By BeauHD from Slashdot's sigh-of-relief department
The mosquito-borne Zika virus that causes microcephaly and other birth defects is no longer a world health emergency, according to the World Health Organization. It is a virus that requires a long-term approach. USA Today reports: By downgrading the emergency status for Zika, the organization will now shift to a longer-term approach for fighting the virus that has spread across Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Zika was also found in parts of the Miami area. The virus "is not going away," WHO said on Twitter. "Countries need to be prepared and strengthen detection and prevention, as well as care and support for people." Nearly 30 countries have reported birth defects linked to the virus. WHO, which designated the health emergency in February, says more than 2,100 cases of nervous-system malformations have been reported in Brazil alone. The virus continues to spread geographically to areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are established, the organization noted. Most people who are infected by the virus do not get sick, but can suffer fever, rash and joint pain. The virus, however, can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's medical-breakthrough department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Inquisitr: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced this week that a "remarkable" breakthrough has been made in the study of preventing and treating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), according to a press release posted on the agency's official website. The breakthrough centers around the discovery of a powerful antibody named N6 that is highly effective in both binding to the surface of the HIV virus and neutralizing it. The former has proved elusive in the past. "Identifying broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV has been difficult because the virus rapidly changes its surface proteins to evade recognition by the immune system," the press release explains. The antibody was initially discovered in an HIV-positive person and has since proven to potentially neutralize 98 percent of HIV isolates, "including 16 of 20 strains resistant to other antibodies of the same class," according to the press release. Researchers have had previous success with other antibodies, but N6 appears to be more effective. The new discovery has potential benefits far beyond preventing and treating HIV as well. Studying exactly how N6 works could potentially lead to breakthroughs in other anti-viral antibodies. "Findings from the current study showed that N6 evolved a unique mode of binding that depends less on a variable area of the HIV envelope known as the V5 region and focuses more on conserved regions, which change relatively little among HIV strains," NIAID explains. "This allows N6 to tolerate changes in the HIV envelope, including the attachment of sugars in the V5 region, a major mechanism by which HIV develops resistance to other VRC01-class antibodies. Due to its potency, N6 may offer stronger and more durable prevention and treatment benefits, and researchers may be able to administer it subcutaneously (into the fat under the skin) rather than intravenously. In addition, its ability to neutralize nearly all HIV strains would be advantageous for both prevention and treatment strategies."Read Replies (0)
Amazon Now Sells Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '16 at 06:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's one-click-away department
Fiat Chrysler said it has teamed up with Amazon to sell its cars via the e-commerce company's site. Not only will you be able to order a car with a simple click online, but doing so will earn you an additional discount. Reuters reports: Initially only Italian buyers will be able to purchase their cars with a simple click online and the offers on Amazon. It will be limited to three models -- the 500, the Panda and the 500L. FCA said the choice was deliberate because the Panda is Italy's biggest selling car, while buyers of the 500 and its larger 500L version embody the young and adventurous nature this initiative is trying to appeal to. "The time has arrived to give consumers a new, more efficient and transparent way to choose a new vehicle," Gianluca Italia, responsible for Fiat Chrysler in Italy, said during an online press conference. The manager at the world's seventh largest carmaker said the partnership will appeal to buyers looking for deals from the comfort of their own home, adding that existing promotions will be improved by up to 33 percent for online customers. So, after making their clicks online, buyers will be contacted by Amazon to decide on a dealer where they can finalize their purchase and pick up the car. The vehicle should be ready within two weeks of the initial click.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's another-one-bites-the-dust department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Earlier this week, news broke that following a complaint from the MPAA, local piracy giant FS.to was raided by police, with more than 60 servers seized and 19 people arrested. That investigation is still ongoing but now an even bigger target has folded in its wake. Founded in 2009, EX.UA is Ukraine's largest cyberlocker and one of the largest sites in the country, period. With millions of visitors each day the site is a much-loved resource but very shortly the platform will close its doors for good. In an announcement to users, EX.UA's owners said that it was time to throw in the towel after 12 months of trouble for the site and potential legal trouble ahead. "Over the past year EX.UA has had a chance to feel the direct threats, blackmail (including at the international level), and DDOS attacks. These actions jeopardize the personal information and personal files stored by users on the service," the site announced. EX.UA's operators say they have always tried to operate with respect for the laws of Ukraine, including dealing with takedowns quickly. However, the site does not approve of the system of distribution and rights management in place in the country and says it was one of the site's goals to raise this issue in Ukrainian society. Just recently, Ukraine passed a law which will allow copyright holders to block allegedly infringing sites without obtaining a court order. This, EX.UA says, is a sign of "uncivilized lobbying" and will only result in less respect for copyright. Faced with a change in the law and a desire to respect it, EX.UA's operators say that they will shut down the site. Users have just under two weeks to save their files.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pros-and-cons department
