Submission + - Stupid Story Claiming Google Tracking + USA Healthcare Nightmare (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Since I was sending this item out anyway, I wanted to mention one rather crazy tech story going around currently. Obviously there’s been any number of technology issues recently about which I’d ordinarily have said something — most of them depressing as usual.

But there’s one in the news now about Google that is just so stupid that it can make your head explode, a “Google is secretly tracking your phone” scare piece.

And as usual, Google isn’t addressing it in ways that ordinary people can understand, so it’s continuing to spread, the haters are latching on, and folks have started calling me asking about it in panic.

Education

'The Death of the MBA' (axios.com) 134

An anonymous reader shares a report: U.S. graduate business schools -- once magnets for American and international students seeking a certain route to a high income -- are in an existential crisis. They are losing droves of students who are balking at sky-high tuition and, in the case of international applicants, turned off by President Trump's politics. The once-venerated MBA is going the way of the diminished law degree, pushed aside by tech education. Graduates of the top 25 or so MBA schools still command the elite Wall Street and corporate jobs they always did, but the hundreds of others are scrambling, and some schools are shutting down their programs. Survivors are often offering new touchy-feely degrees like "master of social innovation." [...] In the more than 350 programs that didn't make the top ranks, rising tuition costs and smaller returns in the form of employment and income have forced a rethink of the traditional MBA degree.

Submission + - Lightning can trigger nuclear reactions, creating rare atomic isotopes (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Rare forms of atoms, like carbon-13, carbon-14, and nitrogen-15, have long been used to figure out the ages of ancient artifacts and probe the nuances of prehistoric food chains. The source of these rare isotopes? Complicated cascades of subatomic reactions in the atmosphere triggered by high-energy cosmic rays from outer space. Now, a team of scientists is adding one more isotope initiator to its list: lightning. Strong bolts of lightning can unleash the same flurry of nuclear reactions as cosmic rays, the researchers report today in Nature. But, they add, the isotopes created by these storms likely constitute a small portion of all such atoms—so the new findings are unlikely to change the way other scientists use them for dating and geotracing.
Medicine

The Feds Are Officially Cracking Down on Basement Biohackers (gizmodo.com) 180

Kristen Brown, reporting for Gizmodo: The Food and Drug Agency has issued a stern warning to anyone who might be crazy enough to undertake gene therapy in the do-it-yourself fashion. Definitely don't do this at home, a statement released on Tuesday implies. And if you do, we'll throw every law we can at you. The FDA's deterrent comes on the heels of a brazen DIY gene therapy experiment, in which a 27-year-old software engineer injected himself with an unprove gene therapy for HIV designed by three biohacker friends. The first injection was streamed live on Facebook in October, and went viral after it was covered by Gizmodo. "You can't stop it, you can't regulate these things," patient zero, Tristan Roberts, told Gizmodo at the time. Apparently the FDA begs to differ.

Submission + - India proposes new oppressive space law (thehindu.com)

schwit1 writes: India's government has proposed a new space law that essentially places all control of future space projects under the control of the central government.

The proposed law, which is open for comment for the next month, can be read here [pdf]., and is astonishing in its oppressiveness and hostility to private enterprise. This clause, one of many similar clauses, sums this up quite well:

Any form of intellectual property right developed, generated or created onboard a space object in outer space, shall be deemed to be the property of the Central Government.

The law would also require anyone who wants to launch a space project to get a license from the government, and gives the government the power to control that license in all aspects, including the power to cancel it for practically any reason.

If this law passes I expect that India's burgeoning space industry will suffer significantly, especially because it will make it difficult to attract investment capital.

Submission + - Robbie the Robot sells for $5.3 million in auction (newatlas.com)

schwit1 writes: The science fiction movie prop Robbie the Robot has sold at auction for $5.3 million, making it the second most expensive movie prop in history.

The complete Robby suit, control panel, his jeep, numerous spares, alternate original "claw" hands, and the original wooden stage shipping crates, were sold yesterday (November 21, 2017 ) by Bonhams in New York for US$5,375,000 including buyers premium.

