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Many Nations Pin Climate Hopes On China, India As Hopes For Trump Fade

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 16:40
Twelve readers share a Reuters report: Many countries are pinning their hopes on China and India to lead efforts to slow climate change amid a growing sense of resignation that U.S. President Donald Trump will either withdraw from a global pact or stay and play a minimal role. Delegates at the May 8-18 negotiations in Bonn on a detailed "rule book" for the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first U.N. talks since Trump took office, say there is less foreboding than when Washington last broke with global climate efforts in 2001. Trump doubts global warming has a human cause and says he will decide on a campaign threat to "cancel" the Paris Agreement, the first to bind all nations to set goals to curb emissions, after a group of Seven summit in Italy on May 26-27. "The time when one big player could affect the whole game is past," said Ronald Jumeau, climate ambassador for the Seychelles. "There would be a void without the U.S., but China and India seem to be increasing their effort." Big emitters led by China, the European Union and India have reaffirmed their commitment to Paris, which seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century by shifting to clean energies. By contrast, Trump wants to favor U.S. coal.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Qualcomm Sues Apple Contract Manufacturers

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 16:00
Qualcomm on Wednesday sued the manufacturers that make iPhones for Apple for failing to pay royalties on the chip maker's technology, widening its legal battle with the world's most valuable company. Qualcomm's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a federal district court in San Diego, accuses Compal, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron of breaching longstanding patent-licensing agreements with Qualcomm by halting royalty payments on Qualcomm technology used in iPhones and iPads. From a report: Apple sued Qualcomm in January, accusing it of overcharging for chips and refusing to pay some $1 billion in promised rebates. Qualcomm said in the complaint that Apple is trying to force the company to agree to a "unreasonable demand for a below-market direct license." Qualcomm said last month that Apple had decided to withhold royalty payments to its contract manufacturers that are owed to the chipmaker, for sales made in the first quarter of 2017, until the dispute is resolved in court. "While not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of Qualcomm's inventions, the manufacturers say they must follow Apple's instructions not to pay," Qualcomm said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Chelsea Manning Set To Be Released From Prison, 28 Years Early

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is set to walk out of prison Wednesday -- but she won't be entirely free. Manning's 35-year sentence for leaking an enormous trove of military intelligence records was commuted by President Barack Obama in January. But Manning is still appealing her conviction in a case that could take years, and the government has yet to respond to the appeal. And all the while, Private First Class Manning, 29, will remain an active duty soldier in the U.S. Army. She won't be paid a salary, and it's highly unlikely that she will be called to serve. But being placed on voluntary excess leave rather than discharged, says one of her attorneys, makes her vulnerable to new military punishment or charges if she steps out of line. Such an offense could be anything from getting into a fistfight to revealing previously unreleased classified information. Manning could even get into trouble with the military for speaking and writing. The Army private then known as Bradley Manning was just 22-year-old when she leaked nearly 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks. Manning was court-martialed and sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison, with opportunity for parole after seven years served. n a statement given to the TODAY show the day after sentencing, Manning came out as a transgender woman. Last Tuesday, in Manning's first official statement about her plans after prison, she said, "I can see a future for myself as Chelsea."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Bring Your Own Code: Your Private Foursome

The Daily WTF - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 13:30

Last week, I shared some code that, while imperfect, wasn’t that bad. I then issued a challenge: make it worse. Or better, if you really want. As many comments noted: one case covers only the first iteration of the loop, and one case only covers the last iteration of the loop. You could easily pull those out of the loop, and not need a for-case at all. Others noticed that this pattern looked like odd slices out of an identity matrix.

With that in mind, we got a few numpy, Matlab, or MatrixUtils based solutions generally were the “best” solutions to the problem: generate an identity matrix and take slices out of it. This is reasonable and fine. It makes perfect sense. Let’s see if we can avoid making sense.

