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Ask Slashdot: Would Rationing Air Travel Work To Cut Emissions?

Slashdot - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 02:45
united_notions writes: Last year, The Guardian ran an opinion article arguing that everyone should be allocated "an air mile allowance -- say enough for one long-haul return flight a year, or three short-haul flights. [...] If you don't want to use your allowance, you could sell it off in a government-regulated online marketplace. If you're keen to do a holiday a month, you'll have to buy your allowance from someone else." But despite continuing concerns over the environmental harm caused by air travel, this idea has not found much subsequent support. Instead, serious air time is given to meager plans like weighing passengers. Do Slashdotters think rationing would work? Could serious coordinated inter-governmental restrictions on air travel change our behavior? Might it just spur corporations into finishing up carbon-neutral passenger planes?

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

3D-Printed Guns Are Back, and This Time They Are Unstoppable

Slashdot - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 02:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: A new network of 3D-printed gun advocates is growing in America -- and this time things are different. Unlike previous attempts to popularize 3D-printed guns, this operation is entirely decentralized. There's no headquarters, no trademarks, and no real leader. The people behind it reckon that this means they can't be stopped by governments. Known only by his online moniker, Ivan the Troll is the de facto spokesman of an underground wave of 3D-printing gunsmiths. Ivan says he knows of at least 100 people who are actively developing 3D-printed gun technology, and he claims there are thousands taking part in the network. This loose-knit community spans across the whole world. They communicate across several digital platforms, including Signal, Twitter, IRC, and Discord. They critique each other's work, exchange 3D gun CAD files, offer advice, talk theory, and collaborate on future blueprints. These 3D-printed gun enthusiasts -- who share similar ideas and political viewpoints on gun control -- mostly found each other online via gun control subreddits and forums. Ivan is just one small part of this network. He says he is from Illinois, and is of "college age," but otherwise he remains mostly anonymous, to lie low. At the same time though, he's launched bombastic PR videos demonstrating the new 3D-printed gun parts he's created in his garage, including a Glock 17 handgun frame. Ivan's group says the legal challenges around Defence Distributed and the company's founder Cody Wilson are irrelevant. According to the report, the group is uploading their files individually on services such as Spee.ch, a media-hosting site underpinned by the LBRY blockchain, "and they aren't waiting for anyone to give them permission." It adds: "They've made their own 3D-printed gun designs, modified old ones, and are keeping all the Defence Distributed ones available for free too."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chicago Becomes First City To Collect 'Netflix Tax'

Slashdot - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 01:20
Four years after announcing a 9% tax on streaming entertainment services, the city has collected $2 million in sales tax from Sony and two online ticketing services, making it the first major city to collect such a tax successfully. CBS News reports: The city collected $1.2 million from Sony in January, on services including PlayStation Video live events and purchases of music and video, according to Bloomberg. It also collected nearly $800,000 from Eventbrite and $70,000 from Fandango, the outlet said. The levy has been dubbed the "Netflix tax" because it targets streaming video services in addition to gaming and other digital entertainment. While Chicago seems to be the first city to successfully tax streaming services, it probably won't be the last. Rhode Island's governor proposed a budget this year that includes new sales taxes on digital videos, books and music. Pennsylvania enacted a similar tax in 2016 and is set to start enforcing it this summer. Chicago's expanded digital entertainment and services tax could raise up to $12 million per year, according to estimates issued at the time it passed in 2015. A lawsuit filed by a libertarian group on behalf of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime customers is currently in the appeal stage.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Katana Zero is getting Hard mode, Speedrun mode in big update this month

Eurogamer - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 00:42

Developer Askiisoft has revealed that its wonderful, neon-drenched action extravaganza Katana Zero will be getting a whole bunch of new additions in a "significant update" due on Switch and PC at the end of the month.

Katana Zero, if you've not yet had the pleasure, plays out something like Hotline Miami meets Groundhog day, casting players as a sword-wielding, drug-addled assassin and then setting them loose across enemy-packed levels where one wrong move means instant death.

The trick, then, is to chain your small but powerful set of moves together with absolute precision, clearing the room with a swift set of dodges, deflections, and sword slashes. If you mess up though, and you likely will at first, a full rewind is just a button away, meaning you can try over and over until you nail the level in one breathlessly balletic display of blood and steel.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft Launches First Edge Preview Builds For Mac Users

