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Australia

Australia Has Moved 1.5 Metres, So It's Updating Its Location For Self-Driving Cars (cnet.com) 128

An anonymous reader shares a CNET report: Australia is changing from "down under" to "down under and across a bit". The country is shifting its longitude and latitude to fix a discrepancy with global satellite navigation systems. Government body Geoscience Australia is updating the Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country's national coordinate system, to bring it in line with international data. The reason Australia is slightly out of whack with global systems is that the country moves about 7 centimetres (2.75 inches) per year due to the shifting of tectonic plates. Since 1994, when the data was last recorded, that's added up to a misalignment of about a metre and a half. While that might not seem like much, various new technology requires location data to be pinpoint accurate. Self-driving cars, for example, must have infinitesimally precise location data to avoid accidents. Drones used for package delivery and driverless farming vehicles also require spot-on information.ABC has more details.
Google

Google Play Rolls Out Family Sharing (usatoday.com) 41

Google on Wednesday announced a new Google Play feature dubbed Family Library that allows up to 6 people to share apps, movies, books purchases. It will roll out to people in the next 48 hours in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., and the United States) and requires people to sign up and add family members (you can add your friends as family member). The announcement is mostly in line with a CNET report from earlier this month. USA Today reports: The feature will allow users to share apps, games, movies, TV shows or books from Google Play on Android devices. Movies, TV shows and books can be shared on iOS platforms and the Web. After a user signs up for the Family Library, the person adds up to five family members and decides on the credit card that will be used for the families purchases. Eunice Kim, head of families for Google Play said a unique feature of Google Play compared to other family sharing initiatives is that family members can also choose to pay with their personal credit card or with gift cards. The same user who organized the family can control who below the age of 18 needs permission to purchase content.The feature is strikingly similar to an option in Apple's App Store that does the same thing.
Businesses

Apple: Pokemon Go Sets Record For Most Downloads In Its First Week (techcrunch.com) 35

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has confirmed to TechCrunch that Pokemon Go has attracted more downloads in the App Store during its first week than any other app in App Store history. What's even more surprisingly is that the app was only available in a few countries at the time -- it initially launched in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. Apple didn't provide the number of downloads, but one can assume it's well into the millions. Pokemon Go is expected to become even more popular as it becomes available in more countries -- the game just launched in Japan today. With millions of downloads in the first week alone, Pokemon Go is expected to generate large sums of money for Apple. The Guardian is reporting that Apple will "rake in $3 billion in revenue from Pokemon Go in the next one to two years as gamers buy 'PokeCoins' from its app store."
XBox (Games)

Microsoft's New Xbox One S Will Go On Sale On August 2 -- Will You Buy One? (betanews.com) 108

Microsoft announced on Monday that its new Xbox One S console will go on sale on August 2. To recall, the Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One (also the power supply packed in the console itself), and has the processing muscle to stream video in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. BetaNews reports: August 2 is the big date which also sees the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The Xbox One S also features up to 2TB of storage. In all, three versions of the console are available. It's the 2TB model that's grabbing the headlines and the attention of keen gamers, and this model will launch in "limited numbers" priced at $399. The console will launch in Australia, Canada, UK and United States among several other regions. For anyone looking for a slightly cheaper option, the 1TB model will cost $349, while $299 will get you a 500GB version. If you want to add to the single Xbox Wireless Controller included as standard, this will set you back a further $59.99.Are you planning to purchase one of these?
Australia

Energy Prices Skyrocket in South Australia (yahoo.com) 269

Slashdot reader sycodon quotes an article from AFR: Turmoil in South Australia's heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on. The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000/MWh maximum price...
"A planned outage of the Heywood Interconnector to Victoria, coupled with higher than expected gas prices and severe weather conditions have contributed to large-scale price volatility in the energy spot market in recent days," said South Australia's energy minister, Tom Koutsantonis. The Australian Associated Press adds that "The state Labor government has invested heavily in wind and solar energy at the expense of baseload power, a move critics say has left the state exposed during poor weather. Mr. Koutsantonis has described the energy volatility as a failure of the national energy market because a lack of interconnection means South Australia often produces more renewable power than it can sell into the grid. But opposition spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the government had been too hasty to invest in renewables."
Android

