posted about 1 hour ago on slashdot
GitHub has released its annual Octoverse report, revealing trends in one of the largest developer communities on the planet, including a spike in open source project activity following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. VentureBeat: JavaScript continues to be the most popular programming language on GitHub, while Python is now the second most popular, followed by Java and the fast-growing TypeScript community. Maintained by GitHub owner Microsoft, TypeScript has climbed from seventh place in 2018 and 2019 to fourth overall this year. PHP and Ruby, languages that ranked among the most popular five years ago, continued to decline in popularity.

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posted about 2 hours ago on slashdot
IBM's cyber-security division says that hackers are targeting companies associated with the storage and transportation of COVID-19 vaccines using temperature-controlled environments -- also known as the COVID-19 vaccine cold chain. From a report: The attacks consisted of spear-phishing emails seeking to collect credentials for a target's internal email and applications. While IBM X-Force analysts weren't able to link the attacks to a particular threat actor, they said the phishing campaign showed the typical "hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft." Targets of the attacks included a wide variety of companies, sectors, and government organizations alike.

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posted about 2 hours ago on slashdot
An Amazon Web Services (AWS) virtualization engineer has shown what Windows 10 on Arm could be like if Microsoft licensed its Arm-based OS to the public rather than just to Windows 10 manufacturers. From a report: With Apple's new M1 Arm-based system on chip, Mac users who need to use Windows 10 can't run Microsoft's Arm-based version of Windows using Apple's Bootcamp. The key obstacle is that Microsoft doesn't license Windows 10 on Arm to any entities other than its own Surface group and Windows 10 on Arm OEMs like HP, Asus and Lenovo. Technically, there's nothing stopping owners of the M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13-inch or Mac mini from running Windows 10 on Arm, as Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi recently pointed out. [...] But Microsoft's reluctance to create a license for Windows 10 on Arm for end users hasn't stopped creative engineers from putting together a working example of what things could be like if it did. AWS principal engineer Alexander Graf did just that, using the open-source QEMU virtualization software for Windows on Arm. QEMU emulates access to hardware such as the CPU and GPU. [...] "Who said Windows wouldn't run well on #AppleSilicon? It's pretty snappy here," Graf wrote in a tweet. Graf previously worked on the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) for Linux distribution SUSE for over a decade. Now he's a KVM developer at AWS, which this week announced new Mac instances for AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) based on Nitro System, an AWS hypervisor for EC2 instances. [...] A developer using the handle @imbushuo on Twitter has posted Geekbench versions 4 and 5 scores that compare Windows 10 on Arm on an M1 computer with the Microsoft-made Surface Pro X. Windows on an M1 got a single-core score of 1,288 and multi-core score of 5,685 whereas the Surface Pro X's scores were roughly 800 and 3,000 in those respective benchmarks.

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posted about 4 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A group of U.S. states led by New York is investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant next week, four sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The complaint would be the second major lawsuit filed against a Big Tech company this year. The Justice Department sued Alphabet's Google in October. More than 40 states plan to sign on to the lawsuit, one source said, without naming them. It is not known what the states plan to include in their complaint. One allegation often made against Facebook is that it has strategically sought to buy small potential rivals, often at a big premium. These include Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has argued in congressional testimony that the company has a range of competitors, including other tech giants. He has defended controversial acquisitions like Instagram and WhatsApp by saying the social media platform helped them expand from small, insignificant companies into powerhouses.

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posted about 7 hours ago on slashdot
Natalie Wolchover writes via Quanta Magazine: As fundamental constants go, the speed of light, c, enjoys all the fame, yet c's numerical value says nothing about nature; it differs depending on whether it's measured in meters per second or miles per hour. The fine-structure constant, by contrast, has no dimensions or units. It's a pure number that shapes the universe to an astonishing degree -- "a magic number that comes to us with no understanding," as Richard Feynman described it. Paul Dirac considered the origin of the number "the most fundamental unsolved problem of physics." Numerically, the fine-structure constant, denoted by the Greek letter a (alpha), comes very close to the ratio 1/137. It commonly appears in formulas governing light and matter. [...] The constant is everywhere because it characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic force affecting charged particles such as electrons and protons. Because 1/137 is small, electromagnetism is weak; as a consequence, charged particles form airy atoms whose electrons orbit at a distance and easily hop away, enabling chemical bonds. On the other hand, the constant is also just big enough: Physicists have argued that if it were something like 1/138, stars would not be able to create carbon, and life as we know it wouldn't exist. Today, in a new paper in the journal Nature, a team of four physicists led by Saida Guellati-Khelifa at the Kastler Brossel Laboratory in Paris reported the most precise measurement yet of the fine-structure constant. The team measured the constant's value to the 11th decimal place, reporting that a = 1/137.03599920611. (The last two digits are uncertain.) With a margin of error of just 81 parts per trillion, the new measurement is nearly three times more precise than the previous best measurement in 2018 by Muller's group at Berkeley, the main competition. (Guellati-Khelifa made the most precise measurement before Muller's in 2011.) Muller said of his rival's new measurement of alpha, "A factor of three is a big deal. Let's not be shy about calling this a big accomplishment."

