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Submission + - Burkina Faso Weighs Using Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in Malaria Fight (scientificamerican.com)

omaha393 writes: A public engagement campaign is underway in the hopes of convincing Burkina Faso residents to allow the release of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat deadly mosquito borne pathogens. GM mosquitoes rely on a technology called "gene drives.” Different gene drives offer different solutions, typically leading to subsequent broods being sterile, predominantly male, resistant to infection or nonviable due to toxic traits. Researchers in this case are only in the preliminary stages of releasing sterile males but hope to begin wider releases of GM mosquitoes in about 6 years.
        Burkina Faso is not the only country to pursue GM mosquitoes in efforts to prevent disease. Brazil has become a testing ground for wide release, and last fall voters in Florida Keys approved measures to begin releasing GM mosquitoes to fight the spread of Zika. Both the WHO and the US FDA have approved the technique, but skeptics are critical of the method.

Submission + - Most People Would Give Lab-Grown Meat a Try, New Survey Reveals (sciencealert.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a recent survey, published this month in PLOS One, we investigated the views of people in the United States, a country with one of the largest appetites for meat and an equally large appetite for adopting new technologies. A total of 673 people responded to the survey, done online via Amazon Mechanical Turk, in which they were given information about in vitro meat (IVM) and asked questions about their attitudes to it. Although most people (65 percent), and particularly males, were willing to try IVM, only about a third said they would use it regularly or as a replacement for farmed meat. But many people were undecided: 26 percent were unsure if they would use it as a replacement for farmed meat and 31 percent unsure if they would eat it regularly. This suggests there is scope to persuade consumers that they should convert to IVM if a suitable product is available. As an indication of this potential, 53 percent said it was seen as preferable to soy substitutes. The biggest concerns were about IVM's taste and lack of appeal, particularly in the case of meats seen as healthy, such as fish and chicken, where only two-thirds of people that normally ate them said that they would if it was produced by in vitro methods. By contrast, 72 percent of people who normally eat beef and pig products would still do so if they were produced as IVM.

Submission + - Microsoft Teams Launches Out Of Preview

Krystalo writes: Microsoft today announced Microsoft Teams — with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and web apps — has hit general availability in 181 countries and 19 languages. The company’s answer to Slack is part of Office 365, meaning Microsoft Teams is for businesses only — there are no plans for a free or consumer version. Microsoft Teams is a web-based chat service aimed at businesses — and schools, though they’re not getting access today — that have multiple teams working on various projects at once. It features channels/groups, private messages, Skype video and audio calls, Office 365 integration (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files), OneDrive support, Power BI and Planner integrations, as well as emoji, Giphy images, memes, and so on.

Submission + - SPAM: Presidential Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Execute Branch

schwit1 writes: Section 1. Purpose. This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Sec. 2. Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies.
(a) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

(b) The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c) Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions. The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Chrome 57 Limits Background Tabs Usage to 1% per CPU Core (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Starting with Chrome 57, released last week, Google has put a muzzle on the amount of resources background tabs can use. According to Google engineers, Chrome 57 will temporarily delay a background tab's JavaScript timers if that tab is using more than 1% of a CPU core. Further, all background timers are suspended automatically after five minutes on mobile devices.

The delay/suspension will halt resource consumption and cut down on battery usage, something that laptop, tablet, and smartphone owners can all relate. Google hinted in late January that it would limit JavaScript timers in background tabs, but nobody expected it to happen as soon as last week's Chrome release. By 2020, Google hopes to pause JS operations in all background pages.

Submission + - Company responsible for Japan's ridiculous high-tech toilets creates 'trance-ind (ibtimes.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: One of the more unusual quirks Japan is known for is its fondness for elaborate toilets. Toto Ltd, the company credited for immortalising Japanese bathroom culture with its brand of water-shooting, seat-warming super lavatories, is turning its attention to bathing with a new bath tub that will turn your daily dip into a near spiritual experience.

The company's Flotation Tub features a unique set of features and special design intended to put bathers into a "trace-like state", Bloomberg reports. The tub, unveiled by Toto on 14 March, is inspired by flotation therapy, whereby participants are placed into a soundproof tank filled with salt water and cut off from outside distractions.

Unlike conventional bathtubs, the Flotation Tub features a cradle-like design that positions bathers halfway between between floating and lying down. The bathtub measures over two meters long so bathers can stretch out, and features an adjustable pillow and water jets offering massage functions.

Submission + - Reuters- Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings, not just mankind: study (reuters.com)

bricko writes: Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings, not just mankind: study -
Natural swings in the Arctic climate have caused up to half the precipitous losses of sea ice around the North Pole in recent decades, with the rest driven by man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday.

The study indicates that an ice-free Arctic Ocean, often feared to be just years away, in one of the starkest signs of man-made global warming, could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler mode.

