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Space

Maybe There's No Life in Space Because We're Too Early 250

Long-time Slashdot reader sehlat shares "a highly accessible summary" of a new theory about why we haven't yet find life on other planets -- that "we're not latecomers, but very, very early." From Lab News: The universe is 13.8 billion years old, with Earth forming less than five billion years ago. One school of thought among scientists is that there is life billions of years older than us in space. But this recent study in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics argues otherwise... "We find that the chance of life grows much higher in the distant future..."

Stars larger than approximately three times the Sun's mass will perish before life has a chance to evolve... The smallest stars weigh less than a tenth as much as the sun and will glow for 10 trillion years, meaning life has lot of time to begin on those planets orbiting them in the 'habitable zone'. The probability of life increases over time so the chance of life is many times higher in the distant future than now.

The paper ultimately concludes that life "is most likely to exist near 0.1 solar-mass stars ten trillion years from now."
Windows

No Man's Sky Launches On Steam and GOG and It's Off To A Rocky Start (arstechnica.com) 157

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: No Man's Sky, an indie "video game that promises 18 quintillion planets" from a "small development team," has launched today for Windows PC gamers via Steam or GOG. Unfortunately, the "worldwide simultaneous launch on all kinds of PCs" is off to a rocky start -- as evidenced by the "mostly negative" Steam reviews. Many gamers have complained about frame rate hitches and total system crashes. Ars Technica reports: "Even users with high-end solutions like the GTX 1080 or two GTX 980Ti cards in SLI mode are reporting major stutters -- on a game that runs on a comparatively so-so PS4 console with a mostly consistent 30 FPS refresh. The game's PC version defaults to a 30 FPS cap, which can be disabled in the normal options menus. But with this setting turned on, the game can't help but hitch down to an apparent 20 FPS on a regular basis, not to mention throw up frequent display hitches of half a second at a time. Removing that frame rate cap can get play up to a smooth 60 frames per second, and we enjoyed more consistent frame rates without the cap. But even those frame rates can bounce down to 30 or less at random intervals. The game also suffers from freezing hitches, even without apparent spikes in visible geometry like creatures or spaceships." Ars also mentions that the on-screen prompts don't update the button remapping accordingly. There's been some frustration among PC gamers who have had to learn the hard way that the game's floating-menu interface was built with joysticks in mind. Mouse scroll wheels don't seem to work to scroll through text and between menus, and players are required to hold-to-confirm every menu interaction in the game. What's more is that alt-tabbing out of the game is a "guaranteed crash." For those looking for more information about the game, The Atlantic has a captivating report describing the game as if it were like reading a book.
Android

Google Play Store Drops Google+ Integration (arstechnica.com) 45

An anonymous reader writes: The Google Play Store is the latest Google product to drop integration with Google+. The Play Store has dropped Google+ votes from apps and nixed the Google+ account requirement from app reviews, reports Ars Technica. "There was an entire Google+ focused 'People' section on the Play Store that showed apps and ratings from people you follow on Google+. The Play Store also allowed users to '+1' apps on the Play Store, which served as a vote of approval from people you follow. Both features are being stripped out of Google Play, starting earlier this week. The other feature being removed is the requirement to have a Google+ account to leave a Play Store review on apps, games, and media. Several users have reported to Android Police that they can now leave reviews using their regular Google account, where before they were nagged to create a Google+ account."
DRM

Cory Doctorow On What iPhone's Missing Headphone Jack Means For Music Industry (fastcompany.com) 393

Rumors of Apple's next iPhone missing a headphone jack have been swirling around for more than a year now. But a report from WSJ a few weeks ago, and another report from Bloomberg this week further cemented such possibility. We've talked about it here -- several times -- but now Cory Doctorow is shedding light on what this imminent change holds for the music industry. Reader harrymcc writes: Fast Company's Mark Sullivan talked about the switch with author and EFF adviser Cory Doctorow, who thinks it could lead to music companies leveraging DRM to exert more control over what consumers can do with their music.From the article:"If Apple creates a circumstance where the only way to get audio off its products is through an interface that is DRM-capable, they'd be heartbreakingly naive in assuming that this wouldn't give rise to demands for DRM," said Doctorow. If a consumer or some third-party tech company used the music in way the rights holders didn't like, the rights holders could invoke the anti-circumvention law written in Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Steve Jobs famously convinced the record industry to remove the DRM from music on iTunes; is there really any reason to believe the industry might suddenly become interested in DRM again if the iPhone audio goes all digital? "Yes -- for streaming audio services," Doctorow says. "I think it is inevitable that rights holder groups will try to prevent recording, retransmission, etc." Today it's easy to record streamed music from the analog headphone jack on the phone, and even to convert the stream back to digital and transmit it in real time to someone else. With a digital stream it might not be nearly so easy, or risk-free."Doctorow shares more on BoingBoing.
Space

