Possible Cellphone Link To Cancer Found In Rat Study
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News:
A giant U.S. study meant to help decide whether cellphones cause cancer is coming back with confusing results. A report on the study, conducted in rats and mice, is not finished yet. But advocates pushing for more research got wind of the partial findings and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has released them early. They suggest that male rats exposed to constant, heavy doses of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. But female rats didn't, and even the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation. The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, is still analyzing the findings. But John Bucher, associate director of the program, said the initial findings were so significant that the agency decided to release them. A 29-year-old study published earlier this month from Australia reassures us that cellphones are reasonably safe, and
do not cause cancer.
SpaceX Successfully Lands A Falcon 9 Rocket At Sea For The Third Time
An anonymous reader writes:
SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for the third time in a row. The Verge reports: "It was the third time in a row the company has landed a rocket booster at sea, and the fourth time overall. The landing occurred a few minutes before the second stage of the Falcon 9 delivered the THAICOM-8 satellite to space, where it will make its way to geostationary geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). GTO is a high-elliptical orbit that is popular for satellites, sitting more than 20,000 miles above the Earth. The 3,100-kilogram satellite will spend 15 years improving television and data signals across Southeast Asia." The company landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship for the
second time earlier this month.
UPDATE 5/27/15: Frank249 writes in a comment: "Elon Musk just
tweeted: 'Rocket landing speed was close to design max and used up contingency crush core, hence back and forth motion. Prob ok, but some risk of tipping.'" He went on to tweet: "Crush core is aluminum honeycomb for energy absorption in the telescoping actuator. Easy to replace (if Falcon makes it back to port)."
Model X Owner Files Lemon Law Suit Against Tesla, Claims Car Is Unsafe To Drive
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR:
When designing the Model X, Tesla went more than a little bit overboard in trying to trick out its crossover SUV with as many bells and whistles as possible. Not only did Tesla's overly ambitious development delay the launch of the Model X, it has arguably resulted in a noticeably higher number of quality control issues than we're accustomed to seeing. Hardly a controversial point, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk has conceded that the company was far too zealous when developing the Model X. While some customers with frustrating Model X issues have noted that Tesla has been quick to fix any problems, one Model X owner from California has had enough. According to the Courthouse News Service, via Teslarati, Barrett Lyon recently filed a Lemon Law claim against Tesla, arguing that the car's problems are unfixable and that it's ultimately unsafe to drive. In addition to finding that the front door would often slam shut on his leg, Lyon's suit details a slew of other problems, including Auto Pilot problems, touch screen freezes and more. A Tesla Model S owner, on the other hand, reported that his vehicle
went rogue causing an accident all by itself.
Wearable 'Backpack PCs' Let You Experience High-End VR On The Go
An anonymous reader writes:
Powerful virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful PCs with beefy graphics cards to operate. That means you'll usually be tethered to a PC tower in your home. Well, HP and MSI have announced portable 'backpack PCs' designed to be used with high-end virtual reality headsets. These PC internals are built in a backpack enclosure powered by a large battery pack. The HP Omen X weighs less than 10 pounds and has a battery that's big enough to last for up to one hour of gameplay, but you do have the option of swapping out the batteries for uninterrupted VR. Specs include either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and at least an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or higher. The MSI Backpack PC features an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 980 graphics, according to the company. The last of the backpack PC trio is the Zotac Mobile VR. The company hasn't released any specs of the product but the company did state in a blog post, "This mobile solution not only removes the bulk of connecting to the large traditional computer towers of old, but also allows the user to roam freely in VR with their undivided attention. This innovative solution includes a system powerful enough to drive VR, and a portable battery pack to keep you going." There is no pricing or availability information as of yet.
Amazon Built An Echo Simulator You Can Use In the Browser
Jordan Novet, writing for VentureBeat:
Amazon today announced the availability of Echosim.io, a website that simulates the capabilities of the Amazon Echo speaker, which employs Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology. The thing about Alexa is that many people who don't own the Echo -- or its smaller siblings, the Tap and the Echo Dot -- haven't been able to see what Alexa is capable of. The new tool -- which was inspired by the Alexa in the Browser application that Nexmo developer advocate Sam Machin came up with during a hackathon last year -- solves that problem. All you have to do is head to the website, sign in with your Amazon credentials, and start holding your mouse down over the microphone button to see what Alexa can do. It's nifty for anyone to use, but it's also potentially useful to developers. "Developers worldwide can use Echosim to experience Alexa," Amazon Alexa developer marketing manager Glenn Cameron wrote in a blog post.Interesting move, especially for people who either do not want to -- or can't -- purchase the device (unavailability being one reason). You will need to login with your Amazon account in order to test Echosim.
