SpaceX delays its satellite internet launch to February 21st
falcon9 - Posted On:2018-02-18 20:15:02 Source: engadget
Sorry, folks, you'll have to wait a while longer before SpaceX's satellite internet launch takes place. With hours to go, SpaceX has delayed the liftoff from its February 17th target to 9:17AM Eastern on February 21st. According to the company, the crew at the Vandenberg launchpad needed extra time to run \
Sweden Considers Six Years in Jail For Online Pirates
yro - Posted On:2018-02-18 20:14:59 Source: slashdot
Sweden's Minister for Justice has received recommendations as to how the country should punish online pirates. From a report: Helene Fritzon received a proposal which would create crimes of gross infringement under both copyright and trademark law, leading to sentences of up to six years in prison. The changes would also ensure that non-physical property, such as domain names, can be seized. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Daimler may have used software to cheat on US emissions tests
daimler - Posted On:2018-02-18 18:45:01 Source: engadget
Daimler has been under suspicion of cheating on US emissions tests for quite a while now -- in 2016, a number of customers even sued the automaker, claiming their cars had sneaky software made to trick testers similar to Volkswagen's. Now, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, US authorities investigating the Mercedes maker have discovered that its vehicles are equipped with illegal software to help them pass United States' stringent emission tests. Citing confidential documents, the publication said Daimler's employees doubted their vehicles would be able meet US standards even before Volkswagen's diesel scandal blew up. Internal testing apparently revealed that some Mercedes models emit ten times the country's nitrogen oxide limit. Daimler reportedly developed software with several functions to be able to trick US regulators. One called \
Daimler included emissions-cheating software on diesels, German magazine says
Cars - Posted On:2018-02-18 18:44:59 Source: arstechnica
US investigators are looking into whether Mercedes parent company Daimler used illegal software to cheat emissions tests on diesel vehicles in the US, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, whose report was picked up by Reuters. Though the investigation itself is not new—it was reported as early as April 2016 that the Department of Justice was looking into Daimler's actions around emissions testing its diesel vehicles—the new reports of emissions-cheating software draw parallels to Volkswagen's notorious emissions scandal.
The German paper allegedly saw documents indicating that one software function on Daimler diesel vehicles turned off the car's emissions control system after driving just 26 km (16 miles). Another program apparently "allowed the emissions cleaning system to recognize whether the car was being tested based on speed or acceleration patterns," according to Reuters.
Software that turns an emissions control system on and off depending on whether the car is being tested in a lab or not is called a "defeat device," and unless the automaker gets explicit permission to have one, a defeat device's inclusion in an auto system is illegal in the US. In 2015, Volkswagen Group was discovered to have hid defeat device software on its VW, Audi, and Porsche diesels. The automaker has since spent billions of dollars in buying back vehicles that were emitting up to 40 times the allowable amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx).
The Wikipedia Zero Program Will End This Year
technology - Posted On:2018-02-18 18:44:59 Source: slashdot
Wikimedia: Wikimedia 2030, the global discussion to define the future of the Wikimedia movement, created a bold vision for the future of Wikimedia and the role we want to play in the world as a movement. With this shared vision for our movement's future in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation is evolving how we work with partners to address some of the critical barriers to participating in free knowledge globally. After careful evaluation, the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue one of its partnership approaches, the Wikipedia Zero program. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address one barrier to participating in Wikipedia globally: high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. Over the course of this year, no additional Wikipedia Zero partnerships will be formed, and the remaining partnerships with mobile operators will expire. In the program's six year tenure, we have partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges. Further reading: Medium. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Occupational Licensing Blunts Competition and Boosts Inequality
news - Posted On:2018-02-18 17:44:59 Source: slashdot
Occupational licensing -- the practice of regulating who can do what jobs -- has been on the rise for decades. In 1950 one in 20 employed Americans required a licence to work. By 2017 that had risen to more than one in five. From a report: The trend partly reflects an economic shift towards service industries, in which licences are more common. But it has also been driven by a growing number of professions successfully lobbying state governments to make it harder to enter their industries. Most studies find that licensing requirements raise wages in a profession by around 10%, probably by making it harder for competitors to set up shop. Lobbyists justify licences by claiming consumers need protection from unqualified providers. In many cases this is obviously a charade. Forty-one states license makeup artists, as if wielding concealer requires government oversight. Thirteen license bartending; in nine, those who wish to pull pints must first pass an exam. Such examples are popular among critics of licensing, because the threat from unlicensed staff in low-skilled jobs seems paltry. Yet they are not representative of the broader harm done by licensing, which affects crowds of more highly educated workers like Ms Varnam. Among those with only a high-school education, 13% are licensed. The figure for those with postgraduate degrees is 45%. [...] One way of telling that many licences are superfluous is the sheer variance in the law across states. About 1,100 occupations are regulated in at least one state, but fewer than 60 are regulated in all 50, according to a report from 2015 by Barack Obama's White House. Yet a handful of high-earning professions are regulated everywhere. In particular, licences are more common in legal and health-care occupations than in any other. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New Saturn RaaS Lets Everyone Become a Ransomware Distributor for Free
Security - Posted On:2018-02-18 17:29:59 Source: bleepingcomputer
The authors of the newly-discovered Saturn ransomware are allowing anyone to become a ransomware distributor for free via a newly launched Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) affiliate program. [...]