Last month, Apple unveiled new MacBook Pros, featuring an OLED Touch Bar, Touch ID, and all-new form factor that shaves off roughly 3mm in thickness. There are three base versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel Core i5 processors and 8GB of memory (upgradable to 16GB RAM and dual-core Intel Core i7 processors) for $1,499, $1,799 and $1,999. The base model 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with Core i7 processors and 16GB of memory for $2,399 and $2,799. Of course, adapters and AppleCare support are sold separately. The new laptops are great for Apple users -- but what about Windows users? Is there a Windows laptop that matches the new MacBook Pro in terms of build quality, reliability, and performance? Jack Schofield via The Guardian attempts to help Patrick, who is looking for a PC that matches Apple's new offerings as closely as possible. "I use my Mac for all the usual surfing, watching videos, listening to music and so on," Patrick writes. "I also use Adobe Photoshop pretty heavily and video-editing software more lightly." Schofield writes: The Dell XPS 13 and 15 are the most obvious alternatives to MacBooks. Unfortunately, they are at the top of this price range. You can still get an old-model XPS 13 (9350) for $950, but that has a Core i5-6200U with only 4GB of memory. The latest 9360 version has a 2.5GHz Core i5-7200U, 8GB of memory and a 128GB SSD for $1,050. If you go for a 512GB SSD at $1,150, you're only saving $420 on a new 2.0GHz MacBook Pro. HP's Spectre x360 range offers similar features to Dell's XPS range, except that all the x360 laptops have touch screens that you can rotate to enable "tent" (eg for movie viewing) or tablet operation. The cheapest model is the HP Spectre x360 13-4126na. This has a 13in screen, a Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for $1,050. You can upgrade to an HP Spectre x360 13-4129na with better screen resolution -- 2560 x 1440 instead of 1920 x 1080 -- plus a 2.5GHz Core i7-6500U and 512GB SSD for $1,270. Again, this is not much cheaper than a 2.0GHz MacBook Pro 13. You could also look at the Lenovo ThinkPad T560, which is a robust, professional 15.6in laptop that starts at $800. Do any Slashdotters have any comparable Windows laptops in mind that could replace a new MacBook Pro?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's license-and-registration department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: In bitcoin-related investigations, authorities will often follow the digital trail of an illegal transaction or suspicious user back to a specific account at a bitcoin trading company. From here, investigators will likely subpoena the company for records about that particular user, so they can then properly identify the person suspected of a crime. The Internal Revenue Service, however, has taken a different approach. Instead of asking for data relating to specific individuals suspected of a crime, it has demanded bitcoin trading site Coinbase to provide the identities of all of the firm's U.S. customers who made transactions over a three year period, because there is a chance they are avoiding paying taxes on their bitcoin reserves. Coinbase has a total of millions of customers. According to court filings, which were first flagged by financial blogger Zerohedge on Twitter, the IRS has launched an investigation to determine the correct amount of tax that those who use virtual currencies such as bitcoin are obligated to pay. But according to the documents, the IRS is asking for the identities of any U.S. Coinbase customer who transferred crypto-currency with the service between 2013 and 2015. "The John Does whose identities are sought by the summons are United States persons who, at any time during the period January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2015, conducted transactions in a convertible virtual currency," reads a memorandum written by Department of Justice attorneys and filed on Thursday, November 17.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department
A new industry-funded research study, titled "Broadband competition helps to lower prices and faster download speeds for U.S. residential consumers," analyzed DSL, cable, and fiber broadband plans from the 100 largest designated market areas in the U.S. and found that when a city has gigabit internet speeds, the price of plans with slower speeds drop. Therefore, customers who don't purchase gigabit internet plans will still benefit from their availability. Ars Technica highlights the key findings of the study in their report: -The presence of gigabit service in a market is associated with a $27 decrease in the average monthly price of broadband plans with speeds of 100Mbps or greater but less than 1Gbps. That's a 25 percent price reduction.
-Markets with gigabit Internet also see smaller price decreases for plans as slow as 25Mbps. The presence of gigabit Internet has no significant effect on prices of plans with speeds below 25Mbps. This isn't that surprising since the slowest plans are already the cheapest and aren't suitable substitutes for gigabit speeds.
-Gigabit prices decline when at least two providers offer gigabit service. "If a DMA moves from having one to two providers of gigabit Internet, we estimate that the standard monthly price for gigabit Internet will decline by approximately $57 to $62, which is equal to a reduction in price of between 34 and 37 percent," the study said. Going from one to three gigabit competitors would reduce prices by an estimated $98.11 to $106.50 per month.
-Competition at any speed reduces prices. "An increase of one competitor is associated with approximately a $1.50 decline in the monthly standard broadband price for Internet plans with speeds ranging from 50Mbps to less than 1Gbps," the study said. For plans with download speeds of less than 25Mbps, the decrease in average monthly price is $0.42 for each competitor.
