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Submission Verizon is merging its cellphone tracking supercookie w/AOL's ad tracking networ->

schwit1 writes: Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL's ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet.

That means AOL's ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — "your gender, age range and interests." AOL's network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

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Submission Government overpayments going up by billions->

schwit1 writes: A GAO report has found that since 2003 the federal government has wasted almost a trillion dollars in improper overpayments, with the numbers increasing by 20% in 2014.

The GAO said three programs were most at fault: Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These three government programs were responsible for a full three-quarters of the nearly $19 billion in erroneous payments the federal government made in fiscal 2014, the GAO said. "Improper payments remain a significant and pervasive government-wide issue," the congressional watchdog unit warned.

The Earned Income Tax Credit program was the worst offender. The Internal Revenue Service estimated that the program erroneously handed out $17.7 billion worth of "improper" payments. That amounts to a whopping 27.2 percent of the total $65.2 billion in EITC refund checks that the IRS sent out in fiscal 2014. And that means the federal government is now fast approaching the day when one out of every three earned income tax credits is erroneous.

Medicare was nearly as bad. The program, which covers about 54 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries, incorrectly doled out $59.9 billion in fiscal 2014, which is about a tenth of its $603 billion budget. So, one out of every $10 that Medicare spent last year was erroneous, the GAO found. Medicaid made $17.5 billion in mistaken payments out of its $304 billion budget, for a nearly 6 percent error rate.

It is obvious that the solution to this government problem is to give the government more power and money. How else can they reduce this waste but by spending more money!
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Submission Porsche chooses Apple over Google because Google wants too much data->

countach44 writes: As reported in number 5 of this list from Motor Trend, Porsche went with Apple over Google for the infotainment system in its new 911. Apparently, Android Auto wants vehicle data (throttle position, speed, coolant temp, etc...) whereas Apple Play only needs to know if the car is in motion. Speculation is around what Google, as a company building its own car, wants that data for.
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Submission Study links mental illness and vegetarianism->

sandbagger writes: This 2012 study in the Int International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity may have escaped some comment, but the analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.
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Submission Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium-> 1

schwit1 writes: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys.

Today a team of material scientists at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea announced what they're calling one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades: an altogether new type of flexible, ultra-strong, lightweight steel. This new metal has a strength-to-weight ratio that matches even our best titanium alloys, but at one tenth the cost, and can be created on a small scale with machinery already used to make automotive-grade steel. The study appears in Nature.

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Submission Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s 2

schwit1 writes: A new study finds that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 20 years ago are still fatter.

A study published recently in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that it's harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise. The authors examined the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 and the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They grouped the data sets together by the amount of food and activity, age, and BMI.

They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

Submission It wasn't just an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

schwit1 writes: Scientists have now obtained enough solid data to confirm that the large extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was caused not just by the Yucatan asteroid impact but also by the gigantic volcanic event in India called the Deccan Traps.

The researchers said the asteroid strike occurred 66.04 million years ago, plus or minus about 30,000 years. They said eruptions in a region called the Deccan Traps were already underway at a lower intensity but dramatically accelerated after the asteroid strike as if the powerful impact triggered it. The dating method they used found this acceleration began within 50,000 years of the impact, but it could have been in the mere days, months or years afterward. "Within measurement error, they're simultaneous," said volcanologist Loyc Vanderkluysen of Philadelphia's Drexel University. "The two processes in tandem caused the extinctions," added Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a University of California, Berkeley geologist, who led the study in the journal Science.

Though many planetary scientists have discounted the Deccan Traps for decades, paleontologists have tended to favor it as a major factor in the extinction. This new study suggests that both were involved, which was the theory held by most of the more reasonable scientists in both fields. While many liked to push one or the other theory in the press, the better scientists considered both a possible factor and have been working to determine this possibility.

Submission Vostochny launch building built to the wrong size->

schwit1 writes: The Russians have just discovered that their Soyuz 2 rocket does not fit in the building just finished at their new spaceport at Vostochny.

