Submission + - Massive 70 Mile Wide Butterfly Swarm Shows Up On Denver Radar System (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: The BBC reports: "A colourful, shimmering spectacle detected by weather radar over the US state of Colorado has been identified as swarms of migrating butterflies. Scientists at the National Weather Service (NWS) first mistook the orange radar blob for birds and had asked the public to help identifying the species. They later established that the 70-mile wide (110km) mass was a kaleidoscope of Painted Lady butterflies. Forecasters say it is uncommon for flying insects to be detected by radar. "We hadn't seen a signature like that in a while," said NWS meteorologist Paul Schlatter, who first spotted the radar blip. 'We detect migrating birds all the time, but they were flying north to south,' he told CBS News, explaining that this direction of travel would be unusual for migratory birds for the time of year. So he put the question to Twitter, asking for help determining the bird species. Almost every response he received was the same: 'Butterflies'. Namely the three-inch long Painted Lady butterfly, which has descended in clouds on the Denver area in recent weeks. The species, commonly mistaken for monarch butterflies, are found across the continental United States, and travel to northern Mexico and the US southwest during colder months. They are known to follow wind patterns, and can glide hundreds of miles each day."

Submission + - Browsers Will Store Credit Card Details Similar to How They Save Passwords (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new W3C standard is slowly creeping into current browser implementations, a standard that will simplify the way people make payments online. Called the Payment Request API, this new standard relies on users entering and storing payment card details inside browsers, just like they currently do with passwords.

The API is also a godsend for the security and e-commerce industry since it spares store owners from having to store payment card data on their servers. This means less regulation and no more fears that an online store might expose card data when getting hacked. By moving the storage of payment card details in the browser, the responsibility of keeping these details safe is moved to the browser and the user.

Browsers that support the Payment Request API include Google Chrome, who first added support for it in Chrome for Android 53 in August 2016, and added desktop support last month, with the release of Chrome 61. Microsoft Edge also supports the Payment Request API since September 2016, but the feature requires that users register a Microsoft Wallet account before using it. Firefox and Safari are still working on supporting the API, and so are browser implementations from Facebook and Samsung, both eager to provide a simpler payment mechanism than the one in use today.

Submission + - Amazon Is Headed For the Prescription-Drug Market, Analysts Say (bloomberg.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon.com Inc. is almost certain to enter the business of selling prescription drugs by 2019, said two analysts at Leerink Partners, posing a direct threat to the U.S.’s biggest brick-and-mortar drugstore chains. “It’s a matter of when, not if,” Leerink Partners analyst David Larsen said in a report to clients late Thursday. “We expect an announcement within the next 1-2 years.” Amazon has a long standing interest in prescription drugs, an industry with multiple middlemen, long supply chains and opaque pricing. In the 1990s, it invested in startup Drugstore.com and Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos sat on the board. Walgreens eventually purchased the site and shuttered it last year to focus on its own branded website Walgreens.com. Leerink’s calls with industry experts suggest that Amazon “is in active discussions” with mid-size pharmacy benefit managers and possibly larger player such as Prime Therapeutics, Larsen’s colleague, Ana Gupte, wrote in a separate report Friday. On Friday, CNBC reported that Amazon could make a decision about selling prescription drugs online before Thanksgiving.

Submission + - Regulate Facebook Like AIM (vice.com)

gooddogsgotoheaven writes: Sixteen years ago, the FCC approved a merger between American Online and Time Warner, but with several conditions. As part of the deal, AOL was required to make its web portal compatible with other chat apps. The government stopped AOL from building a closed system where everyone had to use AIM, meaning it had to adopt interoperability—the ability to be compatible with other computer systems. Here's why we should consider regulating Facebook similarly.

Submission + - AOL Instant Messenger is being turned off on December 15th (arstechnica.com)

Cid Highwind writes: Slashdot lives on, but the other internet landmark of 1997 is coming to an end.

"If you still have an AOL Instant Messenger account, now might be a good time to start saying your goodbyes. In ten weeks—the morning of December 15th to be precise—AIM will be shut down. The writing has been on the wall for some time—in March, AIM stopped supporting MD5 authentication, cutting off many third-party IM clients (like Adium) from accessing the service. Now the plan is to disable all AIM services other than @aim.com e-mail addresses, according to a help page. Any images, attachments, or transcripts need to be saved before then because everything is being deleted."

Submission + - World's Oldest Scientific Satellite Still In Orbit (bbc.com)

sqorbit writes: The US Navy launched a satellite, Vanguard 1, in 1958. This grapefruit sized scientific satellite is still in orbit and predicted to stay in orbit for possibly thousands of years. "Equipped with an instrument to measure atmospheric density, it provided the first-ever measurements of the Earth’s tenuous outer atmosphere and an estimate of the number of micrometeorites surrounding the planet – all vital information for future spacecraft."

Submission + - Tim O'Reilly Says Algorithms Have Already Gone Rogue (wired.com)

mirandakatz writes: For more than two decades, Tim O’Reilly has been the conscience of the tech industry. And now, as he comes out with his new book "WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us," he's calling out the first rogue algorithm—and it's not what you think. As he tells Steven Levy at Backchannel, “financial markets are the first rogue AI...Somebody planted the idea that shareholder value was the right algorithm, the right thing to be optimizing for. But this wasn’t the way companies acted before. We can plant a different idea.” Read on to hear what O'Reilly thinks about the current state of Uber, why AI will ultimately be a boon for humanity, and whether he'd endorse Jeff Bezos for president.

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