Hackers Could Go After Medical Devices Next

Patient Receiveing Chemotherapy Treatment
Richard Lautens—Toronto Star via Getty Images A nurse programs an infusion pump.

They could break in via a hospital’s network, authorities warn

Nothing, it seems, is safe from hackers — not Yahoo’s ad network, the federal government, or even electronic skateboards. Another item to add to the list: medical devices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Department of Homeland Security have both issued advisories warning hospitals not to use the Hospira infusion system Symbiq because of cyber vulnerabilities. No known attack has occurred, but by accessing a hospital’s network, hackers could theoretically fiddle with the intravenous infusion pump.

“This could allow an unauthorized user to control the device and change the dosage the pump delivers, which could lead to over- or under-infusion of critical patient therapies,” the FDA wrote in a statement.

But it’s not just the Symbiq pump that has security problems. According to a WIRED report last year, security experts who studied on Midwestern medical facility chain over the course of two years found a host of security vulnerabilities. Just a few issues they founded included “Bluetooth-enabled defibrillators that can be manipulated to deliver random shocks to a patient’s heart or prevent a medically needed shock from occurring; X-rays that can be accessed by outsiders lurking on a hospital’s network; temperature settings on refrigerators storing blood and drugs that can be reset, causing spoilage; and digital medical records that can be altered to cause physicians to misdiagnose, prescribe the wrong drugs or administer unwarranted care.”

The retirement of the Symbiq pump may only be the beginning of a landslide of recalls and added security features in the medical field.

TIME Apple

This Apple Patent Could Change the Way You Use Your iPhone

People Using Cellphones
Artur Debat—Moment Editorial/Getty Images A high-risk smudging situation.

Smudges are a problem, apparently

Apple has filed a patent for a system that would recognize when an iPhone is smudged, according to Business Insider.

Currently, iPhones are unable to differentiate between smudges that block light to the phone’s sensors and other reasons why the light might be blocked, such as when the user is talking on the phone and it is held to the user’s ear. Smudges to the phone can dim the screen accidentally, mimicking the dimming that occurs during a phone call.

The new system would be able to identify different types of smudges and make sure that they don’t interfere with the normal lighting of a phone.

TIME arctic

Russia Ups The Ante In The Race For The Arctic

Russian President Vladimir Putin salutes
MAXIM MARMUR—AFP/Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the observation point of the Arctic cosmodrome in Plesetsk.

Area could hold almost a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas

Russia is not giving up in its bid to claim as much of the Arctic as it can.

Eight years after literally placing a flag via submarine on the seabed of the North Pole, Russia announced that it has submitted a formal claim to Arctic territory to the United Nations.

According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, the country is claiming 1.2 million square kilometers of Arctic sea shelf. Last year, according to the Moscow Times, the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister said the forthcoming claim would contain about 5 billion tons of oil and gas resources.

As global warming causes the Arctic ice cap to melt, more of the previously unchartered territory has become accessible. Russia is jockeying with Canada, the United States, Denmark, and Norway to claim the territory that could hold almost a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.

Russia already submitted Arctic claims to the United Nations in 2002, but those were rejected due to lack of evidence. Denmark and Canada have also staked claims to Arctic territory, citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

TIME Baseball

Father Pays Tribute to Batboy Killed By Practice Swing

Kaiser Carlile kansas bat boy
Taylor Eldridge—AP In this Aug. 2, 2015 photo, Liberal Bee-Jays teammates and staff gather after their game to remember Kaiser Carlile, their 9-year-old bat boy who died during a National Baseball Congress World Series baseball game in Wichita, Kan.

"He was competitive, but in the same breath, he cared about everyone"

The father of the 9-year-old batboy who succumbed to injuries he acquired after being hit in the head with a baseball bat spoke for the first time on Monday at a press conference.

“He was competitive, but in the same breath, he cared about everyone,”Kaiser Carlile’s dad Chad Carlile said, according to USA Today. “That’s what it is, it’s the love that he had for the game.”

Carlile was struck in the head by a Liberal Bee Jay’s player practice swing during the National baseball Congress World Series over the weekend. According to reports, Carlile was wearing a helmet when he was struck, but is believed to have been hit where he wasn’t protected.

The National Baseball Congress announced Monday it would not use batboys and bargirls for the remainder of the World Series games, which are being held in Wichita.

[USA Today]


TIME climate change

New Methane Measurements Suggest Pollution is Worse Than Researchers Thought

methane emissions
Ryan Anson—Bloomberg/Getty Images One of a network of pipes filtering methane waste to a generator at Waste Management Inc.'s Altamont Landfill in Livermore, Calif. on Aug. 14, 2008.

Methane can have a major effect on global warming

A new study has found that a device widely used to detect methane gas may fail to capture the full scale of leakages, resulting in chronic underestimates of the potent greenhouse gas.

University of Texas researchers identified a pattern of measurement errors from the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, a device widely deployed at natural gas facilities, which the Environmental Protection Agency uses to collect nationwide data on methane emissions. The device switches between two sensors that measure low and high intensity leakages. Researchers found the device frequently malfunctioned in the handoff, resulting in “systematically underestimated emissions.”

