Linux fréttir

Netflix Buys Rights To Stream Chinese Sci-Fi Blockbuster 'The Wandering Earth'

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-02-25 05:05
An anonymous reader writes from a report via NPR: Netflix announced this week that it has acquired the rights to stream Chinese sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth," which has already grossed more than $600 million globally and hit number two in the all-time Chinese box office rankings since it was released in theaters Feb. 5. Netflix will translate the movie into 28 languages and release it in more than 190 countries. The movie, based on a short story by Hugo award winner Liu Cixin (author of "Three Body Problem" and "Ball Lighting") is set in a distant future in which the earth is about to be devoured by the sun. Using propulsive engines, humans turn earth into a spaceship and try to launch it out of the solar system and the planet is saved by a Chinese hero (rather than American ones as typically seen in Hollywood sci-fi movies.) For China's film industry, the release marks a major milestone. "Filmmakers in China see science fiction as a holy grail," Raymond Zhou, an independent critic, told The New York Times. "It's like the coming-of-age of the industry." Two sci-fi movies, "The Wandering Earth" and "Crazy Alien," which is also inspired by Liu's work, topped this Chinese New Year movie season. Inkoo Kang wrote at Slate that the film "understands what American blockbusters are still loath to admit: Responding to climate change will pose infrastructural challenges on a massive order and require drastic measures on a planetary scale. Perhaps it takes a country like China, which is accustomed to a manic rate of construction and grandness of organizational possibility, to seriously consider how dramatically humanity will have to reimagine our ways of life to survive such a catastrophic force."

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LG Announces G8 ThinQ Smartphone That Uses 'Advanced Palm Vein Authentication' Tech To Unlock

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-02-25 03:03
LG's flagship G8 smartphone has been officially launched today, bringing many expected features that were teased over the past few months and several not-so-expected features. One such unusual feature in the G8 is its palm vein recognition, dubbed Hand ID, which LG claims is the first to offer this capability. TechCrunch reports: From the company's press materials, "LG's Hand ID identifies owners by recognizing the shape, thickness and other individual characteristics of the veins in the palms of their hands." It turns out, like faces and fingerprints, everyone's got a unique set of hand veins, so once registered, you can just however your hot blue blood tubes over the handset to quickly unlock in a few seconds. The Z camera also does depth-sensing face unlock that's a lot harder to spoof than the kind found on other Android handsets. LG's also put the tech to use for a set of Air Motion gestures, which allow for hands-free interaction with various apps like the camera (selfies) and music (volume control). Other features of the G8 include a 6.1-inch QHD+ "Crystal Sound OLED" display that uses the screen as an audio amplifier. There's a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage, three cameras on the rear including a 16-megapixel Super Wide (F1.9), 12-megapixel Standard (F1.5), and 12-megapixel Telephoto (F2.4), a 3,500mAh battery that charges via USB-C, a headphone jack, and 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC.

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Microsoft Announces HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Headset For $3,500

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-02-25 01:11
Artem S. Tashkinov writes: Hailed as a third wave of computing, Microsoft has made the HoloLens 2 mixed-reality headset available for preorder for a staggering $3,500 and it's expected to be shipped later this year. It will be sold only to enterprise customers. Compared to the first generation HoloLens, the second version is better in almost every important way: it's more comfortable to wear, it offers a much wider field of view, it contains powerful recognition software that can detect real world physical objects and allow you to seamlessly interact with them using hand and finger gestures. It features new components like the Azure Kinect sensor, SnapDragon 850 SoC, eye-tracking sensors, an entirely different display system with 2K resolution for each eye, a couple of speakers, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing. It's also capable of full 6 degrees of tracking, and it also uses USB-C to charge.

