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Consumer Complaints About Broadband Caps Are Soaring

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 10:40am
Karl Bode, reporting for DSL Reports: Consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about broadband data caps rose to 7,904 in the second half of 2015 from 863 in the first half, notes a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency to obtain the data on complaints, which have spiked as a growing number of fixed-line broadband providers apply caps and overage fees to already pricey connections. According to the Journal, the FCC has received 10,000 consumer complaints about data caps since 2015.

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North Korea Launches Missile From Submarine

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 9:40am
schwit1 shares breaking news from CNN: North Korea has fired what is believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday. The missile was fired at 6:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET), South Korean officials said, and appears to have flown for about 30 km (about 19 miles) -- well short of the 300 km (roughly 186 miles) that would be considered a successful test... Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January. It said it succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warheads to fit on medium-range ballistic missiles -- which U.S. intelligence analysts say is probably true.

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First Successful Gene Therapy Against Human Aging?

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 9:01am
An anonymous reader writes: For the first time data may show that a human being has been successfully rejuvenated by gene therapy, claims Bioviva USA. "In September 2015, then 44 year-old CEO of Bioviva USA Inc. Elizabeth Parrish received two of her own company's experimental gene therapies: one to protect against loss of muscle mass with age, another to battle stem cell depletion responsible for diverse age-related diseases and infirmities." Bypassing America's FDA, the controversial therapies were described by the MIT Technology Review as "do-it-yourself medicine," saying it "raises ethical questions about how quickly such treatments should be tested in people and whether they ought to be developed outside the scrutiny of regulators." "The treatment was originally intended to demonstrate the safety of the latest generation of the therapies," reports Bioviva's web site. "But if early data is accurate, it is already the world's first successful example of telomere lengthening via gene therapy in a human individual."

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Windows Phone Free-Fall May Force Microsoft To Push Harder On Windows 10

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 8:01am
tripleevenfall quotes a report from PCWorld: Microsoft sold a minuscule 2.3 million Lumia phones last quarter, down from 8.6 million a year ago. Phone revenue declines will only "steepen" during the current quarter, chief financial officer Amy Hood warned during a conference call. That's dragged down Microsoft's results as a company, too. As the company's mobile device strategy continues to disintegrate, Microsoft may feel compelled to push harder on Windows 10 adoption and paid services to prove it can survive without a viable smartphone. CEO Satya Nadella's strategy is simple enough: grow Microsoft's revenues by convincing customers to adopt its paid subscription services.

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Facebook Might Finally Kill Clickbait With New Algorithm Tweaks

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 5:01am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Facebook is bringing two additional tweaks to its News Feed algorithm: time spent viewing and page post diversity. The former is an effort to weed out clickbait and bad content by attempting to quantify quality links. The change appears to be a mobile-first solution, as the announcement only states that Facebook will measure the time spent looking at Instant Articles or those within the mobile browser. Facebook also reports that users enjoy reading articles from a wide range of publishers, a revelation that led them to tweak the algorithm for greater diversity of page posts. In short, the idea is to reduce how often people see content back-to-back, or in short order, from the same page. For most pages, the content is spread out enough to where this shouldn't be much of a problem, but for those that post several updates in a few minutes, it could lead to some of the content not being seen.

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CERN Releases 300TB of Large Hadron Collider Data Into Open Access

SlashDot - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 1:35am
An anonymous reader writes: The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, has released 300 terabytes of collider data to the public. "Once we've exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly," said Kati Lassila-Perini, a physicist who works on the Compact Muon Solenoid detector. "The benefits are numerous, from inspiring high school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow. And personally, as CMS's data preservation coordinator, this is a crucial part of ensuring the long-term availability of our research data," she said in a news release accompanying the data. Much of the data is from 2011, and much of it is from protons colliding at 7 TeV (teraelectronvolts). The 300 terabytes of data includes both raw data from the detectors and "derived" datasets. CERN is providing tools to work with the data which is handy.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Says It's 'Very Likely' The Universe Is A Simulation

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 10:01pm
mspohr quotes a report from ExtremeTech: At the most recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, [scientists gathered to address the question for the year: Is the universe a computer simulation? At the debate, host and celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that the probability is that we live in a computer simulation.] This is the crux of Tyson's point: if we take it as read that it is, in principle, possible to simulate a universe in some way, at some point in the future, then we have to assume that on an infinite timeline some species, somewhere, will simulate the universe. And if the universe will be perfectly, or near-perfectly, simulated at some point, then we have to examine the possibility that we live inside such a universe. And, on a truly infinite timeline, we might expect an almost infinite number of simulations to arise from an almost infinite number or civilizations -- and indeed, a sophisticated-enough simulation might be able to let its simulated denizens themselves run universal simulations, and at that point all bets are officially off."

