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How the Telephone Failed Its Big Test During 1918's Spanish Flu Epidemic  

Fast Company's technology editor harrymcc writes: When the Spanish flu struck in 1918, the U.S. reacted in ways that sound eerily familiar, by closing public places and telling people to stay at home. The one technology that promised to make isolation less isolating was the telephone, which was used for commerce, education, and even news distribution. But the phone itself got caught up in the flu's damaging impact on society, and AT&T ended up running ads asking people not to make calls if

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2020-04-04 18:34:00

Mathematical Proof of the ABC Conjecture Will Be Published  

AmiMoJo shares a report from Nature: After an eight-year struggle, embattled Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki has finally received some validation. His 600-page proof of the abc conjecture, one of the biggest open problems in number theory, has been accepted for publication. Acceptance of the work in Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) is the latest development in a long and acrimonious controversy over the mathematicians' proof. Mochizuki is chief ed

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2020-04-04 17:34:00

Pandemic Shutdowns Will Help the Economy, Too  

nut (Slashdot reader #19,435) writes: A study by economists Sergio Correia, Stephan Luck and Emil Verner suggests that the best way to save your economy is to save your people. The authors looked at the economic impact of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 on different U.S. cities. They concluded that the earlier, more forcefully and longer cities responded, the better their economic recovery. A faculty affiliate from the Harvard Department of Economics writes in Bloomberg: [C]ities t

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2020-04-04 16:34:00

Not Just 'The Death of IT'. Cringely Also Predicts Layoffs For Many IT Contractors  

Last week long-time tech pundit Robert Cringely predicted "the death of IT" in 2020 due to the widespread adoption of SD-WAN and SASE. Now he's predicting "an even bigger bloodbath as IT employees at all levels are let go forever," including IT consultants and contractors. My IT labor death scenario now extends to process experts (generally consultants) being replaced with automation. In a software-defined network, whether that's SD-WAN or SASE, so much of what used to be getting discreet b

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2020-04-04 15:34:00

Y Combinator Company 'Flexport' Is Shipping PPE To Frontline Responders  

The Y Combinator company Flexport is a San Francisco-based freight-forwarding and customs brokerage company. (Its investors include Google Ventures and Peter Thiel's Founders Fund.) But on March 23rd Flexport announced they were now re-focusing all their resources to get critical supplies to frontline responders combating COVID-19. They've joined a team that announced on Friday announced "we're shipping full cargo planes filled with PPE to protect frontline responders," citing a partnership

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2020-04-04 14:34:00

A Hacker Found a Way To Take Over Any Apple Webcam  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Apple has a well-earned reputation for security, but in recent years its Safari browser has had its share of missteps. This week, a security researcher publicly shared new findings about vulnerabilities that would have allowed an attacker to exploit three Safari bugs in succession and take over a target's webcam and microphone on iOS and macOS devices. Apple patched the vulnerabilities in January and March updates. But before the fixes, all a victi

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2020-04-04 13:00:00

Zoom Will Enable Waiting Rooms By Default To Stop Zoombombing  

Zoom is making some much-needed changes to prevent "Zoombombing," a term used to describe when someone successfully invades a public or private meeting over the videoconferencing platform to broadcast shock videos, pornography, or other disruptive content. The act was recently mentioned on the Department of Justice's website, warning that users who engage in this sort of video hacking could face fines and possible imprisonment. TechCrunch reports: Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to

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2020-04-04 10:00:00

Vint Cerf 'No Longer Contagious' With Covid-19  

DevNull127 writes: Good news — VA Public Health has certified my wife and me as no longer contagious with COVID19," tweeted 76-year-old Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the modern internet. He added one word. "Recovering!" It seemed especially appropriate that Cerf shared his news online — and that it drew positive responses from grateful people around the world, including several who use the internet in their daily lives. Cerf's tweet immediately drew positive responses from

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2020-04-04 07:00:00

Physical Force Alone Spurs Gene Expressions, Study Reveals  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Cells will ramp up gene expression in response to physical forces alone, a new study finds. Gene activation, the first step of protein production, starts less than one millisecond after a cell is stretched -- hundreds of times faster than chemical signals can travel, the researchers report. The scientists tested forces that are biologically relevant -- equivalent to those exerted on human cells by breathing, exercising or vocalizing. They report

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2020-04-04 03:30:00

FCC: TracFone Made Up 'Fictitious' Customers To Defraud Low-Income Program  

TracFone Wireless is facing a potential $6 million fine for allegedly defrauding a government program that provides discount telecom service to poor people. Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission proposed the fine against TracFone yesterday, saying the prepaid wireless provider obtained FCC Lifeline funding by "enroll[ing] fictitious subscriber accounts." TracFone improperly sought and received more than $1 million from Lifeline, the FCC said. The FCC press release said: "TracFo

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2020-04-04 02:02:00

SpaceX Loses Its Third Starship Prototype During a Cryogenic Test  

For a third time, SpaceX lost one of its Starship prototype spacecrafts during a pressure test at the company's test site in Boca Chica, Texas. Ars Technica reports: This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype -- SN3 -- onto a test stand at the company's Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine. On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which

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2020-04-04 01:20:00

Amazon To Delay Marketing Event Prime Day Due To Coronavirus  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Amazon is postponing its major summer shopping event Prime Day at least until August and expects potentially a $100 million hit from excess devices it may now have to sell at a discount, according to internal meeting notes seen by Reuters. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2020-04-04 00:40:00

Twitter Removes 9,000 Accounts Pushing Coronavirus Propaganda Praising the United Arab Emirates  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: On April 2, Twitter took down a pro-United Arab Emirates network of accounts that was pushing propaganda about the coronavirus pandemic and criticizing Turkey's military intervention in Libya. Previously tied to marketing firms in the region, parts of this network were removed by Facebook and Twitter last year. The network was made up of roughly 9,000 accounts, according to disinformation research firm DFRLab and independent researcher Josh

