Slashdot Asks: Are Curved TVs Worth It?

Slashdot - Sat, 25/02/2017 - 12:45am
New submitter cherishjoo shares a report written by David Katzmaier via CNET: When the first curved TVs appeared more than three years ago I asked whether they were a gimmick. As a TV reviewer I had to give the curve a fighting chance, however, so I took a curved Samsung home to live with my family for awhile, in addition to subjecting it to a full CNET review. In the end, I answered my own question with the headline "Great picture quality, but the curved screen is a flat-out gimmick." Since then most of the video geeks I know, including just about everybody I hear from on Twitter, Facebook and article comments, pooh-poohs curved TV screens as a useless distraction. A curved TV takes the traditional flat screen and bends it along a gentle arc. The edges end up a bit closer, ostensibly providing a slight wraparound effect. Curved TV makers, citing huge curved screens like IMAX, call their sets more "immersive" than their flat counterparts, but in my experience that claim doesn't hold water at in-home (as opposed to theatrical) screen sizes and viewing distances. The only real image-quality benefit I saw to the curve was a reduction in reflections in some cases. That benefit wasn't worth the slight geometric distortions introduced by the curve, not to mention its awkwardness when hung on the wall. That said, the curve doesn't ruin an otherwise good picture. In TVs, assuming similar prices, curved vs. flat boils down to a choice of aesthetics. As Katzmaier mentioned, curved TVs have been on the market for several years now, and while manufacturers continue to produce them, the verdict on whether or not the pros outweigh the cons is still murky. Here's our question for you: Are curved televisions worth the inflated price tag? If you are in the market for a new TV, does the fact that the display is curved entice you or steer you away?

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Categories: Science

Killing Kim Jong Nam With VX Nerve Agent Crossed a ‘Red Line’

Wired News - Sat, 25/02/2017 - 12:39am
The apparent assassination of Kim Jong-un's half-brother sets off alarms for chemical weapons experts. The post Killing Kim Jong Nam With VX Nerve Agent Crossed a 'Red Line' appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

World's Largest Spam Botnet Adds DDoS Feature

Slashdot - Sat, 25/02/2017 - 12:05am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via BleepingComputer: Necurs, the world's largest spam botnet with nearly five million infected bots, of which one million are active each day, has added a new module that can be used for launching DDoS attacks. The sheer size of the Necurs botnet, even in its worst days, dwarfs all of today's IoT botnets. The largest IoT botnet ever observed was Mirai Botnet #14 that managed to rack up around 400,000 bots towards the end of 2016 (albeit the owner of that botnet has now been arrested). If this new feature were to ever be used, a Necurs DDoS attack would easily break every DDoS record there is. Fortunately, no such attack has been seen until now. Until now, the Necurs botnet has been seen spreading the Dridex banking trojan and the Locky ransomware. According to industry experts, there's a low chance we'd see the Necurs botnet engage in DDoS attacks because the criminal group behind the botnet is already making too much money to risk exposing their full infrastructure in DDoS attacks.

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Categories: Science

FCC To Halt Rule That Protects Your Private Data From Security Breaches

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 11:20pm
According to Ars Technica, "The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers' personal information." From the report: The data security rule is part of a broader privacy rulemaking implemented under former Chairman Tom Wheeler but opposed by the FCC's new Republican majority. The privacy order's data security obligations are scheduled to take effect on March 2, but Chairman Ajit Pai wants to prevent that from happening. The data security rule requires ISPs and phone companies to take "reasonable" steps to protect customers' information -- such as Social Security numbers, financial and health information, and Web browsing data -- from theft and data breaches. The rule would be blocked even if a majority of commissioners supported keeping them in place, because the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau can make the decision on its own. That "full commission vote on the pending petitions" could wipe out the entire privacy rulemaking, not just the data security section, in response to petitions filed by trade groups representing ISPs. That vote has not yet been scheduled. The most well-known portion of the privacy order requires ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties. The opt-in rule is supposed to take effect December 4, 2017, unless the FCC or Congress eliminates it before then. Pai has said that ISPs shouldn't face stricter rules than online providers like Google and Facebook, which are regulated separately by the Federal Trade Commission. Pai wants a "technology-neutral privacy framework for the online world" based on the FTC's standards. According to today's FCC statement, the data security rule "is not consistent with the FTC's privacy standards."

