Tech News Feed

Newly Discovered Molecule Fights Off Over 300 Kinds of Drug-Resistant Bacteria

SlashDot - 2 hours 53 min ago
schwit1 shares a report from ScienceAlert: The molecule is called fabimycin, and further down the line it could be used to fight off some of the most stubborn infections that humans can get. The new potential treatment targets gram-negative bacteria, a group of hard-to-kill pathogens that are commonly behind infections of the urinary tract, lungs, and even the bloodstream. Their resilience is due to a protective outer membrane that helps shield the wall from damaging substances like antibiotics. One study at an English hospital found more than a third of individuals with gram-negative bacteria blood infections had died within a year, demonstrating the challenges involved in managing these robust microbes. Fabimycin overcomes these problems by passing through the outer cell layer, avoiding the pumps that remove foreign material to allow the molecule to accumulate where it can do the most harm. The substance also manages to avoid wiping out too many healthy bacteria, another issue with current treatments. The team started off with an antibiotic that was known to be effective against gram-positive bacteria and made several structural changes to give the molecule the power to infiltrate gram-negative strains' powerful defenses. In tests, fabimycin had an effect on more than 300 types of drug-resistant bacteria. What's more, in mice models it was shown to reduce levels of harmful bacteria in mice with pneumonia or urinary tract infections to where they were pre-infection. The research has been published in the journal ACS Central Science.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is on sale for $290 right now

Engadget - 3 hours 23 min ago

We may be only about one month away from Apple possibly announcing the next generation of its smartwatch, but those who want a new wearable now can pick up the Series 7 for less at Amazon. the online retailer has knocked down the prices of the 41mm and 45mm GPS Product Red versions of the Watch to $290 and $320, respectively. Both models are on sale, but they also both have additional coupons that will be automatically applied at checkout to bring them down to those final sale prices.

Buy Series 7 (41mm) at Amazon - $290Buy Series 7 (45mm) at Amazon - $320

Apple has consistently made the Watch better with each iteration, and the Series 7 is no exception. It wasn't a massive departure from the Series 6 that came before it, but the company did make some important improvements. The Series 7 has a larger screen, making it easier to read text and even type out messages on its display. While its design is mostly the same as the previous version, the Series 7 is the first Apple Watch with an IP6X dust resistance rating, making it the most durable version of the Watch to date. Apple also sped up the charging time on this Watch, allowing you to get a 10-percent boost in battery life in only 10 minutes of charging.

Otherwise, Apple brought over all of the excellent features found on the Series 6 to the Series 7. The smartwatch has a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, ECG tool and blood oxygen monitor, plus features like fall detection and Emergency SOS. Our biggest gripe with it is its lackluster sleep tracking — the Watch focuses on telling you how long you slept and not much else, which is much less data than you'll get from a competing Fitbit or Garmin device. Despite that, we still consider the Apple Watch to be the best smartwatch you can get right now. But if you want the latest and greatest from Apple, you may be better off waiting until the fall when it's very likely the company will announce the next version of the Watch.

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How NASA Is Bringing Mars Rocks (and Martian Atmosphere) to Earth - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 53 min ago
In just over a decade, scientists will get their hands on their first ever pieces of Mars, collected by the Perseverance rover and ferried back by a team of robots, two helicopters and a rocket.

Another Amazon warehouse in New York is seeking to unionize

Engadget - 4 hours 7 min ago

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in a town located southeast of Albany, New York have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. The warehouse, with the codename ALB1, is hoping to join the Amazon Labor Union, which successfully convinced majority of workers at the company's JFK8 facility in Staten Island to vote in favor of unionizing earlier this year. An NLRB spokesperson told CNBC that the agency's office in Buffalo is currently verifying whether the group has truly met the minimum number of signatures needed to hold an election.

Unions typically need to get signatures from 30 percent of eligible members to be able to hold a vote. According to The Washington Post, the ALU previously said that it had passed that threshold for the Albany warehouse. Union organizers at the facility have been working on joining the ALU for months. After Amazon noticed their efforts, the company reportedly held meetings to discourage workers from unionizing. An employee also sent us photos of digital TVs at the Albany facility displaying anti-union messages. To be precise, the messages discouraged people from signing a "card" from the ALU, pertaining to the authorization cards workers have to sign for the warehouse to be able to hold a vote.

