Submission + - Coca-Cola Pledges To Recycle All Packaging By 2030 (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: Coca-Cola has announced a pledge to recycle a used bottle or can for every one the company sells by 2030. Calling it a "massive global ambition" the firm admitted its part in littering the environment and a responsibility to tackle the problem. The company, which markets 500 brands of fizzy drink, juices and water, will also work towards making all of its packaging recyclable worldwide. Greenpeace said Coca-Cola should focus on reducing, not recycling, waste. Coca Cola announced its "World Without Waste" campaign by acknowledging that food and drink companies were responsible for much of the rise in litter on streets, beaches and in the oceans worldwide. "The world has a packaging problem — and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it," Coca-Cola chief executive James Quincey said in a statement. The firm said it was working to increase the recycled content in the materials it uses to make its drinks bottles, developing plant-based resins and reducing the plastics used in packaging. It will also invest in educating consumers on best recycling practice in their community, the firm said.

Submission + - RocketLab achieves first successful orbital mission. (youtube.com)

Hairy1 writes: RocketLab launched it's second test Electron rocket today, successfully inserting an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet and two Lemur-2 satellites for Spire for weather and ship tracking into orbit. The aim of RocketLab is to substantially reduce the cost of launches through using new technologies such as lithium ion batteries to run turbo pumps, 3D printing of engine parts and new construction materials. It also represents New Zealand becoming the eleventh country to achieve spaceflight.

Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, says the test is an important next step in democratizing access to space to empower humanity. “Increased access to space will vastly improve humanity’s ability to build out orbital infrastructure, such as constellations of weather and Earth-imaging satellites. These will provide better data about our planet and enable us as a species to make informed decisions about how we better manage our impact. This test launch is a crucial next step in gathering more data about the Electron launch vehicle so we can deliver on this future,” he says.

Submission + - Apple, Microsoft: Give Us Tax, Immigration Reform and We'll Teach Kids to Code

theodp writes: In the press release explaining how it's going to spend some of the billions in offshore profits it's repatriating, Apple indicated that one way it'll be thanking Americans for its tax break windfall is by teaching less-than-tech-savvy U.S. kids how to code Swift programs (Apple CEO Tim Cook believes "coding should be a requirement in every public school" for children aged 9-and-up). Claiming "that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants qualified to fill them" and citing tech-bankrolled Code.org's estimate that "there are currently 503,338 open computing jobs nationwide" (interestingly, a Code.org infographic suggests Apple's 1.4M job applicant shortfall forecast is overstated), Apple announced it will be taking on the task of 'Preparing Students for the App Economy': "To address the coding skills gap and help prepare more people for jobs in software development, Apple created a powerful yet easy-to-learn coding language called Swift, the free Swift Playgrounds app and a free curriculum, App Development with Swift, which are available to anyone and are already being used by millions of students at K-12 schools, summer camps and leading community colleges across the country. Over 100,000 students and teachers have also attended coding classes at Apple retail stores. Apple will expand these initiatives and add new programs to support teachers and teacher training." You're welcome. Also eager to teach America's youngsters to code — but in exchange for immigration reform — is Microsoft. "While there are many issues to solve, we believe the country can and should take effective steps that will accelerate much-needed changes," explained Microsoft President Brad Smith in a recent Microsoft on the Issues blog post. "One such step would be implementing new fees on green cards to fund more STEM education programs for Americans — an idea we have been supporting and first proposed in 2012 with our call for A National Talent Strategy. We believe steps like this are in the nation’s interest, and we’ve engaged with the administration, leaders on Capitol Hill and regulators to share our ideas. We will continue pressing for these types of reforms and the introduction of new legislative fixes." For students of history, Mother Jones reported in 2013 on a similar immigration-reform-for-K12-STEM-education Microsoft deal that over-promised and under-delivered.

Submission + - Microsoft: Still engaging in patent extortion, just hiding behind patent trolls (techrights.org)

JustNiz writes: Well who woulda guessed. The ‘new’ Microsoft under Nadella is actually no different from the old company, they just spend more on marketing/PR and payoff third parties to do their dirty work for them. At least Ballmer was honest about Microsoft’s views about GNU/Linux. Nadella just shamelessly lies about those things.

Submission + - Red Hat Will Revert Spectre Patches After Receiving Reports of Boot Issues (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Red Hat is releasing updates for reverting previous patches for the Spectre vulnerability (Variant 2, aka CVE-2017-5715) after customers complained that some systems were failing to boot.

