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TikTok's US Employees Plan To Sue Trump Administration Over Executive Order  

TikTok's US employees are planning to file a lawsuit challenging a Trump administration executive order they say would make it illegal for their employer to pay them. From a report: Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring any US transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, and its subsidiaries. The language of the order is broad, so it's unclear if it would bar TikTok from paying its employees. The Trump administration didn't respond to questions

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2020-08-14 11:30:00

Instagram Wasn't Removing Photos and Direct Messages From Its Servers  

A security researcher was awarded a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found Instagram retained photos and private direct messages on its servers long after he deleted them. From a report: Independent security researcher Saugat Pokharel found that when he downloaded his data from Instagram, a feature it launched in 2018 to comply with new European data rules, his downloaded data contained photos and private messages with other users that he had previously deleted. It's not uncommon for companies

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2020-08-14 08:30:00

'All Of My TikTok Followers Are Fake'  

An anonymous reader shares a report: The followers poured in. Then the likes. Then tens of thousands of people watched my TikTok video. The clip itself was of a few Motherboard staffers winning a match in the hugely popular game Call of Duty: Warzone; TikTok is full of streamers and players uploading their wins or soul-crushing loses. The video itself isn't good -- there's no slick editing, no captivating TikTok personality talking to camera, and certainly no dancing -- but in a few short hours

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2020-08-14 05:00:00

YouTube Bans Videos Containing Hacked Information That Could Interfere With the Election  

As Democrats and Republicans prepare to hold their national conventions starting next week, YouTube on Thursday announced updates to its policies on deceptive videos and other content designed to interfere with the election. From a report: The world's largest video platform, with more than 2 billion users a month, will ban videos containing information that was obtained through hacking and could meddle with elections or censuses. That would include material like hacked campaign emails with detai

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2020-08-14 01:45:00

Single-line Software Bug Causes Fledgling YAM Cryptocurrency To Implode Just Two Days After Launch  

A two-day-old decentralized cryptocurrency called YAM collapsed this week after its creators revealed that a software bug had effectively vetoed human governance. From a report: "At approximately 6PM UTC, on Wednesday, August 12, we discovered a bug in the YAM rebasing contract that would mint far more YAM than intended to sell to the Uniswap YAM/yCRV pool, sending a large amount of excess YAM to the protocol reserve," the YAM project explained in a post on Thursday. "Given YAM's governance modu

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2020-08-13 23:01:00

Intel Says New Transistor Technology Could Boost Chip Performance 20%  

Intel on Thursday disclosed a new method for making transistors on semiconductors that its chief architect said could boost the performance Intel's next round of processors by as much as 20%. From a report: The Santa Clara, California-based company is one of the few remaining in the world that both designs and manufactures its own chips. But its manufacturing operations have become a concern among investors after Intel last month said that its next-generation chip-making process, called its 7-na

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2020-08-13 22:00:00

Facebook Abandons Broken Drilling Equipment Under Oregon Coast Seafloor  

Kale Williams, reporting for The Oregonian: Lynnae Ruttledge was worried when she heard Facebook planned to build a landing spot for an undersea fiber-optic cable near her Oregon Coast home. Tierra Del Mar, where the 70-year-old retired government worker lives part-time, is a tiny community north of Pacific City with no stoplights and no cell-phone service. The enclave, all zoned residential, consists of about a dozen mostly gravel streets running perpendicular to an idyllic stretch of beach, ea

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2020-08-13 21:00:00

Epic Games Sues Apple  

Epic Games has filed legal papers in response to Apple, read more here (PDF). From the filing: Epic brings this suit to end Apple's unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion dollar markets: (i) the iOS App Distribution Market, and (ii) the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market. Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itse

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2020-08-13 19:44:00

Apple Kicks Fortnite Out of App Store for Challenging Payment Rules  

Fortnite, the social shooter made by Epic Games, has been removed from the Apple App Store, the only way to install software on iPhones. From a report: CNBC searched on the App Store on Thursday and did not find the game. It was previously available for download earlier in the day. App Store promotions about the game brought up a message that it "cannot connect to App Store." On Thursday, Epic Games challenged not only Apple but Google by introducing a new way to buy digital goods like character

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2020-08-13 19:08:00

FBI and NSA Expose New Linux Malware Drovorub, Used by Russian State Hackers  

The FBI and NSA have published today a joint security alert containing details about a new strain of Linux malware that the two agencies say was developed and deployed in real-world attacks by Russia's military hackers. From a report: The two agencies say Russian hackers used the malware, named Drovorub, was to plant backdoors inside hacked networks. Based on evidence the two agencies have collected, FBI and NSA officials claim the malware is the work of APT28 (Fancy Bear, Sednit), a codename gi

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2020-08-13 19:01:00

The Quest To Liberate $300,000 of Bitcoin From an Old ZIP File  

A few quintillion possible decryption keys stand between a man and his cryptocurrency. From a report: In October, Michael Stay got a weird message on LinkedIn. A total stranger had lost access to his bitcoin private keys -- and wanted Stay's help getting his $300,000 back. It wasn't a total surprise that The Guy, as Stay calls him, had found the former Google security engineer. Nineteen years ago, Stay published a paper detailing a technique for breaking into encrypted zip files. The Guy had bou

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2020-08-13 18:02:00

US Says It Seized Cryptocurrency From Three Terrorist Groups  

The Trump administration dismantled digital campaigns by al-Qaeda and other other terrorist groups that used social media to obtain cryptocurrency for carrying out terrorist attacks, the Justice Department said on Thursday. From a report: The U.S. seized millions of dollars and more than 300 cryptocurrency accounts used by al-Qaeda; Hamas's military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades; and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS. "These actions represent the government's largest-ever seizure

