Computers & Linux News

Monkeypox: What Gay and Bisexual Men Need to Know - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 09:00
Public health officials are eager to reach men who have sex with men without adding stigma.

Great Barrier Reef Has Most Coral In Decades

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Washington Post: Marine scientists have found that parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef have recorded their highest levels of coral cover since monitoring began nearly four decades ago, although they warn the reef's recovery could be swiftly undone by global warming. The Australian Institute of Marine Science, a government agency, began monitoring Earth's largest reef system 36 years ago. Its latest report indicates that the northern and central parts of the reef are on the mend after an "extensive bout" of disturbances over the past decade, said Mike Emslie, a senior research scientist at the institute. The results of the institute's annual survey show that the reef "is still vibrant and still resilient, and it can bounce back from disturbances if it gets the chance," Emslie said in an interview Thursday. News of the recovery in the reef's northern and central parts was partly offset by the report's finding that there was a loss of coral cover in the southern region. There, the reef fell prey to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed exclusively on live coral, the scientists said. About half of the reefs were surveyed before the most recent coral bleaching event in February and March. Emslie said researchers won't know the full extent of the coral cover lost from that event until next year. The sheer size of the Great Barrier Reef system -- it spans some 1,700 miles and is so large it can easily be spotted from space -- means the survey is staggered over seven or eight months of the year. Among the 87 reefs surveyed for the latest report, average hard coral cover in the north increased to 36 percent, up from 27 percent in 2021, and to 33 percent in the central Great Barrier Reef from 26 percent last year. Average coral cover in the southern region decreased from 38 percent in 2021 to 34 percent this year. Much of the recent reef recovery was driven by the fast-growing Acropora species -- whose delicate branching and table corals have adorned countless postcards for tourists. Marine scientists worry that these corals are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, including marine heat waves, coral bleaching and damaging waves, such as those generated during tropical cyclones.

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Solar Cars Are Coming, But at What Price -- and Are They Right for You? - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 08:00
They still plug in, but depending on how you use them, they may do so very rarely.

9 Great Reads From CNET This Week: VPNs, Marvel, Dark Matter and More - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 08:00
How VPN reviewers can do a better job, why visual effects artist are criticizing Marvel, what cosmic breakthroughs reveal about the universe, and plenty besides that.

Where Is the Job Market Headed? Your Biggest Employment Questions, Answered - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 07:00
Recession fears, interest rate hikes, salary negotiations, layoffs -- here's what to know about the confusing job market.

Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K Projector Review: Get a Handle on 4K Lasers - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 07:00
This 4K laser projector goes bright and portable, but it's not cheap.

Instagram To Begin Testing 9:16 Photos

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 06:00
During his weekly Ask Me Anything today, CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will begin testing ultra-tall 9:16 photos "in a week or two." The Verge reports: "You can have tall videos, but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram," Mosseri said. "So we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally." Currently, Instagram tops out around 4:5 when displaying vertical images that've been cropped accordingly. But introducing support for slimmer, taller 9:16 photos will help them fill the entire screen as you scroll through the app's feed. Further reading: 'Stop Trying To Be TikTok': User Backlash Over Instagram Changes

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OnePlus Nord N20 5G Review: A $300 Value Pick That's Missing a Spark - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 05:00
Solid specs, but it's not here to shake up this price range.

DreamWorks Animation To Release Renderer As Open-Source Software

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 03:00
With annual CG confab SIGGRAPH slated to start Monday in Vancouver, DreamWorks Animation announced its intent to release its proprietary renderer, MoonRay, as open-source software later this year. Hollywood Reporter reports: MoonRay has been used on feature films such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Croods: A New Age, The Bad Guys and upcoming Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. MoonRay uses DreamWorks' distributed computation framework, Arras, also to be included in the open-source code base. "We are thrilled to share with the industry over 10 years of innovation and development on MoonRay's vectorized, threaded, parallel, and distributed code base," said Andrew Pearce, DWA's vp of global technology. "The appetite for rendering at scale grows each year, and MoonRay is set to meet that need. We expect to see the code base grow stronger with community involvement as DreamWorks continues to demonstrate our commitment to open source."

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The Most Exciting Samsung Gadgets We Want in 2022 and Beyond - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 02:00
Commentary: The Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 may be just around the corner. But I'm hoping to see new foldables and a cheaper version of the Galaxy S22, too.

