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Submission + - Sensor-loaded toothbrush maps your mouth for a route t (gizmag.com)

Keys of Cars writes: The recently-announced ONVI Prophix toothbrush has a built-in camera that lets users stream video from inside their mouth as they brush. Philips doesn't go that far with its new brush, but has instead kitted it out with sensors that track brushing on a 3D mouth-map to encourage thorough oral care...
Continue Reading Sensor-loaded toothbrush maps your mouth for a route to cleaner teeth

Category: Health & Wellbeing


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Submission + - Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable

HughPickens.com writes: Getting caught in a tech support loop — waiting on hold, interacting with automated systems, talking to people reading from unhelpful scripts and then finding yourself on hold yet again — is a peculiar kind of aggravation that mental health experts say can provoke rage in even the most mild-mannered person. Now Kate Murphy writes at the NYT that just as you suspected, companies are aware of the torture they are putting you through as 92 percent of customer service managers say their agents could be more effective and 74 percent say their company procedures prevented agents from providing satisfactory experiences. “Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” says Justin Robbins, who was once a tech support agent himself and now oversees research and editorial at ICMI. “Some organizations have even monetized it by intentionally engineering it so you have to wait an hour at least to speak to someone in support, and while you are on hold, you’re hearing messages like, ‘If you’d like premium support, call this number and for a fee, we will get to you immediately.’”

Mental health experts say there are ways to get better tech support or maybe just make it more bearable. First, do whatever it takes to control your temper. Take a deep breath. Count to 10. Losing your stack at a consumer support agent is not going to get your problem resolved any faster and being negative in your dealings with others can quickly paint you as a complainer no one wants to work with. Don’t bother demanding to speak to a supervisor, either. You’re just going to get transferred to another agent who has been alerted ahead of time that you have come unhinged. To get better service by phone, dial the prompt designated for “sales” or “to place an order,” which almost always gets you an onshore agent, while tech support is usually offshore with the associated language difficulties. Finally customer support experts recommended using social media, like tweeting or sending a Facebook message, to contact a company instead of calling. You are likely to get a quicker response, not only because fewer people try that channel but also because your use of social media shows that you know how to vent your frustration to a wider audience if your needs are not met.

Submission + - SPAM: This Drone Sports the World's Most Secure OS

SpacemanukBEJY.53u writes: No hacker has ever been able to take over the flight systems of a custom drone built by researchers with Australia's national research agency, Data61. The quadcopter runs a microkernel called seL4 that have been mathematically proved; in other words, the proof shows the operating system contains no software vulnerabilities at all, drastically reducing the attack surface for hackers. The goal is for seL4 to eventually be used in a variety of critical applications, from in-flight computers to automotive controls to SCADA infrastructure.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Liberal Arts majors best for a tech team (wsj.com)

DavidHumus writes: The founder of Reverb.com blogs about a change of heart he's had based on his experience over the past several years. He used to think — and preach — that "... the demand for quality computer programmers and engineers ... [means] we need more students with computer-science and engineering degrees." However, he has since concluded "...that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best-performing software developers and technology leaders."

Submission + - Germany agrees to plug nuclear liability loophole (reuters.com)

mdsolar writes: The German government passed a regulation on Wednesday that aims to ensure utility companies remain liable for the costs of shutting down nuclear power plants even if they split up.

Germany decided to end nuclear power by 2022 following Japan's Fukushima disaster five years ago.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet said it would adopt recommendations made by a commission requiring Germany's utilities to pay 23.3 billion euros (18 billion pound) into a state fund to cover the costs of storing nuclear waste.

This included a provision that will make all parts of a company liable for the costs of Germany's nuclear shut down even if the utility has split up, the Economy Ministry said.

"Any spin-off after this date will be covered by the intended regulation," the ministry said in a statement.

Shareholders will vote on plans to spin off the utility's power plant and energy trading unit At E.ON's annual general meeting on June 8.

Germany's No.2 utility RWE also plans to hive off its renewables, grids and retail units into a separate entity and sell a 10 percent stake in an initial public offering.

Last year, the German cabinet approved a draft law that ensures power firms will remain liable for the shutdown and decommissioning costs for as long as it takes, even if they spin off subsidiaries that own the nuclear entities.

But there was some uncertainty over whether this would still apply if the nuclear assets remain with the parent company.

The new legislation seeks to close that loophole and ensure that taxpayers won't be forced to foot the bill for the costs of dismantling and storing nuclear waste if a firm goes bankrupt.

Submission + - Court bans smart meter blueprints from public, requester sued amid terror fears (theregister.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Phil Mocek, the sysadmin-activist at the center of a bizarre legal battle over a smart meter network in Seattle, Washington, says he never expected a simple records request to turn into a lawsuit.

"We all assume these meters simply monitor the amount of energy usage in the home," Mocek explained. "But they monitor it in real time in ways that other meters did not." When he asked Seattle City Light, a public power utility, to provide details on the designs and rollout of its smart power meter grid, he was simply hoping to find out what security safeguards the city and hardware providers Landis+Gyr and Sensus USA planned to use.