Pokemon Go Leads to Reckless Driving, Injuries, and A Corpse (chicagotribune.com) 130

Since its release Wednesday night, Pokemon Go has already gone on to become the top-grossing game in the three countries where it's available, and Forbes contributor Tero Kuittinen calls it "the first example of an AR product becoming a national obsession." An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Some fans are now tweeting about playing the game while driving, and the Chicago Tribune quotes one user who says "Pokemon Go put me in the ER last night... Not even 30 minutes after the release...I slipped and fell down a ditch." In Australia the game has been leading some players to their local police station, and a woman in Wyoming reports that the game actually led her to a dead body floating in a river. And at least one Pokemon Go screenshot has gone viral. It shows a man capturing a Pokemon while his wife gives birth.
The app's popularity has created lagging servers and forced Niantic to delay its international roll-out, meaning "Those who have already downloaded the game in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can still play it, while those in the U.K., the Netherlands and other countries will have to wait." Meanwhile, Motherboard warns that a malicious sideloaded version of Pokemon Go is being distributed that actually installs a backdoor on Android devices, and also reports that some players are already spoofing their GPS coordinates in order to catch Pokemon without leaving their house.
Australia

Fair Use Threatens Innovation, Copyright Holders Warn (torrentfreak.com) 148

An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: Various music and movie industry groups have warned that fair use exceptions are a threat. The groups were responding to proposals put forward in Australia by the Government's Productivity Commission. They claim that content creators will be severely disadvantaged if fair use is introduced Down Under . Several rightsholder groups argue that strong copyright protections are essential for the survival of their businesses. This includes a long copyright term of 70 years, as well as the ability to block access to content based on the location of a consumer. In addition, many believe that fair use exceptions will do more harm than good. For example, music group IFPI warns that fair use will threaten innovation and create legal uncertainty. "Licensing, not exceptions to copyright, drives innovation. Innovation is best achieved through licensing agreements between content owners and users, including technological innovators," IFPI writes.
Australia

The Fight To Save the Australian Digital Archive Trove (abc.net.au) 87

Slashdot reader sandbagger writes: A digital archive and research tool developed by the Australian National Archives may be the victim of upcoming budget cuts. Used by an estimated 70,000 users per day, the system may be eliminated thanks to a $20 Million (AUD) budget cut to the agency's budget. Since its 2009 launch, Trove has grown to house four million digitised items, including books, images, music, historic newspapers and maps. Critics of the cuts say that such systems should be considered national infrastructure because there's literally no replacement service.
Australia

Google Searches For 'VR Porn' Increase 10,000% (vrtalk.com) 80

Slashdot reader Bob768 writes: Over the last 20 months, with the rise of virtual reality technology, the number of Google searches for the phrase 'VR Porn' have soared nearly 10,000%. The leading country for these searches is Norway.
Last November searches for the term experienced the "spike of all spikes", according to a post on the VR Talk forum, which also identifies the top cities (two in Australia) for the searches -- Helsinki, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and Seoul.
Australia

South Australia Refuses To Stop Using An Expired, MS-DOS-Based Health Software (abc.net.au) 230

jaa101 writes: The Australian state of South Australia is being sued for refusing to stop using CHIRON, an MS-DOS-based software from the '90s that stores patient records. Their license expired in March of 2015, but they claim it would be risky to stop using it. CHIRON's vendor, Working Systems, says SA Health has been the only user of CHIRON since 2008 when they declined to migrate to the successor product MasterCare ePAS.
SA Health has 64 sites across South Australia -- all of which are apparently still using the MS-DOS-based health software from the 1990s.
Iphone

Woman Uses 'Hey Siri' To Call An Ambulance and Help Save Her Child's Life (networkworld.com) 208

