By BeauHD from Slashdot's target-acquired department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CleanTechnica: 2030 seems like a long way off, but it's really just around the corner. And when the bell tolls at midnight on December 31, 2030, you may not be able to buy a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle in Israel. After that date, all passenger cars will be electric and all trucks will be powered by electricity or compressed natural gas, if a proposal currently under consideration gets approved by the government. A final decision is expected by the end of this year. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz [told Reuters last month] the biggest challenge will be creating a "critical mass" of electric and CNG powered vehicles before the deadline arrives. "We are already encouraging [the transition] by funding ... more than 2,000 new charging stations around the country," he says. The plan was set in motion one day after the United Nations issued its latest climate assessment that finds nations must do far more than they are currently doing in order to stave off warmer global average temperatures that will put the environment at risk. In order to reach the goal, the Israeli government will "reduce taxation on electric cars to almost zero, so they are going to be much cheaper," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said. He expects there will be about 177,000 electric cars on Israeli roads around 2025. By 2030, the expectation is that there will be nearly 1.5 million EVs in the country. The country has a ways to go though, as there are less than 100 electric cars on the roads today.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's finger-pointing department
The American Cable Association (ACA), an industry group that represents over 700 small and medium-sized cable operators, wants antitrust regulators to investigate whether Comcast-NBCUniversal is abusing its power to hurt smaller television and internet service providers. The group has "asked U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to 'immediately' open an investigation into Comcast's practices," reports The Verge. Comcast is denying the claims, and while the Justice Department hasn't publicly responded, that may change soon. President Donald Trump tweeted about the ACA's claims earlier this afternoon. From the report: The ACA claims Comcast has a uniquely powerful hold on the U.S. cable industry because it controls a large chunk of "must have" programming like NBC's regional sports channels. The group argues that the Comcast "has shown a willingness to harm rivals" in the past, even while bound by a 2011 consent decree that expired earlier this year. The letter is dated November 6th but was published today, after Fox Business Networks reported on its existence last week. Contra Trump's description, the letter doesn't seem to describe "routine" violations of antitrust law. It's primarily arguing that there's a huge risk of Comcast abusing its market position, while explaining just how much damage could result if Comcast did so. The ACA has put forward more concrete claims in the past, though -- like a 2017 complaint that Comcast was forcing smaller cable providers to bundle unwanted NBC-owned channels into TV packages, driving up their costs. The ACA's letter also raises concerns involving Hulu, suggesting that Comcast could effectively hold the service hostage. "We have heard from ACA members that they fear that ComcastNBCU may restrict, if it is not already restricting, their ability to access Hulu and make it available to their customers as an alternative to their cable offerings," reads the letter.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
"The HTTP-over-QUIC experimental protocol will be renamed to HTTP/3 and is expected to become the third official version of the HTTP protocol, officials at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have revealed," writes Catalin Cimpanu via ZDNet. "This will become the second Google-developed experimental technology to become an official HTTP protocol upgrade after Google's SPDY technology became the base of HTTP/2." From the report: HTTP-over-QUIC is a rewrite of the HTTP protocol that uses Google's QUIC instead of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) as its base technology. QUIC stands for "Quick UDP Internet Connections" and is, itself, Google's attempt at rewriting the TCP protocol as an improved technology that combines HTTP/2, TCP, UDP, and TLS (for encryption), among many other things. Google wants QUIC to slowly replace both TCP and UDP as the new protocol of choice for moving binary data across the Internet, and for good reasons, as test have proven that QUIC is both faster and more secure because of its encrypted-by-default implementation (current HTTP-over-QUIC protocol draft uses the newly released TLS 1.3 protocol).
In a mailing list discussion last month, Mark Nottingham, Chair of the IETF HTTP and QUIC Working Group, made the official request to rename HTTP-over-QUIC as HTTP/3, and pass it's development from the QUIC Working Group to the HTTP Working Group. In the subsequent discussions that followed and stretched over several days, Nottingham's proposal was accepted by fellow IETF members, who gave their official seal of approval that HTTP-over-QUIC become HTTP/3, the next major iteration of the HTTP protocol, the technology that underpins today's World Wide Web.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's connect-the-dots department
ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols argues that the founder of Oculus, Palmer Luckey, wasn't fired because of his political views, as a recently-published Wall Street Journal article suggests, but because the virtual-reality company lost a $500 million intellectual property theft case to game maker ZeniMax. An anonymous reader shares the report: According to The Wall Street Journal, Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, a virtual reality company, was fired by Facebook because "he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group" during the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. But the article fails to mention a simple little fact: On Feb. 1, 2017, Oculus lost an intellectual property (IP) theft case against game maker ZeniMax, to the tune of $500 million. So, if one of your employees just cost your company a cool half-billion bucks for doing wrong what would you do? Well, Facebook isn't saying, even now, but on March 30, 2017, it let Luckey go.
