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posted by mrpg on Saturday January 20, @01:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-carrier dept.

The FCC's yearly report of broadband deployment keeps some crucial definitions in place that some feared would be changed or eliminated to ease the responsibilities of internet service providers. The threat of a lowered speed standard and the merging of mobile and fixed broadband services will not be carried out, it seems.

Broadband will continue to be defined as a connection with speeds of 25 megabits down and 3 megabits up. Another proposed definition of 10 down and 1 up was decried by critics as unrealistic for several reasons; not only is it insufficient for many ordinary internet applications, but it would let providers off the hook, because they would be counted as having deployed broadband if it met this lowered standard.

Fortunately, that isn't the case, and the 25/3 standard remains in place.

The other worry was the potential decision to merge mobile with fixed broadband when measuring the quality of internet connections available to people throughout the country.

Had the two been merged, an area might have been considered well-served if it was, for example, in range of an LTE tower (giving decent mobile speeds) but only served by sub-1-megabit DSL. Since it was being considered that only one was required, that underserved area would be considered adequately connected.

But the FCC clearly saw the lack of logic in equating mobile connections and fixed broadband: they're used, tracked, billed and deployed very differently.

[...] The full draft report, when it becomes public, will no doubt contain more interesting information ripe for interpretation, and other commissioners may also weigh in on its successes and shortcomings. In the meantime, it's reassuring that the main worries leading up to it have been addressed.

Source: TechCrunch

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Saturday January 20, @10:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the unpaid-editor dept.

[...] HuffPost in the US today announced that it is sunsetting its contributors platform — also known as its unpaid blogger platform.

The news was broken by HuffPost itself (which, like TechCrunch, is part of Oath, owned by gigantic carrier Verizon), which directly tied the move to the changing tides (not Tide Pods, although I personally think there is a connection) in the world of news media and how technology is used to distribute it.

"Now, there are many places where people can share and exchange ideas," HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen writes in a post on the site.

"Perhaps a few too many: One of the biggest challenges we all face, in an era where everyone has a platform, is figuring out whom to listen to. Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy. When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard. Our hope is that by listening carefully through all the noise, we can find the voices that need to be heard and elevate them for all of you."

[...] I'll be interested to see if HuffPost's move signals more of these unpaid blogger platforms (ahem, Forbes) changing tack, and just as significantly whether these sites can find the magic formula to replace it in their revenue streams if and when they do.

Source: TechCrunch

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 20, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

An internal staff memo, obtained by The Register and which we understand has been shared with industry analysts under non-disclosure agreements, explains that Citrix's developers have started "working across teams to unify all our offerings into innovative and holistic solutions" and "moved beyond the old way of thinking solely about individual products."

Citrix's marketing execs have decided that those efforts mean "we need to simplify our portfolio naming so that it's easy to understand, buy, and use." The biz will therefore "reframe the way we market and sell products to amplify a focused Citrix brand with simplified and descriptive names that are easily understood."

The result will be a "Citrix + function" product naming scheme that will supersede established brands, such as Netscaler and Xen, and pave the way for things like Citrix SD-WAN and Citrix Desktops. Individual products will be filed under categories like Citrix Networking or Citrix Analytics.

The names are set to be finalized in February and launched in May 2018, when the corp will stage its Synergy user conference in Los Angeles, California.

[...] That Citrix has switched up its products and plans a relaunch, of sorts, is welcome news, given that when incoming CEO David Henshall took the big chair in July 2017, after predecessor Kirill Tatarinov spent just 18 months in the job, he promised to deliver a vision and "strategic initiatives" to advance his organization's fortunes.

[...] Henshall has an opportunity to do more than promise action on January 31, 2018, when the company will report its next quarterly results. Perhaps we'll learn more then.

For now, we are left to ponder the fact that the memo we've glimpsed ends with thanks to "all Citrites" for their help remaking the company. We mention this as perhaps Henshall needs his branding team to come up with a better collective noun for his employees if he wants to hit those best workplace lists. Just saying.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 20, @05:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the cheaper-to-buy-in-bulk dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Three days after warning the A380 might not have a future, Airbus says it will likely keep making the plane into the 2030s.

The turnaround came after Dubai-based Emirates placed an order for 20 more of the behemoths, with options for another 16. The carrier already has 101 A380s in its fleet and had already ordered another 41. The airline therefore has plans to acquire 178 of the planes, but won't ever operate that many as some of the newly-ordered machines will replace older models.

