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Denmark Is Killing Tesla and Other Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's roadblock department:
An anonymous shares an article: The electric car has dropped out of favor in the country that pioneered renewable energy. Sales in Denmark of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (ECV), which include plug-in hybrids, plunged 60.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first three months of 2016, according to latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That contrasts with an increase of nearly 80 percent in neighboring Sweden and an average rise of 30 percent in the European Union. Denmark, a global leader in wind power whose own attempt at an electric car in the early 1980s famously flopped, used to be enthralled with them. Its bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark's. The figures suggest clean-energy vehicles still aren't attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy. However, it turns out that those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.

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Walmart Is Turning Its Employees Into Delivery Drivers To Compete With Amazon
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-moves department:
Walmart, which is aggressively investing in e-commerce to better compete with Amazon, is unveiling a new strategy: turning its army of 1.5 million US employees into delivery drivers. From a report: The tactic is being tested at three stores in New Jersey and Arkansas, and designed to shave costs out of the "last mile" of distribution, the most expensive part of getting goods to customers. Under the initiative, store employees will be given the option to deliver packages on their way home after work, in exchange for extra pay. They'll be given an app that allows them to input their routes, and an algorithm will plot the most efficient path. To take part, the employees will have to pass a background and vehicle check.

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After Bomb Threats, FCC Proposes Letting Police Unveil Anonymous Callers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tightening-bolts department:
Police should be allowed to unmask anonymous callers who have made serious threats over the phone, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed. From a report: The proposal would allow law enforcement, and potentially the person who's been called, to learn the phone number of an anonymous caller if they receive a "serious and imminent" threat that poses "substantial risk to property, life, safety, or health." Specifics are still up in the air. The FCC is asking (PDF), for instance, whether unveiled caller ID information should only be provided to law enforcement officials investigating a threat, to ensure that this exemption isn't abused.

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Trump Misunderstood MIT Climate Research, University Officials Say
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's lost-in-the-translation department:
MIT officials said U.S. President Donald Trump badly misunderstood their research when he cited it on Thursday to justify withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. From a report: Trump announced during a speech at the White House Rose Garden that he had decided to pull out of the landmark climate deal, in part because it would not reduce global temperatures fast enough to have a significant impact. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100," Trump said. "Tiny, tiny amount." That claim was attributed to research conducted by MIT, according to White House documents seen by Reuters. The Cambridge, Massaschusetts-based research university published a study in April 2016 titled "How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?" showing that if countries abided by their pledges in the deal, global warming would slow by between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. "We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement," said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study's authors. "If we don't do anything, we might shoot over 5 degrees or more and that would be catastrophic," said John Reilly, the co-director of the program, adding that MIT's scientists had had no contact with the White House and were not offered a chance to explain their work.

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EU Commissioner Says No to Bill Gates' Robot Tax Idea
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's different-perspective department:
Andrus Ansip, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Single Market, has said that he does not support Bill Gates' idea of taxing robots that replace human workers. From a report: Microsoft founder Gates made an argument for robots incurring taxes equivalent to that worker's income taxes during an interview in February. "Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed," he said. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think that we'd tax the robot at a similar level." But Ansip has made it clear that he is not in favor of a robot tax. Speaking during a CNBC-hosted panel at the Pioneers tech conference in Vienna on Thursday, Ansip said the "aim of taxation is not just (to) collect revenues... but to increase salaries of teachers and police," CNBC reports. "No way. No way," he added, when asked if he would support the tax.

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LG Joins NFC Payment Party With LG Pay
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's gaining-momentum department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple and Samsung have been fattening their pockets with digital wallets for years, and now LG wants in. The company rolled out LG Pay in South Korea on Friday, it said in a statement. South Korean users of the LG G6 will be the first to be able to use the service. LG Pay allows users to register up to 10 of their frequently used cards, including credit, membership and transportation cards. To make payment with LG Pay, users tap their phone against a credit card terminal and scan their fingerprint.