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Categories: Science

It’s Eagles vs. Drones, Plus the Week’s Other Prizefights

Wired News - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 10:47pm
We're proud to bring NextDraft—the most righteous, most essential newsletter on the web—to WIRED.com. The post It's Eagles vs. Drones, Plus the Week's Other Prizefights appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Toshiba Plans To Ship a 1TB Flash Chip To Manufacturers This Spring

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 10:40pm
Lucas123 writes: Toshiba has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND memory product, a chip with 64 stacked flash cells that it said will enable a 1TB chip shipping later this spring. The new flash memory product has 65% greater capacity than the previous generation technology, which used 48 layers of NAND flash cells. The chip will be used in data centers and consumer SSD products. The technology announcement comes even as suitors are eyeing buying a majority share of the company's memory business. Along with a previous report about Western Digital, Foxxcon, SK Hynix and Micron Technology have now also thrown their hats in the ring to purchase a majority share in Toshiba's memory spin-off, according to a new report in the Nikkei's Asian Review.

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Categories: Science

Security Lapse Exposed New York Airport's Critical Servers For a Year

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 10:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A security lapse at a New York international airport left its server backups exposed on the open internet for almost a year, ZDNet has found. The internet-connected storage drive contained several backup images of servers used by Stewart International Airport, but neither the backup drive nor the disk images were password protected, allowing anyone to access their contents. Since April last year, the airport had been inadvertently leaking its own highly-sensitive files as a result of the drive's misconfiguration. Vickery, who also posted an analysis of his findings, said the drive "was, in essence, acting as a public web server" because the airport was backing up unprotected copies of its systems to a Buffalo-branded drive, installed by a contract third-party IT specialist. When contacted Thursday, the contractor dismissed the claims and would not comment further. Though the listing still appears on Shodan, the search engine for unprotected devices and databases, the drive has since been secured. The files contained eleven disk images, accounting for hundreds of gigabytes of files and folders, which when mounted included dozens of airport staff email accounts, sensitive human resources files, interoffice memos, payroll data, and what appears to be a large financial tracking database. Many of the files we reviewed include "confidential" internal airport documents, which contain schematics and details of other core infrastructure.

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Categories: Science

Studios Push for $50 Early Home Movie Rentals

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:20pm
As many as five major Hollywood studios have been working with cinema owners to shrink the traditional release window and allow consumers to rent movies on-demand in as little as 17 days after they hit theaters, reports Variety. From the article: Warner Bros. and Universal have been the most aggressive in pursuing an arrangement that would see certain movies receive a premium video-on-demand release within weeks of their theatrical premieres, but now other studios are joining the discussions. Twentieth Century Fox has also begun to talk early releases with theater owners, while Sony is having its own separate talks with exhibitors and is trying to devise its own plan. Paramount, which previously did a pilot program with AMC and a few other exhibitors to release "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" and "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" on digital platforms early, has continued to seek a similar strategy. Though different studios are exploring different scenarios, the plan that has gathered the most steam would involve offering up movies for $50 a rental some 17 days after their theatrical opening. Those rentals would be available for 48 hours. The latest round of discussions began roughly 18 months ago.

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Categories: Science

Novel 'barcode' tracking of T cells in immunotherapy patients identifies likely cancer-killers

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:06pm
A new discovery makes an important step in identifying which specific T cells within the diverse army of a person's immune system are best suited to fight cancer.
Categories: Science

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:06pm
Bioengineers have developed a new tool to identify RNA-DNA interactions. The tool can provide a full account of all the RNA molecules that interact with a segment of DNA, as well as the locations of all these interactions -- in just a single experiment. The research is a step toward identifying new functions and instructions encoded in the genome.
Categories: Science

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:06pm
Origami-inspired materials use folds in materials to embed powerful functionality. However, all that folding can be pretty labor intensive. Now, researchers are drawing material inspiration from another ancient Japanese paper craft -- kirigami.
Categories: Science

New structural studies reveal workings of a molecular pump that ejects cancer drugs