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Networkworld: When Apple released the iPhone 6s, it included a great new Siri feature which enables users to activate the intelligent assistant via voice. Dubbed 'Hey Siri,' the feature is particularly convenient because the iPhone 6s' M9 motion co-processor is 'always listening' and thereby lets users use 'Hey Siri' even when the device isn't connected to a power source. Recently, Stacey Gleeson of Australia used the 'Hey Siri' feature to successfully call an ambulance while she was tending to her daughter Giana who had stopped breathing. "I picked her up and sat down with her on the floor," Gleeson said in an interview. "And as I checked her airways, I looked over and remembered my phone." Thinking quick on her feet, Gleeson said, "Hey Siri, call the ambulance." Fortunately, Gleeson managed to resuscitate her daughter while the ambulance was in route. And while it's impossible to know for sure, it's entirely possible that the time Gleeson saved by not having to call an ambulance manually helped save her daughter's life. "Saving me the trouble of having to physically dial emergency services was a godsend," Gleeson said.
Security

Belgium Tops List Of Nations Most Vulnerable To Hacking (theguardian.com) 35

Alex Hern, reporting for The Guardian:A new "heat map of the internet" has revealed the countries most vulnerable to hacking attacks, by scanning the entire internet for servers with their front doors wide open. Produced by information security firm Rapid7, the National Exposure Index finds that the most exposed country in the world is Belgium, followed by Tajikistan, Samoa and Australia. The U.S. comes 14th and the UK 23rd. [...] Tom Beardsley, one of the report's three authors, was surprised by his own findings. "We expected to find that the most exposed countries were also the richest," he explained. The richest countries (by aggregate GDP, which place large countries like China near the top of the list) were likely to have the most net-connected devices, which should mean they proportionally have the most potential for damage. "If you're a rich country, you have a lot of internet. But we didn't find any correlation between the number of nodes and the exposure."
Networking

Report: People Are Spending Much Less Time On Social Media (cnbc.com) 151

An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNBC: According to a new study from marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb, people are spending less time on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The company analyzed Android users' daily time spent on these social networks from January to March 2016 with the same period in 2015, which included data from the U.S., UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, South Africa, Brazil and Spain. Instagram usage was down 23.7 percent this year, Twitter usage was down 23.4 percent, Snapchat usage was down 15.7 percent, and Facebook usage was down 8 percent. Daily usage was down even more in the U.S. for most of the apps. In the U.S., Instagram usage was down 36.2 percent, Twitter was down 27.9 percent, Snapchat was down 19.2 percent but Facebook only fell 6.7 percent. Current installs for the four big social networks were down nine percent year over year. Meanwhile, Facebook's messaging apps, WhatsApp and Messenger increased their installs by 15 percent and 2 percent respectively.
The Almighty Buck

Universal Basic Income Programs Arrive (theguardian.com) 1052

An anonymous reader writes: Y Combinator will give 100 randomly-selected families in Oakland between $1,000 and $2,000 each month as a test, continuing the payments for between six months and a year. And The Guardian reports that Finland and The Netherlands also are preparing pilot programs to test Universal Basic Income, while Switzerland will vote on a similar program this week. One Australian site is now also asking whether the program could work in Australia, noting that currently the country spends around $3 billion on their Centrelink welfare system, "so simplification can offer huge potential savings."
The Guardian sums up the case for a Universal Basic Income as a reaction to improving technology. "In a future in which robots decimate the jobs but not necessarily the wealth of nations...states should be able to afford to pay all their citizens a basic income unconditional of needs or requirements... In an increasingly digital economy, it would also provide a necessary injection of cash so people can afford to buy the apps and gadgets produced by the new robot workforce."

I'd be curious to hear what Slashdot readers think about the possibility of a government-run Universal Basic Income program.
Cellphones

Possible Cellphone Link To Cancer Found In Rat Study (nbcnews.com) 113

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: A giant U.S. study meant to help decide whether cellphones cause cancer is coming back with confusing results. A report on the study, conducted in rats and mice, is not finished yet. But advocates pushing for more research got wind of the partial findings and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has released them early. They suggest that male rats exposed to constant, heavy doses of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. But female rats didn't, and even the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation. The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, is still analyzing the findings. But John Bucher, associate director of the program, said the initial findings were so significant that the agency decided to release them. A 29-year-old study published earlier this month from Australia reassures us that cellphones are reasonably safe, and do not cause cancer.
Australia