The ALU has been demanding for higher pay and safer working conditions for warehouse workers and has previously accused the company of retaliation. A few weeks after it won the election in Staten Island, Amazon fired two of the employees who were involved in its organization efforts. Their fellow organizers believed that it was a retaliatory move by the e-commerce giant. Heather Goodall, a lead organizer at ALB1, said: "The main concerns I hear from workers are about wages and safety. Besides that, there’s no job security. There’s no way to rest on a 15-minute break. Workers want to be able to use the bathroom freely."

Amazon has long made it clear that it is against workers' unionization efforts. A spokesperson told The Post: “As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work." The company also appealed ALU's victory in Staten Island, accusing organizers of pressuring workers to vote in favor unionizing. A hearing for Amazon's appeal could be announced sometime this month.

The Morning After: American Airlines is ordering 20 supersonic jets

Engadget - 4 hours 39 min ago

American Airlines has agreed to buy 20 Overture aircraft from Boom, with the option to purchase an additional 40 planes if all goes well. The deal is one of the strongest shows of support for Boom yet, surpassing the potential 50-jet commitment United Airlines made last year. One wrinkle: Boom hasn’t yet built a working passenger jet.

The company plans to establish a manufacturing facility at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. It expects to begin construction later this year, with aircraft production to follow in 2024 — though the plant’s first completed jet won’t fly until 2026. If Boom can deliver on its Overture promises, there are some pretty big benefits: flights between Newark, NYC and London in under four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in approximately six hours. The company also claims Overture will be a “net-zero carbon” aircraft, thanks to its ability to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels. You’re still burning fuels, but you’re burning sustainable ones.

Check out our 2020 deep-dive on Boom, right here.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missedPresident Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to limit climate changeThe law sets aside $369 billion for climate and clean energy programs.

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The sweeping $750 billion legislation includes $369 billion in investments to climate and clean energy programs. Following months of infighting, House and Senate Democrats passed the bill along party lines. According to one estimate by Princeton University’s Zero Lab, the bill could reduce US greenhouse emissions by about 6.3 billion tons through 2032. The investment set aside by the bill represents the most significant investment to combat climate change in US history.

Continue reading.

Alienware’s new gaming monitors feature fast refresh rates and retractable headset hangersAnd couldn’t look more ‘Portal’ if they tried.TMADell

Dell is releasing two new Alienware-branded monitors this fall. Before you ask, they don’t feature QD-OLED panels like the incredible Alienware gaming monitor we fell in love with here. The more interesting of the two new monitors is the 27-inch model, with an LG Nano IPS panel 2560 x 1440 resolution and native 240Hz refresh rates. A factory overclock even pushes the refresh rate to 280Hz. There’s also a retractable headset hanger.

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Winamp's revival includes platforms for musicians and fansThe creator service makes it more than an MP3 player.

Winamp has opened invitations to a creator service that gives musicians tools to distribute, promote and (of course) profit from their work. While most details won't emerge until features appear in September, this is slated to include fan subscription support debuting in November. It seems to be a Patreon-style platform for creators.

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Walmart+ members will soon get Paramount+ streaming as part of their subscriptionIts membership program now has an answer to Amazon Prime Video.

Walmart has struck a deal with Paramount Global to add its streaming service to Walmart+ starting in September. Walmart+ members, who are currently paying $12.95 a month or $98 a year for unlimited free delivery on orders over $35 across the US, will also get a Paramount+ Essential subscription for free. Walmart's membership prices will remain the same; it's just the service will now come with an answer to Amazon's Prime Video.

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Adidas’ new solar headphones can also be charged by your bedroom lightFully charged, they should offer 80 hours of playtime.TMAAdidas

Adidas has teamed up with Zound Industries to make the RPT-02 SOL on-ear headphones, which can be charged with either natural or artificial light. It's made of a combination of recycled plastic and nylon, and the headband is a highly flexible light-cell material that can be screen-printed onto plastic. The RPT-02 SOL retails for $229 and will be available online on August 23rd.