Airbus said the deal will "will provide stability to the A380 production line" and let it keep making the superjumbo for years. Which is great news for the thousands of people around the world who make the plane or parts of it, and for Airbus itself.

[...] The company still hopes that carriers other than Emirates will pick up the plane, which it positions as ideal for routes to popular destinations where landing slots are at a premium. Airbus expects more cities will acquire that status as airline traffic grows.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday January 20, @05:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the limited-government dept.

After 10 PM EST on Friday, The U.S. Senate rejected a deal that would fund the U.S. government for another month:

Only five Democrats voted to advance the bill — Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who are all up for reelection this year in states carried by President Trump in 2016 election, and newly-elected Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

Republicans were also not united, as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) also voted against advancing the legislation. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer, was absent.

The procedural vote remained open late Friday, though it needed 60 votes to pass and was well short of that number with 48 senators voting against it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer continued to negotiate after the vote opened (archive), but no deal has been reached yet. As of midnight (5 minutes before this story went live), the government shutdown was in effect.

At Wikipedia: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Government shutdowns in the United States.

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 20, @03:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the ahoy-there-matey dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

With the file-sharing wars in full swing, 2007 saw the movie The Man From Earth being pirated all over the Internet, but its creators didn't fight the movement. Instead, they embraced pirates and thanked them for their attention. More than a decade on its sequel, The Man From Earth: Holocene, is again being shared on The Pirate Bay. But this time its creators put it there themselves.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 20, @01:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-Mr.-T-cells-to-you dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, chemical-based approaches. These "living drugs" are poised to transform medicine, with a growing number of cellular therapies receiving FDA-approval.

A current bottleneck in these approaches and other Adoptive T-cell Therapies (ACTs) is the production of sufficient numbers of high quality T cells. As a starting material, cells are isolated from the patient and then modified and grown outside the body in a bioreactor.

[...] A Columbia Engineering team has developed a new method for improving T-cell manufacture by focusing on the materials involved in this process. The team is a collaboration between Biomedical Engineering faculty Lance C. Kam and Helen H. Lu, whose research programs include immune engineering and smart biomaterial design. Their study, which is published today in Advanced Biosystems, uses a polymer mesh to activate the T cells, a critical step for their production. This approach simplifies processing compared to systems in use today. In addition, making the fibers out of a mechanically soft material improved T-cell growth, outperforming the current gold standard on several fronts.

"Our report shows that this soft mesh material increases the number of functional cells that can be produced in a single step," Kam says. "In fact, our system provided nearly an order of magnitude more cells in a single process. What's especially exciting is that we've been able to expand cells isolated from patients undergoing treatment for leukemia. These cells are often very difficult to activate and expand, and this has been a barrier to using cellular immunotherapy for the people who need it."

[...] Beyond simplifying the process of cell expansion and improving T-cells expansion, Kam and Lu envision that the mesh platform will have applications beyond immunotherapy. They are refining their platform and exploring how T cells from cancer patients respond to their materials. Says Lu, "It is truly exciting to see how these bioinspired matrices can direct cell function and be successfully used for T-cell therapy."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 19, @10:55PM   Printer-friendly

Satori—the malware family that wrangles routers, security cameras, and other Internet-connected devices into potent botnets—is crashing the cryptocurrency party with a new variant that surreptitiously infects computers dedicated to the mining of digital coins.

A version of Satori that appeared on January 8 exploits one or more weaknesses in the Claymore Miner, researchers from China-based Netlab 360 said in a report published Wednesday. After gaining control of the coin-mining software, the malware replaces the wallet address the computer owner uses to collect newly minted currency with an address controlled by the attacker. From then on, the attacker receives all coins generated, and owners are none the wiser unless they take time to manually inspect their software configuration.

Records show that the attacker-controlled wallet has already cashed out slightly more than 1 Etherium coin. The coin was valued at as much as $1,300 when the transaction was made. At the time this post was being prepared, the records also showed that the attacker had a current balance of slightly more than 1 Etherium coin and was actively mining more, with a calculation power of about 2,100 million hashes per second.

Story at ArsTechnica

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 19, @09:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the questions,-questions,-questions dept.
An Anonymous Coward asks:

I'm putting this under security because i'd like to keep this a private server for family:

that said, I'm wondering if you fine people can help me with the best way to set up a web server in my house to host the files on my external hard drives for family members in other cities/countries while, again, keeping it private and secure over the internet.

