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Here are some holiday gift ideas for your computer — because why not?

Don’t forget about your computer this Christmas! It takes some effort and investment to keep your computer healthy and happy. So, here I share some gift ideas I’m sure your computer will appreciate:

Physical cleaning: Keeping your computer clean inside and out can help extend its life and increase performance. If you haven’t cleaned it for over a year, consider freshening it up a bit this holiday season.

You can vacuum the outside, particularly around the fan areas where dust, dirt, and hair collect the most. You can also wipe down the exterior of the computer and screen. I suggest using a microfiber cloth that’s slightly dampened with water or a mild cleaner. For the keyboard, I suggest turning it over and carefully knocking out any dirt, dust, and crumbs that have made their way between the keys. You can then wipe it and your mouse down with antibacterial cleaner to rid them of germs.

I suggest leaving the inside cleaning of computers to a professional. There are a lot of sensitive things in their that you can damage if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. A pro can also check the temperatures to see if thermal paste needs re-applied to the heatsinks, which is good to do every few years.

Check-up and tune-up: Even if you aren’t having issues, I suggest getting a professional check-up and tune-up of your computer done every year. They can check to ensure you have adequate protection, maybe speed up your computer, and spot issues before they become a real problem.

Extra protection: Antivirus is a must-have for most computer users, but most antiviruses don’t stop adware and other junk that aren’t true viruses but can certainly also cause problems. So, I suggest having additional protection. My favorite program for this is MalwareBytes Antimalware. It’s free to download (www.malwarebytes.com) and run manual scans, but it’s a good idea to buy the premium edition to have active protection all the time.

Peripherals and accessories: When you’re out shopping, browse the computer section for any neat peripherals or accessories. If you have trouble reading the keys on the keyboard, look for the keyboards that have the large print and high-contrast colors. Or a keyboard that’s backlit so you can see the keys in the dark. If your surge protector is many years old, perhaps get a new one to better protect against power and lighting damage. If you have a smaller monitor or one of the old square ones, maybe look at getting a bigger wide-screen one.

Upgrade to Windows 10: If you’re still using Windows 7 or 8, you might want to take advantage of Microsoft’s last offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. There’s less than two weeks left! After December 31, you’ll have to pay up to $119.99 (or $199.99 for the Professional edition) in order to upgrade your computer to Windows 10. If you’re still using the unsupported Windows XP or Vista, I typically suggest just replacing the computer.

Upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD): If you want to be extra nice to your computer this year, consider replacing your old traditional hard drive with a SSD. The old hard drives have moving parts that work slower, put off more heat, and consume more power. The SSDs have no moving parts inside and can give your computer a significant performance boost. I highly suggest contacting a professional to upgrade to a SSD, and they can also check if your computer is worth the investment.



Women Over 85 Are Happier Because Their Partner is Dead By Then, Psychiatrists Say

Women become progressively happier as they age, according to a health survey conducted in England. They have higher rates of poor mental health than men throughout much of their lives, until over the age of 85, when women’s overall happiness increases and men’s decreases.

With the exception of the elderly set, women were more likely than men to have poor mental health at nearly every age. Overall, 21 percent of women reported mental health problems, compared to 16 percent of men. The change that occurred over a lifetime—leading to less mental health concerns among women—was likely due to the specific burden of responsibilities that women often carry, according to the dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Kate Lovett. Further, many women are widowed by then, which psychiatrists say may also be a factor. 

cba4a_gettyimages-452279948 Women Over 85 Are Happier Because Their Partner is Dead By Then, Psychiatrists Say Elderly holidaymakers enjoy a traditional ice cream cone on the South Beach on July 17, 2014 in Lowestoft, England. Getty

Women “are still more likely to bear the brunt of domestic and caring responsibilities,” Lovett told the Times. As women age, that burden may lessen as they are no longer responsible for children and elderly parents.

“Men who are single, windowed or divorced are more vulnerable to developing depression and men who are in this age bracket may be more likely to be on their own,” Lovett said. “Paradoxically married women are often more likely to develop depression.”

The survey for mental health conducted by the National Health Survey in England asked 8,000 people 12 questions about happiness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and self-confidence. People answered each question with a score between zero and 12, with a score of four or more indicating probable mental health problems. A vast majority of adults did not report poor mental health, according to the survey. Over half of adults had a score of zero and 28 percent had a score of one to three. But 19 percent of all adults had a score over four, indicating probable mental health problems.

“Across the age groups, but particularly in the young, it is a cause for serious concern for us as a society,” Lovett said.

cba4a_gettyimages-452279948 Women Over 85 Are Happier Because Their Partner is Dead By Then, Psychiatrists Say Dawn breaks behind the Houses of Parliament and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London, Britain June 24, 2016. Reuters

The highest rates of poor mental health were among young women between aged 16 and 24 years, at 28 percent. Between 25 and 34, 18 percent of women reported poor mental health. The percentage spiked again to 24 percent for women aged 45 to 54. By the time women were 85 and over, the percentage of women reporting poor mental health dropped to 14 percent.

Men, however, were nearly consistently happy their whole lives, according to the survey, though it does not mean some men did not suffer poor mental health. Between ages 16 and 64, the prevalence of poor mental health was between 16 and 18 percent. For men between the ages of 65 and 84, it declined to 13 percent. After age 85, the percentage of poor mental health among men spiked to 19 percent. 

An important point to note is that men have higher rates of suicide than women, as much as three times higher, reported the Times. This is likely because women are more likely than men to seek out help for their mental health problems.

“Thankfully women are more likely to also speak out about their mental health and seek support from services,” Stephen Buckley, spokesman for the U.K.-based mental health charity, Mind, told the Times. “We are facing a mental health crisis for children and young people. We know that teenagers are facing a wide range of pressures, including stress at school, bullying, body issues and the added pressure of the 24/7 online world. Girls may also be affected by sexualization, and the feeling that their life needs to be as perfect as pictures in newsfeeds.”

The survey also found that poorer people had higher rates of poor mental health. Researchers standardized for differences between ages, and found that those with the lowest income had nearly double the percentage of people with poor mental health.

The disparity between men and women remained, regardless of household income. 

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3 US hackers took out key parts of the internet in 2016 because they wanted to make money on Minecraft

  • Three US college-age hackers pleaded guilty to creating the Mirai botnet, which took out critical parts of the internet in 2016 through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • The attacks affected Spotify, Twitter, Reddit, and well-known security journalist Brian Krebs.
  • The three men created the malicious software to profit from the popular game Minecraft, according to Wired.
  • They hoped the DDoS attacks would take out rival Minecraft servers, and boost their own DDoS mitigation business.

Three US hackers have pleaded guilty to creating the Mirai botnet, which took out some of the internet’s biggest sites last year including Reddit, Spotify, and Twitter through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

According to a Wired investigation, the college-age Paras Jha, Josiah White, and Dalton Norman originally created the botnet to gain an advantage on Minecraft. But once they realised the botnet’s power, they went bigger.

“Mirai was originally developed to help them corner the Minecraft market, but then they realized what a powerful tool they built,” one FBI investigator told the publication. “Then it just became a challenge for them to make it as large as possible.”

Hosting and protecting Minecraft servers is competitive and big money

While Mirai eventually took down critical parts of the internet, alarming engineers tasked with keeping the infrastructure running smoothly, it had humbler beginnings.

The game Minecraft is massively popular, with 55 million players a month. Users construct blocky 3D worlds by “mining” blocks. The entire effect is cartoonish, and the game is popular with kids.

Those who want to play multiplayer must sign up to a Minecraft server, which can often have tens of thousands of users who pay money to rent “space” or buy tools. According to Wired, the FBI investigators found that people were making big money by hosting Minecraft servers. “These people at the peak of summer were making $100,000 a month,” one investigator said.