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posted about 10 hours ago on slashdot
Singapore has granted San Francisco start-up Eat Just Inc. regulatory approval to sell its laboratory-grown chicken in the city-state -- the world's first government to allow the sale of cultured meat. CNN reports: The product, created from cultured chicken cells, has been approved as an ingredient in chicken bites following Singapore Food Agency (SFA) approval, Eat Just said Tuesday. Initially, the chicken bites will debut in a Singapore restaurant, with plans for wider expansion into dining and retail establishments in the country, Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just told CNN Business. The product will be priced at parity with premium chicken, he added. The cultured meat is created in a bioreactor -- an apparatus in which a biological reaction or change takes place -- Eat Just said. It has a high protein content and is a rich source of minerals, according to the company, which plans to sell the product under the GOOD Meat brand. For now, with manufacturing hubs in Singapore and Northern California, the company only has approval to sell the meat in Singapore, but it hopes to expand sales of cultured meat -- including cultured beef -- into the US and Western Europe, Tetrick said.

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posted about 13 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: President Donald Trump has long been an outspoken foe of big technology companies. And in recent months, he has focused his ire on Section 230, a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields online platforms from liability for content posted by their users. In May, Trump called on the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret the law -- though it's not clear the agency has the power to do that. Since then, he has tweeted about the issue incessantly. On Tuesday evening, Trump ratcheted up his campaign against Section 230. In a tweet, he called the law "a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity." He warned that "if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill." The NDAA is a massive spending bill that Congress passes each year to authorize funding for the military. This year's version, now under active discussion on Capitol Hill, is expected to cost around $740 billion. The NDAA is seen as a "must pass" bill because no one wants to be blamed for holding up funding for the troops. So inserting language into it can be a way to pass proposals that might not stand on their own. But there's also a risk of a backlash -- especially if a measure is seen as unrelated to the military. This may be why Trump has started claiming that Section 230 is a "threat to our national security," since that would theoretically make it germane to a defense funding bill. Trump's campaign to repeal Section 230 appears to go beyond mere tweets. The White House is reportedly telling members of Congress the same thing in private that the president is telling his 88 million Twitter followers: that he will veto the NDAA if it doesn't repeal or at least overhaul Section 230.

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posted about 14 hours ago on slashdot
sciencehabit writes: The U.K. government today invited communities around the country to volunteer a site for a prototype fusion reactor, which would be the first -- it is hoped -- to put electricity into the grid. The project, called Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), began last year with an initial 222 million pounds over 5 years to develop a design. The U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, the government agency overseeing the effort, says construction could begin as soon as 2032, with operations by 2040. Still, spherical tokamaks also come with drawbacks. The hot dense plasma in a smaller device is more punishing on materials, so components may need to be replaced more often. And STEP is unlikely to be capable of breeding tritium, one of two hydrogen isotopes that fuels the reactor. Tritium is radioactive with a half-life of 12 years and global supplies are low. A working reactor will have to breed its own tritium by surrounding the vessel with patches of lithium that produce tritium when bombarded by neutrons from the fusion reaction.

