No item elements found in rss feed.
bbc
No item elements found in rss feed.
No item elements found in rss feed.
No item elements found in rss feed.

Rolls-Royce Is Developing Tiny 'Cockroach' Robots To Fix Airplane Engines

Rolls-Royce announced today that it is teaming up with robotics experts at Harvard University and University of Nottingham to develop tiny "cockroach" robots that can crawl inside aircraft engines to spot and fix problems. These robots will be able to speed up inspections and eliminate the need to remove an engine from an aircraft for repair work to take place. CNBC reports: Sebastian de Rivaz, a research fellow at Harvard Institute, said the inspiration for their design came from the cockroach and that the robotic bugs had been in development for eight years. He added that the next step was to mount cameras on the robots and scale them down to a 15-milimeter size. De Rivaz said that once the robots had performed their duty they could be programed to leave the engine or could simply be "flushed out" by the engine itself. Also under development are "snake" robots that are flexible enough to travel through an engine like an endoscope. These would enter through a combustion chamber and would inspect damage and remove any debris. The second "snake" would deposit a patch repair that would sit temporarily until the engine was ready for full repair. No schedule is placed on when the crawling robots will be available. You can view animations of each robot type here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Saudi Arabia Bans 47 Games In Response To Two Child Suicides

An anonymous reader quotes a report from IGN: Saudi Arabia is apparently banning 47 games in response to a pair of children committing suicide after allegedly being encouraged to do so while playing an online game. Per the Associated Press, the Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media said yesterday that a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy have taken their own lives after playing a social media game known as Blue Whale. Also called the Blue Whale Challenge, the disturbing social media phenomenon is a form of extreme cyberbullying. It's not clear how the Saudi government believes this connects to more mainstream video games, but it nonetheless appears to have banned 47 popular indie and AAA games in response.The Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media's website actually says the list of banned games was last updated on July 2, but the Associated Press' report claims the bans were just announced Monday.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You -- And It Could Raise Your Rates

schwit1 shares an excerpt from an in-depth report via ProPublica and NPR, which have been investigating for the past year the various tactics the health insurance industry uses to maximize its profits: A future in which everything you do -- the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV -- may help determine how much you pay for health insurance. With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They're collecting what you post on social media, whether you're behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them. Patient advocates warn that using unverified, error-prone "lifestyle" data to make medical assumptions could lead insurers to improperly price plans -- for instance raising rates based on false information -- or discriminate against anyone tagged as high cost. And, they say, the use of the data raises thorny questions that should be debated publicly, such as: Should a person's rates be raised because algorithms say they are more likely to run up medical bills? Such questions would be moot in Europe, where a strict law took effect in May that bans trading in personal data.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Walmart Teams Up With Microsoft To Fight Amazon, Netflix

Slashdot readers hyperclocker and Hallux-F-Sinister have shared news about Walmart's new strategy to take on Amazon. In a nutshell, Walmart will use more of Microsoft's cloud services and work with the company on AI and machine learning projects. The goal is to reduce its energy consumption and improve its delivery systems. Hyperclocker shares an excerpt from a report: Today, Walmart announced that it has established a strategic partnership with Microsoft to, "further accelerate Walmart's digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world." What that means in reality is, Walmart is embracing Microsoft's cloud services and will run its digital operations by taking full advantage of Microsoft Azure and Office 365. The partnership agreement lasts for five years and starts with a team of Walmart and Microsoft engineers working together to transition the retailer to Microsoft's ecosystem. Hallux-F-Sinister provides some commentary: According to CNN Money, Walmart and Microsoft are ganging up on Amazon.com. I found myself wondering if this was more like Lex Luthor teaming up with the Joker to fight Sinestro, or Bruce Wayne letting Tony Stark use the Bat Computer to fight against the thing Richard Pryor's character designed in whichever godawful nineteen eighties-era Superman sequel he was in. The story itself would bore an accountant to tears, I am convinced, so I did not dare read it for fear of being rendered insensate; but here is the URL if you find you are in desperate need of sleep. Perhaps this other bit of news will wake you up: Walmart is also contemplating starting its own streaming service to compete with Amazon and Netflix. According to GeekWire, citing The Information, "Walmart is considering various ways to stand out, including undercutting Amazon and Netflix on price or offering an ad-supported free service."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GOP Congressman Introduces Bill To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today announced his support for a bill that would institute the basic outlines of the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order, which banned the throttling and blocking of content as well as harmful paid prioritization practices. He is also the first Republican to sign on to the Democrat-led discharge petition, which aims to force a vote on the House floor to roll back the FCC's December decision to repeal net neutrality. The Verge reports: The 21st Century Internet Act aims to restructure the current framework by which the internet has been governed since the '90s. Coffman's bill moves past this argument by amending the 1934 Telecommunications Act and adding the new Title VIII. This new classification would "permanently codify into law the 'four corners' of net neutrality" by banning providers from controlling traffic quality and speed and forbidding them from participating in paid prioritization programs or charging access fees from edge providers. On top of providing stable ground for net neutrality rules to be upheld in the future, the legislation also makes it illegal for providers to participate in "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." It directs the FCC to investigate claims of anticompetitive behavior on behalf of consumers after receiving their complaints. Transparency requirements are heightened for providers as well, as companies must publicly disclose information regarding their network practices to allow consumers to "make informed choices regarding use of such services."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.