The only purpose-built movie prop to have ever sold for more is Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from The Seven Year Itch (1955) which was sold by Profiles in History for $5,520,000 (inc. buyers premium) in 2011.


Submission + - VA study shows parasite from Vietnam may be killing veterans (apnews.com)

schwit1 writes: A half century after serving in Vietnam, hundreds of veterans have a new reason to believe they may be dying from a silent bullet — test results show some men may have been infected by a slow-killing parasite while fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The Department of Veterans Affairs this spring commissioned a small pilot study to look into the link between liver flukes ingested through raw or undercooked fish and a rare bile duct cancer. It can take decades for symptoms to appear. By then, patients are often in tremendous pain, with just a few months to live.

Of the 50 blood samples submitted, more than 20 percent came back positive or bordering positive for liver fluke antibodies, said Sung-Tae Hong, the tropical medicine specialist who carried out the tests at Seoul National University in South Korea.

Television

Television's Most Infamous Hack Is Still a Mystery 30 Years Later (vice.com) 103

It has been 30 years since the Max Headroom hack, arguably the creepiest hack in the television history took place. Caroline Haskins, writes about the incident for Motherboard: It was a few minutes after 9 PM on Sunday, November 22, 1987. Chicago sportscaster Dan Roan was cheerily summarizing the Bears's victory that day for Channel 9 local news. Suddenly, televisions went silent, and their screens went black. At first, it seemed like an equipment malfunction. Without warning, televisions in the area blasted loud radio static. It was overlain with the screech of a power saw cutting into metal, or a jet engine malfunctioning. At center screen, a person wore a Max Headroom mask -- a character who appeared on various television shows and movies in the 1980s. He appeared to have yellow skin, yellow clothes, and yellow slicked-back hair. As purple and black lines spun behind him, Max nodded and swayed back and forth. His plastic face was stuck in laughter, and opaque sunglasses covered his eyes, which seemed to peer through the screen. The screen went black again. After a moment, Roan reappeared. "Well if you're wondering what'll happen," Roan said with a laugh, unaware of what had happened during the interruption, "so am I." Two hours later, it happened again on another channel. This time, Dr. Who had just turned to get his companion, Leela, a hot drink, when a line of static rolled across the screen, revealing the yellow man. After 30 years and an intense FCC investigation, the people behind the Headroom hack remain unknown. The correspondent has spoken to the newscasters who were interrupted and mocked that day. You can read the interview here.

Submission + - TSA rolls out new screening procedures during Thanksgiving holiday (politico.com)

tripleevenfall writes: The Transportation Security Administration has bad news for tens of millions of Thanksgiving holiday travelers: Lines at airports may be even longer than usual as the agency tries once again to plug security holes in its baggage screening.

TSA is scrambling to respond to yet another damning investigation of its screening effectiveness, for the second time in little more than two years. And the agency is already phasing in revised security procedures — including those for passengers’ electronic devices — that could cause "a slight increase in wait times," new TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in an interview. The additional delays may not be as horrendous as the hourslong queues that left many passengers stranded at airports in the summer of 2016, a year after TSA leaders launched a crash course in security improvements in response to a previous failing grade from its inspector general. But Pekoske said travelers could experience some of the longest wait times of the year on Sunday when many return home from the holiday.

Businesses

Apple Only Wants To Put Its Stores Where White People Live, Investigation Reveals (theoutline.com) 395

Brian Josephs, writing for The Outline: New York's northernmost borough is the city's most diverse, has the lowest income per household, and is the only borough without an Apple Store after one opened up in Brooklyn's predominantly white neighborhood of Williamsburg last year. This trend holds true on a national scale. That means 251 of the 270 stores, or 93 percent, are located in majority-white ZIP codes. Of the 19 that are not located in majority-white ZIP codes, eight are in ZIP codes where whites are still the largest racial bloc. For context, Garden City, New York, a city with a population of around 22,000 that is 94 percent white, has an Apple Store. Lake Grove, New York, which has a population of around 11,000 and is 89 percent white, has an Apple Store. By comparison, nearly 1.5 million people live in the densely-packed Bronx, which is only 21 percent white. Bronx residents must travel either north to Ridge Hill or down to the Upper East Side to get to an Apple store. Apple told me it couldn't comment on the record about what criteria it uses to decide where new stores are built or the demographics of its stores' neighborhoods, but USC Marshall School of Business professor Ira Kalb reasoned that the company is "going after the high-end of the market, so their store location choices typically go after areas that are considered upscale."