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posted about 15 hours ago on slashdot
AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: The winning numbers in South Africa's national lottery have caused a stir and sparked accusations of fraud over their unusual sequence. Tuesday's PowerBall lottery saw the numbers five, six, seven, eight and nine drawn, while the Powerball itself was, you've guessed it, 10. Some South Africans have alleged a scam and an investigation is under way. The organizers said 20 people purchased a winning ticket and won 5.7 million rand ($370,000; 278,000 pounds) each. Another 79 ticketholders won 6,283 rand each for guessing the sequence from five up to nine but missing the PowerBall. The chances of winning South Africa's PowerBall lottery are one in 42,375,200 -- the number of different combinations when selecting five balls from a set of 50, plus an additional bonus ball from a pool of 20. The odds of the draw resulting in the numbers seen in Tuesday's televised live event are the same as any other combination. Competitions resulting in multiple winners are rare, but this may have something to do with this particular sequence.

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posted about 16 hours ago on slashdot
schwit1 shares a report from Autoblog, adding: "And CR decides to predict poor reliability on EVs it hasn't even evaluated yet." From the report: The latest auto survey from Consumer Reports shows several newer electric cars to be beset with problems, contradicting the conventional wisdom that EVs with their simpler powertrains should have fewer issues than gasoline- or diesel-powered cars. The CR reader survey harvested data on some 329,000 vehicles and specifically calls out the Audi E-Tron, the Kia Niro EV, and the Tesla Model Y. The E-Tron is dinged for "drive-system electrical failures along with other power-equipment issues." The Niro EV's problems reportedly included electric-motor bearing failure. The Tesla suffers a panoply of build-quality issues include misaligned body panels and poor paint quality. Both Audi and Kia claimed to be aware of the issues. For now, though, CR has removed the E-Tron and the Niro EV from its Recommended list (which is based on vehicle test results as well as reliability). The Model Y was not on the Recommended list. CR notes that some older, less-complicated EVs did well in the reliability survey, including the Chevrolet Bolt and the Nissan Leaf. More controversially, as a result of this latest survey's findings, Consumer Reports has decided to downgrade the predicted reliability of several new EVs that were not even included in the survey, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, and the Porsche Taycan. "Often, it's not the EV tech that's problematic," says Anita Lam, CR's associate director of automotive data integration. "It's all the other new technology that could show up on any car -- new infotainment systems, more sophisticated power equipment and gadgets -- that often gets put on new EVs to feed a perception that they're supposed to be luxurious and high-tech."

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posted about 16 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Music Business Worldwide: According to a document published last week, Daniel Ek's company is seeking a patent for its "Plagiarism Risk Detector And Interface" technology, which pertains to "Methods, systems and computer program products..for testing a lead sheet for plagiarism." As explained in the filing -- and as our songwriter/musician readers will already know -- a "lead sheet" is a type of music score or musical notation for songs denoting their melody, chords and sometimes lyrics or additional notes. Spotify's invention would allow for a lead sheet to be fed through the platform's "plagiarism detector," which would then, "having been trained on a plurality of preexisting encoded lead sheets," immediately compare the composition in question to all other songs stored in its database. A set of messages would then be displayed -- describing a detected level of plagiarism regarding "a plurality of elements" such as a chord sequence, melodic fragments, harmony, etc. of a song. The AI software would also potentially calculate "a similarity value" of the song in question vs. other songs in the Spotify lead sheet library. These technology could work the other way around, too, says Spotify's filing, reassuring a songwriter that "the melodic fragment [of your song] appears to be completely new." One particularly interesting element of this is that it would take place in near-real time, allowing a songwriter or composer to tweak elements of their work to avoid infringement before they (and/or their record label) spent the big bucks on recording a final version. Spotify's filing adds that "in some embodiments a link to the media content item that might be infringed (e.g., a track of an album) is provided so that a [songwriter] can quickly... listen to the potentially plagiarized work."

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posted about 17 hours ago on slashdot
Google News Showcase visitors will soon be able to read select paywalled articles at no extra charge. TechCrunch reports: Google says it will be paying participating publishers to provide "limited access to paywalled content for News Showcase users." Those users will, however, still need to register directly with the publishers, which Google says will give them a way to build a relationship. The main News Showcase format is essentially story panel, and Google says it's introducing a new panel allowing publishers to curate a daily selection of their most important stories. Those panels will be shown to users who follow those publishers. Google is also bringing the News Showcase to new devices and channels. It started out on Google News on Android and is now available on iOS as well, with plans to expand to the news.google.com website and Discover soon. And it says it has doubled the number of partners since the launch in October -- the list of nearly 400 publishers participating in the program includes new names like Le Monde, Courrier International, L'Obs, Le Figaro, Liberation and L'Express in France, plus Pagina12, La Gaceta and El Dia in Argentina.

