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Purdue Pharma to Cut Sales Force, Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:56 AM PST

Pain Pill Giant Purdue to Stop Promotion of Opioids to Doctors

Pain-pill giant Purdue Pharma LP will stop promoting its opioid drugs to doctors, a retreat after years of criticism that the company's aggressive sales efforts helped lay the foundation of the U.S. addiction crisis.

The company told employees this week that it would cut its sales force by more than half, to 200 workers. It plans to send a letter Monday to doctors saying that its salespeople will no longer come to their clinics to talk about the company's pain products.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers," the company said in a statement. Instead, any questions doctors have will be directed to the Stamford, Connecticut-based company's medical affairs department.

OxyContin, approved in 1995, is the closely held company's biggest-selling drug, though sales of the pain pill have declined in recent years amid competition from generics. It generated $1.8 billion in 2017, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier, according to data compiled by Symphony Health Solutions. It also sells the painkiller Hysingla.


Also at Reuters, USA Today, The Verge, and CNN.

Previously: City of Everett, Washington Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma
OxyContin's 12-Hour Problem
South Carolina Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue

Related: Opioid Crisis Partly Blamed on a 1980 Letter to the New England Journal of Medicine
President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
CVS Limits Opioid Prescriptions
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan

Original Submission

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Google Absorbs Nest, Nest Co-Founder Quits

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:34 AM PST

After buying Nest, keeping it as an independent company, and considering selling it off, Alphabet/Google is now rolling Nest back into itself. Nest makes various home automation products including a "smart thermostat", security systems, and video doorbells:

Some early employees of Alphabet's smart-home company Nest, including co-founder Tony Fadell, are frustrated by how the company's history has played out now that it has been rolled back into Google.

Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in early 2014, less than two years before it blew up its corporate structure to form the holding company Alphabet. Under Alphabet, Nest became an independent company and was heralded as the model business in the "Other Bets" category, which also includes Alphabet's venture capital arms, its smart city project Sidewalk and other experimental businesses.

But looking back, these early former employees say that the split ended up being a setback for both companies. "From the outside it looked like Nest was the perfect poster child for Alphabet but, at the same time, separating it was undoing the thing that was most essential for both companies — figuring out how to make them work together," former Nest CEO Tony Fadell tells CNBC via email.

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers announced that he will be leaving the company:

A day after Alphabet announced plans to roll Nest into its hardware team, co-founder Matt Rogers has announced that he's exiting the company. The story was first noted by CNET and quickly confirmed by Rogers on Twitter.

Could just be social media talk, but Rogers' brief statement on the matter appeared to imply that there were no hard feelings. "Nest has been an amazing journey and the honor of my career to build," he wrote. "I could not be more proud of what we have all accomplished and can't wait to see what's next for Nest."

Also at The Verge.

Original Submission

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Winter Olympics Website Downed by Cyber Attack

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:07 AM PST

El Reg reports

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics' website went down just before the event's Friday opening ceremony, thanks to a cyber-attack, and stayed down for about 12 hours.

The outage left users unable to print tickets or view information about the games. Some networks around the games venues also went down.

Speculation quickly suggested the outages were not accidental and at a Sunday evening news conference, Pyeongchang 2018 spokesperson Sung Baik-you confirmed they were caused by an attack.

[...][International Olympics Committee (IOC) head of communications Mark] Adams later added that the IOC has not identified the attacker and would not name them at a press conference, but promised a "full report" into the incident. He would not commit to making it public.

As North Korea has made peaceful overtures towards the South ahead of the games, it's thought to be unlikely it's behind whatever attack hit the Games' website.

The North has, however, assaulted the world with a 200-plus troupe of cheerleaders that performs choreographed song and dance routines in the stands at the games. The troupe is going a bit viral, a demonstration of the North's ability to distribute propaganda about its capabilities.

Original Submission

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Metasurfaces Enable Improved Optical Lens Performance

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:38 AM PST

Producing the perfect color images we need and love often requires multiple, heavy lenses so that each color focuses in exactly the same plane. Now Penn State engineers have developed a new theory that solves the problem using a single thin lens composed of gradient index materials and metasurface layers to properly direct the light.

"If we want high performance optical systems, then we have to overcome material dispersion," said Sawyer D. Campbell, assistant research professor in electrical engineering. "If we don't, we get smeary colors, which significantly degrades image quality."

