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02/08/2021 23:30:07  

SwRI-led mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids begins final preparations for launch
02/08/2021 23:30:04  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Axios: The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars. Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information. Congress in 1967 authorized federal operating money to broadcast stations through a new agency, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and what is now PBS launched down-the-middle national news programming and successful kids shows like "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" and "Sesame Street." NPR was born in 1971. Despite dust-ups over political interference of national programming and funding, hundreds of local community broadcast stations primarily received grants directly to choose which national programs to support. A new policy paper from the German Marshall Fund proposes a full revamp of the CPB to fund not just broadcast stations, but a wide range of digital platforms and potential content producers including independent journalists, local governments, nonprofits and educational institutions. The idea is to increase the diversity of local civic information, leaning on anchor institutions like libraries and colleges that communities trust. Beyond content, the plan calls for open protocol standards and APIs to let consumers mix and match the content they want from a wide variety of sources, rather than being at the mercy of Facebook, Twitter or YouTube algorithms. Data would be another crucial component. In order to operate, entities in the ecosystem would have to commit to basic data ethics and rules about how personal information is used.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 23:26:26  

Vitaly Shishov was reported missing by his partner after failing to return from his morning jog.
02/08/2021 23:26:21  

Could voting with your weekly shop boost turnout at next year's council elections?
02/08/2021 23:26:21  

Nicola Sturgeon is to confirm whether Scotland will move "beyond level zero" on 9 August as planned.
02/08/2021 23:26:20  

Catrin Pugh overcame 96% burns to graduate with a first class honours degree in physiotherapy.
02/08/2021 22:30:15  

For now, tedious Apple-grade teasing

Google says the latest iteration of its Android smartphones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, are coming this fall.…

02/08/2021 22:30:10  

A recovery mission off Vietnam's coast showed how advances in technology have given new reach to the Pentagon's search for American war dead. From a report: On a July morning in 1967, two American B-52 bombers collided over the South China Sea as they approached a target in what was then South Vietnam. Seven crew members escaped, but rescue units from the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were unable to find six other men, including a navigator from New York, Maj. Paul A. Avolese. It wasn't until last year that scientists scanning the seafloor found one of the B-52s and recovered Major Avolese's remains. "It was very humbling to be diving a site that turned out as hallowed ground, and realizing that maybe we were in a position to help bring closure back to families that had been missing this lost aviator," said Eric J. Terrill, one of two divers who descended to the wreck. Scientists say the recovery highlights a shift in the Pentagon's ability to search for personnel still missing from the Vietnam War. For decades, such efforts have mainly focused on land in former conflict zones. But in this case, American investigators looked at an underwater site near Vietnam's long coastline, using high-tech robots. Their use of that technology is part of a larger trend. Robotic underwater and surface vehicles are "rapidly becoming indispensable tools for ocean science and exploration," said Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, who manages a fleet of nine aircraft and 16 research and survey vessels for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "They have proven to be a force multiplier when it comes to mapping the seafloor, locating and surveying wrecks and other sunken objects, and collecting data in places not easily accessed by ships and other vehicles," Admiral Hann said. One reason for the new focus on Vietnam's undersea crash sites is that many land-based leads have been exhausted, said Andrew Pietruszka, the lead archaeologist for Project Recover, a nonprofit organization. The group worked on the recent recovery mission with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or D.P.A.A., the arm of the Pentagon tasked with finding and returning fallen military personnel. "Over time, a lot of the really good land cases and sites they've already done, they've already processed them," said Mr. Pietruszka, a former forensic archaeologist for D.P.A.A. who now works for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. "Now the majority of sites that haven't been looked at are falling in that underwater realm," he added.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 22:30:10  

Events in the genome of Welwitschia have given it the ability to survive in an unforgiving desert for thousands of years. From a report: The longest-lived leaves in the plant kingdom can be found only in the harsh, hyperarid desert that crosses the boundary between southern Angola and northern Namibia. A desert is not, of course, the most hospitable place for living things to grow anything, let alone leafy greens, but the Namib Desert -- the world's oldest with parts receiving less than two inches of precipitation a year -- is where Welwitschia calls home. In Afrikaans, the plant is named "tweeblaarkanniedood," which means "two leaves that cannot die." The naming is apt: Welwitschia grows only two leaves -- and continuously -- in a lifetime that can last millenniums. "Most plants develop a leaf, and that's it," said Andrew Leitch, a plant geneticist at Queen Mary University of London. "This plant can live thousands of years, and it never stops growing. When it does stop growing, it's dead." Some of the largest plants are believed to be over 3,000 years old, with two leaves steadily growing since the beginning of the Iron Age, when the Phoenician alphabet was invented and David was crowned King of Israel. By some accounts, Welwitschia is not much to look at. Its two fibrous leaves, buffeted by dry desert winds and fed on by thirsty animals, become shredded and curled over time, giving Welwitschia a distinctly octopus-like look. One 19th-century director of Kew Gardens in London remarked, "it is out of the question the most wonderful plant ever brought to this country and one of the ugliest." But since it was first discovered, Welwitschia has captivated biologists including Charles Darwin and the botanist Friedrich Welwitsch after whom the plant is named: It is said that when Welwitsch first came across the plant in 1859, "he could do nothing but kneel down on the burning soil and gaze at it, half in fear lest a touch should prove it a figment of the imagination." In a study published last month in Nature Communications, researchers report some of the genetic secrets behind Welwitschia's unique shape, extreme longevity and profound resilience.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 22:26:55  
02/08/2021 22:26:22  

