Science & Tech News

Narwhals could help us measure melting glaciers underwater

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 8:05am
A project off Greenland will tag whales with sensors to measure sea temperatures and ice melt in hard-to-reach places, improving predictions of sea-level rise
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Mass landfills are saving endangered vultures from extinction

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 7:46am
Endangered Egyptian vultures thrive near open garbage sites, which have helped some bounce back – but EU regulations threaten to shut the sites down
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Remote Pacific island found buried under tonnes of plastic waste

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 6:30am
A tiny, otherwise pristine island is smothered by our blast from the past: vast amounts of decades-old plastic from around the world
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Unshackled, big auto will keep choking the world on diesel fumes

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 6:29am
We now know diesel vehicles pollute more than they should to deadly effect everywhere, but the real scandal is government foot-dragging, says Olive Heffernan
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Driest ten months in 100 years recorded in southern England

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 4:30am
The last 10 months were the driest July to April for southern England in records stretching back more than 100 years, figures reveal  
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Vultures smear their faces in red mud which they use as makeup

New Scientist - Breaking news - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 1:45am
The endangered Egyptian vultures have taken to mud baths and painting their faces at their stronghold in the Canaries. But why do they care about cosmetics?
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Hundreds of newly-discovered plants may yield new crops or drugs

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 4:01pm
Even as we discover promising new wild relatives of key crops and medicinal plants, some of them are already endangered by pests and climate change  
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Frog skeleton allows them to jump horizontally or vertically

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 4:01pm
Astonishingly complex bone movements visualised in lab experiments allow some frogs to take off upwards or forwards, propelled by knees or hips  
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Fish boost photosynthesis by wafting water around corals

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 4:01pm
Call it a fin fan. The action of damselfish swimming between coral branches helps the algae inside corals to increase their photosynthesis
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Beaver dams keeps streams cool and protect sensitive fish

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 12:00pm
We used to think that beaver dams warmed up stream waters as felling trees to build them reduces shade. Now it seems the opposite might be true
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Popular Torrent Site ExtraTorrent Permanently Shuts Down

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:40am
ExtraTorrent, the world's second largest torrent index, on Wednesday said it is permanently shutting its doors. The site, which launched in 2006, had steadily climbed the ranks in the piracy world to become the second most popular torrent site, observing millions of daily views. TorrentFreak adds: "ExtraTorrent with all mirrors goes offline.. We permanently erase all data. Stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones. Thx to all ET supporters and torrent community. ET was a place to beâ¦." TorrentFreak reached out to ExtraTorrent operator SaM who confirmed that this is indeed the end of the road for the site. "It's time we say goodbye," he said, without providing more details. [...] ExtraTorrent is the latest in a series of BitTorrent giants to fall in recent months. Previously, sites including KickassTorrents, Torrentz.eu, TorrentHound and What.cd went offline.

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What the end of the atomic renaissance means for nuclear power

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:00am
The next generation of nuclear reactors was meant to bring cheaper, safer power. Where are they, and can they save the industry from bankruptcy and closure?
Categories: Science & Tech News

Can You Copyright a Joke?

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:00am
Reader AnalogDiehard writes: Writer Alex Kaseburg has filed a lawsuit against TBS and Time Warner alleging that jokes recited on the Conan O'Brien show were stolen from his blog shortly after they were published. The case gets heard in August and could create new protections in a legal forum in which there is little precedent or clear definition in what defines a joke as "original" and subject to legal protection, especially in an industry where theft of humor occurs on a regular basis. But the outcome of any judicial decision opens a big can of worms and raises serious questions: Will YouTube videos get shut down from DMCA notices citing copyrighted jokes? Will compliance staff have to be retained to ensure that their magazine or news article, TV show, movie, or broadway act is not infringing on copyrighted jokes? Will copyrights on jokes get near-perpetual protection like the controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act? Will people be able to recite limericks without fear of infringing? Will tyrannical politicians copyright critical jokes to oppress freedom of speech? Will legal cases be filed arguing that a comedian's joke(s) bears too much similarity to a copyrighted joke recited decades ago? Will girl scouts be free to tell copyright jokes around the campfire?

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Google's Android Now Powers More Than 2 Billion Devices

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 9:20am
At Google's developer conference IO 2017, CEO Sundar Pichai said Android is now running on more than two billion active devices. The milestone, Pichai said, Google achieved this month. CNET adds: It took three years for Android to double its user base, having disclosed that it had 1 billion active devices at its developer conference in 2014. In 2015, Google said that it had 1.4 billion active users on Android. While phones make up a bulk of its devices, it's starting to see a proliferation of other gadgets running on the software.