This, says Mocek, is where things started to get real odd.

After an email exchange with Seattle City Light officials, he obtained a mix of unredacted and redacted documents by the city, which he uploaded to the web – only to be told that the smart meter suppliers objected to the release of the information on the grounds that the unredacted documents would disclose their trade secrets and open the public to terrorist attacks on their infrastructure. Landis+Gyr and Sensus promptly sued the city, Mocek and Muckrock, and filed for an injunction: ultimately, the suppliers wanted the documents taken down, and the unredacted copies banned from public view.

On Thursday, a temporary restraining order was granted by the King County Superior Court in Washington – and Muckrock founder Michael Morisy confirmed the unredacted documents have been taken down pending the outcome of the case.

Submission + - Third of Central, Northern Great Barrier Reef Corals Dead (smh.com.au)

iONiUM writes: More than one-third of the coral reefs of the central and northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the huge bleaching event earlier this year, Queensland researchers said.

Corals to the north of Cairns – covering about two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef – were found to have an average mortality rate of 35 per cent, rising to more than half in areas around Cooktown.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal conditions, such as warm seas, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae. Corals turn white without these algae and may die if the zooxanthellae do not recolonise them.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Do you have a plan B for when ${evilcorp} goes dark?

relliker writes: From the department of pessimism and realism:

Let's say one of the biggies you rely on today (???gle || ?ahoo || ?ing etc.) suddenly goes titsup/implodes and all of their services you are accustomed to use daily such as storage, search, calendars, social networks, online services, photos, music, videos etc. go dark forever with no prior notice? What will you do? Do you have a (service and/or data) backup plan? What is it? How easily could you rebuild your online world again somewhere else?

Submission + - Neuroscience would Fail to Make Sense of a 1970's Era Microprocessor, Says Paper (biorxiv.org)

wherrera writes: According to a preprint entitled "Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor?" on the biology preprint archive bioRxiv.org, using the same techniques as used in with latest probes used to inspect the function of the mammalian brain and its connectome fail spectacularly when used to probe a running simulation of the MOS6502 processor used in playing the classic Atari era video games Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Pitfall.

The investigators used probability analysis of correlation in signals as well as such techniques as "lesion studies" which used the destruction of a simulated transistor to imitate the process used by researchers investigating the effects of a lesion on the nervous system. They conclude that reverse engineering the brain is likely not to succeed until we have a better understanding of what the brain as a system is doing, since "we do not generally know how the output relates to the inputs" in the brain to even begin to properly guide such investigations.

Link to the preprint is here.

Submission + - ISIS fighters seem to trying to sell sex slaves on Facebook, etc. (washingtonpost.com) 2

Earthquake Retrofit writes: From WaPo's story:
In the Facebook photo, she attempts to smile but doesn’t look at her photographer. “To all the bros thinking about buying a slave, this one is $8,000,” begins the May 20 Facebook posting, which was attributed to an Islamic State fighter who calls himself Abu Assad Almani.

Social media sites used by Islamic State fighters in recent months have included numerous accounts of the buying and selling of sex slaves, as well the promulgation of formal rules for dealing with them... But until the May 20 incident, there were no known instances of Islamic State fighters posting photographs of female captives being offered for sale. The photos of the two unidentified women appeared only briefly before being deleted by Facebook, but the images were captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington nonprofit group that monitors jihadists’ social-media accounts.

“We have seen a great deal of brutality, but the content that ISIS has been disseminating over the past two years has surpassed it all for sheer evil,” said Steven Stalinsky, the institute’s executive director. “Sales of slave girls on social media is just one more example of this.”

Submission + - Toyota is closing in on a deal to buy Google's robotics company Boston Dynamics 1

Iamthecheese writes: Toyota has long been known for an exclusive focus on its core products. But in recent years they have dabbled in less automotove-related technologies. In recent news that dabbling is taking on a decidedly less uncertain tone. Boston Dynamics, the maker of Big Dog and Atlas the advanced humanform robot is being acquired by Toyota. Although Boston Robotics may have a way to help Toyota's autonomous safety systems one could speculate Toyota instead intends to em-burgeon its partner robot program.

Submission + - systemd starts killing your background processes by default (blog.fefe.de) 1

nautsch writes: systemd changed a default value in logind.conf to "yes", which will kill all your processes, when you log out. And as always: It's not a bug, it's a feature. Translated from the german source: "Bug of the day: systemd kills background processes on logout". There is already a bug-report over at debian: Debian bug tracker (link also from the source)

Submission + - The real reason Rep. Louie Gohmert is wrong about gay people in space (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: Rep Louis Gohmert, R-Texas has caused a minor kerfuffle when he suggested that a future space colony ought to consist solely of heterosexual couples, especially if the idea is to restart the human race after a world-wide disaster, such as an asteroid strike. The Houston Chronicle took the conservative congressman to task with the implication of homophobia. NASA Watch has also taken up the hue and cry. However, both Gohmert and his critics are missing the point.

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