I’ll start with Abner Qian’s Ruby solution.

module MagicalArrayGenerator def magical_array_generator main_array = [] self.times do |i| inner_array = [] self.times do |j| i == j ? inner_array << 1 : inner_array << 0 end main_array << inner_array end e_1 = [] n_1 = [] e_n = [] n_n = [] self.times do |i| e_1 << [main_array[i].first] e_n << [main_array[i].last] n_1 << main_array[i][1..-1] n_n << main_array[i][0..-2] end [e_1, n_1, e_n, n_n] end end class Integer include MagicalArrayGenerator end e_1, n_1, e_n, n_n = 4.magical_array_generator

At it’s core, this is simply an implementation that generates an identity matrix and slices it up. The actual implementation, however, is a pitch-perfect parody of Ruby development: “There’s no problem that can’t be solved by monkey-patching a method into a built-in type”. That’s what happens here- the include statment injects this method into the build-in Integer data-type, meaning you can call 4.magical_array_generator and get your arrays. Abner also points out that Ruby uses 62-bit integers, just in case you want some 4611686018427387903 by 4611686018427387904 arrays.

Several folks looked at the idea of taking slices, and said, “Gee, I bet you I could do this with pointers in C”. My personal favorite in that category would have to be Ron P’s approach.

#include <stdio.h> int main( int argc, char **argv) { int *e_1 = 0; int *e_n = 0; int **n_1 = 0; int **n_n = 0; int *fugly = 0; int i,j; if ( argc != 2 ) return 1; int n = atoi(argv[1]); fugly = calloc( n*(n+1),sizeof(int)); n_1 = calloc(n,sizeof(int *)); n_n = calloc(n,sizeof(int *)); for ( i = 0, j=n; i < n; ++i, j+=n+1 ) { fugly[j]=1; n_1[i]=fugly+n*i; n_n[i]=n_1[i]+n; } e_1 = fugly+n; e_n = fugly+1; printf( "e_1\n" ); for ( i = 0; i < n; ++i ) { printf( " %d\n", e_1[i]); } printf( "\ne_n\n" ); for ( i = 0; i < n; ++i ) { printf( " %d\n", e_n[i]); } printf( "\nn_1\n" ); for ( i = 0; i < n; ++i ) { printf( " " ); for ( j = 0; j < n-1; ++j ) { printf("%d ", n_1[i][j]); } printf("\n" ); } printf( "\nn_n\n" ); for ( i = 0; i < n; ++i ) { printf( " " ); for ( j = 0; j < n-1; ++j ) { printf("%d ", n_n[i][j]); } printf("\n" ); } return 0; }

Now, Martin Scolding gets bonus points for two reasons: first, he uses one of the worst languages in the world (not designed as an esolang), and second, this language doesn’t technically support multi-dimensional arrays. I speak, of course, of PL/SQL. Note the use of substrings to figure out what number to put in each position of the array.

DECLARE TYPE data_t IS TABLE OF INTEGER INDEX BY PLS_INTEGER; TYPE array_t IS TABLE OF data_t INDEX BY PLS_INTEGER; e_1 array_t; e_n array_t; n_1 array_t; n_n array_t; l_array_size INTEGER := 0; PROCEDURE gen_arrays(n INTEGER, p_e_1 IN OUT array_t, p_e_n IN OUT array_t, p_n_1 IN OUT array_t, p_n_n IN OUT array_t) --' Generate 4 Arrays of the form (example n=4) -- -- ' | 1 | | 0 0 0 | -- ' e_1 = | 0 | n_1 = | 1 0 0 | -- ' | 0 | | 0 1 0 | -- ' | 0 | | 0 0 1 | -- ' -- ' | 0 | | 1 0 0 | -- ' e_n = | 0 | n_n = | 0 1 0 | -- ' | 0 | | 0 0 1 | -- ' | 1 | | 0 0 0 | -- IS l_n_string LONG := RPAD('1',n+1,'0'); BEGIN For i in 1..n Loop p_e_1(i)(1) := TO_NUMBER(SUBSTR(l_n_string, 1, 1)); p_e_n(i)(1) := TO_NUMBER(SUBSTR(l_n_string, n, 1)); For j in 1..n-1 Loop p_n_1(i)(j) := TO_NUMBER(SUBSTR(l_n_string, j+1, 1)); p_n_n(i)(j) := TO_NUMBER(SUBSTR(l_n_string, j, 1)); End Loop; l_n_string := LPAD(SUBSTR(l_n_string, 1, n), n+1, '0'); End Loop; END; BEGIN l_array_size := &inp_array; gen_arrays(l_array_size, e_1, e_n, n_1, n_n); --========================================================================== -- DISPLAY RESULTS --========================================================================== DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('e_1 = '); For i in 1..l_array_size Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(' | ' || e_1(i)(1) || ' |'); End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('--------------------------------------------------'); DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('e_n = '); For i in 1..l_array_size Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(' | ' || e_n(i)(1) || ' |'); End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('--------------------------------------------------'); DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('n_1 = '); For i in 1..l_array_size Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT(' | '); For j in 1..l_array_size-1 Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT(n_1(i)(j) || ' '); End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT('|'); DBMS_OUTPUT.NEW_LINE; End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('--------------------------------------------------'); DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('n_n = '); For i in 1..l_array_size Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT(' | '); For j in 1..l_array_size-1 Loop DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT(n_n(i)(j) || ' '); End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT('|'); DBMS_OUTPUT.NEW_LINE; End Loop; DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('--------------------------------------------------'); --========================================================================== -- --========================================================================== END; /