Barry Jenner, Who Played Admiral Ross On 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,' Dies At 75 (deadline.com) 59

New submitter bufo333 quotes a report from Deadline: Character actor Barry Jenner, best known for his pivotal role as Admiral William Ross on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and with credits including recurring roles on "Dallas," "Knott's Landing," "Family Matters" and many others, died on August 9, his family has announced. He was 75.
Data Storage

Seagate Reveals 'World's Largest' 60TB SSD (zdnet.com) 162

An anonymous reader writes: While Samsung has the world's largest commercially available SSD coming in at 15.36TB, Seagate officially has the world's largest SSD for the enterprise. ZDNet reports: "[While Samsung's PM1633a has a 2.5-inch form factor,] Seagate's 60TB Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD on the other hand opts for the familiar HDD 3.5-inch form factor. The company says that its drive has "twice the density and four times the capacity" of Samsung's PM1633a, and is capable of holding up to 400 million photos or 12,000 movies. Seagate thinks the 3.5-inch form factor will be useful for managing changing storage requirements in data centers since it removes the need to support separate form factors for hot and cold data. The company says it could also scale up capacity to 100TB in the same form factor. Seagate says the 60TB SSD is currently only a 'demonstration technology' though it could release the product commercially as early as next year. It hasn't revealed the price of the unit but says it will offer 'the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.'"
Advertising

Suicide Squad Fan Suing Studio For 'False Advertising' Over Lack of Joker Scenes (independent.co.uk) 260

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Independent: Reddit user BlackPanther2016 has threatened to begin legal action against Warner Bros and DC Comics later this week, claiming that teasing Joker scenes in trailers that did not make the final film amounts to "unjust false advertising." The disgruntled superhero fan argued in a post on Movies subreddit that he should receive a refund after driving 300 miles to London to watch "specific scenes explicitly advertised in TV ads" only to leave feeling ripped off. He says he will file a lawsuit on August 11, with his "lawyer" brother leading the case. Part of his litigious post reads: "Suicide Squad trailers showcased several specific Joker scenes that I had to pay for the whole movie just so that I can go watch those specific scenes that Warner Bros/DC Comics had advertised in their trailers and TV spots. These scenes are: when Joker banged his head on his car window, when Joker says 'Let me show you my toys,' when Joker punches the roof of his car, when Joker drops a bomb with his face all messed up and says, 'Bye bye!' None of these scenes were in the movie." Last week, Suicide Squad fans petitioned to shut down rotten tomatoes over negative reviews.
Television

Hulu Ends Free Streaming Service, Moves Free Stuff To Yahoo View (hollywoodreporter.com) 111

Hulu has inked a deal with Yahoo to provide free, ad-supported episodes of a range of TV shows. But Hulu also said Monday it will end free streaming service on its own platform as it is moving that to an all-subscription model. As part of its expanded distribution deal with Yahoo, which is launching Yahoo View, a new ad-supported TV streaming site with five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox among other networks. From an article on The Hollywood Reporter:Most of Hulu's free content has been fairly limited, restricted to what's known as the "rolling five," or the five most recent episodes of a current show -- content that typically becomes available eight days after it airs and is usually also available for free on broadcast networks' websites. For example, recent episodes of shows like America's Got Talent, South Park and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are currently available for free, while Hulu's slate of originals and high-profile exclusives remain behind the paywall. [...] Yahoo is launching the TV site a half-year after shuttering Yahoo Screen, the video service that offered up ad-supported episodes of original TV shows like Community, live streaming concerts and other clips. With View, however, Yahoo is focusing specifically on providing a destination for television to its audience, many of whom are still driven to Yahoo products via its highly trafficked homepage.
Sci-Fi