I'm looking into ngrok for url handling, but am not sure exactly if this is the best way to go.

Can anyone save me time and possible heartache and failure and provide me (and possibly others) with a walk-through of which software to use. Would love to do something like free, but may have to get a paid unique domain from, say, ngrok, to make it easier for family members to connect up.

Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi... you're my only hope!

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday January 19, @07:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the knotty-problem dept.

He made graphs and compared the knots on the khipu to an old Spanish census document from the region when something clicked.

"Something looked out of the ordinary in that moment," Medrano said. "It seemed there was a coincidence that was too strong to be random."

He realized that, like a kind of textile abacus, the number of unique colors on the strings nearly matched with the number of first names on the Spanish census.

Source: Harvard student helps crack mystery of Inca code

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday January 19, @06:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the Uber-Fail dept.

The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought

A year ago, before the investor lawsuits and the federal investigations, before the mass resignations, and before the connotation of the word "Uber" shifted from "world's most valuable startup" to "world's most dysfunctional," Uber's executives sat around a hotel conference room table in San Francisco, trying to convince their chief executive officer, Travis Kalanick, that the company had a major problem: him.

[...] [A] top executive excused herself to answer a phone call. A minute later, she reappeared and asked Kalanick to step into the hallway. Another executive joined them. They hunched over a laptop to watch a video that had just been posted online by Bloomberg News: grainy, black-and-white dashcam footage of Kalanick in the back seat of an UberBlack on Super Bowl weekend, heatedly arguing over fares with a driver named Fawzi Kamel. "Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit!" Kalanick can be heard yelling at Kamel. "They blame everything in their life on somebody else!"

As the clip ended, the three stood in stunned silence. Kalanick seemed to understand that his behavior required some form of contrition. According to a person who was there, he literally got down on his hands and knees and began squirming on the floor. "This is bad," he muttered. "I'm terrible." Then, contrition period over, he got up, called a board member, demanded a new PR strategy, and embarked on a yearlong starring role as the villain who gets his comeuppance in the most gripping startup drama since the dot-com bubble. It's a story that, until now, has never been fully told.

The article discusses a number of Uber and Kalanick scandals/events, including:

  • The #DeleteUber movement following Uber being accused of breaking up an airport taxi strike (which was in protest of President Trump's executive order restricting travel from Muslim countries), as well as Kalanick's decision to join President Trump's business advisory council (and later leave it).
  • Susan Fowler's blog post recounting sexual harassment at Uber, and the hiring of former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder to investigate the claims.
  • The revelation of Uber's Greyball system, which was used to avoid picking up law enforcement and taxi inspectors.
  • Uber's purchase of self-driving truck startup Otto, which eventually led key Uber investor Google (Waymo) to sue Uber, seeking billions in damages.
  • Kalanick's "inexplicable" support of Anthony Levandowski, who he called his "brother from another mother", even after Levandowski stopped defending Uber in the Waymo v. Uber case.
  • Kalanick's apology to the taxi driver Fawzi Kamel, which amounted to a $200,000 payoff.
  • A visit to a Seoul escort-karaoke bar that resulted in an HR complaint and a report in The Information.
  • Uber's president for Asia-Pacific Eric Alexander obtaining a confidential medical record of passenger who was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India. Alexander, Kalanick, and others discussed a theory that their Indian competitor Ola faked/orchestrated the rape.
  • Kalanick making his presence known during a "leave of absence" by trying to maintain control over the company and its board.
  • Arianna Huffington promoting her wellness company's products while acting as Kalanick's apparent proxy on the board.
  • The new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's response to the city of London revoking Uber's operating license.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Friday January 19, @04:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the front-row-seats dept.

The mechanism for reading DNA and decoding it to build proteins for their needs is common to all animals and plants, and is often hijacked by cancer.

Researchers used an advanced form of electron microscopy called Cryo-EM, for which the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 2017, to zoom in and capture images of the reading mechanism in unprecedented detail.

The discovery of exactly how the molecular mechanism works -- published in the journal Nature -- could open up new approaches to cancer treatment.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, captured images of molecular machinery called RNA Polymerase III in the act of transcribing a gene in exquisite and unprecedented detail.

[...] Cryo-EM is so powerful that it can take pictures of tiny molecules -- approximately 5 nanometers or 20000th of the width of a human hair -- at almost an atomic level.