Finally, though, I have to give a little space to Airdrik. While the code may contain some errors, it is in Visual Basic, as was the original solution, and it knows that recursion makes everything better.

Public Sub GenerateIdentitySquare(ByVal n As Long, ByRef sq As Variant, ByVal i As Long, ByVal j As Long) Select Case j Case i: sq(i, j) = #1 If i < n Then GenerateIdentitySquare(n, sq, i, j+1) End If Case n: sq(i, j) = #0 GenerateIdentitySquare(n, sq, i+1, 1) Case Else: sq(i, j) = #0 GenerateIdentitySquare(n, sq, i, j+1) End Select End Sub Public Sub CopyRowValues(ByVal n As Long, ByRef sq As Variant, ByRef e As Variant, ByVal sq_i As Long, ByVal e_i As Long, ByVal j As Long) e(e_i, j) = sq(sq_i, j) if j < n Then CopyRowValues(n, sq, e, sq_i, e_i, j+1) End If End Sub Public Sub CopyRows(ByVal n As Long, ByRef sq As Variant, ByRef e_1 As Variant, ByRef e_n As Variant, ByRef n_1 As Variant, ByRef n_n As Variant, ByVal i As Long) Select Case i Case 1: CopyRowValues(n, sq, e_1, i, 1, 1) CopyRowValues(n, sq, n_n, i, i, 1) CopyRows(n, sq, e_1, e_n, n_1, n_n, i+1) Case n: CopyRowValues(n, sq, n_1, i, i-1, 1) CopyRowValues(n, sq, n_n, i, i, 1) Case Else: CopyRowValues(n, sq, n_1, i, i-1, 1) CopyRowValues(n, sq, e_n, i, 1, 1) CopyRows(n, sq, e_1, e_n, n_1, n_n, i+1) End Select End Sub Public Sub DefineProjectionArrays(ByVal n As Long, ByRef e_1 As Variant, ByRef e_n As Variant, ByRef n_1 As Variant, ByRef n_n As Variant) Dim i As Long, j As Long ' Generate 4 Arrays of the form (example n=4) ' | 1 | | 0 0 0 | ' e_1 = | 0 | n_1 = | 1 0 0 | ' | 0 | | 0 1 0 | ' | 0 | | 0 0 1 | ' ' | 0 | | 1 0 0 | ' e_n = | 0 | n_n = | 0 1 0 | ' | 0 | | 0 0 1 | ' | 1 | | 0 0 0 | Dim sq(n, n) As Variant GenerateIdentitySquare(n, sq, 1, 1) ReDim e_1(n, 1) ReDim e_n(n, 1) ReDim n_1(n, n - 1) ReDim n_n(n, n - 1) CopyRows(n, sq, e_1, e_n, n_1, n_n, 1) End Sub

Functional programming is always the best approach, obviously.

