Tech News Feed

AI Can Help Indigenous People Protect Biodiversity

Scientifc America - 6 hours 49 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 56 min 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 - 7 hours 45 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 - 7 hours 49 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 - 9 hours 49 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 - 9 hours 49 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 - 12 hours 43 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.

A New Raspberry Girl Scout Cookie Is Coming, but You Can't Buy It in Person - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 21:31
Here's how to get Raspberry Rally, the berry-blasted sister to Thin Mints.

Drought-Stricken States To Get Less From Colorado River

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 21:25
For the second year in a row, Arizona and Nevada will face cuts in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River as the West endures an extreme drought, federal officials announced Tuesday. The Associated Press reports: The cuts planned for next year will force states to make critical decisions about where to reduce consumption and whether to prioritize growing cities or agricultural areas. The cuts will also place state officials under renewed pressure to plan for a hotter, drier future and a growing population. Mexico will also face cuts. "We are taking steps to protect the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River for their lives and livelihoods," said Camille Touton, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. The river provides water across seven states and in Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year. Cities and farms are anxiously awaiting official estimates of the river's future water levels that will determine the extent and scope of cuts to their water supply. That's not all. In addition to those already-agreed-to cuts, the Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that states had missed a deadline to propose at least 15% more cuts needed to keep water levels at the river's storage reservoirs from dropping even more. For example, officials have predicted that water levels at Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir, will plummet further. The lake is currently less than a quarter full. "The states collectively have not identified and adopted specific actions of sufficient magnitude that would stabilize the system," Touton said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Wordle: Your Best Starter Words, Strategies, Tips and Tricks To Win - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 21:05
Keep that winning streak going with a little help from our friends.

Microsoft Employees Exposed Own Company's Internal Logins

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 20:45
Multiple people who appear to be employees of Microsoft have exposed sensitive login credentials to the company's own infrastructure on GitHub, potentially offering attackers a gateway into internal Microsoft systems, according to a cybersecurity research firm that found the exposed credentials. Motherboard reports: "We continue to see that accidental source code and credential leakages are part of the attack surface of a company, and it's becoming more and more difficult to identify in a timely and accurate manner. This is a very challenging issue for most companies these days," Mossab Hussein, chief security officer at cybersecurity firm spiderSilk which discovered the issue, told Motherboard in an online chat. Hussein provided Motherboard with seven examples in total of exposed Microsoft logins. All of these were credentials for Azure servers. Azure is Microsoft's cloud computer service and is similar to Amazon Web Services. All of the exposed credentials were associated with an official Microsoft tenant ID. A tenant ID is a unique identifier linked to a particular set of Azure users. One of the GitHub users also listed Microsoft on their profile. Three of the seven login credentials were still active when spiderSilk discovered them, with one seemingly uploaded just days ago at the time of writing. The other four sets of credentials were no longer active but still highlighted the risk of workers accidentally uploading keys for internal systems. Microsoft refused to elaborate on what systems the credentials were protecting when asked multiple times by Motherboard. But generally speaking, an attacker may have an opportunity to move onto other points of interest after gaining initial access to an internal system. One of the GitHub profiles with exposed and active credentials makes a reference to the Azure DevOps code repository. Highlighting the risk that such credentials may pose, in an apparently unrelated hack in March attackers gained access to an Azure DevOps account and then published a large amount of Microsoft source code, including for Bing and Microsoft's Cortana assistant. "We've investigated and have taken action to secure these credentials," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. "While they were inadvertently made public, we haven't seen any evidence that sensitive data was accessed or the credentials were used improperly. We're continuing to investigate and will continue to take necessary steps to further prevent inadvertent sharing of credentials."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Labor Union Files for Election at Upstate New York Warehouse - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 20:30
The union previously became the first to represent Amazon workers in the US.

Burnout Turned Twitch Streamers' Dreams of Playing Games Into Nightmares

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 20:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Stephen Flavall makes his living by playing video games to an audience of thousands on Twitch. When he first started streaming, he only had about fifteen people at a time watching him. He liked how he could engage with a small community, cracking jokes while people cheered him on. Unfortunately, the vibe changed as his popularity grew. "Around 200 viewers was when it started getting exhausting," says Flavall. "Now I have like 2,000 viewers [at a time] and when that many people are asking you questions and telling you what to do, it becomes absolutely unmanageable. I started having anxiety, bordering on full panic attacks." Flavall's gotten to a better place now, but his story isn't unique. Burnout is on the rise across the country, even for those whose work is -- quite literally -- play. While professional video gaming can sound like an enviable gig, it's not too different from being a performer. Streamers have an audience, a persona, and act in the same role for long hours. Streamers can't really take breaks, either. They risk their fanbase losing interest during a stream and logging off. Since they're self-employed, they can't rely on paid vacation, or sick leave. That leaves streamers wondering how to navigate making an income that isn't an official "job." [...] Twitch audiences can also demand that streamers play games they may have soured on. Haelian, another Twitch streamer known for playing rogue-likes, got tired of trying to escape the underworld of Hades day-in and day-out. But that game made his stream popular, and his fans weren't pleased. [...] Twitch's competitive culture also fans the flames. It's not just that a streamer can tire of a game or rude viewers; they can also fall victim to a pervasive "always on" mentality. Taylor Chou, Director of Talent Management at Evil Geniuses, an esports and gaming entertainment company, says that Twitch can be a pretty toxic work environment. "When you're a streamer, you truly know that every single second that you are not online, grinding, posting, streaming -- somebody [else] is," Chou says. "That's a lot of pressure for people to learn how to manage." Chou also says that communicating with your audience and having a support system is key to mitigating streamer burnout. "Most of the best ways to deal with burnout start with a support system," says Chou. "When you're a streamer, make sure that your community has a sense that this is a person they're watching." But that kind of structure can take years to build, and while fans have rallied around streamers, they can just as often stress or even harass them. That leaves many burnt out and on their way to signing off for good. Further reading: Deadly Swatting Increasing On Twitch; Alarmed Streamers Press For Change (Ars Technica)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Here's When 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Arrives in Your Time Zone - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 19:50
You'll get to watch not one but two episodes of the Prime Video series on premiere day.

NASA's Lucy Mission Team Spots a Surprise Tiny Moon Around a Trojan Asteroid - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 19:33
The spacecraft is still en route to the asteroid belt, but the scientists on the mission are already making discoveries.

Tesla's Public Superchargers Are Deemed 'Illegal' In Germany Due To Technicality

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 19:20
Tesla's Supercharger stations that are open to non-Tesla electric vehicles are deemed "illegal" in Germany due to the lack of kWh counter on the units. Electrek reports: Handelsblatt reports that Tesla's Superchargers are considered "illegal" because they don't have a visible kWh counter at the stations (translated from German): "Every charging station at which charging current is billed according to kilowatt hours must comply with calibration law in Germany , i.e., have a meter that precisely measures the charged current. This applies to public space, but also to company and private premises." Tesla has always relied on its mobile app to monitor charging sessions, and the stations are not equipped with screens. Thomas Weberpals, head of the Bavarian State Office for Weights and Measures, said that it is Tesla's job to retrofit the stations, and it is working toward that. The government doesn't plan to act on it right now: "The illegal operation is not hindered and not sanctioned. It was and is being worked toward a lawful state." "There are a few other charging companies that are also in violation of the regulation, but Tesla has the highest number of stations in violation," notes Electrek.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

More People Need to Watch the Best Show on Apple TV Plus - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 19:12
Severance is the best show of 2022 so far, and the best show on Apple TV Plus.