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  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/wayhorn.com/httpdocs/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 260.
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News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 21 hours 6 min ago

Hashflare, One of the Largest Cloud Bitcoin Mining Companies, Abruptly Disables SHA-256 Mining Contracts, Leaving Customers Furious

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 23:55
Hashflare, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies, said on Friday it is disabling its SHA-256 hardware and also discontinuing support for mining services on the active SHA-256 contracts. The move comes as Hashflare continues to struggle with generating revenues, the company said, putting the blame on market fluctuations. In an email to active customers, the company added: For over a month our users encountered a situation when the payouts were lower than the maintenance fees, resulting in zero accruals to the balance. As of 18.07.2018, the payouts were lower than maintenance for 28 consecutive days. BTC mining continues being unprofitable, in light of which we would like to inform you that on 18.07.2018 we were forced to start disabling SHA hardware and today, on 20.07.2018, stop the mining service of active SHA-256 contracts in accordance with clause 5.5 of our Terms of Service, which are required to be accepted when creating a purchase and are the basis of concluding the contract. We expect that the cryptocurrency market situation will stabilize in the nearest future and we will be able to offer our users new advantageous solutions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Some Scientists Work With China, But NASA Won't

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 23:20
An anonymous reader shares a report: Inside a sealed clean room near Toulouse, France, Maurice Sylvestre points out something called SuperCam. Sylvestre is outfitted in Tyvex and hairnets, necessary to keep out dust, skin particles, and dirt that could mar the super-smooth surface of his device. SuperCam sits underneath a ventilator hood, glimmering inside a golden-metallic housing. The device is designed to scan the Martian surface with a camera, laser, and spectrometer in hopes of finding organic compounds that could be related to early life on Mars. In two years, this 12-pound, microwave oven-sized unit will blast off as part of the Mars 2020 mission, a spacecraft/lander/rover combo by NASA and its partners that will replace the long-serving Curiosity mission. Sylvestre is a planetary scientist at France's Institute for Research and Planetary Astronomy, and deputy principal investigator for SuperCam. But he's an international collaborator: Over the years, he's worked on missions to Saturn, the moon, and Mars with NASA colleagues. Sylvestre's lab is currently building an instrument similar to SuperCam that will fly to Mercury on the European-Japanese BepiColombo mission, as well as one called Eclair that is part of a joint French-Chinese satellite. Notably, that makes him one of a small number of planetary scientists who are working with China to boost their science, while doing his best to keep Western technology from getting pilfered. It's a tightrope that not everyone is willing to walk. "We are careful what we are doing," Sylvestre says. "We understand the security issues. We understand that we should be careful and not be too naive. But at the same time I feel the idea of planetary exploration is for everyone." Working with both NASA and China may seem like a contradiction, or even a conflict. The two superpowers are butting heads on trade, military, and cybersecurity issues. Congress has banned NASA officials and NASA money from going to China. That might be because of a recent history of Chinese espionage targeting US military, aerospace, and technological secrets.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter Launch the Data Transfer Project

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 22:40
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have teamed up for a new open source project that strives to make it easier to transfer your data between online services. From a report: The Data Transfer Project (DTP) was officially founded last year, and there have been whisperings about it on the likes of GitHub, but the initiative was officially unveiled today with its first four members. The DTP is actively seeking other members too. The ultimate aim of the Data Transfer Project is to improve data portability, allowing users to not only download their data but transfer it directly to any other service.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Personal Info of 1.5m SingHealth Patients, Including PM Lee, Stolen in Singapore's Worst Cyber Attack

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 21:51
In Singapore's worst cyber attack, hackers have stolen the personal particulars of 1.5 million patients. Of these, 160,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers, had their outpatient prescriptions stolen as well. From a report: The hackers infiltrated the computers of SingHealth, Singapore's largest group of healthcare institutions with four hospitals, five national speciality centres and eight polyclinics. Two other polyclinics used to be under SingHealth. At a multi-ministry press conference on Friday, the authorities said PM Lee's information was "specifically and repeatedly targeted." The 1.5 million patients had visited SingHealth's specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics from May 1, 2015, to July 4, 2018. Their non-medical personal data that was illegally accessed and copied included their names, IC numbers, addresses, gender, race and dates of birth.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Zealand Firm's Four-Day Week an 'Unmitigated Success'