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Anti-Aging Start-Up Is Charging Thousands of Dollars for Teen Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-Silicon-Valley department:
An anonymous reader writes: A startup called Ambrosia is charging about $8,000 a pop for blood transfusions from people under 25, Jesse Karmazin said at Code Conference. Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists, like Thiel, though Karmazin stressed that tech types aren't Ambrosia's only clients, and that anyone over 35 is eligible for its transfusions. Karmazin was inspired to found Ambrosia after seeing studies researchers had done involving sewing mice together with their veins conjoined. Some aspects of aging, one 2013 study found, could be reversed when older mice get blood from younger ones, but other researchers haven't been able to replicate these results, and the benefits of parabiosis in humans remains unclear. "I think the animal and retrospective data is compelling, and I want this treatment to be available to people," Karmazin told the MIT Technology Review.

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British Airways IT Outage Caused By Contractor Who Accidentally Switched off Power
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 06:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's getting-to-the-bottom-of-things department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A contractor doing maintenance work at a British Airways data centre inadvertently switched off the power supply, knocking out the airline's computer systems and leaving 75,000 people stranded last weekend, according to reports. A BA source told The Times the power supply unit that sparked the IT failure was working perfectly but was accidentally shut down by a worker.

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Intel Predicts a $7 Trillion Self-Driving Future Where Over a Million Lives Will Be Part of the 'Passenger Economy'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 05:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's passenger-economy department:
Intel has released a new study that predicts a $7 trillion annual revenue stream from the emerging passenger economy. In the report, Intel says that the companies that don't prepare for self-driving risk failure or extinction. Additionally, the report finds that over a half a million lives could be saved by self-driving cars over just one decade. The Verge reports: The study, prepared by Strategy Analytics, predicts autonomous vehicles will create a massive economic opportunity that will scale from $800 billion in 2035 (the base year of the study) to $7 trillion by 2050. An estimated 585,000 lives could be saved due to autonomous vehicles between 2035 and 2045, the study predicts. This âoepassenger economy,â as Intel is calling it, includes the value of the products and services derived from fully autonomous vehicles as well as indirect savings such as time. Autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries, the study predicts, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector. These autonomous vehicles will first appear in developed markets and will reinvent the package delivery and long-haul transportation sectors, says Strategy Analytics president Harvey Cohen, who co-authored the study. This will relieve driver shortages, a chronic problem in the industry, and account for two-thirds of initial projected revenues. One of the bolder predictions is that public transportation as we know it today â" trains, subways, light rails, and buses -- will be supplanted, or at least radically changed, by the rise of on-demand autonomous vehicle fleets. The study argues that people will flock to suburbs as population density rises in city centers, pushing commute times higher and âoeoutstripping the ability of public transport infrastructure to fully meet consumer mobility needs.â

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Take-Two Acquires Kerbal Space Program
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 02:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mergers-and-acquisitions department:
Eloking quotes a report from Polygon: Take-Two Interactive has purchased physics-based space simulation Kerbal Space Program, according to announcements from publisher Take-Two and developer Squad. "We have been impressed with Kerbal Space Program since its launch, and we are committed to grow this unique experience while continuing to support its passionate community," said Michael Worosz, senior vice president, head of corporate development and independent publishing at Take-Two, in a release. "We view Kerbal Space Program as a new, long-term franchise that adds a well-respected and beloved IP to Take-Two's portfolio as we continue to explore opportunities across the independent development landscape." Kerbal Space Program officially launched on PC in 2015. The game had been available through Steam's Early Access program since 2013. It has since gone on to sell more than 2 million copies on console and PC. Developer Squad said in a statement that the acquisition won't alter its plan for continued development of Kerbal Space Program. The developer is currently working on the Making History Expansion for the game.