Tesla's latest smart power grid experiment begins in Canada
canada - Posted On:2018-02-18 17:15:02 Source: engadget
Tesla's experiments with smart power grids are headed further North. Canada's Nova Scotia Power recently finished setting up a pilot project that will use a combination of Tesla's Powerwall 2 home batteries and utility-grade Powerpack batteries to create a more reliable wind power system. The Elmsdale-based Intelligent Feeder Project fills gaps in the electrical grid by topping up the Powerpacks whenever a nearby wind turbine system generates excess power, and delivering that stored energy to local homes (including those with Powerwall 2 batteries) when there's an outage or the turbine system falls short. The test run (which is partly backed by Canada's federal government) should go live before the end of February and will last until 2019, although the Powerpacks will remain after everything is over. Whether or not it expands to other locations depends on Nova Scotia Power, of course -- it's watching closely to see how well the Tesla hardware helps both residents and its bottom line.\n\nThis isn't exactly a grandiose experiment when the Elmsdale battery station will serve a modest 300 homes, and only 10 customers have Powerwall 2 batteries. However, it shows gathering worldwide interest in storage batteries like Tesla's as a way of stabilizing power. And the Canadian pilot in particular could show the future of electricity for rural communities. They might not be quite so dependent on distant power grids, and won't have to worry quite so much about blackouts.
'Microsoft Should Scrap Bing and Call it Microsoft Search'
search - Posted On:2018-02-18 16:44:59 Source: slashdot
Chris Matyszczyk, writing for CNET: Does anyone really have a deep, abiding respect for the Bing brand? Somehow, if ever I've heard the brand name being used, it seems to be in the context of a joke. That doesn't mean the service itself is to be derided. It does suggest, though, that the brand name doesn't incite passion or excesses of reverence. The Microsoft brand, on the other hand, has become much stronger under Satya Nadella's stewardship. It's gained respect. Especially when the company showed off its Surface Studio in 2016 and made Apple's offerings look decidedly bland. Where once Microsoft was a joke in an Apple ad, now it's a symbol of a resurgent company that's trying new things and sometimes even succeeding. The funny thing about Bing is that it's not an unsuccessful product -- at least not as unsuccessful as some might imagine. Last year, Redmond said it has a 9 percent worldwide search market share, enjoying a 25 percent share in the UK, 18 percent in France and 17 percent in Canada. And look at the US. Microsoft says it has a 33 percent share here. Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that going all the way with Microsoft branding and letting Bing drift into the retirement home for funny names might be a positive move? Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Water purification could be the key to more electric cars
battery - Posted On:2018-02-18 15:45:02 Source: engadget
Humanity is going to need a lot of lithium batteries if electric cars are going to take over, and that's a problem when there's only so much lithium available from conventional mines. There may be an oddball solution for that, however: turn the world's oceans into eco-friendly mines. Scientists have outlined a desalination technique that would use metal-organic frameworks (sponge-like structures with very high surface areas) with sub-nanometer pores to catch lithium ions while purifying ocean water. The approach mimics the tendency of cell membranes to selectively dehydrate and carry ions, leaving the lithium behind while producing water you can drink. While the concept of extracting lithium certainly isn't new, this would be much more efficient and environmentally friendly. You don't need to pump water or use harmful (not to mention inefficient) chemicals. Instead of tearing up the landscape to find mineral deposits, battery makers would just have to deploy enough filters. It could even be used to make the most of water when pollution does take place -- you could recover lithium from the waste water at shale gas fields.\n\nThis method needs considerably more study before it's ready for real-world use. The implications are already clear, though. If this desalination approach reaches sufficient scale, the world would have much more lithium available for electric vehicles, phones and other battery-based devices. It would reduce the environmental impact of those devices, for that matter. While some say existing lithium mining negates some of the eco-friendliness of an EV, this purification could let you drive relatively guilt-free.