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Drug Pollution In Rivers Reaching Damaging Levels For Animals and Ecosystems, Scientists Warn

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 23:23
pgmrdlm shares a report from The Independent: Medicines including antibiotics and epilepsy drugs are increasingly being found in the world's rivers at concentrations that can damage ecosystems, a study has shown. Dutch researchers developed a model for estimating concentrations of drugs in the world's fresh water systems to predict where they could cause the most harm to the food web. The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, focuses on two particular drugs: antibiotic ciprofloxacin and anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine. Between 1995 and 2015 it found that rising concentrations of the drugs and the increasing number of water tables affected meant the risks to aquatic ecosystems are 10 to 20 times higher than two decades earlier. Carbamazepine has been linked to disrupting the development of fish eggs and shellfish digestive processes, and the study found potential risks were most pronounced in arid areas with a few major streams. The risks were much more widespread for ciprofloxacin, with 223 of 449 ecosystems tested showing a significant risk increase. More worrying still, when [the researchers] compared their predictions to samples from four river systems they found their model was underestimating the risk. Pharmaceutical residues can enter these fresh water systems through waste water from poorly maintained sewer systems, or from run-off over fields for drugs used in livestock.

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Huawei Unveils the Mate X, a Foldable 5G Smartphone That Costs $2,600

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 21:21
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The world's fastest growing mobile company has long had a chip on its shoulder when it comes to Apple and Samsung. For too long, the company has had to go out of its way to remind the world that it's capable of being every bit as innovative as those better established brands, a concept very much at the heart of the Mate X. The device lives right at the cross section of the year's biggest forward looking trends -- foldables and 5G, and unlike some of the concepts we've seen to date, the product does so with panache. The device is thin, as far as tablets go, at 5.4 mm, unfolded. Closed, it's nearly double that, at 11 mm. Not thin, exactly, but still a heck of a lot easier to slip into your pants pockets than the 17mm Galaxy Fold. More impressive is what the company's been able to do with its displays. The screen is very much the thing on these products, and yet the Fold's outside screen only measures 4.6 inches. The Mate X, meanwhile, sports a pair of outward-facing displays, the larger of which measures 6.6 inches at 2480 x 1148 pixels, with a 19:5 aspect ration. The flip side is 6.38 inches, allowing for space for the camera bar -- a chin that folds over to meet the display. The system features a Leica lens and the design is such that photo subjects can see themselves on the outward-facing display as a shot is taken. On the device's side is a combo fingerprint reader/power button. The phone uses a proprietary "Falcon Wing" hinge to unfold and turn into a full 8-inch tablet. The report does note that there is "a visible crease in the middle of the phone." Inside are a pair of batteries that add up to 4,500mAh of power, as well as a Kirin 980 processor. In a separate article, TechCrunch says the Mate X is expected to retail for about $2,600, proving that there is certainly a pricing premium with foldables and 5G phones.

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PepsiCo Is Laying Off Corporate Employees As the Company Commits To 'Relentlessly Automating'

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 20:20
PepsiCo is kicking off a four-year restructuring plan that is expected to cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in severance pay. "This week, PepsiCo employees in offices including Plano, Texas, and the company's headquarters in Purchase, New York, were alerted that they are being laid off," reports Business Insider, citing two people directly impacted by the layoffs. The latest job cuts come after CFO Hugh Johnston told CNBC that the company plans to lay off workers in positions that can be automated. CEO Ramon Laguarta said on Friday that PepsiCo is "relentlessly automating and merging the best of our optimized business models with the best new thinking and technologies." From a report: This week, PepsiCo employees in offices including Plano, Texas, and the company's headquarters in Purchase, New York, were alerted that they are being laid off, according to two people who were directly impacted by the layoffs. These two workers were granted anonymity in order to speak frankly without risking professional ramifications. At least some of the workers who were alerted about layoffs will continue to work at PepsiCo until late April as they train their replacements in the coming weeks, the two workers told Business Insider. By PepsiCo's own estimates, the company's layoffs are expected to be a multimillion-dollar project in 2019. Last Friday, PepsiCo announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is expected to incur $2.5 billion in pretax restructuring costs through 2023, with 70% of charges linked to severance and other employee costs. The company is also planning to close factories, with an additional 15% tied to plant closures and "related actions." Roughly $800 million of the $2.5 billion is expected to impact 2019 results, in addition to the $138 million that was included in 2018 results, the company said in the SEC filing.

