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Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-cares-if-a-robot-jumps-off-a-building dept.
jfruh writes: Foxconn, which supplies much of Apple's manufacturing muscle and has been criticized for various labor sins, is now moving to hire employees who won't complain because they're robots. The company expects 70 percent of its assembly line work to be robot-driven within three years.

Microsoft Closing Two Phone Factories In China 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-call dept.
randomErr writes: Microsoft is closing two factories in China by the end of March. About 9,000 people worked in these factories, and those jobs were cut a while back as part of the company's major restructuring after its Nokia purchase. Much of the equipment located in these factories from Beijing and the southeastern city of Dongguan is being shipped to Vietnam.

It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy 269

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
An anonymous reader writes China is backing away from U.S. tech brands for state purchases after NSA revelations, according to Reuters. This confirms what many U.S. technology companies have been saying for the past year: the activities by the NSA are harming their businesses in crucial growth markets, including China. From the article: "A new report confirmed key brands, including Cisco, Apple, Intel, and McAfee -- among others -- have been dropped from the Chinese government's list of authorized brands, a Reuters report said Wednesday. The number of approved foreign technology brands fell by a third, based on an analysis of the procurement list. Less than half of those companies with security products remain on the list."

Only Twice Have Nations Banned a Weapon Before It Was Used; They May Do It Again 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-skynet-cares-about-international-treaties dept.
Lasrick writes: Seth Baum reports on international efforts to ban 'killer robots' before they are used. China, Israel, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are apparently developing precursor technology. "Fully autonomous weapons are not unambiguously bad. They can reduce burdens on soldiers. Already, military robots are saving many service members' lives, for example by neutralizing improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq. The more capabilities military robots have, the more they can keep soldiers from harm. They may also be able to complete missions that soldiers and non-autonomous weapons cannot." But Baum, who founded the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, goes on to outline the potential downsides, and there are quite a few.

Mummified Monk Found Inside 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the surprise-center dept.
An anonymous reader writes Using a CT scanner, scientists and hospital staff at the Meander Medical Center in the Netherlands have discovered the mummified body of a Chinese monk inside a statue of Buddha. The monk is believed to have lived around the year 1100. From the article: "Glowing through the statue's golden cast, the human skeleton is believed to belong to Buddhist master Liu Quan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School. To further investigate the mummy, the researchers took the statue to the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort and carried out an endoscopy and additional CT scans. They found out that Liu Quan's internal organs had been removed and replaced with scripts covered in Chinese writing. The museum speculates Liu Quan may have 'self-mummified' in order to become a 'living Buddha.'

How Walking With Smartphones May Have Changed Pedestrian Etiquette 290

Posted by timothy
from the outta-the-way-bub dept.
An anonymous reader writes The phenomenon of 'distracted walking' — pedestrians who walk while using smartphones — has raised civic attention in the last few years, with Utah issuing fines and cities in China creating dedicated 'smartphone lanes' for walkers who need to keep up with Whatsapp on the move. This article argues that smartphone users have become so accustomed to other people getting out of their way that they will no longer negotiate for sidewalk space even when not using their phones.

US To Monitor Air Quality In India and Other Countries 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-deep-breath dept.
mdsolar writes with news about a U.S. plan to monitor air quality in countries like India and Mongolia to help raise awareness about the dangers of pollution. "The United States says it will expand air-quality monitoring at some overseas diplomatic missions, following several years of reporting pollution data in China. The goal is to increase awareness of the health risks of outdoor air pollution, which easily spreads across borders, Secretary of State John Kerry said in announcing the program on Wednesday. The program is intended to help United States citizens abroad reduce their exposure to pollution and to help other countries develop their own air-quality monitoring through training and exchanges with American experts, he said. "We're hoping that this tool can also expand international cooperation when it comes to curbing air pollution," Mr. Kerry said. The program, run in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, will begin to operate in India in a few months. New Delhi has some of the world's worst air pollution, and residents there are becoming increasingly concerned about the dangers. American diplomatic missions will also monitor air quality in Vietnam, Mongolia and elsewhere, Mr. Kerry said."

Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk 114

Posted by timothy
from the vewy-vewy-quiet dept.
alphadogg (971356) writes A setup mistake has apparently left hundreds of thousands of home routers running the SSH (Secure Shell) remote access tool with identical private and public keys. John Matherly, founder of a specialized search engine company whose technology is used for querying Internet-connected devices, found more than 250,000 devices that appear to be deployed by Telefónica de España sharing the same public SSH key. A different search found another 150,000 devices, mostly in China and Taiwan, that have the same problem. Matherly said in a phone interview on Wednesday it is possible the manufacturers copied the same operating system image to all of the routers.

Lenovo Allegedly Installing "Superfish" Proxy Adware On New Computers 248

Posted by timothy
from the hey-man-you're-s'posed-to-join-the-nsa-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes It looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time. The adware, named Superfish, is reportedly installed on a number of Lenovo's consumer laptops out of the box. The software injects third-party ads on Google searches and websites without the user's permission. Another anonymous reader points to this Techspot article, noting that that it doesn't mention the SSL aspect, but this Lenovo Forum Post, with screen caps, is indicating it may be a man-in-the-middle attack to hijack an SSL connection too. It's too early to tell if this is a hoax or not, but there are multiple forum posts about the Superfish bug being installed on new systems. Another good reason to have your own fresh install disk, and to just drop the drivers onto a USB stick. Also at ZDnet.
The Military

Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship? 439

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-of-a-silent-era dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The United States spends $1.8 billion to build a brand new, state of the art, Virginia-class nuclear powered attack submarine. They are the backbone of the U.S. Navy and the ultimate threat to those nations who are building massive amounts of missiles to keep U.S. naval forces like aircraft carriers away from their shores — think China, Russia, Iran and various others. Sadly, the era of the submarine could be coming to an end. New types of detection technology could make the stealth capabilities of subs obsolete, just like the age of flight made the battleship into a floating museum:

"The ability of submarines to hide through quieting alone will decrease as each successive decibel of noise reduction becomes more expensive and as new detection methods mature that rely on phenomena other than sounds emanating from a submarine. These techniques include lower frequency active sonar and non-acoustic methods that detect submarine wakes or (at short ranges) bounce laser or light-emitting diode (LED) light off a submarine hull. The physics behind most of these alternative techniques has been known for decades, but was not exploited because computer processors were too slow to run the detailed models needed to see small changes in the environment caused by a quiet submarine. Today, "big data" processing enables advanced navies to run sophisticated oceanographic models in real time to exploit these detection techniques. As they become more prevalent, they could make some coastal areas too hazardous for manned submarines."

This could force submarines to stay far away from areas where they could be found. Alternately, they could evolve into something different: underwater aircraft carriers hosting drones that could strike below the surface.

Scientists In China Predict Pentagonal Graphene 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-sides-to-every-story dept.
TechkNighT_1337 writes: Chinese scientists made calculations and predict that a new 2D allotrope of carbon based in a pentagonal form resembling a common pavement in the streets of Cairo can be synthesized. They call this new form penta-graphene. From the announcement in the Chemistry World, they say: "The team found that not only should a pentagon-containing version of graphene be fairly stable, it should also be stronger than conventional graphene and be able to withstand higher temperatures, up to 730C. It would also be a natural semiconductor, unlike conventional graphene, which is a highly efficient conductor and has to be chemically modified to turn it into a semiconductor."

Study: 8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into Oceans Annually 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-high-score dept.
hypnosec writes: According to a new study (abstract) that tracked marine debris from its source, roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic gets dumped into the world's oceans annually. Plastic waste is a global problem, and until now, there wasn't a comprehensive study that highlighted how much plastic waste was making it into the oceans. "The research also lists the world's 20 worst plastic polluters, from China to the United States, based on such factors as size of coastal population and national plastic production. According to the estimate, China tops the list, producing as much as 3.5 million metric tons of marine debris each year. The United States, which generates as much as 110,000 metric tons of marine debris a year, came in at No. 20."

Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds 411

Posted by samzenpus
from the mostly-filler dept.
itwbennett writes In a new paper (PDF), researchers from the University of California, Davis, Southeast University in China, and University College London theorized that, just as with natural languages, some — and probably, most — written code isn't necessary to convey the point of what it does. The code and data used in the study are available for download from Bitbucket. But here's the bottom line: Only about 5% of written Java code captures the core functionality.