Star Trek Convention Celebrates The Show's 50th Anniversary (cnet.com) 25

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: CNET has a photo gallery with highlights from this year's Star Trek convention, celebrating the show's 50th anniversary. Highlights include a replica of the time portal from Harlan Ellison's City on the Edge of Forever episode, as well as a weird model of the Enterprise made entirely out of balloons. Special guests included former Star Trek actors Jonathan Frakes, Kirstie Alley, Levar Burton, and Whoopi Goldberg. And William Shatner reportedly made "the Captain Kirkiest stage entrance ever made," then talked about everything from Star Wars and The Twilight Zone to Pokemon Go.
Crime

Assange Says Wikileaks is 'Working On' Hacking Donald Trump's Tax Return (slate.com) 231

Julian Assange made headlines Friday when talk-show host Bill Maher asked him why Wikileaks wasn't hacking into Donald's Trump's tax returns. "Well, we're working on it," Assange replied. But it was apparently the culmination of a larger back-and-forth. An anonymous reader quotes Slate: Earlier in the interview, Maher said it sure looked like Assange was "working with a bad actor, Russia" to hurt "the one person who stands in the way of us being ruled by Donald Trump." Assange then tried to move the conversation toward what he thought was a smoking gun against Maher, saying he had found there was a "William Maher" who "gave a Clinton-affiliated entity $1 million." Maher explained he had famously given President Obama $1 million in 2012 and he never tried to hide it. When Assange pressed on whether he had also given money to Clinton, Maher shot back: "Fuck no."
Slate has a video of the entire interview, and while Friday WikiLeaks was publicizing Assange's appearance on the show on Twitter, Saturday they were tweeting a clarification. "WikiLeaks isn't 'working on' hacking Trump's tax-returns. Claim is a joke from a comedy show. We are 'working on' encouraging whistleblowers."
Government

Conservative Site Argues Profiting from Snowden 'Treason' May Violate Law (judicialwatch.org) 236

"A federal appellate court has ruled that government employees, such as Snowden, who signed privacy agreements can't profit from disclosing information without first obtaining agency approval," writes the conservative advocacy site Judicial Watch. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes their article: This would make it illegal to profit from his crimes and the Department of Justice should confiscate all money made by the violators. Snowden is no whistleblower. In fact he violated his secrecy agreement, which means he and his conspirators can't materially profit from his fugitive status, violation of law, aiding and abetting of a crime and providing material support to terrorism.
In addition, they argue that both an upcoming movie about Snowden by Oliver Stone and the 2014 documentary Citizenfour "may be in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which forbids providing material support or resources for acts of international terrorism... It's bad enough that people are profiting from Snowden's treason, but adding salt to the wound, the Obama administration is doing nothing about it. "
United Kingdom

BBC To Deploy Detection Vans To Snoop On Internet Users (telegraph.co.uk) 212

product_bucket writes: The BBC has been given permission to use a new technology to detect users of the iPlayer who do not hold a TV license. Researchers at University College London have apparently developed a method to identify specially crafted "packets" of data over an encrypted Wi-Fi link without needing to break the underlying encryption itself. TV Licensing (the fee-collecting arm of the BBC) has said the practice is under regular scrutiny by independent regulators, but declined to elaborate on how the technique works. Dr Miguel Rio, a computer network expert who helped to oversee the doctoral thesis, said: "They actually don't need to decrypt traffic, because they can already see the packets. They have control over the iPlayer, so they can ensure that it sends packets at a specific size, and match them up. They could also use directional antennae to ensure they are viewing the Wi-Fi operating within your property." The BBC has been given such authority through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
Television

US Copyright Office Sides With Cable Companies Against FCC's Set Top Rules (arstechnica.com) 137

