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LinkedIn To Allow Most Employees To Work Remotely, Reversing Course

Slashdot - 51 min 54 sec ago
LinkedIn will allow most employees to opt for full-time remote work as offices gradually reopen, Chief People Officer Teuila Hanson told Reuters. From the report: This new policy from Microsoft's professional social networking site is a reversal of the company's initial indication last October that employees would be expected to work from an office 50% of the time, when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lift. The updated policy, offering employees the flexibility to work remotely full-time or work at an office part-time, will apply to LinkedIn's global workforce of more than 16,000 employees. "We anticipate that we'll definitely see more remote employees than what we saw prior to the pandemic," Hanson said in a Wednesday interview ahead of the announcement, adding that some jobs would require in-office work.

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Cook, Pichai Join CEOs Urging Congress Pass Path to Citizenship

Slashdot - 1 hour 26 min ago
More than 90 chief executive officers, including those at Apple, Amazon and Facebook on Thursday urged Congress to pass a law offering a citizenship path to young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. From a report: In a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, the executives said thousands of the immigrants -- known as Dreamers -- are "valued employees at our companies," but a federal judge's recent ruling against a program protecting them "throws into chaos" their ability to live and work legally in the U.S. "Securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers not only is the right thing to do, but is a huge economic benefit to the United States," the CEOs wrote in the letter. "The latest court ruling makes it all the more urgent that Congress take up and pass a legislative solution right away." The letter seeks to increase pressure on Republicans in Congress who are likely to oppose Democrats' efforts to pass the measure allowing for legal status for as many as 8 million undocumented immigrants.

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Pfizer Vaccine Effectiveness Drops To 84 Percent After Six Months, Study Finds

Slashdot - 2 hours 31 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fell from 96 percent to 84 percent over six months, according to data released on Wednesday. The preprint study funded by the companies determined that the vaccine's effectiveness reached a high point of 96.2 percent within two months after the second dose. But the efficacy "declined gradually" to 83.7 percent within six months, with an average decrease of about 6 percent every two months. But even with the slip in efficacy, the data indicates the vaccine offers protection six months later. The ongoing study with more than 44,000 participants across the Americas and Europe determined the vaccine was overall 91.1 percent effective, after 81 cases emerged among the vaccinated and 873 among those who received the placebo. The efficacy of the vaccine against severe disease including hospitalizations remained high, at 97 percent. Researchers will continue to observe participants of the study up to two years and combined with "real-world" data "will determine whether a booster is likely to be beneficial after a longer interval." If the efficacy continued to decrease at the current rate, it could fall below 50 percent within 18 months, suggesting that booster shots could be needed.

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Amazon's Older Kindles Will Start To Lose Their Internet Access In December

Slashdot - 5 hours 31 min ago
Amazon's Kindle e-readers with built-in 3G will begin to lose the ability to connect to the internet on their own in the US in December, according to an email sent to customers on Wednesday. The Verge reports: The change is due to mobile carriers transitioning from older 2G and 3G networking technology to newer 4G and 5G networks. For older Kindles without Wi-Fi, this change could mean not connecting to the internet at all. As Good e-Reader first noted in June, newer Kindle devices with 4G support should be fine, but for older devices that shipped with support for 3G and Wi-Fi like the Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th generation), users will be stuck with Wi-Fi only. In its email announcement, Amazon stresses that you can still enjoy the content you already own and have downloaded on these devices, you just won't be able to download new books from the Kindle Store unless you're doing it over Wi-Fi. Things get more complicated for Amazon's older Kindles, like the Kindle (1st and 2nd generation), and the Kindle DX (2nd generation). Since those devices relied solely on 2G or 3G internet connectivity, once the networks are shut down, the only way to get new content onto your device will be through an old-fashioned micro-USB cable. For customers affected by the shutdown, Amazon is offering a modest promotional credit (NEWKINDLE50) through August 15th for $50 towards a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, along with $15 in-store credit for ebooks. While arguably the company could do more to help affected customers (perhaps by replacing older devices entirely) this issue is largely out of Amazon's hands.

