Comcast's Xfinity brand. "We remain committed to giving our customers more choice in how, when and where they access their subscription," said Mark Hess, a Comcast senior vice president, in a prepared statement. The FCC has responded to Comcast's recent announcement saying in a statement, "While we do not know all of the details of this announcement, it appears to offer only a proprietary, Comcast-controlled user interface and seems to allow only Comcast content on different devices, rather than allowing those devices to integrate or search across Comcast content as well as other content consumers subscribe to."

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Google Records Over 750,000 'Hijacking' Breaches In One Year
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 04:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shocking-statistics department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new study by Google and the University of California, Berkeley, claims over 700,000 websites were breached between June 2014 and June 2015. The research shows that "miscreants" had routinely hijacked thousands of vulnerable web servers for "cheap hosting and traffic acquisition." The exact number of recorded "hijacking incidents" within the period was 760,935 but google has been said they were able to curb the amount of breaches through direct communication with webmasters. Google's Safe Browsing Alerts sends notifications to network admins when potentially dangerous URLs are detected on their networks. These have reportedly increased the likelihood of a "cleanup" by more than 50 percent and reduced "infection lengths" by at least 62 percent. According to The Next Web, WordPress topped the chart of platforms that experienced the most breaches (almost half of all attacks). English websites experienced the most attacks, with Chinese, German, Japanese and Russian language websites following closely behind.

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Senate Passes Bipartisan Energy Bill To Develop New Technologies, Improve Cybersecurity
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 04:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-together department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: The U.S. Senate acted in a bipartisan fashion to pass a sweeping energy bill, touching on everything from cybersecurity for power plants to the future of the grid. The bill resulted from collaboration between Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell. The bill, if it merges with House legislation and becomes law, would unleash billions in research and development on new energy technologies, including energy storage, hydrokinetic and marine energy and advancing the electric grid. Many of these initiatives have substantial aisle-crossing appeal, and some could, at least indirectly, help address the problem of climate change. The bill also reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and contains provisions promoting more research on the sequestering of carbon emissions from coal burning and hastening the approval of pipelines and liquefied natural gas exports. The bill, said Alliance to Save Energy president Kateri Callahan, "not only saves homeowners and businesses money and creates jobs, but it also has a huge environmental return by avoiding 1.5 billion tons of carbon emissions. Energy efficiency truly is a win-win-win for our country, making our economy more energy productive, protecting our environment and enhancing our energy security."

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EMV Technology In Credit and Debit Cards Reducing Counterfeit Fraud, Says Visa
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 02:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-a-brighter-future department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on USA Today: The new chip-enabled cards flowing into the U.S. marketplace have already made a dent in fraud, with some of the biggest merchants seeing a dip of more than 18% in counterfeit transactions, according to Visa. Among the 25 merchants who were suffering the most instances of counterfeit fraud at the end of 2014, five that began processing credit and debit cards equipped with the new EMV technology saw those infractions fall 18.3% as of the final quarter of 2015, says Stephanie Ericksen, vice president of risk products at Visa. Meanwhile, five of those merchants who were not yet equipped to handle chip-enabled cards saw an increase in fraudulent transactions of 11.4%. "We're seeing EMV is having a positive impact on counterfeit fraud," Ericksen says. "Merchants who implement chip, their counterfeit fraud is going down, while those still finalizing plans, their counterfeit fraud is going up."Also from the report, "Visa on Tuesday also announced a software upgrade that will shave the amount of time spent on chip card transactions. With 'Quick Chip,' consumers can dip their chip cards into the terminal and withdraw it in two seconds or less, instead of waiting until their purchase is authorized. The consumer can 'put the card in the terminal and put it right back in your wallet and . . . move to get their coffee, or hamburger or start bagging their groceries,' Ericksen says. Ars Technica has more details.

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Scientist Shrinks Arduino To Size Of An AA Battery
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand department:
An anonymous reader writes: Johan Kanflo has managed to make the already small Tiny328 Arduino clone into an even smaller computing platform about the size of a single AA battery. Not only will it fit in a typical AA battery holder, but it will actually draw power from the batteries beside it as it's wired in "backwards" (with the + and - poles reversed). The Arduino platform consists of open-source hardware, open-source software, and microcontroller-based kits, making it easy to (re)program the processors, and develop software for hardware applications using a java-clone and an easy-to-learn IDE. For those interested in the AAduino, Johan has made his creation available online on Github with instructions and schematics to build your own.

