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Sunday 2017/09/24

China Criticizes Subsidized Ride-Hailing Apps As Anti-Competitive
2016-03-14 14:42:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes: China's minister of transport Yang Chuantang has warned that the current round of ferocious price-wars among China's leading ride-sharing app providers, including Didi Dache and Uber, represents an attempt to kill local competition with massively-subsidized price cuts that will not subsequently be sustained. Chuantang, speaking at the annual national assembly in Beijing, said that the subsidies "are aimed at occupying more market share within the short term and is competitively unfair for the taxi industry. It is unhealthy and cannot be sustained in the long term." Uber is currently investing (or, arguably, losing) $1 billion a year in its attempts to consolidate a place in the Chinese ride-sharing market.

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The Case Against Ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership
2016-03-14 14:00:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes: For the past two and a half months, Canadian law professor Michael Geist has been writing a daily series on the trouble with the Trans Pacific Partnership. The 50 part series wrapped up today with the case against ratifying the TPP. While the focus is on Canadian issues, the series hits on problems that all 12 countries face: unbalanced intellectual property rules, privacy risks, dangers to the Internet and technology, cultural and health regulation, and investor-state settlement rules that could cost countries billions of dollars.

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Obama Administration Supports Recycling Code and Open Source
2016-03-14 13:18:00+00:00
jones_supa writes: The Obama administration is seeking public comments on its open source policy. They have released for public comment a draft Federal Source Code policy to support improved access to custom software code. From the policy document: "This policy requires that, among other things: (1) new custom code whose development is paid for by the Federal Government be made available for reuse across Federal agencies; and (2) a portion of that new custom code be released to the public as Open Source Software (OSS)." Tony Scott, Federal CIO of the US government, mentioned one of the strengths of open source – cost saving. Scott wrote on the White House blog that the U.S. government "can save taxpayer dollars by avoiding duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and collaboration across Federal agencies."

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ESA's ExoMars Successfuly Lifts Off From Baikonur
2016-03-14 12:37:00+00:00
vikingpower writes: The European Space Agency's second mission to Mars, ExoMars, was successfully launched from the Baikonur launch pad today. ExoMars will search for traces of life, either past or present, on the Red Planet, and is the precursor to a more full-fledged mission to Mars in 2018, comprising a rover. It consists of an orbiter and of Schiaparelli, a lander built by European industry and scheduled to land in October this year. Both missions are cooperations between ESA and RosKosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency. If one of them met their ultimate goal -- proving there is or was life on Mars — the excitement here on Earth would be unimaginable. Mark Whittington adds a link to The Guardian's coverage and a bit of detail: The Russian-made launch vehicle lobbed a probe into space, the Trace Gas Orbiter, that will enter orbit around Mars later in 2016 and search for methane in the Red Planet's atmosphere. Methane can have a number of sources, but one of them is the waste product of microbial life. Both the Mars Express orbiter and the Mars Curiosity rover have detected some measure of methane, which could be produced by geological processes as well.

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Personalized Learning: the Best Education Or the Worst?
2016-03-14 11:58:00+00:00
theodp writes: In an exclusive interview with Education Week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about why he is shifting his K-12 giving priorities to personalized learning. While acknowledging that there's not yet any independent, large-scale research to show personalized learning's effectiveness, Zuck argues that "the model just intuitively makes sense." But just days later, Fordham University professor Mark Naison wrote in the Washington Post about why the personalized learning efforts of 'a growing number of those with investment capital seeking profitable outlets,' which presumably includes Zuck, make him 'incredibly pessimistic' about the future of public education. That Zuck — like fellow personalized learning cheerleaders/funders Bill Gates and former U.S. Education Chief Arne Duncan — seemed to be unaware of studies on personalized learning studies that date back to the '70s is troubling. But people don't "Like" 40+ year-old Ed.gov papers, so Zuck could be forgiven for not seeing them and, as a result, believing that the personalized learning plan dashboard his Facebook engineers knocked out truly is the ground-breaking solution to 'one of education's biggest problems' that Melinda Gates cracks it up to be.

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Microfluidic Cooling Turns Down the Heat On High-Tech Equipment
2016-03-14 10:07:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes with a snippet from HelpNet Security about a technology that sounds promising down the road for consumer equipment, but may land a lot sooner than that in high-end applications where cooling is critical: Thousands of electrical components make up today's most sophisticated systems – and without innovative cooling techniques, those systems get hot. Lockheed Martin is working with DARPA on its ICECool-Applications research program that could ultimately lead to a lighter, faster and cheaper way to cool high-powered microchips – by cooling the chips with microscopic drops of water. This technology has applications in electronic warfare, radars, high-performance computers and data servers. The micro-cooler is only 250 microns thick, and 5 millimeters long by 2.5 millimeters wide.

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Linux Kernel 4.5 Officially Released
2016-03-14 07:30:00+00:00
prisoninmate writes: Yes, you're reading it right, after being in development for the past two months, Linux kernel 4.5 is finally here in its final production version. It is internally dubbed "Blurry Fish Butt" and received a total of seven RC builds since January 25, 2016. Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.5 include the implementation of initial support for the AMD PowerPlay power management technology, bringing high performance to the AMDGPU open-source driver for Radeon GPUs, scalability improvements in the free space handling of the Btrfs file system, and better epoll multithreaded scalability. The sources are now available for download from kernel.org. Update: 03/14 13:24 GMT by T : Reader diegocg lists some other notable features (A new copy_file_range() system call that allows to make copies of files without transferring data through userspace; support GCC's Undefined Behavior Sanitizer (-fsanitize=undefined); Forwarded Error Correction support in the device-mapper's verity target; support for the MADV_FREE flag in madvise(); the new cgroup unified hierarchy is considered stable; scalability improvements for SO_REUSEPORT UDP sockets; scalability improvements for epoll, and better memory accounting of sockets in the memory controller), and links to an explanation of the changes at Kernel Newbies.

