6 Million Americans Exposed To High Levels of Chemicals In Drinking Water, Says Study

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: A new study out Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters looked at a national database that monitors chemical levels in drinking water and found that 6 million people were being exposed to levels of a certain chemical that exceed what the Environmental Protection Agency considers healthy. The chemicals, known as poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, are synthetic and resistant to water and oil, which is why they’re used in things like pizza boxes and firefighting foam. They’re built to withstand the environment. But PFASs also accumulate in people and animals and have been observationally linked to an increased risk of health problems including cancer. And they can’t be easily avoided, like with a water filter, for example. You can view the chart to see the tested areas of the U.S. where PFASs exceed 70 ng/L, which is what’s considered a healthy lifetime exposure.

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Over 135 Million Routers Vulnerable To Denial-of-service Flaw

schwit1 quotes a report from ZDNet: [More than 135 million modems are said to be vulnerable to a flaw that can leave users cut-off from the internet — just by someone clicking on a trick link.] The problem lies with how a widely-used router, the ArrisSurfBoard SB6141, handles authentication and cross-site requests. Arris (formerly Motorola) said that it has sold more than 135 million of the SurfBoard SB6141 routers. That means the millions of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or Charter customers who are shipped one of these routers when they subscribe are vulnerable. The flaw is so easy to exploit that anyone on an affected network can be tricked into clicking on a specially crafted web page or email. Security researcher David Longenecker, who found the flaws and posted the write-up on the Full Disclosure list earlier this week, released the “exploit” link after Arris stopped responding to emails he sent as part of the responsible disclosure process. There’s no practical fix for the flaw, according to Longenecker. “The simplest solution would be a firmware update such that the web [user interface] requires a username and password before allowing disruptive actions such as rebooting or resetting the modem, and that validates that a request originated from the application and not from an external source,” he said. But even if Arris released a fix, he said that the cable modems are not upgradable by their owners, meaning the internet provider would have to roll out the fix.

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Dissecting a $231 Million High-Tech Boondoggle

The L.A. Times takes to task the U.S. Congress, the Obama administration, and various military agencies for their combined role in supporting the expenditure of vast amount of money on a system called the Precision Tracking Space System. All told, according to the paper, the PTSS program — which was to have provided early warning of missile launches, and precision tracking of the missiles themselves — ended up blowing through more than $ 230 million before being cancelled. After talking to defense experts and reviewing hundreds of documents, the Times comes to what probably sounds like an easy conclusion for any big-budget military program that never reaches operation: it shouldn’t have even left the drawing board.

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Dissecting a $231 Million High-Tech Boondoggle

The L.A. Times takes to task the U.S. Congress, the Obama administration, and various military agencies for their combined role in supporting the expenditure of vast amount of money on a system called the Precision Tracking Space System. All told, according to the paper, the PTSS program — which was to have provided early warning of missile launches, and precision tracking of the missiles themselves — ended up blowing through more than $ 230 million before being cancelled. After talking to defense experts and reviewing hundreds of documents, the Times comes to what probably sounds like an easy conclusion for any big-budget military program that never reaches operation: it shouldn’t have even left the drawing board.

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Google Donates €1 Million To Help Refugees In Need

Mark Wilson writes: The on-going refugee crisis in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East has grabbed hearts and headlines around the world. As European governments argue over who should take in the thousands of desperate people, European citizens have criticized the speed and scale of the help offered, whilst simultaneously donating money, food, and equipment to help those in desperate need. Now Google has stepped in, offering €1 million ($ 1.1 million) to the organizations providing help to refugees. In addition to this, Google.org (the branch of the company ‘using innovation to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges’) is setting up a page to make it easier for people to make donations, and says that it will match any money donated by Google users.

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Toyota To Spend $50 Million On Self-Driving Car Tech

An anonymous reader writes: Toyota is the latest automaker to see which way the wind is blowing; they’ve committed $ 50 million over the next five years to build research centers for self-driving car technology. They’ll be working with both Stanford and MIT, and their immediate goal is to “eliminate traffic casualties.” “Research at MIT will focus on ‘advanced architectures’ that will let cars perceive, understand, and interpret their surroundings. … The folks at Stanford will concentrate on computer vision and machine learning. … It will also work on human behavior analysis, both for pedestrians outside the car and the people ‘at the wheel.'” Toyota’s efforts will be led by Gill Pratt, who ran DARPA’s Robotics Challenge.

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