Someone In North Korea Is Hosting a Facebook Clone
Jason Koebler shares:
Someone in North Korea appears to have created a Facebook clone, according to an internet analytics company that traced the site's DNS to the notoriously isolated country. The social network is an off-the-shelf Facebook clone called dolphinPHP.
Dyn Analytics researcher Doug Madory said that "very few websites resolve to the North Korean address space, and this one does."From the screenshots in the article, the user interface, and other elements do look similar to that of Facebook.
All European Scientific Articles To Be Freely Accessible By 2020
An anonymous reader shares a report on EU2016:
All scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020. EU member states want to achieve optimal reuse of research data. They are also looking into a European visa for foreign start-up founders. And, according to the new Innovation Principle, new European legislation must take account of its impact on innovation. These are the main outcomes of the meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 27 May. Under the presidency of Netherlands State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker, the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation decided unanimously to take these significant steps.Many questions remain unanswered. For instance, it is not clear whether the publishers would be forced to make their papers available for free or whether EU will only allow scientists who are happy to abide by the rules to publish papers. We should have more details on this soon.
Hackers Claim to Have 427 Million Myspace Passwords
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Motherboard:
There's an oft-repeated adage in the world of cybersecurity: There are two types of companies, those that have been hacked, and those that don't yet know they have been hacked. MySpace, the social media behemoth that was, is apparently in the second category. The same hacker who was selling the data of more than 164 million LinkedIn users last week now claims to have 360 million emails and passwords of MySpace users, which would be one of the largest leaks of passwords ever. And it looks like the data is being circulated in the underground by other hackers as well. It's unclear when the data was stolen from MySpace, but both the hacker, who's known as Peace, and one of the operators of LeakedSource, a paid hacked data search engine that also claims to have the credentials, said it's from a past, unreported, breach.
North Korea Linked to the SWIFT Bank Hacks
North Korea could be behind the recent string of digital attacks on Asian banks, says Symantec. The cyber security firms notes that the
attacks could be traced as far back as October 2015, two months prior to the earliest known incident. As you may recall,
hackers stole around $80M from Bangladesh's central bank in March, and
a similar attack was seen at a Vietnamese bank earlier this month. Symantec says that it has found evidence that distinctive malware that was used in both the hacks had strong commonalities with the
2014 Sony Picture breaches. Security firm FireEye also investigated the matter. From a Bloomberg report:
Investigators are examining possible computer breaches at as many as 12 banks linked to Swift's global payments network that have irregularities similar to those in the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank, according to a person familiar with the probe. FireEye, the security firm hired by the Bangladesh bank, has been contacted by the other banks, most of which are in Southeast Asia, because of signs that hackers may have breached their networks, the person said. They include banks in the Philippines and New Zealand but not in Western Europe or the United States. There is no indication of whether money was taken.
Gigabit Internet With No Data Caps May Be Coming To Rural America
Jon Brodkin, writing for Ars Technica:
The Federal Communications Commission is making another $2.15 billion available for rural broadband projects, and it's trying to direct at least some of that money toward building services with gigabit download speeds and unlimited data. The FCC voted for the funding Wednesday (PDF) and released the full details yesterday (PDF). The money, $215 million a year for 10 years, will be distributed to Internet providers through a reverse auction in which bidders will commit to providing specific performance levels. Bidders can obtain money by proposing projects meeting requirements in any of four performance tiers. There's a minimum performance tier that includes speeds of at least 10Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream, with at least 150GB of data provided each month. A "baseline" performance tier requires 25Mbps/3Mbps speeds and at least 150GB a month, though the data allotment minimum could rise based on an FCC metric that determines what typical broadband consumers use per month.
Why Are We Spending Billions and Tons of Fossil Fuel On Search of Lost Planes?
After days of massive search finally, "Report: Signals detected from EgyptAir Flight 804 in Mediterranean"
Why not record GPS/GLONASS track constantly into a text file on say twenty flash USB drives enclosed into orange styrofoam with the serial aircraft number on it? In case of an accident, these waterproof USB flash drives are released outside overboard. Certainly the text file is encrypted.
Such a floating USB flash drive would cost maximum a hundred USD even if equipped with a tiny LED lamp; while an aircraft costs millions, and a search may costs billions let alone thousands of tons of burned fossil fuel.
