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posted by martyb on Friday July 20, @05:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the layoffs-are-no-fun-for-anyone dept.


In a notice to the California Employment Development Department, eBay said that it plans to slash nearly 300 jobs from Bay Area locations by July 20. The company, which called the cuts a “mass layoff,” said that it informed those being laid off at the end of June, according to The Mercury News, which obtained a copy of the notice. The layoffs will span eBay’s locations in San Jose, San Francisco, and Brisbane, according to the report. The San Jose office has been affected most by the layoffs, with 224 of the cuts coming to that location.

The online auction site’s decision comes after eBay has been experiencing some problems in its business. While the company’s revenue was up to $9.6 billion last year from $9 billion in the prior year, it took a loss of $1 billion. In the first quarter of this year, eBay’s profits slipped 60.7% year over year to $407 million.

In online retailing, there can be only one.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 20, @03:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-they-do-work-to-raise-ticket-income dept.

Red-light cameras don't reduce the number of traffic accidents or injuries at intersections where the devices are installed, according a new analysis by Case Western Reserve University.

Touted by supporters as a way increase public safety by ticketing drivers who continue through red lights, the cameras actually shift traffic patterns: More drivers tend to brake harder and more abruptly, increasing fender-benders and other so-called "non-angle" collisions.

"Once drivers knew about the cameras, they appeared to accept a higher accident risk from slamming on their brakes at yellow lights to avoid an expensive traffic citation—thereby decreasing safety for themselves and other drivers," said Justin Gallagher, an assistant professor of economics at Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.

Accidents didn't decrease, only shift.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 20, @01:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the when-nano-is-not-small-enough dept.

Image resolution in electron microscopy has traditionally been improved by increasing both the numerical aperture of the lens and the energy of the electron beam, which does for the microscope what light does for a camera or an optical microscope – illuminates the subject.

Previous records for resolution were achieved with an aberration-corrected lens and super-high beam energy – 300 kiloelectronvolts (keV) – to obtain sub-ångström resolution. Atomic bonds are generally between 1 and 2 ångströms (Å) long – an ångström is 0.1 nanometers – so sub-ångström resolution would allow one to easily see individual atoms. The Muller group was able to reach a resolution of 0.39 Å – a new world record – and at a lower, less damaging beam energy where resolution from the aberration corrected lenses alone was 0.98 Å.

Muller's group used the EMPAD and a technique known as ptychography: As the electron beam scans the sample, the detector collects both full-position and momentum distributions of the scattered electrons in overlapping steps. The image is reconstructed from the resulting 4-dimensional data set.

The group used a beam energy of just 80 keV so as not to destroy the MoS2. Despite the low beam energy, the resolution using EMPAD is so good, the microscope is able to detect with startling clarity a missing sulfur atom – "a defect in the lattice," Gruner said – in a 2-D material. "That's astounding to me," he said.

Ptychography on Wikipedia

The new resolution will be useful in nanotechnology.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 20, @12:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-put-the-VMs-in-the-cloud dept.

The Register:

There are rumblings that Azure is having capacity issues once again, with customers in the UK South region reporting problems getting new VMs provisioned.

[...] In case there was any doubt as to what the problem was, the message went on: "To ensure that all customers can access the services they need, we are working through approving quota requests as we bring additional capacity online."

According to the update, the capacity constraints apply to the A, BS, Dv2, DSv2, Dv3 and DSv3 series machines in the UK South region. A-series VMs are typically used for development and testing, B-series are similiar[sic], but are geared to short bursts of high CPU utilisation. The D-series are heftier beasts, aimed at running enterprise applications. The 'S' moniker indicates support for SSDs.

Microsoft introduced the Dv3 VM sizes last July, with the cloudy machines featuring up to 64vCPUs and 256GiB RAM. Assuming you can actually provision the things.

Customers are feeling blue about Azure.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday July 19, @10:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the We-could-keep-this-up-forever dept.

Aeon has an interesting article on bullshit:

We live in the age of information, which means that we also live in the age of misinformation. Indeed, you have likely come across more bullshit so far this week than a normal person living 1,000 years ago would in their entire lifetime. If we were to add up every word in every scholarly piece of work published prior to the Enlightenment, this number would still pale in comparison with the number of words used to promulgate bullshit on the internet in the 21st century alone.

If you find your head nodding, start shaking it. I’m bullshitting you.

Ha! I knew it!

How could I possibly know how much bullshit you have come across this week? What if you’re reading this on a Sunday? Who is a ‘normal’ person living 1,000 years ago? And how could I know how much bullshit they had to deal with?