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Spy Chief Pressed For Number of Americans Ensnared In Data Espionage

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 8:29pm
An anonymous reader writes: Eight Democrats and six Republicans sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in an effort to estimate the number of Americans having their data collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "You have willingly shared information with us about the important and actionable intelligence obtained under these surveillance programs," wrote the lawmakers, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee. "Now we require your assistance in making a determination that the privacy protections in place are functioning as designed," the lawmakers wrote. Section 702 includes the Internet surveillance program Prism, which was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden nearly three years ago, and is set to expire at the end of 2017. According to Reuters, "In their letter to Clapper, the lawmakers said officials have demonstrated the feasibility of providing an estimate and that any one-time privacy concerns were acceptable in light of the importance of the information." Congress has asked for an estimate several times, even before Snowden leaked top-secret information about the NSA.

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US Suicide Rate Surges To Highest Level In Almost Three Decades, Says Report

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 7:44pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: The suicide rate in the U.S. has surged to its highest level in almost three decades, according to a new report from the CDC. There was no explanation for the rise but some experts have pointed to increased abuse of prescription opiates and the financial downturn that began in 2008 as likely factors. The report did not break down the suicides by education level or income, but previous studies found rising suicide rates among white people without university degrees. CDC reported on Friday that suicides have increased in the US to a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The overall suicide rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014, according to the CDC. However, the rate increased 43% among white men ages 45 to 64 and 63% for women in the same age-range. In 2014, more than 14,000 middle-aged white people killed themselves. That figure is double the combined suicides total for all blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. The suicide rate only declined for only two groups: black men and all people over 75.

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Over 1 Million People Use Tor To Check Facebook Anonymously Each Month

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 6:59pm
An anonymous reader writes: More than one million people have used the Tor anonymizing browser to login to Facebook, according to Facebook. Facebook expanded its support for Tor earlier this year as it rolled-out support for the Android Orbot proxy, providing Android Facebook users easier access to use Tor. In October 2014, Facebook created a dedicated onion address for Tor access, once again, making it easier for users to connect via Tor. Tor said some 525,000 people accessed [Facebook] via Tor in June 2015, rising to more than one million this month. "This [Tor] growth is a reflection of the choices that people make to use Facebook over Tor, and the value that it provides them. We hope they will continue to provide feedback and help us keep improving," Facebook added. Users may use Tor to access Facebook because of the location obfuscation feature, as well as to ensure their identity doesn't leak to intermediaries -- such as ISPs or "an agency that surveils the Internet."

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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Build 14328 With Windows Ink, New UI

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 6:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Windows Ink is one of the many new features rolling out to beta testers as part of Windows 10 Build 14328. The build includes the new Windows Ink Workspace, providing access to new and improved sticky notes, a sketchpad, and a new screen sketch feature. There's also a new digital ruler you can use to create shapes and draw objects freely. The UI of the Start menu and Start Screen have also been tweaked. The most used apps list and all apps UI have been merged into a single view, creating a less cluttered Start menu. Microsoft also moved power, settings, and file explorer shortcuts so they're always visible. You can now bring back the fullscreen all apps list in the Start Screen, and you can toggle between the all apps view and your regular pinned apps. If you want things to feel less like a desktop PC, you can auto-hide the taskbar in tablet mode. Microsoft has detailed all of the new features found in Build 14328 in their blog post.