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posted about 18 hours ago on slashdot
According to a Sony patent spotted by T3, the console maker may be working on a new PlayStation 5 with two graphics card. From the report: The patent describes a "scalable game console" where "a second GPU [is] communicatively coupled to the first GPU" and that the system is for "home console and cloud gaming" usage. To us here at T3 that suggests a next-gen PlayStation console, most likely a new PS5 Pro flagship, supercharged with two graphics cards instead of just one. These would both come in the APU (accelerated processing unit) format that the PlayStation 5's system-on-a-chip (SoC) do, with two custom made AMD APUs working together to deliver enhanced gaming performance and cloud streaming. The official Sony patent notes that, "plural SoCs may be used to provide a 'high-end' version of the console with greater processing and storage capability," while "the 'high end' system can also contain more memory such as random-access memory (RAM) and other features and may also be used for a cloud-optimized version using the same game console chip with more performance." And, with the PlayStation 5 console only marginally weaker on paper than the Xbox Series X (the PS5 delivers 10.28 teraflops compared to the Xbox Series X's 12 teraflops), a new PS5 Pro console that comes with two APUs rather than one, improving local gaming performance as well as cloud gaming, would be no doubt the Xbox Series X as king of the next-gen consoles death blow. The cloud gaming part of the patent is particularly interesting, too, as it seems to suggest that this technology could not just find itself in a new flagship PS5 Pro console, but also in more streamlined cloud-based hardware, too. An upgraded PS5 Digital Edition seems a smart bet, as too the much-rumored PSP 5G. [...] Will we see a PS5 Pro anytime soon? Here at T3 we think absolutely not -- we imagine we'll get at least two straight years of PS5 before we see anything at all. As for a cloud-based next-gen PSP 5G, though...

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posted about 18 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google violated US labor laws by spying on workers who were organizing employee protests, then firing two of them, according to a complaint to be filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today. The complaint names two employees, Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers, both of whom were fired by the company in late 2019 in connection with employee activism. Berland was organizing against Google's decision to work with IRI Consultants, a firm widely known for its anti-union efforts, when he was let go for reviewing other employees' calendars. Now, the NLRB has found Google's policy against employees looking at certain coworkers' calendars is unlawful. "Google's hiring of IRI is an unambiguous declaration that management will no longer tolerate worker organizing," Berland said in a statement. "Management and their union busting cronies wanted to send that message, and the NLRB is now sending their own message: worker organizing is protected by law." Spiers was fired after she created a pop-up for Google employees visiting the IRI Consultants website. "Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities," the notification read, according to The Guardian. The company said Spiers had violated security policies, a statement that hurt her reputation in the tech community. Now, the NLRB has found the firing was unlawful. "This week the NLRB issued a complaint on my behalf. They found that I was illegally terminated for trying to help my colleagues," Spiers said. "Colleagues and strangers believe I abused my role because of lies told by Google management while they were retaliating against me. The NLRB can order Google to reinstate me, but it cannot reverse the harm done to my credibility."

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posted about 19 hours ago on slashdot
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation says that cyber-criminals are increasingly relying on email forwarding rules in order to disguise their presence inside hacked email accounts. From a report: In a PIN (Private Industry Notification) alert sent last week and made public today, the FBI says the technique has been seen and abused in recent BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks reported over the summer. The hackers' technique relies on a feature found in some email services called "auto-forwarding email rules." As its name implies, the feature allows the owner of an email address to set up "rules" that forward (redirect) an incoming email to another address if a certain criteria is met. Threat actors absolutely love email auto-forwarding rules as they allow them to receive copies of all incoming emails without having to log into an account each day -- and be at risk of triggering a security warning for a suspicious login.

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posted about 20 hours ago on slashdot
Discovery is the latest media company to jump into the ever more crowded streaming wars. It will launch its streaming service Discovery+ on Jan. 4, 2021. The service will include a $4.99 per month ad-supported tier and a $6.99 per month ad-free tier. From a report: The lower $4.99 tier costs the same as NBCUniversal-owned Peacock's premium tier with ads. The ad-free $6.99 tier is on par with what Disney+ costs. Both offerings are much less expensive than WarnerMedia's HBO Max, which costs $14.99 a month, and Netflix, which raised its standard plan to $13.99 a month in Oct. Discovery is also partnering with Verizon, which will give 55 million customers up to 12 months of the ad-free Discovery+ plan for free, depending on their wireless plan with the carrier.