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2020-08-13 17:05:00

Fortnite is Daring Apple To Shutter Its Game on iPhones  

The company that owns Fortnite is making an in-your-face challenge to Apple: We're not going to obey the rules you've set for your powerful App Store. And we dare you to do something about it. From a report: It's a fascinating standoff between a very profitable, highly valued gaming company and one of the most powerful companies in the world. The way it plays out could have consequences for Apple, its tech rivals -- and antitrust regulators. Epic Games, the North Carolina-based developer behind

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2020-08-13 16:05:00

Lyft Joins Uber in Threatening To Pull Out of California Over Driver Status  

Lyft said it would shut down operations in California if forced to classify drivers as employees, the company's executives said in an earnings call with investors on Wednesday. Lyft joins Uber in threatening to pull out of one of its most important US markets over the question of drivers' employment status. From a report: At issue is the classification of ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors, which Uber and Lyft say most drivers prefer because of the flexibility and ability to set the

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2020-08-13 15:06:00

Apple Readies Subscription Bundles To Boost Digital Services  

Apple is readying a series of bundles that will let customers subscribe to several of the company's digital services at a lower monthly price, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the effort. From the report: The bundles, dubbed "Apple One" inside the Cupertino, California-based technology giant, are planned to launch as early as October alongside the next iPhone line, the people said. The bundles are designed to encourage customers to subscribe to more Apple services, wh

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2020-08-13 14:14:00

Apple's Climate Promise Depends on Taiwan Partners Going Green  

Apple has gone carbon neutral. But in order to say the same for its flagship iPhone, it's going to need help from Taiwan. From a report: More than three-quarters of the emissions that come from making Apple's ubiquitous products come from outside suppliers, according to the company's Environmental Progress Report. That includes Taiwanese electronics giants like TSMC and Foxconn, which still get about 90% of their power from non-renewable sources, according to company reports. That's changing tho

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2020-08-13 12:30:00

Pompeo Says Trump's Executive Orders Are 'Broader' Than Just TikTok and WeChat, Hinting at More Action  

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump's executive orders against TikTok and WeChat could be "broader" than just those two apps. From a report: Pompeo did not elaborate, but his comments could be hinting at action against other Chinese apps or even TikTok's parent company ByteDance, or WeChat owner Tencent. "So when President Trump made his announcement about not only TikTok, but about WeChat -- and if you read it, it's broader even still than that -- is that we're going

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2020-08-13 11:00:00

Facebook Launches Hub To Help Users With US Poll Related Information  

Facebook on Thursday launched a 'Voting Information Center' for the 2020 U.S. elections to help voters easily navigate the poll process. From a report: The hub will connect Facebook and Instagram users to accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live and help them hold their elected officials accountable, the social media company said in a blog. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2020-08-13 08:00:00

Cities Lose Lawsuit Against FCC's 5G Rules  

A federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission's rules that limit municipalities' ability to negotiate with telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon that are seeking to deploy thousands of 5G antennas on city streets and neighborhoods. From a report: The ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is a blow to dozens of cities that sued the agency, claiming the FCC's 2018 rules takes away their leverage and autonomy in deciding how the telecom industry can install "s

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2020-08-13 03:30:00

Mozilla Extends its Google Search Deal  

Mozilla and Google have extended their search deal for another three years, news outlet ZDNet reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with thee matter. Mozilla confirmed the news. From a report: The new search deal will ensure Google remains the default search engine provider inside the Firefox browser until 2023 at an estimated price tag of around $400 million to $450 million per year. Mozilla officials are expected to announce the search deal's extension later this fall, in November, when

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2020-08-13 00:13:00

Arecibo Observatory Featured in James Bond Film 'Goldeneye' Shut Down  

A number of Slashdot readers, including mknewman and MountainLogic have shared this report: The famous observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, featured in the James Bond movie "GoldenEye," has been forced to temporarily close after a broken cable smashed through the side of its massive dish. Around 2:45 a.m. Monday, a three-inch auxiliary cable that helped support a metal platform broke, according to a news release from the University of Central Florida. UCF manages the facility alongside Universid

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2020-08-12 23:01:00

Homeland Security Details New Tools For Extracting Device Data at US Borders  

Travelers heading to the US have many reasons to be cautious about their devices when it comes to privacy. A report released Thursday from the Department of Homeland Security provides even more cause for concern about how much data border patrol agents can pull from your phones and computers. From a report: In a Privacy Impact Assessment dated July 30, the DHS detailed its US Border Patrol Digital Forensics program, specifically for its development of tools to collect data from electronic device

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2020-08-12 22:04:00

Silicon Valley Game-Plans For a Messy Election Night  

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other major social media companies are working together to scenario-plan for the last three months before Election Day in the United States -- including gaming out what to do if there's no quickly declared winner in the contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on election night. From a report: The close collaboration between Silicon Valley companies in the run-up to election day is detailed in an unusual cross-industry statement put

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2020-08-12 21:02:00

The First Gene-Edited Squid in History Is a Biological Breakthrough  

Squid are among the smartest ocean dwellers. Along with other ink-squirting cephalopods like octopuses and cuttlefish, squid boast the largest brains of all invertebrates. They also have an incredibly complex nervous system capable of instantaneously camouflaging their bodies and communicating with each other using various signals. From a report: Scientists have long marveled at these sophisticated behaviors and have tried to understand why these tentacled creatures are so intelligent. Gene edit

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2020-08-12 20:07:00

Google Makes Building Android Apps on Chrome OS Easier  

Google today launched, a new site that aims to help developers get started with building Android apps for the company's Linux-based operating system. With today's update, Google is also making it easier to build and test Android applications on Chromebooks. From a report: The new site, which is available in English and Spanish for now, is meant to "help developers maximize their capabilities on the platform through technical resources/tutorials, product announcements, c

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2020-08-12 19:03:00

Scientists Turn Normal Red Bricks into Electricity-Storing Supercapacitors  

Bricks are about as basic as architectural materials can get, yet these simple building blocks have hidden powers that can be leveraged to provide electricity, according to a new study. From a report: Scientists modified a common red brick -- the same kind you'll find on sale for under a dollar at your local hardware store -- so that it could power a green LED light. This proof-of-concept for a "smart brick" reveals that brick technology, which dates back thousands of years, can be tweaked to ha