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First Detection of Light From Behind a Black Hole

Slashdot - 8 hours 31 min ago
Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins has spotted the first detection of light from behind a black hole. Phys.Org reports: "Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole," said Wilkins, who is a research scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. It is another strange characteristic of the black hole, however, that makes this observation possible. "The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself," Wilkins explained. The strange discovery, detailed in a paper published July 28 in Nature, is the first direct observation of light from behind a black hole -- a scenario that was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity but never confirmed, until now. "Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists starting speculating about how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein's general theory of relativity in action," said Roger Blandford, a co-author of the paper who is the Luke Blossom Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Stanford and SLAC professor of physics and particle physics. The original motivation behind this research was to learn more about a mysterious feature of certain black holes, called a corona. Material falling into a supermassive black hole powers the brightest continuous sources of light in the universe, and as it does so, forms a corona around the black hole. This light -- which is X-ray light -- can be analyzed to map and characterize a black hole. [...] As Wilkins took a closer look to investigate the origin of the flares, he saw a series of smaller flashes. These, the researchers determined, are the same X-ray flares but reflected from the back of the disk -- a first glimpse at the far side of a black hole. [...] The mission to characterize and understand coronas continues and will require more observation.

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Apple Closing Down Internal Slack Channels Where Employees Debate Remote Work

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Cult of Mac: Apple is closing down internal Slack channels to stop employees discussing remote working options, reports Zoe Schiffer from The Verge. Many Cupertino employees are currently engaged in a Cold War of sorts with their employer over the remote working arrangement coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. As the arguments flare up among staff, Apple has taken the step of shuttering the Slack channels where these are taking place. "Apple recently began cracking down on Slack channels that aren't directly related to work," Schiffer wrote on Twitter. "The company bans channels 'for activities and hobbies' that aren't directly related to projects or part of official employee groups -- but this wasn't always enforced, employees say." Two public letters from Apple employees have requested more flexible working conditions. A recent petition this month was shared on Apple's internal Slack channel, with more than 6,000 members discussing remote work. It noted that: "We continue to be concerned that this one-size-fits-all solution is causing many of our colleagues to question their future at Apple. With COVID-19 numbers rising again around the world, vaccines proving less effective against the delta variant, and the long-term effects of infection not well understood, it is too early to force those with concerns to come back to the office." According to Schiffer, "internally, [many] people feel like [Apple] isn't listening to their demands." She continues that: "Since Friday, three Apple employees have resigned specifically because of the remote work policies. One had been at the company for nearly 13 years. I've seen a bunch of these resignation notes and they're pretty heart wrenching."

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'World's Most Powerful Tidal Turbine' Starts To Export Power To the Grid

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 10:02pm
A tidal turbine weighing 680 metric tons and dubbed "the world's most powerful" has started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland. CNBC reports: In an announcement Wednesday, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power explained how its 2 megawatt O2 turbine had been anchored in a body of water called the Fall of Warness, with a subsea cable linking it to a local electricity network on land. It's expected that the turbine, which is 74 meters long, will "operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years," the company said, and have "the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes." The turbine is also set to send power to a land-based electrolyzer that will generate so-called green hydrogen. In a statement, Orbital Marine Power's CEO, Andrew Scott, described Wednesday's news as "a major milestone for the O2." Funding for the O2's construction has come from public lenders via Abundance Investment. The Scottish government has also provided £3.4 million (around $4.72 million) of support through its Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Looking to the future, Orbital Marine Power said it was "setting its sights" on the commercialization of its tech via the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays.

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Facebook Warns Growth To 'Decelerate Significantly', Mandates Vaccine For US Staff

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 9:25pm
Facebook said on Wednseday it expects revenue growth to "decelerate significantly." It also announced that it would require anyone working at its U.S. offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Google announced a similar policy earlier this morning. Reuters reports: The warning overshadowed the company's beat on Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by increased advertising spending as businesses build their digital presence to cater to consumers spending more time and money online. Facebook said it expects Apple's recent update to its iOS operating system to impact its ability to target ads and therefore ad revenue in the third quarter. The iPhone maker's privacy changes make it harder for apps to track users and restrict advertisers from accessing valuable data for targeting ads. Monthly active users came in at 2.90 billion, up 7% from the same period last year but missing analyst expectations of 2.92 billion and marking the slowest growth rate in at least three years, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. "The user growth slowdown is notable and highlights the engagement challenges as the world opens up. But importantly, Facebook is the most exposed to Apple's privacy changes, and it looks like it is starting to have an impact to the outlook beginning in 3Q," said Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Brian Wieser, GroupM's global president of business intelligence, said all social media companies would see slower growth in the second half of the year and that it would take more concrete warnings about activity in June and July for anyone to anticipate a "meaningful deceleration."