Single apochromatic lenses -- ones that properly focus the three colors red, blue and green -- that have less curvature and are thinner and lighter could improve cell phone cameras and allow manufacture of thinner cell phones. They also could make lighter, better body cameras, helmet cameras, sniper scopes, thermal imaging devices and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. In essence, anything that uses lenses to image could be made simpler and lighter.

Penn State News

J. Nagar, S. D. Campbell, D. H. Werner. Apochromatic singlets enabled by metasurface-augmented GRIN lenses. Optica, 2018; 5 (2): 99 DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.000099

Original Submission

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Sonos Will Be Deliberately Breaking Existing Products

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 03:55 AM PST

Sonos, the consumer electronics company known for audio streaming and "smart" speakers, has decided that the music controller device, the "CR100", has reached end of life. By which they mean they will be pushing a software upgrade that will kill it.

... the next Sonos update in early April will turn off the CR100 connection -- unless you decide you don't want any updates at all. (Make sure you set that up in advance -- if you accept the update, you can't undo it and go back to using the old controller.)

That means if you want to keep on using a device you're happy with, you have to give up all the new features on all your Sonos speakers.

The company says its primary concern is the age of the lithium ion batteries in the controllers; although in that case an official device recall would be better than an update that stops them working - and a battery replacement scheme would handle the problem just as well.

Although the controller is old (Sonos stopped selling the CR100 in 2009) it is still perfectly functional for many users. However, according to a forum posting explaining the options these users will have to choose between the CR100 and the functionality of the rest of their system:

... opting not to update means you will not receive any new features or future security patches for your entire system – not just the CR100. For example, being on an unsupported version means that you might lose connectivity to music services, as is already the case for Google Play Music on the CR100. It is necessary to configure your system in advance to avoid future updates. Any update applied to the firmware and/or to the app, even unintentionally, is irreversible.

Originally spotted on The EEV Blog Youtube channel.

Original Submission

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911 Fees Paid by Phone Customers “Stolen” by States to Fill Budget Gaps

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:04 AM PST

Two members of the Federal Communications Commission want to stop states from using 911 funds to pay for other government services or equipment.

"On our individual phone bills, a line item is typically included for 911 service," FCC Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in an op-ed for The Hill today. It's a relatively small fee that states and localities charge to support emergency calling services. But too many states are stealing these funds and using them for other purposes, like filling budget gaps, purchasing vehicles, or worse."

The FCC's latest annual report on 911 fees, covering calendar year 2016, said that New Mexico, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and West Virginia "diverted" 911 funds totaling $128.9 million.

Besides those five states, "another seven didn't even bother to respond to our inquiry to examine their diversion practices," O'Rielly and Rosenworcel wrote. "None of this is acceptable."

New York is one state that did not submit a report for the FCC's data collection, "but sufficient public record information exists to support a finding that New York diverted funds for non-public safety uses," the FCC report said.


Original Submission

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Clock Protein Controls Daily Cycle of Gene Expression by Regulating Chromosome Loops

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:13 AM PST

It's well known that the human body functions on a 24-hour, or circadian, schedule. The up-and-down daily cycles of a long-studied clock protein called Rev-erb coordinates the ebb and flow of gene expression by tightening and loosening loops in chromosomes, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings appear online this week in Science First Release.

Over the last 15-plus years, a team led by the new study's senior author Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD, director of Penn's Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, has been teasing out the versatile role of Rev-erb in maintaining daily cycles of the body's molecular clock, metabolism, and even brain health.

"Many studies, including this one, point to a link between the human internal clock and such metabolic disorders as obesity and diabetes," Lazar said. "Proteins such as Rev-erb are the gears of the clock and understanding their role is important for investigating these and many other diseases."

Penn Medicine News

Yong Hoon Kim, Sajid A. Marhon, Yuxiang Zhang, David J. Steger, Kyoung-Jae Won, Mitchell A. Lazar. Rev-erbα dynamically modulates chromatin looping to control circadian gene transcription. Science, 2018; eaao6891 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao6891

Original Submission

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Mayfair Games Closes After 36 Years of Board Games

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:42 PM PST

Long time board game publisher Mayfair Games (English-language publisher for Settlers of Catan and many more) has shut down.

All of their games have been sold to Asmodee North America, who also own Fantasy Flight Games, Z-Man Games, Rebel, Edge Entertainment, and a host of other board game companies they've picked up over the years.


