Giant Predatory Worms Are Invading France

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: In a Peer J study published on May 22, “Giant worms chez moi!” zoologist Jean-Lou Justine of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, entomologist colleagues, and Pierre Gros, outline a discovery that “highlights an unexpected blind spot of scientists and authorities facing an invasion by conspicuous large invasive animals.” About 100 citizen scientists ultimately contributed to the assessment of this alien invasion, identifying five giant predatory worm species in France that grow up to 10 inches long. The study relied on contributors’ worm sightings, reported “mainly by email, sometimes by telephone.” Researchers requested photographs and details about locality. In 2013, the Washington Post reports, “a group of terrorized kindergartners claimed they saw a mass of writhing snakes in their play field.” These were giant flatworms! The study concludes that the alien creatures appear to reproduce asexually. They prey on other, smaller earthworms, stunning them with toxins. “The planarian also produces secretions from its headplate and body that adhere it to the prey, despite often sudden violent movements of the latter during this stage of capture,” researcher note. In other words, the hammerheads produce a substance that allows them to stick to victims while killing them. The study points out that invasive alien flatworms have been spotted in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Australia. But the five species of hammerhead flatworms invading France are giants, growing up to 27 centimeters.

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Source: Slashdot – Giant Predatory Worms Are Invading France

FBI admits to 'over-counting' inaccessible mobile devices

For the last two years, the FBI has repeatedly claimed that thousands of phones linked to criminal investigations were inaccessible due to locks and encryption. Last year FBI Director Christopher Wray said it had failed to access 7,800 mobile devices…

Source: Engadget – FBI admits to ‘over-counting’ inaccessible mobile devices

FBI Reportedly Overstated Encryption Threat Figures To Congress, Public

mi shares a report from The Washington Post (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): The FBI has repeatedly provided grossly inflated statistics to Congress and the public about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cellphones, claiming investigators were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes last year when the correct number was much smaller, probably between 1,000 and 2,000.

Over a period of seven months, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray cited the inflated figure as the most compelling evidence for the need to address what the FBI calls “Going Dark” — the spread of encrypted software that can block investigators’ access to digital data even with a court order. “The FBI’s initial assessment is that programming errors resulted in significant over-counting of mobile devices reported,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. The bureau said the problem stemmed from the use of three distinct databases that led to repeated counting of phones. Tests of the methodology conducted in April 2016 failed to detect the flaw, according to people familiar with the work.

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Source: Slashdot – FBI Reportedly Overstated Encryption Threat Figures To Congress, Public

Sony In $2.3 Billion Deal For EMI, Becomes World's Biggest Music Publisher

Sony said on Tuesday it would pay about $2.3 billion to gain control of EMI, becoming the world’s largest music publisher in an industry that has found new life on the back of streaming services. Reuters reports: The acquisition is the biggest strategic move yet by new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and gives Sony a catalogue of more than 2 million songs from artists such as Kanye West, Sam Smith and Sia. The deal is part of Yoshida’s mission to make revenue streams more stable with rights to entertainment content — a strategy that follows a major revamp by his predecessor which shifted Sony’s focus away from low-margin consumer electronics. The spread of the internet led to a shrinking of the music market from around 1999 to 2014, Yoshida said, but added that has turned around with the growth of fixed-price music streaming services. The deal values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion including debt, more than double the $2.2 billion value given in 2011 when a consortium led by Sony won bidding rights for the company. EMI currently commands 15 percent of the music publishing industry which combined with its Sony ATV business would make the Japanese giant the industry leader with market share of 26 percent, a company spokesman said.

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Source: Slashdot – Sony In .3 Billion Deal For EMI, Becomes World’s Biggest Music Publisher

BMW's speedy, stylish EV chargers will spread across Europe

Who said EV chargers had to be plain and utilitarian? Not BMW. Its Designworks team has been tapped to create ultra-fast 350kW chargers for Ionity’s Europe-wide network, and you might actually enjoy using them. They’re designed to be “inviting” wi…