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Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy
2016-03-14 04:44:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes with an intriguing story at Quanta Magazine, which begins: Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers — those numbers that are divisible only by 1 and themselves. Prime numbers, it seems, have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them. Among the first billion prime numbers, for instance, a prime ending in 9 is almost 65 percent more likely to be followed by a prime ending in 1 than another prime ending in 9. In a paper posted online today, Kannan Soundararajan and Robert Lemke Oliver of Stanford University present both numerical and theoretical evidence that prime numbers repel other would-be primes that end in the same digit, and have varied predilections for being followed by primes ending in the other possible final digits. "We've been studying primes for a long time, and no one spotted this before," said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at the University of Montreal and University College London. "It's crazy."

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Israeli 10th-Grader Discovers Elegant Geometry Theorem
2016-03-14 02:01:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes with a report that: Tamar Barbi, a 10th grade student living in Hod Hasharon, Israel, discovered that the theorem she was using to solve one of the problems on her geometry homework didn't actually exist. With the help of her teacher and mathematicians, she wrote up a proof for the theorem, which helps provide new and more elegant proofs for many other mathematical theorems. Posters at Hacker News have some skeptical words about the theorem's novelty, but also about the phrasing of the news report, which seems to omit some crucial words.

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Report: Science Can Now Link Climate Change To (Some) Extreme Weather
2016-03-14 00:20:00+00:00
mdsolar writes: Extreme weather events like floods, heat waves and droughts can devastate communities and populations worldwide. Recent scientific advances have enabled researchers to confidently say that the increased intensity and frequency of some, but not all, of these extreme weather events is influenced by human-induced climate change, according to an international National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report released March 11. "In the past, many scientists have been cautious of attributing specific extreme weather events to climate change. People frequently ask questions such as, 'Did climate change cause Hurricane Sandy?' Science can't answer that because there are so many relevant factors for hurricanes. What this report is saying is that we can attribute an increased magnitude or frequency of some extreme weather events to climate change,' said David Titley, professor of practice in Penn State's Department of Meteorology and founding director of Penn State's Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, who chaired the committee that wrote the report.

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Linux Kernel 2.6.32 LTS Has Reached End of Life
2016-03-13 23:23:00+00:00
prisoninmate writes: At the end of January we reported the fact that the oldest long-term supported kernel branch, Linux 2.6.32, is about to reached its end of life in February 2016, as announced by Willy Tarreau, who said that there might be another point release in a few weeks if important things need to be fixed. Well, it took a little bit longer than two weeks, and on March 12, he published details about the last maintenance release in the series, Linux kernel 2.6.32.71 LTS, along with the official end of life announcement, recommending users to move to the Linux 3.2 branch.

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NASA Begins Planning the First Human Mission To Cislunar Space
2016-03-13 22:14:00+00:00
MarkWhittington writes: With the first launch of the heavy-lift Space Launch System drawing nigh (for no later than November 2018), NASA is already trying to plan the first crewed space mission beyond low-Earth orbit for the early 2020s. However, budget uncertainties plus a couple of congressional mandates are causing uncertainty for the launch manifest for the SLS.

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Dell's Next Rev for Project Sputnik: Ubuntu 14.04 On XPS 13 Developer Edition
2016-03-13 21:16:00+00:00
MojoKid writes: Also known as "Project Sputnik," Dell came up with the idea of offering developers a variant of their XPS 13 notebook running Linux and launched its first models over three years ago. Now in its 5th generation, Project Sputnik is still going strong today with the latest models combining Ubuntu 14.04 with Intel's Skylake processors. To kick off its newest generation of Developer Edition laptops, Dell is offering three Core i7 XPS 13 configurations, including two that feature 16GB of RAM. Dell said it also plans to add a Core i5 option to the Developer Edition lineup sometime down the line. Dell is seeing increased interest from customers and in addition to the XPS Developer Edition, Dell offers Ubuntu on its Precision 5510, 3510, 7510, and 7710 mobile workstations, as well as its Precision M3800. Cost of entry into Developer Edition territory runs $1,550. What that gets you is a 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) InfinityEdge touch display powered by an Intel Core i5-6560U processor, 8GB of LPDDR3 1866 RAM, and Intel Iris Graphics 540.

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Valve Is Bringing Steam's Game Library Into VR With Desktop Theater Mode
2016-03-13 20:08:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes: From characters sprinting around levels at inhuman speeds to the player's view being forcibly moved when a game takes control of the camera during a cutscene, it isn't as easy as you might think to make a game work in VR if it wasn't designed for it in the first place. So Valve is striking a compromise that lets players make use of their existing Steam games in VR. SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, which Valve says is in early beta and will be shown at GDC next week, puts player's games on a huge screen in a virtual home theater setting. Future possibilities for gamers playing together on the same virtual couch are enticing.

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YouTube Shows Adblock Plus Users an Error Message Instead of Ads
2016-03-13 19:06:00+00:00
An anonymous reader writes: Do you use YouTube with Adblock Plus? Some users have been getting the following message instead of ads: "An error occurred. Please try again later." The error message is only shown for the duration of the ad, meaning Adblock Plus is still technically getting the job done. But adblocking extensions typically block ads as well as remove them: For banner ads that means gaining back screen real estate on the webpage while for videos that means the content starts playing right away.

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