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2020-04-04 00:03:00

Potential Vaccine Generates Enough Antibodies To Fight Off Virus  

Slashdot readers schwit1 and Futurepower(R) are sharing news about a potential coronavirus vaccine that has been found to produce antibodies capable of fighting off Covid-19. The Independent reports: The vaccine, which was tested on mice by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, generated the antibodies in quantities thought to be enough to "neutralize" the virus within two weeks of injection. The study's authors are now set to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administrat

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2020-04-03 23:20:00

'Zoombombing' Is a Federal Offense That Could Result In Imprisonment, Prosecutors Warn  

"Zoomboming," where someone successfully invades a public or private meeting over the videoconferencing platform to broadcast shock videos, pornography, or other disruptive content, could result in fines and possible imprisonment, according to federal prosecutors. The Verge reports: The warning was posted as a press release to the Department of Justice's website under the U.S. Attorney's office for the state's Eastern district with support from the state attorney general and the FBI. Now, prosec

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2020-04-03 23:00:00

Broadband Engineers Threatened Due To 5G Coronavirus Conspiracies  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Telecoms engineers are facing verbal and physical threats during the lockdown, as baseless conspiracy theories linking coronavirus to the roll-out of 5G technology spread by celebrities such as Amanda Holden prompt members of the public to abuse those maintaining vital mobile phone and broadband networks. Facebook has removed one anti-5G group in which users were being encouraged to supply footage of them destroying mobile phone equipment, w

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2020-04-03 22:40:00

EU Rules Rental Car Companies Don't Need To Pay A License To Rent Cars With Radios That Might Play Music  

Mike Masnick, reporting at TechDirt: Five years ago, we wrote about another such crazy demand -- a PRO (Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), sometimes known as "Collection Societies," that have a long history of demanding licensing for just about every damn thing) in Sweden demanding that rental car companies pay a performance license because their cars had radios, and since "the public" could rent their cards and listen to the radio, that constituted "a communication to the public" that req

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2020-04-03 22:10:00

Trump: CDC Recommends Cloth Face Covering To Protect Against Coronavirus  

President Trump says the CDC now recommends using a cloth face covering to protect against coronavirus, but said he does not plan to do so himself. CNBC reports: Trump stressed that the recommendations were merely voluntary, not required. "I don't think I'm going to be doing it" he said as he announced the new guidance. The CDC's website explained that the recommendations were updated following new studies that some infected people can transmit the coronavirus even without displaying symptoms of

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2020-04-03 21:52:00

Apple Brings Its Hardware Microphone Disconnect Feature To iPads  

Apple has brought its hardware microphone disconnect security feature to its latest iPads. From a report: The microphone disconnect security feature aims to make it far more difficult for hackers to use malware or a malicious app to eavesdrop on a device's surroundings. The feature was first introduced to Macs by way of Apple's T2 security chip last year. The security chip ensured that the microphone was physically disconnected from the device when the user shuts their MacBook lid. The idea goes

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2020-04-03 21:21:00

How Did Covid-19 Begin? WaPo OpEd Calls Its Origin Story 'Shaky'  

The story of how the novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, has produced a nasty propaganda battle between the United States and China. Columnist David Ignatius writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post: The two sides have traded some of the sharpest charges made between two nations since the Soviet Union in 1985 falsely accused the CIA of manufacturing AIDS. U.S. intelligence officials don't think the pandemic was caused by deliberate wrongdoing. The outbreak that has now swept the

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2020-04-03 20:45:00

Thousands of Zoom Video Calls Left Exposed on Open Web  

Thousands of personal Zoom videos have been left viewable on the open Web, highlighting the privacy risks to millions of Americans as they shift many of their personal interactions to video calls in an age of social distancing. From a report: Many of the videos appear to have been recorded through Zoom's software and saved onto separate online storage space without a password. But because Zoom names every video recording in an identical way, a simple online search can reveal a long stream of vi

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2020-04-03 20:02:00

Slashdot Asks: Do You Own a Gaming Console? What Titles Have You Been Playing Lately?  

What games have you been playing on your Xbox, or PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch -- or any other gaming machine! Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2020-04-03 19:20:00

WeWork Founder Misses Out on $1 Billion as SoftBank Cancels Share Buyout  

SoftBank is walking away from a sizeable chunk of its WeWork rescue package, which included a near billion dollar windfall for ousted founder Adam Neumann. From a report: The Japanese tech company has backed out of a plan to buy $3 billion worth of shares in the coworking startup from existing shareholders and investors, according to statements from SoftBank and a special committee of WeWork's board. SoftBank's chief legal officer, Rob Townsend, said in a statement on Thursday that the share pur

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2020-04-03 18:42:00

How Google Ruined the Internet  

An anonymous reader shares a column: Remember that story about the Polish dentist who pulled out all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth in an act of revenge? It was complete and utter bullshit. 100% fabricated. No one knows who wrote it. Nevertheless, it was picked up by Fox News, the Los Angeles Times and many other publishers. That was eight years ago, yet when I search now for "dentist pulled ex boyfriends teeth," I get a featured snippet that quotes ABC News' original, uncorrected story. Who invent

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2020-04-03 18:01:00

Amazon Exec Called Fired Worker 'Not Smart' in Leaked Memo  

A senior Amazon executive called a fired Staten Island warehouse worker "not smart or articulate" in internal discussions about how the company should respond to employee criticism of its handling of the pandemic, Bloomberg reported Friday. From a report: Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky said fired worker Chris Smalls should be the focus of Amazon's public-relations campaign countering activist employees, said the person who saw an internal memo. Amazon workers around the country have been