82b83_3359c81c6a6d231bcd641bbba035cf314cc5a9d8-800x600 3 US hackers took out key parts of the internet in 2016 because they wanted to make money on Minecraft

That, in turn, has resulted in rival Minecraft server hosts trying to one-up each other with DDoS attacks. Indeed, the arms race in DDoS attacks is directly linked to Minecraft, an agent said. The goal of DDoS in Minecraft is to try and frustrate users on a rival server with slow service – so that they end up switching to yours.

Mirai’s creators wanted both to knock out rival servers, but also potentially make money by offering protection against DDoS attacks. The trio had set up their own DDoS mitigation company and used Mirai to take out a competitor, French web hosting firm OVH. OVH offers Minecraft DDoS mitigation services and, in September 2016, it suffered a crushing DDoS attack unlike anything it had seen before.

“This was a calculated business decision to shut down a competitor,” one of the investigators said.

Eventually, Mirai’s creators decided to publish its source code online, to try and throw any investigators off the trail. That opened up the tool for wider use, and variants of Mirai – apparently not created by the three original hackers – took out performance management company Dyn. That meant outages for Dyn customers including Reddit, Github, and Twitter, and gave Mirai greater attention. According to Wired, an FBI investigation into Dyn is still ongoing.

The three left enough fingerprints for both the FBI and security journalist Brian Krebs, victim of a Mirai attack, to track them down.

You can read the full Wired investigation here.

LG V30 Signature Edition beats iPhone X – because it’s even more expensive

LG is attempting to take on Apple in a rather peculiar way: It’s releasing a variant of the V30 that’s even more expensive than the iPhone X. Seriously. The all-new Signature Edition is priced at a more than £1,300.

The base model of the iPhone X, for comparison, retails for a not-so-meagre £999, while pricing for the elusive 128GB model tops out at £1,149. Those wanting to bump up the cost, however, can slap on AppleCare+ for £199 outright.

Related: Galaxy S8 vs V30

Now for the mad part. An LG V30 Signature Edition carries an eye-watering price tag of £1,370. That’s £22 more than a 128GB variant of the iPhone X complete with an AppleCare+ warranty – and £571 more than the standard V30.

The Signature Edition is near-identical to the V30, with the main differences being that it ships with Android 8.0, 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as standard. It’s also constructed from the same ceramic as boutique watches.

V30 Signature Edition won’t be easy to come by

LG will launch the V30 Signature Edition later this month exclusively in South Korea, where only 300 units will be available. Those who decide to pick one up will be entitled to an array of premium services, including personal engraving.

Would you be interested in the V30 Signature Edition if LG released it in Europe, North America and South America? Be sure to let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.

Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app because why not

Available now as part of a test in six select countries.

After starting out as a simple way for sharing photos with friends, family, and random followers, Instagram has grown into a fairly bloated app these days. Along with your regular feed, there’s the Instagram Explore Tab for finding photos the app thinks you’re interested in, a Stories feature taken straight from Snapchat, live streaming, and the ability to send direct messages to other users.

81401_Instagram-main-page_0_0 Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app because why not

According to The Verge, Instagram is playing with the idea of taking that last feature out of its main app and moving it to a standalone one by the name of “Direct.”

Direct is currently available for download as part of a test for Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, and the reason for this move is to get more people using Instagram’s direct messaging service while letting the core Instagram app be a place to share your photos and videos with the entire world.

Instagram Direct opens to the camera viewfinder like Snapchat upon launching it, but you can also choose to swipe down to type out a text-based message. The page to the left is where you’ll find all of your account/app settings, and the one on right is home to your inbox of ongoing conversations. The app itself sounds pretty barebones, but the transition Instagram’s built between the two sounds incredibly sleek.

81401_Instagram-main-page_0_0 Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app because why not

The new Direct app.

When you’re in Direct on your Inbox page, starting to swipe again the left will reveal an Instagram logo, and completing this swipe will automatically open up the main Instagram app. The direct messaging feature is removed from Instagram once Direct is downloaded, but you can easily access it by swiping once again to the left in Instagram to see the Direct logo and then jump right to it.

It’s unclear if Instagram will bring Direct to other countries following its initial testing, but seeing how successful Facebook has been with Messenger after removing direct messaging from its core app, an expansion of Direct to other countries in the coming months wouldn’t be all that surprising.

Instagram adds option for ‘remixing’ photos that friends send to you

Apple Lost Ground to Android Because of iPhone X Delays

The scarcity of Apple Inc.’s  (AAPL) iPhone X helped lead the company to a lower smartphone market share in the quarter ended in October, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

In the U.S. and Europe, use of the company’s smartphone operating system iOS fell year over year, as rival Android (GOOGL) increased its market share 4.3% in Europe, 8.2% in the U.S. and 7.5% in Japan.

“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

As of October, the firm estimated that 35.3% of Apple users owned their phones for over two years, up from 30.1% a year ago.

However, the firm also said it expects the pricey iPhone X to make up for the decline in sales of older iPhone models.

Apple and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

More of What’s Trending on TheStreet:

Apple Lost Ground to Android Because of iPhone X Delays

The scarcity of Apple Inc.’s  (AAPL) iPhone X helped lead the company to a lower smartphone market share in the quarter ended in October, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

In the U.S. and Europe, use of the company’s smartphone operating system iOS fell year over year, as rival Android (GOOGL) increased its market share 4.3% in Europe, 8.2% in the U.S. and 7.5% in Japan.

“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

As of October, the firm estimated that 35.3% of Apple users owned their phones for over two years, up from 30.1% a year ago.

However, the firm also said it expects the pricey iPhone X to make up for the decline in sales of older iPhone models.

Apple and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

More of What’s Trending on TheStreet:

Milllions of Kids Are About to Lose Their Health Insurance Because Congress Won’t Do Its Job

caf49_sad-sick-kid-health-insurance-chip-12117 Milllions of Kids Are About to Lose Their Health Insurance Because Congress Won't Do Its Job

FatCamera/GettyImages

In September, Congress let expire the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a bipartisan-backed program that covers millions of low-income kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. First created in 1997 under President Bill Clinton, CHIP provides health insurance for routine checkups, doctors’ appointments, and hospital care for nearly 9 million kids—as well as 370,000 pregnant mothers—across the United States. 

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), an independent agency tasked with making recommendations about Medicaid and CHIP, estimated in July that more than 1 million children would lose medical coverage if Congress failed to reauthorize CHIP—and that some 4 million CHIP enrollees were at risk in states where programs weren’t tied to Medicaid and where, as a result, the states were “not obligated to continue covering these children.” 

Over the weekend, the debate over CHIP came to a boil after comments from Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who helped create the program two decades ago. When debating the GOP tax bill Thursday on the Senate floor, Hatch said that CHIP was in trouble “because we don’t have money anymore,” even though he believed it had done a “terrific job.” He then added he had a “rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.”

The comments set off a social-media firestorm, especially after MSNBC host Joe Scarborough highlighted Hatch’s remarks in a since-deleted tweet. When critics insisted that Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, had taken Hatch’s remarks out of context, and that Hatch had been attacking other entitlement spending—and not CHIP itself—Scarborough responded on Twitter to say that Hatch had played “a cartoon version of a GOP senator” in his remarks.

The weekend mudslinging came weeks after the Washington Post reported that about a dozen states were gearing up to notify families that federal funds for the program could run out soon. On November 27, Colorado officials began sending out letters to CHIP recipients, including 75,000 children and about 800 pregnant women, saying the state’s program would end on January 31, 2018. 

If Congress doesn’t come up with a solution before the Christmas holidays, says Tricia Brooks, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, it’s “going to have a real chilling effect on our country’s historic progress in covering children.”