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 21:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The New Zealand company behind a landmark trial of a four-day working week has concluded it an unmitigated success, with 78% of employees feeling they were able to successfully manage their work-life balance, an increase of 24 percentage points. Two-hundred-and-forty staff at Perpetual Guardian, a company which manages trusts, wills and estate planning, trialled a four-day working week over March and April, working four, eight-hour days but getting paid for five. Jarrod Haar, professor of human resource management at Auckland University of Technology, found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels across the home and work front, with employees performing better in their jobs and enjoying them more than before the experiment. Work-life balance, which reflected how well respondents felt they could successfully manage their work and non-work roles, increased by 24%. In November last year just over half (54%) of staff felt they could effectively balance their work and home commitments, while after the trial this number jumped to 78%. Staff stress levels decreased by 7 percentage points across the board as a result of the trial, while stimulation, commitment and a sense of empowerment at work all improved significantly, with overall life satisfaction increasing by 5 percentage points.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Two US Hyperloop Startups Line Up Financing From China

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 18:00
Los Angeles startups Arrivo and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies have reportedly secured financing from Chinese state-backed companies. "Lining up potential funding helps solve one of the biggest obstacles for hyperloop systems: They will be extremely expensive to build," reports Bloomberg. From the report: Arrivo, founded by a former senior engineer at Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., said it secured a $1 billion credit line with Genertec America Inc., a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned entity based in Beijing that has helped finance and build high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects in Iran, Turkey and elsewhere. The credit line will go to backers of a future project using Arrivo technology, not to the startup itself. [The Genertec debt could be used to construct a project using the company's technology anywhere in the world, not necessarily in China.] Separately, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said it plans to work on a 10-kilometer test track in Tongren, part of China's Guizhou province, at an initial cost of about $300 million. State entity Tongren Transportation & Tourism Investment Group will provide half the funds and seek private investors for the other half, HyperloopTT said. The precise route is yet to be determined.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AI Plus a Chemistry Robot Finds All the Reactions That Will Work

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:00
A team of researchers at Glasgow University have built a robot that uses machine learning to run and analyze its own chemical reaction. The system is able to figure out every reaction that's possible from a given set of starting materials. Ars Technica reports: Most of its parts are dispersed through a fume hood, which ensures safe ventilation of any products that somehow escape the system. The upper right is a collection of tanks containing starting materials and pumps that send them into one of six reaction chambers, which can be operated in parallel. The outcomes of these reactions can then be sent on for analysis. Pumps can feed samples into an IR spectrometer, a mass spectrometer, and a compact NMR machine -- the latter being the only bit of equipment that didn't fit in the fume hood. Collectively, these can create a fingerprint of the molecules that occupy a reaction chamber. By comparing this to the fingerprint of the starting materials, it's possible to determine whether a chemical reaction took place and infer some things about its products. All of that is a substitute for a chemist's hands, but it doesn't replace the brains that evaluate potential reactions. That's where a machine-learning algorithm comes in. The system was given a set of 72 reactions with known products and used those to generate predictions of the outcomes of further reactions. From there, it started choosing reactions at random from the remaining list of options and determining whether they, too, produced products. By the time the algorithm had sampled 10 percent of the total possible reactions, it was able to predict the outcome of untested reactions with more than 80-percent accuracy. And, since the earlier reactions it tested were chosen at random, the system wasn't biased by human expectations of what reactions would or wouldn't work. The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Weird New Fruits Could Hit Aisles Soon Thanks To Gene Editing

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 11:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Smooth or hairy, pungent or tasteless, deep-hued or bright: new versions of old fruits could be hitting the produce aisles as plant experts embrace cutting-edge technology, scientists say. While researchers have previously produced plants with specific traits through traditional breeding techniques, experts say new technologies such as the gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 could be used to bring about changes far more rapidly and efficiently. Among the genes flagged in the new study in the journal Trends in Plant Science are those behind the production of a family of substances known as MYBs, which are among the proteins that control whether other genes are switched on or off. "MYBs are great targets because they are central to several consumer traits or features like color, flavor [and] texture," said Andrew Allan, a co-author of the review from the University of Auckland whose own projects include working on red-fleshed apples and changing the color of kiwi fruits. "Russet skin in apple and pear [is linked to MYBs]. Hairs on peaches but not nectarines -- another type of MYB." Dr Richard Harrison, head of genetics, genomics and breeding at the horticultural organization NIAB EMR, who was not involved in the article, said tweaking MYB genes or the way such genes are themselves controlled was a fruitful approach. Gene-editing of MYB genes and other genes could bring a host of benefits, Harrison said, adding: "There is a large opportunity to improve the nutritional profile of fruits and vegetables in the future using gene-editing technology, as well as other techniques." Such techniques, he said, introduce the same sort of DNA changes as plant breeders have introduced by artificially selecting traits that cropped up through spontaneous DNA mutation -- but much faster. Next week, the European Court of Justice will decide if or how plants that have been gene-edited will be regulated, and whether they will be treated like genetically modified plants. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will no longer regulate genetically altered plants, so long as the changes could have been produced through traditional plant-breeding techniques.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The New MacBook Pro Keyboard Resists Dust Much Better Than Previous-Gen, Reports iFixit