Source: Engadget – BMW’s speedy, stylish EV chargers will spread across Europe

Google Launches YouTube Music Service With Creepy AI To Predict Listening Habits

Audiofan writes: Will the new YouTube Music streaming service provide the soundtrack to your life? Google believes that its ability to harness the power of artificial intelligence will help the new service catch up to its rivals in the music streaming business. Google’s latest attempt to compete with Spotify and Apple Music may finally have what it takes if it doesn’t creep users out in the process. While the service officially rolls out on Tuesday, May 22nd, only some users will be able to use it at launch. What separates YouTube’s music streaming service from the competition is its catalog of remixes, live versions, and covers of official versions of songs. It also uses the Google Assistant to make music recommendations based on everything it knows (and can learn) about you and your listening habits. “When you arrive at the gym, for example, YouTube Music will offer up a playlist of hard-hitting pump-up jams (if that’s your thing),” reports Audioholics. “Late at night, softer tunes will set a more relaxing mood.” YouTube Music is free with ads, but will cost $9.99 for ad-free listening. There is also YouTube Premium, which will cost $11.99 per month, and will include both the ad-free music service and the exclusive video content from the now-defunct YouTube Red.

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Source: Slashdot – Google Launches YouTube Music Service With Creepy AI To Predict Listening Habits

Razer Slims Down Blade, Debuts MacOS-Compatible eGPU Enclosure

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Today, Razer debuted big updates to its Razer Blade laptop, focusing on design and performance to usher the gaming notebook into 2018. While the new Blade still looks unmistakably “Razer,” its design has changed dramatically for the better. Razer upped the screen size from 14 inches to 15.6 inches, reducing the surrounding bezels to just 4.9mm so that the device fits in with the other nearly bezel-less ultrabooks popular today. Razer is offering 1080p 60Hz or 144Hz panels, along with a 4K touchscreen option as well. The larger display panel makes the laptop slightly heavier than its predecessor, and it’s a bit wider overall, too (4.7 pounds and 9.3 inches, respectively). However, the slimmer bezels, sharper edges, and aluminum unibody make the new Razer Blade look like a clear upgrade from the previous model.

Another new addition to the Razer lineup is the Core X, a Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure with space for large, three-slot wide graphics cards. The Core X joins the Core V2 graphics enclosure as one of Razer’s solutions for gamers who want to add desktop-like graphics power to their laptops — and it’s more affordable than the V2 as well. While it’s a bit stockier than Razer’s existing enclosure, the Core X has an aluminum body with open vents to properly handle heat, regardless of the task at hand. The Core X connects to a compatible notebook through one Thunderbolt 3 port, providing eGPU access and 100W of power thanks to its 650 ATX power supply. It’s both cheaper and seemingly easier to use than the V2, but that comes with some compromises: the Core X doesn’t have Chroma lighting, and it lacks USB and Ethernet ports. Some other specs of the new Blade include a Intel Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 or 1070 with Max-Q graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of PCIe-based SSD, and 80Whr battery. There are three USB-A 3.1 ports, one proprietary charging port, one Thunderbolt 3 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and an HDMI port.

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Source: Slashdot – Razer Slims Down Blade, Debuts MacOS-Compatible eGPU Enclosure

Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth Pulls No Punches on Red Hat and VMware in OpenStack Cloud

At OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada this week, Canonical CEO and Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth came out firing at two of his major enterprise OpenStack competitors: Red Hat and VMware. He claimed that Canonical OpenStack is a better deal than either Red Hat or VMware’s OpenStack offerings. From a report: Shuttleworth opened quietly enough, saying, “Mission is to remove all the friction from deploying OpenStack. We can deliver OpenStack deployments with two people in less two weeks anywhere in the world.” So far, so typical for a keynote speech. But, then Shuttleworth started to heat things up: “Amazon increased efficiency, so now everyone is driving down cost of infrastructure. Everyone engages with Ubuntu, not Red Hat or VMware. Google, IBM, Microsoft are investing and innovating to drive down the cost of infrastructure. Every single one of those companies works with Canonical to deliver public services.” Then, Shuttleworth got down to brass tacks: “Not one of them engages with VMware to offer those public services. They can’t afford to. Clearly, they have the cash, but they have to compete on efficiencies, and so does your private cloud.” So, Canonical is rolling rolling out a migration service to help users shift from VMware to a “fully managed” version of Canonical’s Ubuntu OpenStack distribution. Customers want this, Shuttleworth said, because, “When we take out VMware we are regularly told that our fully managed OpenStack solution costs half of the equivalent VMware service.”