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US Treasury To Feature Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 01:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's people-still-use-physical-currency? department:
An anonymous reader writes: Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American woman to be featured on the face of U.S. paper currency in more than a century. Tubman was born a slave and went on to become an anti-slavery crusader. Ironically, she will be replacing Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the U.S. and a slave owner. According to Wikipedia, "Jackson held as many as 44 [slaves] by 1820, and later held up to 150 slaves, making him among planter elite. Throughout his lifetime Jackson may have owned as many as 300 slaves." The decision to feature a woman on a bill started in part from a young girl's letter to President Obama about the lack of women on U.S. currency. A social media campaign "Women on 20s" then began pushing for a woman to replace Jackson on the currency early last year. Originally, the department announced it would feature a woman on the $10 bill instead of Alexander Hamilton. Now it's being reported Hamilton will stay on the front of the bill with a group of women on the back of it. Civil rights era leaders will reportedly be depicted in the new $5 bill.

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Almost Nothing About the 'Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones' Story Is True
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 01:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's eye-opener department:
Jason Koebler, reporting for Motherboard: You may have seen a viral headline floating around over the last few days: Apple recycled $40 million worth of gold last year, which was extracted from iPhones. Almost none of what was reported is true. [...] Here is the truth: Apple paid independent recyclers to recycle old electronics -- which were almost never Apple products, by the way -- because it's required by law to do so. Far from banking $40 million on the prospect, Apple likely ended up taking an overall monetary loss. This is not because Apple is a bad actor or is hiding anything, it's simply how the industry works. All electronics manufacturers that sell products in the United States are required to do e-waste recycling under laws enacted in 25 states. The laws are different in each state, but none of them require Apple to recycle Apple products. Instead, they usually require manufacturers to recycle a certain amount of pounds of e-waste, which is linked to either their market share or to the overall weight of products they sell. That's why you see Apple noting that it recycled "71 percent of the total weight of products we sold seven years earlier."

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Mitsubishi Motors Pulls a Volkswagen; Shares Drop
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 11:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's car-makers-lying,-again department:
Reader Zane C. writes: The president of Japan's sixth largest auto corporation has admitted to manipulating test data on fuel economy (mileage test data) for 625,000 total eK Wagon and eK Space models, as well as the Dayz and Dayz Roox models produced for Nissan Motors. The tests overstated fuel efficiency by 5 percent to 10 percent. The offending models have been taken off the market until the problem is fixed, and foreign markets are being investigated for similar violations. Upon the announcement of the manipulations, Mitsubishi's stock dropped 15% and it lost 1.2 billion dollars in market value. The company apologized for the deception and said that it is investigating the employees involved. According to Mitsubishi, it was Nissan's in-house testers that discovered the discrepancy between the cars' published fuel efficiency data, and their real-life results. The affected models are sold exclusively in Japan.

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Canonical To Release Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS 'Xenial Xerus' Tomorrow
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 11:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's omg-new-ubuntu-release department:
An anonymous reader writes: Canonical announced today that it will be releasing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Thursday, April 21. The sixth major release of Ubuntu Long-Term Support (LTS) features the new 'snap' package format and LXD pure-container hypervisor. "The addition of 'snaps' for faster and simpler updates, and the LXD container hypervisor for ultra-fast and ultra-dense cloud computing demonstrate a commitment to customer needs that sets Ubuntu apart as the platform for innovation and scale," said Dustin Kirkland who leads platform strategy at Canonical. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces a new application format, the 'snap', which can be installed alongside traditional deb packages. The snap format is much easier to secure and much easier to produce, and offers operational benefits for organizations managing many Ubuntu devices, which will bring more robust updates and more secure applications across all form factors from phone to cloud.

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Can Switzerland Become a Safe Haven For the World's Data?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 11:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's seems-like-a-good-idea department:
An anonymous reader shares an interesting article on Daily Dot which lists a number of reasons why Switzerland should be deemed as the nation for storing all of your data. The article reads: As United States and European Union regulators debate a sweeping new data-privacy agreement, Switzerland is presenting itself as a viable neutral location for storing the world's data thanks to strict privacy laws and ideal infrastructure. The Swiss constitution guarantees data privacy under Article 13. The country's laws protecting privacy are similar to those enacted by the E.U. Swiss data protections are also, in some cases, much stricter than those of the E.U., according to Nicola Benz, attorney at Swiss law firm Froriep. And since Switzerland is not part of the E.U., data stored there remains outside the reach of the union's authorities. [...] The country's tight privacy laws could make the small nation more attractive to privacy-focused start-ups. And it already has that momentum. After the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden 2013 revelations about the National Security Agency's secret surveillance activities, Switzerland witnessed something of a boom in its data-center business. Phil Zimmermann, creator of the popular PGP encryption protocol and founder of Silent Circle, even left the U.S. for Switzerland last year, citing the overreach of American authorities. Andy Yen, CEO of Swiss-based encrypted email service Protonmail, said that the country has robust processes in how it carries out data requests from authorities. Data requests have to go through a court like in most countries, said Yen, but "the person that's having their data requested needs to be notified eventually about the request happening and there's an opportunity to fight it in an open court. This is quite different than the U.S., where things can go through a so-called FISA court."