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Verizon Asks FCC To Let It Lock New Smartphones For 60 Days

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 19:19
Verizon is asking the FCC to let it keep new smartphones locked to its network for 60 days, as part of an initiative to prevent identify theft and fraud. "After the 60-day period, the phones would unlock automatically, the telecom says in a note published to its website and authored by Ronan Dunne, Verizon's executive vice president," reports The Verge. "Verizon says it should have the authority to do this under the so-called 'C-block rules' put in place following the FCC's 2008 wireless spectrum auction." From the report: "We believe this temporary lock on new phones will protect our customers by limiting the incentive for identity theft. At the same time, a temporary lock will have virtually no impact on our legitimate customers' ability to use their devices," Dunne writes. "Almost none of our customers switch to another carrier within the first 60 days. Even with this limited fraud safety check, Verizon will still have the most consumer-friendly unlocking policy in the industry. All of our main competitors lock their customers' new devices for a period of time and require that they are fully paid off before unlocking." Verizon is just putting itself in line with the rest of the industry here. AT&T already requires your phone be activated for 60 days for you to unlock it, and the company even requires you to wait two weeks to unlock your old phone if you're upgrading to a new one. T-Mobile requires you wait 40 days, and also limits users to two unlocks per year per line. Sprint has a 50-day limit, and only unlocks devices from the onset if the phones are prepaid.

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FCC Says Gutting ISP Oversight Was Great For Broadband

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 18:18
Earlier this week, the FCC proclaimed that broadband connectivity saw unprecedented growth last year thanks to the agency's policies like killing net neutrality. But, as Motherboard points out, that's not entirely true. The lion's share of improvements highlighted by the agency "are courtesy of DOCSIS 3.1 cable upgrades, most of which began before Pai even took office and have nothing to do with FCC policy," the report says. "Others are likely courtesy of build-out conditions affixed to AT&T's merger with DirecTV, again the result of policies enacted before Pai was appointed head of the current FCC." Also, last year's FCC report, which showcased data up to late 2016, "showed equal and in some instances faster growth in rural broadband deployment -- despite Pai having not been appointed yet." From the report: The broadband industry's biggest issue remains a lack of competition. That lack of competition results in Americans paying some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world, something the agency routinely fails to mention and does so again here. [...] Still, Pai was quick to take a victory lap in the agency release. "For the past two years, closing the digital divide has been the FCC's top priority," Pai said in a press release. "We've been tackling this problem by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, promoting competition, and providing efficient, effective support for rural broadband expansion through our Connect America Fund. This report shows that our approach is working." One of those supposed "barriers to broadband investment" were the former FCC's net neutrality rules designed to keep natural monopolies like Comcast from behaving anti-competitively. "Overall, capital expenditures by broadband providers increased in 2017, reversing declines that occurred in both 2015 and 2016," the FCC claimed, again hinting that the repeal of net neutrality directly impacted CAPEX and broadband investment. A problem with that claim: the FCC's latest report only includes data up to June 2018, the same month net neutrality was formally repealed. As such the data couldn't possibly support the idea that the elimination of net neutrality was responsible for this otherwise modest growth. Another problem: that claim isn't supported by ISP earnings reports or the public statements of numerous telecom CEOs, who say net neutrality didn't meaningfully impact their investment decisions one way or another. Telecom experts tell Motherboard that's largely because such decisions are driven by a universe of other factors, including the level of competition (or lack thereof) in many markets.