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Source: Slashdot – Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth Pulls No Punches on Red Hat and VMware in OpenStack Cloud

Police use of Amazon’s face-recognition service draws privacy warnings

Enlarge (credit: Amazon)

Amazon is actively courting law-enforcement agencies to use a cloud-based facial-recognition service that can identify people in real time, the American Civil Liberties Union reported Tuesday, citing the documents obtained from two US departments.

The service, which Amazon markets under the name Rekognition, can recognize as many as 100 people in a single image and can compare images against databases containing tens of millions of faces. Company executives describe deployment by law enforcement agencies as common use case.

“Cameras all over the city”

Rekognition is already being used by the Orlando Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, according to documents the ACLU obtained under Freedom of Information requests. Both agencies became customers last year. The entire list of returned documents is here.

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Source: Ars Technica – Police use of Amazon’s face-recognition service draws privacy warnings

Twitter brings modern features to its web and Windows apps

Twitter’s other clients now have some of the features you take for granted using its main apps. Its mobile web version, Twitter Lite and Twitter for Windows now support night mode, real-time updates on replies, likes and retweets as well as a newer T…

Source: Engadget – Twitter brings modern features to its web and Windows apps

Here's The Difference Between Synthetic And Normal Motor Oil, And What The Numbers On The Bottle Mean

I just changed the oil in my Nissan Pao last week, and in doing so I was warned—several times—that my plan to replace the conventional oil in my car with synthetic was a terrible idea. But you know what? It’s not! That got me thinking that maybe a little oil refresher might be of use. Not to you, of course, you know

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Source: Gizmodo – Here’s The Difference Between Synthetic And Normal Motor Oil, And What The Numbers On The Bottle Mean

European Lawmakers Asked Mark Zuckerberg Why They Shouldn't Break Up Facebook

European lawmakers questioned Mark Zuckerberg in Brussels today for almost an hour and a half, asking him to address concerns about the Cambridge Analytica data leak and Facebook’s potential monopoly. German MEP Manfred Weber asked whether the Facebook CEO could name a single European alternative to his “empire,” which includes apps like WhatsApp and Instagram in addition to Facebook. “I think it’s time to discuss breaking up Facebook’s monopoly, because it’s already too much power in only one hand,” said Weber. “So I ask you simple, and that is my final question: can you convince me not to do so?” Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt then chimed in and asked whether Facebook would cooperate with European antitrust authorities to determine whether the company was indeed a monopoly, and if it was, whether Facebook would accept splitting off WhatsApp or Messenger to remedy the problem. The Verge reports: The panel’s format let Zuckerberg selectively reply to questions at the end of the session, and he didn’t address Verhofstadt’s points. Instead, he broadly outlined how Facebook views “competition” in various spaces. “We exist in a very competitive space where people use a lot of different tools for communication,” said Zuckerberg. “From where I sit, it feels like there are new competitors coming up every day” in the messaging and social networking space. He also said that Facebook didn’t hold an advertising monopoly because it only controlled 6 percent of the global advertising market. (It’s worth noting: this is still a huge number.) And he argued that Facebook promoted competition by making it easier for small businesses to reach larger audiences — which is basically unrelated to the question of whether Facebook itself is a monopoly.

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Source: Slashdot – European Lawmakers Asked Mark Zuckerberg Why They Shouldn’t Break Up Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg Played Parliament for Fools and They're Pissed

For a moment, Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before members of the European Parliament looked like it was going to be a very bad day for the Facebook CEO. Then he started answering questions, a flood of pablum spewed from his mouth, and everyone got angry.

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Source: Gizmodo – Mark Zuckerberg Played Parliament for Fools and They’re Pissed

EPA boots reporters from meeting on chemicals called a PR disaster

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Source: Ars Technica – EPA boots reporters from meeting on chemicals called a PR disaster

MIT teaches self-driving cars to change lanes like real drivers

Autonomous vehicles really don’t know how to switch lanes as well as people do. They tend to rely on either relatively static data models that are difficult to study in the thick of traffic, or are basic enough that the car might only change lanes wh…

Source: Engadget – MIT teaches self-driving cars to change lanes like real drivers

Amazon Is Banning People For Making Too Many Returns

Amazon — which for years has maintained the standard for free returns online — might now ban users for making too many returns. From a report:The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday documented complaints that the e-commerce giant had barred customers who had returned items. Amazon apparently failed to alert the customers that they had returned too many items before the bans. The Journal spoke with two people and cited dozens more online who said they had been barred from Amazon, as well as others who received emails from the company after returning some items. The two people who spoke with The Journal seem to be part of a wave of hundreds of people who were barred from Amazon in late March and early April, as previously reported by Business Insider.