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Categories: Fun/Other

Apple Receives Patents For Bezel-Free Display, Touch ID Button Embedded In Screen

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 12:00
Apple has just been granted patents for two of the biggest features expected from the iPhone 8: an edge-to-edge display, and a Touch ID button embedded into the screen. 9to5Mac reports: The edge-to-edge display patent has the rather mundane heading "Reducing the border area of a device." It describes how a mostly-flat display can have a curved border area allowing it to wrap around the sides of the device: [...] "This relates to methods and systems for reducing the border areas of an electronic device so as to maximize the display/interactive touch areas of the device. In particular, a flexible substrate can be used to fabricate the display panel and/or the touch sensor panel (referred to collectively herein as a 'circuit panel') of a mobile electronic device so that the edges of the display panel and/or the touch sensor panel can be bent. Bending the edges can reduce the width (or length) of the panel, which in turn can allow the overall device to be narrower without reducing the display/touch-active area of the device." The embedded Touch ID patent is one of many submitted by Apple, describing different approaches it could take. This one re-uses language from a separate patent granted back in February, describing the benefits of allowing a user to authenticate without having to remove their finger from the screen: "Where a fingerprint sensor is integrated into an electronic device or host device, for example, as noted above, it may be desirable to more quickly perform authentication, particularly while performing another task or an application on the electronic device. In other words, in some instances it may be undesirable to have a user perform an authentication in a separate authentication step, for example switching between tasks to perform the authentication." Apple has been granted a total of 56 patents today. For more information, visit Patently Apple.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

AMD Unveils 'EPYC' Server CPUs, Ryzen Mobile, Threadripper CPU and Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 09:00
MojoKid writes: Today, at its financial analyst day, AMD lifted the veil on a number of new products based on the company's Zen CPU architecture and next generation Vega GPU architecture. AMD CEO Lisa Su lifted a very large server chip in the air that the company now has branded EPYC. AMD is going for the jugular when it comes to comparisons with Intel's Xeon family, providing up to 128 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, which Su says "allows you to connect more GPUs directly to the CPU than any other solution in the industry." EPYC currently scales to 32 cores/64 threads per socket and supports up to 8-channel DDR4 memory (16 DIMMs per CPU, up to 4TB total memory support). AMD also confirmed the previously rumored Threadripper CPU, a 16-core/32-thread beast of a chip for the enthusiast desktop PC space. AMD's Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect for Radeon Technologies Group, also unveiled Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, a workstation and pro graphics card targeted at VR content creation, visualization and machine learning. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition offers 13 TFLOPS of FP32 throughput, 25 TFLOPS of FP16 performance and is powered by 64 computer units and 16GB of HMB2 memory for about 480GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The cards are expected to ship in June but there was no word just yet on when consumer versions of Vega will hit. Finally, AMD also shared info on Ryzen Mobile, which will incorporate both the Zen CPU architecture and an integrated Vega GPU core. Compared to AMD's 7th generation APUs, AMD claims Ryzen Mobile will up CPU performance by 50 percent while offering 40 percent better graphics performance. AMD also claimed those gains will not come at the expense of battery life, with a 50 percent reduction in power consumption, which reportedly will pave the way for faster, longer lasting premium notebooks and 2-in-1 devices.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Scientists 3D-Print Ovaries To Allow Infertile Mice To Mate and Give Birth

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Infertile mice have given birth to healthy pups after having their fertility restored with ovary implants made with a 3D printer. Researchers created the synthetic ovaries by printing porous scaffolds from a gelatin ink and filling them with follicles, the tiny, fluid-holding sacs that contain immature egg cells. In tests on mice that had one ovary surgically removed, scientists found that the implants hooked up to the blood supply within a week and went on to release eggs naturally through the pores built into the gelatin structures. The work marks a step towards making artificial ovaries for young women whose reproductive systems have been damaged by cancer treatments, leaving them infertile or with hormone imbalances that require them to take regular hormone-boosting drugs. Of seven mice that mated after receiving the artificial ovaries, three gave birth to pups that had developed from eggs released by the implants. The mice fed normally on their mother's milk and went on to have healthy litters of their own later in life. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists describe how they printed layered lattices of gelatin strips to make the ovary implants. The sizes and positions of the holes in the structures were carefully controlled to hold dozens of follicles and allow blood vessels to connect to the implants. Mature eggs were then released from the implants as happens in normal ovulation.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