Why’d Congress let CHIP lapse in the first place?  

It all comes down to political priorities. While Republican lawmakers rushed, unsuccessfully, to repeal the Affordable Care Act before September 30, they let the deadline to renew CHIP pass. And now that lawmakers have homed in on tax reform, the program’s future remains in limbo two months later.

CHIP is on the brink despite the fact that it’s popular across the political spectrum. Not only has it been credited with expanding access to health care for low-income families, research shows that it boosts educational outcomes and reduces hospitalization rates. (Thanks to Medicaid expansion and CHIP, the percentage of children under 19 who are uninsured has dropped from 14 percent in 1997 to 5 percent in 2016.) A September poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that 75 percent of all respondents said it was “extremely” or “very important” for Congress to renew CHIP, including 62 percent of Republicans.

The problem is that Democratic and Republican lawmakers are at odds on how to pay for the program. The federal government spends about $14 billion a year on CHIP (it pays for about 88 percent, with states picking up the rest of the tab), and the bill that passed through the Senate Finance Committee in October proposed giving more than $100 billion to the program over five years. But the Senate bill didn’t lay out how the program would be paid for, the New York Times reported at the time.

A month later, the House of Representatives passed along party lines a similar bill to renew CHIP for five years and fund community health centers for two. House Democrats took issue with the bill, because it paid for CHIP by taking money from the Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund, which pays for a range of programs, and raising Medicare premiums for wealthy seniors—something one Democratic representative rejected on the House floor and likened to robbing “Peter to save Paul.” 

What’s the immediate impact of letting CHIP expire? 

The program’s expiration hasn’t trickled down to families just yet, but parents are starting to get worried. “Even if they run out of money in February, it doesn’t actually mean they have enough money to last them until February. So we’re going to see some pressure here toward the end of the year if Congress doesn’t renew funding for CHIP,” Georgetown’s Brooks tells Mother Jones. “States are either going to come up with more money to provide coverage for these kids or they are going to have to take steps to close down or temporarily freeze their programs.” 

Some states have already had to dip into their budgets or federal funds that have been carried over from previous years to maintain services. Projections from MACPAC and Georgetown suggest two states will run out of money this month; five more (and the District of Columbia) will run out by early January; and 22 more by March. Once July 2018 comes around, all states but Illinois and Wyoming would exhaust funds. 

If the money runs dry, states will have to figure out which children are eligible for Medicaid or encourage families to seek out health insurance through Obamacare, according to a November letter from the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers CHIP. They’ll also have to decide whether to freeze or cap enrollment in their programs—or shut them down altogether. 

Arizona’s past could offer a glimpse at the future. Back in 2010, in response to the recession, the state froze enrollment in its CHIP program at 46,000 kids, and by 2012, 13.2 percent of children in the state were uninsured. In 2012, Arizona opened an alternative program, and when that program ended in 2014, the results were devastating: 14,000 kids lost medical coverage, according to an analysis by Georgetown’s Center on Children and Families.  

The federal government has already had to approve funding to keep some states’ programs afloat. So far, the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services has sent about $1.2 billion in reserve funds—roughly 40 percent of the federal government’s total allotted pot—to 16 states and the District of Columbia to keep programs running. “This availability of extra money has given Congress the impression that they have a cushion of time,” Brooks says, “but that cushion is getting pretty darn thin now.”  

And projections for when states will run out of money can change. In Texas, where roughly 400,000 are enrolled, CHIP funds could run out quicker than anticipated—sometime in January—after the state suspended enrollment fees in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. And Florida faces similar concerns as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Meanwhile, some states, including Arizona and West Virginia, are required by law to terminate their programs altogether if funding goes away. In West Virginia, one of 12 states that receive 100 percent in total funds from the federal government, a state board determined the program would end enrollment on February 28, 2018, if Congress fails to pass a spending measure.

All of this has state officials preparing for the worst. Linda Nablo, chief deputy director at Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services, told WBUR the state would wait to send letters to CHIP enrollees on December 1 to tell them the program would end at the end of the month. “The last thing we want to do is scare parents and then turn right around and have to tell them, ‘Sorry, never mind. Congress has finally acted and your coverage is safe.’ It’s terrible,” Nablo said. “At this point, the draft letter says, ‘You may, your child may lose coverage, you know, we’ll let you know as soon as we know.’”

Can CHIP be saved this year? 

Yes. Brooks points out both Republicans and Democrats agree on how long funding should last and how much the program should be funded but adds that they have prioritized the tax package over CHIP. “There’s this strong sense that Congress has every intent to get this done and doesn’t have to debate it anymore,” she says. “It’s just a matter of following through.” 

The Senate doesn’t appear likely to vote on its version of the bill soon. With lawmakers focused on a tax bill that will disproportionately benefit the wealthy, Brooks says funding for the program could be part of the end-of-the-year spending bill Congress needs to pass to avoid a government shutdown. Senators have told the New York Times as much. “We’re in a tricky time period. We have hope,” Brooks said. “We think Congress can get this done.” Until then, 9 million kids will be waiting.

We want to hear your story

Millions of families rely on CHIP each year. Are you one of them? Tell us how the program played a role in your life.

We may share your response with our newsroom and publish a selection of stories which would include your name, age, and location. Your email address will not be published and by providing it, you agree to let us contact you regarding your response. We respect your privacy and will not use your email address for any other purpose.

Author of GOP Tax Plan Says Children’s Health Insurance Program Is Held Up “Because We Don’t Have Money …

The lead author of the Senate Republican tax plan, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, said that the federal government no longer has the money to fund the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

“The reason CHIP is having trouble [passing] is because we don’t have money anymore,” Hatch said. “We just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.”

CHIP is an $8 billion program. The Senate bill passed in the early hours of Saturday morning includes $6 trillion in tax cuts, financed by $4.5 trillion in tax hikes elsewhere. Hatch, though, promised CHIP would still pass. “We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. It has to be done the right way,” he said.

As the expiration date for CHIP loomed over the end of September, lawmakers similarly assured the public they would reauthorize the popular bipartisan program that provides coverage to nearly 9 million kids and roughly 370,000 pregnant women.

After all, when CHIP was last up for reauthorization in 2015, Congress got the job done with more than five months to go. In fact, CHIP — which passed in 1997 — has never had a lapse in funding except for just five days when President George W. Bush twice vetoed its reauthorization. Congress responded with some short-term financing until CHIP could be formally reauthorized in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

Well this year, April came and went. Then May. Then June. Then Congress stressed they would definitely get to it before the August recess. Except then a new effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act took hold, crowding out all else. When the Obamacare dismantlement effort died, legislators said, “No, no, it will be coming back.” Then they promised to reauthorize CHIP at least before it expired in September. “Well… okay we’ll get it done in October — states still have some federal funding left in their reserves,” they said next. And then, “All right, we hear you, we’ll definitely deal with it before Thanksgiving.”

Now it’s December and lawmakers are saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll get it done by the end of the year.”

As tax reform picks up, health experts are feeling nervous. Never mind that more than 60 percent of Americans say CHIP reauthorization should be a top federal priority, while only 28 percent say tax reform should be.

“Under normal circumstances I’d say, ‘Yeah they’ll pass it,’” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a children’s advocacy group. “But we’ve been promised this for months now and Congress has shown no ability to focus on this, to get it done.”

