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Researchers Change Blood Type of Kidney In Transplant Breakthrough

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Researchers have successfully altered the blood type of three donor kidneys in a gamechanging discovery that could significantly improve the chances of patients waiting for a transplant finding a match. The development could increase the supply of kidneys available for transplant, particularly within minority ethnic groups who are less likely to find a match, scientists say. A kidney from someone with blood type A cannot be transplanted to someone with blood type B, nor the other way around. But changing the blood type to the universal O would allow more transplants to take place as this can be used for people with any blood type. University of Cambridge researchers used a normothermic perfusion machine -- a device that connects with a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ to better preserve it for future use -- to flush blood infused with an enzyme through the deceased donor's kidney. The enzyme removed the blood type markers that line the blood vessels of the kidney, which led to the organ being converted to the most common O type. [...] Now the researchers need to see how the newly changed O-type kidney will react to a patient's usual blood type in their normal blood supply. The machine allows them to do this before testing in people, as they can take the kidneys that have been changed to the O type, and introduce different blood types to monitor how the kidney might react. The full paper on the work is set to be published in the British Journal of Surgery in the coming months.

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Germany To Keep Last Three Nuclear-Power Plants Running In Policy U-Turn

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 21:02
Germany plans to keep its remaining nuclear power plants open for longer in a major U-turn as it scrambles to keep the lights on this winter with less Russian gas. The Telegraph reports: Officials have concluded the plants are needed due to gas shortages and they can be kept open without safety concerns, the Wall Street Journal reported. Germany pledged to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, which hardened opposition to the technology. Berlin has been under pressure to change course since the invasion of Ukraine to limit the impact of the gas crisis on manufacturers and households. Germany has three plants left, operated by E.ON, EnBW and RWE, supplying about 6pc of the country's electricity. They are currently due to close at the end of the year. Any extension has yet to be officially adopted and details remain under discussion, the Wall Street Journal added. It came as Norway warned it could not do more to help Germany avoid a gas crisis this winter as Russia restricts supplies.

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Drought-Stricken States To Get Less From Colorado River

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 20:25
For the second year in a row, Arizona and Nevada will face cuts in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River as the West endures an extreme drought, federal officials announced Tuesday. The Associated Press reports: The cuts planned for next year will force states to make critical decisions about where to reduce consumption and whether to prioritize growing cities or agricultural areas. The cuts will also place state officials under renewed pressure to plan for a hotter, drier future and a growing population. Mexico will also face cuts. "We are taking steps to protect the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River for their lives and livelihoods," said Camille Touton, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. The river provides water across seven states and in Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year. Cities and farms are anxiously awaiting official estimates of the river's future water levels that will determine the extent and scope of cuts to their water supply. That's not all. In addition to those already-agreed-to cuts, the Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that states had missed a deadline to propose at least 15% more cuts needed to keep water levels at the river's storage reservoirs from dropping even more. For example, officials have predicted that water levels at Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir, will plummet further. The lake is currently less than a quarter full. "The states collectively have not identified and adopted specific actions of sufficient magnitude that would stabilize the system," Touton said.

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Microsoft Employees Exposed Own Company's Internal Logins

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:45
Multiple people who appear to be employees of Microsoft have exposed sensitive login credentials to the company's own infrastructure on GitHub, potentially offering attackers a gateway into internal Microsoft systems, according to a cybersecurity research firm that found the exposed credentials. Motherboard reports: "We continue to see that accidental source code and credential leakages are part of the attack surface of a company, and it's becoming more and more difficult to identify in a timely and accurate manner. This is a very challenging issue for most companies these days," Mossab Hussein, chief security officer at cybersecurity firm spiderSilk which discovered the issue, told Motherboard in an online chat. Hussein provided Motherboard with seven examples in total of exposed Microsoft logins. All of these were credentials for Azure servers. Azure is Microsoft's cloud computer service and is similar to Amazon Web Services. All of the exposed credentials were associated with an official Microsoft tenant ID. A tenant ID is a unique identifier linked to a particular set of Azure users. One of the GitHub users also listed Microsoft on their profile. Three of the seven login credentials were still active when spiderSilk discovered them, with one seemingly uploaded just days ago at the time of writing. The other four sets of credentials were no longer active but still highlighted the risk of workers accidentally uploading keys for internal systems. Microsoft refused to elaborate on what systems the credentials were protecting when asked multiple times by Motherboard. But generally speaking, an attacker may have an opportunity to move onto other points of interest after gaining initial access to an internal system. One of the GitHub profiles with exposed and active credentials makes a reference to the Azure DevOps code repository. Highlighting the risk that such credentials may pose, in an apparently unrelated hack in March attackers gained access to an Azure DevOps account and then published a large amount of Microsoft source code, including for Bing and Microsoft's Cortana assistant. "We've investigated and have taken action to secure these credentials," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. "While they were inadvertently made public, we haven't seen any evidence that sensitive data was accessed or the credentials were used improperly. We're continuing to investigate and will continue to take necessary steps to further prevent inadvertent sharing of credentials."

