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Showing posts from August, 2016

Hospitals Try Giving Patients a Dose of VR

Hospitals Try Giving Patients a Dose of VR
With the price of hardware falling, VR equipment has become a more affordable option for doctors
By Ian King  Caroline Chen August 29, 2016 — 4:00 AM PDT
VR Movies Could Be Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You
When Deona Duke woke up from a medically-induced coma to begin recovering from burns that covered almost a third of her body, one of her treatments was hurling snowballs at penguins. The 13-year-old was set on fire when a bonfire exploded on her and her friend. To prevent infection, burn victims need their bandages changed and dead skin scraped away. Sometimes, even morphine isn’t enough to make that tolerable.
At the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Duke’s doctors gave her a virtual reality headset. Slipping it on, she was immersed in “SnowWorld,” an icy landscape where she got to lob snow at snowmen and igloos. The Texas hospital is one of the few trying out virtual reality to relieve pain.
“I’d never heard of it so I was a…

Ship Operators Explore Autonomous Sailing - with minimal or even no crew

Ship Operators Explore Autonomous Sailing
More automation will enable them to optimize use of cargo vessels, cut fuel consumption and labor costs
By ROBERT WALL in London and COSTAS PARIS in New York Aug. 31, 2016 5:30 a.m. ET
“All hands on deck” may become a thing of the past.
Ship designers, their operators and regulators are gearing up for a future in which cargo vessels sail the oceans with minimal or even no crew. Advances in automation and ample bandwidth even far offshore could herald the biggest change in shipping since diesel engines replaced steam.
Ship operators believe more automation will enable them to optimize ship use, including cutting fuel consumption. “The benefit of automation is as an enabler of further efficiency across the 630 vessels we operate,” said Palle Laursen, head of Maersk Line Ship Management, a unit of cargo-ship giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.
British engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC is leading the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications ini…

Apple's $14.5 Billion EU Tax Bill Could Test U.S.-E.U. Relations

Apple's $14.5 Billion Tax Bill Could Test U.S.-E.U. Relations
by Reuters  AUGUST 31, 2016, 11:43 AM EDT
Despite the U.S. being the ones to plant the idea.
The U.S. is furious at the EU for handing Apple a $14.5 billion tax demand on Tuesday, but EU officials say it was Washington which put them on to the scheme in the first place.
It was a U.S. Senate report in May 2013 revealing the tech giant’s deal with the Irish government to rule a big slice of its global earnings untaxable that prompted the European Commission to launch its own inquiries the following month.
The U.S. Treasury said the Commission’s order that Apple pay 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland—which the company and Dublin are appealing—endangers EU-U.S. economic relations just as efforts to reach a transatlantic free trade pact unravel.
A senior Democratic senator said Brussels had made “a cheap money grab” for U.S. revenues.
But his party colleague who chaired hearings into Apple’s taxes three years ago, C…

IRS doesn’t tell 1 million taxpayers that illegals stole their Social Security numbers

IRS doesn’t tell 1 million taxpayers that illegals stole their Social Security numbers
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2016
The IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants, but officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency’s inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday.
Investigators first alerted the IRS to the problem five years ago, but it’s still not fixed, the inspector general said, and a pilot program meant to test a solution was canceled, and fell woefully short anyway.
As a result most taxpayers don’t learn that their identities have been stolen and their Social Security files may be screwed up.
“Taxpayers identified as victims of employment-related identity theft are not notified,” the inspector general said.
Victims’ numbers are stolen by illegal immigrants who need to give employers a valid Social Security number in order to get a…

Facebook recommended that this psychiatrist’s patients friend each other

Facebook recommended that this psychiatrist’s patients friend each other
By Kashmir Hill 8/29/16 4:21 PM
Facebook’s ability to figure out the “people we might know” is sometimes eerie. Many a Facebook user has been creeped out when a one-time Tinder date or an ex-boss from 10 years ago suddenly pops up as a friend recommendation. How does the big blue giant know?
While some of these incredibly accurate friend suggestions are amusing, others are alarming, such as this story from Lisa*, a psychiatrist who is an infrequent Facebook user, mostly signing in to RSVP for events. Last summer, she noticed that the social network had started recommending her patients as friends—and she had no idea why.
“I haven’t shared my email or phone contacts with Facebook,” she told me over the phone.
The next week, things got weirder.
Most of her patients are senior citizens or people with serious health or developmental issues, but she has one outlier: a 30-something snowboarder. Usually, Facebook would…

An Internet Giveaway to the U.N. - If the U.S. abdicates internet stewardship, the United Nations might take control

An Internet Giveaway to the U.N. If the U.S. abdicates internet stewardship, the United Nations might take control.
By L. GORDON CROVITZ Aug. 28, 2016 5:52 p.m. ET
When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up U.S. protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, U.N. control is the likely result if the U.S. gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on Sept. 30.
On Friday Americans for Limited Government received a response to its Freedom of Information Act request for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis . . . concerning antitrust issues for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” if the U.S. gives up oversight. The administration replied it had “conducted a thorough search for responsive records within its possession and control and found no records responsive to your request.”
It’s shocking the administration admits it has no plan fo…

Scientists stunned by huge MIT discovery in 4D Printing

Scientists stunned by huge MIT discovery AUGUST 27, 2016 BY DAN TAYLOR
Researchers at MIT have just made a discovery that could totally change how we manufacture stuff in the future.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has done a lot of important scientific work over the years, and you can add another discovery to the pile: researchers at MIT have created new 3D printed structures that can “remember” their shapes, even after they are stretched and bent to oblivion, which could lead to breakthroughs in solar cells and drug capsules that release medicine only when a fever is detected.
In cooperation with the Sinapore University of Technology and Design, the MIT researchers found a way to print tiny features on a micron scale, and then bent them — causing them to spring back into their original shape afterwards after being heated to a certain temperatures, according to an MIT statement.
There are so many potential important applications for the discovery, including actuators that…