The consequences of Congress’s inaction are already visible. While most states had some funds remaining in their coffers to last them a few months past CHIP’s expiration date, Governing magazine reported this week that Minnesota has officially run out of federal CHIP money. For now Minnesota officials say they’ll work to bridge the funding gap, but not all states have laws that allow for that. Colorado also started sending out notices this week to CHIP enrollees, letting them know the state will be shutting down the program by January 31 if Congress doesn’t act soon. Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington are also expected to run out funds in early 2018, and the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that “the majority of states [are] projected to exhaust funding by March.” Even temporary enrollment freezes can lead to major drops in coverage. Researchers at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families report that Arizona’s enrollment fell by more than 60 percent when the state temporarily froze the program in 2009, and North Carolina’s enrollment fell by nearly 30 percent when it froze CHIP for 10 months in 2001.

Even if states think that Congress might come through with funding, they have to prepare for the eventuality that it won’t — regardless of how much that costs, or how much confusion it creates.

“The way Congress is doing this is devoid of any understanding of how programs run,” said Lesley. “I used to work in state government. If you’re running a program, and there’s uncertainty, you have to plan to close it down. You have no choice.”

So what’s the hold up?

Part of it involves Congress fighting over how CHIP will be paid for, with legislators looking for $8 billion in what’s known as “offsets.” There are rules requiring Congress to determine where these offsets — or money for new spending— will come from, but these rules are often waived. Just last month, when Congress passed a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel created through the ACA to make cost-saving recommendations, legislators waived the $18 billion offset requirement. And now Congress is preparing to pass a mammoth tax reform bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday would fall almost $1 trillion short of paying for itself. Offsets be damned.

Before this, Congress paid for CHIP using tobacco taxes, but those weren’t locked in, so that revenue now just goes to the federal treasury. “There’s enough money that CHIP shouldn’t ever have to be paid for by more offsets, yet now it’s expiring so none of that $2 in tobacco taxes, raised for CHIP, applies to CHIP,” said Lesley. “So here we are in reauthorization having to find offsets yet again.”

In early November, the House passed a bill, 242-174 largely on party lines, to reauthorize CHIP by taking money from the ACA’s public health preventative care fund, which pays for programs like opioid treatment and vaccinations. Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., charged that Republicans were capitalizing on CHIP reauthorization as a new way to sabotage the ACA. Pallone proposed changing the payment schedule of Medicare Advantage Plans to fund CHIP, but Republicans rejected that in the Rules Committee.

In mid-September, Hatch and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize CHIP for five years, but they haven’t yet brought the bill to the floor. They also haven’t made clear where the offsets will come from. Experts suspect that Senate leaders kept it off the floor because they worried it might have been derailed by partisan amendments, and they wanted to avoid politicizing CHIP in the way that the ACA and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, have been. 

Cynthia Pellegrini — the senior vice president of public policy at the March of Dimes, an advocacy group focused on infant and maternal health — told The Intercept that her group has been hearing through the grapevine that the Senate has likely reached a bipartisan deal on offsets, though she doesn’t know more than that. But since Senate Democrats are unlikely to vote for anything that harms the ACA, that offset deal, Pellegrini said, “by definition” would exclude the public health prevention fund.

Passing CHIP on its own would allow for less horse-trading, but the clock has likely run out for that this year.

“There are procedural barriers to just putting up CHIP as an independent bill no matter what,” said Pellegrini. “In this climate, it would have to go through cloture, and have to have floor time. The Senate only has 15 or 17 more legislative days — though they may extend that into Christmas week — but there is literally no time left with everything else they want to be doing to put it up by itself. With the budget, CR [continuing resolution], tax reform, potentially Iran, all these bills have piled up. The question is, can they combine CHIP with other bills in a package and get it through faster?”

One option could be to move it through a strategy known as “hotlining” — in which the Senate gets the unanimous consent of all 100 members and moves it through rapidly on a voice vote. That means the package they’d be approving would either be very noncontroversial or very bipartisan.

Whether Congress can hotline CHIP will depend on if leaders can put forward something attractive enough that every senator would support — or at least not oppose it so much as to make a stink. The Senate could possibly package CHIP with other bills it is trying to get through by the end of the year — like Home Visiting reauthorizationMedicare extenders, or disaster relief.

Another option is to include CHIP reauthorization in a continuing resolution that provides short-term funding for fiscal year 2018. The current continuing resolution expires on December 8, so Congress may try to include CHIP in its next one. House Republicans are also trying to push a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government until December 22, which would require yet another continuing resolution after that for 2018. CHIP reauthorization could conceivably be included in either of those, too.

A Wyden spokesperson told The Intercept that the senator “remains optimistic common sense and decency will prevail over partisan politics.”

Lesley of First Focus — who helped draft the original CHIP bill in 1997 — said it’s frustrating that this whole debate over offsets isn’t even about expanding coverage, just maintaining the status quo. “We would say this provides an example of why next time we need to recapture all those tobacco dollars and create a trust fund for CHIP so this never happens again,” he said.

Top photo: Ana Elsy Ramirez Diaz holds her son, Milan Rojas Ramirez as he is seen by Dr. Margaret-Anne Fernandez during a check-up visit at INOVA Cares Clinic for Children on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Falls Church.

Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the ‘root …

1a51f_15.5_desktop Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the 'root ...

Apple’s macOS is a great operating system. Not only is it stable and beautifully designed, but it is very secure too. Well, usually it is. Unless you live under a rock, you definitely heard about the macOS High Sierra security bug that made the news over the last couple of days. In case you somehow are unaware, the bug essentially made it so anyone could log into any Mac running the latest version of the operating system.

Luckily, Apple has already patched the bug, and some people — like me — have forgiven the company. Understandably, not everyone will be as forgiving as me. Undoubtedly, there are Mac users that are ready to jump ship as a result of the embarrassing bug. While that is probably an overreaction, if you are set on trying an alternative operating system, you should not go with Windows 10. Instead, you should embrace Linux. In fact, rather serendipitously, a Linux distribution with a UI reminiscent of macOS gets a new version today. Called “deepin,” version 15.5 of the distro is now ready to download.

“deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users. deepin 15.5 mainly added HiDPI, fingerprint scanning and Flatpak application format. It migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework, preinstalled Deepin Clone and Deepin Recovery, newly added touchpad gesture, Wi-Fi hotspot sharing and color temperature adjustment as well as comprehensive optimization of network module and desktop environment. Applications in Deepin Family and applications related to Deepin Wine have been upgraded to the latest version,” says The deepin Team.

1a51f_15.5_desktop Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the 'root ...

Speaking on file backup, the team explains, “Pre-installed Deepin Clone, you can clone, backup and restore disks and partitions. Timely backup system files to prevent loss. If you can not enter the system due to some reasons, directly enter Deepin Recovery from the startup interface to repair boot, partition, format and so on. Meanwhile, you can also backup and restore disk and partition in Deepin Recovery.

The deepin Team shares more significant updates below.