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Energy Science & Engineering.


Hitchhiking Robot’s Final Moments Caught in Surveillance Footage

The globe trotting robot lasted only 2 weeks in the U.S., thanks to a Philadelphia assailant

Video footage of a hitchhiking robot’s untimely demise at the hands of an American assailant surfaced online Monday.

Surveillance camera footage obtained by YouTube vlogger Jesse Wellens shows an unidentified Philadelphia man stomping on the robot early Saturday morning at 5:46 am. Wellens had previously posted a video of himself ferrying Hitchbot around Philadelphia.

Hitchbot was found last weekend with its arms torn free and its head missing. The amiable robot, which safely hitchhiked across Germany and Canada, lasted only two weeks in the U.S.

Canadian researchers designed Hitchbot to test the frontiers of human-robot relations.

TIME Star Wars

Here’s How Much Money the New ‘Star Wars’ Movie Could Make

at Day One of Disney's 2015 Star Wars Celebration held at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16, 2015 in Anaheim, California.
Albert L. Ortega—2015 Albert L. Ortega The new Millennium Falcon on display inside the ‘Star Wars The Force Awakens Exhibit’ at Day One of Disney's 2015 Star Wars Celebration held at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16, 2015.

It could come second only to ‘Avatar’ in terms of box office success

The new Star Wars film, due for release this December, is expected to make around $2.2 billion globally, according to a Wall Street analyst.

The analyst at the investment firm Stifel Nicolaus recently raised his price target on Disney shares to $130, according to CNBC. The film, “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,” will capitalize on the increasing popularity of 3D and IMAX screens in the United States, and increasing interest in movie theaters abroad, the analyst said.

Despite flagging American interest in going to the movies, global box office sales are expected to be buoyed by Chinese moviegoers. According to the Stifel analyst, China could account for one-fifth of revenues for the Star Wars film. In the five years ending 2014, Chinese box office revenue grew 427%.

If analysts are correct, the movie could earn a spot on the list of top-grossing movies of all time. It could even surpass “Jurassic World,” which made more than $1.5 billion worldwide. At $2.2 billion in revenues, the Star Wars film would come second only to “Avatar” (2009), which grossed close to $2.8 billion thanks to record international interest.


Macy’s Is Taking On Amazon With Same-day Delivery In 17 Cities

Shoppers In Union Square Ahead Of Consumer Comfort Figures
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The nation's largest department store competes with the e-commerce giant as demand for quick delivery grows

Macy’s, the nation’s largest department store, is starting to compete with Amazon by offering same-day delivery in 17 markets. In order to do this, the retailer is using a delivery service called Deliv. In the same vein as Uber, Deliv is a startup that has a band of contracted delivery drivers on hand who pick up customers’ orders from a store, and then drop the orders off directly at the shipping address.

Macy’s experimented with same-day delivery in eight markets last fall. Its customers appreciated the option to receive a package within hours, proving the experiment to be successful and prompting the retailer to expand same-day delivery to nine new markets. Macy’s also has plans to expand fast delivery at Bloomingdale’s, its high-end counterpart.

Amazon currently offers same-day delivery in 14 metro areas and is working on one- and two-hour deliveries for Amazon Prime members. LaserShip, a Virginia based Amazon contractor, has plans to expand quick delivery to 5 new markets.

Reuters reports that fast deliveries are becoming a “battleground” for retailers trying to increase online orders. However, experts warn that quick deliveries can come as a significant cost to these companies.

Chains such as Macy’s have a significant advantage over Amazon, as they have over 900 locations in the United States. Amazon only has 50 distribution centers, and therefore more distance to cover.

TIME Apple

7 Secrets of the Apple Genius Bar Everybody Should Know

Grand Central Apple store
Christian Science Monitor—Christian Science Monitor/Getty People are trained by an Apple employee at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal, on March 14, 2013 in New York, New York.

Insider tips before your next Genius Bar appointment

The people staffing Apple’s Genius Bar, the company’s in-store customer support center, seem like an affable lot. That doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of battle stories. When I interviewed former Genius Aaron Epperson, a two-and-a-half year Apple Store veteran who left the company about a year ago, and asked what he wished customers knew before they came in for help, he had plenty of suggestions. So the next time something goes wrong with your Apple gear, keep his tips in mind:

1. Start with the “person on point”

“It’s better to look at an Apple Store more like a car dealership, due to the fact that it has a retail section where you can buy technology, but it also has a very large service department, which is what the Genius Bar really is,” says Epperson.

Regardless of whether you need help buying or fixing a computer, start with the “person on point”—especially because if you try getting assistance from another staffer, they’re just going to lead you back to one of these workers anyway. The person (or people) on point are typically positioned by the doors, have an iPad in their hands, and have their heads up as they look around for customers to help. It’s their job to direct you to the best person on the floor for your particular need.

