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Comment Re:don't get your hope up (Score 1) 181

Yes, but that's covered by legislation and consumer rights bodies that are entirely separate from what the ASA deals with. Their remit is solely misleading and fraudulent advertising and it does not touch on the product itself; you could have a completely worthless product but provided your advert does not misrepresent it then there's not a lot that the ASA can do about the product *or* the advert.

Submission + - International Space Station to Trial Aussie-designed Ion Thruster (abc.net.au)

theweatherelectric writes: Barney Porter from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation writes, "An Australian-designed rocket propulsion system is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) for a year-long experiment that ultimately could revolutionise space travel. The technology could be used to power a return trip to Mars without refuelling, and use recycled space junk for the fuel. Former University of Sydney student, Dr Paddy Neumann — now of Neumann Space — and two co-inventor professors from his alma mater have developed an ion thruster that could replace the current chemical-based rocket propulsion technology, which requires huge volumes of fuel to be loaded onto a spacecraft."

Submission + - 92% of the world's population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution (nungg.com)

nungg writes: A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.*

"The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it," says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO.

It also represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO. The model is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.

Air pollution's toll on human health

Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.

Nearly 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO's South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.

Ninety-four per cent are due to noncommunicable diseases — notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.

"Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations — women, children and the older adults," adds Dr Bustreo. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last."

Major sources of air pollution include inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities. However, not all air pollution originates from human activity. For example, air quality can also be influenced by dust storms, particularly in regions close to deserts.

Improved air pollution data

The model has carefully calibrated data from satellite and ground stations to maximize reliability. National air pollution exposures were analysed against population and air pollution levels at a grid resolution of about 10 km x 10 km.

"This new model is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden of more than 6 million deaths — 1 in 9 of total global deaths — from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. "More and more cities are monitoring air pollution now, satellite data is more comprehensive, and we are getting better at refining the related health estimates."

The interactive maps provide information on population-weighted exposure to particulate matter of an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) for all countries. The map also indicates data on monitoring stations for PM10 and PM2.5 values for about 3000 cities and towns.

"Fast action to tackle air pollution can't come soon enough," adds Dr Neira. "Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cook-stoves, as well as renewable energies and industrial emissions reductions."

* WHO Ambient Air Quality Guidelines

WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed "WHO's Ambient Air quality guidelines" for annual mean of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). WHO guideline limits for annual mean of PM2.5 are 10 g/m3 annual mean.

PM2.5 includes pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and in the cardiovascular system, posing the greatest risks to human health.

Submission + - Federal Prosecutors actually prosecuting H1-B Fraud (ap.org)

McGruber writes: The Associated Press is reporting (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8fb0819e3b6543788237f32070f73974/business-owner-2-firms-face-visa-fraud-charges) that Federal Prosecutors have filed conspiracy charges against a part-owner of two information technology firms and an employee for fraudulently using the H-1B program.

Prosecutors said the conspirators falsely represented that the foreign workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary. They said the workers were only paid when placed at a third-party client and the defendants sometimes generated false payroll records. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and obstruct justice and conspiracy to harbor aliens. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Submission + - Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft Create Historic Partnership On AI (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In an act of self-governance, Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, IBM, and Microsoft came together today to announce the launch the new Partnership on AI. The group is tasked with conducting research and promoting best practices. Practically, this means that the group of tech companies will come together frequently to discuss advancements in artificial intelligence. The group also opens up a formal structure for communication across company lines. It’s important to remember that on a day to day basis, these teams are in constant competition with each other to develop the best products and services powered by machine intelligence. Financial support will be coming from the initial tech companies who are members of the group, but in the future membership and involvement is expected to increase. User activists, non-profits, ethicists, and other stakeholders will be joining the discussion in the coming weeks. The organizational structure has been designed to allow non-corporate groups to have equal leadership side-by-side with large tech companies. As of today’s launch, companies like Apple, Twitter, Intel and Baidu are missing from the group. Though Apple is said to be enthusiastic about the project, their absence is still notable because the company has fallen behind in artificial intelligence when compared to its rivals — many of whom are part of this new group. The new organization really seems to be about promoting change by example. Rather than preach to the tech world, it wants to use a standard open license to publish research on topics including ethics, inclusivity, and privacy.