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2020-04-03 17:22:00

Zoom's Encryption Is 'Not Suited for Secrets' and Has Surprising Links To China, Researchers Discover  

Meetings on Zoom, the increasingly popular video conferencing service, are encrypted using an algorithm with serious, well-known weaknesses, and sometimes using keys issued by servers in China, even when meeting participants are all in North America, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. From a report: The researchers also found that Zoom protects video and audio content using a home-grown encryption scheme, that there is a vulnerability in Zoom's "waiting room" feature, and tha

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2020-04-03 16:44:00

A Hacker Has Wiped, Defaced More Than 15,000 Elasticsearch Servers  

For the past two weeks, a hacker has been breaking into Elasticsearch servers that have been left open on the internet without a password and attempting to wipe their content, while also leaving the name of a cyber-security firm behind, trying to divert blame. From a report: According to security researcher John Wethington, one of the people who saw this campaign unfolding and who aided ZDNet in this report, the first intrusions began around March 24. The attacks appear to be carried with the he

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2020-04-03 16:03:00

Facebook Wanted NSO Spyware To Monitor Users, NSO CEO Claims  

Facebook representatives approached controversial surveillance vendor NSO Group to try and buy a tool that could help Facebook better monitor a subset of its users, according to an extraordinary court filing from NSO in an ongoing lawsuit. From a report: Facebook is currently suing NSO for how the hacking firm leveraged a vulnerability in WhatsApp to help governments hack users. NSO sells a product called Pegasus, which allows operators to remotely infect cell phones and lift data from them. Acc

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2020-04-03 15:24:00

Google Is Publishing Location Data From 131 Countries To Show How Coronavirus Lockdowns Are Working  

Google is using the location data it collects from billions of smartphones to show how people's movements have changed as governments around the world lock down cities and issue shelter in place orders to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. From a report: Reports generated using this data, which is normally used to show how busy a certain location is on Google Maps, and which Google says does not identify individual people, are freely available on a brand new website called COVID-19 Communi

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2020-04-03 14:41:00

Disney+ Launches in India For $20 a Year, Includes Shows From HBO, Showtime, and Live TV Channels  

Disney+ has arrived in India through Hotstar, a popular on-demand video streamer the giant conglomerate picked up as part of the Fox deal. From a report: To court users in India, the largest open entertainment market in Asia, Disney is charging users 1,499 Indian rupees (about $19.5) for a year, the most affordable plan in any of the more than a dozen markets where Disney+ is currently available. Subscribers of the revamped streaming service, now called Disney+ Hotstar, will get access to Disney

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2020-04-03 14:00:00

Scientists Develop AI That Can Turn Brain Activity Into Text  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, [researchers from the University of California, San Francisco] reveal how they developed their system by recruiting four participants who had electrode arrays implanted in their brain to monitor epileptic seizures. These participants were asked to read aloud from 50 set sentences multiple times, including "Tina Turner is a pop singer," and "Those thieves stole 30 jewels." The team tracked their neu

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2020-04-03 13:00:00

Nikon Is Streaming Online Photography Courses For Free This Month  

Nikon USA is offering 10 classes from the its online school for free during the month of April. Engadget reports: The courses range in length from 15 minutes to well over an hour, and all are taught by pro photographers and often Nikon ambassadors. Each class runs between $15 and $50, so Nikon is offering $250 worth of photography training for free. The courses run a wide gamut from landscape photography, macro photography, fundamentals by Reed Hoffman and even "The Art of Making Music Videos" w

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2020-04-03 10:00:00

Modern Meteorology Was Born 60 Years Ago Today  

"Sixty years ago on this date, April 1, a Thor-Able rocket launched a small satellite weighing 122.5kg into an orbit about 650km above the Earth's surface," writes Ars Technica's Eric Berger. "Effectively, this launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station marked the beginning of the era of modern weather forecasting." From the report: Designed by the Radio Corporation of America and put into space by NASA, the Television InfraRed Observation Satellite, or TIROS-1, was the nation's firs

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2020-04-03 07:00:00

'Call of Duty' Wins First Amendment Victory Over Use of Humvees  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hollywood Reporter: Call of Duty maker Activision has prevailed in a closely watched trademark dispute brought by AM General, the government contractor for Humvees. On Tuesday, a New York federal judge responded favorably to Activision's argument that it had a First Amendment right to depict contemporary warfare in its game by featuring Humvees. "If realism is an artistic goal, then the presence in modern warfare games of vehicles employed by actual m

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2020-04-03 03:30:00

Twitter Discloses Firefox Bug That Cached Private Files Sent or Received via DMs  

Social networking giant Twitter today disclosed a bug on its platform that impacted users who accessed their platform using Firefox browsers. From a report: According to Twitter, its platform stored private files inside the Firefox browser's cache -- a folder where websites store information and files temporarily. Twitter said that once users left their platform or logged off, the files would remain in the browser cache, allowing anyone to retrieve it. The company is now warning users who share

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2020-04-03 01:30:00

New York Finally Legalizes Electric Bikes and Scooters  

Included in New York's tentative budget agreement reached on April 1st is a provision that would legalize throttle-based bikes and scooters. The Verge reports: The budget language almost exactly mirrors a bill that passed the New York State Legislature last year but was inexplicably vetoed at the last minute by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It changes state law to legalize e-bikes and scooters but would give localities the ability to decide for themselves how to regulate the vehicles. Throttle-based e-bike