2. Make an appointment

If it’s at all possible to make an appointment in advance, you should. By not having to sit, wait, and watch others get helped ahead of you, it helps to alleviate a major frustration of getting tech support—all the time it can take. As you might expect from Apple, there’s an art and science around how the company schedules its Genius appointments. “Each Genius, if they’re working on computers, they’re seeing an appointment every 15 minutes, and then they’re taking a mobile appointment—an iPhone or iPad problem—every 10 minutes.” says Epperson. “There’s tricks to keeping everybody on time, but really as a customer you’re shoving yourself into a system that revolves around a schedule.”

3. Always back up your data

If Epperson had just one tip, this would be it. Apple users frequently come into the store without backing up their phone or computer’s hard drives, and the only fix to the problem is factory restoring the device. In these instances, all the data on the device is lost. “To be frank, it’s not the responsibility of anyone but you to have protected your data,” he says.

Going back to the car analogy, “if you own a car, you do an oil change,” says Epperson. “If you own a computer, you need to understand what your data is, and the proper ways to keep that data, should something happen to it.” So whether it’s on an external drive by using Apple’s Time Machine backup feature or remote backup through iCloud, make sure your data is duplicated.

4. Leave your computer expert friend at home

Everybody has the boyfriend, the cousin or the uncle who knows everything about computers. Leave them at home, says Epperson. “I’ve seen this happen at the Genius Bar where a girl will come in with her boyfriend who’s all ‘I built a computer from scratch one time using a toothpick.’ And you’re like, ‘Cool story! But this is the context of the situation, and these are the tools I have.’” Ultimately, having an outside “expert” hovering overhead will just gum up the process and make your repair take longer.

5. Keep in mind that it’s a tough job

While Epperson loved his time at Apple, he says the job can be difficult for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the biggest pressure Geniuses feel is not wanting to make a mistake or misdiagnose a repair. It not only means the problem will take longer to fix, but it also drains the resources of the team.

Secondly, keeping calm can be a challenge. “While everyone thinks of Geniuses as tech people—and they are—it’s also a super-social job,” he says. Few customers realize that Geniuses have asked “Hi, how are you? Are you having a good day?” maybe a hundred times on any given day. To decompress after his shift was over, Epperson would go home, go to his room and not talk to anyone. “You’re paid to be the face of Apple, a happy person who’s there to help people solve their problems, and that’s fun, but it’s also draining.”

6. Try these quick fixes first

Before making an appointment, first try these easy possible solutions:

Unresponsive iPhone or iPad: Hold down both the sleep/wake and menu buttons simultaneously. This will perform a “force” restart of your device. Note: It might take as long as two minutes to work.

What to do after a “thermal event”: Overheating phones are common in summertime. Once the iPhone has cooled off, use it less often for about a day. Also, shut it down for at least 30 seconds and restart it to get its processor back and working properly.

Problematic apps: Double-tap the home button and swipe the app up to quit it. If the program continues to act up, delete and reload it. (If the app or game has data, make sure to back it up using iCloud or Game Center).

Glitchy computer: Shut the system down and then hold down the “D” key while starting it up. This will launch Diagnostics mode, which can tell you a great deal about what’s going on inside your computer.

Battery issue: “Batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged,” says Epperson. He recommends you run your battery down to at least 20% each week, then fully recharging it.

7. Take your anger elsewhere

Tech can be very frustrating, but taking that out on Apple Geniuses isn’t going to help you at all. In Epperson’s experience, a lot of his fellow Geniuses truly just wanted to help solve customers’ problems. “No one was ever out for the customer,” he says. “So directing anger at the employee isn’t going to get you very far.” In fact, though he admits it sounds sappy, he’s had several experiences as a Genius that were very touching. For instance, he once helped a 74-year-old woman with her computer, and that device was the only way she could stay in touch with her children and grandchildren in the U.K.

TIME Innovation

This New Watch Lets Blind People Read Real-Time Smartphone Data in Braille

The Dot uses a moveable braille interface made of magnets and pins strapped to the wrist like a watch

Until now, visually impaired smartphone users have had to rely on Siri and other readers to find their way around the Internet and digital world, but a new device in development in South Korea may change their experience completely by instantly turning text messages and other information into braille.

The Dot, a device that straps around the wrist like a watch, uses magnets and a grid of pins to create four braille characters at a time that change at adjustable speeds, allowing users to read text messages and use apps on any device via Bluetooth.

Eric Ju Yoon Kim, co-founder and CEO of startup Dot, told Tech in Asia he hopes his company’s innovation will free blind people to interact with their devices on their own terms. “Until now, if you got a message on iOS from your girlfriend, for example, you had to listen to Siri read it to you in that voice, which is impersonal,” he said. “Wouldn’t you rather read it yourself and hear your girlfriend’s voice saying it in your head?”

That kind of technology is not groundbreaking, but transferring it to a mobile device certainly is — just like the price: computers using so-called “active Braille technology” can cost $3,000, while Kim says that when the watch arrives in the U.S. this December it will sell for less than $300.

“Ninety percent of blind people become blind after birth, and there’s nothing for them right now — they lose their access to information so suddenly,” Kim told Tech in Asia. “Dot can be their lifeline, so they can learn Braille and access everyday information through their fingers.”

[Tech in Asia]

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