Submission + - Doctors tried to lower $148K cancer drug cost; makers triple price of pill (arstechnica.com) 2

Applehu Akbar writes: Imbruvica, a compound that treats white blood cell cancers, has until now been a bargain at $148,000 per year. Until now, doctors have been able to optimize dosage for each patient by prescribing up to four small-dose pills of it per day.

But after results from a recent small pilot trial indicated that smaller doses would for most patients work as well as the large ones, its manufacturer, Janssen and Pharmacyclics, has decided on the basis of the doctors' interest in smaller dosages to reprice all sizes of the drug to the price of the largest size. This has the effect of tripling the price for patients, and doctors have now put off any plans for further testing of lower dosages.

Submission + - LA Councilman Asks City Attorney To 'Review Possible Legal Action' Against Waze (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Yet another Los Angeles city councilman has taken Waze to task for creating "dangerous conditions" in his district, and the politician is now "asking the City to review possible legal action." "Waze has upended our City’s traffic plans, residential neighborhoods, and public safety for far too long," LA City Councilman David Ryu said in a statement released Wednesday. "Their responses have been inadequate and their solutions, non-existent. They say the crises of congestion they cause is the price for innovation—I say that’s a false choice." In a new letter sent to the City Attorney’s Office, Ryu formally asked Los Angeles’ top attorney to examine Waze’s behavior. While Ryu said he supported "advances in technology," he decried Waze and its parent company, Google, for refusing "any responsibility for the traffic problems their app creates or the concerns of residents and City officials."

Submission + - New Alexa Blueprints Let Users Make Custom Skills Without Knowing Any Code (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon just released a new way for Alexa users to customize their experience with the virtual assistant. New Alexa Skill Blueprints allow you to create your own personalized Alexa skills, even if you don't know how to code. These "blueprints" act as templates for making questions, responses, trivia games, narrative stories, and other skills with customizable answers unique to each user. Amazon already has a number of resources for developers to make the new skills they want, but until now, users have had to work within the confines of pre-made Alexa skills. Currently, more than 20 templates are available on the new Alexa Skill Blueprints website, all ready for Alexa users to personalize with their own content. Any blueprint-made skills you make will show up on the "Skills You've Made" section of the blueprints website. While these skills will exist for your Amazon account until you delete them, they aren't posted to the general Alexa Skills score, so strangers will not have access to your couple's trivia game that's personalized for you, your spouse, and your best coupled friends.

Submission + - You may use adblockers in Germany, after all.

paai writes: The publishing company Axel Springer tried to ban the use of adblockers in Germany, because they endanger the digital publishing of news stories. The Oberlandesgericht Köln followed this reasoning and forbade the use of adblockers on the grounds that the use of whitelists was an aggressive marketing technique. The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) destroyed this court ruling today and judged that users had a right to filter out advertisements in web pages.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wir... (german)

Submission + - Prehistoric humans may have practiced brain surgery on cows (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Humans have been performing brain surgery—or at least drilling holes in one others’ skulls—for thousands of years. But how did they get their practice? A new study analyzing an exquisitely bored hole in the skull of a 5000-year-old cow (above) suggests they may have honed their skills on animals. What remains to be seen, researchers say, is whether the surgery was done to save the cow’s life or if it was used by aspiring surgeons for perfecting delicate techniques before operating on fellow humans.

Submission + - AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Processors Launched And Benchmarked (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD launched its 2nd Generation Ryzen processors today, based on a refined update to the company's Zen architecture, dubbed Zen+. The chips offer higher clocks, lower latencies, and a more intelligent Precision Boost 2 algorithm that improves performance, system responsiveness, and power efficiency characteristics. These new CPUs still leverage the existing AM4 infrastructure and are compatible with the same socket, chipsets, and motherboards as AMD's first generation products, with a BIOS / UEFI update. There are four processors arriving today, AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X, the Ryzen 7 2700, the Ryzen 5 2600X, and the Ryzen 5 2600. Ryzen 7 chips are still 8-core CPUs with 20MB of cache but now top out at 4.3GHz, while Ryzen 5 chips offer 6 cores with 19MB of cache and peak at 4.2GHz. AMD claims 2nd Gen Ryzen processors offer reductions in L1, L2, and L3 cache latencies of approximately 13%, 34%, and 16%, respectively. Memory latency is reportedly reduced by about 11% and all of those improvements result in an approximate 3% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). The processors now also have official support for faster DDR4-2933 memory as well. In the benchmarks, 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUs outpaced AMD's first gen chips across the board with better single and multithreaded performance, closing the gap even further versus Intel, often with better or similar performance at lower price points. AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen processors, and new X470 chipset motherboards that support them, are available starting today and the CPUs range from $199 to $299.

Submission + - ZTE may not be able to use Android operating system in its mobile devices (arstechnica.com)

krazy1 writes: From arsTECHNICA: "The US government is going after another Chinese Android device maker. After shutting down Huawei's carrier deals and retail partners, the government is now pursuing ZTE. The US Department of Commerce has banned US companies from selling parts and software to ZTE for seven years.

ZTE was caught violating US sanctions by illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. The company then made things worse by "making false statements and obstructing justice, including through preventing disclosure to and affirmatively misleading the US Government," according to the Department of Commerce. The company reached a settlement with the government, agreeing to pay up to $1.2 billion in penalties and discipline the employees involved in the sale."

Submission + - Facebook To Put 1.5 Billion Users Out of Reach of New EU Privacy Law (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If a new European law restricting what companies can do with people’s online data went into effect tomorrow, almost 1.9 billion Facebook Inc users around the world would be protected by it. The online social network is making changes that ensure the number will be much smaller. Facebook members outside the United States and Canada, whether they know it or not, are currently governed by terms of service agreed with the company’s international headquarters in Ireland. Next month, Facebook is planning to make that the case for only European users, meaning 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will not fall under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect on May 25. That removes a huge potential liability for Facebook, as the new EU law allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue for infractions, which in Facebook’s case could mean billions of dollars.

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