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2020-04-03 00:50:00

New Blood Test Can Detect 50 Types of Cancer  

A new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer has been revealed by researchers in the latest study to offer hope for early detection. From a report: The test is based on DNA that is shed by tumours and found circulating in the blood. More specifically, it focuses on chemical changes to this DNA, known as methylation patterns. Researchers say the test can not only tell whether someone has cancer, but can also shed light on the type of cancer they have. Dr Geoffrey Oxnard of Boston

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2020-04-03 00:11:00

FCC To Vote On Adding 6Ghz Band To Wi-Fi 6 To Improve Speeds  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Devices with Wi-Fi 6 started rolling out at the end of 2019, but now, a new vote proposed by the FCC could open up the 6Ghz band to unlicensed wifi and add a massive speed boost to wireless gadgets. Backed by Chairman Pai, the FCC vote is scheduled to take place on April 23rd, and if passed would add 1200MHz of available bandwidth to the usable wifi spectrum which the FCC says would "effectively increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi

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2020-04-02 23:30:00

Apple Will Stop Taking a Cut of Some Video App Purchases Made Through the App Store  

Yesterday, Apple said it would stop taking a cut of some sales for "qualifying" streaming video services on iPhones and other Apple devices, including Amazon's Prime Video. Reuters reports: To make purchases inside apps on its App Store, Apple requires the use of its own payment systems and takes a commission of between 15% and 30% before passing on the rest to the third-party app developer. Many of Apple's rivals in streaming music and video, such as Netflix and Spotify, avoid paying those comm

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2020-04-02 22:50:00

Hospital Autoclaves May Allow Safe Reuse of N95 Masks  

Freshly Exhumed shares a report from "[Autoclaving] is like a pressure cooker -- basically you enclose items into a chamber, you lock down the chamber, you heat it up and actually increase the pressure inside the chamber," Dr. Anand Kumar, a professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba, said. The machines heat up to about 121 C for 15 minutes, killing bacteria and viruses. "It'll sterilize anything." The assumption has been that if you tried this on an N95 mask they would degrade

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2020-04-02 22:30:00

Boeing 787s Must Be Turned Off and On Every 51 Days To Prevent 'Misleading Data' Being Shown To Pilots  

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing 787 operators to switch their aircraft off and on every 51 days to prevent what it called "several potentially catastrophic failure scenarios" -- including the crashing of onboard network switches. The Register reports: The airworthiness directive, due to be enforced from later this month, orders airlines to power-cycle their B787s before the aircraft reaches the specified days of continuous power-on operation. The power cycling is need

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2020-04-02 22:10:00

The World Just Hit 1 Million Coronavirus Infections  

The new coronavirus has now infected 1 million people across the world, a milestone reached just four months after it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 51,000 have died and 208,000 recovered in what has become the biggest global public health crisis of our time. Bloomberg reports: When the virus was first discovered, doctors likened it to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, the illness that sickened 8,000 people mostly in Asia in 2003. Highly contagious, and appearin

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2020-04-02 21:30:00

Moscow To Launch Mandatory Surveillance App To Track Residents In Coronavirus Lockdown  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: City authorities in Moscow are rolling out new digital "social monitoring" tools targeting the public, after what officials say were constant violations of the city's quarantine imposed this week to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Under restrictions in place since Monday, most of the city's 12 million residents must remain indoors, barring a few exceptions -- like trips to the supermarket or pharmacy, taking out the trash or briefly walking

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2020-04-02 20:50:00

Trump Issues Order Under Defense Production Act To Secure More Ventilators  

President Trump moved to use the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era national security mobilization law, to secure supplies companies need to make ventilators. From a report: "My order to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security will help domestic manufacturers like General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips, and Vyaire Medical secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus," Mr. Trump said in statemen

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2020-04-02 20:04:00

The Internet is Now Rife With Places Where You Can Organize Zoom-bombing Raids  

The internet is rife with online communities where users can go and share Zoom conference codes and request that pranksters connect and hurl insults, play pornographic material, or make death threats against other participants -- in a practice called Zoom-bombing or a Zoom raid. From a report: ZDNet began tracking the tactic since mid-March when the term was first coined following a TechCrunch article. Ever since then, Zoom-bombing incidents have increased, as articles in major news outlets like

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2020-04-02 19:37:00

EU Justice Chief Urges US Tech Giants To Halt Virus Clickbaits  

EU justice chief Vera Jourova on Thursday criticised U.S. tech giants such as Google and Facebook for making money off coronavirus-related fake news instead of putting in more efforts to stop the deluge. From a report: With millions of people confined to their homes due to lockdowns to counter the spread of the virus, social media and online platforms have seen the volume of news on their sites and user traffic soared. That has in turn sparked alarm and criticism because of the flood of disinfor

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2020-04-02 18:54:00

Thank God for the Internet  

Everything is so dark, but the internet -- for all its bad and broken parts -- is helping to keep us together in a way that has never happened before, writes Joshua Topolsky in an essay on Input Mag. Two excerpts from the essay: What the hell would we do right now without the internet? How would so many of us work, stay connected, stay informed, stay entertained? For all of its failings and flops, all of its breeches and blunders, the internet has become the digital town square that we always be

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2020-04-02 18:10:00

Amazon Blocks Sale of N95 Masks To the Public, Begins Offering Supplies To Hospitals  

Amazon is no longer offering N95 masks to the general public, as it prioritizes the delivery of essential supplies to hospitals, government agencies and other groups amid the coronavirus outbreak. From a report: Earlier this week, the company rolled out a new section of its website dedicated to COVID-19 related supplies. There, any U.S.-accredited hospital or state or federal agency can fill out a form to access necessary items like N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surg

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2020-04-02 17:29:00

Akamai, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, and Google Join Internet Routing Security Effort  