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Earth Day: 175 Nations Sign Historic Paris Climate Deal

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 5:31pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: World leaders from 175 countries signed the historic Paris climate accord Friday, using Earth Day as a backdrop for the ceremonial inking of a long-fought deal that aims to slow the rise of harmful greenhouse gases. The deal sets a target of limiting global warming by 2100 to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F), as compared to pre-industrial levels. To accomplish that, each nation sets its own target for reducing emissions and updates that mark each year. Friday's signing sets a record for the number of countries signing an agreement on the first available day, the Associated Press reported. The old record goes back to the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay, which was signed by 119 countries in 1982, according to AccuWeather. Signing the accord is only one step in the process. The leaders must now go back to their home countries' governments to ratify and approve the agreement, which could take months or years. The deal goes into effect once 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions formally join.

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Apple Should Pay More Tax, Says Co-Founder Wozniak

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 4:47pm
mrspoonsi quotes a report from BCC: All companies, including Apple, should pay a 50% tax rate, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has told the BBC. He said he doesn't like the idea that Apple does not pay tax at the same rate he does personally. "I don't like the idea that Apple might be unfair -- not paying taxes the way I do as a person. I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50% of anything I make in taxes and I believe that's part of life and you should do it." When asked if Apple should pay that amount, he replied: "Every company in the world should." He said he was never interested in money, unlike his former partner Steve Jobs. "Steve Jobs started Apple Computers for money, that was his big thing and that was extremely important and critical and good." Three years ago the company admitted two of its Irish subsidiaries pay a rate of 2%. It has built up offshore cash reserves of around $200 billion -- beyond the reach of U.S. tax officials. In a CBS '60 Minutes' episode, Apple CEO Steve Cook dismissed as "total political crap" the notion that the tech giant was avoiding taxes. And on a semi-related note, presidential candidate Donald Trump said in January he'd like to make Apple "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries." He said he would impose a 35% business tax on American business manufacturing outside of the U.S if elected president.

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Uber Will Pay $100 Million To Settle Suits With Drivers Seeking Employee Status

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 4:03pm
An anonymous reader writes: Two lawsuits posing a threat to Uber's on-demand business model have been settled. Uber has agreed to pay up to $100 million to drivers who sought to be classified as employees of the company. The initial sum paid will be $84 million, which will settle cases in California and Massachusetts to some 385,000 drivers. If the company goes public or gets purchased, Uber said it will pay drivers an additional $16 million. The company is currently valued at $62.5 billion. In addition, new policy changes will force the company to no longer be able to deactivate drivers' accounts at will. They will also stop deactivating drivers who turn down rides frequently. Appeal panels will be created to help drivers form an association so they can contest terminations. The last policy change requires Uber to clearly inform riders that tips are not included in Uber's fares. Drivers will now be able to solicit tips from passengers. "If we chose not to settle this case, we faced risks," plaintiff attorney Liss-Riordan said in a prepared statement. "We faced the risk that a jury in San Francisco (where Uber is everywhere and quite popular) may not side with the drivers over Uber." The settlement still needs to be approved by Judge Edward Chen of the District Court of Northern California, which will probably be a months-long process. The company seems to be waist-deep in legal trouble lately. Two weeks ago, Uber agreed to a settlement of $10 million for misleading advertising about the quality of its background checks for drivers. One week prior, it was reported the CEO of Uber will go to court over price fixing claims in New York.

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Spy Chief Pressed For Number Of Americans Ensnared In Data Espionage

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 3:20pm
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: U.S. lawmakers are pressing the nation's top intelligence official to estimate the number of Americans ensnared in email surveillance and other such spying on foreign targets, saying the information was needed to gauge possible reforms to the controversial programs. Eight Democrats and six Republicans made the request to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, reflecting the continued bipartisan concerns over the scope of U.S. data espionage. "You have willingly shared information with us about the important and actionable intelligence obtained under these surveillance programs," wrote the lawmakers, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee. "Now we require your assistance in making a determination that the privacy protections in place are functioning as designed." They requested that Clapper provide the information about data collected under a statute, known as Section 702, by May 6.

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San Francisco Adopts Law Requiring Solar Panels On All New Buildings

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 2:40pm
San Francisco will soon become one of the first major cities in the U.S. to require solar power on new buildings. The rule, which received approval from San Francisco's Board of Supervisors this week, is set to go into effect in January 2017. According to the legislation, all new buildings with 10 stories or fewer -- both residential and commercial -- will have to use either solar panels for electricity or a solar system to heat water. The Guardian notes that smaller Californian cities such as Lancaster and Sebastopol already have similar laws in place, but San Francisco is the first large city to adopt the new standard. "In a dense, urban environment, we need to be smart and efficient about how we maximize the use of our space to achieve goals such as promoting renewable energy and improving our environment," Supervisor Scott Wiener said in a statement. Vox has more details.