It allowed researchers to see for the first time how components of the RNA polymerase III complex and accessory molecules interact and communicate with each other, suggesting how drugs might be employed to split the complex up.

The new study captured the molecular machinery in the act of binding to DNA, separating the two strands and getting ready to transcribe the DNA code.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Friday January 19, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the note-to-self dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

After a false alert about an inbound missile, Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency has said a worker clicked the wrong item in a drop-down menu and sent it, and that its system was not hacked. But Hawaii News Now is reporting an AP photo from July has resurfaced, showing the agency's operations officer in front of monitors, attached to one of them is a Post-it note with a password on it.

Just.... wow. I'm nearly at a loss for words on how big of a screw up this is. And from the response of the spokesman sounds like this was a shared password, therefore no way to link it to a specific careless employee.

Richard Rapoza, emergency management agency spokesman, confirmed that the password is authentic and was actually used for an "internal application." He said he didn't believe that application is any longer in use, but declined to say what application the password was for.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Friday January 19, @01:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the tell-us-how-you-REALLY-think dept.

SoylentNews first reported the vulnerabilities on January 3. Since then, we have had a few stories addressing different reports about these vulnerabilities. Now that it is over two weeks later and we are *still* dealing with reboots, I am curious as to what our community's experience has been.

What steps have you taken, if any, to deal with these reports? Be utterly proactive and install every next thing that comes along? Do a constrained roll out to test a system or two before pushing out to other systems? Wait for the dust to settle before taking any steps?

What providers (system/os/motherboard/chip) have been especially helpful... or non-helpful? How has their response affected your view of that company?

What resources have you been using to check on the status of fixes for your systems? Have you found a site that stands above the others in timeliness and accuracy?

How has this affected your purchasing plans... and your expectations on what you could get for selling your old system? Are you now holding off on purchasing something new?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday January 19, @12:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the Invisible-hand dept.

Found this interesting, you may too.

A new research paper that may help unlock the mystery of why Americans can't seem to get a decent raise. Economists have struggled over that question for years now, as wage growth has stagnated and more of the nation's income has shifted from the pockets of workers into the bank accounts of business owners. Since 1979, inflation-adjusted hourly pay is up just 3.41 percent for the middle 20 percent of Americans while labor's overall share of national income has declined sharply since the early 2000s. There are lots of possible explanations for why this is, from long-term factors like the rise of automation and decline of organized labor, to short-term ones, such as the lingering weakness in the job market left over from the great recession. But a recent study by a group of labor economists introduces an interesting theory into the mix: Workers' pay may be lagging because the U.S. is suffering from a shortage of employers.

[...] argues that, across different cities and different fields, hiring is concentrated among a relatively small number of businesses, which may have given managers the ability to keep wages lower than if there were more companies vying for talent. This is not the same as saying there are simply too many job hunters chasing too few openings—the paper, which is still in an early draft form, is designed to rule out that possibility. Instead, its authors argue that the labor market may be plagued by what economists call a monopsony problem, where a lack of competition among employers gives businesses outsize power over workers, including the ability to tamp down on pay. If the researchers are right, it could have important implications for how we think about antitrust, unions, and the minimum wage.

Monopsony is essentially monopoly's quieter, less appreciated twin sibling. A monopolist can fix prices because it's the only seller in the market. The one hospital in a sprawling rural county can charge insurers whatever it likes for emergency room services, for instance, because patients can't go elsewhere. A monopsonist, on the other hand, can pay whatever it likes for labor or supplies, because it's the only company buying or hiring. That remote hospital I just mentioned? It can probably get away with lowballing its nurses on salary, because nobody is out there trying to poach them.

[...] Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz told me that he suspected the findings about market concentration and wages were directionally correct but that they may be a bit "overstated," because it's simply hard to control for the health of the labor market.

"They are getting at what is an important and underexplored topic ... using a creative approach of using really rich data," he said. "I don't know if I would take perfectly seriously the exact quantitative estimates."

Still, even if the study is only gesturing in the direction of a real problem, it's a deeply worrisome one. We're living in an era of industry consolidation. That's not going away in the foreseeable future. And workers can't ask for fair pay if there aren't enough businesses out there competing to hire.

Article summarizing study:
Why Is It So Hard for Americans to Get a Decent Raise?

Actual study (limited access):

FYI: Number of companies on America's stock exchanges has decreased by 50% since 1998

Original Submission