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The US ballistic missile system is a cybersecurity nightmare

Engadget - 32 min 11 sec ago
The US Department of Defense Inspector General has recently taken a close look at the country's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and found its cybersecurity measures lacking in many, many aspects. In the report (PDF) published in April and une...

'Google Isn't the Company That We Should Have Handed the Web Over To'

SlashDot - 1 hour 3 min ago
Iwastheone shares a report from Ars Technica's Peter Bright: With Microsoft's decision to end development of its own Web rendering engine and switch to Chromium, control over the Web has functionally been ceded to Google. That's a worrying turn of events, given the company's past behavior. Chrome itself has about 72 percent of the desktop-browser market share. Edge has about 4 percent. Opera, based on Chromium, has another 2 percent. The abandoned, no-longer-updated Internet Explorer has 5 percent, and Safari -- only available on macOS -- about 5 percent. When Microsoft's transition is complete, we're looking at a world where Chrome and Chrome-derivatives take about 80 percent of the market, with only Firefox, at 9 percent, actively maintained and available cross-platform. The mobile story has stronger representation from Safari, thanks to the iPhone, but overall tells a similar story. Chrome has 53 percent directly, plus another 6 percent from Samsung Internet, another 5 percent from Opera, and another 2 percent from Android browser. Safari has about 22 percent, with the Chinese UC Browser sitting at about 9 percent. That's two-thirds of the mobile market going to Chrome and Chrome derivatives. In terms of raw percentages, Google won't have quite as big a lock on the browser space as Microsoft did with Internet Explorer -- Internet Explorer 6 peaked at around 80 percent, and all versions of Internet Explorer together may have reached as high as 95 percent. But Google's reach is, in practice, much greater: not only is the Web a substantially more important place today than it was in the early 2000s, but also there's a whole new mobile Web that operates in addition to the desktop Web. Google has deployed proprietary technology and left the rest of the industry playing catch-up, writes Peter. The company has "tried to push the Web into a Google-controlled proprietary direction to improve the performance of Google's online services when used in conjunction with Google's browser, consolidating Google's market positioning and putting everyone else at a disadvantage." YouTube has been a particular source of problems. One example Peter provides has to do with a hidden, empty HTML element that was added to each YouTube video to disable Edge's hardware accelerated video decoding: "For no obvious reason, Google changed YouTube to add a hidden, empty HTML element that overlaid each video. This element disabled Edge's fastest, most efficient hardware accelerated video decoding. It hurt Edge's battery-life performance and took it below Chrome's. The change didn't improve Chrome's performance and didn't appear to serve any real purpose; it just hurt Edge, allowing Google to claim that Chrome's battery life was actually superior to Edge's. Microsoft asked Google if the company could remove the element, to no avail."

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Detective sues Netflix for defamation over 'Making a Murderer'

Engadget - 2 hours 23 min ago
The latest twist in the story of Netflix's acclaimed Making a Murderer series is going to play out in the courts once again, but this time Netflix is directly involved. That's because one of the detectives in the case, Andrew Colborn, has filed a def...

Sphero is done making licensed Disney bots like BB-8 and R2-D2

Engadget - 3 hours 25 min ago
Say goodbye to Sphero's cute BB-8 robot. In fact, say goodbye to all the company's licensed products, including R2-D2, BB-9E and Cars' Lighting McQueen. According to The Verge, Sphero plans to sell its remaining inventory of licensed toys, but it wil...

The Most-Distant Solar System Object Discovered

SlashDot - 4 hours 3 min ago
Rick Zeman writes: Astronomers in Hawaii have discovered the furthest object in our solar system, a dwarf planet aptly named "Farout." This planet is 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun (120 AU from the sun) and is thought to be composed of ice. The object is so far away that researchers estimate it probably takes more than 1,000 years to make one trip around the sun. For reference, Pluto is 34 AU away and takes about 248 years to orbit the sun. Eris, the next most distance object know, is 96 AU from the sun.