Slashdot - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 00:40
Microsoft today announced the launch of a preview or canary build of its Microsoft Edge browser designed for the macOS operating system. Microsoft Edge for macOS can be installed from the Microsoft Edge Insider site on compatible Macs. MacRumors reports: Microsoft says that the initial build available today includes several interface changes to meld the Microsoft design language with the design language of macOS: "Examples of this include a number of tweaks to match macOS conventions for fonts, menus, keyboard shortcuts, title casing, and other areas. You will continue to see the look and feel of the browser evolve in future releases as we continue to experiment, iterate and listen to customer feedback. We encourage you to share your feedback with us using the 'Send feedback' smiley." Exclusive user experiences for macOS are also coming in the future, such as "useful and contextual actions" for the Touch Bar on Touch Bar-compatible Macs. Trackpad gestures will also be supported. To use the new macOS version of Microsoft Edge, a Mac running macOS 10.12 or later is required.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

UN Chief Warns Nuclear Waste Could Be Leaking Into the Pacific

Slashdot - Tue, 21/05/2019 - 00:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: A UN chief is concerned that a Cold War-era nuclear 'coffin' could be leaking radioactive material into the Pacific. According to Phys.org, the structure in question is on Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands -- where the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests between 1946 and 1958. The tests included the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb, which was reportedly about 1,000 times bigger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In the late 70s, waste from those tests was dumped into a crater and capped with a concrete dome 18 inches thick. That was intended to be a temporary solution, so the bottom of the crater was never lined. Now, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine fear nuclear waste could be leaking from the pit. They're also concerned about cracks in the concrete, which they worry could break apart if hit by a tropical cyclone. Guterres says the Pacific's nuclear history needs to be addressed. Further reading: The Washington Post

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Wants To Apply AI 'To the Entire Application Developer Lifecycle'

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 23:25
An anonymous reader writes: At its Build 2018 developer conference a year ago, Microsoft previewed Visual Studio IntelliCode, which uses AI to offer intelligent suggestions that improve code quality and productivity. In April, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2019 for Windows and Mac. At that point, IntelliCode was still an optional extension that Microsoft was openly offering as a preview. But at Build 2019 earlier this month, Microsoft shared that IntelliCode's capabilities are now generally available for C# and XAML in Visual Studio 2019 and for Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, and Python in Visual Studio Code. Microsoft also now includes IntelliCode by default in Visual Studio 2019. IntelliCode has come a long way since May 2018, but Microsoft is only getting started. When it comes to using AI to aid developers, the company wants to help at every step of the way, according to Amanda Silver, a director of Microsoft's developer division. "If you look at the entire application developer lifecycle, from code review to testing to continuous integration, and so on, there are opportunities at every single stage for machine learning to help," Silver told VentureBeat. "IntelliCode is, very broadly, the notion that we want to take artificial intelligence -- and really machine learning techniques -- and allow that to make developers and development teams more productive. "IntelliCode is really only at the early stages -- authoring and helping to focus code reviews. But over time, we really think that we can apply it to the entire application developer lifecycle."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Mortal Kombat movie reboot now has a release date

Eurogamer - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 22:49

Mortal Kombat fans might want to grab their diaries: Warner Bros has announced that its Mortal Kombat movie reboot will, after years of dilly-dallying around, finally arrive in cinemas on 5th March, 2021.

A Mortal Kombat movie reboot has, of course, been long in the works, with Warner Bros first announcing a director and writer for the project - Simon McQuoid and Greg Russo, respectively - all the way back in 2016. For a while, it seemed the reboot had been lost in development hell, until plot and character details began to leak last summer. However, it was only very recently that production was finally confirmed, somewhat surprisingly by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, to be underway in the area.

All of which brings us more or less up-to-date, and to Warner Bros' latest announcement that the Mortal Kombat movie (which reportedly has a budget of around £38,000,000, numbers fans) won't be hitting cinemas until March 2021.

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Categories: Video Games

Sony Reportedly Launches Marvel-Inspired Studio To Turn Games Into Movies, Shows

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 22:45
Taking a page from the Marvel playbook, Sony Interactive Entertainment is reportedly launching its own studio to take its video games to the movie and TV screen. From a report: PlayStation Productions is a new division of Sony Interactive Entertainment with the task of adapting PlayStation games into films and TV shows, The Hollywood Reporter reported Monday. Heading up the new studio will be Asad Qizilbash, who was vice president of marketing for Sony Interactive Entertainment of America, according to the report. Overseeing the studio will be Shawn Layden, chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios, The Hollywood Reporter said. [...] The new PlayStation Productions will reportedly work with Sony Pictures for distribution of the new batch of movies and TV shows.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Millennials and Gen Z Are Increasingly Pessimistic About Their Lives, Survey Finds