Submission + - WINE: Real World Usage Today From Slashdot's Perspective

wjcofkc writes: As a distraction, I decided to get the video editing software Filmora up and running on my Ubuntu box. After some tinkering, I was able to get it installed, only to have the first stage vaporize on launch. This got me reflecting on my many hits and misses with WINE over the years. Before ditching private employment, my last job was with a software company. They were pretty open minded when I came marching in with my System76 laptop, and totally cool with me using Linux as my daily driver after quickly getting the Windows version of their software up and running without a hitch. They had me write extensive documentation on the process. It was only two or three paragraphs, but I consider that another WINE win since to that end I scored points at work. Past that Open Source filled in the blanks. That was the only time I ever actually needed (arguably) for it to work. Truth be told, I mostly tinker around with it a couple times a year just to see what does and does not run. WINE has been around for quite awhile now, and while it will never be perfect, the project is not without merit. So Slashdot community, what have been your greatest successes and failures with WINE over the years?

Submission + - Intel Patches Major Flaws in the Intel Management Engine (extremetech.com)

Armand Winter writes: Thatâ(TM)s Intelâ(TM)s entire product line dating back to the introduction of Skylake. According to Intel, attackers could impersonate the Intel Management Engine, Server Platform Services, and/or the Trusted Execution Engine, load and execute arbitrary code without the user or OS being aware of it, and destabilize or crash a system altogether.
Science

Turkeys Are Twice as Big as They Were in 1960 (theatlantic.com) 149

Alexis Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic: A turkey today is not the turkey of yesteryear. For decades, animal breeders have been transforming the genomes of turkeys to make them grow larger. Since 1960, the weight of turkeys has gone up about a quarter of a pound each year. The average weight of a turkey has gone from 15.1 pounds in 1960 to 31.1 pounds in 2017. And most of that change has been genetic. In one study of a representative strain of turkeys, poultry researchers fed the same diet to turkeys from 2003 and to a control group of turkeys that were representative of that strain's genetic pool from 1966. On average, the 2003 females grew to 33 pounds. Their 1966 cousins only got to 16.3 pounds.
Facebook

China's Tencent Breaks Through $500bn Stock Market Capitalisation (bbc.com) 75

An anonymous reader shares a report: The value of China's biggest social network company -- Tencent Holdings -- has overtaken that of Facebook. The company owns WeChat, an enormously popular messaging app in China, and hit gaming franchises such as League of Legends and Honour of Kings.It is the first Asian firm to surpass a market value of $500bn. Its chief executive, Ma Huateng, is now worth more than the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, according to Forbes. The magazine valued him at $48.3bn on Tuesday, making him the world's ninth richest man according to its ranking.
Microsoft

Stop Using Excel, Finance Chiefs Tell Staffs (wsj.com) 236

Tatyana Shumsky, reporting for WSJ: Adobe's finance chief Mark Garrett says his team struggles keeping track of which jobs have been filled at the software company. The process can take days and requires finance staff to pull data from disparate systems that house financial and human-resources information into Microsoft's Excel spreadsheets. From there they can see which groups are hiring and how salary spending affects the budget. "I don't want financial planning people spending their time importing and exporting and manipulating data, I want them to focus on what is the data telling us," Mr. Garrett said. He is working on cutting Excel out of this process, he said. CFOs at companies including P.F. Chang's China Bistro, ABM Industries and Wintrust Financial are on a similar drive to reduce how much their finance teams use Excel for financial planning, analysis and reporting (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; an alternative source wasn't immediately available). Finance chiefs say the ubiquitous spreadsheet software that revolutionized accounting in the 1980s hasn't kept up with the demands of contemporary corporate finance units. Errors can bloom because data in Excel is separated from other systems and isn't automatically updated.

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