AI Can Be Our Friend, Says Bill Gates
slashdot - Posted On:2018-02-18 15:44:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report: "AI can be our friend," says Gates. In response to the question, "What do you think will happen to human civilization with further development in AI technology?" Gates says the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less. "AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor. And overwhelmingly, over the last several hundred years, that has been great for society," explains Gates. "We used to all have to go out and farm. We barely got enough food, when the weather was bad people would starve. Now through better seeds, fertilizer, lots of things, most people are not farmers. And so AI will bring us immense new productivity," says Gates. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Poop Talk docu-comedy flings open bathroom doors, dives into stinky humanity
Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2018-02-18 15:15:00 Source: arstechnica
Those hesitant viewers are just the ones the film’s creators are hoping to bag.
With the funny and sometimes cringe-inducing docu-comedy Poop Talk, comedians try—and do—use humor and tales of their deeply personal bodily functions to squeeze out the humanity of it all. The ultimate goal, its creators told Ars, is to flush the stigma associated with the stinky act—not to mention a whole host of gastrointestinal disorders.
Residential solar is cheap, but can it get cheaper? Paths to $0.05 per kWh
Biz & IT - Posted On:2018-02-18 15:00:00 Source: arstechnica
The price of solar panels has fallen far and fast. But the Energy Department (DOE) wants to bring those costs down even further, especially for residential homes. After all, studies have shown that if every inch of useable rooftop in the US had solar panels on it, the panels could provide about 40% of the nation's power demand. Right now, the DOE's goal is residential solar that costs 5¢ per kilowatt hour by 2030.
In a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), researchers mapped out some possible pathways to that goal. Notably, the biggest barriers to cost reduction appear to be the stubborn "soft costs" of solar installation. Those soft costs include supply chain costs, labor costs, and sales and marketing costs that aren't related to the physical production of solar cells at a factory.
Tokyo To Build 350m Tower Made of Wood
slashdot - Posted On:2018-02-18 14:45:00 Source: slashdot
A skyscraper set to be built in Tokyo will become the world's tallest to be made of wood. From a report: The Japanese wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co is proposing to build a 350 metre (1,148ft), 70-floor tower to commemorate its 350th anniversary in 2041. Japan's government has long advertised the advantages of wooden buildings, and in 2010 passed a law requiring it be used for all public buildings of three stories or fewer. Sumitomo Forestry said the new building, known as the W350 Project, was an example of "urban development that is kind for humans," with more high-rise architecture made of wood and covered with greenery "making over cities as forests." The new building will be predominantly wooden, with just 10% steel. Its internal framework of columns, beams and braces -- made of a hybrid of the two materials -- will take account of Japan's high rate of seismic activity. The Tokyo-based architecture firm Nikken Sekkei contributed to the design. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Netflix deal provides a much-needed boost in the Middle East
africa - Posted On:2018-02-18 14:15:03 Source: engadget
Despite what it seems, Netflix isn't a dominant force everywhere on the planet. In fact, it's struggling in the Middle East and northern Africa -- Netflix and Amazon combined represent 21 percent of the local subscription video space. The company is determined to get a leg up, however. It just forged its first partnership deal in the region, signing a pact with pay TV provider OSN to make its content available across the area. OSN customers will have access to Netflix through a set-top box launching near the end of the second quarter (around June), and will have the option of paying for Netflix through their existing OSN bills. Yes, Netflix is very familiar with these sorts of deals (just ask Comcast customers), but this could be more important than most. The Middle East and northern Africa have wildly varying income levels, and viewers frequently want to save money where they can. It's easier to watch Netflix through an box you already have than to buy another device (or upgrade your TV) just to catch The Crown. Also, local companies like Icflix, Starz Plus and OSN's own Wavo have better recognition -- this agreement gets Netflix's foot in the door.\n\nThe bigger challenge is actually producing shows that people in the area would like to watch. Netflix has had just one piece of original Arabic content (a comedy special with Adel Karam) since debuting in the Middle East at the end of 2016. That makes it a tough sell when there's plenty of localized material on rival services. If Netflix wants to have as much clout in the Middle East as it does in English- and Spanish-speaking countries, it'll likely need to produce much more content that reflects the area's cultures and languages.