Yes, Luckey also lied about his political moves, which went well beyond donating to an anti-Hillary billboard campaign. But let's look at the record. Everyone knew he'd lied by Feb. 22, 2016. Was he fired then? No. Was he fired after being found guilty of stealing ZeniMax's trade secrets? Yes. Officially, Facebook stated: "All details associated with specific personnel matters are kept strictly confidential. This is our policy for all employees, no matter their seniority. But we can say unequivocally that Palmer's departure was not due to his political views." Let me spell it out for you: He made some political waves. Nothing happened. He cost Facebook $500 million. He was fired. Can anyone here seriously not draw the lines between the dots?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department
According to a study from Gemini Advisory, some 60 million U.S. cards were compromised in the past 12 months. "Of those, 93 percent were EMV chip-enabled," reports Threatpost. "Also, crucially, 75 percent, or 45.8 million, were records stolen from in-person transactions." From the report: These were likely compromised through card-skimming malware and point-of-sale (POS) breaches at establishments like retailers, hotels and restaurants, the likes of which continue to make headlines. Further results show that the U.S. leads the rest of the world in the total amount of compromised EMV payment cards by a massive 37.3 million records. In the past 12 months, about 15.9 million compromised non-U.S. payment cards were posted for sale on the underground, split between 11.3 million card-not-present (online transaction) records and 4.6 million card-present records, of which 4.3 million were EMV enabled. This means that the theft level of EMV-enabled card data in the U.S. is 868 percent higher than the rest of the world combined.
The reason for this state of affairs, according to Gemini, is the lack of U.S. merchant compliance -- too many of them still use the mag-stripe function at PoS terminals. Gemini also said that card-present data "is also collected via a more manual method by skimmer groups, who are utilizing custom made hardware known as 'shimmers' to record and exfiltrate data from ATMs and POS systems. The firm also found that while most large U.S. merchants have fully transitioned to EMV, gas pump terminals and small/medium size businesses are emerging as the main targets for cybercriminals going forward.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday launched a push to regulate the internet.
France and U.S. technology giants, including Microsoft, are pushing for governments and companies worldwide to sign up for a new initiative aimed at establishing regulations for the internet, to fight such online threats as cyber attacks, hate speech and online censorship. A report adds: With the launch of a declaration entitled the 'Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace,' French President Emmanuel Macron is hoping to revive efforts to regulate cyberspace after the last round of United Nations negotiations failed in 2017.
In the document, which is supported by many European countries but, crucially, not China or Russia, the signatories urge governments to beef up protections against cyber meddling in elections and prevent the theft of trade secrets. The Paris call was initially pushed for by tech companies but was redrafted by French officials to include work done by U.N. experts in recent years. [...] In another sign of the Trump administration's reluctance to join international initiatives it sees as a bid to encroach on U.S. sovereignty, French officials said Washington might not become a signatory, though talks are continuing.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's their-views department
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has again hit out at proposed new European Union copyright rules which she claims is impossible for a platform like YouTube to comply with, and if done so, could harm the creative industries. Wojcicki said the European Parliament's vote in favor of an overhaul to copyright law two months ago is "unrealistic" because owners often disagree on who owns the rights to online material. In a blog post, she wrote: Take the global music hit "Despacito." This video contains multiple copyrights, ranging from sound recording to publishing rights. Although YouTube has agreements with multiple entities to license and pay for the video, some of the rights holders remain unknown. That uncertainty means we might have to block videos like this to avoid liability under article 13. Multiply that risk with the scale of YouTube, where more than 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and the potential liabilities could be so large that no company could take on such a financial risk.
The consequences of article 13 go beyond financial losses. EU residents are at risk of being cut off from videos that, in just the last month, they viewed more than 90bn times. Those videos come from around the world, including more than 35m EU channels, and they include language classes and science tutorials as well as music videos. We welcome the chance to work with policymakers and the industry to develop a solution within article 13 that protects rights holders while also allowing the creative economy to thrive. This could include more comprehensive licensing agreements, collaboration with rights holders to identify who owns what, and smart rights management technology, similar to Content ID.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Freshly Exhumed writes: A new approach to controlling magnetism in a microchip could open the doors to memory, computing, and sensing devices that consume drastically less power than existing versions. The approach could also overcome some of the inherent physical limitations that have been slowing progress in this area until now.
Researchers at MIT and at Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated that they can control the magnetic properties of a thin-film material simply by applying a small voltage. Changes in magnetic orientation made in this way remain in their new state without the need for any ongoing power, unlike today's standard memory chips, the team has found. The new finding is being reported today in the journal Nature Materials, in a paper by Geoffrey Beach, a professor of materials science and engineering and co-director of the MIT Materials Research Laboratory; graduate student Aik Jun Tan; and eight others at MIT and Brookhaven.
