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Submission + - Grumpy Cat Wants $600k From 'Pirating' Coffee Maker (torrentfreak.com)

Eloking writes: Grumpy Cat is not pleased, yet. Her owners have asked a California federal court to issue a $600,000 judgment against a coffee maker which allegedly exploited their copyrights. In addition, they want damages for trademark and contract breach, and a ban on the company in question from selling any associated Grumpy Cat merchandise.

grumpcatThere are dozens of celebrity cats on the Internet, but Grumpy Cat probably tops them all.

The cat’s owners have made millions thanks to their pet’s unique facial expression, which turned her into an overnight Internet star.

Part of this revenue comes from successful merchandise lines, including the Grumpy Cat “Grumppuccino” iced coffee beverage, sold by the California company Grenade Beverage.

The company licensed the copyright and trademarks to sell the iced coffee, but is otherwise not affiliated with the cat and its owners. Initially this partnership went well, but after the coffee maker started to sell other “Grumpy Cat” products, things turned bad.

Submission + - Proposed "Startup Visa" to Allow Entrepreneurs to Stay in US for 5 Years (nytimes.com)

speedplane writes: New York Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security has proposed a new visa that would would permit startup entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for up to five years. The new regulation requires entrepreneurs to have a 15% stake in a company founded in the last 3 years and at least $345k investment from an established U.S. investor (so your rich uncle can't just buy you a visa). While clearly targeted towards the tech industry, the proposed regulation is not limited to tech. The regulation also does not require congressional approval, so after a 45 day comment period, this piece of immigration policy is expected to be implemented.

Submission + - Mediterranean diet better for the heart than taking statins, major study suggest (telegraph.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A Mediterranean diet could be better than statins at reducing the risk of an early death for millions of Britons, research suggests.

Leading heart experts said patients should be prescribed the diet — rich in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and olive oil — before being put on drugs.

In the first major study to look at the impact of the Med diet on survival of heart patients, experts found it cut the chances of early death by 37 per cent.

Previous research has found just taking statins cuts mortality by 18 per cent. Experts said the figures were not directly comparable, and that many heart patients could get maximum benefit by doing both.

Submission + - Is there such a thing as bad publicity? If so, someone should tell the Donald (chicagotribune.com)

shanen writes: Top news story right now is Trump's attempted political exploitation of another gun tragedy for his political advantage. It appears that he has captured the headlines with two tweets. I think the angle of Trump's response is fundamentally racist, but what is giving me a deep feeling of disgust is the abuse of another person's tragedy. Trump knows he has 11 million followers. (How many Blocks besides mine? Twitter should post that statistic, too.)

In case it isn't obvious, I think the Donald lacks the wisdom to serve as president. Only one of many personal deficiencies, but I think it's the most important disqualification.

Submission + - 'Longest living human' says he is ready for death at 145 (telegraph.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: An Indonesian man who claims to be the longest living human in recorded history has described how he “just wants to die”.

Mbah Gotho, from Sragen in central Java, was born on December 31, 1870, according to the date of birth on his identity card.

Now officials at the local record office say they have finally been able to confirm that remarkable date as genuine.

Submission + - VA Invests in Failed Solar Projects, Veterans Linger on Wait List (heartland.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Veteran's Affairs Inspector General has found the VA wasted millions on solar panel installations that don't work.

Evidently, the Veteran's Administration (VA), does not have enough money to hire new doctors or take other actions to reduce wait times and improve treatment for our nation's military veterans, but it does have money to spend installing solar panels at its facilities, according by the VA's Inspector General (IG) detailed by the Washington Free Beacon.

While the VA has been under fire for wasting federal dollars as veterans’ wait times and other failings have persisted at VA medical facilities nationwide, the IG report reveals the VA spent more than $408 million to install solar panels on its medical facilities, yet many of the projects have experienced significant delays and cost overruns with some solar projects failing to function at all.

In a report issued August 3, 2016, the VA IG reported the VA had consistently failed to effectively plan and manage its solar panel projects, resulting in significant delays and additional costs. An audit of 11 of the 15 solar projects awarded between fiscal years 2010 and 2013, found only two of the 11 solar panel projects were fully completed.

Submission + - Chemists develop promising cheap, sustainable battery for grid energy storage (sciencedaily.com)

mdsolar writes: Chemists at the University of Waterloo have developed a long-lasting zinc-ion battery that costs half the price of current lithium-ion batteries and could help enable communities to shift away from traditional power plants and into renewable solar and wind energy production.

Professor Linda Nazar and her colleagues from the Faculty of Science at Waterloo made the important discovery, which appears in the journal, Nature Energy.

The battery uses safe, non-flammable, non-toxic materials and a pH-neutral, water-based salt. It consists of a water-based electrolyte, a pillared vanadium oxide positive electrode and an inexpensive metallic zinc negative electrode. The battery generates electricity through a reversible process called intercalation, where positively-charged zinc ions are oxidized from the zinc metal negative electrode, travel through the electrolyte and insert between the layers of vanadium oxide nanosheets in the positive electrode. This drives the flow of electrons in the external circuit, creating an electrical current. The reverse process occurs on charge.

