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Automation arrives at restaurants, but not because of minimum wage hikes

dcblogs (1096431) writes | about half an hour ago

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dcblogs (1096431) writes "McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire ," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options."
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Google Search Finally Adds Information About Video Games

Anonymous Coward writes | 37 minutes ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Google has expanded its search engine with the capability to recognize video games. If your query references a game, a new Knowledge Graph panel on the right-hand side of Google’s search results page will offer more information, including the series it belongs to, initial release date, supported platforms, developers, publishers, designers, and even review scores. Google spokesperson: “With today’s update, you can ask questions about video games, and (while there will be ones we don’t cover) you’ll get answers for console and PC games as well as the most popular mobile apps.”"

How to Beat Online Price Discrimination

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) writes | 40 minutes ago

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Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) writes "A new study found that major e-commerce retailers show some users different prices or a different set of results. Do you think you can find the lowest prices by shopping online? Think again.

A new study by researchers at Northeastern University confirmed the extent to which major e-commerce websites show some users different prices and a different set of results, even for identical searches."

Link to Original Source

Decades-old scientific paper may hold clues to dark matter

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | 1 hour ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Here’s one reason libraries hang on to old science journals: A paper from an experiment conducted 32 years ago may shed light on the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to keep the galaxies from flying apart. The old data put a crimp in the newfangled concept of a "dark photon" and suggest that a simple bargain-basement experiment could put the idea to the test."
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PCGamingWiki looks into Linux gaming with Port Reports

AberBeta (851747) writes | 1 hour ago

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AberBeta (851747) writes "PCGamingWiki contributor soeb has been looking into the recent larger budget game releases to appear on Linux, including XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Borderlands: The Pre–Sequel produced by Mac porting houses Feral and Aspyr, and finds that while feature parity is high, performance could be a smidge better. However people accept the performance differences, the games are arriving, now the userbase needs to expand to make a virtuous cycle."
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Ocean could turn acidic

Taco Cowboy (5327) writes | 1 hour ago

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Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "The oceans absorb about a third of the CO2 that’s being produced by industrial society, and this is changing the chemistry of seawater. CO2 reacts with the sea water to form carbonic acid. UK's chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport warns that the acidity of the oceans has increased by about 25% since the industrial revolution, mainly thanks to manmade emissions

The consequences of acidification are likely to be made worse by the warming of the ocean expected with climate change, a process which is also driven by CO2. Until now studies have identified species with calcium-based shells as most in danger from changing chemistry. But researchers in Exeter have found that other creatures will also be affected because as acidity increases it creates conditions for animals to take up more coastal pollutants like copper

The angler’s favourite bait – the humble lugworm – suffers DNA damage as a result of the extra copper. The pollutant harms their sperm, and their offspring don’t develop properly. “It’s a bit of a shock, frankly,” said biologist Ceri Lewis from Exeter University, one of the report’s authors. “It means the effects of ocean acidification may be even more serious than we previously thought. We need to look with new eyes at things which we thought were not vulnerable”

The lugworm study was published in Environmental Science and Technology. Another study from Dr Lewis not yet peer-reviewed suggests that sea urchins are also harmed by uptake of copper. This adds to the damage they will suffer from increasing acidity as it takes them more and more energy to calcify their shells and spines. This is significant because sea urchins, which can live up to 100 years, are a keystone species — grazing algae off rocks that would otherwise be covered in green slime

“Our work means we are under-estimating effects of acidification for coastal invertebrates. We are now realizing there are many indirect impacts of ocean acidification on other processes. It could be that we are facing a lot more surprises ahead”"

Link to Original Source

Damage Already Done, FTDI Responds

weilawei (897823) writes | 1 hour ago

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weilawei (897823) writes "Today, FTDI, a Scottish manufacturer of USB-to-serial ICs, posted a response to the ongoing debacle over its allegedly intentional bricking of competitors' chips. In their statement, FTDI CEO Fred Dart said, "The recently release driver release has now been removed from Windows Update so that on-the-fly updating cannot occur. The driver is in the process of being updated and will be released next week. This will still uphold our stance against devices that are not genuine, but do so in a non-invasive way that means that there is no risk of end user’s hardware being directly affected." This may have resulted from a discussion with Microsoft engineers about the implications of distributing potentially malicious driver software.