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2020-08-12 18:08:00

Dropbox Launches Password Manager, Computer Backup, and Secure 'Vaults' Out of Beta  

Dropbox is officially launching a handful of new consumer features out of beta today, along with some new tools for businesses. From a report: The cloud storage giant first introduced its password manager -- replete with a standalone mobile app for Android and iOS -- back in June. Similar to other password management apps on the market, Dropbox Passwords stores and encrypts users' online passwords and syncs them across all devices (desktop and mobile) so users don't have to remember multiple log

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2020-08-12 17:00:00

Uber CEO Says Its Service Will Probably Shut Down Temporarily in California if It's Forced To Classify Drivers as Employees  

Uber would likely shut down temporarily for several months if a court does not overturn a recent ruling requiring it to classify its drivers as full-time employees, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview. From a report: "If the court doesn't reconsider, then in California, it's hard to believe we'll be able to switch our model to full-time employment quickly," Khosrowshahi said. Uber and rival Lyft both have about a week left to appeal a preliminary injunction granted by a California judge o

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2020-08-12 16:03:00

Microsoft Surface Duo Phone Goes on Sale Starting at $1,399  

Microsoft begins taking orders for its dual-screen Surface device in the U.S. on Wednesday, an attempt to re-enter the mobile handset market with a product that blends the features of a tablet with those of a phone. From a report: The Android-powered Surface Duo starts at $1,399 and will be available Sept. 10, said Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. The device will be sold on as well as by AT&T and Best Buy. It is the thinnest Surface ever, with screens that unfold co

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2020-08-12 15:00:00

Amazon Satellites Add To Astronomers' Worries About the Night Sky  

Welcome to the age of the satellite megaconstellation. Within the next few years, vast networks, containing hundreds or even thousands of spacecraft, could reshape the future of Earth's orbital environment. From a report: Much of the attention on these strings of satellites has been placed on the prolific launches of SpaceX and OneWeb, but the focus is now turning to Amazon. Last month, the Federal Communications Commission approved a request by the online marketplace to launch its Project Kuipe

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2020-08-12 14:03:00

How Will the Universe End? Scientists Say They May Have an Answer  

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: In the unimaginably far future, cold stellar remnants known as black dwarfs will begin to explode in a spectacular series of supernovae, providing the final fireworks of all time. That's the conclusion of a new study, which posits that the universe will experience one last hurrah before everything goes dark forever. The dramatic detonations will begin to occur about 10^1100 years from now, a number the human brain can scarcely comprehend. The a

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2020-08-12 07:00:00

'Stalkerware' Phone Spying Apps Have Escaped Google's Ad Ban  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Several companies offering phone-spying apps -- known as "stalkerware" -- are still advertising in Google search results, despite the search giant's ban that took effect today, TechCrunch has found. These controversial apps are often pitched to help parents snoop on their child's calls, messages, apps and other private data under the guise of helping to protect against online predators. But some repurpose these apps to spy on their spouses --

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2020-08-12 03:30:00

Police Use of Facial Recognition Violates Human Rights, UK Court Rules  

An appeals court ruled today that police use of facial recognition technology in the UK has "fundamental deficiencies" and violates several laws. Ars Technica reports: South Wales Police began using automated facial recognition technology on a trial basis in 2017, deploying a system called AFR Locate overtly at several dozen major events such as soccer matches. Police matched the scans against watchlists of known individuals to identify persons who were wanted by the police, had open warrants ag

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2020-08-12 02:02:00

Facebook Removed Seven Million Posts In Second Quarter For False Coronavirus Info  

Facebook said on Tuesday it removed 7 million posts in the second quarter for sharing false information about the novel coronavirus, including content that promoted fake preventative measures and exaggerated cures. Reuters reports: It released the data as part of its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, which it introduced in 2018 along with more stringent decorum rules in response to a backlash over its lax approach to policing content on its platforms. The world's biggest social netwo

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2020-08-12 01:25:00

Xbox Series X Launching In November, But Halo Infinite Is Delayed Until 2021  

Microsoft isn't providing a specific release date for its next-gen Xbox Series X console, but the company did reveal it will launch in the month of November. Sadly, Microsoft and 343 Industries also announced today that Halo Infinite is being delayed to 2021. The Verge reports: The lack of Halo Infinite does mean there's no big launch title for the Xbox Series X later this year. Microsoft is choosing to highlight Xbox Game Pass, alongside "more than 50 new games" that are launching this year wit

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2020-08-12 00:45:00

TikTok Tracked User Data Using Tactic Banned By Google  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MarketWatch: TikTok skirted a privacy safeguard in Google's Android operating system to collect unique identifiers from millions of mobile devices, data that allows the app to track users online without allowing them to opt out, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found. The tactic, which experts in mobile-phone security said was concealed through an unusual added layer of encryption, appears to have violated Google policies limiting how apps track people

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2020-08-12 00:02:00

Russia Claims To Have Registered World's First COVID-19 Vaccine  

New submitter Hmmmmmm shares a report from CNBC: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the registration of what Russia claims to be the first vaccine for the coronavirus in the world and said one of his daughters had already taken it. "Although I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity and, I repeat, has passed all the necessary checks," Putin said. Clinical trials of this Russian vaccine have been completed in less than two months and phase three trials are set to

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2020-08-11 23:20:00

The Last Blockbuster Has Been Turned Into An Airbnb  

The world's last Blockbuster is offering movie fans the opportunity to spend the night in the store by booking through Airbnb. The Independent reports: The opportunity to book a one-night stay in the last of the nearly defunct video rental stores, which only remains in Bend, Oregon, will be possible thanks to the property's owner, Sandi Harding. "As the last standing location in the world, our BLOCKBUSTER store is an ode to movie magic, simpler times and the sense of community that could once be