The Tech Sector Is Leaving the Rest of the US Economy In Its Dust

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 03:25
Yesterday afternoon, the S&P 500 closed at a record high, and is up over $1.5 trillion since the start of 2017. "And the companies doing the most to drive that rally are all tech firms," reports The Verge. "Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft make up a whopping 37 percent of the total gains." From the report: All of these companies saw their share prices touch record highs in recent months. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the U.S. economy, which grew at a rate of less than 1 percent during the first three months of this year. That divide is the culmination of a long-term trend, according to a recent report featured in The Wall Street Journal: "In digital industries -- technology, communications, media, software, finance and professional services -- productivity grew 2.7% annually over the past 15 years...The slowdown is concentrated in physical industries -- health care, transportation, education, manufacturing, retail -- where productivity grew a mere 0.7% annually over the same period." There is no industry where these players aren't competing. Music, movies, shipping, delivery, transportation, energy -- the list goes on and on. As these companies continue to scale, the network effects bolstering their business are strengthening. Facebook and Google accounted for over three-quarters of the growth in the digital advertising industry in 2016, leaving the rest to be divided among small fry like Twitter, Snapchat, and the entire American media industry. Meanwhile Apple and Alphabet have achieved a virtual duopoly on mobile operating systems, with only a tiny sliver of consumers choosing an alternative for their smartphones and tablets.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Our Obsession With Trailers Is Making Movies Worse

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 02:45
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via CNET: Our increasing obsession with trailers is changing how we watch movies. We're becoming audiences afraid of surprise, audiences that would rather watch movies we're certain we'll like than risk watching films that surprise us into love. In some cases, this fixation is even lowering the quality of movies themselves by encouraging bad filmmaking habits. The most extreme example happened when Warner Bros. released such a successful trailer for 'Suicide Squad' it brought on the company that cut it to edit the whole film -- dropping the director's original cut altogether. [...] Thanks to trailers' easy accessibility on YouTube and those shot-by-shot breakdowns that quickly appear online once trailers drop, anyone interested in a given flick can pore over all the available footage for hours -- even if that leads to major spoilers for them and everyone they share it with.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Is Returning to the Company

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 02:05
After leaving Twitter in 2011 to pursue new projects, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has announced that he's returning to the company to "guide company culture." Stone said in a statement: "It's important that everyone understands the whole story of Twitter and each of our roles in that story. I'll shape the experience internally so it's also felt outside the company." TechCrunch reports: About a month ago Stone sold his most recent startup, Jelly, to Pinterest. He said at the time that he wasn't required to stay on with Pinterest, so was available for new opportunities. Stone said he was recently back at Twitter as a "special guest" for an event open to employees, where current CEO and fellow co-founder Jack Dorsey -- another founder who left and then returned -- asked him onstage if he wanted to come back and work at Twitter. After some employee cheers, and a private clarification that Jack was in fact being serious, he accepted. Twitter diehards are reacting positively to the news -- many think that Twitter needs to get back to its roots, and what better way to do it than bringing back a co-founder? The market also seems to be happy. TWTR stock immediately jumped 2 percent on the news, reaching a three-month high of $19.62.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

HPE Unveils The Machine, a Single-Memory Computer Capable of Addressing 160 Terabytes

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced what it is calling a big breakthrough -- creating a prototype of a computer with a single bank of memory that can process enormous amounts of information. The computer, known as The Machine, is a custom-built device made for the era of big data. HPE said it has created the world's largest single-memory computer. The R&D program is the largest in the history of HPE, the former enterprise division of HP that split apart from the consumer-focused division. If the project works, it could be transformative for society. But it is no small effort, as it could require a whole new kind of software. The prototype unveiled today contains 160 terabytes (TB) of memory, capable of simultaneously working with the data held in every book in the Library of Congress five times over -- or approximately 160 million books. It has never been possible to hold and manipulate whole data sets of this size in a single-memory system, and this is just a glimpse of the immense potential of Memory-Driven Computing, HPE said. Based on the current prototype, HPE expects the architecture could easily scale to an exabyte-scale single-memory system and, beyond that, to a nearly limitless pool of memory -- 4,096 yottabytes. For context, that is 250,000 times the entire digital universe today.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