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 22:05
Uneasiness and pessimism abound among the majority of the world's population. From a report: Deloitte has released its Global Millennial Survey of 13,416 Millennials (born between 1983 and 1994) spread across 42 countries and 3,009 Gen Z respondents (born between 1995 and 2002) from 10 countries. The firm has conducted the survey for the past eight years. The percentage of respondents who think that businesses are making a positive impact dropped six points from 61% in 2018 to 55%. "I would say that for businesses, the most important takeaway is the continuously diminishing trust of Millennials and Gen Zs," says Deloitte Global Chief Talent Officer Michele Parmelee. While the two generations have strikingly similar views of the world, Parmelee said survey data shows that their points of view differ in a few significant areas, such as life priorities and their perception of society and work. Generally, only about half of both groups aspire to purchase a home, and even fewer desire to start a family. "Instead, travel and seeing the world was at the top of the list (57%) of aspirations," the report said. Only 52% of the Millennials surveyed responded that earning a high salary was a top priority while 56% of their Gen Z peers did so. And 39% of the Millennials saw starting a family as very important, while 45% of the younger cohort agreed.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Linux Distros Without Systemd (2019)

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 21:25
New submitter Nico Schottelius writes: It's 2019 -- who has switched to systemd, who hasn't and what can I use if I don't like systemd? Here's the answer in short.From the blog post: If you are reading this post you're very much likely not a fan of systemd already. So we won't preach on why systemd is bad, but today we'll focus more on what are the alternatives out there. Our approach is obviously not for settling for less but for changing things for the better. We have started the world after systemd project some time ago and the search isn't over. So what are the non-systemd distros out there? The author makes a case for why you should consider the suggested distros, but here's the list: Devuan, Alpine Linux, Artixlinux, Void, Slackware, Gentoo, and GNU GUIX.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Double Fine's post-post-apocalyptic action rogue-like RAD gets an August release date

Eurogamer - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 20:54

Double Fine's 80s-hued, post-apocalyptic rogue-like, RAD, will be heading to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch (in a squeal of synthesisers, no doubt) on 20th August.

RAD was initially unveiled back in March and is being directed by Lee Petty, who previously helmed Double Fine's bonce-swapping sci-fi platformer Headlander and delightful Matryoshka-doll-themed adventure Stacking.

Petty's latest title casts players as a bat-wielding teenager, on a quest to restore life in a "post-post-apocalyptic world, where humanity has faced armageddon not once, but twice". That quest, explains Double Fine, leads players through an ever-changing radioactive wasteland known as the Fallow, but "the deeper you journey into unknown lands, the more you will expose yourself to gnarly toxins which will wreak havoc on your fragile human form."

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Categories: Video Games

Millions of Instagram Influencers Had Their Private Contact Data Scraped and Exposed

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 20:45
A massive database containing contact information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts has been found online. From a report: The database, hosted by Amazon Web Services, was left exposed and without a password allowing anyone to look inside. At the time of writing, the database had over 49 million records -- but was growing by the hour. From a brief review of the data, each record contained public data scraped from influencer Instagram accounts, including their bio, profile picture, the number of followers they have, if they're verified and their location by city and country, but also contained their private contact information, such as the Instagram account owner's email address and phone number. Security researcher Anurag Sen discovered the database and alerted TechCrunch in an effort to find the owner and get the database secured. We traced the database back to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, which pays influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts. Each record in the database contained a record that calculated the worth of each account, based off the number of followers, engagement, reach, likes and shares they had. This was used as a metric to determine how much the company could pay an Instagram celebrity or influencer to post an ad.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Thanks To Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 20:05
A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that Facebook courts carriers, along with phone makers -- some 100 different companies in 50 countries -- by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself. From the report: Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members' devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company's main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads. Some experts are particularly alarmed that Facebook has marketed the use of the information -- and appears to have helped directly facilitate its use, along with other Facebook data -- for the purpose of screening customers on the basis of likely creditworthiness. Such use could potentially run afoul of federal law, which tightly governs credit assessments. Facebook said it does not provide creditworthiness services and that the data it provides to cellphone carriers and makers does not go beyond what it was already collecting for other uses.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Definition of a Kilogram Just Changed Worldwide

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 19:25
For over a century, the kilogram was defined by a metal cylinder in a French vault. Now, this key unit of mass is defined using the Planck constant, a fundamental figure in physics. From a report: On Monday -- World Metrology Day -- Le Grand K lost its special status as the international prototype kilogram (IPK) and it will no longer represent this base unit of mass to the world. From now on, the kilogram -- along with the ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela -- will be defined by fundamental physical and atomic properties instead of tangible human-made objects. "The Metric System was envisioned to be 'for all people for all time,'" said Barry Inglis, president of the International Committee for Weights and Measures, in a statement. "From its outset it sought to ensure long-term stability by defining the units in terms of an internationally agreed 'constants of nature' instead of an arbitrary reference." To that end, the "arbitrary" Le Grand K has been deposed by the Planck constant, a fundamental quantity related to the energy of photons, the elementary particles that make up light. Defined as 6.626 x 10-34 joule-seconds, the constant fixes the kilogram to the speed of light and a temporal unit of measurement -- the second. The kilogram is now equal to the weight of 1.4755214 x 1040 photons with frequencies matching a cesium atomic clock. It may sound like a less relatable system of measurement, but what the change loses in familiarity it makes up for in precision. Even though Le Grand K is one of the most carefully protected objects on the planet, it is not immune from physical interactions that can alter its weight.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Doctor Who is getting a "cinematic, feature-length" VR game later this year

Eurogamer - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 19:03

Long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who is once again getting the video game treatment, this time in a new "cinematic, feature-length" VR game coming to PlayStation VR, Oculus, and Vive this September.