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posted about 20 hours ago on slashdot
The security team behind the "npm" repository for JavaScript libraries removed two npm packages this Monday for containing malicious code that installed a remote access trojan (RAT) on the computers of developers working on JavaScript projects. From a report: The name of the two packages was jdb.js and db-json.js., and both were created by the same author and described themselves as tools to help developers work with JSON files typically generated by database applications. Both packages were uploaded on the npm package registry last week and were downloaded more than 100 times before their malicious behavior was detected by Sonatype, a company that scans package repositories on a regular basis. According to Sonatype's Ax Sharma, the two packages contained a malicious script that executed after web developers imported and installed any of the two malicious libraries. The post-install script performed basic reconnaissance of the infected host and then attempted to download and run a file named patch.exe that later installed njRAT, also known as Bladabindi, a very popular remote access trojan that has been used in espionage and data theft operations since 2015.

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posted about 21 hours ago on slashdot
Dan Goodin, writing for ArsTechnica: Earlier this year, Apple patched one of the most breathtaking iPhone vulnerabilities ever: a memory corruption bug in the iOS kernel that gave attackers remote access to the entire device -- over Wi-Fi, with no user interaction required at all. Oh, and exploits were wormable -- meaning radio-proximity exploits could spread from one nearby device to another, once again, with no user interaction needed. This Wi-Fi packet of death exploit was devised by Ian Beer, a researcher at Project Zero, Google's vulnerability research arm. In a 30,000-word post published on Tuesday afternoon, Beer described the vulnerability and the proof-of-concept exploit he spent six months developing single-handedly. Almost immediately, fellow security researchers took notice. "This is a fantastic piece of work," Chris Evans, a semi-retired security researcher and executive and the founder of Project Zero, said in an interview. "It really is pretty serious. The fact you don't have to really interact with your phone for this to be set off on you is really quite scary. This attack is just you're walking along, the phone is in your pocket, and over Wi-Fi someone just worms in with some dodgy Wi-Fi packets." Beer's attack worked by exploiting a buffer overflow bug in a driver for AWDL, an Apple-proprietary mesh networking protocol that makes things like Airdrop work. Because drivers reside in the kernel -- one of the most privileged parts of any operating system -- the AWDL flaw had the potential for serious hacks. And because AWDL parses Wi-Fi packets, exploits can be transmitted over the air, with no indication that anything is amiss.

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posted about 22 hours ago on slashdot
Uber is in advanced talks to sell its Uber Elevate unit to Joby Aviation, Axios reported Wednesday, citing multiple sources. A deal could be announced later this month. From the report: Uber Elevate was formed to develop a network of self-driving air taxis, but to date has been most notable for its annual conference devoted to the nascent industry. The sale comes as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's works to attain profitability, and follows partial sales of Uber's money-losing freight and self-driving units. Axios had previously reported that Uber was seeking a buyer. Elevate had a helicopter service running in New York City, but suspended those operations during the pandemic. At last check, the unit had around 80 employees.

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posted about 22 hours ago on slashdot
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing federal authorities over their alleged use of cellphone location data -- particularly in immigration enforcement. From a report: The nonprofit organization today filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to force the agencies to release records about purchasing cellphone location data for immigration enforcement and other purposes. The lawsuit follows multiple news reports earlier this year about the Trump administration buying access to commercial databases that track cellphone locations and then using that data to detect people who might be entering the country illegally. "It's critical we uncover how federal agencies are accessing bulk databases of Americans' location data and why," Nathan Freed Wessler, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement. "There can be no accountability without transparency." Senate Democrats, such as privacy advocate Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), had written a letter to DHS asking for more information on how such data was being used. On Wednesday morning, they disclosed that the department's inspector general would take up the matter.