"Red Hat is no longer providing microcode to address Spectre, variant 2, due to instabilities introduced that are causing customer systems to not boot," the company said yesterday. "The latest microcode_ctl and linux-firmware packages are reverting these unstable microprocessor firmware changes to versions that were known to be stable and well tested, released prior to the Spectre/Meltdown embargo lift date on Jan 3rd," Red Had added.

Instead, Red Hat is recommending that each customer contact their OEM hardware provider and inquire about mitigations for CVE-2017-5715 on a per-system basis. Besides Red Hat Enterprise Linux, other RHEL-based distros like CentOS and Scientific Linux are also expected to be affected by Red Hat's decision to revert previous Spectre Variant 2 updates, so these users will also have to contact CPU/OEM vendors.

Submission + - Twitter Says It Exposed Nearly 700K People To Russian Propaganda During Election (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Twitter this evening released a new set of statistics related to its investigation on Russia propaganda efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election, including that 677,775 people were exposed to social media posts from more than 50,000 automated accounts with links to the Russian government. Many of the new accounts uncovered have been traced back to an organization called the the Internet Research Agency, or IRA, with known ties to the Kremlin. The data was first presented in an incomplete form to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee last November, which held hearings to question Facebook, Google, and Twitter on the role the respective platforms and products played in the Russian effort to help elect President Donald Trump. Twitter says it’s now uncovered more accounts and new information on the wide-reaching Russian cyberintelligence campaign.

“Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period,” writes Twitter’s public policy division in a blog post published today. “Because we have already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available.”

Submission + - Ajit Pai's FCC Can't Admit Broadband Competition Is a Problem (dslreports.com)

An anonymous reader writes: While the FCC is fortunately backing away from a plan that would have weakened the standard definition of broadband, the agency under Ajit Pai still can't seem to acknowledge the lack of competition in the broadband sector. Or the impact this limited competition has in encouraging higher prices, net neutrality violations, privacy violations, or what's widely agreed to be some of the worst customer service of any industry in America. The Trump FCC had been widely criticized for a plan to weaken the standard definition of broadband from 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, to include any wireless connection capable of 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. Consumer advocates argued the move was a ham-fisted attempt to try and tilt the data to downplay the industry's obvious competitive and coverage shortcomings. They also argued that the plan made no coherent sense, given that wireless broadband is frequently capped, often not available (with carrier maps the FCC relies on falsely over-stating coverage), and significantly more expensive than traditional fixed-line service.

In a statement (pdf), FCC boss Ajit Pai stated the agency would fortunately be backing away from the measure, while acknowledging that frequently capped and expensive wireless isn't a comparable replacement for fixed-line broadband. "The draft report maintains the same benchmark speed for fixed broadband service previously adopted by the Commission: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload," stated Pai. "The draft report also concludes that mobile broadband service is not a full substitute for fixed service. Instead, it notes there are differences between the two technologies, including clear variations in consumer preferences and demands." That's the good news. The bad news: the FCC under Pai's leadership continues to downplay and ignore the lack of competition in the sector, and the high prices and various bad behaviors most people are painfully familiar with.

Submission + - Google CEO Sundar Pichai Says He Does Not Regret Firing James Damore (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded today to the firing of employee James Damore over his controversial memo on workplace diversity, stating that while he does not regret the decision, he regrets that people misunderstood it as a politically motivated event. Speaking in a live conversation with journalist and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, MSNBC host Ari Melber, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in San Francisco, Pichai said that the decision to fire Damore was about ensuring women at Google felt like the company was committed to creating a welcoming environment.

“I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another,” Pichai said. “It’s important for the women at Google, and all the people at Google, that we want to make a inclusive environment.” When pressed by Swisher on the issue of regret, Pichai stated more definitively, “I don’t regret it.” Wojcicki, who has spoken publicly about how Damore’s memo affected her personally, followed up with, “I think it was the right decision.”

Submission + - Facebook Will Now Ask Users To Rank News Organizations They Trust (recode.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is doing a very un-Facebooky thing: It’s going to start declaring that some news sources you see in your Facebook feed are better than others, and act accordingly. But Facebook being Facebook, it’s going about it in the most Facebooky way possible: It’s going to rely on users — not the super-smart people who work at Facebook — to figure out which of those sources are better. Mark Zuckerberg says the move is part of an effort to prioritize “news that is trustworthy, informative, and local,” within the network and suggests that there will be more announcements to come. The one he describes today will prioritize what kind of news sources pop up in your Facebook News Feed, and will reward ones that Facebook thinks are “broadly trusted,” based on user polls, so it can “build a sense of common ground.” Facebook is also using today’s news to refine last week’s roll-out: Zuckerberg says the previously announced changes will reduce the amount of news stories people see in their feed to 4 percent, down from 5 percent.