Natural variations in the Arctic climate "may be responsible for about 30–50 percent of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979," the U.S.-based team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Submission + - Google Fiber Was Doomed From the Start (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Last month, Google Fiber got a new CEO—and before that, the former CEO had said they'd "pause" plans to launch fiber networks in several cities. Taken together, these news reports all seem to signal that Google is dumping the idea of fiber and moving decisively into wireless access solutions. But as Susan Crawford writes at Backchannel, Google Fiber was never going to be the answer to our internet access problems: making the long term investments necessary to roll out fiber just didn't make immediate business sense. Still, Google Fiber did several things very well, and Crawford breaks down exactly what we can learn from the moonshot that wasn't—and what we need to do going forward to blanket our cities with fiber.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Where Can One Find Information On "Stalin's Hologram"? 1

dryriver writes: Many moons ago a history teacher told our class that back in the day's of Stalin's Russia, a flattering image of Joseph Stalin once appeared in the sky over Moscow as a huge, brightly lit holographic projection of some sort. This was apparently achieved by projecting Joseph Stalin's image into the sky with three different projectors set up in a triangular formation. Where the 3 projector beams crossed each other in the night sky — in the clouds or mist in the air perhaps — a huge, glowing hologram-like image of the dictator appeared over the city. I have been looking for information recently on how this was achieved, but have not found any reference to "Stalin's Hologram" online. Does anyone know whether Stalin's Hologram was real, and if so, how it was achieved technically?

Submission + - There hasn't been Ad-blockers coverage for months, and that's bad news (google.com)

cloud.pt writes: Have you noticed no relevant media outlet is talking about ad-blockers anymore?

You probably haven't, and that's really what got me thinking. It's not like ads have all become "acceptable", not even close. And to my eyes, I haven't really noticed a decrease in ads overall — if anything, they have increased, and so has the practice of detecting them and forcing them out by making sites useless otherwise.

How far will it be until ad-blockers fall into oblivion? In a time where the main sources of information depend financially (and some even claim desperately) on the non-proliferation of ad-blocking, the first result to "ad-block news" search on Google dates back to September 2016 (an article by The Verge), and there doesn't seem to be anything newer on the following 10 results. Do note: this is a Google (ad-dependent) result outputting pageranked news outlet sites (also ad-dependent), so it can't really be discerned who is at fault here, but I doubt it is ad-block that is becoming irrelevant news material. Undesired sounds more likely.

But if that wasn't enough of a sign: even Slashdot articles are neglecting the subject. Looking up articles on "adblock" goes as far back as last year's August. Unless, of course, this one makes it to the top. If before you had to doubt most information about ad-blockers, now that no information is circulating, can you really trust news from these sources that discriminates with such a heavy bias?

Submission + - First academic research study of 4chan's /pol/ board (arxiv.org)

stolkien writes: "Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan's Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web"

Abstract: "The discussion-board site 4chan has been part of the Internet's dark underbelly since its inception, and recent political events have put it increasingly in the spotlight. In particular, /pol/, the "Politically Incorrect" board, has been a central figure in the outlandish 2016 US election season, as it has often been linked to the alt-right movement and its rhetoric of hate and racism. However, 4chan remains relatively unstudied by the scientific community: little is known about its user base, the content it generates, and how it affects other parts of the Web. In this paper, we start addressing this gap by analyzing /pol/ along several axes, using a dataset of over 8M posts we collected over two and a half months. First, we perform a general characterization, showing that /pol/ users are well distributed around the world and that 4chan's unique features encourage fresh discussions. We also analyze content, finding, for instance, that YouTube links and hate speech are predominant on /pol/. Overall, our analysis not only provides the first measurement study of /pol/, but also insight into online harassment and hate speech trends in social media."

Submission + - Sex toy company pays out $3.75m for collecting temperature and intensity data (ibtimes.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Some things just really, really shouldn't be connected to the internet. A maker of 'smart' sex toys will pay out approximately $3.75m (£3.1m, €3.5m)to customers after it was discovered to be collecting usage data from them.

Canadian company We-Vibe had appeared in court on a privacy violation lawsuit after security researchers found that it was relaying "highly sensitive" and "personally identifiable" data from its internet-connected products back to the manufacturer.

This included information about how often the owners used the toys, as well as the temperature and intensity settings they used. This data was connected to customers' email addresses.

Submission + - Facebook and Instagram Ban Developers From Using Data For Surveillance (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook and Instagram have banned developers from using their data for surveillance with a new privacy policy that civil rights activists have long sought to curb spying by law enforcement. Following revelations last year that police departments had gained special access to the social networks to track protesters, Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced on Monday that it had updated its rules to state that developers could not “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance." The American Civil Liberties Union obtained government records last year revealing that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had provided users’ data to a software company that aids police surveillance programs and had helped law enforcement monitor Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The ACLU found that the social networking sites had given “special access” to Geofeedia, a controversial startup that has partnered with law enforcement to track streams of user content. “Our goal is to make our policy explicit,” Facebook said in its announcement on Monday. “Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.”

Submission + - GuardiCore discovers ransomware attacking MySQL Databases (guardicore.com)

GG2017 writes: In mid-February, GuardiCore tweeted that the GuardiCore Global Sensor Network (GGSN) had detected a wide ransomware attack targeting MySQL databases. The attacks looked like an evolution of the MongoDB ransomware attacks first reported earlier this year by Victor Gevers. Similar to the MongoDB attacks, owners are instructed to pay a 0.2 Bitcoin ransom (approx. $200) to regain access to their content. GuardiCore saw two very similar variations of the attack using two bitcoin wallets. In the following blog post GuardiCore describes in detail the attack flow and provides some recommendations on how to protect your databases from similar attacks along with attack IoCs.

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