Computers & Linux News

'Longevity Gene' Responsible For More Efficient DNA Repair

SlashDot - 1 hour 2 min ago
Researchers at the University of Rochester have discovered that the gene "sirtuin 6" (SIRT6) is responsible for more efficient DNA repair in species with longer lifespans. "The research illuminates new targets for anti-aging interventions and could help prevent age-related diseases," reports Phys.Org From the report: SIRT6 is often called the "longevity gene" because of its important role in organizing proteins and recruiting enzymes that repair broken DNA; additionally, mice without the gene age prematurely, while mice with extra copies live longer. The researchers hypothesized that if more efficient DNA repair is required for a longer lifespan, organisms with longer lifespans may have evolved more efficient DNA repair regulators. Is SIRT6 activity therefore enhanced in longer-lived species? To test this theory, the researchers analyzed DNA repair in 18 rodent species with lifespans ranging from 3 years (mice) to 32 years (naked mole rats and beavers). They found that the rodents with longer lifespans also experience more efficient DNA repair because the products of their SIRT6 genes -- the SIRT6 proteins -- are more potent. That is, SIRT6 is not the same in every species. Instead, the gene has co-evolved with longevity, becoming more efficient so that species with a stronger SIRT6 live longer. The researchers then analyzed the molecular differences between the weaker SIRT6 protein found in mice versus the stronger SIRT6 found in beavers. They identified five amino acids responsible for making the stronger SIRT6 protein "more active in repairing DNA and better at enzyme functions." When the researchers inserted beaver and mouse SIRT6 into human cells, the beaver SIRT6 better reduced stress-induced DNA damage compared to when researchers inserted the mouse SIRT6. The beaver SIRT6 also better increased the lifespan of fruit flies versus fruit flies with mouse SIRT6. The study has been published in the journal Cell.

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Scientists discover bizarre new sea squirt stalking the ocean floor - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 10 min ago
Video of the never-before-seen creature was captured at the deepest point of the Indian Ocean.

Employees Call On Microsoft To Protect GitHub From China Censors

SlashDot - 1 hour 42 min ago
The GitHub repository at "996.ICU" in China has been calling out tech companies in the country that pressure their employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week. "Since it went up last month, the page has been starred over 229,000 times, making it one of the most popular GitHub repositories on the site," reports PC Magazine. "But now a group of Microsoft employees are worried the Chinese government will force their employer to take the page down. So in response, they've been circulating an internal letter, urging Microsoft to stand up to any potential pressure to censor the GitHub page." From the report: "We encourage Microsoft and GitHub, companies which firmly believe in a healthy work-life balance, to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone," reads the letter, which was shared with PCMag and started circulating internally on Sunday. The GitHub repository now hosts a list of over 140 Chinese companies that allegedly demand their employees work 60 hours a week. Many foreign media outlets have also reported on the protest page. But reportedly, some attempts have been made to censor mention of the 996.ICU repository within China. Domestic browsers from Tencent, Qihoo 360, and Xiaomi recently prevented users from visiting the GitHub page, according to Abacus. It's why a group of Microsoft employees based largely in the U.S. decided to circulate a protest letter calling on Redmond to protect the GitHub page from censorship. Microsoft hasn't commented, but the company's two other web properties, Bing and LinkedIn, "have been forced to comply with the country's strict censorship demands," the report notes.

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TurboTax is making you hunt for its free tax filing service, says ProPublica - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 51 min ago
Taxpayers who make less than $66,000 a year can file for free, but Intuit is making it hard to find those services.

Tesla's autonomous robotaxi fleet might be closer than you think - Roadshow

CNET News - 1 hour 53 min ago
Elon Musk seems to think that our autonomous future is just a year or two away -- but how close are we really?

CIA plans to join Instagram - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 3 min ago
The intelligence agency wants to share more, but don't expect it to spill secrets.

Marvel to release video of all Stan Lee MCU movie cameos - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 9 min ago
The behind-the-scenes video will be a montage of the legendary comic book creator's MCU appearances.