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 10:20
iFixit tore apart the new 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard to see how well the silicone membrane works to protect the butterfly mechanism from dust and debris. After showering a 2017 and 2018 MacBook Pro in dust particles, the repair site found the newer generation holds up surprisingly well. 9to5Mac reports: As shown in the photo, the blue paint particles coat the outside of the keycaps and the edges of the membrane, but the silicon covers stop most of the particles from getting into the key mechanism -- which is what causes the sticky key issues on the previous models. However, the silicon covers have to have holes in them to allow the keycap clips to attach. Naturally, dust can and will get through these holes over time. iFixit placed some sand particles into the "danger zones" of the keycaps, and confirmed the keys will break/become-unreliable when that happens, just like the second-generation butterfly keys. The non-cocooned 2017 keyboard was "almost immediately flooded" in the particles, unsurprisingly. Clearly, the 2018 model is greatly improved in regard to reliability, but it remains to be seen just how much better it is in real-world use. Over time, you only need a couple specks of dust to get in the keycaps and the keys will get stuck. It's just the chances of dust getting in are greatly reduced with the 2018 models.

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Best Buy Is Thriving In the Age of Amazon

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 09:40
Best Buy is turning to in-home consultants to help distinguish it from Amazon. The advisors act as "personal chief technology officers," helping people make their homes smart or merely more functional. "Unlike the Geek Squad and blue shirts working in stores, they'll be paid an annual salary instead of an hourly wage," reports Bloomberg. "Their house calls are free and can last as long as 90 minutes. [...] They're supposed to establish long-term relationships with their customers rather than chase one-time transactions." From the report: With more than 1,000 big-box stores in North America and about 125,000 employees, Best Buy was supposed to have succumbed to the inevitable. "Everyone thought we were going to die," says Hubert Joly, who was hired as chief executive officer in August 2012 after profits shrunk about 90 percent in one quarter and his predecessor resigned amid an investigation into his relationship with an employee. Instead, Best Buy has become an improbable survivor led by an unlikely boss. The in-home advisors went national in September. When one of the trainees at the session in Minneapolis asked Joly how big he hoped the program could become, he said: "I don't have a specific goal. I don't think it would be helpful. McKinsey never had a goal of how many clients. It was how good was the work." Another employee said: "This is why Amazon can't compete with us. They can't dispatch an army of in-home agents." Joly wasn't as sure. "Amazon is an amazing company," he replied. "They kill companies. Maybe they will do this. But we have an incredible opportunity. If someone wants to copy, that's fine." Amazon has started offering free smart-home consultations and installations. It doesn't have a chain of big-box stores in which to meet customers, but that didn't bother investors. Best Buy's stock dropped 6.3 percent when Amazon announced its plans a year ago.

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Chinese Hackers Targeted IoT During Trump-Putin Summit

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 09:00
Zorro shares a report from Defense One: Four days before U.S. and Russian leaders met in Helsinki, hackers from China launched a wave of brute-force attacks on internet-connected devices in Finland, seeking to gain control of gear that could collect audio or visual intelligence, a new report says. Traffic aimed at remote command-and-control features for Finnish internet-connected devices began to spike July 12, according to a July 19 report by Seattle-based cybersecurity company F5. China generally originates the largest chunk of such attacks; in May, Chinese attacks accounted for 29 percent of the total. But as attacks began to spike on July 12, China's share rose to 34 percent, the report said. Attacks jumped 2,800 percent. The China-based hackers' primary target was SSH (or Secure Shell) Port 22 -- not a physical destination but a specific set of instructions for routing a message to the right destination when the message hits the server. "SSH brute force attacks are commonly used to exploit systems and [internet of things, or IOT] devices online," the report says. "SSH is often used by IoT devices for 'secure' remote administration." The report notes that attack traffic came from the U.S., France, and Italy as well, but the U.S. and French traffic kept with its averages. "Russian attack traffic dropped considerably from third, its usual spot, to fifth," reports Defense One. "German attack traffic jumped."

