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Baking Soda Shortage Has Hospitals Frantic, Delaying Treatments and Surgeries

Slashdot.org - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amid a national shortage of a critical medicine, US hospitals are hoarding vials, delaying surgeries, and turning away patients, The New York Times reports. The medicine in short supply: solutions of sodium bicarbonate -- aka, baking soda. The simple drug is used in all sorts of treatments, from chemotherapies to those for organ failure. It can help correct the pH of blood and ease the pain of stitches. It is used in open-heart surgery, can help reverse poisonings, and is kept on emergency crash carts. But, however basic and life-saving, the drug has been in short supply since around February. The country's two suppliers, Pfizer and Amphastar, ran low following an issue with one of Pfizer's suppliers -- the issue was undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements. Amphastar's supplies took a hit with a spike in demand from desperate Pfizer customers. Both companies told the NYT that they don't know when exactly supplies will be restored. They speculate that it will be no earlier than June or August. With the shortage of sodium bicarbonate, hospitals are postponing surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. A hospital in Mobile, Alabama, for example, postponed seven open-heart surgeries and sent one critically ill patient to another hospital due to the shortage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon's 1.7 Million Free Bananas 'Disrupting' Local Fruit Economy

Slashdot.org - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 23:00
Amazon has transformed businesses including retailing, filmmaking and data storage. But no one anticipated the bananas. It started with a brainstorm from founder and CEO Jeff Bezos that Amazon should offer everyone near its headquarters -- not just employees -- healthy, eco-friendly snacks as a public service. After considering oranges, Amazon picked bananas, and opened its first Community Banana Stand in late 2015. However, not everyone is pleased with the ecommerce giant's effort. From a report: Although there is no money in Amazon's community banana stands -- where the company has been offering free fruit to both workers and locals in Seattle since 2015 -- the tech giant's largesse is changing the banana landscape for some nearby businesses. [...] Thus far, the company says it's handed out more than 1.7 million free banana, reports The Wall Street Journal. But while many folks are fans of the free bananas, others say it's changing banana consumption in the community: Some workers say it's harder to find bananas at local grocery stores, while nearby eateries have also stopped selling as many banana as they used to.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Self-Driving Cars Could Cost America's Professional Drivers Up To 25,000 Jobs a Month

Slashdot.org - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:40
The full impact of self-driving cars on society is several decades away -- but when it hits, the job losses will be substantial for American truck drivers, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs. From a report: When autonomous vehicle saturation peaks, U.S. drivers could see job losses at a rate of 25,000 a month, or 300,000 a year, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Economics Research. Truck drivers, more so than bus or taxi drivers, will see the bulk of that job loss, according to the report. That makes sense, given today's employment: In 2014, there were 4 million driver jobs in the U.S., 3.1 million of which were truck drivers, Goldman said. That represents 2 percent of total employment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

YouTube TV app update adds AirPlay capability, still no tvOS app

AppleInsider - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:22

Google's subscription tv service YouTube TV's latest update for iPhone adds AirPlay, allowing for streaming to an Apple TV or other compatible device -- but there is still no native tvOS app.
Categories: Apple Mac, Computer

Simbabwe: Elefant tötet Großwildjäger

Spiegel Online - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:20
Ein südafrikanischer Großwildjäger hat seine Leidenschaft mit dem Leben bezahlt. Während eines Jagdausflugs stürzten sich zwei Elefanten auf den Mann, ein angeschossenes Tier erdrückte ihn.

Yet Another Bad Idea: Dropping Facial Recognition Software Into Police Body Cameras

Techdirt - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:16

The FBI (and other US government agencies) are already moving forward with facial recognition technology, which will allow law enforcement to scan people like license plates, if everything goes to plan. So far, consultation with the meddling public has been kept to a minimum, as have any government efforts to address civil liberties concerns.

Just because the public's been kept out of the loop (except for, you know, their faces and other personal information), doesn't mean members of the public aren't working hard to ensure police officers can start running faces like plates, even when there's no legitimate law enforcement reason for doing so.

Digital Barriers, a somewhat ironically-named tech company, is pushing its latest law enforcement offering -- one that supposedly provides real-time face scanning.

The software can pick out and identify hundreds of individual faces at a time, instantly checking them against registered databases or registering unique individuals in seconds.

Demonstrating the software at the Forensics Europe Expo 2017, vice president of Digital Barriers Manuel Magalhaes said the company was introducing the technology to UK forces.

He said: “For the first time they (law enforcement) can use any surveillance asset including a body worn camera or a smartphone and for the first time they can do real time facial recognition without having the need to control the subject or the environment.

“In real time you can spot check persons of interests on their own or in a crowd."

But why would you? Just because it can be done doesn't mean it should be done. This will basically allow officers to run records checks on everyone who passes in front of their body-worn cameras. There is nothing in the law that allows officers to run checks on everyone they pass. They can't even stop and/or frisk every member of the public just because they're out in public. Expectations of privacy are lowered on public streets, but that doesn't make it reasonable to subject every passerby to a records check. And that's without even factoring in the false positive problem. Our own FBI seems to feel a 15% bogus return rate is perfectly acceptable.

Like so much surveillance equipment sold to law enforcement agencies, Digital Barrier's offering was developed and tested in one of our many war zones. The head of the company is inordinately proud of the product's pedigree, which leads to a statement that could be taken as bigoted if it weren't merely nonsensical.

Mr Magalhaes continued: “If we can overcome facial recognition issues in the Middle East, we can solve any facial recognition problem here in the United Kingdom.

Hopefully, this just refers to the sort of issues normally found in areas of conflict (hit-and-miss communications infrastructure, harsher-than-usual working conditions, etc.), rather than hinting Middle Eastern facial features are all kind of same-y.

Taking the surveillance out of the Middle East isn't going to solve at least one logistical problem keeping this from becoming a day-to-day reality for already heavily-surveilled UK citizens. As is pointed out by officers in the discussion thread, Digital Barrier's real-time face scanning is going to need far more bandwidth than is readily available to law enforcement. One commenter notes they can't even get a strong enough signal to log in into their email out in the field, much less perform the on-the-fly facial recognition Digital Barrier is promising.

The other pressing issues -- according to the law enforcement members discussing the post -- is one far more aligned with the general public's. A couple of members point out no one PNC's entire crowds (referring to the UK's law enforcement database: the Police National Computer) and that doing so might not even be legal.

Unfortunately, the rank-and-file rarely get to make these decisions. These choices will be made by people who think the public needs to give til it hurts when safety and security are on the line. Dropping this capability into body cameras will make them more of an intrusion on the lives of citizens and far less likely to result in police accountability. Faces being linked automatically to databases full of personal info creates complications in obtaining camera footage. It won't result in improved policing, even though there are plenty of supporters who mistakenly believe "easier" is synonymous with "better."

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