Amazon is piloting teams with a 30-hour workweek

Amazon is piloting teams with a 30-hour workweek
By Karen Turner August 26 at 11:56 AM
Amazon.com will soon launch a program to experiment with a 30-hour workweek for select employees.
The program will have a few technical teams made up entirely of part-time workers. These 30-hour employees will be salaried and receive the same benefits as traditional 40-hour workers, but they will receive only 75 percent of the pay full-time workers earn. Currently, the company employs part-time workers that share the same benefits as full-time workers. However, the pilot program would differ in that an entire team, including managers, would work reduced hours.
Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.
"We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth," states a posting by the company on Eventbrite.com for an informational seminar. "This initiative was created with Amazon's diverse work…

EU News publishers could charge search engines for story extracts under new rules

News publishers could charge search engines for story extracts
Copyright reforms by European Commission would require likes of Google to agree terms
about 8 hours ago
European news publishers will be given the right to levy fees on internet platforms such as Google if search engines show snippets of their stories, under radical copyright reforms being finalised by the European Commission.
The proposals, to be published in September, are aimed at diluting the power of big online operators, whose market share in areas such as search leads to unbalanced commercial negotiations between the search engine and content creators, according to officials.
The move will heap further pressure on the already strained relationship between Silicon Valley and Brussels, which are embroiled in increasingly fractious arguments over issues covering competition, tax and privacy. On Wednesday, the US Treasury department attacked commission moves to levy billions of euro from Apple for alleged underpayment …

Apple boosts iPhone Security After Mideast Spyware Discovery

APPLE BOOSTS IPHONE SECURITY AFTER MIDEAST SPYWARE DISCOVERY BY RAPHAEL SATTER ASSOCIATED PRESS Aug 25, 1:35 PM EDT
PARIS (AP) -- A botched attempt to break into the iPhone of an Arab activist using hitherto unknown espionage software has trigged a global upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system, researchers said Thursday.
The spyware took advantage of three previously undisclosed weaknesses in Apple's iPhone to take complete control of the devices, according to reports published Thursday by the San Francisco-based Lookout smartphone security company and internet watchdog group Citizen Lab. Both reports fingered the NSO Group, an Israeli company with a reputation for flying under the radar, as the author of the spyware.
"The threat actor has never been caught before," said Mike Murrary, a researcher with Lookout, describing the program as "the most sophisticated spyware package we have seen in the market."
The reports issued by Lookout and Citizen Lab ou…

Baltimore Police Respond To Report Of Secret Aerial Surveillance Program

Baltimore Police Respond To Report Of Secret Aerial Surveillance Program August 24, 2016 11:04 PM
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Since January, the city of Baltimore has been under intermittent surveillance from the sky, and the public was never told, according to a report out this week in Bloomberg Businessweek.
A small Cessna airplane equipped with cameras spent hours flying over the city, and feeding its footage back to huge hard drives, the report says.
The Baltimore Police Department held a press conference on the matter Wednesday afternoon, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake put out a statement around the same time.
“I was recently made aware of the Persistent Surveillance Systems Inc. work with our city,” Rawlings-Blake wrote.
“The pilot program, funded by an anonymous donor, is cutting edge technology aimed at making Baltimore safer. My top priority, which I have continuously communicated to Commissioner Davis, has been to keep our city safe. His team sought opportunities to find new tech…

Android 7.0, Nougat: The complete FAQ

ANDROID INTELLIGENCE
By JR Raphael
Android 7.0, Nougat: The complete FAQ

Google's Android 7.0 Nougat release is full of fresh new features and flavors. This detailed (and delightfully chewy!)
Computerworld | Aug 23, 2016 9:26 AM PT

I never knew it was possible for so many people to be excited about Nougat.

Heck, I don't think I'd even heard the word "nougat" more than 20 times -- ever, in my entire life -- up until Google decided to use the sweet treat as the name for its latest Android release.

But alas, here we are: Android 7.0 is officially on its way into the world, and that means the honey, egg, and nut-based gloop (yup, that's nougat for ya) is atop many a tech-lover's mind.

So what's Nougat -- the Android software, that is -- all about? And what'll it mean for you? Here are answers to all of your burning questions.

(Warning: Consumption of this story may cause you to eat several to several dozen candy bars. The author accepts no responsibil…

World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore

World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore By ANNABELLE LIANG and DEE-ANN DURBIN  Aug. 25, 2016 12:15 AM EDT
SINGAPORE (AP) — The world's first self-driving taxis will be picking up passengers in Singapore starting Thursday.
Select members of the public will be able to hail a free ride through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy says it will be the first to offer rides to the public. It will beat ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.
The service will start small — six cars now, growing to a dozen by the end of the year. The ultimate goal, say nuTonomy officials, is to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018, which will help sharply cut the number of cars on Singapore's congested roads. Eventually,…

Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016

Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016
After touting profitability in the U.S. early this year, the ride-hailing company is said to post second-quarter losses exceeding $100 million. By Eric Newcomer
August 25, 2016 — 5:00 AM PDT
The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.
On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber's losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.
In the first quarter of this year, Uber lost about $520 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to people familiar with the matter. In the second quarter the losses significantly exceeded $750 million, including a roughly $100 million shortfall in the U.S., those people said. Th…