Submission + - D-Wave's 2,000-Qubit Quantum Annealing Computer Now 1,000x Faster Than Last Gen (tomshardware.com)

An anonymous reader writes: D-Wave, a Canadian company developing the first commercial “quantum computer,” announced its next-generation quantum annealing computer with 2,000 qubits, which is twice as many as its previous generation had. One highly exciting aspect of quantum computers of all types is that beyond the seemingly Moore’s Law-like increase in number of qubits every two years, their performance increases much more than just 2x, unlike with regular microprocessors. This is because qubits can hold a value of 0, 1, or a superposition of the two, making quantum systems able to deal with much more complex information. If D-Wave's 2,000-qubit computer is now 1,000 faster than the previous 1,000-qubit generation (D-Wave 2X), that would mean that, for the things Google tested last year, it should now be 100 billion times faster than a single-core CPU. The new generation also comes with control features, which allows users to modify how D-Wave’s quantum system works to better optimize their solutions. These control features include the following capabilities: The ability to tune the rate of annealing of individual qubits to enhance application performance; The ability to sample the state of the quantum computer during the quantum annealing process to power hybrid quantum-classical machine learning algorithms that were not previously possible; The ability to combine quantum processing with classical processing to improve the quality of both optimization and sampling results returned from the system. D-Wave’s CEO, Vern Brownell, also said that D-Wave’s quantum computers could also be used for machine learning task in ways that wouldn’t be possible on classical computers. The company is also training the first generation of programmers to develop applications for D-Wave quantum systems.

Comment Re:don't get your hope up (Score 2) 181

Actually, OP is probably right not to get your hopes up. The ASA is pretty toothless in practice; their track record is usually "Don't use that advert again!" and the occassional slap on the wrist fine and/or requirement to print a retraction in the media. I don't recall a single instance where they've actually required compensation, let alone refunds, be paid to someone who fell for the misleading advertising before it got pulled.

Submission + - U.S. intelligence sources point to Russian hacking far beyond DNC (dailydot.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: The American intelligence community is looking at a wide scope of Moscow-sponsored cyberattacks extending far beyond ultra-high-profile targets like the Democratic National Committee including a wide range of private companies that support U.S. political institutions ranging from the data and analytics companies to public relations firms and beyond. “The law firms will be hacked, the insurance companies will be hacked, because that’s where all the information is,” a former White House official explained. “What they’re trying to get to is the documents these campaigns put out. So a PR firm for a campaign is a perfect target. A law firm for a campaign is a perfect target.”

Submission + - Vladimir Putin Is Replacing Microsoft's Programs With Domestic Software (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin’s call for Russia’s authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe. The city will initially replace Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia’s New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers and servers, and may also consider replacing Windows and Office, Yermolaev said. Putin is urging state entities and local companies to go domestic amid concerns over security and reliability after U.S. firms shut down paid services in Crimea following Russia’s 2014 annexation. The plan poses a challenge to the likes of Microsoft, SAP SE and Oracle Corp. in the country’s $3 billion software market. Adding to pressure, Putin’s internet czar German Klimenko wants to raise taxes on U.S. technology companies to help Russian competitors such as Yandex NV and Mail.ru Group Ltd.

Submission + - Maryland Hobbyist Suing the FAA over Drone Registry 1

jenningsthecat writes: Maryland drone builder and attorney John Taylor, who in January took the FAA to court over its drone registry program, is now receiving financial help with his suit from DC DUG, the D.C. area Drone User Group. In his Petitoner's Brief, (PDF), Taylor maintains that "(f)or the first century of American aviation and beyond, the federal government made no attempt whatsoever to regulate recreational model aircraft", and that "(t)he FAA seeks to revise history when it argues its failure to register model aircraft, or otherwise treat them in any manner as ‘aircraft,’ in the past was the exercise of an ‘enforcement discretion'"

As of this writing I have been unable to find any news on the progress of the suit beyond its having been filed.