Robot Ranchers Monitor Animals On Giant Australian Farms (newscientist.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: Sheep and cattle farms in the Australian outback are vast as well as remote. For example, the country's most isolated cattle station, Suplejack Downs in the Northern Territory, extends across 4000 square kilometres and takes 13 hours to reach by car from the nearest major town, Alice Springs. But robots are coming to the rescue. A two-year trial, which starts next month, will train a 'farmbot' to herd livestock, keep an eye on their health, and check they have enough pasture to graze on. Sick and injured animals will be identified using thermal and vision sensors that detect changes in body temperature and walking gait, says Salah Sukkarieh of the University of Sydney, who will carry out the trial on several farms in central New South Wales. The robot, which has not yet been named, is a more sophisticated version of an earlier model, Shrimp, which was designed to herd groups of 20 to 150 dairy cows.
Australia

Superjet Technology Nears Reality After Successful Australia Test (cnet.com) 132

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Yahoo: A two-hour flight from Sydney to London is a step closer to reality after the latest successful test Wednesday of hypersonic technology in the Australian desert. A joint US-Australian military research team is running a series of 10 trials at the world's largest land testing range, Woomera in South Australia, and at Norway's Andoya Rocket Range. Hypersonic flight involves traveling at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5). Scientists involved in the program -- called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) -- are developing an engine that can fly at Mach 7, Michael Smart of the University of Queensland told AFP. He added that the scramjet was a supersonic combustion engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel, making it lighter and faster than fuel-carrying rockets. The experimental rocket in the trial on Wednesday reached an altitude of 278 kilometers and a target speed of Mach 7.5, Australia's defense department said. The first test of the rocket was conducted in 2009. The next test is scheduled for 2017 with the project expected to be completed in 2018. It's only a matter of time before such high-speed transportation technology is implemented into our infrastructure. Last week, Hyperloop One conducted a successful test of its high speed transportation technology in the desert outside Las Vegas.
Australia

Australia Engineers Set New Solar Energy World Record With 34.5% Sunlight To Energy Efficiency (unsw.edu.au) 110

An anonymous reader writes: Australian engineers have edged closer to the theoretical limits of sunlight-to-electricity conversion by photovoltaic cells with a device that sets a new world efficiency record. A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% -- establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device. The record was set using a 28-cm2 four-junction mini-module -- embedded in a prism -- that extracts the maximum energy from sunlight. It does this by splitting the incoming rays into four bands, using a hybrid four-junction receiver to squeeze even more electricity from each beam of sunlight.
Australia

Cellphones Do Not Cause Brain Cancer, Says 29-Year Study (gizmodo.com) 234

A study from Australia reassures us that cellphones are reasonably safe, and do not cause brain cancer. Chris Mills writes from Gizmodo: "The study examines the incidence of brain cancer in the Australian population between 1982 to 2013. The study pitted the prevalence of mobile phones among the population -- starting at 0 percent -- against brain cancer rates, using data from national cancer registration data. The results showed a very slight increase in brain cancer rates among males, but a stable level among females. There were significant increases in over -70s, but began in 1982, before cellphones were even a thing." What makes the study in Australia so authentic compared to other studies conducted in other countries is the fact that all diagnosed cases of cancer have to be registered by law.
Bitcoin

Craig Wright Claims He's Satoshi Nakamoto, the Creator Of Bitcoin 147

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has put an end to the years-long speculation about the creator of Bitcoin. In an interview with the BBC, The Economist (may have a paywall), and GQ, Wright claimed that he is indeed the person who developed the concepts on which Bitcoin cryptocurrency is built. According to the BBC, Mr. Wright provided "technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator." Wright writes in a blog post: [A]fter many years, and having experienced the ebb and flow of life those years have brought, I think I am finally at peace with what he meant. If I sign Craig Wright, it is not the same as if I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi[...] Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research. I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready. Satoshi is dead. But this is only the beginning. According to Wright's website, he is a "computer scientist, businessman and inventor" born in Brisbane, Australia, in October 1970. Some have questioned the authenticity and relevance of the "technical proof" Wright has provided. Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian former hacker and leading internet security blogger, wrote, "I don't believe for a second Wright is Satoshi. I know two people who worked with Wright, characterized him as crazy and schemer/charlatan." Michele Spagnuolo, Information Security Engineer at Google added, "He's not Satoshi. He just reused a signed message (of a Sartre text) by Satoshi with block 9 key as 'proof.'"

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