The cell represents the first demonstration of zinc ion intercalation in a solid state material that satisfies four vital criteria: high reversibility, rate and capacity and no zinc dendrite formation. It provides more than 1,000 cycles with 80 per cent capacity retention and an estimated energy density of 450 watt-hours per litre. Lithium-ion batteries also operate by intercalation--of lithium ions--but they typically use expensive, flammable, organic electrolytes.

Submission + - British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech To Authoritarian Regimes (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas. Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology. In 2015, the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) started publishing basic data about the exportation of telecommunications interception devices. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Motherboard obtained the names of companies that have applied for exportation licenses, as well as details on the technologies being shipped, including, in some cases, individual product names. The companies include a subsidiary of defense giant BAE Systems, as well as Pro-Solve International, ComsTrac, CellXion, Cobham, and Domo Tactical Communications (DTC). Many of these companies sell IMSI-catchers. IMSI-catchers, sometimes known as “Stingrays” after a particularly popular brand, are fake cell phone towers which force devices in their proximity to connect. In the data obtained by Motherboard, 33 licenses are explicitly marked as being for IMSI-catchers, including for export to Turkey and Indonesia. Other listings heavily suggest the export of IMSI-catchers too: one granted application to export to Iraq is for a “Wideband Passive GSM Monitoring System,” which is a more technical description of what many IMSI-catchers do. In all, Motherboard received entries for 148 export license applications, from February 2015 to April 2016. A small number of the named companies do not provide interception capabilities, but defensive measures, for example to monitor the radio spectrum.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is anyone concerned that Men Die 5 Years earlier than Women? (cnn.com) 1

BuckB writes: So many stories lately about Women's Equality Day, Breast Cancer, and even the best places to live (for women — answer, Hawaii). However, there really are no headlines, stories, or even articles about men's mortality rates. Do people not know, not care, or just accept it as a fact that men, for example, die seven years before women in the idolized Hawaii or ridiculed DC?

Submission + - FBI Files Say China Firm Pushed U.S. Experts for Nuclear Secrets (bloomberg.com)

mdsolar writes: A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the U.S. pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose — and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI.
Summaries of the consultants’ interviews with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were filed this month in a federal court where the company, China General Nuclear Power Corp., has been charged with conspiring to steal nuclear technology.
The FBI documents surfaced shortly after the same company became a focus of concerns across the Atlantic: The U.K. last month delayed approval of the country’s biggest nuclear power station in a generation as questions swirled about whether China General Nuclear’s investment in the plant poses a security risk.

The filings provide a window into the tactics of CGN, China’s biggest nuclear power operator. One of the consultants said CGN employees asked for off-limits operational manuals to nuclear equipment and software, according to the interview summaries. Another said he was asked to provide proprietary temperature settings for material used to contain nuclear fuel. After he refused, he wasn’t offered more consulting jobs, he told the FBI.
Employees of CGN “frequently asked for documents which were proprietary or limited to restricted access,” according to a summary of one interview. In several instances, the company got what it wanted, according to the FBI documents.

Submission + - Google Fiber reportedly told to cut half its staff to offset subscriber shortfal (zdnet.com)

walterbyrd writes: Alphabet CEO Larry Page is not happy with the speed of Google Fiber's rollout and last month told the unit's chief Craig Barratt to halve the unit's headcount to 500 and cut costs, sources told The Information.
Yet for all the costs sunk into Google Fiber, the service only had around 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2014, according to The Information, a figure that is well short of the five million hoped for within five years.

Submission + - Microsoft Bing uses Wikipedia (globally editable) data

RockDoctor writes: Though they're trying to minimise it, the recent relocation of Melbourne Australia to the ocean east of Japan in Microsoft's flagship mapping application is blamed on someone having flipped a sign in the latitude given for the city's Wikipedia page. Which may or may not be true. But the simple stupidity of using a globally-editable data source for feeding a mapping and navigation system is ... "awesome" is (for once) an appropriate word.

Well, it''s Bing, so at least no-one was actually using it.

Submission + - Proposed 'social media ID, please' law met with anger (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A plan by the U.S. government to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media IDs on key travel documents is being called by critics “ludicrous,” an “all-around bad idea,” “blatant overreach,” “desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness,” “preposterous,” “appalling,” and “un-American." That's just a sampling of the outrage. Some 800 responded to the U.S. request for comments about a proposed rule affecting people traveling from “visa waiver” countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities. It’s technically an “optional” request, but since it’s the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it. People who are traveling from a country where a visa is required, such as India or China, get a security vetting when they apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate, so this proposal doesn’t apply to them. In a little twist of irony, some critics said U.S. President Obama’s proposal for foreign travelers is so bad, it must have been hatched by Donald Trump.

Submission + - Nearest Star Has Earth-sized Planet in its Habitable Zone (discovermagazine.com)

Flash Modin writes: In a shocking find, astronomers Wednesday announced their discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.2 light-years away. This warm world, cataloged as Proxima b, sits smack in the middle of its habitable zone — the sweetest of sweet spots — where liquid surface water could exist. But Proxima Centauri is not like our sun. It’s a cool, low-mass star known as a red dwarf. So the planet only qualifies as potentially habitable because it circles its sun in an orbit tighter than Mercury’s.

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