As silicon microchips draw closer to fundamental physical limits that could cap their ability to continue increasing their capabilities while decreasing their power consumption, researchers have been exploring a variety of new technologies that might get around these limits. One of the promising alternatives is an approach called spintronics, which makes use of a property of electrons called spin, instead of their electrical charge. Because spintronic devices can retain their magnetic properties without the need for constant power, which silicon memory chips require, they need far less power to operate. They also generate far less heat -- another major limiting factor for today's devices.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's RIP department
Stan Lee, who wrote and published a comic book legacy that spans from the Depression Era to the present day, who created Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and Thor, has died. He was 95. Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City in 1922, the son of Romanian Jewish immigrants, and at the age of 17, he began work as an assistant at Timely Comics, the company that would become Marvel Comics. Filling inkwells and fetching lunch, Lee's career began just in time for Superman's 1930s debut in Action Comics #1, kicking off the history of superhero comics. From a report: Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, X-Men, The Mighty Thor, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Ant-Man and other characters, died early Monday morning in Los Angeles, a source told The Hollywood Reporter. (Joan Celia Lee, Stan's daughter, confirmed the news to TMZ.) Lee's final few years were tumultuous.
[...] On his own and through his work with frequent artist-writer collaborators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others, Lee catapulted Marvel from a tiny venture into the world's No. 1 publisher of comic books and later a multimedia giant. In 2009, the Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time -- led by The Avengers' $1.52 billion worldwide take in 2012 -- featured Marvel characters. An exchange from one of Stan Lee's last interviews, which appeared last month: Interviewer: Do you feel like your legacy is secure? Stan Lee: Absolutely. Interviewer: What's on your wish list? Stan Lee: That I leave everyone happy when I leave. Interviewer: You won't leave anyone happy. Stan Lee: Well, I don't mean happy that I left. Happy that I took the right path. Interviewer: You always do, pop. It was just the people around you. It was never you. You were always the good guy, and there were just creeps around you, and it was this town. Never you.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-updates department
The Firefox Test Pilot team on Monday rolled out two new experimental features, one of which is aimed to make this year's holiday shopping a bit easier on your wallet. It's called Price Wise, and it's an online shopping comparison tool that lets you add items from across several retailers to a Price Watcher list. From a report: When a price drops, a notification is automatically sent to your browser, and you can click regardless of what web page you are currently on. For now, Price Wise tracks just five retailers -- Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Walmart, and the Home Depot -- but the company said it's planning on expanding to cover more outlets in the future.
Elsewhere, Mozilla is also rolling out a new feature called Email Tabs as part of its early adopter program. While Mozilla already offers a service for bookmarking content to read later via Pocket, Email Tabs enables users to choose multiple tabs and send links to one or more of them to their Gmail address. There are a number of options here. Users can choose to send links with screenshots, just links, or links with full articles. Price Wise is only available to users in the U.S. for now.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
China has been pushed into third place on a list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. From a report: The latest list by Top 500, published twice a year, puts two US machines -- Summit and Sierra -- in the top two places. The US has five entries in the top 10, with other entries from Switzerland, Germany and Japan. However, overall China has 227 machines in the top 500, while the US has 109. Summit can process 200,000 trillion calculations per second. Both Summit and Sierra were built by the tech giant IBM. China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, which this time last year was the world's most powerful machine, is now ranked at number three, while the country also has the fourth spot in the list.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Spending too much time on "social media" sites like Facebook is making people more than just miserable. It may also be making them depressed. From a report: A new study conducted by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania has shown -- for the first time -- a causal link between time spent on social media and depression and loneliness, the researchers said. It concluded that those who drastically cut back their use of sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat often saw a marked improvement in their mood and in how they felt about their lives.
"It was striking," says Melissa Hunt, psychology professor at University of Pennsylvania, who led the study. "What we found over the course of three weeks was that rates of depression and loneliness went down significantly for people who limited their (social media) use." Many of those who began the study with moderate clinical depression finished just a few weeks later with very mild symptoms, she says.
The study, "No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression," was conducted by Melissa Hunt, Rachel Marx, Courtney Lipson and Jordyn Young, is being published by the peer-reviewed Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. For the study, Hunt and her team studied 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania over a number of weeks. They tested their mood and sense of well-being using seven different established scales.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's reality-check department
An anonymous reader shares a report: As the holiday shopping season approaches, voice-powered smart speakers are again expected to be big sellers, adding to the approximately one-quarter to one-third of the U.S. population that already owns a smart speaker and uses a voice assistant at least once a month. Voice interfaces have been adopted faster than nearly any other technology in history.