If you design hardware, what's your stance on this? Will you continue to integrate FTDI chips into your products? What alternatives are available to replace their functionality?"

Link to Original Source

Detritus from cancer cells may infect healthy cells

bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes | yesterday

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bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes "Tiny bubbles of cell membrane — called exosomes — are shed by most cells. Long thought to be mere trash, researchers had recently noticed that they often contain short, regulatory RNA molecules, suggesting that exosomes may be one way that cells communicate with one another. Now, it appears that RNA in the exosomes shed by tumor cells can get into healthy cells and 'transform' them, putting them on the path to becoming cancerous themselves."
Link to Original Source

Another day, another crowdfunding scam

Freestyling (997523) writes | 3 hours ago

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Freestyling (997523) writes "It seems hardly a day goes by that I don't wake up to find that one of my friends or acquaintances is raving on social networking about another crowdfunding scam, either entirely taken in by the "groundbreaking" claims, or shouting angrily about how the whole of kickstarter is one big scam. Today's was really the last straw for me, there is nothing about the "Dragonfly Futurefon" that remotely sounds plausible, from the hardware designs, right through to the absurdly low target of $10,000 for a delivered next generation pc/phablet project. Yet I find that a several of my (not stupid, and technically minded) friends appear to be taken in by it.
So Slashdot, my question is this:
Given that genuine projects seem to be outnumbered 10:1 or worse on crowdfunding sites by scams (or pipe dreams in the case of some projects which might be genuinely naive), what do people think we can/should do with it? Is the system working okay as it is, and do we trust that kickstarter, indiegogo etc. can catch every scam before it gets funded, or do we need to change the way these things work? Do we need to write crowdfunding off as another great idea ruined by terrible people tricking gullible people, or can we try to fix it somehow?"

Link to Original Source

wish for an indefinitely supported linux distribution

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "I posted a wish for a current linux distribution, or set of distributions, perhaps debian 7/ubuntu 14.04,
to be supported for ever. This should be a distribution with the most widely used components,
such as system V init and X Window. Inter alia, it would make stable documentation possible. What do slashdotters think? Is now the right time for this to happen?"

Link to Original Source

Scout SV is British Army's Smart-Tank of the Future, to be Driven By Videogamers

concertina226 (2447056) writes | yesterday

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concertina226 (2447056) writes "The UK branch of global defence firm General Dynamics is working on a futuristic state-of-the-art smart-tank to replace the British Army's ageing armoured vehicle fleet, to be delivered to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2020.

The Scout SV armoured vehicle is the first fully-digitised armoured fighting vehicle to have been built for the British Army, and is far bigger and more durable than any of its existing tanks, which are now at least 20 years old.

The tank comes in six variants that can be customised with a tools for different missions, and has numerous sensors, cameras, and sights to offer real-time intelligence on weather conditions, target acquisition, and reconnaissance — all crucial battlefield data required by commanders to access and direct situations."

Link to Original Source

Microsoft now Makes Money from Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion

SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes | 5 hours ago

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SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft has recently published its Q1 fiscal 2015 earnings report, disclosing that it has made $4.5 billion in net income on $23.20 billion in revenue. According to the report, revenue has increased by $4.67 billion, compared to $18.53 billion from the same period last year. However, net income has decreased 14 percent compared to last year’s $5.24 billion mainly because of the $1.14 billion cost associated with the integration and restructuring expenses related to the Nokia acquisition.

But what's finally good news for the company is that the Surface gross margin was positive this quarter, which means the company finally starts making money on Surface sales. Microsoft didn’t yet reveal Surface sales, but we know that Surface revenue was $908 million this quarter, up a massive 127 percent from the $400 million this time last year. However, if we assume that the average spent amount on the purchase of this year’s Surface Pro 3 was around $1000, then we have less than 1 million units sold, which isn’t that impressive, but it’s a good start."