Submission + - Microsoft Minecraft Education Edition: No Parents Allowed

theodp writes: Last December, children around the world were given a Microsoft Minecraft-branded Hour of Code. Less than a year later, CNET reports that Minecraft Education Edition is coming November 1st to a school near you. But if you're a parent, you'll just have to take Microsoft's word for it that "there is no limit to what students can learn" with the software, since you won't be allowed to purchase it and see for yourself. From the Microsoft Minecraft: Education Edition FAQ: "[Q] Can I purchase Minecraft: Education Edition if I am a parent or individual consumer? [A] If an individual is not affiliated with an academic institution, they will not be able to purchase Minecraft: Education Edition."

Submission + - Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law? (theregister.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: The host of the first presidential debate on Monday night, Hofstra University in New York, may have broken the law and could be in line for a huge fine.

Reporters at the event were appalled to find that among the heavily marked-up items they were offered – $150 to rent a lamp, anyone? – was a $200 charge for a "secure wireless internet connection."

Worse than the clear effort to price-gouge people trying to file stories, however, was the fact that the university decided that only its wireless access points were allowed to be used, and even sent someone around with a Wi-Fi signal detector apparently threatening to throw out anyone who was using an "unauthorized" access point.

That action – effectively shutting down people's ability to use their own internet connection in order to force them to use a paid-for service – was ruled illegal in 2014 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a landmark ruling against Marriott Hotels.

Submission + - World's First Baby Born From New Procedure Using DNA of Three People (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The world’s first baby to be born from a new procedure that combines the DNA of three people appears to be healthy, according to doctors in the U.S. who oversaw the treatment. The baby was born on 6 April after his Jordanian parents travelled to Mexico where they were cared for by US fertility specialists. Doctors led by John Zhang, from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York, decided to attempt the controversial procedure of mitochondrial transfer in the hope that it would give the couple a healthy child. Speaking to the New Scientist, Zhang said he went to Mexico where “there are no rules” and insisted that doing so was right. “To save lives is the ethical thing to do,” he said. The boy’s mother carries genes for the fatal Leigh syndrome, which harms the developing nervous system. The faults affect the DNA in mitochondria, the tiny battery-like structures that provide cells with energy, and are passed down from mother to child. Ten years after the couple married, the wife became pregnant but she lost the baby in the first of four miscarriages. The couple had a baby girl in 2005 who died at the age of six, and later, a second child who lived for only eight months. Tests on the wife showed that while she was healthy, about one-quarter of her mitochondria carried the genes for Leigh syndrome. When the couple approached Zhang for help, he decided to try the mitochondrial transfer procedure. He took the nucleus from one of the woman’s eggs and inserted it into a healthy donor’s egg that had had its own nucleus removed. He then fertilized the egg with the husband’s sperm. The US team created five embryos but only one developed normally. This was implanted into the mother and the baby was born nine months later. The baby is not the first child to be born with DNA from three people. In the 1990s, fertility doctors tried to boost the quality of women’s eggs by injecting cytoplasm, the cellular material that contains mitochondria, from healthy donor eggs. The procedure led to several babies being born with DNA from the parents plus the healthy donor. Some of the children developed genetic disorders and the procedure was banned.

Submission + - Microsoft Teams with Bank of America on Blockchain

wiredmikey writes: Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they are working together to make financial transactions more efficient with blockchain technology — the foundation of bitcoin digital currency.

Blockchains are considered tamper-proof registers in which entries are time-stamped and linked to previous "blocks" in a data chain. As expected, the technology that drives the shadowy bitcoin cryptocurrency is drawing interest from the established banking industry, which sees a potential to revolutionize the sector.

The companies said they will build and test frameworks for blockchain-powered exchanges between businesses and their customers and banks. Microsoft plans to use its Azure cloud service platform to enable blockchain transactions between a major corporate treasury and a financial institution.

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