Healthy kidneys from deceased donors were turned down due to a lack of nurses to support surgeons.
02/08/2021 21:29:51  

Hackers have attacked and shut down the IT systems of the company that manages COVID-19 vaccination appointments for the Lazio region surrounding Rome, the regional government said on Sunday. From a report: "A powerful hacker attack on the region's CED (database) is under way," the region said in a Facebook posting. It said all systems had been deactivated, including those of the region's health portal and vaccination network, and warned the inoculation programme could suffer a delay. "It is a very powerful hacker attack, very serious... everything is out. The whole regional CED is under attack," Lazio region's health manager Alessio D'Amato said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 21:26:30  

Loop Wires in One Step
02/08/2021 21:26:26  

Greco-Roman wrestler Mijain Lopez cements his position in the record books by winning his fourth straight Olympic gold medal.
02/08/2021 21:26:25  

Sifan Hassan takes 5,000m gold as she bids for an unprecedented Olympic treble on the track in Tokyo.
02/08/2021 21:26:25  

A drone attack on a ship off the coast of Oman has worsened already strained ties with Iran.
02/08/2021 21:26:20  

The rapper, whose real name is Dylan Mills, is charged with assault after an incident in south London.
02/08/2021 20:29:45  

Plus: SolarWinds cyber-spies hit US prosecutors' email systems, and more

In brief Malicious libraries capable of lifting credit card numbers and opening backdoors on infected machines have been found in PyPI, the official third-party software repository for Python.…

02/08/2021 20:29:40  

Google has provided tens of millions of pounds of funding to academics investigating issues closely related to its business model. From a report: A recent scientific paper proposed that, like Big Tobacco in the Seventies, Big Tech thrives on creating uncertainty around the impacts of its products and business model. One of the ways it does this is by cultivating pockets of friendly academics who can be relied on to echo Big Tech talking points, giving them added gravitas in the eyes of lawmakers. Google highlighted working with favourable academics as a key aim in its strategy, leaked in October 2020, for lobbying the EU's Digital Markets Act -- sweeping legislation that could seriously undermine tech giants' market dominance if it goes through. Now, a New Statesman investigation can reveal that over the last five years, six leading academic institutes in the EU have taken tens of millions of pounds of funding from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft to research issues linked to the tech firms' business models, from privacy and data protection to AI ethics and competition in digital markets. While this funding tends to come with guarantees of academic independence, this creates an ethical quandary where the subject of research is also often the primary funder of it. The New Statesman has also found evidence of an inconsistent approach to transparency, with some senior academics failing to disclose their industry funding. Other academics have warned that the growing dependence on funding from the industry raises questions about how tech firms influence the debate around the ethics of the markets they have created.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 20:29:39  

How much is your palm print worth? If you ask Amazon, it's about $10 in promotional credit if you enroll your palm prints in its checkout-free stores and link it to your Amazon account. From a report: Last year, Amazon introduced its new biometric palm print scanners, Amazon One, so customers can pay for goods in some stores by waving their palm prints over one of these scanners. By February, the company expanded its palm scanners to other Amazon grocery, book and 4-star stores across Seattle. Amazon has since expanded its biometric scanning technology to its stores across the U.S., including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Texas. The retail and cloud giant says its palm scanning hardware "captures the minute characteristics of your palm -- both surface-area details like lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns -- to create your palm signature," which is then stored in the cloud and used to confirm your identity when youâ(TM)re in one of its stores.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 20:26:26  

The militants are battling to take control of a provincial capital for the first time in years.
02/08/2021 20:26:21  

A 15-year-old girl died following a "domestic disturbance" at a holiday park on Saturday.
02/08/2021 19:30:21  

Cast off your chains with this webcast

Promo Even the smallest organisation knows its data is precious. Unlocking the value of your data is crucial to future growth, while protecting it is central to your very survival.…

02/08/2021 19:30:16  

When Microsoft unveiled its Windows 365 Cloud PC desktop-as-a-service product last month, officials said they'd release pricing on the day the service became generally available, August 2. As promised, the company has published pricing, and it ranges from $20 per user per month for the lowest end SKU, to $162 per user per month for the most expensive one. From a report: Windows 365 is available in two editions: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. The Windows 365 Business SKUs are capped at 300 users per organization. The $20 per user per month Business price is for a single virtual core, 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage -- and requires the Windows Hybrid Benefit. (Hybrid Benefits are Microsoft's Bring-Your-Own license model, which allows customers to apply existing (or new) licenses toward the cost of a product.) Without the Hybrid Benefit discount, that same SKU is $24 per user per month. At the high end, the Business SKU with eight virtual cores, 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage costs $162 per user per month --- or $158 per user per month with the Windows Hybrid Benefit. The Enterprise SKUs for Windows 365 are priced similarly. A single virtual core, 2 GB of RAM and 64 GV of storage will go for $20 per user per month. At the high end, the 8 virtual core, 32 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage SKU will go for $158 per user per month.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/08/2021 19:26:55