Boston Dynamics' robot dog takes an 'evening stroll' in Canada

Last week a lot of people got their first taste of an in-the-wild encounter between organic human life and one of Boston Dynamics’ advanced robots. In Northern Ontario, Canada @bloodtear noticed the Spot robot walking down the street and had an encou…

Source: Engadget – Boston Dynamics’ robot dog takes an ‘evening stroll’ in Canada

Liquid Water on Mars? New Research Indicates Buried 'Lakes'

The existence of liquid water on Mars — one of the more hotly debated matters about our cold, red neighbor — is looking increasingly likely. From a report: New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy indicates there really is a buried reservoir of super-salty water near the south pole of the planet. Scientists say such a lake would significantly improve the likelihood that the red planet just might harbor microscopic life of its own. Some scientists remain unconvinced that what’s been seen is liquid water, but the latest study adds weight to a tentative 2018 finding from radar maps of the planet’s crust made by the Mars Express robot orbiter. That research suggested an underground “lake” of liquid water had pooled beneath frozen layers of sediment near the Martian south pole — akin to the subglacial lakes detected beneath the Antarctic and the Greenland ice sheets on Earth.

Earth’s subglacial lakes are teeming with bacterial life, and similar life might survive in liquid reservoirs on Mars, scientists have speculated. “We are much more confident now,” said Elena Pettinelli, a professor of geophysics at Italy’s Roma Tre University, who led the latest research and the earlier study. “We did many more observations, and we processed the data completely differently.” The planetary scientist and her team processed 134 observations of the region near the south pole with ground-penetrating radar from the Mars Express Orbiter between 2012 until 2019 — more than four times as many as before, and covering a period of time more than twice as long. They then applied a new technique to the observation data that has been used to find lakes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, as well as an older technique used in the 2018 study. Both methods indicate there is a “patchwork” of buried reservoirs of liquid in the region, Pettinelli said — a large reservoir about 15 miles across, surrounded by several smaller patches up to 6 miles across.

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Source: Slashdot – Liquid Water on Mars? New Research Indicates Buried ‘Lakes’

Roku Chases the Best Free Streaming Service With Mobile Support

Roku has announced the launch of a dedicated mobile app for The Roku Channel, the company’s longtime hub for free and streamable content that’ll be familiar to folks with Roku devices. But rather than limit the app to Roku users alone, The Roku Channel will be available to even users without physical Roku devices.…

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Source: Gizmodo – Roku Chases the Best Free Streaming Service With Mobile Support

Questionably legal sleight of hand baseball pitch

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This sleight of hand pitch doesn’t seem like it should be legal despite the umpire allowing it. Although to be fair I don’t actually know the rules of pitching. All I know is you can’t balk (fake a pitch) and once you start the windup you have to deliver the pitch in one continuous motion. I’m assuming the umpire knows more than I do, I just feel like I’d echo the sentiments of the voice on the video going, “Ah, what the fuck.”

Source: Geekologie – Questionably legal sleight of hand baseball pitch

Uber Can Continue Operating In London After Winning Court Appeal

After losing its license to operate in London last November, deputy chief magistrate of Transport for London (TfL), Tanweer Ikram, granted Uber an 18-month license after winning their court appeal. “Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV [private hire vehicle] operator’s license,” he concluded. Engadget reports: Uber’s new licence runs for 18 months. It has “a number of conditions,” according to TfL, that will allow the regulator to “closely monitor Uber’s adherence to the regulations and to swiftly take action if they fail to meet the required standards.” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, added: “This decision is a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety and we will continue to work constructively with TfL. There is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app as we work together to keep London moving.”

The UK’s App Drivers and Couriers Union (ACDU) has “cautiously” welcomed the court’s decision, but believes London mayor Sadiq Khan should take further action and limit the number of licensed drivers on the platform. “Such reductions, achieved through attrition, are necessary to ensure Uber can comfortably meet its compliance obligations including worker rights whilst giving TfL the breathing space necessary so that it can comfortably meet its responsibilities to ensure that Uber drivers and the traveling public are protected,” the union said in a press release.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Uber Can Continue Operating In London After Winning Court Appeal

Roku’s big announcements today: A new Ultra player, soundbar, and AirPlay 2 support

Today was a big day for streaming-box manufacturer Roku: the San Jose-based company announced new products and software features, including another entry into the world of home-theater audio and an update to a popular existing device that adds some of the most requested features.

First up, Roku is making several changes to its highest-end streaming box, the Roku Ultra. It still costs $99, and most of its features are the same. So what’s new? Well, wireless signal has long been a thorn in Roku’s side—many households have weak or suboptimally placed routers. To that end, Roku claims that the new Ultra manages 50 percent more wireless range. It also adds Bluetooth connectivity for the first time, so you’ll be able to use wireless headphones and the like.

