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+ - Small Bank in Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Nathaniel Popper writes at the NYT that the Citizens Bank of Weir, Kansas, or CBW, has been taken apart and rebuilt, from its fiber optic cables up, so it can offer services not available at even the nation’s largest bank. The creation of the new bank, and the maintenance of the old one, are the work of Suresh Ramamurthi and his wife, Suchitra Padmanabhan who were born in India and ended up buying the bank in Kansas in 2009 after living in Silicon Valley and passing through jobs at Google and Lehman Brothers. Their goal was to find solutions to logjams that continue to vex consumers all over the country, such as the obstacles that slow money moving from one bank to another and across international borders. The new services that CBW is providing, like instant payments to any bank in the United States, direct remittance transfers abroad and specialized debit cards that can be set for particular purchases, such as those at specific stores, or at specific times might seem as if they should be painless upgrades in an age of high-frequency trading and interplanetary space missions. But the slowness of current methods of moving money is a widely acknowledged problem in the financial industry.

In the United States the primary option that consumers have to transfer money is still the ACH payment. Requests for ACH transfers are collected by banks and submitted in batches, once a day, and the banks receiving the transfers also process the payments once a day, leading to long waits. ACH technology was created in the 1970s and has not changed significantly since. The clunky system, which takes at least a day to deliver money, has become so deeply embedded in the banking industry that it has been hard to replace. CBW went to work on the problem by using the debit card networks that power ATM cash dispensers. Ramamurthi’s team engineered a system so that a business could collect a customer’s debit card number and use it to make an instant payment directly into the customer’s account — or into the account of a customer of almost any other bank in the country. The key to CBW's system is real-time, payment transaction risk-scoring — software that can judge the risk involved in any transaction in real time by looking at 20 to 40 factors, including a customers’ transaction history and I.P., address where the transaction originated. It was this system that Elizabeth McQuerry, the former Fed official, praised as the “biggest idea” at a recent bank conference. "Today's banks offer the equivalent of 300-year-old paper ledgers converted to an electronic form — a digital skin on an antiquated transaction process," says Suresh Ramamurthi. "We'll now be one of the first banks in the world to offer customers a reliable, compliant, safe and secure way to instantly send and receive money internationally.""

+ - Fox News edits in 'dead cops' chants in protest coverage->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends edited a video clip of Rev. Al Sharpton to make it seem that demonstrators had chanted calls to kill police officers during his speech on Saturday, even though the pieces of video were from two different cities.

During the broadcast they showed a clip from a protest last night in Manhattan where some people were reportedly heard chanting "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!" The video then flipped to Sharpton leading a peaceful rally where he says, "We're not saying all police are bad. We're not even saying most are bad. We're not anti-police, but we're anti-brutality. And the federal government must have a threshold to protect that.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Pi In Space!->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Raspberry Pi that is.
When British astronaut Tim Peake heads off to the International Space Station in November 2015 he will be accompanied on his 6 month mission by two augmented Rapsberry Pis, aka Astro Pis. The Astro Pi board is a Raspberry Pi HAT and provides — gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer and sensors for temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. It also has a real time clock, LED display and some push buttons — it sounds like the sort of addon that we could do with down here on earth as well! It will also be equipped with both camera module and an infra-red camera.
UK school pupils are being challenged to write Rapberry Pi apps or experiments to run in space. During his mission Tim Peake will deploy the Astro Pis, upload the winning code whilst in orbit, set them running, collect the data generated and then download it to be distributed to the winning teams.
If this doesn't get kids turned on to computing and science nothing will."

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+ - Last three years the quietest for tornadoes ever 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The uncertainty of science: 2014 caps the quietest three year period for tornadoes on record, and scientists really don’t understand why.

Harold Brooks, a meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said there’s no consistent reason for the three-year lull — the calmest stretch since a similar quiet period in the late 1980s — because weather patterns have varied significantly from year to year. While 2012 tornado activity was likely suppressed by the warm, dry conditions in the spring, 2013 was on the cool side for much of the prime storm season before cranking up briefly in late May, especially in Oklahoma, SPC meteorologist Greg Carbin said. Then, activity quickly quieted for the summer of 2013.

"

+ - Climate Deal Would Commit Every Nation to Limiting Emissions->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Negotiators from around the globe reached a climate change agreement early Sunday that would, for the first time in history, commit every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impact of global warming.