Alleged Bitcoin Scam Leaves Millions Missing 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-think-I've-heard-this-story dept.
First time accepted submitter OutOnARock writes Yahoo Finance is reporting on the latest Bitcoin scam, this time from Hong Kong. "Investors in a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin trading company fear they have fallen victim to a scam after it closed down, a lawmaker said Monday, adding losses could total HK$3 billion ($387 million). Leung Yiu-chung said his office recently received reports from dozens of investors in Hong Kong who paid a total of HK$40 million ($5.16 million) into the scheme run online by MyCoin, but the total loss may be vastly more. 'The number of cases is increasing. These two days I received calls about more than 30 cases. We estimate more than 3,000 people and HK$3 billion are involved,' he told AFP."

Alibaba Bets $590 Million On Becoming Smartphone Player 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the piece-of-the-pie dept.
An anonymous reader was one of many to note that Alibaba has bought a $590 million minority stake in Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu. "China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a $590 million stake in an obscure domestic smartphone maker as the e-commerce giant tests ways to expand its mobile operating system in a shrinking, cut-throat handset market. Extending a previously muted push into hardware, Alibaba said on Monday it will buy an unspecified minority stake in smartphone maker Meizu Technology Co. Dwarfed by rivals like Xiaomi Inc, privately owned Meizu's slice of China's smartphone market is estimated by analysts at below 2 percent. The deal, unlike U.S. rival Inc's foray into smartphones with its own-brand Fire Phone, is designed to help Alibaba push its mobile operating system within China through Meizu's handsets. In return, Zhuhai, Guangdong-based Meizu will get access to Alibaba's e-commerce sales channels and other resources, the companies said in a joint statement."

Silk Road Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty After Federal Sting 215

Posted by timothy
from the today's-oxymoron-is-consensual-crime dept.
Ars Technica reports that A 26-year-old Columbus, Ohio man has pleaded guilty to selling drugs through the Silk Road website. David Lawrence Handel apparently obtained methylone and other drugs from a supplier in China, which he then sold to buyers on the online black market. Among those buyers were Maryland federal agents, who were making undercover purchases. Handel shipped the drugs to them through the US Postal Service, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. ... Handel faces up to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and up to life for using and possessing a firearm. His sentencing is scheduled for May 15.

New Chinese Regulations Require Real Name On Internet 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the real-names-only dept.
mpicpp sends word that starting March 1st, China will ban internet accounts that impersonate people or organizations, and will require that people use real names when registering accounts online. "As part of an effort to increase control over the Internet, China's government this week revealed new regulations that require Web users to register their real names. According to The Wall Street Journal, the rules apply to users of blogs, microblogs, instant messaging services, online discussion forums, news comment sections, and other related services. Beginning March 1, China will also ban Web accounts that impersonate people or organizations, Reuters said. That includes groups posing as government entities—the People's Daily state newspaper—and impersonations of foreign leaders, like President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin."

Alibaba Tests Drone Delivery Service In China 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-population-density-work-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Following the lead of online retail giant Amazon, Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba has today tested its first drone delivery service. Asia's largest e-retailer promises to deliver ginger tea within an hour to customers across its flagship consumer-to-consumer marketplace Taobao, which holds an estimated 90 per cent market share in the country. The remote-controlled black and silver drones are helicopter-like in design and carry a white box containing the product. For now the service is limited to a three-day test in three of China's largest mega-cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and confined to just one tea brand from one merchant. The trial will be applied up to a limit of 450 tea deliveries.

Google Brain's Co-inventor Tells Why He's Building Chinese Neural Networks 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the build-a-brain dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an interview with Andrew Ng, former leader of Google Brain, discussing Baidu, Deep Learning, computer neural networks, and AI. An interesting excerpt from the interview on biological vs. computer neural networks: "A single 'neuron' in a neural network is an incredibly simple mathematical function that captures a minuscule fraction of the complexity of a biological neuron. So to say neural networks mimic the brain, that is true at the level of loose inspiration, but really artificial neural networks are nothing like what the biological brain does."

Tech Companies Worried Over China's New Rules For Selling To Banks 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the worried-all-the-way-to-the-bank dept.
An anonymous reader writes: China is putting into place a new set of regulations for how banks interact with technology, and it has many companies worried. While the rules might enhance security for the Chinese government, they devastate it for everyone else. For example, not only will China require that companies turn over source code for any software sold to banks, the companies building the software (and hardware) must also build back doors into their systems. The bad news for us is that most companies can't afford to simply refuse the rules and write China off. Tech industry spending is estimated to reach $465 billion in 2015, and it's projected for a huge amount of growth.