Submission + - Canada's "Amber Alert" fiasco

knorthern knight writes: Canada's "Alertready" system is stupid. You can *NOT* opt out of cellphone alerts. This is because Alertready (ab)uses the unblockable "Presidential Alert" level (intended for incoming missiles, etc) for *ALL* alerts. The story of the first live alert is at There were 3 "Presidential" alerts issued for the incident...
1) In English
2) In French
3) A blingual "alert", saying the kid had been found safe

The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) displayed appalling ignorance. They claimed that it was necessary to alert the entire province because people from eastern Ontario might have been visiting Thunder Bay. This is absolute ignorance. The Alertready website FAQ says that the alerts are specific to individual cell towers, and that all compatable cellphones served by the tower will receive the alert regardless of where the phone is registered to.

Right now the only ways to avoid these messages are
* force your cellphone down to 3G (Alertready only works on LTE)
* get a custom ROM, e.g. Lineage OS, for your cellphone, with "Presidential Alerts" disabled

Submission + - Scientists Find Physically Demanding Jobs are Linked To Greater Risk of Death (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers in the Netherlands claim that a "physical activity paradox" exists, where exercise may only be good for you if it’s done outside of your job. Manual laborers may be physically active all day but that doesn’t actually help them. In fact, the research claims that it might actually increase their risk of dying early. "While we know leisure-time physical activity is good for you, we found that occupational physical activity has an 18% increased risk of early mortality for men," says Pieter Coenen, public health researcher at UV University medical centre in Amsterdam. "These men are dying earlier than those who are not physically active in their occupation."

He says that it’s all down to the type of exercise you do in your spare time, versus occupational physical activity. When you choose to exercise, you can take rest periods when you want – something that often may not be available to you if you’re working on a building site (for example). The research combined results from 17 studies, dated between 1960 and 2010 – looking at data on almost 200,000 people.

Submission + - A Fleet of Sailing Robots Sets Out to Quantify the Oceans (

pacopico writes: A start-up in California called Saildrone has built a fleet of robotic sailboats that are gathering tons of data about the oceans. The saildrones rely on a hard, carbon-fiber sail to catch wind and solar panels to power all of their electronics and sensors. From a Businessweek story, "Each drone carries at least $100,000 of electronics, batteries, and related gear. Devices near the tip of the sail measure wind speed and direction, sunlight, air temperature and pressure, and humidity. Across the top of the drone’s body, other electronics track wave height and period, carbon dioxide levels, and the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field. Underwater, sensors monitor currents, dissolved oxygen levels, and water temperature, acidity, and salinity. Sonars and other acoustic instruments try to identify animal life." So far, they've been used to find sharks, monitor fisheries, check on climate change and provide weather forecasts. Saildrone just raised $90 million to build a fleet of 1,000 drones, which it thinks will be enough to measure all of the world's oceans.

Submission + - Critical Linux Flaw Opens the Door to Full Root Access (

lod123 writes: Red Hat has patched a vulnerability affecting the DHCP client packages that shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7. A successful exploit could give an attacker root access and full control over enterprise endpoints.

According to an alert issued Wednesday from US-CERT, the critical-rated flaw, first reported by Google researcher Felix Wilhelm, would “allow attackers to use malicious DHCP server responses to execute arbitrary commands on target systems over the local network,” if those systems use NetworkManager and are configured to obtain dynamic IP addresses.

Submission + - Amazon Threatens To Move Jobs of Seattle Over New Tax (

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has threatened to move jobs out of its hometown of Seattle after the city council introduced a new tax to try to address the homelessness crisis. The world’s second-biggest company has warned that the “hostile” tax, which will charge firms $275 per worker a year to fund homelessness outreach services and affordable housing, “forces us to question our growth here."

Amazon, which is Seattle’s biggest private sector employer with more than 40,000 staff in the city, had halted construction work on a 17-storey office tower in protest against the tax. Pressure from Amazon and other big employers, including Starbucks and Expedia, had forced councillors to reduce the tax from an initial proposal of $500 per worker. The tax will only effect companies making revenue of more than $20m-a-year. The tax is expected to raise between $45m and $49m a year, of which about $10m would come from Amazon. The company said it would restart building work on the tower but may sublease another new office block to reduce its tax bill.

Submission + - SEC Shows Investors What a Cryptocurrency Scam Looks Like (

magzteel writes: The Securities and Exchange Commission—an 84-year-old agency not known for its digital communications savvy—on Wednesday launched a website that touts a fake initial coin offering, an unregulated way of raising funds that has raised over $12 billion. The SEC says many ICOs are probably fraudulent, with bad guys evading investor protections and selling digital tokens that turn out to be worthless for the buyers.

The SEC’s fake token, “HoweyCoin,” plays up many of the features of ICOs that regulators say are red flags, including celebrity endorsements and guaranteed returns on investment. The mock token sale includes a “white paper” to explain the fake project, which is styled as a partnership with the travel industry. HoweyCoin will be the “coin of the realm” for travel, the paper says.

Submission + - Apple faces class-action lawsuit over defective MacBook keyboards (

sharkbiter writes: The suit, filed Friday in the Northern District of California by law firms Girard Gibbs and Chimicles & Tikellis, claims thousands of consumers have experienced the defect whereby one or more "keys stick and no longer register keystrokes," which may occur when "minimal amounts of dust or debris accumulates under or around a key." When that happens, “the MacBook can no longer serve its core function: typing,” the suit alleges.

Submission + - First measurement of distribution of pressure inside a proton. ( 1

Okian Warrior writes: Inside every proton in every atom in the universe is a pressure cooker environment that surpasses the atom-crushing heart of a neutron star. That's according to the first measurement of a mechanical property of subatomic particles, the pressure distribution inside the proton, which was carried out by scientists at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

The nuclear physicists found that the proton's building blocks, the quarks, are subjected to a pressure of 100 decillion Pascal (1035) near the center of a proton, which is about 10 times greater than the pressure in the heart of a neutron star. The result was recently published in the journal Nature.

Submission + - The chickpea that could save civilization, if we let it ( 1

meckdevil writes: Joanne Chory, director of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and a Breakthrough Prize recipient, has created an initiative called “Harnessing Plants for the Future” to develop a super plant that will both provide food and store carbon dioxide in its roots. A “super chickpea plant” now in development could remove huge amounts of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and fix it in the soil, greatly diminishing the impacts of climate change (not to mention producing large amounts of tasty hummus). But fear of anti-GMO activists has so far deterred her from using the Crispr gene-editing tool to speed work on the plant.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Good Linux Desktop Option for Kids

TIWolfman writes: I'm looking to re-purpose some of the older hardware that I've held onto to create something of a starter machine for my kids, 3 and 5. At this point it's still just a few shortcut icons I can setup on the desktop for them, primarily to web tools/sites they use, but I'd like some flexibility and everything I've read suggests options that haven't had any activity since 2015.

Is there an option out there or is this just a custom job?

Submission + - California Bypasses Science to Label Coffee a Carcinogen

travers_r writes: Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle affirmed last week that all coffee sold in California must come with a warning label stating that chemicals in coffee are known to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. But judges, journalists, and environmental advocates fail to recognize the critical difference between probably and certainly, which fuels the inaccurate belief that cancer is mostly caused by things in the environment. From a report at Undark:

Leading experts, in fact, believe that roughly two-thirds of all cancers are the result of mutations to DNA that are caused by natural bodily processes, not exposure to environmental chemicals. This is quite the opposite of the prevailing belief among the public that most cancers are caused by exogenous substances imposed on us by the products and technologies of the modern world.

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