< article continued at Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department
>Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's other-side department
The internet of things, also known as connected things, have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, but that doesn't mean they are utterly rubbish. Smart bottles that dispense the correct dose of medication at the correct time, for instance, coupled with digital assistants, and chairs that know how long you've sat in them are among the devices set to change the face of care for those living with dementia. From a report on The Guardian: While phone calls and text messages help to keep people in touch, says Idris Jahn, head of health and data at IoTUK, a program within the government-backed Digital Catapult, problems can still arise, from missed appointments to difficulties in taking medication correctly. But he adds, connected sensors and devices that collect and process data in real time could help solve the problem. "For [people living with dementia] the sensors would be more in the environment itself, so embedded into the plug sockets, into the lights -- so it is effectively invisible. You carry on living your life but in the background things will monitor you and provide feedback to people who need to know," he said. "That might be your carer, it might be your family, it might be your clinician." The approach, he added, has the potential to change the way care is given. "It is having that cohesive mechanism to put everyone into the loop, which I think hasn't existed in the past and it is something that people need."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's not-really-twins department
Not all iPhone 7s are created equal, it turns out. The latest flagship smartphones from Apple that run on Verizon's network are technically capable of downloading data faster than those from AT&T. Yet in testing, the two phones perform about the same, according to researchers at Twin Prime Inc. and Cellular Insights. From a Bloomberg report: Neither firm is clear on the reason, but Twin Prime says it may be because Apple isn't using all the potential of a crucial component in the Verizon version. "The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon's network capabilities," said Gabriel Tavridis, head of product at Twin Prime. "I doubt that Apple is throttling each bit on the Verizon iPhone, but it could have chosen to not enable certain features of the network chip." "Every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus meets or exceeds all of Apple's wireless performance standards, quality metrics, and reliability testing," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. "In all of our rigorous lab tests based on wireless industry standards, in thousands of hours of real-world field testing, and in extensive carrier partner testing, the data shows there is no discernible difference in the wireless performance of any of the models." It would be an unusual step for a major phone company to restrain its devices. Normally, companies battle to make the fastest, most reliable handsets. Apple may be doing this because it wants to ensure a uniform iPhone experience, according to analysts.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's important-discussions department
A new report by Danwood, which surveyed 1,000 office workers, almost half said that they print something every day and 84 percent said printing things on paper at work was an "important aspect of work." In the past, we have seen a trend growing at many workplaces where things are moving increasingly digital, implying strongly that our reliance on paper must be reducing as a result. From a report: Danwood even cites a recent IDC research which says 49 percent of business expect their print volumes to increase over the next two years. Eight in ten (80 percent) of respondents say they need paper documents to get their job done. "Despite a move to digitization, organizations remain reliant on print", says Danwood CEO Wes Mulligan. "Businesses are mindful of unnecessary waste when it comes to physical documents, but print and digital will continue to coexist in today's organizations. The easiest way to strike a balance is to look at ways that you can better integrate paper and digital processes to have a real impact on efficiency, productivity and cost reduction."What do you guys think? Will we ever hit a stage where paper will have a minimal footprint, if at all, at workplaces?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's global-expansion department
For years, Amazon's Prime Video on-demand streaming service has been available in limited regions, such as the United States and United Kingdom (along with a handful of other markets), but that's changing now. Amazon is expanding the Prime Video service to more than 200 new markets. The announcement comes via The Grand Tour motor show, which premieres in select places Friday. Earlier this week, show's hosts -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May -- posted on Amazon website that their new show will be streamed in over 200 nations (pretty much everywhere where BBC's Top Gear is broadcasted and streamed). Speaking of which, fans of the Grand Tour will be able to watch the show worldwide starting next month, and once Prime Video is available in their region, they will be able watch new episodes at the same time as others. The move comes months after Netflix expanded to 130 new regions in January this year. Netflix is available in roughly 200 territories as well.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's job-cuts department
Volkswagen has announced plans to cut 30,000 jobs worldwide with about 23,000 of the losses borne in Germany. From a report on BBC:VW, still dealing with the aftermath of the emissions-cheating scandal, aims to rejuvenate its core brand, and develop new electric and self-driving cars. VW says it will create 9,000 jobs as part of investments in new products. The cuts should bring annual savings of $3.92bn by 2020. VW and unions have been hammering out a plan to revive its fortunes since June. Volkswagen chief executive, Matthias Mueller, said it was "the biggest modernisation programme in the history of the group's core brand." "The VW brand needs a real shake-up and that is exactly what the future pact has turned out to be," he added. The car giant -- which employs 610,000 people in 31 countries -- wants to increase the brand's profit margin from 2% to 4% and to do this it will need to improve productivity at its German plants by 25%.Read Replies (0)