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Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 17:17
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned. For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy. The goal is to see if the mosquitoes could eventually provide a powerful new weapon to help eradicate malaria in Africa, where most cases occur. The lab was specially built to evaluate the modified insects in as close to a natural environment as possible without the risk of releasing them into the wild, about which there are deep concerns regarding unforeseen effects on the environment. To prevent any unforeseen effects on the environment, scientists have always tried to keep genetically engineered organisms from spreading their mutations. But in this case, researchers want the modification to spread. So they engineered mosquitoes with a "gene drive." A gene drive is like a "selfish gene," says entomologist Ruth Mueller, because it doesn't follow the normal rules of genetics. Normally, traits are passed to only half of all offspring. With the gene drive, nearly all the progeny inherit the modification. Researchers created the mosquitoes by using the powerful new gene-editing technique known as CRISPR, which Mueller likens to a "molecular scissor which can cut at a specific site in the DNA." The cut altered a gene known as "doublesex," which is involved in the sexual development of the mosquitoes. While genetically female, the transformed insects have mouths that resemble male mosquito mouths. That means they can't bite and so can't spread the malaria parasite. In addition, the insects' reproductive organs are deformed, which means they can't lay eggs. As more and more female mosquitoes inherit two copies of the modification, more and more become sterile. Critics fear that these gene-drive mosquitoes could run amok and wreak havoc in the wild. Not only could the insects cause a negative effect on crops by eliminating important pollinators, but the insects' population crash could also lead to other mosquitos coming with other diseases. Mueller assures NPR's Rob Stein that the lab the mosquitos are in is very secure, adding that even if the mosquitos did escape they would not be able to survive Italy's climate. "To enter the most secure part of the facility, Mueller punches a security code into a keypad to open a sliding glass door," reports NPR. "As the door seals, a powerful blower makes sure none of the genetically modified mosquitoes inside escape. Anyone entering must don white lab coats to make it easier to spot any mosquitoes that might try to hitch a ride out of the lab and must pass through a second sealed door and blower."

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Apple Expected To Move Mac Line To Custom ARM-Based Chips Starting Next Year, Says Report

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 16:16
Developers and Intel officials have told Axios that Apple is expected to move its Mac line to custom ARM-based chips as soon as next year. "Bloomberg offered a bit more specificity on things in a report on Wednesday, saying that the first ARM-based Macs could come in 2020, with plans to offer developers a way to write a single app that can run across iPhones, iPads and Macs by 2021," reports Axios. "The first hints of the effort came last year when Apple offered a sneak peek at its plan to make it easier for developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac." From the report: If anything, the Bloomberg timeline suggests that Intel might actually have more Mac business in 2020 than some had been expecting. The key question is not the timeline but just how smoothly Apple is able to make the shift. For developers, it will likely mean an awkward period of time supporting new and classic Macs as well as new and old-style Mac apps. The move could give developers a way to reach a bigger market with a single app, although the transition could be bumpy. For Intel, of course, it would mean the loss of a significant customer, albeit probably not a huge hit to its bottom line.

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NASA Approves SpaceX's Crew Dragon For March 2 Unmanned Flight To the ISS

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 15:15
NASA and SpaceX have agreed to move forward with the first unmanned test flight of SpaceX's new passenger capsule, the Crew Dragon. It is set to launch on March 2nd out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. "If the capsule successfully makes it to orbit, SpaceX will be one crucial step closer to putting the first humans on board its spacecraft," reports The Verge. From the report: This flight, called Demonstration Mission-1, or DM-1, is a major milestone for NASA's Commercial Crew program, an initiative to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard private vehicles. Since the Shuttle program ended, NASA has relied on Russia to ferry its astronauts to and from low Earth orbit -- an expensive arrangement that limited the types of missions NASA could run. But soon, US astronauts could be launching on US-made vehicles once again, as NASA did during the Space Shuttle era. For the program, both SpaceX and rival company Boeing, have been developing new capsules to transport NASA astronauts to and from low Earth orbit. NASA wants the two companies to send these vehicles to space first, empty, before putting people on board. Boeing's vehicle, the CST-100 Starliner, is set to fly uncrewed for the first time this April. But SpaceX's Crew Dragon has been at Cape Canaveral since December, ready to fly. SpaceX even tested out the engines on the Falcon 9 rocket it plans to use to carry the capsule to orbit. The company just needed NASA's approval to make it happen. NASA tentatively set the March 2nd date a few weeks ago, and now that the okay has been given, SpaceX is just a week away from the big flight. The capsule is set to fly at 2:48AM ET from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida -- an early morning launch time dictated by the International Space Station's position in orbit. If the Crew Dragon gets off the ground then, it'll stay in orbit until early morning on Sunday and then attempt to automatically dock with the space station. It will then remain at the ISS for a week before detaching early Friday morning and returning to Earth to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida.