The agreement reached by delegates from 196 countries establishes a framework for a climate change accord to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year. While United Nations officials had been scheduled to release the plan on Friday at noon, longstanding divisions between rich and poor countries kept them wrangling through Friday and Saturday nights to early Sunday.

The agreement requires every nation to put forward, over the next six months, a detailed domestic policy plan to limit its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning coal, gas and oil. Those plans, which would be published on a United Nations website, would form the basis of the accord to be signed next December and enacted by 2020."

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+ - How Best to Hold Tablets, Phablets, Phones?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "A photo of the huge Velcro strap gracing a Microsoft Surface produced for the NFL (not unlike that Wham-O catch game you played with as a kid) illustrates that in the still-nascent world of phones, phablets, and tablets we've yet to stumble upon the best way to hold mobile devices. Might a variant of a Chinese finger trap or Ring Pop help you hold your phone? Do you miss having a slide-out keyboard or long for a fixed Blackberry keyboard (or clip-on knockoff) to grab onto? Is the conventional wisdom of a border-to-border screen with touch-only keyboard best, or might a less sleek-looking device be more practical? So, how do you typically hold your tablet, phablet, or phone?"

+ - Reverse Engineering CAPCOM'S Crypto CPU->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "There are a few old Capcom arcade titles – Pang, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, and Block Block – that are unlike anything else ever seen in the world of coin-ops. They’re old, yes, but what makes these titles exceptional is the CPU they run on. The brains in the hardware of these games is a Kabuki, a Z80 CPU that had a few extra security features. why would Capcom produce such a thing? To combat bootleggers that would copy and reproduce arcade games without royalties going to the original publisher. It’s an interesting part of arcade history, but also a problem. Read more about the efforts to reverse engineer this security cpu on Arcade Hacker."
Link to Original Source

+ - New sophisticated malware from the makers of "Red October"->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A new and powerful malware is making the rounds

That malware is reportedly created by the same people behind "Red October" espionage malware. It infects Windows Mobile, Android, Blackberry, jail-broken iPhones, desktop version of Windows, and even Blackberry

It was found independently by Kaspersky Labs and by Blue Coat, and has been given two names

"Cloud Atlas" and "Inception"

The following countries have been targeted by this powerful malware

Russia
Kazakhstan
India
Belarus
Czech Republic
Romania
Venezuela
Mozambique
Paraguay
Romania
Turkey

On mobile, the malware would come as a fake Whatsapp update, while on the desktop, it would infect users through a Visual Basic script that people could download from email attachments as part of received documents

The malware's origins seem to be heavily obfuscated. Its code contains "bread crumbs" that led the researchers to multiple countries and regions including China, South Korea, Russia, India, Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Middle East, UK and even the U.S. Whoever built it wanted to make it very difficult for others to pinpoint their location

Blue Coat warns users to be on the lookout for unauthorized WedDAV traffic or "regsvr32.exe" constantly running in the process list. Users should also watch out for emails containing RTF documents and MMS messages that tell you to update certain apps"

Link to Original Source

+ - Wikia Deletes Evidence Of Wikipedia Administrator Misconduct

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "At the request of Jimbo Wales and two Wikipedia administrators, Wikia administrator Dragon Rainbow deleted a Wikia page that had collected evidence of bias and misconduct by Wikipedia editors and administrators regarding Gamergate, a subject which is currently before the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. A mirror of the deleted page exists so you can see the deleted content for yourself."

+ - Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle to Keep Up With Demand

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The WSJ reports that the revival of vinyl records, a several-year trend that many figured was a passing fad, has accelerated during 2014 with an astounding 49 percent sales increase over 2013 (line chart here). Some listeners think that vinyl reproduces sound better than digital, and some youngsters like the social experience of gathering around a turntable. The records are pressed at a handful of decades-old, labor-intensive factories that can't keep up with the demand; but since the increased sales still represent only about 2 percent of US music sales, there hasn't been a rush of capital investment to open new plants. Raw vinyl must now be imported to America from countries such as Thailand, since the last US supplier closed shop years ago. Meanwhile, an industry pro offers his take on the endless debate of audio differences between analog records and digital formats; it turns out there were reasons for limiting playing time on each side back in the day, apart from bands not having enough decent material."