It was very easy to construct this bullshit. Once I set out to impress rather than inform, a burden was lifted from my shoulders and placed onto yours. My opening statements could very well be true, but we have no way of knowing. Their truth or falsity were irrelevant to me, the bullshitter.

[...] In his book, On Bullshit (2005), Frankfurt noted that ‘most people are rather confident of their ability to recognise bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it’. However, more than 98 per cent of our participants rated at least one item in our bullshit receptivity scales to be at least somewhat profound. We are not nearly as good at detecting bullshit as we think.

So, how might you – the reader – vaccinate yourself against it? For a non-spiritualist, it might be relatively easy to recognise when Chopra or Oz are concerned less with the truth than selling books or entertaining viewers. But think back to my opening paragraph. Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it. The first and most important step is to recognise the limits of our own cognition. We must be humble about our ability to justify our own beliefs. These are the keys to adopting a critical mindset – which is our only hope in a world so full of bullshit.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @09:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the yes dept.

[...] Recently, security researchers have found that some innovations have let secrets flow freely out of computer hardware the same way software vulnerabilities have led to cyberattacks and data breaches. The best known recent examples were the chip flaws nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown that affected billions of computers, smartphones and other electronic devices. On July 10, researchers announced they discovered new variants of those flaws exploiting the same fundamental leaks in the majority of microprocessors manufactured within the last 20 years.

This realization has led to calls from microchip industry leaders, including icons John Hennessy and David Patterson, for a complete rethinking of computer architecture to put security first. I have been a researcher in the computer architecture field for 15 years – as a graduate student and professor, with stints in industry research organizations – and conduct research in power-management, microarchitecture and security. It's not the first time designers have had to reevaluate everything they were doing. However, this awakening requires a faster and more significant change to restore users' trust in hardware security without ruining devices' performance and battery life.

Is Open Hardware the answer?

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-it-looks-like-the-20st-century dept.

VR rivals come together to develop a single-cable spec for VR headsets

Future generations of virtual reality headsets for PCs could use a single USB Type-C cable for both power and data. That's thanks to a new standardized spec from the VirtualLink Consortium, a group made up of GPU vendors AMD and Nvidia and virtual reality rivals Valve, Microsoft, and Facebook-owned Oculus.

The spec uses the USB Type-C connector's "Alternate Mode" capability to implement different data protocols—such as Thunderbolt 3 data or DisplayPort and HDMI video—over the increasingly common cables, combined with Type-C's support for power delivery. The new headset spec combines four lanes of HBR3 ("high bitrate 3") DisplayPort video (for a total of 32.4 gigabits per second of video data), along with a USB 3.1 generation 2 (10 gigabit per second) data channel for sensors and on-headset cameras, along with 27W of electrical power.

That much video data is sufficient for two 3840×2160 streams at 60 frames per second, or even higher frame rates if Display Stream Compression is also used. Drop the resolution to 2560×1440, and two uncompressed 120 frame per second streams would be possible.

Framerate is too low, and it's not wireless. Lame.

VirtualLink website. Also at The Verge.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @06:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-it-looks-like-the-21st-century dept.

From Tufts University:

[...] "We've been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics," said Sameer Sonkusale, Ph.D. professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University's School of Engineering and corresponding co-author for the study. "In fact, flexible electronics have made many wearable medical devices possible, but bandages have changed little since the beginnings of medicine. We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in the hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem."

The pH of a chronic wound is one of the key parameters for monitoring its progress. Normal healing wounds fall within the range of pH 5.5 to 6.5, whereas non-healing infected wounds can have pH well above 6.5. Temperature is also an important parameter, providing information on the level of inflammation in and around the wound. While the smart bandages in this study combine pH and temperature sensors, Sonkusale and his team of engineers have also developed flexible sensors for oxygenation – another marker of healing – which can be integrated into the bandage. Inflammation could also be tracked not just by heat, but by specific biomarkers as well.

Could smart bandages be re-usable?

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @04:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the AreYouDense.Com dept.

engadget taking on a piece of news from motherboard

Internet domains are becoming increasingly desirable, especially as the web becomes crowded and it becomes harder to find memorable addresses. However, one man unfortunately took this to a violent extreme. Iowa resident Sherman Hopkins Jr. has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for attempting to steal control of (which doesn't currently point anywhere) in an armed robbery.