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Source: Slashdot – Amazon Is Banning People For Making Too Many Returns

Toshiba Ships dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses Powered by Intel Core M & Windows 10 Pro

Toshiba this month started selling its first wearable AR smart glasses designed for business and industrial applications. The Toshiba dynaEdge AR is a highly-integrated solution comprising of a head mounted display, a PC module, and software that are designed to work in concert offering out-of-box functionality and supporting custom applications. From some points of view, Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR is a realization of Microsoft’s HoloLens concept.


Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses solution consists of two key pieces — the Toshiba AR100 HMD and the Toshiba dynaEdge DE-100 miniature PC interconnected using a USB Type-C cable. The HMD is outfitted with a small 0.26-inch screen featuring a 640×360 resolution that can display content with a 1280×720 resolution, a 5 MP camera with a flash, a speaker, two microphones, and a variety of sensors (accelerometer, gyro, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, and GPS). The HMD has three control buttons and a touchpad.



As for the miniature PC, the Toshiba dynaEdge DE-100 is based on Intel’s Core m5/m7 ‘Skylake-Y’ ULV SoC that is outfitted with 4 – 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory, and a 128 – 512 GB M.2 SSD. The system features Intel’s Wireless-AC 8260 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 controller, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, a USB 3.0 Type-A header, a microSD slot, and a TRRS audio connector. To ensure proper security, the dynaEdge DE-100 is equipped with a TPM 2.0 module as well as a fingerprint reader. Finally, the PC has five navigation buttons.



The augmented reality glasses from Toshiba are aimed at enterprise customers that will use them in various areas, including manufacturing, services and other. Out of box, the dynaEdge AR smart glasses can take pictures, record and stream live video, open documents, communicate using Skype and do typical operations that any Windows 10-based computers can perform. Meanwhile, Toshiba encourages develops to build application-specific software for its smart glasses.



Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses (with the miniature PC and the Vision DE Suite) solutions are available directly from Toshiba’s Client Solutions Division (CSD) starting at $1,900 (with an entry-level SoC/RAM/SSD configuration). Interested parties are advised to contact their sales representatives of Toshiba, or contact the company at smartglasses@toshiba.com. In addition to the dynaEdge AR, Toshiba also sells various accessors for the devices, including glasses, headbands, helmet mounts, safety frames, and other.



Those who want to develop products based on Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses can obtain appropriate development kits (hardware and software) for $2,400 – $2,900 as well as optional accessories.



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Source: AnandTech – Toshiba Ships dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses Powered by Intel Core M & Windows 10 Pro

Watch live World Cup games in Spanish on the NBC Sports app

You’ll soon have a few easy ways to watch the 2018 World Cup en español. NBC’s Telemundo Deportes has unveiled plans to stream live World Cup games in Spanish through the NBC Sports app (on mobile and living room devices) in addition to the ap…

Source: Engadget – Watch live World Cup games in Spanish on the NBC Sports app

More Than 50 People in Brooklyn Just Overdosed on Synthetic Weed. Why Does This Keep Happening?

Last Friday, the New York City Police Department announced that 25 people in Brooklyn had been hospitalized soon after smoking synthetic cannabis; by Monday, the count had risen to 56 people. Police also announced Monday that they had arrested 13 people in connection with distributing the drugs.

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Source: Gizmodo – More Than 50 People in Brooklyn Just Overdosed on Synthetic Weed. Why Does This Keep Happening?

'Thomas Was Alone' developer launches another sci-fi text game

Here we go again. In August of last year, developer Mike Bithell, responsible for popular games Thomas Was Alone and Volume, did something rather unique. He released a small, $5 narrative game called Subsurface Circular — first on PC and Mac and th…

Source: Engadget – ‘Thomas Was Alone’ developer launches another sci-fi text game