Give Workers 10,000 Pound To Survive Automation, British Top Think Tank Suggests
news - Posted On:2018-02-18 13:45:00 Source: slashdot
Britons should be able to bid for 10,000 pound (roughly $14,000) to help them prosper amid huge changes to their working lives, a leading think tank suggests today. From a report: The Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) has released research proposing a radical new sovereign wealth fund, which would be invested to make a profit like similar public funds in Norway. The returns from the fund would be used to build a pot of money, to which working-age adults under-55 would apply to receive a grant in the coming decade. People would have to set out how they intend to put the five-figure payouts to good use, for example, by using the cash to undergo re-training, to start a new business, or to combine work with the care of elderly or sick relatives. It would be funded like the student grant system and wealthier individuals could be required to pay back more in tax as their earnings increase. Ultimately, the RSA paper suggests, the wealth fund would finance a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the world of modern work is turned upside down by increased automation, new technology and an ageing population. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
macOS May Lose Data Due to APFS Filesystem Bug
Security - Posted On:2018-02-18 13:00:01 Source: bleepingcomputer
Under certain circumstances, macOS may copy data into the void, leading to data loss of important files, all due to a bug in how the operating system handles APFS sparse disk images. [...]
The best portable SSD
gadgetry - Posted On:2018-02-18 12:45:02 Source: engadget
By Justin Krajeski \n\nThis post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.\n\nAfter researching 28 external solid-state drives and testing the four most promising contenders in 2017, we found that the best portable SSD is the 500 GB Samsung T5 Portable SSD. Samsung's solid-state drives work reliably, and the T5 was consistently speedier than the competition in our benchmark tests. It supports faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds, too. Who this is for\n\nPortable hard drives are great for travel and for people who frequently transfer large amounts of data between computers. Compared with portable hard drives or desktop external drives, they're much faster, more compact, more durable, and more secure, and run at cooler temperatures, but they're also more expensive.\n\nHow we picked and tested\n\n\n\nA great external SSD should be reliable, fast, and small. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald\n\nHere's what you should look for in a portable solid-state drive:\n\n\n\tReliability: A portable SSD must keep your data safe.\n\tToughness: Because portable SSDs lack moving parts, they are less susceptible to total failure when dropped or jostled than mechanical drives. A portable SSD should also be sturdily built, and not feel creaky or hollow.\n\tDurability: Flash memory cells can be written to only so many times before wearing out. You'd have to write hundreds of terabytes of data to even begin wearing out the drive, though, and very few people will ever get near that limit.\n\tDrive speed: Speed is the reason you're spending a lot more for a portable SSD over a portable or external desktop hard drive. We tested both sequential and random speeds.\n\tConnection type: We considered both USB-A and USB-C models in this review, at speeds of USB 3.0 or faster.\n\tPrice: More expensive portable SSDs can offer faster speeds, but you don't want to overpay to get extra speed or other features you may not notice.\n\tCapacity: We think a capacity around 500 GB for about $200 currently represents the best mix of affordability, space, and speed for most people.\n\tSize and weight: A portable SSD should be light and compact—many are roughly the size of a stack of sticky notes, or even smaller.\n\tEncryption: Portable SSDs that support the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) can more reliably protect your sensitive information, but not all portable SSDs offer this feature.\n\tSoftware: Backup software is a nice addition, but it's not essential.\n\tWarranty and customer service: Three-year warranties are standard among portable solid-state drives, and strong customer service is always valuable.\n\n\nWe investigated the most popular portable solid-state drives on Amazon, and scoured the websites of well-known external SSD manufacturers. We then researched each of the 28 models we found by reading reviews from trusted editorial sources and customer reviews, ultimately calling in four finalists. We tested each drive's sequential and random speeds, and evaluated its build quality and included software. Please see our full guide to Portable SSDs to learn more about our testing process.