A community effort to improve the internet's routing security has won the backing of some of the web's biggest names. From a report: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Akamai, and Netflix, among others, have signed up to the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) group, in their roles as content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud providers (CPs). MANRS's goal is to shore up the internet's lax security when it comes to routing people's connections around Earth. It is, essentially, d

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2020-04-02 16:49:00

Intel's 10th-gen H-series Laptop CPUs Reach 5.3GHz  

Just like Intel said at CES, it's crossed the 5GHz barrier with its new H-series 10th generation notebook CPUs. And you won't need to shell out for the top-of-the-line Core i9 to do it: The new six and eight-core i7 processors reach up to 5.1Ghz (boost speed) on a single core. From a report: But if you want to go all out, the octa-core i9-10980HK hits 5.3GHz -- and it's fully unlocked for overclocking, to boot. As usual, these H-series chips are meant for gaming and workhorse machines, not lapto

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2020-04-02 16:05:00

SpaceX Bans Zoom Over Privacy Concerns  

Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX has banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing "significant privacy and security concerns," according to a memo seen by Reuters, days after U.S. law enforcement warned users about the security of the popular app. From a report: SpaceX's ban on Zoom Video illustrates the mounting challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while also trying to keep employees safe from the fast-spr

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2020-04-02 15:24:00

A Feature on Zoom Secretly Displayed Data From People's LinkedIn Profiles  

After an inquiry from The New York Times reporters, Zoom said it would disable a data-mining feature that could be used to snoop on participants during meetings without their knowledge. From a report: For Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become a lifeline, enabling millions of people to easily keep in touch with family members, friends, students, teachers and work colleagues. But what many people may not know is that, until Thu

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2020-04-02 14:44:00

A Record 6.6 Million Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week  

A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the latest brutal reminder of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the U.S. economy. From a report: Analysts had predicted a jobless claims total of anywhere between 3 million and 6 million, after huge numbers of businesses across the country were forced to close down due to the need for social distancing, leaving millions of Americans without work. Thursday's figure eclipses even the record-shattering 3.28 milli

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2020-04-02 14:04:00

AI Program Could Check Blood For Signs of Lung Cancer  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analyzing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease. The program works by examining free-floating DNA that circulates in the blood. The majority of this genetic detritus enters the bloodstream when harmless cells in the body break down and spill their molecular innards, but tumors also shed DNA as they form and grow larger. W

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2020-04-02 13:00:00

YouTube 'Shorts' Reportedly Launching This Year To Counter TikTok  

According to The Information, the YouTube app will soon be home to a new "Shorts" format that will counter TikTok. 9to5Google reports: Shorts will be brief videos available in a new feed. On the creation front, these videos can use YouTube's existing catalog of licensed music as a background soundtrack. YouTube reportedly plans to launch Shorts by the end of this year. Today's article describes the YouTube Shorts effort as the "most serious effort yet by a Silicon Valley tech company to combat t

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2020-04-02 10:00:00

Evidence of Ancient Rainforests Found In Antarctica  

mi writes: Researchers have discovered evidence that Antarctica supported a swampy rainforest as "recently" as 90 million years ago, according to a new study. "Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected," said Tina van de Flierdt, study co-author and professor in the Imperial College London's Department of Earth Science and Engineering. The researchers took CT scans of a slice of the se

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2020-04-02 07:00:00

California Governor Says 'We Need More Googles' As Company Offers Free Wi-Fi and Chromebooks To Students  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Google will offer 100,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots and will donate 4,000 Chromebooks to students across the state of California, governor Gavin Newsom said during a news conference Wednesday. The internet access points are supposed to help improve broadband internet in rural households across the state where internet access is either limited or very slow. Students will get access to the free Wi-Fi for a minimum of three months.There are still many parts

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2020-04-02 03:30:00

New X-Ray Technique Images Soft-Tissue Tumors Clearer Than MRI  

Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a new method of adapting X-ray to image soft tissue, "so that its higher resolution can reveal tumors or other problems earlier than other techniques," reports New Atlas. From the report: Elastography is a field of medical imaging that focuses on the stiffness or softness of tissues. Shear waves are sent through the body, and then an imaging technology like ultrasound or MRI is used to watch how they spread. The waves move through stiff tissue fast

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2020-04-02 02:10:00

Early Meme Site YTMND Has Been Resurrected With the Help of Fans  

The popular early internet meme machine is back online after shutting down last May due to declining ad revenue and the site creator's ill health. Motherboard reports: Launched in 2001, YTMND was one of the early internet's first sources of viral content. Users could attach a gif, often animated but not always, to a piece of looping sound. Users could vote on these animations, share, or remix them. Its death was sad, a piece of early internet, gone forever. But over the last year, [the

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2020-04-02 01:30:00

Slack Launches Call Integrations For Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and More  

Slack is launching a new app to integrate Microsoft Teams calling features into its chat app today. "Slack is also launching VoIP phone integration with Zoom, Cisco Jabber, RingCentral, and Dialpad," reports The Verge. "This will allow Slack users to use these VoIP calling providers to call phone numbers directly within the Slack interface." From the report: Slack users will be able to set Microsoft Teams Calls as the default calling provider and get to see who's already on a call and when it ki

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2020-04-02 00:50:00

Teardown of Huawei Flagship Phone Finds US Parts Despite Blacklisting  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Huawei is still using components made by U.S. companies in its newest flagship smartphone, a Financial Times teardown has found, despite the U.S. all but blacklisting the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer. The teardown was done by XYZone, a Shenzhen-based company that disassembles smartphones and identifies the suppliers of their components. The biggest surprise was that some parts from U.S. companies were still ending up in the newest

