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Submission + - Windows 10 Anniversary Update To Take Hassle Out Of Reactivating After Upgrades (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Microsoft is cooking up some nifty feature enhancements to Windows 10 that will roll out with the much anticipated Anniversary Update later this summer. One of the newest tweaks will make it easier to perform hardware upgrades, such as a motherboard or hard drive, as you won't have to dial up a support representative and explain why your license should still be valid. The activation tweak is also being rolled out preview build 14371 to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. It's part of what Microsoft is calling the "Activation Troubleshooter," which is intended to address user feedback from Windows Insiders who've run into activation issues on Genuine Windows devices after making certain hardware changes. You can launch the tool by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and select Troubleshoot.

Submission + - Why Drones Could Save Door-To-Door Mail Delivery (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Online shopping aside, people don't have as many physical items to mail as they used to, which is largely the reason why Canada Post announced it would be phasing out door-to-door mail delivery. Motherboard reports: "The corporation is exploring future use of drone technology to make deliveries, according to a report from the Canadian Press. At this point, Canada Post is engaging in a 'proper exercise,' a spokesperson told the Canadian Press, adding that the project is in its earliest, experimental stages. According to Graham Scott, the deputy editor of Canadian Business, even if mail-delivering drones remain a theoretical concept for now, it's inevitable they'll be considered as a way to drive costs down. There are many good reasons why mail delivery drones may never get off the ground. For one thing, current technology limits them to delivering one item of post at a time, which is tremendously impractical. But, as we've seen with the rolling out of community mailboxes — a program that was put on hold earlier this year when the review was launched — the invisible hand of the market is always looking to drive costs down. So don't count out flying robot deliveries for good. From a manager's perspective at least, drones have their advantages. They don't suffer from dog bites, and they (ideally) don't deviate from their routes. 'Drones don't twist their ankle, they don't get tired, and they don't form a union.' said Scott."

Submission + - Pay cash for healthcare and save a fortune (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: Because of the skyrocketing costs for healthcare, it is now far cheaper to simply pay cash for many medical procedures, bypassing health insurance completely.

“This is one of the dirty little secrets of healthcare,” said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “If your insurance has a high deductible, you should always ask the cash price.”

Cash prices are intended for uninsured patients — and are frequently still much higher than insured rates. But cash prices for many common procedures have come down thanks to changing regulations and consumers increasingly being able to shop around for cheaper providers. Blood tests can be performed at CVS MinuteClinics and other pharmacies, for instance. Or as I reported a few years ago, MRIs are available from independent providers for as little as $300, whereas many hospitals will charge thousands of dollars.

The article’s main example is the case where the cost for blood tests, through insurance, was more than $80, while the cash price was only $15, and was still sufficient for the lab to make a profit.

Comment Re:What's so "unreasonable"? (Score 1) 183

Formerly on the NALC website (and saved by the Wayback Machine:

Although the NALC objected strenuously to one provision—requiring injured postal employees to wait three days before beginning Continuation of Pay benefits—the union played a crucial role in developing many of its most important provisions.

(Note that that one provision is something no one remembers or cares about today.)

The Constitution had to explicitly allow the government to deliver mail since otherwise the monopoly would have been illegal. However, there is no requirement for it either (unlike the original Articles of Confederation which explicitly gave the government a monopoly on mail delivery) so the government is free to get out of the mail delivery business if it chooses to, without amending the Constitution. Hence the fact that no privatization attempt has ever included a proposal to amend the Constitution, since it's unnecessary. If there actually was such a requirement, postal unions wouldn't waste time opposing privatization attempts - they'd simply ignore them, knowing they'd be struck down.

Comment Re:What's so "unreasonable"? (Score 1) 183

The USPS's pension funding requirement is 50 years, not 75 - see here (where an actual link to the legislation is provided, so you can check for yourself). The exaggeration originated with the postal unions, probably the NALC. Of course, you could say "So what?" if you don't think it's disturbing that they would abuse your blind trust like that, considering you believe they deserve to have monopoly powers.

Submission + - Increased marrying, and mating, by education level not affecting genetic make-up (phys.org)

chasm22 writes: While the latter half of the 20th century showed a widening gap between the more and less educated with respect to marriage and fertility, this trend has not significantly altered the genetic makeup of subsequent generations, a team of researchers has found.

"Undoubtedly, spouses are increasingly sorting themselves with an eye toward the education they've received—among other traits," observes Conley. "But while the existence of education-association genes has been well-documented, choosing partners with education levels similar to our own has not resulted in children who have meaningfully altered the genetic makeup of the U.S. population."

Submission + - Bill Gates: AI Is The Holy Grail (mashable.com)

An anonymous reader writes: At the Code Conference on Wednesday, Bill Gates balanced his fears of artificial intelligence with praise. He talked about two of the challenges AI will pose: a loss of existing jobs, and making sure humans remain in control of super-intelligent machines. Gates, and many other experts in the field, predict there will be an excess of labor resources as robots and AI take over. He plans to talk with others about ideas to combat the threat of AI controlling humans, noting specifically work being done at Stanford. Even with such threats, Gates called AI the "holy grail" as he envisions a future "with machines that are capable and more capable than human intelligence." Gates said, "The dream is finally arriving. This is what it was all leading up to. [...] We've made more progress in the last five years than at any time in history."

Submission + - U.S. lawmaker orders NASA to plan for trip to Alpha Centauri (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: This week, a senior U.S. lawmaker who helps write NASA’s budget called on the agency to begin developing its own interstellar probes, with the aim of launching a mission to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system, in 2069—the centenary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Representative John Culberson (R–TX), a self-professed space fan who chairs the House of Representatives appropriations subpanel that oversees NASA, included the call for the ambitious voyage in a committee report released today.

In the report, Culberson’s panel “encourages NASA to study and develop propulsion concepts that could enable an interstellar scientific probe with the capability of achieving a cruise velocity of 0.1c [10% of the speed of light].” The report language doesn’t mandate any additional funding, but calls on NASA to draw up a technology assessment report and conceptual road map within 1 year.

Submission + - 54 is the New 42, Aging Slower With Technology (newshop.com)

newshop.com writes: Remember the time when it was said that technology was the worst thing that happened to human beings. Well scientists from the journal PLOS ONE have concluded that technology is making people age slower, after discovering that the brains of middle-aged people are getting sharper and younger to keep up with the demands of modern technology.

Submission + - Microsoft Auto-Scheduling Windows 10 Updates (tomshardware.com)

Pikoro writes: Windows 10 has been with us for a little over eight months now, which means there are only about four months remaining to get a free upgrade from an older Windows operating system. As the clock counts down, Microsoft has begun to auto-schedule PCs to upgrade to Windows 10 with or without consent from end users.

Now, as we near the end of the free upgrade period, Microsoft’s malware-like upgrade system is becoming even more intrusive by autoscheduling upgrades to Windows 10. I noticed that the Windows 10 upgrade reminder pop-up on a Windows 7 PC was no longer asking me to upgrade; instead, it’s now informing me that it has already scheduled an update for May 17.

Comment Re:This is a good thing. (Score 1) 369

In the US, the poorest people are the fattest. That sounds counter-intuitive, but believe me it's true.

When food is scarce, being fat is a status symbol. Same principle applies to smoking, since tobacco costs money (even ignoring the health damage). They are no longer status symbols in the US, but still are in poorer countries, so in those countries the well-off are more likely to be fat and smoke.

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