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Oracle Patches 136 Flaws In 49 Products
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 10:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's that's-gotta-be-a-record department:
An anonymous reader writes: Oracle has released the April 2016 Critical Patch Update, which provides fixes for 136 vulnerabilities in 49 products, including Java SE and MySQL, the company's Database Server and E-Business Suite, its Fusion Middleware, and its Sun Systems Products Suite. "Oracle continues to periodically receive reports of attempts to maliciously exploit vulnerabilities for which Oracle has already released fixes. In some instances, it has been reported that attackers have been successful because targeted customers had failed to apply available Oracle patches. Oracle therefore strongly recommends that customers remain on actively-supported versions and apply Critical Patch Update fixes without delay," the company advised.

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Anders Behring Breivik, Norway Murderer, Wins Human Rights Case
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 10:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's hmm department:
An anonymous reader writes: Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has won part of his lawsuit against the state over his solitary confinement in a high-security prison, the Oslo district court ruled on Wednesday. Breivik, who killed 77 people in a shooting rampage and bombing attack in 2011 (the country's worst acts of violence since the second world war), was served with "inhuman or degrading treatment," the court found, adding that his conditions must be eased. The court said that the prison violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Brevik had noted that "solitary confinement, as well as frequent strip searches and the fact that he was often handcuffed while moving between cells, violated his human rights." The court, in addition, also ordered the government to pay legal costs of roughly $40,600 for the right-wing extremist. The Guardian reports, "Although Breivik is detained in a three-cell complex where he can play video games, watch TV and exercise, judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic of the Oslo district court ruled that the Norwegian state had broken article 3 of the convention. The prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment "represents a fundamental value in a democratic society", she said in a written decision. "This applies no matter what -- also in the treatment of terrorists and killers."

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Ford Spent $200,000 To Dissect a Limited-Edition Tesla Model X
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's I-despise-you,-but-I-want-to-see-how-you-make-cars department:
An anonymous reader writes: Ford Motor paid a sum of $199,950 ($55,000 more than the retail price) to buy one of the first sport utility vehicles made by Tesla Motors, reports Bloomberg, citing vehicle registration documents. The white Model X is a Founders Series with a vehicle identification number indicating it was the 64th one made at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California. The vehicle, with Michigan plates, has been spotted recently in the Detroit area. Automakers often buy cars made by competitors for road testing and for 'tear-downs' to reveal components and materials and how they're put together. But it's unusual to pay such a high price -- almost $212,000 after Michigan sales tax and title -- for such an early model.Well, this $200,000 could shave off hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development.

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Microsoft Stops Xbox 360 Production, Servers To Stay Online
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's it's-time-to-let-go department:
Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has stopped manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. "Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft," wrote Phil Spencer, Xbox chief. "And while we've had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us." The company says that it will, obviously, continue to sell the existing inventory of Xbox 360, a gaming console it launched on November 22, 2005. Xbox 360 game servers will also remain functional, the company said. Microsoft also assured that services such as Games with Gold and Deals with Gold will continue on Xbox 360, and if your console runs into a hardware issue, Xbox Support will take care of it. The Xbox 360 is currently available for purchase at $199.99, for a 500GB model with a copy of Forza Horizon 2. Microsoft added Xbox 360 backward compatibility to its current generation Xbox One console last year.

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Stephen Fry Urges Young To Flee 'Dystopian' Social Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 07:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's word-of-wisdom? department:
An anonymous reader writes: English writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry has urged his fans to abandon social networks, comparing such platforms to 'dystopian' forms of government seen in 1970s sci-fi films such as Logan's Run and Soylent Green. In a 2,600-word essay, the comedian, who had over four million Twitter followers prior to deleting his account in February, also compared the 'surveilled conformity' of social media to the unreal state of society depicted in The Matrix. "Who most wants you to stay on the grid? The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies -- once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers," he writes. "Well, if you're young and have an ounce of pride, doesn't that list say it all?"

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BT Funnels All Customers' Sent Emails Into One Guy's Inbox
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 07:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's poor-guy-Steve department:
Shaun Nichols, reporting for The Register: The UK's biggest broadband provider BT redirected its customers' outgoing emails to a single account for three hours on Tuesday. The telco said the flooded inbox was an internal account it uses for test purposes and not a random unlucky subscriber. While BT did not provide details on the reason for the disruption, it appears to be the result of testing or maintenance gone awry. "A small number of customers reported an issue sending emails earlier. Sorry about this, it's fixed now," BT said in a statement to El Reg. "The mailbox in the delivery failure notification was for internal/test use and appeared in error, sorry for any confusion that caused." The emails were going to an account which belonged to someone named Steve Webb. The Register reports that Steve Webb works for one of BT's contractors. For Webb, I fear, Tuesday wasn't a productive day.

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