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posted about 23 hours ago on slashdot
Spotify's $100 million-plus Anchor acquisition is seemingly paying off. From a report: In data released today as part of its annual Wrapped look-back on the year, the company says Anchor, which makes podcast creation software, powered 80 percent of new podcasts on Spotify this year, meaning the software contributed more than 1 million shows to Spotify's catalog in 2020 alone. Overall, Anchor powers 70 percent of Spotify's total podcast catalog, or around 1.3 million out of over 1.9 million shows. People also seem to be listening to that content. Spotify says Anchor shows account for more consumption, in terms of time spent listening, than any other third-party podcast hosting or distribution provider on its platform. (Not counting shows owned or operated by Spotify.) This sounds surprising, at least to me, especially given that big networks like NPR, The New York Times, and Wondery all put their shows on Spotify. But Mike Mignano, head of podcast mission at Spotify, says the data point speaks to the large global podcasting ecosystem that people might not know exists. With more than a million Anchor shows on the platform, listening time adds up fast, even if some shows only have a small group of dedicated fans.

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posted about 24 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report: Last week, Nature journals unveiled their "landmark" open-access option. Nature journals will charge authors, starting in January 2021, up to $11,400 to make research papers free to read, as an alternative to subscription-only publishing. Scientists from around the world received this news with outrage and disappointment on social media. Nature's announcement comes on the heels of their recent "diversity commitment" which pledged "greater representation of currently under-represented groups" in their published content and events, and "faster movement in the direction of equity." How does Nature's diversity commitment square with their own fee options? Do elite, prestige journals actually care about equity and diversity? Is Nature, one of the largest and most profitable publishers, leading in addressing inequities and setting an example to other publishers? And what do scientists in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), people who are rarely consulted, think about Nature's new policy? To address these questions, I consulted 20+ scientists from around the world. Their voices matter, as scientists are the most important stakeholder in the publishing industry. I also sought input from Springer Nature, the publisher, to better understand their fee structure which is thought to be the highest of any journal. The Lancet, another high-impact journal (by Elsevier, the publisher), in comparison, charges $5000 for the open-access option. "The fees are outrageous, an impediment to open access, and a huge hurdle for LMIC researchers," said Mwele Malecela, Director, Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization.

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posted 1 day ago on slashdot
Elon Musk would consider leveraging Tesla's mega $554 billion market cap to buy a legacy automaker, but only if it was on friendly terms, the billionaire entrepreneur said Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner. From a report: Musk, who received an award Tuesday from the media giant, discussed his various interests and businesses, notably SpaceX and Tesla, both of which he leads. Dopfner noted that Tesla's valuation far exceeds the market cap of incumbent automakers like BMW, Daimler and VW, which along with others in the industry once dismissed Musk's ability to make electric vehicles mainstream. When asked if it would be a serious option to buy one of the legacy automakers, Musk said it was possible, but only under certain conditions. "Well, I think we're definitely not going to launch a hostile takeover," Musk said. "So I suppose if there was a friendly one, if somebody said, 'Hey, we think it would be a good idea to merge with Tesla,' we certainly could have that conversation. But, you know, we don't want it to be a hostile takeover sort of situation." Tesla today sits in an enviable position -- although Musk said once again that its share price is too high. The company, which will join the S&P 500 Index on December 21, is now the most valuable automaker in the world, surpassing rivals that produce far more vehicles annually.

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posted 1 day ago on slashdot
Hope Thelps shares a report: The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination. Britain's medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe to be rolled out. The first doses are already on their way to the UK, with 800,000 due in the coming days, Pfizer said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS will contact people about jabs. Elderly people in care homes and care home staff have been placed top of the priority list, followed by over-80s and health and care staff. But because hospitals already have the facilities to store the vaccine at -70C, as required, the very first vaccinations are likely to take place there -- for care home staff, NHS staff and patients -- so none of the vaccine is wasted. The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same steps that normally span 10 years. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the jab - enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The doses will be rolled out as quickly as they can be made by Pfizer in Belgium, Mr Hancock said, with the first load next week and then "several millions" throughout December. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the first people in Scotland will be immunised on Tuesday.

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posted 1 day ago on slashdot
Microsoft has started testing smaller feature updates for Windows 10 in the form of a Windows Feature Experience Pack. The branding appeared inside Windows 10 earlier this year, but Microsoft has only confirmed what the packs will be used for this week. From a report: The Windows Feature Experience Pack will be used to "improve certain features and experiences that are now developed independently of the OS," according to Microsoft. The first feature pack has been released to Windows 10 beta testers this week, and it includes the ability to use the built-in screen snipping app to paste screenshots directly into folders within the File Explorer. The pack also includes a split keyboard mode for 2-in-1 touch devices.

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