An anonymous reader writes: The United States Copyright Office has sided with cable companies in their fight against a Federal Communications Commission plan to boost competition in the TV set-top box market. The FCC proposal would force pay-TV providers to make channels and on-demand content available to third parties, who could then build their own devices and apps that could replace rented set-top boxes. Comcast and other cable companies complain that this will open the door to copyright violations, and US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante agrees with them. The Copyright Office provided advice to the FCC at the FCC's request, and Pallante yesterday detailed the concerns her office raised in a letter to members of Congress who asked her to weigh in. "In its most basic form, the rule contemplated by the FCC would seem to take a valuable good -- bundled video programming created through private effort and agreement under the protections of the Copyright Act -- and deliver it to third parties who are not in privity with the copyright owners, but who may nevertheless exploit the content for profit," Pallante wrote. "Under the Proposed Rule, this would be accomplished without compensation to the creators or licensees of the copyrighted programming, and without requiring the third party to adhere to agreed-upon license terms." There are already "third-party set-top box devices, mainly produced overseas, that are used to view pirated content delivered over the Internet," and the FCC's plan could expand the market to include devices "designed to exploit the more readily available [cable TV] programming streams without adhering to the prescribed security measures," Pallante wrote. Cable companies are willing to pledge industry-wide commitment, but have expressed no desires of leaving control over the UI.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Suicide Squad Fans Petition To Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Negative Reviews (variety.com) 407

The much-anticipated movie Suicide Squad has largely failed to impress film critics and normal people alike. People are leaving the theaters disappointed, with a firm belief that DC Universe has let them down again. Vanity Fair goes as far as saying, "Suicide Squad isn't even the good kind of bad," adding that "I'd have to imagine that most fans of Harley Quinn -- male, female, gay, straight -- will be disappointed." The ratings are super low at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes as well. Amid these reviews, the fans of the film have launched a Change.org petition with the intent of shutting down film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Variety adds: Abdullah Coldwater, the DC Comics fan who drafted the petition, accused the site of giving "unjust bad reviews" that "affects people's opinion even if it's a really great [movie]." He added, "Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust bad reviews." The petition has received over 13,000 signatures as of this post. "Suicide Squad," which stars Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie and is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the summer, currently has an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 34 percent. In comparison recent critical disgrace "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" settled at 27 percent on 344 critiques, whereas Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" garnered a laudatory 90 percent with 320 critics chiming in.
Television

TVs Are Still Too Complicated, and It's Not Your Fault (theverge.com) 234

In his latest column for The Verge, renowned journalist Walt Mossberg argues that TVs -- their UI, execution, underlying technologies, and remote -- are still too complicated. In the latest weekly, he has shared the experience of buying a new TV, setting it up, and the first few days of getting through it. The modern set, Smart TV for most, comes with a plethora of proprietary and standard features. But only a handful of people actually know what these features are -- and how they differ in the models offered by the same company. Mossberg says folks at Best Buy were of little use when explaining these features, but did a good job making false claims such as "you have to buy a sound bar because the TV doesn't have good speakers" even when that wasn't necessarily the case. Now Mossberg, having pioneered tech journalism as it is known today, knows a thing or two about TVs, but for a general consumer, it is an unnecessary thing that could spoil the experience, and make a bigger dent in their TV budget than it should have. But buying the TV wasn't the worst part. Following are excerpts from his column: But learning to use the TV is a whole other story. The Bean Bird (assistive cartoon feature) setup process was pretty straightforward, but it gets you going just enough to start watching something. Tweaking all of the TV's many features, including common ones like picture tones and uncommon ones like zooming in on a part of the picture or using a built-in web browser, takes hours. You must wade through menus containing scores of choices. And some controversial features common to modern TVs are buried deep in these menus. For instance, while I like motion smoothing others strongly dislike it -- it's sometimes known as the "soap opera effect." If you don't like it, the LG's interface doesn't make it at all easy to understand what's happening to your picture or what setting to adjust to turn it off. It's not even called motion smoothing in the menus -- LG calls it "TruMotion." The user interface is also somewhat confusing. There are at least three ways, for instance, to change inputs and at least two to bring up quick settings. The menu for launching apps like Netflix, inputs, and more appears to have a million icons in it and marches for what seems like miles across the bottom of the screen. So you have to edit it, which takes a bunch of time.Mossberg also found issues with the way the remote was designed to execute. "For instance, it's supposed to become a "universal" remote, controlling all your connected set-top boxes, but I can only get it to control some, but not all, of the basic features of my cable box, a TiVo Bolt. And its voice search is pathetic -- far worse than the one on the latest Apple TV."

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