All Fossil-Fuel Vehicles Will Vanish In 8 Years, Says Stanford Study

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 00:40
Stanford University economist Tony Seba forecasts in his new report that petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will no longer be sold anywhere in the world within the next eight years. As a result, the transportation market will transition and switch entirely to electrification, "leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century," reports Financial Post. From the report: Seba's premise is that people will stop driving altogether. They will switch en masse to self-drive electric vehicles (EVs) that are ten times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1 million miles. Only nostalgics will cling to the old habit of car ownership. The rest will adapt to vehicles on demand. It will become harder to find a petrol station, spares, or anybody to fix the 2,000 moving parts that bedevil the internal combustion engine. Dealers will disappear by 2024. Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel. This will spread to suburbs, and then beyond. There will be a "mass stranding of existing vehicles." The value of second-hard cars will plunge. You will have to pay to dispose of your old vehicle. It is a twin "death spiral" for big oil and big autos, with ugly implications for some big companies on the London Stock Exchange unless they adapt in time. The long-term price of crude will fall to $25 a barrel. Most forms of shale and deep-water drilling will no longer be viable. Assets will be stranded. Scotland will forfeit any North Sea bonanza. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela will be in trouble.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

HTC Launches 'U11' Squeezable Smartphone With Snapdragon 835 CPU, No Headphone Jack

Slashdot - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 00:00
HTC has officially launched its newest flagship smartphone today, the U11. While it has competitive specifications for a flagship smartphone of 2017, such as a 5.5-inch, Quad HD display, and Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM, it has some unique features of its own. HTC is introducing a new way to interact with the U11 by letting you squeeze the sides of the device to perform different functions. The Verge reports: This new feature is called "Edge Sense," and it can be configured to do a variety of tasks with either short or long squeezes. You can set a short squeeze to open the camera and then take a picture when the camera app is open. A long squeeze can be configured to launch the Google voice assistant or toggle the flashlight on and off. In addition to Edge Sense, the U11 has a similar design to the U Ultra from earlier this year. That means it's metal and glass -- a departure from the all-aluminum unibody designs of past HTC phones -- with curved panels that blend into the metal frame and vibrant, pearlescent colors. That also means it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, instead relying on its USB Type-C port for charging, data transfer, and audio function. HTC says removing the headphone jack has a number of advantages, including allowing the company more room inside the phone for other components and making the design of the bottom edge smoother. It also allows for a better audio experience, as the included headphones have both audio tuning and active noise cancellation, without having to rely on a secondary battery. In addition to the headphones, HTC is including a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter for use with other headphones, which it didn't for the U Ultra.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

European Privacy Regulators Take Coordinated Action Against Facebook

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 23:20
An anonymous reader writes: European privacy regulators from as number of countries has made a coordinated action against Facebook for violating data protection laws. The French CNIL has sanctioned Facebook with a 150,000 EUR fine, and the regulator from Netherlands is considering a similar action. Regulators are concerned with new privacy policies of Facebook, lack of transparency, cookie handling and tracking Facebook users on third-party sites -- all without user knowledge or control. Such coordinated move is unprecedented in the history of European data protection regulators.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Amazon Targets Cord Cutters With First-Ever Integrated Fire TV Sets

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 22:41
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon is going to start shipping TV sets powered by the company's own smart TV operating system soon: The company began listing Element's Fire TV Edition TV sets for pre-order Tuesday, and is expected to start shipping them next month, when the devices will also reach other retailers. Amazon and Element as well as Element's sister company Westinghouse first announced Fire TV-based TV sets at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year. Now, the companies shared a number of additional details, including pricing. Element's 43-inch Fire TV Edition will retail for $449. A 50-inch model and a 55-inch model will cost $549 and $649, respectively, and a $65-inch model will retail for $899. Each of these devices support 4K video, and pack a quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for apps -- beefed-up specs that won't just guarantee smooth app performance and streaming, according to Amazon's VP of Smart TVs Sandeep Gupta, but are also meant to future-proof the device. "It will have a longer life cycle than a regular smart TV," he told Variety during a recent interview. The interface of the TV is virtually identical to that of a Fire TV box or stick, save for a few differences. There are extra tiles that let users switch their input devices to access game consoles, Blu-ray players and cable boxes.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Microsoft Commits $5 Million To 'Landmark' United Nations Technology Partnership