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2020-08-11 22:40:00

What Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's VP Pick, Means For Tech  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: After months of speculation, Joe Biden has picked California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice-presidential running mate in the race for the White House. The choice fulfills a pledge from Biden, the Democrats' presumptive nominee for president, to name a woman to his ticket as he seeks to unseat Donald Trump in the November election. [...] Here's what we know about Harris' stance on tech issues: A California senator and former candidate in the 2

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2020-08-11 22:02:00

University of Michigan Study Advocates Ban of Facial Recognition in Schools  

University of Michigan researchers recently published a study showing facial recognition technology in schools has limited efficacy and presents a number of serious problems. From a report: The research was led by Shobita Parthasarathy, director of the university's Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program, and finds the technology isn't just ill-suited to security purposes, it can actively promote racial discrimination, normalize surveillance, and erode privacy while marginalizing g

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2020-08-11 21:26:00

Scribd Acquires Presentation-Sharing Service SlideShare from LinkedIn  

SlideShare has a new owner, with LinkedIn selling the presentation-sharing service to Scribd for an undisclosed price. From a report: According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24. Scribd CEO Trip Adler argued that the companies have very similar roots, both of them focused on content- and document-sharing. "The two products always had kind of similar missions," Adler said. "The difference was, [SlideShare] focused on more on PowerPoint present

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2020-08-11 20:45:00

Twitter's Reply-Limiting Feature is Now Available To Everyone  

Twitter is making one of its boldest experiments official. After months of testing, the company is bringing its reply-limiting feature, which allows users to control who can reply to their tweets, to all users. From a report: With the update, which is rolling out now to Twitter's apps and website, users can choose who can reply to tweets before they send them. The options are everyone, people you follow, and people you mention. If you choose people you mention, but don't mention anyone in the tw

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2020-08-11 20:05:00

Google Beats Song Lyric Scraping Lawsuit  

Genius Media Group was pretty clever when it used digital watermarks to show that Google had been copying its huge collection of song lyrics. One of those watermarks spelled "redhanded" in Morse code. That Google was caught lifting another site's song lyrics made international news -- and even merited a mention during Congress' Big Tech hearing late last month. But was Google's scraping illegal? On Monday, a New York federal judge dismissed claims by Genius. From a report: Genius doesn't own cop

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2020-08-11 19:25:00

MLB Teams Explore Using Cameras To Detect Maskless Fans at Games  

The baseball season has started with eerily empty stadiums, but some teams are exploring high-tech ways to verify that people in the stands are taking health precautions, a possible step toward bringing fans back. From a report: Several Major League Baseball teams have held talks with a California startup called Airspace Systems that develops technology to detect whether people are wearing face masks, the league and the company said. The discussions focus on implementing the systems into cameras

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2020-08-11 18:45:00

Qualcomm Wins US Antitrust Lawsuit Appeal Over Chip Licensing  

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling against chip supplier Qualcomm in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. From a report: The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also vacated an injunction that would have required Qualcomm to change its intellectual property licensing practices. The decision amounted to a near complete victory for the San Diego company, the largest supplier of chips for mobile phones and also a key generator of wireless

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2020-08-11 18:04:00

Zoom Sued By Consumer Group For Misrepresenting Its Encryption Protections  

A consumer advocacy group is suing Zoom and seeking millions of dollars in damages, accusing the company of misleading its users about the strength of its encryption protections. From a report: The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog is also accusing the videoconferencing company of deceiving users about the extent of its links with China and the fact that some calls between people in North America were routed through servers in China. That raises the danger Beijing could steal or demand access to

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2020-08-11 17:25:00

Ask Slashdot: Is it Time To Call Time on Time Zones?  

An anonymous reader shares a report [may be paywalled]: Anyone who has struggled to schedule a conference call across multiple time zones should pity the poor residents of Indiana. For decades, the Midwestern US state has been in flux over whether to observe Central or Eastern time. Some counties even switched time zones twice in as many years during the mid-2000s. This situation must be particularly baffling to the people of India and China, whose countries span thousands of miles yet obey a si

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2020-08-11 16:45:00

New Zealand Reinstates Coronavirus Restrictions After First Locally-Transmitted Case in 102 Days  

schwit1 shares a report: New Zealand has reintroduced coronavirus restrictions in parts of the country after new locally transmitted cases broke the 102-day streak the country had gone without recording a local infection. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Tuesday night, and announced that New Zealand's most populous city, Auckland, will temporarily see level three restrictions introduced for three days starting from midday on

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2020-08-11 16:05:00

Parallels Desktop 16 Supports macOS Big Sur and Smoother PC 3D Graphics  

As Apple's Mac computers begin their two-year transition from Intel- to Apple-developed CPUs later this year, one feature that's going away is Boot Camp -- the Mac's ability to boot directly into Windows and run PC apps natively. But Corel's Parallels Desktop will still be there to let Mac users run Windows, and in this year's version 16, it will thankfully be faster, more compatible, and easier to use than ever. From a report: Like Parallels Desktop 15, version 16 is an emulator that allows use

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2020-08-11 15:26:00

Mozilla Lays Off 250 Employees While it Refocuses on Commercial Products  

The Mozilla Corporation announced today it was laying off approximately 250 staff members in a move to shore up the organization's financial future. From a report: The layoffs were publicly announced in a blog post today. Employees were notified hours before, earlier this morning, via an email sent by Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Corporation CEO and Mozilla Foundation Chairwoman. Baker's message cited the organization's need to adapt its finances to a post-COVID-19 world and re-focus the organization

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2020-08-11 14:45:00

Android is Becoming a Worldwide Earthquake Detection Network  

Google is creating a worldwide, Android phone-powered earthquake alert system. The first part of that system is rolling out today. If you opt in, the accelerometer in your Android phone will become one data point for an algorithm designed to detect earthquakes. Eventually, that system will automatically send warnings to people who could be impacted. From a report: It's a feature made possible through Google's strengths: the staggering numbers of Android phones around the world and clever use of