Installer

  • Newly added the prompt to eject device after installed;
  • Fixed the issue that prompt error when wrong username or password entered;
  • Fixed the related dependency problems;
  • Sync the internationalization translations;

Dock

  • Newly added the function to hide plugins;
  • Newly added the Refresh button of network list;
  • Newly added “Force Quit” in context menu;
  • Optimized the function of auto hide;
  • Optimized window preview;
  • Optimized Wi-Fi password dialog box;
  • Fixed the prompt error of system tray;
  • Fixed the issue that application icon is not displayed occasionally;

Control Center

  • Newly added the function to auto adjust color and temperature;
  • Newly added display scaling function;
  • Newly added fingerprint in account module;
  • Newly added Wi-Fi hotspot sharing;
  • Newly added application proxy;
  • Newly added VPN import/export;
  • Newly added the function to auto clear package cache;
  • Newly added touchpad palm pressure settings;
  • Newly added the function to auto switch to available sound port;
  • Disabled the middle finger clicking fucntion;
  • Optimized the naming of system effect files;
  • Optimized account module and newly added login without password;
  • Optimized shortcuts module and newly added shortcut for Deepin System Monitor;
  • Optimized network layout and notification;
  • Optimized startup menu background;
  • Optimized lock screen and login interface;
  • Optimized brightness settings;
  • Optimized font settings;
  • Fixed the issue that network crashed when connected to or deleted it;
  • Fixed the translation of authentication dialog box;
  • Fixed the issue of OSD keyboard layout scrolling;
  • Fixed the issue of switching user;

Launcher

  • Newly added shortcuts Ctrl =/- or Ctrl+mouse wheel to adjust the icon size;
  • Newly added “Open by proxy” in Launcher context menu;
  • Optimized the display of uninstall dialog box;
  • Optimized icon dragging;

Desktop

  • Newly added icon avoidance when dragging;
  • Optimized the issue that icons will not auto arrange when renamed;
  • Fixed the issue that desktop crashed when deleted some files;
  • Fixed the issue that little shadow occurred when selected several files to move and paste;

Others

  • Thanks for the Marea icon theme made by Carecm, a Spanish community user;
  • Thanks for the Halo icon theme made by Alejandro Camarena, a Spanish community user;
  • Newly added Flatpak format;
  • Newly added Intel device compatibility;
  • Newly added touchpad gesture to call window manager;
  • Newly added upstream security updates;
  • Migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework;
  • Upgraded kernel patches and firmware;
  • Upgraded Flatpak to support Deepin Desktop Environment components;
  • Fixed the issue that parts of hardware drivers are not compatible.

To download the Debian-based deepin 15.5, just point your web browser here to get the 64-bit ISO. Before you download it, however, I suggest watching the above video. This will prepare you for what the experience is like so you can decide if it is right for you. I think you will be quite surprised by the polish and beauty that is found in this Linux-based operating system.

Are you a Mac user that wants to switch to a different operating system? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the ‘root’ security bug? Give deepin 15.5 a try!

14a32_15.5_desktop Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the 'root' security bug? Give deepin 15.5 a try!

Apple’s macOS is a great operating system. Not only is it stable and beautifully designed, but it very secure too. Well, usually it is. Unless you live under a rock, you definitely heard about the macOS High Sierra security bug that made the news over the last couple of days. In case you somehow are unaware, the bug essentially made it so anyone could log into any Mac running the latest version of the operating system.

Luckily, Apple has already patched the bug, and some people — like me — have forgiven the company. Understandably, not everyone will be as forgiving as me. Undoubtedly, there are Mac users that are ready to jump ship as a result of the embarrassing bug. While that is probably premature, if you are set on trying an alternative operating system, you should not go with Windows 10. Instead, you should embrace Linux. In fact, rather serendipitously, a Linux distribution with a UI reminiscent of macOS gets a new version today. Called “deepin,” version 15.5 of the distro is now ready to download.

“deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users. deepin 15.5 mainly added HiDPI, fingerprint scanning and Flatpak application format. It migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework, preinstalled Deepin Clone and Deepin Recovery, newly added touchpad gesture, Wi-Fi hotspot sharing and color temperature adjustment as well as comprehensive optimization of network module and desktop environment. Applications in Deepin Family and applications related to Deepin Wine have been upgraded to the latest version,” says The deepin Team.

14a32_15.5_desktop Want to switch from Apple macOS to Linux because of the 'root' security bug? Give deepin 15.5 a try!

Speaking on file backup, the team explains, “Pre-installed Deepin Clone, you can clone, backup and restore disks and partitions. Timely backup system files to prevent loss. If you can not enter the system due to some reasons, directly enter Deepin Recovery from the startup interface to repair boot, partition, format and so on. Meanwhile, you can also backup and restore disk and partition in Deepin Recovery.

The deepin Team shares more significant updates below.

Installer

  • Newly added the prompt to eject device after installed;
  • Fixed the issue that prompt error when wrong username or password entered;
  • Fixed the related dependency problems;
  • Sync the internationalization translations;

Dock

  • Newly added the function to hide plugins;
  • Newly added the Refresh button of network list;
  • Newly added “Force Quit” in context menu;
  • Optimized the function of auto hide;
  • Optimized window preview;
  • Optimized Wi-Fi password dialog box;
  • Fixed the prompt error of system tray;
  • Fixed the issue that application icon is not displayed occasionally;

Control Center

  • Newly added the function to auto adjust color and temperature;
  • Newly added display scaling function;
  • Newly added fingerprint in account module;
  • Newly added Wi-Fi hotspot sharing;
  • Newly added application proxy;
  • Newly added VPN import/export;
  • Newly added the function to auto clear package cache;
  • Newly added touchpad palm pressure settings;
  • Newly added the function to auto switch to available sound port;
  • Disabled the middle finger clicking fucntion;
  • Optimized the naming of system effect files;
  • Optimized account module and newly added login without password;
  • Optimized shortcuts module and newly added shortcut for Deepin System Monitor;
  • Optimized network layout and notification;
  • Optimized startup menu background;
  • Optimized lock screen and login interface;
  • Optimized brightness settings;
  • Optimized font settings;
  • Fixed the issue that network crashed when connected to or deleted it;
  • Fixed the translation of authentication dialog box;
  • Fixed the issue of OSD keyboard layout scrolling;
  • Fixed the issue of switching user;

Launcher

  • Newly added shortcuts Ctrl =/- or Ctrl+mouse wheel to adjust the icon size;
  • Newly added “Open by proxy” in Launcher context menu;
  • Optimized the display of uninstall dialog box;
  • Optimized icon dragging;

Desktop

  • Newly added icon avoidance when dragging;
  • Optimized the issue that icons will not auto arrange when renamed;
  • Fixed the issue that desktop crashed when deleted some files;
  • Fixed the issue that little shadow occurred when selected several files to move and paste;

Others

  • Thanks for the Marea icon theme made by Carecm, a Spanish community user;
  • Thanks for the Halo icon theme made by Alejandro Camarena, a Spanish community user;
  • Newly added Flatpak format;
  • Newly added Intel device compatibility;
  • Newly added touchpad gesture to call window manager;
  • Newly added upstream security updates;
  • Migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework;
  • Upgraded kernel patches and firmware;
  • Upgraded Flatpak to support Deepin Desktop Environment components;
  • Fixed the issue that parts of hardware drivers are not compatible.

To download the Debian-based deepin 15.5, just point your web browser here to get the 64-bit ISO. Before you download it, however, I suggest watching the above video. This will prepare you for what the experience is like so you can decide if it is right for you. I think you will be quite surprised by the polish and beauty that is found in this Linux-based operating system.

Are you a Mac user that wants to switch to a different operating system? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a ‘super long cycle’ for the company, analyst says

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b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says

Apple’s innovative features in the new iPhone X this year will pay dividends for years, according to one Wall Street firm.

Piper Jaffray reiterated its overweight rating for the smartphone maker, predicting Apple will benefit from rolling out better displays and 3D sensors to the rest of its iPhone product line next year.

“Apple may be increasingly well positioned to experience a strong multi-year iPhone trajectory, not the short-lived ‘super cycle’ that was anticipated,” analyst Michael Olson wrote in a note to clients Thursday titled “Why AAPL Can Keep Working: ‘Super Cycle’ Is Now ‘Super Long Cycle.'” “We believe an elongated iPhone cycle in FY18, followed by a wider array of iPhone X ‘offspring’ in Fall-18, along with growing awareness and interest in augmented reality (fueled by developers populating app store with new use cases and, longer-term, addition of rear facing 3D sensor), will all push out the need for Apple to answer the question of ‘what’s next?'”

Olson reiterated his $200 price target for Apple shares, representing 18 percent upside to Wednesday’s close.