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Event recap: Search Central Virtual Unconference Japan 2022

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:35
We organized the first Search Central Virtual Unconference Japan on April 5, 2022 to facilitate a discussion and networking platform for the SEO, Search and publisher community, in Japanese. This is a recap from the event.
Categories: Web

Timeline for bringing page experience ranking to desktop

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:35
We’ll begin using page experience as part of our desktop ranking systems beginning in February 2022. The rollout will be complete by the end of March 2022. This ranking launch will be based on the same page experience signals that we rolled out for mobile earlier this year.
Categories: Web

Updating our job posting guidelines to improve quality of results for job seekers

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:35
Searching for a job can be a time consuming process and the outcome of the application may be life changing. That's why providing job seekers with authentic, fresh, and trustworthy content when they come to Google Search is our top priority. Today we are announcing a new structured data property and new editorial content policy.
Categories: Web

Search at Google I/O 2021

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:35
Google I/O is our annual developers festival, and this year it was all virtual. But as with any events, virtual, or in-person, a lot of information was covered over the three-day event. In case you missed it, here is a list of some Search-related news and announcements that might be of interest to you.
Categories: Web

Burnout Turned Twitch Streamers' Dreams of Playing Games Into Nightmares

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Stephen Flavall makes his living by playing video games to an audience of thousands on Twitch. When he first started streaming, he only had about fifteen people at a time watching him. He liked how he could engage with a small community, cracking jokes while people cheered him on. Unfortunately, the vibe changed as his popularity grew. "Around 200 viewers was when it started getting exhausting," says Flavall. "Now I have like 2,000 viewers [at a time] and when that many people are asking you questions and telling you what to do, it becomes absolutely unmanageable. I started having anxiety, bordering on full panic attacks." Flavall's gotten to a better place now, but his story isn't unique. Burnout is on the rise across the country, even for those whose work is -- quite literally -- play. While professional video gaming can sound like an enviable gig, it's not too different from being a performer. Streamers have an audience, a persona, and act in the same role for long hours. Streamers can't really take breaks, either. They risk their fanbase losing interest during a stream and logging off. Since they're self-employed, they can't rely on paid vacation, or sick leave. That leaves streamers wondering how to navigate making an income that isn't an official "job." [...] Twitch audiences can also demand that streamers play games they may have soured on. Haelian, another Twitch streamer known for playing rogue-likes, got tired of trying to escape the underworld of Hades day-in and day-out. But that game made his stream popular, and his fans weren't pleased. [...] Twitch's competitive culture also fans the flames. It's not just that a streamer can tire of a game or rude viewers; they can also fall victim to a pervasive "always on" mentality. Taylor Chou, Director of Talent Management at Evil Geniuses, an esports and gaming entertainment company, says that Twitch can be a pretty toxic work environment. "When you're a streamer, you truly know that every single second that you are not online, grinding, posting, streaming -- somebody [else] is," Chou says. "That's a lot of pressure for people to learn how to manage." Chou also says that communicating with your audience and having a support system is key to mitigating streamer burnout. "Most of the best ways to deal with burnout start with a support system," says Chou. "When you're a streamer, make sure that your community has a sense that this is a person they're watching." But that kind of structure can take years to build, and while fans have rallied around streamers, they can just as often stress or even harass them. That leaves many burnt out and on their way to signing off for good. Further reading: Deadly Swatting Increasing On Twitch; Alarmed Streamers Press For Change (Ars Technica)

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

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 18:20
Tesla's Supercharger stations that are open to non-Tesla electric vehicles are deemed "illegal" in Germany due to the lack of kWh counter on the units. Electrek reports: Handelsblatt reports that Tesla's Superchargers are considered "illegal" because they don't have a visible kWh counter at the stations (translated from German): "Every charging station at which charging current is billed according to kilowatt hours must comply with calibration law in Germany , i.e., have a meter that precisely measures the charged current. This applies to public space, but also to company and private premises." Tesla has always relied on its mobile app to monitor charging sessions, and the stations are not equipped with screens. Thomas Weberpals, head of the Bavarian State Office for Weights and Measures, said that it is Tesla's job to retrofit the stations, and it is working toward that. The government doesn't plan to act on it right now: "The illegal operation is not hindered and not sanctioned. It was and is being worked toward a lawful state." "There are a few other charging companies that are also in violation of the regulation, but Tesla has the highest number of stations in violation," notes Electrek.

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Court Upholds FCC's Decision To Reallocate Part of 5.9 GHz Band For Unlicensed Use, Including Wi-Fi

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 17:40
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld the FCC's decision to reallocate part of the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use -- rather than the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) it was originally allocated for. "This is part of the spectrum that in 1999 was set aside exclusively for the auto industry to use for DSCR to improve auto safety," notes Fierce Wireless. "At that time, the full amount set aside was 75 megahertz." From the report: After about 20 years, nothing ever really came of DSRC, and in 2020, the FCC divvied up the 75 megahertz, making 45 megahertz available for unlicensed use with the remaining 30 megahertz designated for auto safety. Specifically, the auto safety spectrum was reallocated for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, a more modern tech than DSRC. The Intelligent Transportation Society of America and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials didn't like the FCC's decision and appealed, arguing that it violated the Transportation Equity Act. They also said the FCC unlawfully revoked or modified FCC licenses. But Circuit Court Judge Justin Walker said it did not violate the act and said the court disagreed with the transportation officials' arguments "on all fronts."