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Disney Streaming Price Hike: How to Get the Best Deal With and Without Ads - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 52 min ago
Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN all get price increases soon. Here's how to choose your new subscription.

Best Albums to Own on Vinyl - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 53 min ago
Whether you're buying records as a gift or for your own collection, these are the 20 of the best-sounding albums, according to CNET.

From She-Hulk to Black Panther, 12 Marvel Movies That Never Made It - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 53 min ago
Years before the MCU, George Clooney, Wesley Snipes and Tom Selleck came close to being superheroes.

Monkeypox Explained: Transmission, Symptoms, Vaccines and Treatment

Scientifc America - 5 hours 8 min ago

Frequently asked questions about how monkeypox spreads, who’s most at risk, and what vaccines and treatments are available

TikTok's Elections Center returns to fight misinformation ahead of the midterms

Engadget - 5 hours 52 min ago

TikTok is the latest social platform to preview its strategy for fighting election misinformation ahead of the November midterms. The company is once again promoting its in-app Elections Center, which connects users with voting resources and information about their local races. TikTok says a link to the Elections Center will appear on all content related to the midterms, as well as all videos from candidates, political parties and official government accounts.

The company will also continue to work with third-party fact checkers to debunk false claims and warn users when a video contains unverified information. Videos with claims that are debunked by fact checkers will also direct viewers to the Elections Center.

While much of this is similar to steps the company took ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Eric Han, the company’s head of US safety, says the company has built on learnings from 2020. For example, TikTok is stepping up its outreach to creators in an effort to ensure they understand the company’s ban on political ads also applies to branded content.

TikTok's 2022 Elections Center is live in the app ahead of the November midterms.TikTok

The issue has been a challenging one for TikTok. A report last year from Mozilla found that many creators with financial ties to political candidates and organizations were able to easily evade detection on the app. In a briefing with reporters, Han acknowledged that undisclosed branded content is a “challenge” for the company.

He said the company is creating educational videos for creators and agencies to better inform them of TikTok’s rules around such partnerships. He also said the company is working on improving its ability to detect such content, both by monitoring third-party reports, and with internal teams that are “investigating for potential signals where we should be investigating.”

TikTok isn’t the only social platform getting a head start on preparing for the fall midterms. Twitter announced last week that it was reactivating its civic integrity policy and rolling out redesigned fact-checking labels. Meta also recently previewed its strategy to counter misinformation during the midterms, saying it will repeat many of the steps it took ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

But TikTok has come under particular scrutiny for its rapid growth over the last two years and its parent company ByteDance’s ties to China. The company announced this week that Oracle would be auditing its algorithms and moderation practices.

“As part of Oracle's work, they will be regularly vetting and validating both our recommendation and our moderation models,” Han told reporters. “There'll be regular audits of our content moderation processes, both from automated systems … as well as the content that is moderated and reviewed by humans.”

Plasma Reactors Could Create Oxygen On Mars

SlashDot - 5 hours 53 min ago
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Last year, NASA achieved something science fiction writers have been dreaming about for decades: It created oxygen on Mars. A microwave-size device [called MOXIE, or the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment] attached to the agency's Perseverance rover converted carbon dioxide into 10 minutes of breathable oxygen. Now, physicists say they've come up with a way to use electron beams in a plasma reactor to create far more oxygen, potentially in a smaller package. The technique might someday not just help astronauts breathe on the Red Planet, but could also serve as a way to create fuel and fertilizer, says Michael Hecht, an experimental scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But Hecht, who leads the oxygenmaking rover instrument, says the new approach still has a number of challenges to overcome before it can hitch a ride to our solar neighbor. [...] In the lab, he and his colleagues pumped air designed to match the pressure and composition of Mars into metal tubes. Unlike MOXIE, they didn't need to compress or heat the air. Yet, by firing an electron beam into the reaction chamber, they were able to convert about 30% of the air into oxygen. They estimate that the device could create about 14 grams of oxygen per hour: enough to support 28 minutes of breathing, the team reports today in the Journal of Applied Physics. Guerra's team still needs to solve some practical problems, Hecht notes. To work on Mars, the plasma device would need a portable power source and a place to store the oxygen it makes, all of which could make it just as -- if not more -- bulky than MOXIE, he says. If space agencies were willing to spend millions of dollars developing it -- as NASA did with MOXIE -- the plasma approach could mature, Hecht says. He especially likes how the electron beam could be tuned to split other atmospheric molecules, such as nitrogen, to create fertilizer. "There's nothing wrong with the plasma technique other than it's a lot less mature [than MOXIE]," he says.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AI Can Help Indigenous People Protect Biodiversity