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Third Gravitational Wave Detected From Black-Hole Merger 3 Billion Light Years Away
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '17 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-together department:
sycodon quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source): Astronomers said Thursday that they had felt space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns, some 3 billion light-years from here. This is the third black-hole smashup that astronomers have detected since they started keeping watch on the cosmos back in September 2015, with LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. All of them are more massive than the black holes that astronomers had previously identified as the remnants of dead stars. The latest detection was made at 10:11 GMT on January 4, and is described in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters. "The analysis suggests the two black holes that coalesced had starting masses that were just over 31 times and 19 times that of our Sun," reports BBC. "And when they finally came together, they produced a single object of a little under 49 solar masses. It means the unison radiated a simply colossal quantity of pure energy."

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Trump Administration Approves Tougher Visa Vetting, Including Social Media Checks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 08:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tightening-bolts department:
The Trump administration has rolled out a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years and biographical information going back 15 years. From a report: The new questions, part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, was approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget despite criticism from a range of education officials and academic groups during a public comment period. Critics argued that the new questions would be overly burdensome, lead to long delays in processing and discourage international students and scientists from coming to the United States. Under the new procedures, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, five years' worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history.

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A New Report Finds No Evidence That People Will Work Less Under a Universal Basic Income
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's money-back-guaranteed department:
Economists Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooeifrom for the Economic Research Forum have released a new report on the results of a basic income scheme launched in Iran in 2011. "In 2011, in response to heavy cuts to oil and gas subsidies, Iran implemented a program that guaranteed citizens cash payments of 29 percent of the nation's median income, which amounts to about $1.50 every day (about $16,000 per year in the U.S.)," reports The Outline. Here are the key findings: The report found no evidence for the idea that people will work less under a universal income, and found that in some cases, like in the service industry, people worked more, expanding their businesses or pursuing more satisfying lines of work. The researchers did find that young people -- specifically people in their twenties -- worked less, but noted that Iran never had a high level of employment among young people, and that they were likely enrolling in school with the added income. The evidence presented in the paper is compelling, but the anecdotal belief that handing people money will make them lazy is hard to shake. "The findings in this paper do not settle this question," the report's authors point out. "What we have accomplished is at the very least to shift the burden of proof on this issue to those who claim cash transfer [sic] make poor people lazy, and to show the need for better data and more research."

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61 Mayors Commit To Adopt, Honor and Uphold Paris Climate Accord After US Pulls Out
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's local-level department:
After President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, 61 mayors across the country have pledged to adopt the historic agreement themselves. The group of mayors, who represent 36 million Americans and some of the largest U.S. cities, outlined a plan to align with the other 194 nations that adopted the accord. From a statement provided by the climate mayors: We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we'll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks. The world cannot wait -- and neither will we.

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Tesla Fires Female Engineer Who Alleged Sexual Harassment
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's act-of-retaliation department:
Tesla has fired a female engineer who accused the company of ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment and paying her less than her male counterparts. AJ Vandermeyden, who went public with her discrimination lawsuit against Tesla in February, was dismissed from the company this week. The Guardian reports: Vandermeyden had claimed she was taunted and catcalled by male employees and that Tesla failed to address her complaints about the harassment, unequal pay and discrimination. "It's shocking in this day and age that this is still a fight we have to have," she said at the time. In a statement to the Guardian, Tesla confirmed the company had fired Vandermeyden, saying it had thoroughly investigated the employee's allegations with the help of "a neutral, third-party expert" and concluded her complaints were unmerited. "Despite repeatedly receiving special treatment at the expense of others, Ms Vandermeyden nonetheless chose to pursue a miscarriage of justice by suing Tesla and falsely attacking our company in the press," a Tesla spokesperson said. "After we carefully considered the facts on multiple occasions and were absolutely convinced that Ms Vandermeyden's claims were illegitimate, we had no choice but to end her employment at Tesla."