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Dell Is Cancelling Alienware Gaming PC Shipments To Several US States

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 8:45pm
davide marney writes: Orders for Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PC configurations placed in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington will not be honored because of power consumption regulations, reports PC Gamer. "Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled," Dell states in a message. "The Aurora R12 and R10 are built around the latest generation processors from Intel and AMD, the former featuring 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake CPUs and the latter wielding Ryzen 5000 series chips based on Zen 3," reports PC Gamer. "Unfortunately for both Dell and buyers who reside in affected states, the majority of Aurora R12 and R10 configurations consume more power than local regulations allow. There are exceptions, though [depending on the configuration you select]."

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Microsoft: Component Shortages Not Going Away Any Time Soon

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 8:02pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: In reporting its Q4 FY21 earnings, Microsoft disclosed that both its Surface and Windows revenues were affected negatively by supply-chain constraints. While remote work has continued to fuel PC demand, Microsoft and its OEM partners have had problems getting enough components, including chips, power cords and other electronic components that are required for new PCs. In Q4, Microsoft's Surface revenue fell 20 percent, to $1.38 billion in the quarter. The year-ago quarter comparison was tough because Surface and other Windows PCs saw lots of demand as people needed to buy PCs to enable them to work from home. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told analysts on the earnings call that Microsoft anticipated that Surface revenues would continue to fall next quarter due to supply-chain constraints. Supply-chain pressures also will continue to impact Microsoft's Xbox gaming consoles and PCs made by its partners, company officials conceded. Hood told analysts to expect Windows OEM revenues in Q1 FY22 to decline mid to high single digits and Surface revenue to decline by low teens. The Q4 numbers released today had Windows OEM Pro revenues down two percent compared to the year-ago quarter and non-Pro (consumer) OEM growth off by four percent. Supply-chain constraints don't seem to be impacting how quickly Microsoft can continue to build out its cloud footprint, however. Hood and other officials expect Microsoft to continue to grow its commercial cloud businesses, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Azure was up 51 percent (from some undisclosed base number) for the quarter and Dynamics 365 was up 49 percent from some undisclosed base -- its third consecutive quarter of growth.

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Google Delays Return To Office, Mandates Vaccines

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 7:20pm
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened. The Associated Press reports: The announcement Wednesday came as the more highly contagious delta variant is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In an email sent to Google's more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18 instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited. "This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it," Pichai wrote. And Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates. Google's vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other "protected" reasons. "Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead," Pichai explained.

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YouTube Channel 'Tech Support Scams' Taken Offline By Tech Support Scam

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 6:40pm
The Tech Support Scams YouTube channel, operated by host and creator Jim Browning, was deleted after a tech support scam convinced Browning that the only way to secure his account was to delete it. The Register reports: "So to prove that anyone can be scammed," Browning announced via Twitter following the attack, "I was convinced to delete my YouTube channel because I was convinced I was talking [to YouTube] support. I never lost control of the channel, but the sneaky s**t managed to get me to delete the channel. Hope to recover soon." To fool Browning, the ruse must have been convincing: "I track down the people who scam others on the Internet," he writes on his Patreon page. "This is usually those 'tech support' call frauds using phone calls or pop-ups. I explain what I do by guiding others in how to recognize a scam and, more importantly, how to turn the tables on scammers by tracking them down." Browning has made a name for himself with self-described "scam baiting" videos, in which he sets up honeypot systems and pretends to fall for scams in which supposed support staffers need remote access to fix a problem or remove a virus -- in reality scouring the hard drive for sensitive files or planting malware of their own. "I am hoping that YouTube Support can recover the situation by 29th July," Browning wrote in a Patreon update, "and I can get the channel back, but they've not promised anything as yet. I just hope it is recoverable." Whether Browning is able to recover the account, and the 3.28 million subscribers he had gathered over his career as a scam-baiter, he's hoping to turn his misfortune into another lesson. "I will make a video on how all of this went down," he pledged, "but suffice to say, it was pretty convincing until the very end."