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MongoDB Config Error Exposed 93M Mexican Voter Records

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 2:00pm
An anonymous reader cites an article on CSOOnline: A 132 GB database, containing the personal information on 93.4 million Mexican voters has finally been taken offline. The database sat exposed to the public for at least eight days after its discovery by researcher Chris Vickery, but originally went public in September 2015. Vickery, who works as a security researcher at Kromtech, discovered the MongoDB instance on April 14, but had difficulty tracking down the person or company responsible for placing the voter data on Amazon's AWS. He first reached out to the U.S. State Department, as well as the Mexican Embassy, but had little success. The database contains all of the information that Mexican citizens need for their government-issued photo IDs that enable them to vote. Along with their municipality, and district information, the database records include the voter's name, address, voter ID number, date of birth, the names of their parents, occupation, and more. [...] Given that the database has been online since September 2015, it isn't clear how many people have accessed the records. Additionally, the actual owner of the account hosting the data remains unknown.

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Why Movie Trailers Now Begin With Five-Second Ads For Themselves

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 1:25pm
Chris Plante, reporting for The Verge: Jason Bourne takes off his jacket, punches a man unconscious, looks forlornly off camera, and then a title card appears. The ad -- five seconds of action -- is a teaser for the full Jason Bourne trailer (video), which immediately follows the teaser. In fact, the micro-teaser and trailer are actually part of the same video, the former being an intro for the latter. The trend is the latest example of metahype, a marketing technique in which brands promote their advertisements as if they're cultural events unto themselves. [...] Last year, the studio advertised the teaser for Ant-Man with a ten-second cut of the footage reduced to an imperceptive scale. [...] But where previous metahype promoted key dates in a marketing campaign -- like official trailer releases and fan celebrations -- the burgeoning trend of teasers within trailers exist purely to retain the viewer's attention in that exact moment. The teaser within the trailer speaks to a moment in which we have so many distractions and choices that marketers must sell us on giving a trailer three minutes of our time. This practice isn't limited to movie trailers, though. Next time you're on Facebook, pay attention to how the popular videos in your newsfeed are edited. Is the most interesting image the first thing you see? And does that trick get you to stop scrolling and watch?

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Amazon Won't Sell Non-Prime Members Certain Popular Movies and Video Games

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 1:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: If you're not an Amazon Prime subscriber, you will no longer be able to purchase certain popular game titles and movies, according to a report on game blog Videogamer. One of the benefits of Amazon's Prime program is that it gives members exclusive access to some items. This selection includes a rotating roster of popular video games, Blu-rays, and DVDs. Non-Prime members in the US can't buy titles such as Oscar-winning "Birdman" on Blu-ray or "GTA V" for PS4 from Amazon. This initiative, which has been going for quite some time, affects customers in the UK as well (though the selection is different). Non-Prime customers can still buy these titles from third-party sellers on Amazon's platform, but not from Amazon directly.

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$10 Router, No Firewall Blamed In $80M Bangladesh Bank Hack

SlashDot - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 12:20pm
Earlier this a year, a spelling mistake in an online bank transfer prevented nearly $1 billion heist at Bangladesh's central bank and the New York Fed. The hackers, however, still had managed to steal about $80 million. Bangladesh government blamed the New York Fed for not spotting the suspicious transactions earlier. As it turns out, they should also be taking some blame, if not all. An anonymous reader writes: Bangladesh's central bank was vulnerable to hackers because it did not have a firewall and used second-hand, $10 switches to network computers connected to the SWIFT global payment network, an investigator into one of the world's biggest cyber heists said. The shortcomings made it easier for hackers to break into the Bangladesh Bank system earlier this year and attempt to siphon off nearly $1 billion using the bank's SWIFT credentials, said Mohammad Shah Alam, head of the Forensic Training Institute of the Bangladesh police's criminal investigation department.

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