Microsoft's Get Windows 10 App, KB 3035583, Reappears
An anonymous reader shares an InfoWorld article:
Once again, Microsoft has unleashed the GWX Kraken, with no explanation and no description. The latest KB 3035583 appears as a "Recommended" optional patch for Windows 7 and 8.1. Those with Automatic Update turned on and "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" checked -- the default settings -- will see the patch as a checked, optional update, and it will be installed the next time Automatic Update runs. If you previously hid KB 3035583, it's now unhidden. I'm sure there are a dozen people on earth who still have Auto Updates turned on, "Recommended updates" checked, and who haven't yet accepted Microsoft's kind invitation for a free copy of Windows 10. This one's for them. In late March 2015, Microsoft released the first version of KB 3035583. Described as "Update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1," the patch immediately raised eyebrows. In April of last year, a German researcher named Gerard Himmelein, writing at heise.de, figured out that Microsoft was sneaking a Windows 10 upgrader onto Win7 and 8.1 machines. Life for Win7 and 8.1 customers since then has degenerated into Win10 whack-a-mole.In some other news, Chinese news outlet Xinhua reports that plenty of users in China are unhappy about
Microsoft's push to get them to mandatorily upgrade their Windows OS. "The company has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," Xinhua quoted Zhao Zhanling, a legal adviser with the Internet Society of China, as saying.
Slashdot Asks: Would You Pay For Android Updates?
It's no secret that most Android OEMs could do better when it comes to seeding out updates for their existing devices. A report on Bloomberg earlier this week claimed that
Google plans to publicly name and shame the OEMs who are too slow at updating their devices. An HTC executive who didn't want to be identified told
Slashdot on Thursday that it is not the right way to approach the problem. But that's only one part of the problem. The other issue is that almost every Android OEM partner -- including Google itself -- only provides support to their devices for 18-24 months. Vlad Savov of The Verge in a column today
urges Android OEMs to perhaps charge its users if that is what it takes for them to offer support to their devices for a longer period of time and in a timely manner. He writes:
I've been one of the many people dissatisfied with the state of Android software updates, however I can't in good conscience direct my wrath at the people manufacturing the devices. Price and spec competition is so intense right now that there's literally no option to disengage: everyone's been sucked into the whirlpool of razor-thin profit margins, and nobody can afford the luxury of dedicating too many resources to after-sales care. The question that's been bugging me lately is, if we value Android updates as highly as we say we do, why don't we pay for them? The situation can't be fixed by manufacturers -- most of them are barely breaking even -- or by Google, which is doing its best to improve things but ultimately relies on carriers and device makers to get the job done. Carriers will most certainly not be the solution, given how they presently constitute most of the problem (just ask AT&T Galaxy S6 owners) -- so like it or not, the best chance for substantial change comes from us, the users. What I'm proposing is a simple crowdfunding operation. I'm skeptical about this, because I don't think it is in an OEM's best interest to serve its existing users for long -- how else they will convince customers to purchase their new devices? A newer software version is after all one of the ultimate selling points of a new phone. So I don't think an OEM will take up on such an offer. What do you folks think?
Facebook Begins Tracking Non-Users Around the Internet
Amar Toor, reporting for The Verge:
cookies policy page. As part of which, the company is now allowing Facebook users to opt-out of the ad scheme by
making changes to their Facebook settings. For users that don't have a Facebook account, they can opt-out through Digital Advertising Alliance in the
United States and
Canada, and the European Interactive Digital Adverting Alliance in
China Unveils 'Straddling Bus' Design To Beat Traffic Jams
An anonymous reader writes:
A Beijing company has unveiled spectacularly futuristic designs for a pollution-busting, elevated bus capable of gliding over the nightmarish mega-jams for which urban China has become notorious. The "straddling bus," which owes more to Blade Runner than China's car-clogged highways, is supported by two legs that run along rails laid along the roadside. Those legs allow the Transit Explore Bus, or TEB's giant frame to glide high above the gridlock at speeds of up to 60km per hour. Equally, vehicles that are less than two metres high will be able to drive freely underneath the bus, even when it is stationary. "The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space," Song Youzhou, the project's chief engineer, told Xinhua, China's official news agency. Song claimed his buses, capable of transporting up to 1,400 commuters, could be produced for 20% of the price of an underground train and rolled out far more quickly since the supporting infrastructure was relatively simple. One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, he said.You can watch the
concept video here. Interestingly a very similar -- if not the exact same --
concept has come out of China before. Not sure what kind of developments have been made in the six years since then.