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Region-Locked Content Drives UK Users To Try a VPN

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 8:40am
An anonymous reader writes: A new report has revealed that VPN usage in the UK has increased with almost one in six people now using a VPN alongside their internet connection. According to YouGov's 'Incognito Individual' report, 16 percent of British adults have used either a VPN or proxy server. This up-tick in users trying a VPN was often the direct result of trying access region-locked content or websites. Of those surveyed, 48 percent of respondents admitted to using a VPN or a proxy to access content they would otherwise be unable to view. VPNs are often used by security conscious individuals who are concerned with their privacy and not having their browsing data logged. YouGov's report found that 44 percent of VPN users utilised such a service for better security and that 37 percent did so for improved privacy.

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Automation will have a bigger impact on jobs in smaller cities

New Scientist - Breaking news - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 8:30am
More migration to megacities is expected in the next few decades, because they have more jobs that are resilient to automation than smaller urban areas
Categories: Science & Tech News

Software Is Eating the World, But AI Is Going To Eat Software, Nvidia CEO Says

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 8:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Nvidia's revenues have started to climb in the recent quarters as it looks at making hardware customized for machine-learning algorithms and use cases such as autonomous cars. At the company's annual developer conference in San Jose, California last week, the company's CEO Jensen Huang spoke about how the machine-learning revolution is just starting. "Very few lines of code in the enterprises and industries all over the world use AI today. It's quite pervasive in Internet service companies, particularly two or three of them," Huang said. "But there's a whole bunch of others in tech and other industries that are trying to catch up. Software is eating the world, but AI is going to eat software."

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Chinese State Media Says US Should Take Some Blame For Cyberattack

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 7:20am
An anonymous reader shares a CNBC report: Chinese state media on Wednesday criticized the United States for hindering efforts to stop global cyber threats in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide in recent days. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) should shoulder some blame for the attack, which targets vulnerabilities in Microsoft systems and has infected some 30,000 Chinese organisations as of Saturday, the China Daily said. "Concerted efforts to tackle cyber crimes have been hindered by the actions of the United States," it said, adding that Washington had "no credible evidence" to support bans on Chinese tech firms in the United States following the attack. The malware attack, which began on Friday and has been linked by some researchers to previous hits by a North Korean-run hacking operation, leveraged a tool built by the NSA that leaked online in April, Microsoft says.

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Many Nations Pin Climate Hopes On China, India As Hopes For Trump Fade

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 6:40am
Twelve readers share a Reuters report: Many countries are pinning their hopes on China and India to lead efforts to slow climate change amid a growing sense of resignation that U.S. President Donald Trump will either withdraw from a global pact or stay and play a minimal role. Delegates at the May 8-18 negotiations in Bonn on a detailed "rule book" for the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first U.N. talks since Trump took office, say there is less foreboding than when Washington last broke with global climate efforts in 2001. Trump doubts global warming has a human cause and says he will decide on a campaign threat to "cancel" the Paris Agreement, the first to bind all nations to set goals to curb emissions, after a group of Seven summit in Italy on May 26-27. "The time when one big player could affect the whole game is past," said Ronald Jumeau, climate ambassador for the Seychelles. "There would be a void without the U.S., but China and India seem to be increasing their effort." Big emitters led by China, the European Union and India have reaffirmed their commitment to Paris, which seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century by shifting to clean energies. By contrast, Trump wants to favor U.S. coal.

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Qualcomm Sues Apple Contract Manufacturers

Slashdot Updates - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 6:00am
Qualcomm on Wednesday sued the manufacturers that make iPhones for Apple for failing to pay royalties on the chip maker's technology, widening its legal battle with the world's most valuable company. Qualcomm's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a federal district court in San Diego, accuses Compal, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron of breaching longstanding patent-licensing agreements with Qualcomm by halting royalty payments on Qualcomm technology used in iPhones and iPads. From a report: Apple sued Qualcomm in January, accusing it of overcharging for chips and refusing to pay some $1 billion in promised rebates. Qualcomm said in the complaint that Apple is trying to force the company to agree to a "unreasonable demand for a below-market direct license." Qualcomm said last month that Apple had decided to withhold royalty payments to its contract manufacturers that are owed to the chipmaker, for sales made in the first quarter of 2017, until the dispute is resolved in court. "While not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of Qualcomm's inventions, the manufacturers say they must follow Apple's instructions not to pay," Qualcomm said in a statement on Wednesday.

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