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A Software Malfunction Is Throwing Riders Off of Lime Scooters

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 14:14
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Riders in Switzerland and New Zealand have reported the front wheels of their electric scooters locking suddenly mid-ride, hurling riders to the ground. The malfunction has resulted in dozens of injuries ranging from bruises to broken jaws. Lime pulled all its scooters from Swiss streets in January when reports of the incidents surfaced there. When the city of Auckland, New Zealand voted to suspend the company earlier this week following 155 reported cases of sudden braking, the company acknowledged that a software glitch was causing the chaos. The company claims that fewer than 0.0045% of all rides worldwide have been affected, adding that "any injury is one too many." An initial fix reduced the number of incidents, it said, and a final update underway on all scooters will soon be complete. "Recently we detected a bug in the firmware of our scooter fleet that under rare circumstances could cause sudden excessive braking during use," Lime wrote in a blog post Saturday. "[I]n very rare cases -- usually riding downhill at top speed while hitting a pothole or other obstacle -- excessive brake force on the front wheel can occur, resulting in a scooter stopping unexpectedly."

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Could 'Oumuamua Be A Fluffy Radiation-Driven Icy Fractal From Another Star System?

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 12:34
"Oumuamua, the first object ever seen passing through our solar system from interstellar space, was thought to be emitting gas like a comet to explain its weird motion," reports Syfy Wire, "but a new idea is that the comet is just very, very porous." Astronomer Phil Plait writes: It was hard to tell what it was; it was too small, faint, and far away to get good observations, and worse, it was only seen on its way out, so it was farther from us literally every day. Then another very weird thing happened: More observations allowed a better determination of its trajectory, and it was found that it wasn't slowing down fast enough. As it moves away, the Sun's gravity pulls on it, slowing it down...but it wasn't slowing down enough. Some force was acting on it, accelerating it very slightly... A new paper has come out that might have a solution, and it's really clever. Maybe 'Oumuamua's not flat. Maybe it's fluffy... [And thus moved by the force of sunlight giving it a tiny push] When stars are very young, they have a huge disk of material swirling around them; it's from this material that planets form. Out far from the star, where temperatures in the disk are cold, teeny tiny grains of dust and water ice can stick together in funny shapes, creating fractals... Materials made in a fractal pattern can be very porous, and in fact out in that protoplanetary disk around a young star, physical models show that objects can grow fractally until they're as big as 'Oumuamua, and have those extremely low densities needed to account for its weird behavior. So 'Oumuamua doesn't have to be a spaceship. It just has to be a snowflake! A three-dimensionally constructed phenomenally porous low-density snowflake... [T]he new paper suggests it came from a nearby star, and one that's relatively young (less than 100 million years). It formed out in the disk, and got ejected somehow, likely from a planet forming nearby giving it a boost from its gravity. "I certainly hope we find more beasties like this one," Plait writes. "They can tell us so much about how planets form in other star systems, which is pretty hard to figure out from dozens or hundreds of light years away. "It's a lot easier when they obligingly send bits of their building materials to us."

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2.7 Million Patient Phone Call Recordings Left Exposed Online

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-02-24 08:34
Slashdot reader krenaud tipped us off to this story from The Next Web: The audio recordings of 2.7 millions calls made to 1177 Vardguiden -- Sweden's healthcare hotline -- were left exposed to anyone online, according to Swedish tech publication Computer Sweden. The 170,000 hours of incredibly sensitive calls were stored on an open web server without any encryption or authentication, leaving personal information completely exposed for anyone with a web browser.... The calls included sensitive information about patients' diseases and ailments, medication, and medical history. Some examples had people describing their children's symptoms and giving their social security numbers. Some of the files include the phone numbers the calls were made from. Around 57,000 numbers appear in the database and many of those are the callers' personal numbers, making it easy to match information with a particular person. When reached for comment, the CEO of the subcontractor receiving the calls "denied it happened."

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