The analyst expects Apple will release three iPhones next year with the X’s better OLED displays. In addition, he notes 3D sensing component suppliers are being asked to increase their volume by three times next year, according to the firm’s checks.

“IPhone X ‘offspring’ can expand upgrade interest to a larger portion of iPhone Users in Fall-18,” he wrote. “As options for the ‘X’ generation iPhone expand, the ‘shots on goal’ for upgrading increases.”

Apple is one of the market’s best-performing large-cap stocks so far this year. Its shares have rallied 46 percent through Wednesday versus the SP 500’s 17 percent gain.

The analyst is also optimistic over Apple’s opportunity in gaming.

“Longer term … we’re going to be streaming videogames from the cloud and you likely won’t need a console anyway. So that’s when something like an Apple TV will benefit,” Olson said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Thursday.

The company’s stock rose 1.4 percent Thursday after the report.

Apple’s iPhone X launched on Nov. 3 at a base model price of $999.



b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says


b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says

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Russia Lost a Rocket Because the Computer Thought It Was Launching From a Different Pad

Perhaps the silliest mistake in the history of space programs was NASA’s failed Mars Climate Orbiter mission in 1998. The satellite was supposed to enter a standard Mars orbit, and yet somehow managed to plunge into the atmosphere and disintegrate instead. An investigation found that guidance software built by Lockheed Martin made its calculations in pounds, while NASA’s software expected everything to be in metric units. This small error cost NASA hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s unlikely any space agency will ever make a mistake that dumb and costly ever again, but a recent rocket launch by the Russian space program comes close. The agency was launching a rocket from their recently-opened Vostochny Cosmodrome, a new launch facility in the Russian Far East. The rocket launched from the pad normally, but once it got into the upper atmosphere it malfunctioned and fired in the wrong direction, sending its payload back down to Earth instead of up into space.

What happened? While the investigation is still ongoing, it appears the rocket’s programmers made a mistake with the computer’s guidance systems. While the mistake isn’t quite as silly as Lockheed’s in 1998, it comes close: the rocket malfunctioned because it thought it was launching from Russia’s other launch facility, the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

This was only the space program’s second launch at Vostochny, and the first in over a year, so it makes sense that there are still some minor issues to fix and pieces of code to update. But it seems like someone really should have updated the computer’s launch coordinates from Baikonur to Vostochny at some point. Surely that was pretty high on some software engineer’s to-do list.

While the rocket and all the satellites it was carrying were lost, hopefully the Russian space program learned its lesson from this mistake, and will double-check where they’re launching from next time. Still, congrats to Russia on the second-worst space-related software glitch of all time.

Source: Ars Technica

Any Apple Mac computer can easily be broken into with just a few key presses because of major vulnerability

Any Apple computer can be easily broken into with a few simple key presses, security researchers have found.

A vulnerability in the way the operating system uses passwords means that they can be simply bypassed by anyone, on practically any computer. Warnings about the bug have been shared by computing experts including Edward Snowden, who described the issue as “really bad”.

Whenever a computer running MacOS asks a user to login, they can simply write the username “root” and an empty password. That might not work initially – but repeated presses of the login button will eventually let you through, no matter how complicated the password usually used on the computer.

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    Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.

    Jet Capsule/Cover Images

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

    Getty Images

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

    Getty Images

  • 4/43

    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

    Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

  • 5/43

    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

    Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

  • 6/43

    The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie ‘Avatar’ and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company

    Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

  • 7/43

    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

    Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

  • 8/43

    Waseda University’s saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi

    Rex

  • 9/43

    Waseda University’s saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session

    Rex

  • 10/43

    A test line of a new energy suspension railway resembling the giant panda is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

    Reuters

  • 11/43

    A test line of a new energy suspension railway, resembling a giant panda, is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

    Reuters

  • 12/43

    A concept car by Trumpchi from GAC Group is shown at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

    Rex

  • 13/43

    A Mirai fuel cell vehicle by Toyota is displayed at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

    Reuters

  • 14/43

    A visitor tries a Nissan VR experience at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

    Reuters

  • 15/43

    A man looks at an exhibit entitled ‘Mimus’ a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London

    Getty

  • 16/43

    A new Israeli Da-Vinci unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Elbit Systems is displayed during the 4th International conference on Home Land Security and Cyber in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv

    Getty

  • 17/43

    Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S

    Reuters

  • 18/43

    The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. This is a production preview of the Jaguar I-PACE, which will be revealed next year and on the road in 2018

    AP

  • 19/43

    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’ and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan

    Reuters

  • 20/43

    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’

    Reuters

  • 21/43

    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’ performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan

    Reuters

  • 22/43

    Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company’s concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

    Reuters

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    The interior of Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

    Reuters

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    Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0

    Reuters

  • 25/43

    A picture shows Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

    Reuters

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    Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota’s “connected strategy” in Tokyo.
    The Connected company is a part of seven Toyota in-house companies that was created in April 2016

    Getty

  • 27/43

    A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company’s pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota’s “connected strategy” press briefing in Tokyo

    Getty

  • 28/43

    An exhibitor charges the battery cells of AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

    Getty

  • 29/43

    A robot with a touch-screen information apps stroll down the pavillon at the Singapore International Robo Expo

    Getty

  • 30/43

    An exhibitor demonstrates the AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

    Getty

  • 31/43

    Robotic fishes swim in a water glass tank displayed at the Korea pavillon during Singapore International Robo Expo

    Getty

  • 32/43

    An employee shows a Samsung Electronics’ Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea

    Reuters

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    Visitors experience Samsung Electronics’ Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea

    Getty

  • 34/43

    Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer’s Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

    PA wire

  • 35/43

    Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer’s GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

    PA wire

  • 36/43

    Ford EEBL Emergency Electronic Brake Lights is demonstrated during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

    PA

  • 37/43

    Full-scale model of ‘Kibo’ on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan

    EPA

  • 38/43

    Miniatures on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan.
    In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module ‘Kibo’ of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles

    EPA

  • 39/43

    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight. At this biennial event, the participating companies exhibit their latest service robotic technologies and components

    Getty

  • 40/43

    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight

    Getty

  • 41/43

    Government and industry are working together on a robot-like autopilot system that could eliminate the need for a second human pilot in the cockpit

    AP

  • 42/43

    Aurora Flight Sciences’ technicians work on an Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automantion System (ALIAS) device in the firm’s Centaur aircraft at Manassas Airport in Manassas, Va.

    AP

  • 43/43

    Flight Simulator

    Stefan Schwart and Udo Klingenberg preparing a self-built flight simulator to land at Hong Kong airport, from Rostock, Germany

    EPA

The root account is a usually hidden login that has access to many of the most privileged part of the computer. It shouldn’t appear to any normal user, and shouldn’t be accessible to anyone who doesn’t own the computer.

f9d45_pg-36-macbook-rhodri-getty Any Apple Mac computer can easily be broken into with just a few key presses because of major vulnerability

The issue was repeated multiple times on multiple computers by The Independent, though all of those computers were running the latest version of MacOS, High Sierra. Numerous other news sources and experts have also verified that the bug works.

It was reported first reported by security researcher Lemi Orhan Ergin. Notably, he posted it on Twitter and tagged Apple’s official and support accounts – apparently not reporting it through the company’s official bug reporting channels, which ensures that it’s fixed before it makes it public knowledge.

If you think there is any chance your computer could be broken into or fall into the wrong hands, then it could be worth undertaking the slightly laborious fix. That involves setting a root password, so that anyone attempting to use the fix won’t be able to use the empty field as above.

That’s done by opening System Preferences, opening the “Users Groups” panel, choosing “Login options”, pressing the “Join” button that’s next to ‘Network Account Server’, and clicking on “Open Directory Utility” then choosing the lock icon and logging in. Choose the edit menu and press “Change Root Password” – it will prompt you for your old one, which is probably blank, and you can then change it to something new and more secure.