While some of this will likely come to pass, the hype might be disguising where we really are with voice technology: Earlier than we think. About a third of smart speaker owners end up using them less after the first month, according to an NPR and Edison Research report earlier this year. Just a little more than half said they wouldn't want to go back to life without a smart speaker. While people are certainly enthusiastic about the new technology, it's not exactly life-changing yet. Today, voice assistants and smart speakers have proven to be popular ways to turn on the radio or dim the lights or get weather information. But to be revolutionary, they will need to find a greater calling -- a new, breakout application.
Smart speakers, like training wheels, are getting people more used to talking to their devices. However, the future of voice probably won't be on speakers at all. The major speaker makers have all added screens to their assistants. Samsung, smartly, is putting its voice assistant Bixby on its TVs, which have the potential to become the smart assistant hub of choice. The key element is the voice assistant, regardless of what device it resides in. Smart assistants will creep into every aspect of our lives and will be available at home and away.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's Tech-for-the-Betterment-of-People department
Weather forecasting is impressively accurate given how changeable and chaotic Earth's climate can be. It's not unusual to get 10-day forecasts with a reasonable level of accuracy. But there is still much to be done. One challenge for meteorologists is to improve their "nowcasting," the ability to forecast weather in the next six hours or so at a spatial resolution of a square kilometer or less.
From a report: In areas where the weather can change rapidly, that is difficult. And there is much at stake. Agricultural activity is increasingly dependent on nowcasting, and the safety of many sporting events depends on it too. Then there is the risk that sudden rainfall could lead to flash flooding, a growing problem in many areas because of climate change and urbanization. That has implications for infrastructure, such as sewage management, and for safety, since this kind of flooding can kill. So meteorologists would dearly love to have a better way to make their nowcasts. Enter Blandine Bianchi from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a few colleagues, who have developed a method for combining meteorological data from several sources to produce nowcasts with improved accuracy.
Their work has the potential to change the utility of this kind of forecasting for everyone from farmers and gardeners to emergency services and sewage engineers. Current forecasting is limited by the data and the scale on which it is gathered and processed. For example, satellite data has a spatial resolution of 50 to 100 km and allows the tracking and forecasting of large cloud cells over a time scale of six to nine hours. By contrast, radar data is updated every five minutes, with a spatial resolution of about a kilometer, and leads to predictions on the time scale of one to three hours. Another source of data is the microwave links used by telecommunications companies, which are degraded by rainfall.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's you-hear-that-mr-anderson department
Reader Iwastheone shares a report: A small rocket from a little-known company lifted off Sunday from the east coast of New Zealand, carrying a clutch of tiny satellites. That modest event -- the first commercial launch by a U.S.-New Zealand company known as Rocket Lab -- could mark the beginning of a new era in the space business, where countless small rockets pop off from spaceports around the world. This miniaturization of rockets and spacecraft places outer space within reach of a broader swath of the economy.
The rocket, called the Electron, is a mere sliver compared to the giant rockets that Elon Musk, of SpaceX, and Jeffrey P. Bezos, of Blue Origin, envisage using to send people into the solar system. It is just 56 feet tall and can carry only 500 pounds into space. But Rocket Lab is aiming for markets closer to home. "We're FedEx," said Peter Beck, the New Zealand-born founder and chief executive of Rocket Lab. "We're a little man that delivers a parcel to your door." Behind Rocket Lab, a host of start-up companies are also jockeying to provide transportation to space for a growing number of small satellites. The payloads include constellations of telecommunications satellites that would provide the world with ubiquitous internet access.
The payload of this mission, which Rocket Lab whimsically named "It's Business Time," offered a glimpse of this future: two ship-tracking satellites for Spire Global; a small climate- and environment-monitoring satellite for GeoOptics; a small probe built by high school students in Irvine, Calif., and a demonstration version of a drag sail that would pull defunct satellites out of orbit.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's things-to-think-about department
Michael Kan, writing for PCMag: NZXT is a popular PC desktop case vendor, but the California-based company recently had to raise its prices. The reason? The new US tariffs on Chinese imports includes PC cases. In September, the Trump administration imposed the 10 percent duty, which also cover motherboards, graphics cards, and CPU coolers from the country. As a result, NZXT had to introduce a 10 percent price increase on PC cases to deal with the added costs, VP Jim Carlton told PCMag in an interview.
And building a PC could get even more expensive in 2019; US tariffs on Chinese-made goods will rise from 10 percent to 25 percent in January. "If I needed to build a system in the next six months, I'd definitely build it before the end of the year," Carlton told us. For PC builders, the tariffs risk adding a few hundred dollars to the total cost of components for a custom desktop. "If it's a $2,000 purchase on 25 percent tariffs, it's going to be a $2,500 purchase," Carlton said. "So we are very concerned with the direction of where this is going. I don't have a 10 percent [profit] margin I can just throw away and absorb the tariffs," he added. "And certainly no one has a margin for 25 percent."Read Replies (0)