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2020-04-02 00:10:00

Opera To Support Sites Using the  

Opera has updated its lightweight browser for Android so that it can access unofficial .crypto domains, primarily to exchange cryptocurrency. The Register reports: Support for .crypto in Opera will "bring the blockchain-browsing experience to a new level," the Norwegian software maker gushed on Monday. Crucially, dot-crypto simply doesn't exist in the global domain name system, and is not recognized by DNS overseer ICANN nor the world's DNS resolvers. It is a renegade generic top-level domain ma

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2020-04-01 23:30:00

Hospitals Tell Doctors They'll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear  

schwit1 shares a report from Bloomberg, commenting: "And the claim that this is about protecting 'patient privacy' is b***shit." From the report: Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he'd given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask w

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2020-04-01 22:50:00

Microsoft President Calls Washington State's New Facial Recognition Law 'a Significant Breakthrough'  

Microsoft President Brad Smith took a break from responding to the COVID-19 outbreak this week to praise Washington state's landmark facial recognition regulations. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday that establishes rules specifically governing facial recognition software. From a report: Smith called the law an "early and important model" and "a significant breakthrough" in a blog post published Tuesday. Some cities have enacted their own facial recognition rules, but Washington i

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2020-04-01 22:10:00

T-Mobile Officially Completes Merger With Sprint, CEO John Legere Steps Down  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: After months of regulatory maneuvering, T-Mobile and Sprint officially completed their $26 billion merger today. The new combined parent company is called T-Mobile and will now trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TMUS with Sprint no longer trading on the NYSE. For consumers, it will seemingly take a little time before the effects of the transition are meaningfully felt. T-Mobile did not comment on the future of the Sprint brand in toda

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2020-04-01 21:30:00

Cloudflare Launches a DNS-Based Parental Control Service  

Cloudflare introduced today ' for Families,' a privacy-focused DNS resolver designed to help parents in their efforts to safeguard their children's online security and by automatically filtering out bad sites. From a report: This new tool makes it simple for parents to add protection from malware and adult content to the entire home network, allowing them to focus on working from home instead of worrying about their kids' online safety. "

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2020-04-01 20:50:00

Doctors Turn To Twitter and TikTok To Share Coronavirus News  

In a sign of the times, doctors are effectively waging a two-pronged fight against coronavirus: one part takes place in overcrowded hospitals and the other takes place on noisy social media platforms as they work to combat what the World Health Organization has declared an infodemic with accurate, authoritative voices. From a report: All of that means doctors, some of whom were once reluctant to embrace social media, are wading deeper into platforms that are rife with fake news, unproven medical

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2020-04-01 20:10:00

Cash App Scammers Are Using Coronavirus To Exploit People  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Reyna is a teenager in Florida whose family is strapped for cash amid the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus. When the uber-popular beauty influencer Jeffree Star tweeted that he'd be giving out $30,000 via payment service Cash App to a random person who retweeted him, she did just that. Star's offer seems to have been legitimate -- and drummed up a lot of attention for the influencer. A woman actually won the $30,000, and Reyna missed out. But then

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2020-04-01 19:30:00

Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In  

The esteemed science fiction author, best known for movie "Arrival" that is based on his novel, on how we may never go "back to normal" -- and why that might be a good thing. From an interview on Electric Literature: EL: Do you see aspects of science fiction (your own work or others) in the coronavirus pandemic? In how it is being handled, or how it has spread? TC: While there has been plenty of fiction written about pandemics, I think the biggest difference between those scenarios and our real

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2020-04-01 18:50:00

Apple's iOS 14 May Turn iCloud Keychain Into a True 1Password and LastPass Competitor  

Apple's native iOS password manager may be getting an overhaul later this year with the presumed release of iOS 14 that will make it more competitive with third-party options like 1Password and LastPass, reports 9to5Mac. From a report: Right now, iCloud Keychain can store your passwords and help autofill them on the iPhone, where copying and pasting long strings of letters and numbers or manually doing so has been a headache since the advent of the mobile touchscreen. But it doesn't have reminde

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2020-04-01 18:10:00

Google Data Centers' Secret Cost: Billions of Gallons of Water  

To meet surging demand for online information, internet giant taps public water supplies that are already straining from overuse. From a report: In August 2019, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association built a 16-foot pyramid of jugs in its main entrance in Phoenix. The goal was to show residents of this desert region how much water they each use a day -- 120 gallons -- and to encourage conservation. "We must continue to do our part every day," executive director Warren Tenney wrote in a bl

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2020-04-01 17:30:00

Ex-NSA Hacker Drops New Zero-Day Doom for Zoom  

Zoom's troubled year just got worse. From a report: Now that a large portion of the world is working from home to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom's popularity has rocketed, but also has led to an increased focus on the company's security practices and privacy promises. Hot on the heels of two security researchers finding a Zoom bug that can be abused to steal Windows passwords, another security researcher found two new bugs that can be used to take over a Zoom user's Mac, including tappi

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2020-04-01 16:54:00

China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says  

China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials. From a report: The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret and declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China's public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete

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2020-04-01 16:10:00

Researchers find AI is Bad at Predicting GPA, Grit, Eviction, Job Training, Layoffs, and Material Hardship  

A paper coauthored by over 112 researchers across 160 data and social science teams found that AI and statistical models, when used to predict six life outcomes for children, parents, and households, weren't very accurate even when trained on 13,000 data points from over 4,000 families. From a report: They assert that the work is a cautionary tale on the use of predictive modeling, especially in the criminal justice system and social support programs. "Here's a setting where we have hundreds of

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2020-04-01 15:25:00

Investors Tell Indian Startups To 'Prepare For the Worst' as Covid-19 Uncertainty Continues  