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 22:20
Microsoft and the United Nations (UN) have announced a five-year "landmark" partnership to develop technology to "better predict, analyze and respond to critical human rights situations," according to a statement issued today. From a report: Additionally, Microsoft will support work being carried out by the UN Human Rights Office by contributing $5 million to a grant in what the UN called an "unprecedented level of support" from a private organization. An example of the kind of technology the duo have been working on is an information dashboard called Rights View that gives UN employees access to real-time aggregated data on rights violations by country. This, it's hoped, will "facilitate analysis, ensure early warning of emerging critical issues, and provide data to guide responses," according to Microsoft.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Ford To Cut North America, Asia Salaried Workers By 10 Percent

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 22:00
Ford is planning a major round of layoffs that will cut up to 20,000 jobs around the world, according to reports published Monday. From a report: Ford plans to shrink its salaried workforce in North America and Asia by about 10 percent as it works to boost profits and its sliding stock price, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters. A person briefed on the plan said Ford plans to offer generous early retirement incentives to reduce its salaried headcount by Oct. 1, but does not plan cuts to its hourly workforce or its production. The move could put the U.S. automaker on a collision course with President Donald Trump, who has made boosting auto employment a top priority. Ford has about 30,000 salaried workers in the United States. The cuts are part of a previously announced plan to slash costs by $3 billion, the person said, as U.S. new vehicles auto sales have shown signs of decline after seven years of consecutive growth since the end of the Great Recession.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Big Banks Will Fall First To AI, China's Most Famous VC Predicts

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 21:20
An anonymous reader writes: Wall Street will be one of the first and largest industries to be automated by artificial intelligence, predicts Kai-Fu Lee, China's most famous venture capitalist and former Microsoft and Google executive. Lenders, money managers, and analysts -- any jobs that involve crunching numbers to estimate a return -- are at risk. "Banks have the curse of the baggage they have, like Kodak letting go of film," Lee says. "Their DNA is all wrong." [...] The big banks that dominate now, the venture capitalist predicts they will be outmaneuvered by smaller startups able to deploy new technology much faster.

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Apple To Refresh Entire MacBook Lineup Next Month, Air and Pro To Feature Kaby Lake

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 20:40
Apple will unveil new laptops during its annual developer conference, known as WWDC, next month, reports Bloomberg. The company is going to refresh the MacBook Pro (as well as Air and just the 'MacBook' models) with new seventh-gen processors from Intel, the newest available, the report adds. Last year, Apple launched three new MacBook Pro laptops with older sixth-generation chips, which means people who already own the newer model may be a bit dismayed by Apple's refresh. From the article: Apple is planning three new laptops, according to people familiar with the matter. The MacBook Pro will get a faster Kaby Lake processor from Intel, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. Apple is also working on a new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip. The company has also considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor as sales of the laptop, Apple's cheapest, remain surprisingly strong, one of the people said.

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US Law Allows Low H-1B Wages; Just Look At Apple

Slashdot - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 20:00
An anonymous reader writes: If you work at Apple's One Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino as a computer programmer on an H-1B visa, you can can be paid as little as $52,229. That's peanuts in Silicon Valley. Average wages for a programmer in Santa Clara County are more than $93,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the U.S. government will approve visa applications for Silicon Valley programmers at $52,229 -- and, in fact, did so for hundreds of potential visa holders at Apple alone. To be clear, this doesn't mean there are hundreds of programmers at Apple working for that paltry sum. Apple submitted a form to the U.S. saying it was planning on hiring 150 computer programmers beginning June 14 at this wage. But it's not doing that. Instead, this is a paperwork exercise by immigration attorneys to give an employer -- in this case, Apple -- maximum latitude with the H-1B laws. The forms-submittal process doesn't always reflect actual hiring goals or wage levels. Apple didn't want to comment for the story, but it did confirm some things. It says it hires on the basis on qualifications and that all employees -- visa holders and U.S. workers alike -- are paid equitably and it conducts internal studies to back this up. There are bonuses on top of base pay. Apple may not be paying low wages to H-1B workers, but it can pay low wages to visa workers if it wanted. This fact is at the heart of the H-1B battle.

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