Submission + - How To Tame The Tech Titans - Google, Facebook, Amazon (economist.com)

dryriver writes: The Economist has published an interesting opinion piece: "Not long ago, being the boss of a big Western tech firm was a dream job. As the billions rolled in, so did the plaudits: Google, Facebook, Amazon and others were making the world a better place. Today these companies are accused of being BAADD—big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy. Regulators fine them, politicians grill them and one-time backers warn of their power to cause harm.

Much of this techlash is misguided. The presumption that big businesses must necessarily be wicked is plain wrong. Apple is to be admired as the world’s most valuable listed company for the simple reason that it makes things people want to buy, even while facing fierce competition. Many online services would be worse if their providers were smaller. Evidence for the link between smartphones and unhappiness is weak. Fake news is not only an online phenomenon."

But big tech platforms, particularly Facebook, Google and Amazon, do indeed raise a worry about fair competition. That is partly because they often benefit from legal exemptions. Unlike publishers, Facebook and Google are rarely held responsible for what users do on them; and for years most American buyers on Amazon did not pay sales tax. Nor do the titans simply compete in a market. Increasingly, they are the market itself, providing the infrastructure (or “platforms”) for much of the digital economy. Many of their services appear to be free, but users “pay” for them by giving away their data. Powerful though they already are, their huge stockmarket valuations suggest that investors are counting on them to double or even triple in size in the next decade.

There is thus a justified fear that the tech titans will use their power to protect and extend their dominance, to the detriment of consumers (see article: https://www.economist.com/news...). The tricky task for policymakers is to restrain them without unduly stifling innovation.

Submission + - You May Be Able to Use Google's 2-Step Verification After All! (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Yesterday, I was approached by a long-time reader who told me that he had long been trying — without success — to use 2-factor, had been unable to get assistance from Google in this regard, and wondered if I could help. Perhaps you’ve had the same problem.

This Google user needed to make use of various non-Google applications via his Google account, that seemingly would only function when his Google account had 2-factor disabled.

Submission + - Developer harassed for publishing security vulnerabilities in Colombian census (julip.co)

An anonymous reader writes: The Colombian DANE (National Administrative Department of Statistics), is the government agency in charge of carrying out the national census. By 2018, a website has been set up so that citizens can conduct the census online. Juliana Peña, software engineer, has found numerous vulnerabilities in this page, which she has published in her personal blog (http://julip.co/blog), including: storing passwords using symmetric encryption and offering PHP code for download for offline execution in a WAMP environment, private keys included.

The DANE reacted by publishing a statement (http://bit.ly/2mOXyia, Google Translate: http://bit.ly/2DtlzER) in which it disqualifies and denies the developer's findings, stating that it has numerous security mechanisms to safeguard the census information, and that "it uses encryption mechanisms with algorithms that are part of the international standards endorsed by the National Security Agency of the United States. "

The Colombian community of developers has drafted an open letter to DANE (https://github.com/colombia-dev/carta), in which it expresses support for the developer that made the discovery, rejects the statement made against her, and calls for the DANE to carry out a professional and independent evaluation according to the OWASP recommendations, in addition to carrying out pentesting and a publication of the findings.

The download link of the source code is no longer available.

Submission + - UTenn, Harvard, Penn Team Up on Major Materials Breakthrough (utk.edu)

schwit1 writes: A team including researchers from UT, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania has opened up new pathways to 3D print short-fiber-reinforced materials with precisely controlled fiber arrangements.

Currently, 3D printing methods for polymer composites build parts by extruding materials through a nozzle that simply moves back and forth in a series of lines to define the desired shape.

The team’s advance adds precisely controlled rotation of the nozzle to the mix to allow variation of the fiber arrangement throughout the printing process. The new process, called rotational 3D printing, results in unique helical fiber arrangements that provide superior damage resistance to printed materials.

In simple terms, carbon fibers adopt spiral patterns as they are printed within an epoxy resin, much as steel wires are bundled and twisted together into larger, stronger cables.

“Having the ability to change fiber orientation without changing the tool path used to deposit the material means that optimal or near-optimal fiber arrangements can be achieved at every location in the printed part, resulting in higher strength and stiffness with less material,” said Brett Compton, a co-author of the study and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UT.

“The rotational print head is unique because it utilizes the viscosity of the ink itself to reorient fibers in a desirable way,” Compton said.

Submission + - US Drilled Its Way Out Of That Problem-Oil output outpaces Saudis and Russia (usatoday.com)

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. oil production is booming and is forecast to surge beyond the output from heavyweight Saudi Arabia and rival Russia this year, a global energy agency said Friday.

U.S. oil production, which has already risen to its highest level in nearly 50 years, will push past 10 million barrels a day in 2018 as higher prices entice more producers to start pumping, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly market report.