Just three months after capping what was the best year for Indian startups, having raised a record $14.5 billion in 2019, they are beginning to struggle to raise new capital as prominent investors urge them to "prepare for the worst" and cut spending. From a report: In an open letter to startup founders in India, ten global and local private equity and venture capitalist firms including Accel, Lightspeed, Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners cautioned that the current changes to the macro environ

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2020-04-01 14:45:00

Amazon's Covid Hiring Boom Has Applicants Packed Into Job Fairs With No Special Precautions  

An anonymous reader shares a report: In March, a laid-off customer-service representative for one of the airline companies attended an employee orientation in Dallas. He found himself packed into a room with about 70 other applicants, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder to watch a PowerPoint presentation about what it's like to work for the online retailer. The man, who provided a smartphone photo to document his experience, said the event was exactly like one he attended last year for a sea

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2020-04-01 14:00:00

Report Reveals 'Massive Plastic Pollution Footprint' of Drinks Firms  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Four global drinks giants are responsible for more than half a million tons of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year, enough to cover 83 football pitches every day, according to a report. The NGO Tearfund has calculated the greenhouse gas emissions from the open burning of plastic bottles, sachets and cartons produced by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and Unilever in developing nations, where waste can be mismanaged because peo

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2020-04-01 13:00:00

OpenWRT Code-Execution Bug Puts Millions of Devices At Risk  

Dan Goodin writes via Ars Technica: For almost three years, OpenWRT -- the open source operating system that powers home routers and other types of embedded systems -- has been vulnerable to remote code-execution attacks because updates were delivered over an unencrypted channel and digital signature verifications are easy to bypass, a researcher said. Security researcher Guido Vranken, however, recently found that updates and installation files were delivered over unencrypted HTTPs connections,

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2020-04-01 10:00:00

Astrophysicist Gets Magnets Stuck Up Nose While Inventing Coronavirus Device  

An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak. The Guardian reports: Dr Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at a Melbourne university, was building a necklace that sounds an alarm on facial contact, when the mishap occurred on Thursday night. The 27 year-old astrophysicist, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying t

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2020-04-01 07:00:00

Campus Is Closed, So College Students Are Rebuilding Their Schools In Minecraft  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The day before University of Pennsylvania students were told that their college commencement would be held online, junior Andrew Guo thought of an alternative to holding the address over Zoom. Students could have a "Hey Day" and graduation inside Minecraft, just as a Japanese elementary school had organized days earlier. Quickly, "Penncraft" students began to recreate dormitories, food trucks, and local sculptures in-game. Makarios Chung, an ea

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2020-04-01 03:30:00

MIT Team Shares New $500 Emergency Ventilator Design With the Public  

A group of MIT scientists has created an emergency ventilator, which is affordable, and easily made using regular hospital devices. Interesting Engineering reports: A team of volunteers, scientists, physicians, and computer scientists at MIT known as E-Vent put their heads together three weeks ago to revive a 10-year-old ventilator project. The end result is a ventilator design that's affordable and easily replicated. The total cost of the device for the different parts is between $400 to $500,

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2020-04-01 01:50:00

What Happens After the Lockdown?  

BeerFartMoron writes: Recently there has been a proliferation of modeling work which has been used to make the point that if we can stay inside, practice extreme social distancing, and generally lock down nonessential parts of society for several months, then many deaths from COVID-19 can be prevented. But what happens after the lockdown? In an article studying the possible effects of heterogeneous measures, academics presented examples of epidemic trajectories for COVID-19 assuming no mitigatio

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2020-04-01 01:10:00

Marriott Discloses New Data Breach Impacting 5.2 Million Guests  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Marriott International said Tuesday that names, mailing addresses, loyalty account numbers and other personal information of an estimated 5.2 million guests may've been exposed in a data breach. This is the second major security incident to hit the hotel group in less than two years. Marriott said it spotted that an "unexpected amount" of guest information may've been accessed at the end of February using the login credentials of two employees at a

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2020-04-01 00:30:00

Amazon Fires Worker Who Led Strike Over Virus  

Chris Smalls, an Amazon fulfillment center employee, said the company fired him after he led a strike at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, over coronavirus safety conditions. "Taking action cost me my job," Smalls said Monday in a Bloomberg TV interview. "Because I tried to stand up for something that's right, the company decided to retaliate against me." Bloomberg reports: A group of workers at the Staten Island fulfillment center walked off the job Monday to demand Amazon close the facil

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2020-03-31 23:50:00

Honda Bucks Industry Trend By Removing Touchscreen Controls  

Honda has done what no other car maker is doing, and returned to analogue controls for some functions on the new Honda Jazz. Autocar reports: While most manufacturers are moving to touchscreen controls, identifying smartphone use as their inspiration - most recently seen in Audi's latest A3 - Honda has decided to reintroduce heating and air conditioning controls via a dial rather than touchscreen, as in the previous-generation Jazz. Jazz project leader Takeki Tanaka explained: "The reason is

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2020-03-31 23:20:00

D-Wave Makes Its Quantum Computers Free To Anyone Working On Coronavirus Crisis  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: D-Wave today made its quantum computers available for free to researchers and developers working on responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. D-Wave partners and customers Cineca, Denso, Forschungszentrum Julich, Kyocera, MDR, Menten AI, NEC, OTI Lumionics, QAR Lab at LMU Munich, Sigma-i, Tohoku University, and Volkswagen are also offering to help. They will provide access to their engineering teams with expertise on how to use quantum

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2020-03-31 22:50:00

FCC Mandates Robocall-fighting Tech Be in Use By End of June 2021  

The Federal Communications Commission voted Tuesday to finalize rules requiring phone companies to use the Shaken/Stir protocol to automatically block calls to fight illegal robocalls. The new rules mandate the use of the technology by all voice providers by the end of June of 2021. From a report: The rules come after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the Traced Act last year. The law, which makes Shaken/Stir compliance mandatory for all voice service providers, directed