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Baidu taps Unity's game engine to test its self-driving cars

Engadget - 6 hours 3 min ago
Unity, the same company whose 3D gaming engine brought you Cuphead and Hearthstone is now helping Chinese internet giant Baidu develop the next generation of autonomous vehicles, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

Apple adds 'Fast & Furious' director Justin Lin to its TV talent pool

Engadget - Mon, 2018-12-17 23:21
Justin Lin is the latest to join Apple's ever-growing pool of TV talent as he and his Perfect Storm Entertainment production company have now signed an overall TV deal with Apple. It's a multi-year agreement, according to Deadline, and under it, Lin...

US Ballistic Missile Systems Have No Antivirus, No Data Encryption, and No 2FA, DOD Report Finds

SlashDot - Mon, 2018-12-17 22:33
An anonymous reader writes from a report via ZDNet: No data encryption, no antivirus programs, no multi-factor authentication mechanisms, and 28-year-old unpatched vulnerabilities are just some of the cyber-security failings described in a security audit of the U.S.' ballistic missile system released on Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG). The report [PDF] was put together earlier this year, in April, after DOD IG officials inspected five random locations where the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) had placed ballistic missiles part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) -- a DOD program developed to protect U.S. territories by launching ballistic missiles to intercept enemy nuclear rockets. Here is a summary of the findings: (1) Multi-factor authentication wasn't used consistently. (2) One base didn't even bother to configure its network to use multifactor authentication. (3) Patches weren't applied consistently. (4) One base didn't patch systems for flaws discovered in 1990. (5) Server racks weren't locked. (6) Security cameras didn't cover the entire base. (7) Door censors showed doors closed when they were actually open. (8) Base personnel didn't challenge visitors on bases without proper badges, allowing access to secure areas. (9) One base didn't use antivirus or other security software. (10) Data stored on USB thumb drives was not encrypted. (11) IT staff didn't keep a database of who had access to the system and why.

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What's on TV: 'Venom,' 'Ellen,' 'Watership Down' and 'Runaways'

Engadget - Mon, 2018-12-17 21:59
This week the latest superhero flick arriving in 4K is the Spider-Man spinoff Venom, while 2001: A Space Odyssey makes a second attempt at its Ultra HD disc release. Hulu also is in the Marvel business with season two of its Runaways series, while DC...

Tumblr Porn Vanishes Today

SlashDot - Mon, 2018-12-17 21:50
Earlier this month, Tumblr announced that it would be permanently banning adult content from its platform on December 17th. Well, that day has arrived and the social media site is now hiding all posts that are currently flagged as explicit, as well as posts that users are in the process of appealing. This includes media showing sex acts, exposed genitals, and "female-presenting" nipples. The Verge reports: In addition to what's already gone, more adult content is going to be flagged in coming weeks, Tumblr says, and it hopes that the automated tools will be more accurate at picking out what counts as explicit. In a blog post that went up today, Tumblr apologized to users: "We are sorry that this has not been an easy transition and we know we can do a better job of explaining what we're doing." It said the change would be a slow process that involves "flagging tens of billions of GIFs, videos, and photos." Many users also criticized Tumblr's decision to consider "female-presenting nipples" as explicit, while male-presenting nipples were still okay. Some pointed out that in the case of non-binary, genderfluid, or trans individuals, it would be confusing where the line would be drawn on whose nipples would be considered explicit. In its blog post today, Tumblr has added the caveat, "yeah, we know you hate this term," but maintained the language and distinction. "We understand and agree that there have been too many wrongfully flagged posts since we announced the policy change," says Tumblr. But if users don't appeal their posts, then they're out of luck. That could also be a problem for popular older accounts, which may not have anyone monitoring them to appeal the overly aggressive moderation. Flagged content will be hidden, but not deleted, Tumblr emphasized. That will allow posts to be appealed even after they're removed from public view. On a more positive note, Tumblr says that "all appeals will be sent to a real, live human who can make the appropriate call."

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Google Doodle celebrates colors of artist Paul Klee - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 21:41
Prolific Swiss-German artist created 10,000 works of art during his lifetime.

Senate Report Shows Russia Used Social Media To Support Trump In 2016

SlashDot - Mon, 2018-12-17 21:10
AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Russia used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, the report claims. New research says YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal -- as well as Facebook and Twitter -- were leveraged to spread propaganda. Its authors criticize the "belated and uncoordinated response" by tech firms. It is the first analysis of millions of social media posts provided by Twitter, Google and Facebook to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Russia adapted techniques from digital marketing to target audiences across multiple channels, with a particular focus on targeting conservatives with posts on immigration, race, and gun rights. There were also efforts to undermine the voting power of left-leaning African-American citizens, by spreading misinformation about the electoral process. "What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party -- and specifically Donald Trump," the report says. "Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting."