Tesla Will Allow Aggressive Autopilot Mode With 'Slight Chance of a Fender Bender'

SlashDot - 2 hours 22 min ago
During Tesla's "Autonomy Investor Day" today, Elon Musk said that the company will someday allow drivers to select aggressive modes of its Autopilot driver assistance system that have a "slight chance of a fender bender." "Musk didn't say when Tesla might roll out that option, only that the company would have to have "higher confidence" in Autopilot's capabilities before allowing it to happen," reports The Verge. From the report: "Do you want to have a nonzero chance of a fender bender on freeway traffic?" Musk asked at the event, which was for investors in the company. He dubbed it "LA traffic mode," because "unfortunately, [it's] the only way to navigate LA traffic." Tesla already allows its owners to select a "Mad Max" setting for Navigate on Autopilot, which is a feature that handles highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp. The Mad Max setting makes quicker lane changes than if the car is in "Mild" or "Average" modes. Musk suggested Tesla will eventually allow drivers to choose "gradually more aggressive behavior" by "dial[ing] the setting up." Musk also said Tesla's full self-driving computer is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, and a next-gen chip that's "three times better" than the current system is already "halfway done."

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US Department of Transportation is offering $900M in grants for road repairs - Roadshow

CNET News - 3 hours 1 min ago
Sure, $900 million sounds great, but it's not nearly enough to make a dent in the problem.

NIH, FBI Accuse Scientists In US of Sending IP To China, Running Shadow Labs

SlashDot - 3 hours 2 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas has forced out three senior researchers with ties to China. The move comes amid nationwide investigations by federal officials into whether researchers are pilfering intellectual property from U.S. research institutions and running "shadow laboratories" abroad, according to a joint report by Science magazine and the Houston Chronicle. The National Institutes of Health began sending letters to the elite cancer center last August regarding the conduct of five researchers there. The letters discussed "serious violations" of NIH policies, including leaking confidential NIH grant proposals under peer review to individuals in China, failing to disclose financial ties in China, and other conflicts of interest. MD Anderson moved to terminate three of those researchers, two of whom resigned during the termination process. The center cleared the fourth and is still investigation the fifth. MD Anderson isn't the only institution dealing with this issue. The NIH sent similar letters to at least three other institutions, according to reporting by Science and the Houston Chronicle. Some advocates expressed concern over what they considered racial profiling while other researchers worried that such efforts to protect intellectual property would actually backfire. "These are the top talents foreign countries have been trying to recruit unsuccessfully," said Steven Pei, a University of Houston professor critical of the actions by MD Anderson. "We are now pushing them out of the Texas Medical Center, out of Houston, out of Texas, and out of the U.S. It seems we're helping foreign countries to accomplish what they could not do by themselves. We are hurting the American competitiveness."

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Toyota Establishes Research Institute In China To Study Hydrogen, Green Tech

SlashDot - 3 hours 42 min ago
Japan announced on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China. Reuters reports: The initiative, outlined by Toyota's President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker's efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said. The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said in a statement. The institute will "cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China's energy problems," the company said. The move dovetails with Toyota's announcement this month that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies.

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TurboTax Uses Dark Patterns To Trick You Into Paying To File Your Taxes

SlashDot - 4 hours 22 min ago
ProPublica reports on the shady tactics TurboTax and other tax software companies use to prevent most Americans from filing their taxes for free. According to an agreement with the IRS, tax software companies are supposed to offer a "Free File" product to Americans making less than $66,000 a year. From the report: Here's what happened when we went looking. Our first stop was Google. We searched for "irs free file taxes." And we thought we found what we were looking for: Ads from TurboTax and others directing us to free products. The first link looked promising. It contained the word "free" five times! We clicked and were relieved to see that filing for free was guaranteed. We started the process by creating the profile of a TaskRabbit house cleaner who took in $29,000. We entered extensive personal information. TurboTax asked us to click through more than a dozen questions and prompts about our finances. After all of that, only then did we get the bad news: TurboTax revealed this wasn't going to be free at all. Turns out the house cleaner didn't qualify because he is a independent contractor. The charge? $119.99. Then we tried with a second scenario. We went back to TurboTax.com and clicked on "FREE Guaranteed." This time, we went through the process as a Walgreens cashier without health insurance, entering personal information and giving the company lots of sensitive data. Again, TurboTax told us we had to pay -- this time because there's an extra form if you don't have insurance. The charge? $59.99. But wait. Are the house cleaner and the cashier not allowed to prepare and file their taxes for free because of their particular tax situations? No! According to the agreement between the IRS and the companies, anyone who makes less than $66,000 can prepare and file their taxes for free. After doing some digging in the source code, ProPublica found that TurboTax had branded them as "Non Free File Alliance" or NONFFA. "Even though TurboTax could tell we were eligible to file for free, the company never told us about the truly free version. It turns out that if you start the process from TurboTax.com, it's impossible to find the truly free version. The company itself admits this." Another Google search brought them to a page with two options: "See If You Qualify" and "Start for Free." The "Start for Free" link brought them back to the version of TurboTax where they had to pay, but the "See If You Quality" link finally took them to the real Free File program.