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2020-08-11 14:05:00

Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Internet connectivity and cellular service in Belarus have been down since Sunday evening, after sporadic outages early that morning and throughout the day. The connectivity blackout, which also includes landline phones, appears to be a government-imposed outage that comes amid widespread protests and increasing social unrest over Belarus' presidential election Sunday. The ongoing shutdown has further roiled the country of about 9.5 million people,

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2020-08-11 13:00:00

What Mars Would Look Like If Its Surface Was Covered With Water  

schwit1 writes: A new map shows what the red planet would look like if 71 percent of its surface area was covered with water -- around the same proportion as Earth. The results are spectacular: it shows two distinct landmasses forming, each of which would seem to form continents. While the left side shows a dramatic, mountainous terrain that includes Olympus Mons, the right side seems to offer more flatlands that include planes like Terra Sabaea. The map was created by Aaditya Raj Bhattarai,

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2020-08-11 10:00:00

Planet Ceres Is An 'Ocean World' With Sea Water Beneath Surface, Mission Finds  

The dwarf planet Ceres -- long believed to be a barren space rock -- is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed on Monday. The Guardian reports: Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has its own gravity, enabling the Nasa Dawn spacecraft to capture high-resolution images of its surface. Now a team of scientists from the United States and Europe have analyzed images relayed from the

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2020-08-11 07:00:00

People Typically Experience Shifting Mental Disorders Over Their Lifespan, Study Finds  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PsyPost: New research based on four decades of longitudinal data indicates that it is rare for a person to receive and keep a single mental disorder diagnosis. Rather, experiencing different successive mental disorders appears to be the norm. The findings, published in JAMA Open, suggest that psychiatrists and other mental health professionals should move toward adopting a life-course perspective on mental disorders. The researchers examined data from

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2020-08-11 03:30:00

AT&T To Lay Off 600 At HBO and Warner Bros. After Revenue Decline  

AT&T's WarnerMedia division is planning to lay off hundreds of employees in AT&T's latest cost-cutting move. Ars Technica reports: "Warner Bros. is expected to commence layoffs of around 650 people starting Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, while HBO is seen shedding between 150 and 175 staffers. A WarnerMedia spokesman declined to comment," Variety reported yesterday. The numbers quoted in Variety may be a bit too high. A source with knowledge of the AT&T layoffs

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2020-08-11 02:02:00

Tim Cook Hits Billionaire Status With Apple Nearing $2 Trillion  

Apple CEO Tim Cook's personal net worth has recently crossed the $1 billion mark as the company nears a $2 trillion market value, reports Bloomberg. From the report: It was valued at about $350 billion when Jobs died. Cook, meantime, has joined one of the most elite clubs for CEOs who didn't actually found the companies they run: his net worth has eclipsed $1 billion, according to calculations by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Cook's net worth estimate is based on an analysis of regulatory fi

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2020-08-11 01:25:00

Google Maps Is Coming To Apple Watch, Adding CarPlay Dashboard Support  

Today, Google announced that Google Maps for iOS will be adding both an Apple Watch app and support for CarPlay Dashboard, increasing the likelihood that Apple users will reconsider Google's potential contribution to their walks and rides. VentureBeat reports: Google Maps for Apple Watch appears to be a very stripped-down version of the iPhone app, offering users step-by-step directions and estimated arrival times -- but only for destinations already stored within the app or shared from the conn

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2020-08-11 00:45:00

EPA To Rescind Methane Regulations For Oil and Gas  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will sign and issue new rules this week that will get rid of certain methane gas emission requirements for oil and gas producers, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Unidentified administration officials told the newspaper that the new rules will include getting rid of requirements for producers to have systems and processes to find methane leaks. They will also end EPA oversight of smog and emissio

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2020-08-11 00:02:00

Disney Removes Fox From TV Studios, Revives Touchstone  

Disney is rebranding its TV studios to remove the Fox name from two of them. From The Hollywood Reporter: Nearly a year and a half after acquiring 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 TV Studios, Disney is changing the former to simply 20th Television, while the latter will become Touchstone Television. Additionally, ABC Studios and its subsidiary ABC Signature Studios are folding into one unit that will now be called ABC Signature. The full integration of the Disney Television Studios rebrand

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2020-08-10 23:20:00

California Judge Orders Uber and Lyft To Classify Drivers As Employees  

A California judge ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees in a stunning preliminary injunction issued Monday afternoon. The Verge reports: The injunction is stayed for 10 days, however, giving Uber and Lyft an opportunity to appeal the decision. Uber said it planned to file an immediate emergency appeal to block the ruling from going into effect. [...] Drivers' groups hailed the ruling as forward progress in their fight to upend Uber and Lyft. "Today's ruling affirms w

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2020-08-10 22:40:00

Leaked Documents Reveal What TikTok Shares With Authorities In the US  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: Documents published in the BlueLeaks trove, which was hacked by someone claiming a connection to Anonymous and published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets, show the information that TikTok shared with U.S. law enforcement in dozens of cases. Experts familiar with law enforcement requests say that what TikTok collects and hands over is not significantly more than what companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Google regu

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2020-08-10 22:02:00

Amazon Ties Video Games Deeper Into Prime Subscription Program  

Amazon is making it easier for Prime subscribers to play games, the latest effort to extend the appeal of a loyalty program designed to keep shoppers engaged. From a report: The world's largest e-commerce company on Monday gave its more than 150 million Prime members access to free video-game content, eliminating a step that required them to link their Amazon account with one on Twitch, the company's live-streaming subsidiary. The service, once known as Prime Twitch, is now called Prime Gaming a

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2020-08-10 21:24:00

Google Rival's Study Urges Letting Mobile Users Pick Search Defaults  

Google could lose 20% of the mobile search market that it dominates if more users had the option to choose their default search provider via a preference menu, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo argues in new research. From a report: This study fleshes out that idea and gives DuckDuckGo ammunition it can give authorities investigating Google for anticompetitive practices in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Google developed the Android operating system, which is used by roughly 80 percent

