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Biotech

Apple's Plans For Your DNA 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the download-a-parkinson's-cure-from-itunes dept.
An anonymous reader writes: MIT's Technology Review breaks news that Apple is working with scientists to create apps that collect and evaluate users' DNA. "The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps hospitals or scientists run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data from the devices' sensors or through surveys." A source says Apple's plan is to enable users to easily share their DNA information with medical workers and researchers performing studies. "To join one of the studies, a person would agree to have a gene test carried out—for instance, by returning a "spit kit" to a laboratory approved by Apple. The first such labs are said to be the advanced gene-sequencing centers operated by UCSF and Mount Sinai."
EU

Europe Vows To Get Rid of Geo-Blocking 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-article-only-available-at-select-latitudes dept.
AmiMoJo writes: The European Commission has adopted a new set of initiatives for digital technologies that aims to improve access to online services for everyday users. Among other things, Europe vows to end geo-blocking, which it describes as "a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons," and lift other unwarranted copyright restrictions. Consumers will have the right to access content they purchased at home in other European countries. "I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe," Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says.
News

Two Programmers Expose Dysfunction and Abuse In the Seattle Police Department 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-keep-your-heads-down dept.
reifman writes: Programmers Eric Rachner and Phil Mocek are now the closest thing Seattle has to a civilian police-oversight board. Through shrewd use of Washington's Public Records Act, the two have acquired hundreds of reports, videos, and 911 calls related to the Seattle Police Department's internal investigations of officer misconduct. Among some of Rachner and Mocek's findings: a total of 1,028 SPD employees (including civilian employees) were investigated between 2010 and 2013. (The current number of total SPD staff is 1,820.) Of the 11 most-investigated employees—one was investigated 18 times during the three-year period—every single one of them is still on the force, according to SPD.

In 569 allegations of excessive or inappropriate use of force (arising from 363 incidents), only seven were sustained—meaning 99 percent of cases were dismissed. Exoneration rates were only slightly smaller when looking at all the cases — of the total 2,232 allegations, 284 were sustained. This is partly why the Seattle PD is under a federal consent decree for retraining and oversight. You can check out some of the typically excellent Twitter coverage by Mocek from his #MayDaySea coverage.

+ - Apple's Plans For Your DNA->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: MIT's Technology Review breaks news that Apple is working with scientists to create apps that test and evaluate users' DNA. "The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps hospitals or scientists run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data from the devices’ sensors or through surveys." A source says Apple's plan is to enable users to easily share their DNA information with medical workers and researchers performing studies. "To join one of the studies, a person would agree to have a gene test carried out—for instance, by returning a “spit kit” to a laboratory approved by Apple. The first such labs are said to be the advanced gene-sequencing centers operated by UCSF and Mount Sinai."
Link to Original Source
Displays

Oculus Rift Launching In Q1 2016 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the virtually-immediately dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Oculus has announced that their Rift virtual reality headset will be coming out sometime in the first quarter of 2016. They've also posted a couple images of the final consumer headset design. The device was Kickstarted in August, 2012. Consumer-level release dates have slowly slipped further and further out since then, though they've shipped two different development kits. Ars points out that a 2016 launch date will bring the Oculus Rift to market after the Valve/HTC VR headset, and possibly after Sony's Project Morpheus.
Businesses

Apple Gets Antitrust Scrutiny Over Music Deals 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the apple-a-day-keeps-the-competition-at-bay dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is probing Apple after its acquisition of Beats Electronics, and its various deals with record labels to sell music through the iTunes store. As part of the acquisition, Apple now owns the music streaming service created by Beats, and they're planning to release a new version sometime soon. This makes their ties to the record labels, already deep because of iTunes, even stronger — and could affect the labels' relationships with other streaming services, like Spotify. Investigators want to know if Apple is using these business deals as leverage for "curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates."
Medicine

The Medical Bill Mystery 447

Posted by Soulskill
from the $70-convenience-charge-to-process-the-convenience-charge dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in the NY Times that she has spent the past six months trying to figure out a medical bill for $225 that includes "Test codes: 105, 127, 164, to name a few. CPT codes: 87481, 87491, 87798 and others" and she really doesn't want to pay it until she understands what it's for. "At first, I left messages on the lab's billing office voice mail asking for an explanation. A few months ago, when someone finally called back, she said she could not tell me what the codes were for because that would violate patient privacy. After I pointed out that I was the patient in question, she said, politely: 'I'm sorry, this is what I'm told, and I don't want to lose my job.'" Bills variously use CPT, HCPCS or ICD-9 codes. Some have abbreviations and scientific terms that you need a medical dictionary or a graduate degree to comprehend. Some have no information at all. A Seattle resident received a $45,000 hospital bill with the explanation "miscellaneous."