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What That Google Drive 'Security Update' Message Means

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 6:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A security update will be applied to Drive," Google's weird new email reads. If you visit drive.google.com, you'll also see a message saying, "On September 13, 2021, a security update will be applied to some of your files." You can even see a list of the affected files, which have all gotten an unspecified "security update." So what is this all about? Google is changing the way content sharing works on Drive. Drive files have two sharing options: a single-person allow list (where you share a Google Doc with specific Google accounts) and a "get link" option (where anyone with the link can access the file). The "get link" option works the same way as unlisted YouTube videos -- it's not really private but, theoretically, not quite public, either, since the link needs to be publicized somewhere. The secret sharing links are really just security through obscurity, and it turns out the links are actually guessable. Google knew about the problem of guessable secret links for a while and changed the way link generation works back in 2017 (presumably for Drive, too?). Of course, that doesn't affect links you've shared in the past, and soon Google is going to require your old links to change, which can break them. Google's new link scheme adds a "resourcekey" to the end of any shared Drive links, making them harder to guess. So a link that used to look like "https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI1YpjkbX0OZ0prTHYyQ1U2djQ/" will now look like "https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI1YpjkbX0OZ0prTHYyQ1U2djQ/view?resourcekey=0-OsOHHiQFk1QEw6vIyh8v_w." The resource key makes it harder to guess. If you head to drive.google.com/drive/update-drives in a browser, you should be able to see a list of your impacted files, and if you mouse over them you'll see a button on the right to remove or apply the security update. "Applied" means the resourcekey will be required after September 13, 2021, and will (mostly) break the old link, while "removed" means the resourcekey isn't required and any links out there should keep working. YouTube is also making similar changes. "In 2017, we rolled out an update to the system that generates new YouTube Unlisted links, which included security enhancements that make the links for your Unlisted videos even harder for someone to discover if you haven't shared the link with them," says YouTube in a support page. YouTube creators can decide to opt out of this change. They also have the option of making Unlisted pre-2017 videos public or re-uploading as a new Unlisted video at the expense of stats.

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Pfizer Data Suggest Third Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine 'Strongly' Boosts Protection Against Delta Variant

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 5:22pm
A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can "strongly" boost protection against the Delta variant -- beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, suggests new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday. From a report: The data posted online suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than fivefold than following a second dose. Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose. The data, which included 23 people, have not yet been peer-reviewed or published. During a company earnings call on Wednesday morning, Dr. Mikael Dolsten, who leads worldwide research, development and medical for Pfizer, called the new data on a third dose of vaccine "encouraging." "Receiving a third dose more than six months after vaccination, when protection may be beginning to wane, was estimated to potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers in participants in this study to up to 100 times higher post-dose three compared to pre-dose three," Dolsten said in prepared remarks. "These preliminary data are very encouraging as Delta continues to spread." The data also show that antibody levels are much higher against the original coronavirus variant and the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa, after a third dose.

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Sony Has Sold 10 Million PS5 Consoles

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 4:44pm
The PlayStation 5 just crossed a significant milestone. Sony has revealed that it has sold 10 million PS5 consoles as of July 18th, eight months after the system's November 12th debut. From a report: The company considered that no mean feat between the pandemic and ongoing chip shortages that reportedly held sales back. It's now Sony's fastest-selling console to date, outpacing the PS4 by nearly a month. Sales have slowed down since launch. Sony racked up 4.5 million PS5 sales in 2020, but sold 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 -- it took another four months to add 2.2 million to the tally. That's not surprising between supply constraints and the usual mid-year slump, but you might not see sales climb until the holidays. PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview that it was "too early to tell" which markets were the hottest given widespread demand, but pointed out that China was a pleasant surprise. The company sold out its PS5 launch stock "very, very quickly" despite a local market focused on mobile games and the free-to-play model.

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Israel Begins Investigation Into NSO Group Spyware Abuse

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 4:01pm
Israeli government officials visited the offices of the hacking company NSO Group on Wednesday to investigate allegations that the firm's spyware has been used to target activists, politicians, business executives, and journalists, the country's Ministry of Defense said in a statement today. From a report: An investigation published last week by 17 global media organizations, claims that phone numbers belonging to notable figures have been targeted by Pegasus, the notorious spyware that is NSO's best-selling product. The Israeli Ministry of Defense did not specify which government agencies were involved in the investigation, but Israeli media previously reported that the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, Mossad, and Military Intelligence were also looking into the company following the publication of the Pegasus Project. NSO Group CEO Shalev Hulio confirmed to MIT Technology Review that the visit had taken place, but continued the company's denials that the list published by reporters was linked to Pegasus. "That's true," he said. "I believe it's very good that they are checking, since we know the truth and we know that the list never existed and is not related to NSO." The reports focused largely on the successful hacking of 37 smartphones of business leaders, journalists, and human rights activists. But they also pointed to a leaked list of over 50,000 more phone numbers of interest in countries that are reportedly clients of NSO Group. The company has repeatedly denied the reporting. At this point, both the source of and meaning of the list remain unclear, but numerous phones on the list were hacked according to technical analysis by Amnesty International's Security Lab. When asked if the government's investigation process will continue, Hulio said he hopes it will be ongoing. "We want them to check everything and make sure that the allegations are wrong," he added.