+ - The Vanishing American Male Worker

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Binyamin Appelbaum writes at the NYT that the share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent as many men have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working. These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment. Technology has made unemployment less lonely says Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, who argues that the Internet allows men to entertain themselves and find friends and sexual partners at a much lower cost than did previous generations. Perhaps most important, it has become harder for men to find higher-paying jobs as foreign competition and technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs open to high school graduates. The trend was pushed to new heights by the last recession, with 20 percent of prime-age men not working in 2009 before partly receding. But the recovery is unlikely to be complete. "Like turtles flipped onto their backs, many people who stop working struggle to get back on their feet," writes Appelbaum. "Some people take years to return to the work force, and others never do "

A study published in October by scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies estimated that 37 percent of the decline in male employment since 1979 can be explained by this retreat from marriage and fatherhood (PDF). “When the legal, entry-level economy isn’t providing a wage that allows someone a convincing and realistic option to become an adult — to go out and get married and form a household — it demoralizes them and shunts them into illegal economies,” says Philippe Bourgois, an anthropologist who has studied the lives of young men in urban areas. “It’s not a choice that has made them happy. They would much rather be adults in a respectful job that pays them and promises them benefits.”"

+ - Highly Suggestive Positions Posted to Google Careers...-> 1

Submitted by Admiral Jimbob McGif
Admiral Jimbob McGif (3949273) writes "Even as a massive firestorm burns uncontrollably threatening to scorch the very foundations of the internet with AT&T indefinitely halting future GigaPower FTTH rollouts due to uncertainty over the future of net neutrality and the Obama administration proposing to regulate the internet under Title 2, highly suggestive jobs were recently added to Google Careers.

These Google Fiber related positions include: "City Manager", "Community Impact Manager" and "Plant Manager" in all potential Google Fiber cities. Perplexing inconsistences abound, such as Portland, Phoenix, San Jose and Atlanta positions being listed as local. Whereas San Antonio, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Nashville are listed as telecommute positions.

One is inclined to speculate as to what these job postings mean despite Google's disclaimer: "Not all cities where we're exploring hiring a team will necessarily become Google Fiber cities." Would Google post jobs as an act of posturing much like AT&T's supposed "Gigabit smoke screen" bluff? Or, should we expect to see these so called Fiber Huts springing up like so many mushrooms after a heavy rain in an additional 9 metro areas?

At the rate Google is going, is it too soon to speculate over Fiber Dojos popping up in Japan? And finally, should Google Dojo Huts come to be, will prospective tenants be required to put down one month's rent as deposit and engage in advanced martial arts training? Questions begetting ever more questions in near Biblical Proportions..."

Link to Original Source

+ - Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Andrew Pollack reports at the NYT that a federal judge has blocked an attempt by the drug company Actavis to halt sales of an older form of its Alzheimer’s disease drug Namenda in favor of a newer version with a longer patent life after New York’s attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing the drug company of forcing patients to switch to the newer version of the widely used medicine to hinder competition from generic manufacturers. “Today’s decision prevents Actavis from pursuing its scheme to block competition and maintain its high drug prices,” says Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “Our lawsuit against Actavis sends a clear message: Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients.”

The case involves a practice called product hopping where brand name manufacturers make a slight alteration to their prescription drug (PDF) and engage in marketing efforts to shift consumers from the old version to the new to insulate the drug company from generic competition for several years. For its part Actavis argued that an injunction would be “unprecedented and extraordinary” and would cause the company “great financial harm, including unnecessary manufacturing and marketing costs.” Namenda has been a big seller. In the last fiscal year, the drug generated $1.5 billion in sales. The drug costs about $300 a month."

+ - Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive ->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Seagate's just-announced a new 'Archive' HDD series, one that offers densities of 5TB, 6TB, and 8TB. That's right, 8 Terabytes of storage on a single drive and for only $260 at that. Back in 2007, Seagate was one of the first to release a hard drive based on perpendicular magnetic recording, a technology that was required to help us break past the roadblock of achieving more than 250GB per platter. Since then, PMR has evolved to allow the release of drives as large as 10TB, but to go beyond that, something new was needed. That "something new" is shingled magnetic recording. As its name suggests, SMR aligns drive tracks in a singled pattern, much like shingles on a roof. With this design, Seagate is able to cram much more storage into the same physical area. It should be noted that Seagate isn't the first out the door with an 8TB model, however, as HGST released one earlier this year. In lieu of a design like SMR, HGST decided to go the helium route, allowing it to pack more platters into a drive."
Link to Original Source

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