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:06pm
Sometimes cells spit out things we don't want them to -- like medications. Researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a tiny pump that expels, among other things, chemotherapy agents. This new knowledge could lead to the design of more effective drugs.
Categories: Science

The making of music

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 9:06pm
A new study suggests that music -- and specifically infant-directed song -- evolved as a way for parents to signal to children that their needs are being met, while still freeing up parents to perform other tasks, like foraging for food, or caring for other offspring.
Categories: Science

Boeing and Airbus Can't Make Enough Airplanes To Keep Up With Demand

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 8:40pm
From a report on Axios: Aerospace manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus cannot produce airplanes fast enough to meet demand despite what the Wall Street Journal calls "one of the industry's steepest production increases since World War II." The run up in demand is partially the result of fast-growing airline industries in the Middle East and China. Manufacturers will need to increase production by 30% to meet current orders, and such booming demand is one sign of a healthier global economy.

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Categories: Science

Google Renames Messenger To Android Messages as the Company Pushes RCS

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 8:00pm
We have come a long way from the age of flip phones and nine-key texting. Even as if group messaging and instant messengers took over, the SMS has largely retained its core standard over the years. Google wants to change that, and for this, it has been working with hundreds of carriers and manufacturers around the world to bring the text message into the 21st century. Using a standard called Rich Communications Services, the group plans to make a texting app that comes with your phone and is every bit as powerful as those dedicated messaging apps. This would make all the best features available to everyone with an Android phone. From a report on BetaNews: Just last week we were talking about Google's championing of RCS (Rich Communication Services), the successor to SMS. Now the company has renamed its Messenger app to Android Messages as it aims to become not just the default SMS app, but the default RCS app for Android users. Part of the reason for the name change is to convey the idea that the app is now about more than just one type of message. Google is betting big on RCS and this is hinted at in the app update description which says it adds "Simpler sign-up for enhanced features on supported carriers."

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Categories: Science

Americans Believe Robots Will Take Everyone Else's Job, But Theirs Will Be Safe, Study Says

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 7:20pm
An anonymous reader shares a CNBC report: You may accept, by now, that robots will take over lots of jobs currently held by human workers. But you probably believe they won't be taking yours. Though other industries are in danger, your position is safe. That's according to a report released by LivePerson, a cloud-based messaging company which surveyed 2,000 U.S.-based consumers online in January. Their researchers find that only three percent of respondents say they experience fear about losing their job to a robot once a week. By contrast, more than 40 percent of respondents never worry about it. And a whopping 65 percent of respondents either strongly or somewhat agree that other industries will suffer because of automation, but theirs will be fine.

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Categories: Science

Hip to Be Square

Wired News - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 7:17pm
Where else can Instagram go from here? The post Hip to Be Square appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Tesla Is So Sure Its Cars Are Safe That It Now Offers Insurance For Life

Slashdot - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 6:40pm
In the self-driving future envisioned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, car owners might be saying "goodbye" to a whole lot more than steering wheels. From a Mashable report: Musk is so sure of the safety features bundled into Tesla vehicles that his company has begun offering some customers a lifetime insurance and maintenance package at the time of purchase. No more monthly insurance bills. No more unexpected repair costs. "We've been doing it quietly," Tesla President of Global Sales and Service Jonathan McNeill explained on the call, "but in Asia in particular where we started this, now the majority of Tesla cars are sold with an insurance product that is customized to Tesla, that takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance costs of the car." "It's our vision in the future that we'll be able to offer a single price for the car, maintenance and insurance in a really compelling offering for the consumer," added McNeill. "And we're currently doing that today."

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Categories: Science

New software allows for 'decoding digital brain data'

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 6:39pm
New software allows for 'decoding digital brain data' to reveal how neural activity gives rise to learning, memory and other cognitive functions. The software can be used in real time during an fMRI brain scan.
Categories: Science

Antibiotic resistance: A burgeoning problem for kids too

Science Daily - Fri, 24/02/2017 - 6:39pm
In a new, first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found a 700-percent surge in infections caused by bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family resistant to multiple kinds of antibiotics among children in the US. These antibiotic resistant infections are in turn linked to longer hospital stays and potentially greater risk of death.
Categories: Science