“This year promises to be a record-setting one for the U.S.,” the report said.

Submission + - Electric Black Hole Jets Are Electric Universe Confirmation

Chris Reeve writes: The previously controversial claim that "astrophysical jets are fundamentally electromagnetic structures" is becoming accepted by some astrophysicists. A summary of recent publications on the subject by Don Scott in particular notes the common presence of counter-rotating cylinders in black hole jets, a feature not expected by conventional models, yet a hallmark feature of Birkeland currents which was mathematically described in a 2015 paper. Counter-rotating cylinders are considered an important prediction for the Electric Universe claim that large-scale electric currents travel through space over plasmas. This recent acknowledgement offers additional vindication for the historical claim that the history of Birkeland Currents appears to be mired in politics. A 2007 Slashdot post titled "Astronomers Again Baffled by Solar Observations" elicited a number of hostile reactions by Slashdot readers that the Electric Universe is obviously a "crackpot theory," but what happens if astrophysicists start to widely acknowledge that large-scale electric currents do indeed flow through space?

Submission + - Gaming-GPU powered telescope aims to solve enigmatic flashes from Universe (astron.nl)

An anonymous reader writes: Every day, thousands of "Fast Radio Bursts" appear in the sky, for a millisecond each. These must be enormous explosions billions of light years away, perhaps by neutron stars of black holes. To better understand these FRBs, ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) recently designed and built high-speed wide-field radio cameras on its highly sensitive radio telescope array in Westerbork. Since today, these cameras have new brains: the most powerful supercomputer in the Netherlands. It consists of 200 NVIDIA 1080 Ti GPU cards and searches through more data than the entire internet of its host country. Because it does this in real-time it will immediately alert astronomers and the public around the world of new detections.

Submission + - Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer OnePlus Annouces Credit Card Breach (theverge.com)

sqorbit writes: OnePlus, a manufacturer of an inexpensive smartphone meant to compete with the iPhone, states that data from 40,000 customers credit card information was stolen while purchasing phones. Although only recently announcing the breach OnePlus states the the script stealing information had been running since November. It is not clear whether this was a remote attack or the attack happened from within the company. Credit purchases on the OnePlus site have been suspended and will remain that way while an investigation takes place.

Submission + - New Blood Test That Screens For Presence Of Cancer Already 70% Effective (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: Scientists have taken a step towards one of the biggest goals in medicine — a universal blood test for cancer. A team at Johns Hopkins University has trialled a method that detects eight common forms of the disease. Their vision is an annual test designed to catch cancer early and save lives. UK experts said it was "enormously exciting". However, one said more work was needed to assess the test's effectiveness at detecting early-stage cancers. Tumours release tiny traces of their mutated DNA and proteins they make into the bloodstream. The CancerSEEK test looks for mutations in 16 genes that regularly arise in cancer and eight proteins that are often released. It was trialled on 1,005 patients with cancers in the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung or breast that had not yet spread to other tissues. Overall, the test found 70% of the cancers. In some cases, the test also provided information about the tissue-of-origin of the cancer — a feat that has been difficult in past. Dr Cristian Tomasetti, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the BBC: "This field of early detection is critical. "I think this can have an enormous impact on cancer mortality." The earlier a cancer is found, the greater the chance of being able to treat it. Five of the eight cancers investigated have no screening programmes for early detection. Pancreatic cancer has so few symptoms and is detected so late that four in five patients die in the year they are diagnosed. Finding tumours when they could still be surgically removed would be "a night and day difference" for survival, said Dr Tomasetti.

Submission + - Surviving Cancer In A Country With No Radiotherapy Machine (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: Monica Kyotazala has lived with a life-threatening disease for 12 years. In 2006, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and her body shows the physical ravages of the condition. Painfully thin and with a faltering voice, she explains how she went without adequate medical treatment for close to two years, after Uganda's only radiotherapy machine broke down. For Ms Kyotazala, and patients like her, the wait is finally over. Friday marks the official unveiling of Uganda's new Cobalt 60 radiotherapy machine. Its predecessor failed in April 2016, after 21 years in operation. Those who could afford it went abroad for treatment, including to Kenya and India. Those who couldn't, had to pay for alternative forms of treatment, or wait in distress. Some got worse, and died. The arrival of the new machine is potentially life-saving, even if it remains the only one for a country of more than 40 million people. Ms Kyotazala has already had 15 back-to-back sessions in the new device, treatment that requires her to make a 120-km (75-mile) journey from her village in Iganga, eastern Uganda, to the country's capital, Kampala. She says she is finally hopeful of making a recovery.

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