Hopkins pleaded guilty to invading a home in June 2017 and demanding that that [sic] the victim (Ethan Deyo) transfer the domain through GoDaddy while pointing a pistol at his head. When Deyo asked for the mailing address and phone number he needed to complete the domain, Hopkins pistol-whipped and tased him several times. Deyo managed to get control of the gun and shoot Hopkins, but only after Hopkins had shot him in the leg.

Domain name armed hijacking?

[Updated to correct typo in title: replaced "Robery" with "Robbery"... glad you had some fun at our expense in the comments!]

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the to-study dept.

NY Times:

A quarter-century ago, there were 56 teenagers in the labor force for every "limited service" restaurant — that is, the kind where you order at the counter.

Today, there are fewer than half as many, which is a reflection both of teenagers' decreasing work force participation and of the explosive growth in restaurants.

But in an industry where cheap labor is an essential component in providing inexpensive food, a shortage of workers is changing the equation upon which fast-food places have long relied. This can be seen in rising wages, in a growth of incentives, and in the sometimes odd situations that business owners find themselves in.

Too many restaurants, not enough teens to work in them.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @01:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the 200-million???? dept.


Back in 2012, developer Roberts Space Industries (RSI) launched a Kickstarter asking for money to fund Star Citizen—an ambitious space game in the mold of Wing Commander. It's 2018, and while parts of the game are playable in various forms, it's far from achieving what it set out to accomplish. So far, it's collected more than $200 million in funding from fans eager to play it.

Ken Lord was one of those fans, and an early backer of Star Citizen. He's got a Golden Ticket, a mark on his account that singles him out as an early member of the community. In April of 2013, Lord pledged $4,496 to the project. Five years later, the game still isn't out, and Lord wants his money back. RSI wouldn't refund it, so Lord took the developer to small-claims court in California.

It's a simple case of an investor who's upset he didn't get his money back, isn't it?

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @11:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the ratio dept.

El Reg:

The shape of the smartphone is changing as a fad turns into a long-term trend, a business analyst has noted.

Analyst outfit IHS Markit said it expected wide aspect ratios – either 18:9 or 18+:9 – to make up two-thirds of new device sales in Q3 of this year. At the start of 2017, the "traditional" 16:9 ratio display was seen on over 95 per cent of phones sold.

The taller, narrower shape is no longer a flagship feature, the company noted.

"Smartphone makers are now aggressively applying 18:9 aspect ratio of TFT LCD to their 2018 models even for mid-end and entry-level smartphones, instead of using high-priced flexible AMOLED panels," said IHS Markit's Hiroshi Hayase.

Still no slide-out keyboards. Lame.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @10:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the RIP dept.


New DNA tests on bones of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, and his family confirm they are authentic. Researchers exhumed Nicholas's father Alexander III — himself assassinated in 1881 — to prove "they are father and son."

The test results could lead to the Russian Orthodox Church recognizing the remains for a full burial. It said it would consider the findings and commended the progress of the investigation.

Nicholas II, his German-born wife and their five children were shot by Bolsheviks as a consequence of the October Revolution of 1917. The bodies of the last members of the Romanov dynasty were thrown into a mineshaft, before being burned and hurriedly buried by the killers. They were first tracked down by amateur historians in 1979, although the discovery was only revealed in 1991. The Russian Orthodox Church had recognized the ex-tsar as a martyred saint in 1981.

[Ed. note: Anastasia's supposed escape and possible survival was one of the most popular historical mysteries of the 20th century, False reports of survival]

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the nobody-thinks-of-the-doctors dept.


Americans may soon be able to get cholesterol-lowering medications and other widely used prescription drugs without seeing a doctor, a first step in what could amount to sweeping changes to how patients access treatments for chronic conditions.

The Food and Drug Administration in a draft guideline on Tuesday outlined how such a status, which the agency said could help lower health-care costs, would work. Patients could answer questions on a mobile-phone app to help determine whether they should be able to access a medication without a prescription.

"Our hope is that the steps we're taking to advance this new, more modern framework will contribute to lower costs for our health care system overall and provide greater efficiency and empowerment for consumers by increasing the availability of certain products that would otherwise be available only by prescription," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Order your drugs from a smartphone app.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19, @07:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the please-dont-adapt-anime dept.


Video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime now have more subscribers than traditional pay TV services in the UK, new data from Ofcom has revealed.

The media regulator says British TV will have to change the way it operates if it wants to compete with the internet giants.

Sharon White, Ofcom's chief executive, says: "We'd love to see broadcasters such as the BBC work collaboratively with ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 so that they have got that scale to compete globally, making shows together, co-producing great shows that all of us can watch.

"I think it would be great to see a British Netflix."


Original Submission