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Scientists discover Big Bang fossil hiding in space - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 20:44
In the deep, distant universe, fossil relics hide within gas clouds -- and scientists have tracked them down.

Ford's noise-cancelling doghouse keeps pups calm during fireworks

Engadget - Mon, 2018-12-17 20:32
Many dogs and other pets are terrified of fireworks, and for good reason -- their more sensitive hearing makes that pleasant popping turn into a cacophony of sounds. Ford, however, might provide some relief. The company (which is no stranger to high-...

Junk Food Cravings Linked To a Lack of Sleep, Study Suggests

SlashDot - Mon, 2018-12-17 20:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Peters and colleagues describe how they recruited 32 healthy men aged between 19 and 33 and gave all of them the same dinner of pasta and veal, an apple and a strawberry yoghurt. Participants were then either sent home to bed wearing a sleep-tracking device, or kept awake in the laboratory all night with activities including parlor games. All returned the next morning to have their hunger and appetite rated, while 29 of the men had their levels of blood sugar measured, as well as levels of certain hormones linked to stress and appetite. Participants also took part in a game in which they were presented with pictures of 24 snack food items, such as chocolate bars, and 24 inedible items, including hats or mugs, and were first asked to rate how much they would be willing to pay for them on a scale. During a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, they were asked to choose whether or not they would actually buy the object when its price was fixed -- an experiment that allowed researchers to look at participants' brain activity upon seeing pictures of food and other items. A week later, the experiment was repeated, with the participants who had previously stayed up allowed to sleep, and vice versa. The results showed that whether sleep-deprived or not, participants were similarly hungry in the morning, and had similar levels of most hormones and blood sugar. However, when participants were sleep-deprived, they were willing to pay more for a food snack than when rested, and had higher levels in their blood of a substance called des-acyl ghrelin -- which is related to the "hunger hormone" ghrelin, though its function is not clear. The fMRI results showed that when sleep-deprived, participants had greater activity in the brain's amygdala (where food rewards are processed) when food images were shown, and a stronger link between the price participants would pay for food and activity in the hypothalamus (which is involved in regulating consumption). Interactions between these two regions increased compared with when participants had slept.

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Jaguar Land Rover could be readying to slash 5,000 jobs, report says - Roadshow

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 20:02
Times are tough at JLR, and with a potential no-deal Brexit looming, they could get tougher quickly if the company can't scare up some cash.

Historic Israeli moon mission to ferry Holocaust survivor's story to space - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 19:53
Israeli space teams load a time capsule into the Beresheet spacecraft that gives a peek into Israeli life past and present.

Swedish ISP Bahnhof Fights Sci-Hub Blocking Order

SlashDot - Mon, 2018-12-17 19:50
thomst writes: "After being ordered to block a number of piracy-related domains following a complaint from academic publisher Elsevier, Swedish ISP Bahnhof retaliated by semi-blocking Elsevier's own website and barring the court from visiting," reports TorrentFreak. "Those actions have now prompted Sweden's telecoms watchdog to initiate an inquiry to determine whether the ISP breached net neutrality rules." Bahnhof is under investigation for diverting its users who attempt to click on links to Elsevier -- the complainant in the case -- to a page that explains the giant journal publisher forced the ISP to block access to a number of Sci-Hub domains, via a court order it doesn't have the resources to fight. That page includes a link to Elsevier that Bahnhof doesn't intercept. So, is it reasonable for Bahnhof to divert its users to a "fuck you" page, rather than allowing them to freely access Elsevier?

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Editing Black Panther: 'This is a beautiful thing -- bye!' - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 19:48
With Black Panther on the Oscars shortlists, editor Debbie Berman explains how additional photography helps hone a movie's story right to the last minute.

Fresh Prince star suing Fortnite developer for allegedly using 'Carlton Dance' - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-12-17 19:40
The actor wants financial compensation, according to the complaint.