Clearly, Apple won’t expect everyone to go through that long and not immediately obvious process to secure their computer and the company will almost certainly roll out a fix very soon. As such, it will be important to keep a look out for that update and install it as soon as it becomes available.

Such bugs and issues are relatively rare with Apple products, given they are now fairly mature and developed by a relatively limited number of people. But the sheer number of people who use them mean that even a minor issue can resound around the world, as in the cases of vulnerabilities found in iOS, the software that runs on iPhones.

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  • Apple
  • Mac
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Having trouble sleeping? It is not just because of aging.

Many older adults have sleep problems that can be caused by aging. But other issues also contribute to the prevalence of sleep complaints, and they should be discussed and investigated, experts say.

A national poll conducted by the University of Michigan and released in October found that almost half of those 65 and older have trouble getting to sleep, and more than a third are taking prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.

Older adults also have problems staying asleep, said Adam Spira, a sleep researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Good sleep protects against negative outcomes, and those who sleep poorly are at higher risk of functional decline and depression,” he added.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) defines chronic insomnia as the presence of symptoms of distress and impairment that last for at least three nights a week for at least three months and are not linked to medical or mental problems or other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

The National Sleep Foundation says older adults need about the same amount of sleep as other adults — seven to eight hours a night.

Changes in sleep occur throughout a person’s life, Spira said. In later years, there are decreases in total sleep time, increases in sleep fragmentation and decreases in deep sleep, he said.

Many people experience a circadian rhythm shift as they age, such that they awaken earlier in the morning and do not feel they are able to get enough sleep, said David N. Neubauer, a clinical faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center.

Later in life, there also tend to be other factors that undermine good sleep quality, Neubauer said.

Older adults may have suffered personal losses or have worries about the future, he said.

As a group, older adults also have more health problems, which, along with the medications they take, can be major drivers of sleep problems, Spira said.

However, both older adults who are healthy and those with chronic medical conditions should use caution in taking over-the-counter and prescription sleeping aids, experts said.

Studies show that older people who take sleeping pills, also called sedative-hypnotics and tranquilizers, sleep only a little longer and a little better than those who don’t take them, according to Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

The ACP also says that over-the-counter drugs — diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy, Nytol, Sominex and generic), doxylamine (Unisom tablets and generic), Advil PM and Tylenol PM — carry risks for older adults. Next-day side effects include drowsiness, confusion, constipation, dry mouth and difficulty urinating.

Seniors are likely to be more sensitive than others to sedative-hypnotic drugs, which may remain in their bodies longer than in younger people’s systems. These drugs are also known to cause confusion and memory problems that can increase the risk for auto accidents, falls and hip fractures.

The ACP recommends that medications, when used, be taken for only a short time (four to five weeks). The Food and Drug Administration advises that if insomnia doesn’t go away within seven to 10 days of treatment with drugs, a patient should see a doctor for reevaluation.

Neubauer said prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs should be used only after any possible underlying problems are assessed. Evaluations should include exploring behavior or schedule changes that might be conducive to sleep and making sure that a patient’s use of sleep aids wouldn’t pose serious risks for health problems or negative interactions with other medications. Over-the-counter sleep medications, Neubauer said, are metabolized more slowly and tend to stay in an individual’s system longer than prescription drugs.

Dietary supplements that are used as sleep aids and contain plant products, vitamins and minerals — for instance, valerian — appear to be generally safe, although there is little evidence that they work, Neubauer said. Another common compound used in dietary supplements, melatonin — a naturally occurring hormone that is typically released in the evening and remains elevated until morning — does little to help people fall asleep quicker when taken at bedtime and is more likely to help people when taken a few hours before, studies suggest, Neubauer said.

Behavioral changes can also be effective in tackling sleep issues. In 2016, the ACP recommended for the first time that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) be the first-line treatment for adults with chronic insomnia. The ACP’s president stated that although there is not enough evidence to directly compare CBT-I and drug treatment, CBT-I is likely to be less harmful, while sleep medications can be associated with serious adverse effects.

CBT-I is a combination of treatments including cognitive therapy, behavioral interventions such as sleep restriction and stimulus control, and helping develop habits conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Luis Buenaver, director of the Sleep Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, recommended that a bed be used only for sleep. It is not for watching television or hanging out, he said. People should not go to sleep if they are not tired, and people should try to wake up every day at the same time to train their circadian clock, Buenaver said.

The morning wake-up time is a critical period when the circadian system is sensitive to being reset, Neubauer said. “Getting up at about the same time each morning stabilizes our internal rhythm and makes it more likely that we will be able to fall asleep eight hours earlier” than that time, he said.

Because sleep difficulties can result from a multitude of problems, including physical and mental disorders, Neubauer said it’s always good to check with a health professional when sleep problems persist.

“We need to emphasize that doctors and patients should begin to think of sleep as a major indicator of health, and doctors should recommend treatment and sleep clinics to patients who are having problems,” said Michael Smith, a professor of psychology and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Terror suspect banned from McDonald’s because it has internet access

A TERROR suspect failed to persuade a High Court to overturn an restriction which bans from visiting McDonald’s because it has internet access.

The Muslim man was made the subject of “terrorism prevention and investigation measures” last year which included banning trips to the fast-food joint.

Justice Elisabeth Laing ruled that ministers were right to conclude the man may have engaged in terror-related activities
When the man bid to have the restrictions overturned, he complained that one of his children ‘loved happy meals’

The married dad launched an appeal, claiming the Home Office constraint could not allow him to go to shops or cafes.

The man, who cannot be identified, said that one of his children loved “Happy Meals”.

Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing has decided that ministers were right to conclude that the man had “engaged in terrorism-related activity”.

She said it was necessary to deny him unfettered internet access and said monitoring computer use in a McDonald’s would be difficult.

Mrs Justice Laing reviewed the restrictions at a High Court hearing in London – where she heard evidence from a member of MI5 – in July and announced her conclusions in a written ruling.

The judge oversaw part of the hearing in secret.


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Terror suspect barred from McDonald’s because it has internet access

35ed0_pri_61036069 Terror suspect barred from McDonald's because it has internet access
Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing (Picture: Avalon)

A Muslim terrorist suspect has failed to convince a High Court judge to relax restrictions on him so he can take his children to McDonald’s.

The man, who was made subject of ‘terrorism prevention and investigation measures’ last year, claims the restrictions are also preventing him from seeing his family who live miles away.

35ed0_pri_61036069 Terror suspect barred from McDonald's because it has internet accessPictured: Two men who sparked Oxford Circus terror fears in platform fight

He said when his wife and two children visited him they could not go to shops or cafes with internet access, including McDonald’s.

He added one of his children ‘loved Happy Meals’.

MORE: Police reveal platform fight led to Oxford Street panic as they launch search for two men

A Happy Meal box sits on top of a customer’s vehicle outside a McDonald’s (Picture: Getty Images)

But Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing was not sympathetic to the man’s complaints during a hearing at a High Court in London.

She decided ministers were right to conclude the man had ‘engaged in terrorism-related activity’.

She said it was necessary to deny him unfettered internet access and said monitoring computer use in a McDonald’s would be difficult.

The man, who has links to east London, was born abroad but moved to the UK as a child and has brothers and sisters living in the country.

He was referred to as ‘LF’ at the hearing because he could not be identified for legal reasons.

The judge oversaw part of the hearing in secret.

MORE: Dog walker accidentally shot dead by hunter who mistook her for deer

MORE: Pupil was stabbed when teacher told him to give classmate a Chinese burn

Park in Philly suburbs closed because of ‘potential health hazards’ in soil

Officials have temporarily closed a park in the Philadelphia suburbs after a possibly unnerving discovery.