So what's the problem? "Medical bills and explanation of benefits are undecipherable and incomprehensible even for experts to understand, and the law is very forgiving about that," says Mark Hall. "We've not seen a lot of pressure to standardize medical billing, but there's certainly a need." Hospitals and medical clinics say that detailed bills are simply too complicated for patients and that they provide the information required by insurers. But with rising copays and deductibles, patients are shouldering an increasing burden. One recent study found that up to 90 percent of hospital bills contain errors. An audit by Equifax found that hospital bills totaling more than $10,000 contained an average error of $1,300. "There are no industry standards with regards to what information a patient should receive regarding their bill," says Cyndee Weston, executive director of the American Medical Billing Association. "The software industry has pretty much decided what information patients should receive, and to my knowledge, they have not had any stakeholder input. That would certainly be a worthwhile project for our industry."

+ - SpaceX Lauch Abort Test Successful->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: As we discussed yesterday, SpaceX launched a prototype this morning to test its Dragon passenger capsule in an aborted launch. The test was a success — the capsule separated cleanly, propelled itself to a safe distance, deployed its parachutes, and floaty gently down to a water landing, where it remained floating. You can watch video of the test on SpaceX's website — skip to 15:40 to get right to it. Externally, everything seems to have gone fine. I'm sure we'll hear in the coming weeks whether the downrange distance was ideal, and whether they hit their splashdown target — and how the crash test dummy inside the capsule weathered the abort!
Link to Original Source

+ - Apple Gets Antitrust Scrutiny Over Music Deals->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is probing Apple after its acquisition of Beats Electronics, and its various deals with record labels to sell music through the iTunes store. As part of the acquisition, Apple now owns the music streaming service created by Beats, and they're planning to release a new version. This makes their ties to the record labels, already deep because of iTunes, even stronger — and could affect the labels' relationships with other streaming services, like Spotify. Investigators want to know if Apple is using these business deals as leverage for "curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates."
Link to Original Source
Transportation

Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the life-imitates-maximum-overdrive dept.
drinkypoo writes: We've been discussing the importance of automating over-the-road trucking here on Slashdot whenever self-driving vehicles come up in conversation. Jalopnik reports that the Freightliner "Inspiration Truck" will be the first autonomous commercial truck to drive on American roads. It's been given the green light to start testing its self-driving technology on the roads of Nevada. A human will be present at the wheel at all times, and will take control whenever the truck is in more populated areas. "Given a big trucks' long stopping distances and limited maneuverability, driving one requires the ability to correctly predict what's going to happen far out ahead. That requires foresight and intuition that are difficult to program into computers."

+ - Oculus Rift Launching In Q1 2016->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Oculus has announced that their Rift virtual reality headset will be coming out sometime in the first quarter of 2016. They've also posted a couple images of the final consumer headset design. The device was Kickstarted in August, 2012. Consumer-level release dates have slowly slipped further and further out since then, though they've shipped two different development kits. Ars points out that a 2015 launch date will bring the Oculus Rift to market after the Valve/HTC headset, and possibly after Sony's Project Morpheus.
Link to Original Source
Government

Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the gee-that's-a-shame dept.
schwit1 writes with news that political support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is drying up because of the secrecy involved in developing it. Members of Congress can read the bill if they want, but they need to be located in a single room within the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center, and they can't have their staff with them. They can't have a copy, they can't take notes, and they can only view one section at a time. And they're monitored while they read it. Unsurprisingly, this is souring many members of Congress on the controversial trade agreement.

"Administration aides say they can’t make the details public because the negotiations are still going on with multiple countries at once; if for example, Vietnam knew what the American bottom line was with Japan, that might drive them to change their own terms. Trade might not seem like a national security issue, they say, but it is (and foreign governments regularly try to hack their way in to American trade deliberations)."

+ - Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

Submitted by drinkypoo
drinkypoo writes: We've been discussing the import of automation of over-the-road trucking here on Slashdot in fairly passionate terms whenever self-driving vehicles enter the conversation. Jalopnik reports that The Freightliner “Inspiration Truck” will be the first autonomous commercial truck to drive on American roads. The truck will be demonstrated today.

+ - No Justice for Victims of Identity Theft->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes: The Christian Science Monitor's Passcode features a harrowing account of one individual's experience of identity theft.(http://passcode.csmonitor.com/identity-stolen) CSM reporter Sara Sorcher recounts the story of "Jonathan Franklin" (not his real name) a New Jersey business executive who woke up to find thieves had stolen his identity and racked up $30,000 in a shopping spree at luxury stores including Versace and the Apple Store. The thieves even went so far as to use personal info stolen from Franklin to have the phone company redirect calls to his home number, which meant that calls from the credit card company about the unusual spending went unanswered.

Despite the heinousness of the crime and the financial cost, Sorcher notes that credit card companies and merchants both look on this kind of theft as a "victimless crime" and are more interested in getting reimbursed for their losses than trying to pursue the thieves. Police departments, also, are unable to investigate these crimes, lacking both the technical expertise and resources to do so. Franklin notes that he wasn't even required to file a police report to get reimbursed for the crime.
“As long as their loss is covered they move on to [handling] tomorrow’s fraud,” Franklin observes. And that makes it harder for victims like Franklin to move on, “In some way, I’m seeking some sense of justice,” Franklin said. “But it’s likely not going to happen.”

Link to Original Source

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