\n\nOur pick\n\n\n\nPhoto: Kyle Fitzgerald\n\nThe 500 GB Samsung T5 Portable SSD is the best portable solid-state drive for most people because it's reliable, fast, reasonably priced, and compact. At around $200, or 40¢ per gigabyte, it costs about as much per gigabyte as most SSDs—many of which are slower and larger. The T5 has a single USB-C port that supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds and includes both a USB-C–to–USB-C cable and a USB-C–to–USB-A cable. It also comes with software that was the easiest to use of the drives we tested and AES 256-bit hardware encryption to protect your data. Plus, it has a handy indicator light so you know when it's connected and actively transferring data, and it comes with a three-year warranty.\n\nWhen plugged into a USB 3.0 port, the 500 GB Samsung T5 gave us sequential read and write speeds of 409.8 MB\/s and 423.6 MB\/s, respectively, about as fast as the competition. Using a Thunderbolt 3 port, it was even faster—462.2 MB\/s and 493.3 MB\/s, respectively. Its random speeds were faster than any of the competition, too.\n\nMore storage: 1 TB Samsung T5 Portable SSD\n\nIf you need double the storage and you're willing to spend around twice as much, we recommend the 1 TB Samsung T5 Portable SSD. Because higher-capacity solid-state drives often provide slightly improved performance, we expect the 1 TB to be a little faster than the 500 GB Samsung T5 (even though we tested only the 500 GB capacity). At around $400, it costs about the same per gigabyte as the 500 GB version, with the same dimensions, features, and warranty.\n\nRunner-up\n\n\n\nPhoto: Kyle Fitzgerald\n\nIf our pick is sold out or unavailable, we recommend the 512 GB Western Digital My Passport SSD for around the same price. In our tests, the My Passport SSD was about 30 to 60 MB\/s slower than the Samsung T5, but it was faster than the other two solid-state drives we tested. Like the Samsung T5, it has a USB-C port and supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds. The My Passport SSD is even thinner and lighter (but longer) than the T5, though not by much. Its software is as simple to use as the Samsung's, and it has hardware encryption as well. The My Passport SSD has a three-year warranty but lacks an indicator light.\n\nPlugged into a USB 3.0 port, the My Passport SSD had sequential read and write speeds of 387 MB\/s and 383.9 MB\/s, respectively. Although these are respectable speeds, they reflect the slower side of the four solid-state drives we tested. When we plugged the My Passport SSD into a Thunderbolt 3 port, though, it was faster than every drive except the Samsung T5.\n\nThis guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.\n\nNote from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.
Contractors Pose Cyber Risk To Government Agencies
it - Posted On:2018-02-18 12:45:00 Source: slashdot
Ian Barker, writing for BetaNews: While US government agencies are continuing to improve their security performance over time, the contractors they employ are failing to meet the same standards according to a new report. The study by security rankings specialist BitSight sampled over 1,200 federal contractors and finds that the security rating for federal agencies was 15 or more points higher than the mean of any contractor sector. It finds more than eight percent of healthcare and wellness contractors have disclosed a data breach since January 2016. Aerospace and defense firms have the next highest breach disclosure rate at 5.6 percent. While government has made a concerted effort to fight botnets in recent months, botnet infections are still prevalent among the government contractor base, particularly for healthcare and manufacturing contractors. The study also shows many contractors are not following best practices for network encryption and email security. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Who Killed The Junior Developer?
developers - Posted On:2018-02-18 11:45:00 Source: slashdot
Melissa McEwen, writing on Medium: A few months ago I attended an event for women in tech. A lot of the attendees were new developers, graduates from code schools or computer science programs. Almost everyone told me they were having trouble getting their first job. I was lucky. My first "real" job out of college was "Junior Application developer" at Columbia University in 2010. These days it's a rare day to find even a job posting for a junior developer position. People who advertise these positions say they are inundated with resumes. But on the senior level companies complain they can't find good developers. Gee, I wonder why? I'm not really sure the exact economics of this, because I don't run these companies. But I know what companies have told me: "we don't hire junior developers because we can't afford to have our senior developers mentor them." I've seen the rates for senior developers because I am one and I had project managers that had me allocate time for budgeting purposes. I know the rate is anywhere from $190-$300 an hour. That's what companies believe they are losing on junior devs. Read more of this story at Slashdot.