The big addition, though, is the introduction of Dolby Vision HDR support (and Dolby Atmos, too). We knocked some prior Roku devices for supporting only the HDR-10 standard, but this update means the Ultra can now deliver good HDR on a whole range of content that was optimized for Dolby Vision.

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Source: Ars Technica – Roku’s big announcements today: A new Ultra player, soundbar, and AirPlay 2 support

The FDA Approved Prescription Opioids Without Critical Safety Data, Study Says

The Food and Drug Administration has been lax in how it’s approved prescription opioid treatments dating back to the late 1990s, according to a new study out Monday. The study found that the FDA has routinely approved new opioid drugs or new formulations of existing drugs on the basis of limited evidence from clinical…

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Source: Gizmodo – The FDA Approved Prescription Opioids Without Critical Safety Data, Study Says

Apple vs. Epic hearing previews a long, hard-fought trial to come

Purple cartoon donkey piñata.

Enlarge / Whoever wins this case will get a llama full of prizes.

Federal District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers heard arguments this morning regarding Epic’s request for a temporary injunction in its case against Apple. That injunction would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the iOS App Store during the trial, following the game’s removal last month over Epic’s skirting of Apple’s in-app purchase rules.

The hearing gave the clearest indication yet of both parties’ best arguments in the matter and of which positions seem most likely to hold sway with Rogers as the case heads toward a full trial.

When is a monopolist not a monopolist?

A central issue in the case is Epic’s contention that Apple’s exclusive control over the iOS App Store constitutes an illegal monopoly that hinders competition. Today’s discussion of Epic’s claim centered heavily on what market, exactly, Apple is allegedly monopolizing.

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Source: Ars Technica – Apple vs. Epic hearing previews a long, hard-fought trial to come

Suspected ransomware attack hits one of the largest hospital networks in the US

One of the US’s largest healthcare providers has been hit by what looks like a highly coordinated ransomware attack (via NBC News). Over the weekend, hospitals in the US operated by Universal Health Services started to notice problems with their IT s…

Source: Engadget – Suspected ransomware attack hits one of the largest hospital networks in the US

Leaked Database Shows Trump Campaign Targeted Black Americans for Voter Suppression in 2016

With 36 days to go until the next presidential election, we’re being reminded that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the 2016 campaign. Questions like how did the Trump team use all that data that was taken from Facebook users without their consent? A new investigation from Channel 4 News reveals…

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Source: Gizmodo – Leaked Database Shows Trump Campaign Targeted Black Americans for Voter Suppression in 2016

Ransomware Attacks Take On New Urgency Ahead of Vote

A Texas company that sells software that cities and states use to display results on election night was hit by ransomware last week, the latest of nearly a thousand such attacks over the past year against small towns, big cities and the contractors who run their voting systems. From a report: Many of the attacks are conducted by Russian criminal groups, some with shady ties to President Vladimir V. Putin’s intelligence services. But the attack on Tyler Technologies, which continued on Friday night with efforts by outsiders to log into its clients’ systems around the country, was particularly rattling less than 40 days before the election. While Tyler does not actually tally votes, it is used by election officials to aggregate and report them in at least 20 places around the country — making it exactly the kind of soft target that the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. and United States Cyber Command worry could be struck by anyone trying to sow chaos and uncertainty on election night.

Tyler would not describe the attack in detail. It initially appeared to be an ordinary ransomware attack, in which data is made inaccessible unless the victim pays the ransom, usually in harder-to-trace cryptocurrencies. But then some of Tyler’s clients — the company would not say which ones — saw outsiders trying to gain access to their systems on Friday night, raising fears that the attackers might be out for something more than just a quick profit. That has been the fear haunting federal officials for a year now: that in the days leading up to the election, or in its aftermath, ransomware groups will try to freeze voter registration data, election poll books or the computer systems of the secretaries of the state who certify election results. With only 37 days before the election, federal investigators still do not have a clear picture of whether the ransomware attacks clobbering American networks are purely criminal acts, seeking a quick payday, or Trojan horses for more nefarious Russian interference. But they have not had much success in stopping them. In just the first two weeks of September, another seven American government entities have been hit with ransomware and their data stolen. “The chance of a local government not being hit while attempting to manage the upcoming and already ridiculously messy election would seem to be very slim,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, a security firm.

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Source: Slashdot – Ransomware Attacks Take On New Urgency Ahead of Vote

Today’s Xbox Series X Previews Revealed Mostly Good News

Over the past week or so, Xbox Series X preview units were made available to select members of the media. Microsoft did not send us one of these units. I’m not sad, but, earlier today, I was cutting onions and peppers while listening to Phoebe Bridgers, and then, without thinking, I rubbed my eyes. True story. This…

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Source: Kotaku – Today’s Xbox Series X Previews Revealed Mostly Good News

“Joker”—the malware that signs you up for pricey services—floods Android markets

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Source: Ars Technica – “Joker”—the malware that signs you up for pricey services—floods Android markets