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Vans teases mysterious magical Harry Potter shoes - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 39 min ago
Accio Vans! Get ready to slither your feet into some Slytherin shoes... and there's spellbinding apparel to boot.

Tesla Autonomy Investor Day: What we learned, what we can look forward to - Roadshow

CNET News - 4 hours 43 min ago
Elon Musk revealed Tesla's Full Self Driving tech to shareholders and if the future goes like he plans it, we'll be living in the future sooner than we think.

Nubia Alpha wrist phone launches April 25 for $449 - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 44 min ago
It wraps around your wrist like a wearable but offers a smartphone experience.

Huawei P30 Pro's bonkers periscope camera shown in YouTube teardown video - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 49 min ago
JerryRigEverything gives all you phone-camera nerds a real gift in its latest video.

Charter Avoids Getting Kicked Out of New York, Agrees To New Merger Conditions

SlashDot - 5 hours 2 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Charter Communications won't be kicked out of New York after all. Nine months after a New York government agency ordered Charter to leave the state over its alleged failure to comply with merger conditions, state officials have announced a settlement that will let Charter stay in New York in exchange for further broadband expansions. The settlement will enforce a new version of the original merger conditions and require a $12 million payment, about half of which could help other ISPs deploy broadband. The State Public Service Commission (PSC) had voted in July 2018 to revoke its approval of Charter's 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying Charter failed to meet interim deadlines for broadband-expansion requirements. The order, which came just a month after a $2 million fine, would have required Charter to sell the TWC system to another provider. But the PSC never enforced the merger revocation order as it repeatedly granted deadline extensions to Charter while the sides held settlement talks. The result is a proposed settlement between Charter and the state Department of Public Service (DPS) that was announced Friday. "Pursuant to the agreement, Charter would expand its network to provide high-speed broadband service to 145,000 residences and businesses entirely in Upstate New York; the network expansion would be completed by September 30, 2021 in accordance with a schedule providing frequent interim enforceable milestone requirements; and Charter will pay $12 million to expand broadband service to additional unserved and underserved premises," a DPS statement said. Half of the $12 million could go back to Charter but they'd "have to use it to deploy broadband to locations in addition to the 145,000 already required," the report notes. "The other $6 million would fund broadband deployment projects in a competitive bidding process, and it could thus end up going to Charter's competitors -- although Charter would be eligible to bid for the funding, too."

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Google employees reportedly say they faced retaliation for organizing walkout - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 22 min ago
The organizers were told their roles would change months after the protest, according to Wired.

Tesla's Full Self-Driving Computer is Now in All New Cars and a Next-Gen Chip is Already 'Halfway Done'

SlashDot - 5 hours 38 min ago
The Tesla computer, a new custom chip designed to enable full self-driving capabilities, is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, CEO Elon Musk said during the company's Autonomy Day. From a report: Tesla switched over from Nvidia's Drive platform to its own custom chip for the Model S and X about a month ago and for the Model 3 about 10 days ago, Musk said. "All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary -- computer and otherwise -- for full self-driving," Musk said. "All you need to do is improve the software." Work is also already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this current chip was completed "maybe one and half, two years ago." Tesla is now about halfway through the design of the next-generation chip. Musk wanted to focus the talk on the current chip, but he later added that the next-generation one would be "three times better" than the current system and was about two years away.

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