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2020-08-10 20:44:00

AI Invents New 'Recipes' For Potential COVID-19 Drugs  

sciencehabit writes: As scientists uncover drugs that can treat coronavirus infections, demand will almost certainly outstrip supplies -- as is already happening with the antiviral remdesivir. To prevent shortages, researchers have come up with a new way to design synthetic routes to drugs now being tested in some COVID-19 clinical trials, using artificial intelligence (AI) software. The AI-planned new recipes -- for 11 medicines so far -- could help manufacturers produce medications whose synth

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2020-08-10 20:07:00

Google Gives Android TV Developers Instant Apps, Speech-to-Text, and Predictive Typing  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Even before the pandemic, the battle to own your living room was reaching a boiling point. Now the big screen is bigger than ever as 2020 accelerates the streaming wars and raises the smart TV platform stakes. Naturally, Google is making every effort to avoid being left behind. Today the company gave Android TV developers new tools, including Google Play Instant, the Play Store in the emulator, PIN code purchases, Gboard TV, auto low latency mode, and leanbac

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2020-08-10 19:35:00

Russian Watchdog Says Apple Abused Mobile App Market Dominance  

Russian competition watchdog FAS on Monday said that Apple has abused its dominant position in the mobile apps market through its App Store for iOS devices and will issue an order demanding that the company resolve regulations breaches. From a report: An Apple spokesman said the company plans to appeal against the FAS ruling. The Russian ruling comes against the backdrop of European Commission investigations into Apple and the App Store's rules, including requirements that app developers use its

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2020-08-10 18:47:00

Global Coronavirus Cases Hit 20 Million  

Global coronavirus cases pushed past 20 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States, Brazil and India accounting for more than half of all known infections. From a report: The respiratory disease has infected at least four times the average number of people struck down with severe influenza illnesses annually, according to the World Health Organization. The death toll from COVID-19, meanwhile, at more than 728,000 has outpaced the upper range of annual deaths from the

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2020-08-10 18:06:00

Amazon and Mall Operator Look at Turning Sears, J.C. Penney Stores Into Fulfillment Centers  

The largest mall owner in the U.S. has been in talks with, the company many retailers denounce as the mall industry's biggest disrupter, to take over space left by ailing department stores. From a report: Simon Property Group has been exploring with Amazon the possibility of turning some of the property owner's anchor department stores into Amazon distribution hubs, according to people familiar with the matter. Amazon typically uses these warehouses to store everything from books and

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2020-08-10 17:26:00

Kuo: iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up To 30% If Apple Forced To Remove WeChat From Worldwide App Store  

An anonymous reader shares a report: In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual iPhone shipments could decline by 25-30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out optimistic and pessimistic scenarios depending on whether Apple is only required to r

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2020-08-10 16:45:00

PDF Still Unfit for Human Consumption, 20 Years Later  

Research spanning 20 years proves PDFs are problematic for online reading. Yet they're still prevalent and users continue to get lost in them. They're unpleasant to read and navigate and remain unfit for digital-content display. From a report: [...] Burying information in PDFs means that most people won't read it. Participants in several of our recent usability studies on corporate websites and intranets did not appreciate PDFs and skipped right over them. They complained woefully whenever they

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2020-08-10 16:05:00

Pen Test Partners: Boeing 747s Receive Critical Software Updates Over 3.5" Floppy Disks  

Boeing 747-400s still use floppy disks for loading critical navigation databases, Pen Test Partners has revealed to the infosec community after poking about one of the recently abandoned aircraft. From a report: The eye-catching factoid emerged during a DEF CON video interview of PTP's Alex Lomas, where the man himself gave a walkthrough of a 747-400, its avionics bay and the flight deck. Although airliners are not normally available to curious infosec researchers, a certain UK-based Big Airline

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2020-08-10 15:25:00

Apple Is Fighting Trademark for Prepear's Pear-Shaped Logo  

In a legal filing, says Apple: Consumers encountering Applicant's Mark are likely to associate the mark with Apple. Applicant's Mark consists of a minimalistic fruit design with a right-angled leaf, which readily calls to mind Apple's famous Apple Logo and creates a similar commercial impression, as shown in the following side-by-side comparison. John Gruber, writing at DaringFireball: Here's the comparison. I could actually see this being a reasonable objection if Prepear were selling computers

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2020-08-10 14:48:00

Uber CEO Calls For 'Benefits Funds' for Gig Workers  

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Monday said its drivers should get the "best of both worlds" -- benefits and work flexibility. In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Khosrowshahi proposed that lawmakers require gig economy companies to create benefits funds, which would "give workers cash that they can use for the benefits they want, like health insurance or paid time off." From a report: "Our current employment system is outdated and unfair. It forces every worker to choose between being an

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2020-08-10 14:03:00

For Space Junk Cleanup, DragRacer Satellite Will Test 'Terminator Tape' This Fall  

schwit1 quotes An experimental mission to test tether-based orbital debris cleanup methods with "Terminator Tape" is slated to launch this fall to test the deorbit performance of two satellites. The Millennium Space Systems mission, called DragRacer, involves two small satellites that are set to launch simultaneously to low Earth orbit (LEO) to measure how fast satellites fall out of space. The goal, the company said, is to study technologies for removing space debris from orbit.

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2020-08-10 11:34:00

Should the U.K. Government Form a Coalition to Buy ARM?  