Scientifc America - 5 hours 53 min ago

Loss of wild species has reached a crisis level.  Artificial intelligence can help, but only if Indigenous partners have secure land rights

'Rogue One' Original Review: Star Wars Thrills, But Still a Footnote - CNET

CNET News - 6 hours 4 sec ago
The first Star Wars spin-off was a prequel that didn't feel necessary. Now it's coming back to theaters -- here's our original review from 2016.

Logitech Chorus is a $100 speaker add-on for the Meta Quest 2

Engadget - 6 hours 48 min ago

Logitech has introduced a new audio solution specifically created for the Meta Quest 2: It's called "Chorus," and the company says it can deliver a "new level of immersive, ultra-realistic audio." Chorus features rotating speakers and an open back form factor that lets ambient sounds in. It was designed to slide onto the Quest 2's headset strap until the speakers are positioned over the user's ears. In fact, it will make the VR device look similar to the Valve Index, which comes with two near-field speakers, after installation. According to The Verge, the Chorus is compatible with both the stock strap the Quest 2 ships with and Meta's Elite strap.

The accessory maker says Chorus' big open-back audio drivers ensure users can hear both the "big moments and the smallest details." And while the add-on is not an original part of the Quest 2, it's meant to stay in place instead of being removed after every use. It connects to the headset's USB-C port and draws power from the Quest 2 itself, but since it was designed to stay plugged in, it supports USB-C passthrough. That means users can keep their headset charged or can connect other devices to it while Chorus is also plugged in. As The Verge notes, though, Chorus has little noise isolation and probably isn't the best choice for those who want privacy while watching movies or exploring new experiences in VR.

Vadim Kogan, Logitech's head of AR/VR, said "Chorus enhances the fit and comfort of Meta Quest 2, while allowing those who love long play sessions to stay immersed in their favorite games and experiences through the audio integration in a comfortable design built for the VR gamer."

Chorus will soon be available from Logitech's website and other retailers for $100.

Czinger 21C Hypercar Is the Future of Auto Manufacturing - CNET

CNET News - 6 hours 53 min ago
This American showstopper has a 1,350-horsepower hybrid powertrain and a tandem seating position.

Best Car Battery for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - 8 hours 52 min ago
Old school? Maybe, but no automobile is going anywhere without a good 12-volt battery.

Wind, Solar Provide 67% of New US Electrical Generating Capacity In First Half of 2022

SlashDot - 8 hours 53 min ago
Klaxton shares a report from Electrek: Clean energy accounted for more than two-thirds of the new US electrical generating capacity added during the first six months of 2022, according to data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Wind (5,722 megawatts) and solar (3,895 MW) provided 67.01% of the 14,352 MW in utility-scale (that is, greater than 1 MW) capacity that came online during the first half of 2022. Additional capacity was provided by geothermal (26 MW), hydropower (7 MW), and biomass (2 MW). The balance came from natural gas (4,695 MW) and oil (5 MW). No new capacity was reported for 2022 from either nuclear power or coal. This brings clean energy's share of total US available installed generating capacity up to 26.74%. To put that in perspective, five years ago, clean energy's share was 19.7%. Ten years ago, it was 14.76%.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New report details sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Nintendo of America

Engadget - 11 hours 46 min ago

Nintendo is famous for having a family—friendly image and game that people of all ages can enjoy. But a report by Kotaku paints the picture of a company that's not so different from other gaming giants that had previously been accused of fostering a "frat boy" workplace culture. The publication talked to several female game testers who recounted how they were harassed by colleagues and how they were paid less than their male counterparts.