The Borough of Pottstown Parks and Recreation Department said Thursday that Pollock Park would be closed until further notice because of “potential health hazards that were recently discovered in the soil.”

“We are working to finalize the results of a study and secure funds for cleanup required to reopen the park,” the department wrote on social media.

Officials said there was no timeline for the closure and apologized to residents for the inconvenience.

The Pottstown Mercury reports the discovery was made while officials were upgrading the park. Unsafe levels of heavy metals were found in the soil, according to the newspaper.

Some residents told NBC10 they were worried about the possible contamination.

“I raised four kids here and now I’m concerned for them and myself,” Karen Bonenberger told the news station, adding she thought about selling her house.

Spy agencies will monitor 20000 terror suspects by computer because they don’t have the manpower to track all of …

  • MI5 and MI6 will use computers to track 20,000 former terror suspects at large 
  • Counter-terrorism teams in the UK currently monitor 3,000 people at a time
  • But computers will be introduced because they can’t keep up with them all 
  • Terrorists Salman Abedi and Khalid Masood were known to intelligence services

Larisa Brown for the Daily Mail

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Spy agencies are to use computer algorithms to keep tabs on 20,000 former terror suspects because they don’t have the manpower to physically watch all of them at once.

MI5 and MI6 will use the complex system to sift through massive amounts of data to alert intelligence agents to worrying behaviour, under potential plans.

A review is expected to recommend security agencies widen their searches when examining the online footprint and movement of these former jihadis.

Britain’s counter-terrorism officials currently actively monitor around 3,000 people.

But following a wave of terror attacks in the UK, the Government admitted there were as many as 20,000 former subjects of interest no longer classed as posing serious danger.

Those in this pool currently have little or no resources spent on them.

ef27a_468DCE8600000578-5102151-image-a-59_1511223122849 Spy agencies will monitor 20000 terror suspects by computer because they don't have the manpower to track all of ...

MI5 and MI6 are soon to use computer algorithms to keep tabs on former UK terror suspects because they haven’t got the manpower to track them all  

It is understood Khalid Masood, who killed five people in a terror attack in Westminster in March had previously come to the attention of counter-terrorism officers.

Salman Abedi, who bombed Manchester Arena, killing 22 people including young children, in May, and Khuram Butt, who attacked London Bridge in June, were both known to security agencies as well.

And the two terrorists who murdered Lee Rigby in 2013 were also in the pool of former ‘subjects of interest’. But none of them was under active investigation because it was believed they did not pose an immediate risk.

ef27a_468DCE8600000578-5102151-image-a-59_1511223122849 Spy agencies will monitor 20000 terror suspects by computer because they don't have the manpower to track all of ...

It is understood Khalid Masood (pictured), who killed five people in a terror attack in Westminster in March had previously come to the attention of counter-terrorism officers

There are currently several internal reviews into the way MI5 and police handled the four terrorist attacks which occurred in the UK between March and June this year.

The fourth attack saw a van driver crash into pedestrians in London’s Finsbury Park. One man died at the scene.

David Anderson QC has been tasked with providing independent assurance of the internal reviews and is due to publish a report with findings and recommendations in a couple of weeks. 

The official reviews are expected to clear MI5 and the police of making serious mistakes that allowed terrorists to strike Britain.

It is understood they will find information was received by MI5 about Abedi, which could have been given a higher priority – but that such a conclusion is reached with the benefit of hindsight. 

According to The Guardian, nothing in the reviews demonstrate that clear chances were missed to stop any of the attacks that killed 36 people.

Last night Whitehall sources denied suggestions the report would be a whitewash and stressed that is why there was independent oversight.

One source close to the reports said: ‘Any suggestion security agencies are marking their own homework would be false.’

ef27a_468DCE8600000578-5102151-image-a-59_1511223122849 Spy agencies will monitor 20000 terror suspects by computer because they don't have the manpower to track all of ...

Salman Abedi (pictured), who bombed Manchester Arena, killing 22 people including young children, in May, and Khuram Butt, who attacked London Bridge in June, were both known to security agencies as well

It is also understood Mr Anderson’s findings will suggest spy agencies expand the bulk collection of personal data to the list of 20,000 former terror suspects. 

Sources said the findings would also set out the speed at which technology is changing and how MI5, MI6 and GCHQ must keep a pace with evolving threats. Intelligence officers are looking at ways they can spot signs that tens of thousands of citizens once high on their radar may be re-engaging with terrorism.

This will include using computers to collate mass amounts of information on a person, such as contact with other extremists on the internet.

One example could be using a hi-tech system to spot former suspects chatting in extremist groups online, or using information gathered from Oyster cards to spot a pattern and examine their whereabouts.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is expected to decide today whether to carry out its own review of the Government’s handling of the terror attacks.


ef27a_468DCE8600000578-5102151-image-a-59_1511223122849 Spy agencies will monitor 20000 terror suspects by computer because they don't have the manpower to track all of ...

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Rural Americans can’t check email or use credit cards because of slow Internet, officials say


Rural Americans say everyday life hurt by slow internet

State officials are looking for a solution after Verizon declined $140 million in federal help.

Officials are calling it a “big digital divide” between rural communities and urban areas. Many towns across the United States still don’t have the option to have high-speed Internet, and officials say they’re at risk for being stuck on slow Internet for longer than expected.

“What was acceptable in terms of speed and quantity is just no longer appropriate,” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner David Sweet told Fox News. “[The issue] is widespread throughout the United States.”

Some small-town residents say it’s nearly impossible to do simple tasks like check email and stream videos. Eric Pelka, a post office employee in Julian, Pa., told Fox News at times they had to turn seven to eight people away a day because of poor Internet connection.

“We couldn’t accept any credit cards without the Internet,” Pelka said about customers trying to purchase stamps and other products. “Those seven to eight people a day I turned away, that’s revenue for this office that could help keep it afloat. Just wasn’t here because I couldn’t charge them”

SIX-TIME OLYMPIC MEDALIST JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE WANTS TO CLOSE AMERICA’S DIGITAL DIVIDE

Now officials say these towns might not get fast Internet anytime soon because they say Verizon declined $140 million in federal help through the FCC. The federal agency created the Connect America Fund initiative to give high-speed Internet access to rural communities. “Reform will not only drive economic growth in rural America, but will expand the online marketplace nationwide, creating jobs and businesses opportunities across the country,” the FCC’s website states.

Telecom companies took $160 million in help for Pennsylvania residents, but the $140 million that Verizon rejected could be lost for good. That money will now be put in a pool of funding to be auctioned, and the bidders may not use that money for Pennsylvania communities, Sweet said.

Sweet added it’s not fair for the funds to be auctioned to another bidder because that money comes directly from a surcharge Pennsylvania residents pay on their phone bills. “It kind of adds insult to injury to pay this fee and have it go to Washington and not get any of it back” Sweet and other state officials are petitioning to the FCC in hopes that the money will be given back to the state where he says they need it most.

Verizon says it supports the efforts to bring that money back into the state, even though the telecom giant declined it. “We committed to a certain amount of Fios network build and since 2010 have focused on completing that work before looking at building fiber in new areas,” the telecom company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, many residents are hoping their petition for high-speed Internet will give them a resource they say they need.

“Every single day we’re running thousands of dollars worth of payments on the cars and if we have no Internet, we can’t do that,” Chad Andrus said about his used car dealership in Julian, Pa.

“This office could get cut down even more down to a four-hour office which, I know from talking to people in this town, they don’t want to see that happen,” Pelka said of the small-town post office.

Michelle Chavez is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Pittsburgh.




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