With SoftBank's Masayoshi Son trying to sell ARM, a columnist for the Observer newspaper has a suggestion for the U.K. government (and specifically Brexit Tories), calling the Cambridge-based company "a kind of public-interest commercial company: licensing state-of-the art instruction sets that can be implemented in silicon architecture by everyone. It was in nobody's pocket." Its business, as its chief founder, Tudor Brown, acknowledges, relied on it never betraying its neutrality... A futur

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2020-08-10 07:34:00

Richard Stallman Discusses Privacy Risks of Bitcoin, Suggests 'Something Much Better'  

Richard Stallman gave a new interview to the site Cointelegraph, which asked him his feelings about cryptocurrencies. "I'm not against them," Stallman answers "I'm not campaigning to eliminate them, I just don't particularly want to use them." Cointelegraph then asks Stallman how he feels about tests underway for the Chinese government's own central bank digital currency: Richard Stallman: "Digital payment systems are fundamentally dangerous if they are not engineered to ensure privacy.

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2020-08-10 03:34:00

New Free Software Foundation Video Mocks Proprietary Remote-Learning Software  

"Computer user freedom is a matter of justice," argues a new video released Friday by the Free Software Foundation: The University of Costumed Heroes is an animated video telling the story of a group of heroes falling prey to the powers of proprietary software in education. The university board acquires cutting-edge remote learning software that enables them to continue their operations online, but -- [SPOILER ALERT] -- it may sow the seeds of their downfall. This video is the second in a

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2020-08-10 00:34:00

Some Cities are Combining Basic Incomes with Local Currenices  

Bloomberg looks at some interesting local currency programs that have been implemented around the world. And in at least one case money "is literally being made from trees" — the wooden dollars being printed in a small city in the northwest U.S. and distributed to the needy in monthly stipends. "We preach localism and investing in our local community," says mayor Wayne Fournier, "and the idea with this scheme is that we'll stand together as a community and provide relief to individuals

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2020-08-09 22:58:00

WSJ: Qualcomm Asks US Government to Let it Sell Chips to Huawei  

"The Wall Street Journal said it had obtained a Qualcomm presentation lobbying the U.S. government to remove restrictions and let it sell Snapdragon processors to Huawei," reports Engadget: The ban won't prevent Huawei from obtaining necessary parts and could just drive "billions of dollars" of U.S. sales to foreign chip makers like MediaTek and Samsung, Qualcomm reportedly said — lifting the chip ban would theoretically help American companies stay competitive. There could be a "ra

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2020-08-09 21:44:00

Linus Torvalds: Linux 5.8 "One of our Biggest Releases of All Time"  

This week saw the release Linux 5.8, which Linus Torvalds called "one of our biggest releases of all time," reports TechRepublic: The new version of the Linux kernel brings a number of updates to Linux 5.7 spanning security, core components, drivers, memory management, networking and improvements to the kernel's design, amongst others. This includes updates for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization platform, Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt support, improvements to Microsoft's exFAT file system, and s

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2020-08-09 20:50:00

Researcher Breakthrough Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Ethanol  

Slashdot reader Third Position quotes CleanTechnica: According to a press release from Argonne National Laboratory, researchers at the lab, working with partners at Northern Illinois University, have discovered a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide and water into ethanol with very high energy efficiency, high selectivity for the desired final product, and low cost. Ethanol is a particularly desirable commodity because it is an ingredient in nearly all U.S. gasoline and is widely us

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2020-08-09 19:39:00

Could Twitter Outbid Microsoft for TikTok?  

An anonymous reader quotes Reuters: Twitter has approached TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance to express interest in acquiring the U.S. operations of the video-sharing app, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters, as experts raised doubts over Twitter's ability to put together financing for a potential deal. It is far from certain that Twitter would be able to outbid Microsoft and complete such a transformative deal in the 45 days that U.S. President Donald Trump has given ByteDance

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2020-08-09 19:04:00

Cringely Predicts the U.S. Can't Stop WeChat  

An anonymous reader quotes long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely: Forty-five days from now, we're told, President Trump will shut down TikTok and WeChat. TikTok, maybe, but WeChat? Impossible... Trump has a chance of taking down TikTok, the short form video sharing site, because that service is dependent on advertising. He can force the app out of U.S. app stores (though not out of foreign ones) and he can cut off the flow of ad dollars... at least those dollars that flow through Amer

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2020-08-09 18:34:00

Settlement for Google+ Breach Offers Class Members Up to $12 Each  

"Anyone in the United States who held a Google Plus account between January 1, 2015 and April 2, 2019, and believes they were impacted by a security flaw that Google disclosed in 2018 can now register for a payout from a class action settlement..." reports the Verge. "Each class action member is eligible for a payout of up to $12 after attorney fees and other costs are accounted for, although this could vary depending on the number of people who submit a claim." Although it's reached a se

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2020-08-09 17:34:00

New Zealand Marks 100 Days of No Covid-19 Community Spread  

Axios reports: New Zealand has now gone 100 days with no detected community spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health confirmed in an emailed statement Sunday afternoon local time... Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her leadership that saw New Zealand lock down hard for several weeks before all domestic restrictions were lifted in June... New Zealand has 23 active coronavirus cases. All are NZ residents newly returned from abroad, who are staying in managed isolati

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2020-08-09 17:04:00

1.5% of All Americans Have Been Infected With Coronavirus - 5 Million Cases  

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit 5 million on Sunday, reports the Associated Press, "by far the highest of any country..." "The failure of the most powerful nation in the world to contain the scourge has been met with astonishment and alarm in Europe." Perhaps nowhere outside the U.S. is America's bungled virus response viewed with more consternation than in Italy, which was ground zero of Europe's epidemic. Italians were unprepared when the outbreak exploded in February, and the

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2020-08-09 16:34:00

Penguin Poop Seen From Space Leads To Discovery of New Colonies  

Satellite-mapping technology "that detects stains on the ice from penguin droppings" has revealed there are more Emperor colonies than previously known in fast-warming Antarctica, reports Bloomberg: Eleven new colonies of the species were found, taking the census to 61 across the polar continent, according to a study by scientists at the British Antarctic Survey published Wednesday. The scientists used images from Europe's Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission to locate the flightless birds. "This is an