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Chrome OS Isn't Ready For Tablets Yet

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 08:20
The Verge's Dieter Bohn set out to review Acer's Chromebook Tab 10 tablet, but ended up sharing his impressions of using Chrome OS instead. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from his review: If you're not familiar with Chrome OS, you should know that there are three different tracks you can run Chrome OS on. There's "Stable," which is what most people should use. It's the build I mostly used while testing this device and coming to the conclusions you see above. Then there's "Beta," which is a little on the edge but has been pretty solid for me. Lots of people run it to get slightly earlier access to new features. But because I wanted to see what the future of Chrome looks like, I also looked at the "Developer" build. Most people shouldn't do this. It's buggy and maybe a little less secure. Here be monsters. On a tablet, Chrome OS looks and feels a lot like it does when you have a keyboard. There's a button to get to your apps, a task bar along the bottom, and a system menu in the lower-right corner. In the Developer build, you'll find more squarish tabs and a system menu that's been "Android-ified," so it looks like the Quick Settings you'd see on an Android phone. By default, all apps in Chrome OS go to full screen in tablet mode. Recently, however, split screen was rolled out. You tap the multitasking button on the lower right, drag one window to the left, then pick another open window to fill the right (or vice versa). You can then drag the divider to set up a one-third / two-thirds split screen if you like. That's all well and good, but it's the next steps that make this whole thing feel not quite baked. If you rotate the tablet 180 degrees, everything flips. So if you had a notepad open on the left and Chrome open on the right, when you flip it, the notepad ends up on the right. I found it disconcerting, but perhaps that's just a matter of it being different instead of it being broken. Different UX strokes for different OS folks. [...] I don't want to be too harsh on the lagginess I experienced because it's unfair to judge software that's still in development. But I did experience a lot, even on the more stable builds. That's a particularly egregious problem when there's no physical keyboard. If there's one thing that will drive a user crazy, it's input lag. And I saw much too much of that, even on the Stable build, which is what most educators will experience with this tablet. I also felt at times that I was struggling to hit buttons with my finger that would have been no problem if I had a mouse.

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FCC Vote Likely Dooms Sinclair-Tribune Merger

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 07:40
FCC commissioners unanimously voted on a Hearing Designation Order (HDO) to send the proposed sale of Tribune Media properties to Sinclair to a judge, where the merger is expected to cease. Engadget reports: Earlier this week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai raised "serious concerns" about Sinclair's selloff of 21 stations it had proposed in order to remain under station ownership limits post-merger. Had Sinclair declined to sell off some stations, its 173 broadcast stations in 81 markets, combined with Tribune's 42 stations in 33 markets would reach 72 percent of U.S. TV households. The FCC's National TV Ownership rule "does not limit the number of TV stations a single entity may own nationwide so long as the station group collectively reaches no more than 39 percent of all U.S. TV households." But the rule is more flexible for stations that broadcast using UHF frequencies. Pai, who has been accused of aiding the merger by relaxing the ownership regulations, said Monday that Sinclair's plan would allow the company "to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law." He noted that, "When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, the Communications Act does not allow it to approve a transaction."

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FBI Director: Without Compromise on Encryption, Legislation May Be the 'Remedy'

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 07:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that unless the U.S. government and private industry are able to come to a compromise on the issue of default encryption on consumer devices, legislation may be how the debate is ultimately decided. "I think there should be [room for compromise]," Wray said Wednesday night at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado. "I don't want to characterize private conversations we're having with people in the industry. We're not there yet for sure. And if we can't get there, there may be other remedies, like legislation, that would have to come to bear." Wray described the issue of "Going Dark" because of encryption as a "significant" and "growing" problem for federal, state and local law enforcement as well as foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He claims strong encryption on mobile phones keeps law enforcement from gaining access to key evidence as it relates to active criminal investigations. "People are less safe as a result of it," he said.