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2020-03-31 22:10:00

Xerox Ends Its Hostile Takeover Bid For HP  

Xeros is pulling the plug on its hostile bid to buy larger rival HP (Warning: paywalled; alternative source) after the coronavirus pandemic undermined the copier maker's ability to pull off the debt-laden merger. The Wall Street Journal reports: Xerox said Tuesday it is ending both its more than $30 billion tender offer and a proxy fight to replace the printer and PC maker's board. Xerox concluded it is no longer prudent to pursue the deal given the public health crisis and resulting market swoo

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2020-03-31 21:50:00

Why Do Matter Particles Come in Threes? A Physics Titan Weighs In.  

Three progressively heavier copies of each type of matter particle exist, and no one knows why. A new paper by Steven Weinberg takes a stab at explaining the pattern. From a report: Electrons and two types of quarks, dubbed "up" and "down," mix in various ways to produce every atom in existence. But puzzlingly, this family of matter particles -- the up quark, down quark and electron -- is not the only one. Physicists have discovered that they make up the first of three successive "generations" o

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2020-03-31 21:30:00

HPE, Intel and Linux Foundation Team Up For Open Source Software for 5G Core  

HPE announced on Tuesday it's working with Intel and the Linux Foundation on a new open source software project to help automate the roll out of 5G across multiple sites. From a report: The new partnership, which will be under the Linux Foundation umbrella, is called the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Framework. The partnership represents HPE's move into the 5G core network space as it branches out from its enterprise roots. Other partners for the open source project include AMI, Aps

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2020-03-31 20:49:00

Zoom is Leaking Peoples' Email Addresses and Photos To Strangers  

Popular video-conferencing Zoom is leaking personal information of at least thousands of users, including their email address and photo, and giving strangers the ability to attempt to start a video call with them through Zoom. From a report: The issue lies in Zoom's "Company Directory" setting, which automatically adds other people to a user's lists of contacts if they signed up with an email address that shares the same domain. This can make it easier to find a specific colleague to call when t

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2020-03-31 20:01:00

C.D.C. Weighs Advising Everyone To Wear a Mask  

Widespread use of nonmedical masks could reduce community transmission. But recommending their broad use could also cause a run on the kind of masks that health care workers desperately need. From a report: Should healthy people be wearing masks when they're outside to protect themselves and others? Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. And as h

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2020-03-31 19:30:00

Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit Only, Based on Ubuntu 20.04, and Named 'Ulyana'  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Today, we learn some new details about the upcoming Linux Mint 20. While most of the newly revealed information is positive, there is one thing that is sure to upset many Linux Mint users. First things first, Linux Mint 20 will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as Mint only uses Long Term Support versions of Ubuntu, and 20.04 will be an LTS. We also now know the name of Linux Mint 20. The Mint team always uses female na

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2020-03-31 18:50:00

Apple Acquires Dark Sky App To Boost Weather Data on iPhones  

Apple acquired popular mobile weather service Dark Sky to help bolster the Weather applications on its devices. From a report: The service, which has existed on the web and on iPhone and Android platforms, stood out from the competition by offering more specific data and notifications such as when it is about to rain. Dark Sky announced the deal on its website, saying "we're thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone." The companies

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2020-03-31 18:11:00

SiriusXM is Free Through May 15 To Help With Coronavirus Isolation Boredom  

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced today it's made its 300-plus channel streaming service available for free in North America starting today through May 15. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2020-03-31 17:25:00

Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back.  

In the era of big data, memes and disinformation, the Democrats are trying to regain their digital edge as the president and his loyalists dictate the terms of debate. From a report: The deceptively edited video that purported to show Joseph R. Biden Jr. endorsing President Trump's re-election bounced relentlessly around the internet, falsely painting the former vice president as too confused to know what office he was running for or whom he was vying to run against. The doctored video didn't or

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2020-03-31 16:45:00

FBI Re-sends Alert About Supply Chain Attacks For the Third Time in Three Months  

The FBI has issued an alert on Monday about state-sponsored hackers using the Kwampirs malware to attack supply chain companies and other industry sectors as part of a global hacking campaign. From a report: This marks the third alert about this particular group sent this year, in as many months, after the FBI sent alerts on January 6 and February 5. This time around, the FBI highlighted that some of the group's targets are organizations in the healthcare industry, currently grappling with the c

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2020-03-31 16:09:00

Zoom Meetings Aren't End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings. With millions of people around the world working from home in order to slow the sp

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2020-03-31 15:27:00

Comcast Details What the Coronavirus Has Done To Network Traffic  

Comcast said that internet traffic has risen 32% because of the coronavirus, but the company said it has the capacity to handle peak traffic demands in the U.S. From a report: Tony Werner, Comcast president of technology, said in a press briefing that the company normally adds capacity 12-18 months ahead of time, with typical plans targeting 45% a year increases in traffic. "First and foremost, I think it's important to know that the network is performing well," Werner said. "And people are able

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2020-03-31 14:45:00

Houseparty App Offers $1M Reward To Unmask Entity Behind Hacking Smear Campaign  

Houseparty, a video conferencing desktop and mobile application, said it would pay a $1 million bounty to anyone who could unmask the entity behind what the company described as "a paid commercial smear campaign." From a report: The company's apparent anger comes after Houseparty has been at the center of media reports published yesterday by three British tabloids. The Sun, the Express, and Mirror Online reported on Monday on a large number of Houseparty users claiming they had social media acco

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2020-03-31 14:05:00

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