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2020-08-09 15:34:00

Researcher Discovers New 'HTTP Request Smuggling Attack' Variants  

Some scary new variants of "HTTP request smuggling" have been discovered by Amit Klein, VP of security research at SafeBreach, reports Security Week: Specifically, an HTTP request smuggling attack, which can be launched remotely over the internet, can allow a hacker to bypass security controls, gain access to sensitive data, and compromise other users of the targeted app. While the attack method has been known for more than a decade, it still hasn't been fully mitigated. Klein has managed to id

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2020-08-09 14:34:00

Countering Google, Microsoft Promises Its Own Open Source Service Mesh for the CNCF  

"As controversy rages over the governance of Google's Istio service mesh, Microsoft has seen an opportunity to offer a simple and truly open alternative," reports InfoWorld: Microsoft has announced that it will release its own open source service mesh — called Open Service Mesh (OSM) — and transfer it to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as soon as possible. This sets the Redmond-based company apart from its cloud rival Google, which recently announced that its own Istio

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2020-08-09 13:34:00

Will We Someday Write Code Just By Describing It?  

Using millions of programs in online repositories, Intel, Georgia Tech, and MIT researchers created a tool called MISIM (Machine Inferred code Similarity) with a database of code scored by the similarity of its outcomes to suggest alternatives (and corrections) to programmers. The hope is "to aid developers with nitty-gritty choices like 'what is the most efficient way to use this API' or 'how can I correctly validate this input',"Ryan Marcus, scientist at Intel Labs, told ZDNet. "This shoul

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2020-08-09 10:34:00

The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically  

"For the first time ever, the world's largest companies are telling hundreds of thousands of workers to stay away from the office for a full year, or longer," notes the Atlantic. "If, in five years, these edicts have no lingering effects on office culture, that would be awfully strange..." Ambitious engineers, media makers, marketers, PR people, and others may be more inclined to strike out on their own, in part because they will, at some point, look around at their living room and realiz

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2020-08-09 07:34:00

Ask Slashdot: How Should College Students Approach This Academic Year?  

Long-time Slashdot reader goombah99 wonders how college students should approach this next academic year. First, should defer their next academic year? Even universities opening their dorms are still limiting their dining facilities to take-out box lunches and offering most of their classes online. (Though some give students a choice of online or in-person classes). Yet despite the new rules, "Some universities are sticky about deferrals, requiring medical excuses, or else re-application for m

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2020-08-09 04:34:00

China Is Now Blocking All Encrypted HTTPS Traffic That Uses TLS 1.3 and ESNI  

China's Great Firewall "is now blocking HTTPS connections set up via the new TLS 1.3 encryption protocol and which use ESNI (Encrypted Server Name Indication)," reports ZDNet: The block has been in place for more than a week, according to a joint report authored by three organizations tracking Chinese censorship — iYouPort, the University of Maryland, and the Great Firewall Report. ZDNet also confirmed the report's findings with two additional sources — namely members of a U.S. te

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2020-08-09 01:34:00

'5G Just Got Weird'  

SuperKendall (Slashdot reader #25,149) shared this review of the recent 5G standards codified by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in Release 16 (finalized on July 3). "5G just got weird," writes IEEE Spectrum: 4G and other earlier generations of cellular focused on just that: cellular. But when 3GPP members started gathering to hammer out what 5G could be, there was interest in developing a wireless system that could do more than connect phones... One of the flashiest things in

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2020-08-08 23:34:00

Could Spacecraft of the Future Be Powered By 'Lattice Confinement' Nuclear Fusion?  

schwit1 writes: Researchers at NASA's Glenn Research Center have now demonstrated a method of inducing nuclear fusion without building a massive stellarator or tokamak. In fact, all they needed was a bit of metal, some hydrogen, and an electron accelerator. The team believes that their method, called lattice confinement fusion, could be a potential new power source for deep space missions. They have published their results in two papers in Physical Review C... "What we did was not cold fusion,

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2020-08-08 22:34:00

NASA Ditching 'Insensitive' Nicknames for Cosmic Objects  

NASA is "reconsidering how we talk about space," reports CNET: NASA gave two examples of cosmic objects it'll no longer use nicknames for. Planetary nebula NGC 2392 has been called the "Eskimo Nebula." "'Eskimo' is widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions," NASA explained. NASA already added a note to a 2008 image release showing NGC 2392 that explains the decision to retire the nickname. The agency will also use only the off

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2020-08-08 21:34:00

Bill Gates Weighs In on US Pandemic Response, Encryption, and Grilling Tech Executives  

Bill Gates gave a wide-ranging new interview to Wired's Steven Levy (also republished at Ars Technica.) The interview's first question: as a man who'd been warning about a pandemic for years, are you disappointed with the response of the United States? Bill Gates: Yeah. There's three time periods, all of which have disappointments. There is 2015 until this particular pandemic hit. If we had built up the diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine platforms, and if we'd done the simulations to under

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2020-08-08 20:34:00

'Zombie Cicadas' Are Under the Influence of a Psychedelic, Mind-controlling Fungus  

Slashdot reader quonset shares CNN's report on "zombie cicadas" under the influence of "a psychedelic fungus" called Massospora containing the chemicals found in hallucinogenic mushrooms (citing a new study published in PLOS Pathogens). After infecting its host, the fungus results in "a disturbing display of B-horror movie proportions," West Virginia University said in a press release. First Massospora spores eat away at the cicada's genitals, butt, and abdomen. They are then replaced with fung

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2020-08-08 19:34:00

Millions of Android Phones At Risk Due to 'Achilles' Flaw in Qualcomm Chips  

"Researchers have found that Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip, one of the most widely used in Android phones, has hundreds of bits of vulnerable code that leaves millions of Android users at risk," reports Gizmodo: To back up a bit, Qualcomm is a major chip supplier to several well-known tech companies. In 2019, its Snapdragon series of processors could be found on nearly 40% of all Android smartphones, including high-profile flagship phones from Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus. Researchers

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2020-08-08 18:34:00

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