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Microsoft's Plan To Try To Win Back Consumers With 'Modern Life Services'

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 06:20
It's not a secret that Microsoft hasn't been winning the hearts and minds of consumers lately. Killing off products like the Groove Music service, Microsoft Band fitness tracker, and Windows Phone have left many questioning whether Microsoft's grand plan is to simply focus on business users and leave consumers to its competitors. But at the company's Inspire partner show this week, Microsoft execs told partners that Redmond isn't giving up on consumers. From a report: Yusuf Mehdi -- whose new title as of June 2018 became corporate vice president of Modern Life and Devices -- led a session at the partner show in Las Vegas, Nev., where he outlined the company's vision for what officials plan to christen "Modern Life Services." Microsoft's core value proposition is productivity, he said. Microsoft is targeting so-called "professional consumers" with these services, Mehdi said. Microsoft officials believe because the company already "owns the work calendar with Outlook," that it has a foothold in working to blur the line between consumer and commercial activities. What, exactly, will qualify as a Modern Life Service? Mostly they will be apps, services, and features that Microsoft already makes available or soon will in Windows, Outlook, and PowerPoint, but which officials will attempt to position as well suited to the needs of professional consumers on Windows PCs, iPhones and Android phones.

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Amazon Web Services Isn't Making a 'Commercial' Networking Switch, Cisco Says

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 23:20
A week after a report claimed that Amazon Web Services was building its own bare-bones networking switch in a potential threat to networking giant companies, Cisco says it has checked with Amazon, with which it has long maintained a relationship, and it has been assured by the ecommerce giant that is not entering its territory. From a report: AWS CEO Andy Jassy and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins had a "recent call" from which Robbins walked away satisfied that AWS wasn't "actively building a commercial network switch," Marketwatch reported Wednesday, citing a statement from Cisco that it confirmed as authentic with AWS. That follows a report last week from The Information that AWS was working on a so-called "white-box switch," which the site portrayed as a frontal assault on Cisco that sent networking stocks slumping on a lazy summer Friday afternoon.

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Trump Slams EU Over $5 Billion Fine on Google

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 22:40
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the European Union and said the bloc was taking advantage of the United States, pointing to the record $5 billion fine European antitrust regulators imposed on Google. From a report: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House next Wednesday to discuss trade and other issues. "I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!" Trump said in a post on Twitter .

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Bye Siri, Says Apple AI's Last Remaining Founder

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 22:00
Tom Gruber, the last of three Siri voice assistant co-founders still at Apple, has retired from his role as head of Siri's Advanced Development group, The Information reports. From a report: The 59-year-old will pursue personal interests in photography and ocean conservation, the publication said citing unnamed sources. Gruber's departure comes as the Siri group is seeing a major haul in its leadership under new boss John Giannandrea, formerly Google's head of AI and search. Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, with whom Gruber founded the original Siri Inc before it was bought over by Apple in 2010, left the iPhone maker years ago in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

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Should the Word 'Milk' Be Used To Describe Nondairy Milk-Alternative Products?

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 21:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration seems to have soured on nondairy milk-alternative products that use the term "milk" in their marketing and labeling -- like popular soy and almond milk products. In a talk hosted by Politico, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Tuesday that the FDA will soon issue a new guidance on the use of the term. But he added that products aren't abiding by FDA policies as they stand now. He referenced a so-called "standard of identity" policy that regulates how milk is defined and should be identified. "If you look at our standard of identity -- there is a reference somewhere in the standard of identity to a lactating animal," he said. "And, you know, an almond doesn't lactate, I will confess." He went on to explain that the issue is that the agency hasn't been enforcing its own policy or putting the squeeze on product makers -- and that it's time to get abreast of the labeling language. But, he admitted, curtailing the wording of non-moo juice labeling isn't an easy task because it means that the agency has to change its "regulatory posture." "I can't just do it unilaterally," Gottlieb said. Hence, the agency is putting together a new guidance for manufacturers to help skim the fat from the market. Gottlieb said the agency will soon tap the public for comments on the terminology and hopes to wring out a new policy within a year.

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ESO's Very Large Telescope Now Delivers Images Sharper Than Hubble

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:00
ffkom shares an excerpt from a press release via the European Southern Observatory: ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography -- and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune, star clusters and other objects. The pioneering MUSE instrument in Narrow-Field Mode, working with the GALACSI adaptive optics module, can now use this new technique to correct for turbulence at different altitudes in the atmosphere. It is now possible to capture images from the ground at visible wavelengths that are sharper than those from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The combination of exquisite image sharpness and the spectroscopic capabilities of MUSE will enable astronomers to study the properties of astronomical objects in much greater detail than was possible before.

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