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Walmart To Sell Its E-commerce Technologies To Other Retailers

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 3:21pm
Walmart's investments in software and retail technologies it used to transform its business from a brick-and-mortar to one that combines both in-person and online shopping will now be made available to other retailers for the first time, the company announced today. From a report: Through a strategic partnership with Adobe, Walmart will integrate access to Walmart's Marketplace, as well as its various online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies, into the Adobe Commerce Platform. The technologies will be made available to both Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source customers, Adobe says. The deal will allow Walmart to potentially reach thousands of small to mid-sized retailers, who will effectively be able to tap into the same tools that one of the largest global retailers is using to run their business. Through the partnership, Adobe retail customers will be able to do things like show store pickup eligibility and available pickup times online; offer multiple pickup options like curbside and in-store pickup; provide their store associates with mobile tools to pick for orders, validate item selections and handle substitutions; and use tools to communicate with customers about their pickup orders, like those where customers can alert store associates of their ETA or arrival for curbside pickup. Another aspect of the partnership will allow retailers to syndicate and sell their products across Walmart's Marketplace.

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White House Calls on America's Most Critical Companies To Improve Cyber Defenses

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 2:45pm
The White House is signaling to U.S. critical infrastructure companies, such as energy providers that they must improve their cyber defenses because additional potential regulation is on the horizon. From a report: U.S. President Joseph Biden signed a national security memorandum on Wednesday, launching a new public-private initiative that creates "performance controls" for cybersecurity at America's most critical companies, including water treatment and electrical power plants. The recommendations are voluntary in nature, but the administration hopes it will cause companies to improve their cybersecurity ahead of other policy efforts, said a senior administration official. The announcement comes after multiple high profile cyberattacks this year crippled American companies and government agencies, including a ransomware incident which disrupted gasoline supplies. "These are the thresholds that we expect responsible owners and operators to go," said the official. "The absence of mandated cybersecurity requirements for critical infrastructure is what in many ways has brought us to the level of vulnerability that we have today."

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Fast Internet Everywhere Could Add $160 Billion To US Economy

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 2:05pm
The U.S. economy stands to gain $160 billion a year in extra output from a successful national high-speed internet plan that would boost labor productivity and allow more people to work from home, according to new research. From a report: The study, which is based on survey data, attempts to put precise numbers on one of the bigger unknowns in President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan: how much is universal broadband really worth? "Moving to high-quality, fully reliable home internet service for all Americans would raise earnings-weighted labor productivity by an estimated 1.1% in the coming years," economists Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven Davis wrote in a paper released July 27. "The implied output gains are $160 billion per year," equivalent to about 0.7% of gross domestic product. The study's authors describe an "abrupt, enormous" shift to remote work as a result of the pandemic, which they expect to settle with about 20% of the U.S. labor force persistently working from home. The share could be higher for so-called knowledge workers whose jobs are mostly done on computer networks anyway.

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Thousands of Scientists Warn Climate Tipping Points 'Imminent'

Slashdot - July 28, 2021 - 1:41pm
Thousands of scientists have repeated calls for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, warning that several tipping points are now imminent. From a report: The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on Wednesday that governments had consistently failed to address "the overexploitation of the Earth," which they described as the root cause of the crisis. Since a similar assessment in 2019, they noted an "unprecedented surge" in climate-related disasters, including flooding in South America and Southeast Asia, record-shattering heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the US, and devastating cyclones in Africa and South Asia. For the study, scientists relied on "vital signs" to measure the health of the planet, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness and sea-ice extent and deforestation. Out of 31 signs, they found that 18 hit record highs or lows. For example, despite a dip in pollution linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021. Greenland and Antarctica recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass and glaciers are melting 31-percent faster than they did just 15 years ago, the authors said. Ocean heat and global sea levels set new records since 2019, and the annual loss rate of the Brazilian Amazon reached a 12-year high in 2020. Echoing previous research, the researchers said forest degradation linked to fire, drought and logging was causing parts of the Brazilian Amazon to now act as a source of carbon, rather than absorb the gas from the atmosphere.

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