One of Kotaku's main sources is a former game tester called Hannah, who was allegedly told to be less outspoken after she reported the inappropriate behavior of a full-time Nintendo employee in a workplace group chat. The employee reportedly posted a copy of a Reddit post detailing why Vaporeon was the best Pokémon to have sex with and justified why it was OK to be sexually attracted to Paimon, a Genshin Impact NPC with a child-like appearance. 

Hannah, who was a contractor, also found that she was being paid $3 less than a junior male tester and struggled to get her contracting agency to agree to a pay increase. As a queer worker, she was subjected to inappropriate comments by male colleagues whose advances she'd rejected, as well. "Oh, you’re a lesbian. That’s kind of sad," a significantly older colleague told her shortly after starting to work at the company. 

Hannah's experiences mirror many of the other female testers Kotaku interviewed. Some of them talked about how Melvin Forrest, a product testing lead at Nintendo of America, "went after all the associate girls" and frequently commented on their weight and appearance. They said Forrest was in charge of deciding on contractors' schedules and on who gets to return after a project, so female testers were forced to get along with him. Another contractor was stalked by a more senior tester for months, but the well-connected perpetrator threatened to get her fired if she reports him. 

One common complaint between the sources was the lack of advancement opportunities. "Your chance [of being converted to full time] was probably worse as a girl. It's usually guys [who get promoted]. They’re usually all friends. They watch the Super Bowl together," one product tester who worked on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild said.

As Kotaku notes, one of the main reasons why these problems persist is that women are underrepresented in the company. Sources believe that the percentage of female contractors testing games for Nintendo is only around 10 percent, and it's not often that they're transitioned into full-time employees. The company's data also shows that female employees only make up around 37 percent of all full-time workers at Nintendo of America.

While the gaming giant didn't respond to Kotaku's questions, company chief Doug Bowser previously addressed reports about Activision Blizzard's sexist "frat boy" culture in an internal memo. "Along with all of you, I've been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company. I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo's beliefs, values and policies," he said. 

The testers who talked to the publication for this particular report are just some of contractors who've recently decided to speak out against the company. Two former workers even filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Nintendo of America of retaliation, surveillance and coercion.

Researchers Change Blood Type of Kidney In Transplant Breakthrough

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Researchers have successfully altered the blood type of three donor kidneys in a gamechanging discovery that could significantly improve the chances of patients waiting for a transplant finding a match. The development could increase the supply of kidneys available for transplant, particularly within minority ethnic groups who are less likely to find a match, scientists say. A kidney from someone with blood type A cannot be transplanted to someone with blood type B, nor the other way around. But changing the blood type to the universal O would allow more transplants to take place as this can be used for people with any blood type. University of Cambridge researchers used a normothermic perfusion machine -- a device that connects with a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ to better preserve it for future use -- to flush blood infused with an enzyme through the deceased donor's kidney. The enzyme removed the blood type markers that line the blood vessels of the kidney, which led to the organ being converted to the most common O type. [...] Now the researchers need to see how the newly changed O-type kidney will react to a patient's usual blood type in their normal blood supply. The machine allows them to do this before testing in people, as they can take the kidneys that have been changed to the O type, and introduce different blood types to monitor how the kidney might react. The full paper on the work is set to be published in the British Journal of Surgery in the coming months.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Germany To Keep Last Three Nuclear-Power Plants Running In Policy U-Turn

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 22:02
Germany plans to keep its remaining nuclear power plants open for longer in a major U-turn as it scrambles to keep the lights on this winter with less Russian gas. The Telegraph reports: Officials have concluded the plants are needed due to gas shortages and they can be kept open without safety concerns, the Wall Street Journal reported. Germany pledged to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, which hardened opposition to the technology. Berlin has been under pressure to change course since the invasion of Ukraine to limit the impact of the gas crisis on manufacturers and households. Germany has three plants left, operated by E.ON, EnBW and RWE, supplying about 6pc of the country's electricity. They are currently due to close at the end of the year. Any extension has yet to be officially adopted and details remain under discussion, the Wall Street Journal added. It came as Norway warned it could not do more to help Germany avoid a gas crisis this winter as Russia restricts supplies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.