The Edge of Time, as it's known, is being development by Maze Theory (the same team responsible for the upcoming Peaky Blinders VR game) and is described as a "brand-new and fully-interactive adventure, inspired by the show's 55-year history".

"Armed with the iconic Sonic Screwdriver," explains the official announcement, "players will solve mind-bending puzzles, grapple with classic monsters and encounter new horizons in a quest to find the Doctor and defeat a powerful force that threatens to destroy the fabric of reality". That adventure will, apparently, give players control of the TARDIS as they big-blue-box to places "both familiar and strange to recover a series of powerful time crystals".

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Categories: Video Games

Google Glass Gets a Surprise Upgrade and New Frames

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 18:51
Google just unveiled its newest version of Glass. It's not made to be a widespread consumer product, but there are business users who will care. And the latest Glass Enterprise Edition 2, with key upgraded specs, shows where most smartglasses are at. From a report: You might remember Glass as a strange 2013 footnote, but Glass has stuck around: it became an enterprise-targeted device in 2017, and has been used in a variety of other assistive ways. Plenty of other AR headsets have been moving into the enterprise space over the last couple of years too, from Microsoft HoloLens 2 to Vuzix' glasses. While the single-display design of Glass isn't going to allow 3D augmented reality like what you'd experience on HoloLens 2, there could be applications for other types of useful augmented reality via the improved built-in camera and upgraded onboard processor. Google's announcement touts the new onboard Qualcomm XR1 chip as enabling "support for computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities." Google representatives refused to comment on whether that means the new Glass could possibly adopt some Google Lens-like features, and Google's VP of VR and AR, Clay Bavor, said in a statement that "Using technologies like computer vision and AR, our team's focus has been on building helpful experiences that provide useful information in context. Glass Enterprise Edition 2 does just that, and we're excited to give businesses and their employees tools to help them work better, smarter and faster."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Sony's Deal With Microsoft Blindsided Its Own PlayStation Team

Slashdot - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 18:05
When Sony unveiled a cloud gaming pact with archrival Microsoft, it surprised the industry. From a report: Perhaps no one was more shocked than employees of Sony's PlayStation division, who have spent almost two decades fighting the U.S. software giant in the $38 billion video game console market. Last week, the companies announced a strategic partnership to co-develop game streaming technology and host some of PlayStation's online services on the Redmond-based company's Azure cloud platform. It comes after PlayStation spent seven years developing its own cloud gaming offering, with limited success. Negotiations with Microsoft began last year and were handled directly by Sony's senior management in Tokyo, largely without the involvement of the PlayStation unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Staff at the gaming division were caught off-guard by the news. Managers had to calm workers and assure them that plans for the company's next-generation console weren't affected, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing private matters.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Many at Xbox, PlayStation teams "blindsided" by Microsoft and Sony's secretive cloud deal

Eurogamer - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 17:55

Microsoft and Sony bosses stunned the video game industry last week by agreeing to a historic - if vague - deal to collaborate on cloud-based tech for future gaming platforms.

But plenty within each company were also surprised. Bloomberg reported today how many within Sony's own PlayStation division were "blindsided" by the news.

Discussions between the two companies - which celebrated their union with an image of Sony boss Kenichiro Yoshida and Microsoft head honcho Satya Nadella shaking hands - were conducted at a level senior to the PlayStation division, the report continues.

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Categories: Video Games

6 months of Xbox Live Gold with 1000 Apex coins for £15

Eurogamer - Mon, 20/05/2019 - 17:37

You can nab six months of Xbox Live Gold along with 1000 Apex Coins for £14.99 at Amazon right now - there are around 19 hours left of the deal at the time of writing.

Xbox Live Gold is necessary for playing online with titles such as Sea of Thieves and Fortnite. You'll also get exclusive members deals of up to 75 per cent on digital games, including the likes of Blood Bowl 2, Red Redemption 2 and Blackwood Crossing.

Meanwhile, Live Gold also includes Games with Gold, which will grant you free games each month. Current titles available include The Golf Club 2019 and arcade game Comic Jumper.

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