Incapacitating Chemical Agents: Coming Soon to Local Law Enforcement?

Lasrick (2629253) writes | yesterday

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Lasrick (2629253) writes "To this day, Russian authorities refuse to disclose the incapacitating chemical agent (ICA) they employed in their attempt, 12 years ago, to save 900 hostages held in a theater by Chechen fighters. Malcom Dando elaborates on a new report that Russia, China, Israel, and a slew of other countries are continuing research into ICAs, and the apparent indifference of the international community into such research. Proponenets of ICAs have long promoted their use in a variety of scenarios, including that of law enforcement, because in theory these chemicals incapacitate without permanent disability. Critics, however, point out that these weapons rely on exact dosage to prevent fatality, and that the ability to 'deliver the right agent to the right people in the right dose without exposing the wrong people, or delivering the wrong dose' is a near-impossible expectation. ICAs represent the further misuse and militarization of the life sciences and a weakening of the taboo against the weaponization of toxic substances, and the idea that they could be used in law enforcement situations is a disturbing one."
Link to Original Source

Amazon to open data centre in Germany

ihtoit (3393327) writes | 9 hours ago

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ihtoit (3393327) writes "News from the London Financial Times: Amazon will offer its corporate customers the option of running internet services and holding data in Germany as it addresses concerns from European businesses about the threat of online spying in the US.
The retailer’s cloud computing arm has unveiled plans to build centres in Frankfurt as businesses and governments in continental Europe have shown increasing alarm at revelations of widespread internet surveillance, exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden."

Link to Original Source

NY doctor recently back from West Africa tests positive for Ebola

Anonymous Coward writes | 11 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. It's the first case in the city and the fourth in the nation. From the article: "The doctor, identified as Craig Spencer, 33, came back from treating Ebola patients in Guinea about 10 days ago, and developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Wednesday night. The physician, employed at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, has been in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan since Thursday morning, the official said.""

Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer

AlbanX (2847805) writes | 10 hours ago

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AlbanX (2847805) writes "The staff put in charge of operating Westpac's first ever computer, a General Electric GE225, are celebrating 50 years since the bank spent $26 million (in today's value) on the machine.

Ian Hoey was 27 went he was plucked from a then-Bank of NSW branch and given responsibility for the computer, with no IT experience."

Link to Original Source

Ask Slashdot: Bitcoin over Tor is a bad idea?

jd (1658) writes | 11 hours ago

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jd (1658) writes "Researchers studying Bitcoin have determined that the level of anonymity of the cryptocurrency is low and that using Bitcoin over Tor provides an opportunity for a Man-in-the-Middle attack against Bitcoin users. (I must confess, at this point, that I can certainly see anonymity limitations helping expose what machine is linked to what Bitcoin ID, putting users at risk of exposure, but I don't see how this is a function of Tor, as the paper implies.)

It would seem worthwhile to examine both the Tor and Bitcoin protocols to establish if there is an actual threat there, as it must surely apply to any semi-anonymous protocol over Tor and Bitcoin has limited value as a cryptocurrency if all transactions have to be carried out in plain sight.

What are the opinions of other Slashdottians on this announcement? Should we be working on an entirely new cryptocurrency system? Is this a problem with Tor? Is this a case of the Scarlett Fish (aka: a red herring) or something to take seriously?"

Link to Original Source

Tracking a Bitcoin Thief

Anonymous Coward writes | yesterday

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An anonymous reader writes "In a rare case of Bitcoin meets InfoSec: a small group of researchers were able to publish an investigative report on the hacking of a popular Bitcoin exchange earlier this year by the name of CryptoRush.in. Close to a million dollars stolen in crypto currency lead the group to discover evidence, track down the attacker and put together a timeline of what exactly happened. A captivating read for a community desensitized by thefts, hackings and lack of reporting. With pictures, and logs to prove it all."
Link to Original Source

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