[Ed Note - Asmodee NA also picked up Lookout Games at the same time. Lookout was the publisher of Agricola and Caverna.]

Related: Asmodee Acquires Lookout Games and Mayfair Games

Original Submission

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FDA Labels Kratom an Opioid

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 09:09 PM PST

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has released a new statement denouncing the drug kratom. The statement says that the FDA has learned about new deaths that "involved" kratom use, additional adverse effects associated with its use have been found, and that Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation (PHASE) "3-D computer technology" has been used to analyze the chemical compounds in kratom:

Using this computational model, scientists at the FDA first analyzed the chemical structures of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom. From this analysis, the agency concluded that all of the compounds share the most structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives.

The FDA continues to discourage the use of kratom, which it is calling an opioid.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Voksi Releases Detailed Denuvo-Cracking Video Tutorial

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:48 PM PST

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Over the past few years, the name Voksi has become synonymous with game cracking, in particular when it comes to anti-Denuvo activities. This week the talented Bulgarian released a 90-minute video in which he reveals how he cracked V4 of the infamous anti-tamper technology. TorrentFreak caught up with him for the lowdown.

Source: https://torrentfreak.com/voksi-releases-detailed-denuvo-cracking-video-tutorial-180210/

Denuvo "is an anti-tamper technology and digital rights management (DRM) scheme developed by the Austrian company Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH".

Related: Denuvo Forgets to Secure Server, Leaks Years of Messages From Game Makers
More Powerful Denuvo DRM Cracked 10 Days After Release of PREY
'Rime' Creators Will Remove Anti-Tampering Code If It's Cracked
New "Out of Control" Denuvo Piracy Protection Cracked
Denuvo Accused of Using Unlicensed Software to Protect its Anti-Piracy Tool
Denuvo License Generator is Latest Circumvention Method

Original Submission

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"Whipping the Llama's Ass" with this Javascript WinAmp Emulator

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 04:27 PM PST

If you were an early Internet kid you'll recall a little app called WinAmp that was, in short, the best MP3 player ever made ever. The little program looked like skeuomorphic stereo receiver with a full range of equalizer sliders and included an important MP3 that explained WinAmp's primary mission: whipping the llama's ass.

A programmer named Jordan Eldredge has created an homage to WinAmp in JavaScript. The widget allows you to create a standalone music player on any web page and it can be styled with themes straight out of WinAmp history. You can try it out here and download the code here.

"The original inspiration was a realization that Winamp skins were implemented in a very similar way to CSS sprites," said Eldredge. "I spent many hours as a teenager playing with Winamp skins. In fact, it was the first constructive creative work I did on a computer."

The emulator uses the Web Audio API to simulate almost everything WinAmp could do in its original incarnation.

Story at TechCrunch

Original Submission

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Compromised Microsoft Windows-Based Industrial Control Systems Mined Cryptocurrencies

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 02:06 PM PST

Cryptocurrency-mining Windows malware has been found for the first time on a network of industrial control systems (ICS) at an operational treatment plant for a water utility. Radiflow, a security provider for critical infrastructure, made the discovery recently. Initial investigations suggest that the malware arrived via malicious advertising viewed in a web browser on a machine responsible for the ICS's Human Machine Interface (HMI). So really this story is about three problems.

Source :
In a first, cryptocurrency miner found on SCADA network
Water Utility in Europe Hit by Cryptocurrency Malware Mining Attack

Original Submission

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Sierra Nevada Corporation Gets Approval for its First ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:45 AM PST

Sierra Nevada Corporation targets late 2020 for first Dream Chaser resupply mission

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has announced that NASA has given its Authority to Proceed with the Dream Chaser spacecraft's first cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

In a statement released on Feb. 7 2017, Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC stated, "SNC has been successfully completing critical design milestones as approved by NASA, and having a timetable for the first launch is another important step achieved for us. The team has worked so hard to get to this point and we can't wait to fulfill this mission for NASA."

This latest announcement follows a successful free-flight test in January which satisfied yet another NASA milestone. The free-flight proved that the spacecraft would be capable to safely return cargo to Earth utilizing a runway landing.

If it flies, the 2020 launch will be the first of six missions that NASA has contracted with SNC under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. Those contracts were awarded in January of 2016. SpaceX and Orbital-ATK, who were the only two companies awarded resupply services under the CRS-1 contracts, also saw their agreements with the space agency extended under CRS-2.

Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Original Submission

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