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China's Unprecedented Cyber Law Signals Its Intent To Protect a Precious Commodity: Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-regulations department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: An aggressive new cybersecurity and data protection law in China that goes into effect today will have global ripple effects, and could serve as a model for other governments. But the Chinese government has also left many parts of the law vague -- likely an intentional move meant to allow the country to stake out its own sense of "cyber sovereignty" while waiting to see how the U.S., Europe, and others decide to regulate the flow of data across international borders. The new law is a resounding announcement from China that it intends to be a global player in controlling perhaps the most precious commodity of the digital economy: data. It's hard to know how the law will actually change things because the most controversial aspects of it are so vague. Among them is a requirement that certain companies submit their products to the government for cybersecurity checks, which may even involve reviewing source code. How often it would be required, and how the government will determine which products must be reviewed is unknown. This could come into play as part of China's broader regulatory push to expand law enforcement's power to access data during criminal investigations. Another vague directive calls for companies to store certain data within the country's borders, in the interest of safeguarding sensitive information from espionage or other foreign meddling. The government has delayed the implementation of this change until the end of 2018, however.

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Google Unveils Design For 1 Million Squarefoot London Headquarters
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's architectural-statement department:
dryriver quotes a report from CNN: Google has released designs for a new 11-story, 1 million-square-foot headquarters in London near King's Cross railway station, complete with a sprawling, landscaped rooftop garden. The facilities will include a cafe, gym and pool as well as a rooftop track and ground-floor retail spaces, according to the company's application for permission to build. The campus has been designed by an all-star team that includes Thomas Heatherwick, the British designer behind London's 2012 Olympic cauldron, and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels' BIG firm. The two are also collaborating on Google's Mountain View campus in California. The company currently has a smaller headquarters in the area, along with another nearby building. Google had submitted designs for a new headquarters in 2013, but they were later scrapped. If the new application is approved by Camden Council, construction will start next year.

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IBM Says Watson Health's AI Is Getting Really Good at Diagnosing Cancer
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 04:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's ai-to-rescue department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: In deciding on cancer treatment, doctors often get together in a "tumor board" to go over the options. IBM's Watson now sits in on those meetings in a few hospitals, such as in South Korea and India -- and it generally makes the same calls that a human expert would. So says IBM in a series of studies it's presenting this weekend at the ASCO cancer treatment conference in Chicago. "It's not making a diagnosis. That's not what we set out to do," says Andrew Norden of IBM's Watson Health division. "They will run Watson Oncology in a tumor board and sort of get another external opinion." Watson's "concordance rate" -- the degree to which it agrees with human doctors -- ranged from 73% to 96%, depending on the type of cancer (such as colon cancer) and the particular hospital where the study was done (in India, South Korea, and Thailand).

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Google Quadruples Top Reward For Hacking Android To $200,000
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's please-and-thank-you department:
Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google has paid security researchers millions of dollars since launching its bug bounty program in 2010. The company today expanded its Android Security Rewards program because "no researcher has claimed the top reward for an exploit chain in two years." Right. Well, the program has only been around for two years -- a Google spokesperson confirmed that nobody has ever claimed the top reward. The Android team is making two bug bounty increases today. The reward for a remote exploit chain or exploit leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise has quadrupled from $50,000 to $200,000. The reward for a remote kernel exploit has quintupled from $30,000 to $150,000. Want to make six figures? Just figure out how to hack Android.

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Man Sentenced To 180 Days In Jail For Refusing To Give Police His iPhone Passcode
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '17 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's top-secret department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Miami Herald: A Hollywood man must serve 180 days in jail for refusing to give up his iPhone password to police, a Broward judge ruled Tuesday -- the latest salvo in intensifying legal battles over law-enforcement access to smart phones. Wesley Victor, and his girlfriend had been ordered by a judge to produce a pass code to phones suspected of containing text messages showing their collusion in an extortion plot. Victor claimed he didn't remember the number. He prevailed. On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson ruled that there was no way to prove that Victor actually remembered his pass code, more than 10 months after his initial arrest. Johnson declined to hold the man in contempt of court.

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