The cutting-edge facility was meant be ready for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets in December, but an unidentified space agency told the TASS news agency late Thursday that the rocket would not fit inside the assembly building where its parts are stacked and tested before launch. The building "has been designed for a different modification of the Soyuz rocket," the source said, according to news website Medusa, which picked up the story from TASS.

The rocket had just been delivered to Vostochny for assembly, so this report, though unconfirmed at this time, fits well with current events.
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Submission Legionnaires' Bacteria Regrew in Bronx Cooling Towers That Were Disinfected->

schwit1 writes: The 15 water-cooling towers that were found to be contaminated this week amid a new cluster of Legionnaires' disease cases had been disinfected less than two months ago, New York City officials said on Thursday, raising questions about how successful the city can be in containing the disease.

After an outbreak of the disease killed 12 people in July and August in the South Bronx, the city required every building with cooling towers, a common source of the Legionella bacteria that cause the disease, to be cleaned within two weeks.

Despite that order, as well as new legislation mandating quarterly inspections of cooling towers, the city found this week that bacteria had regrown in at least 15 towers that had been cleaned recently in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. The testing occurred after a fresh outbreak in that area that has killed one person and sickened at least 12, and spurred an order from health officials for the towers to be disinfected again.

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Submission How to explain the KGB's amazing success identifying CIA agents in the field?->

schwit1 writes: As the Cold War drew to a close with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, those at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, finally hoped to resolve many long-standing puzzles.

The most important of which was how officers in the field under diplomatic and deep cover stationed across the globe were readily identified by the KGB. As a consequence, covert operations had to be aborted as local agents were pinpointed and CIA personnel compromised or, indeed, had their lives thrown into jeopardy.

How could these disasters have happened with such regularity if the agency had not been penetrated by Soviet moles? The problem with this line of thought was that it did not so much overestimate CIA security as underestimate the brainpower of their Russian counterparts.

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Submission Homeland Security Detains Stockton Mayor, Forces Him To Hand Over His Passwords->

schwit1 writes: Anthony Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California, recently went to China for a mayor's conference. On his return to San Francisco airport he was detained by Homeland Security, and then had his two laptops and his mobile phone confiscated. They refused to show him any sort of warrant (of course) and then refused to let him leave until he agreed to hand over his password.
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Submission Thousands of Photos by Apollo Astronauts now on Flickr->

schwit1 writes: A cache of more than 8,400 high-resolution photographs taken by Apollo astronauts during trips to the moon is now available for viewing and download. Kipp Teague, who created the massive image repository Project Apollo Archive in 1999, recently uploaded new, unprocessed versions of original NASA photo scans to the image sharing service Flickr.

Teague says every photo taken on the lunar surface by astronauts with their chest-mounted Hasselblad cameras is included in the collection, along with numerous other Hasselblad photos shot from Earth and lunar orbit, as well as during the journey between the two.

View the Flickr gallery here.

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Submission Top White House cybersecurity adviser steps down->

schwit1 writes: One of President Obama's top cyber security advisers has left the White House after two years, a move that the administration has barely acknowledged.

The Federal Times reported that Ari Schwartz, who served as the National Security Council's senior director for cybersecurity, left his post Wednesday after working in the Obama administration for a two-year term.

The White House has been quiet about his exit, but an Obama official said that Schwartz had planned on leaving after two years. The administration also confirmed Schwartz's exit to The Hill.

Schwartz first served as Obama's director for cybersecurity privacy, civil liberties, and policy when he joined the administration in 2013. In March of the following year, he ascended to his latest role.

The move comes as the United States endures increased cyber security risks, especially from attacks originating in China and Russia.

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Submission Surgeons reattach toddler's head to neck following near-death car accident->

schwit1 writes: Thanks to what doctors call "a miracle surgery," an Australian toddler is on the mend after enduring a near-death car accident that caused his head to detach from his body.

The Sun reported that 16-month-old Jackson Taylor was riding in the car with his mother and 9-year-old sister when they collided with another vehicle driven by an 18-year-old man at about 70 mph. The crash caused an internal decapitation, in which Jackson's head became removed from his neck.

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