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FDA Clears Path For Hearing Aids To Be Sold Over the Counter

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 17:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the New York Times: The Food and Drug Administration decided on Tuesday to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter and without a prescription to adults, a long-sought wish of consumers frustrated by expensive exams and devices. The high cost of hearing aids, which are not covered by basic Medicare, has discouraged millions of Americans who have hearing loss from buying the devices. Health experts say that untreated hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline and depression in older people. Under the new rule, people with mild to moderate hearing loss should be able to buy hearing aids online and in retail stores as soon as October, without being required to see a doctor for an exam to get a prescription. The F.D.A. cited studies estimating that about 30 million Americans experience hearing loss, but only about one-fifth of them get help. The changes could upend the market, which is dominated by a relatively small number of manufacturers, and make it a broader field with less costly, and perhaps, more innovative designs. Current costs for hearing aids, which tend to include visits with an audiologist, range from about $1,400at Costco to roughly $4,700elsewhere. The F.D.A.'s final rule takes effect in 60 days. Industry representatives say device makers are largely ready to launch new products, though some may need time to update labeling and packaging or to comply with technical details in the rule. "This could fundamentally change technology," said Nicholas Reed, an audiologist at the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We don't know what these companies might come up with. We may literally see new ways hearing aids work, how they look."

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Amazon is Raising Seller Fees For the Holidays To Manage Through Surging Inflation

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 16:22
In its latest effort to contend with soaring inflation, Amazon is planning to raise fulfillment fees during the holiday season, passing off some of its increased costs to the millions of merchants who rely on the site to sell their products. From a report: Starting Oct. 15, and running through Jan. 14, third-party sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA, will have to pay 35 cents per item sold in the U.S. or Canada, the company said Tuesday in an email to sellers. For merchants using FBA, Amazon handles the process of picking, packing and shipping items. The holiday fee comes on top of existing charges that sellers pay for using FBA services. Those costs vary depending on an item's size, category and weight. Amazon said it's implementing an added holiday surcharge for the first time as "expenses are reaching new heights," making it harder for the company to absorb costs tied to the peak shopping season. "Our selling partners are incredibly important to us, and this is not a decision we made lightly," Amazon said in the email. Amazon's third-party marketplace has become the centerpiece of its dominant e-commerce business, as it now accounts for more than half of online retail sales. Because of Amazon's global reach and massive customer base, many retailers count on the company for the majority, and in some cases the entirety, of their business.

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Alibaba, ByteDance Share Details of Prized Algorithms With Beijing for First Time

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 15:45
China's internet giants from Tencent to ByteDance have shared details of their prized algorithms with Beijing for the first time, an unprecedented move aimed at curbing data abuse that may end up compromising closely guarded corporate secrets. From a report: The internet watchdog on Friday published a list describing 30 algorithms that firms including Alibaba Group Holding and Meituan employ to gather data on users, tailor personal recommendations and serve up content. While the public list stopped short of revealing the actual code, it wasn't clear the extent to which internet firms may have revealed their underlying software to regulators in private. The algorithms that decide which TikTok videos, WeChat posts and Instagram photos users see are considered the secret sauce of many online services, critical in capturing user attention and driving growth. China in March adopted regulations that require internet firms to disclose such tools, an effort to address complaints about data abuse that also helps regulators keep internet firms on a tighter leash. Tech industry algorithms are jealously guarded and have been at the heart of political controversies around the world. That disclosure requirement sets China apart from countries like the US, where Meta Platforms and Alphabet have argued successfully that algorithms are business secrets, even as lawmakers and activists seek to better understand how they curate content and manage data.

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US Approves Nearly All Tech Exports To China, Data Shows

Slashdot.org - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 15:05
The U.S. has identified intensifying technological competition with China as a top national-security threat. But a Commerce Department-led process that reviews U.S. tech exports to the country approves almost all requests and has overseen an increase in sales of some particularly important technologies, according to an analysis of trade data. From a report: Of the U.S.'s total $125 billion in exports to China in 2020, officials required a license for less than half a percent, Commerce Department data shows. Of that fraction, the agency approved 94%, or 2,652, applications for technology exports to China. The figures omit applications "returned without action," meaning their outcomes were uncertain. The result: The U.S. continues to send to China an array of semiconductors, aerospace components, artificial-intelligence technology and other items that could be used to advance Beijing's military interests. The Commerce Department says it is focused on long-term, strategic competition with China and that it makes export-control decisions with its interagency partners in the Defense, State and Energy Departments. Critics say Commerce officials are improperly giving priority to U.S. commercial interests over national security and that an urgent regulatory revamp is necessary to respond to the threat from Beijing. For Steve Coonen, the Pentagon's former top China export-controls analyst, the high rate of approvals for licenses to sell tech with potential military use is evidence of significant policy failure.

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