French Scientist's Photo of 'Distant Star' Was Actually Chorizo

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A photo tweeted by a famous French physicist supposedly of Proxima Centauri by the James Webb Space Telescope was actually a slice of chorizo. Etienne Klein, research director at France's Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission posted the photo last week, claiming it showed the closest star to the sun. "This level of detail," Klein wrote. "A new world is revealed day after day." But a few days later, Klein revealed that the photo he tweeted was not the work of the world's most powerful space telescope, as he had in fact tweeted a slice of chorizo sausage. "According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth," he said after apologizing for tricking so many people. "Like an idiot, I got screwed," tweeted one French user. "Same," replied another, "the source was so credible" Klein told French news outlet Le Point that his intention had been to educate people about fake news online, adding that "I also think that if I hadn't said it was a James Webb photo, it wouldn't have been so successful."

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Federal Court Upholds First Amendment Protections For Student's Off-Campus Social Media Post

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 22:02
"Students should not have to fear expulsion for expressing themselves on social media after school and off-campus, but that is just what happened to the plaintiff in C1.G v. Siegfried," writes Mukund Rathi via the Electronic Frontier Foundation (DFF). "Last month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the student's expulsion violated his First Amendment rights. The court's opinion affirms what we argued in an amicus brief last year." From the report: We strongly support the Tenth Circuit's holding that schools cannot regulate how students use social media off campus, even to spread "offensive, controversial speech," unless they target members of the school community with "vulgar or abusive language." The case arose when the student and his friends visited a thrift shop on a Friday night. There, they posted a picture on Snapchat with an offensive joke about violence against Jews. He deleted the post and shared an apology just a few hours later, but the school suspended and eventually expelled him. [...] The Tenth Circuit held the First Amendment protected the student's speech because "it does not constitute a true threat, fighting words, or obscenity." The "post did not include weapons, specific threats, or speech directed toward the school or its students." While the post spread widely and the school principal received emails about it, the court correctly held that this did not amount to "a reasonable forecast of substantial disruption" that would allow regulation of protected speech.

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Facial Recognition Smartwatches To Be Used To Monitor Foreign Offenders In UK

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 21:25
Migrants who have been convicted of a criminal offense will be required to scan their faces up to five times a day using smartwatches installed with facial recognition technology under plans from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. The Guardian reports: In May, the government awarded a contract to the British technology company Buddi Limited to deliver "non-fitted devices" to monitor "specific cohorts" as part of the Home Office Satellite Tracking Service. The scheme is due to be introduced from the autumn across the UK, at an initial cost of 6 million pounds. A Home Office data protection impact assessment (DPIA) from August 2021, obtained by the charity Privacy International through a freedom of information request, assessed the impact of the smartwatch technology before contracting a supplier. In the documents, seen by the Guardian, the Home Office says the scheme will involve "daily monitoring of individuals subject to immigration control," with the requirement to wear either a fitted ankle tag or a smartwatch, carried with them at all times. A Home Office data protection impact assessment (DPIA) from August 2021, obtained by the charity Privacy International through a freedom of information request, assessed the impact of the smartwatch technology before contracting a supplier. In the documents, seen by the Guardian, the Home Office says the scheme will involve "daily monitoring of individuals subject to immigration control," with the requirement to wear either a fitted ankle tag or a smartwatch, carried with them at all times. Photographs taken using the smartwatches will be cross-checked against biometric facial images on Home Office systems and if the image verification fails, a check must be performed manually. The data will be shared with the Home Office, MoJ and the police, with Home Office officials adding: "The sharing of this data [to] police colleagues is not new." The number of devices to be produced and the cost of each smartwatch was redacted in the contract and there is no mention of risk assessments to determine whether it is appropriate to monitor vulnerable or at-risk asylum seekers. The Home Office says the smartwatch scheme will be for foreign-national offenders who have been convicted of a criminal offense, rather than other groups, such as asylum seekers. However, it is expected that those obliged to wear the smartwatches will be subject to similar conditions to those fitted with GPS ankle tags, with references in the DPIA to curfews and inclusion and exclusion zones. Those who oppose the 24-hour surveillance of migrants say it breaches human rights and may have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. Lucie Audibert, a lawyer and legal officer for Privacy International, said: "Facial recognition is known to be an imperfect and dangerous technology that tends to discriminate against people of color and marginalized communities. These 'innovations' in policing and surveillance are often driven by private companies, who profit from governments' race towards total surveillance and control of populations. "Through their opaque technologies and algorithms, they facilitate government discrimination and human rights abuses without any accountability. No other country in Europe has deployed this dehumanizing and invasive technology against migrants."

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South Korea's First Lunar Mission Is On Its Way

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 20:45
With the help of SpaceX and a Falcon 9 rocket, South Korea launched its first mission to the moon. "The successful launch of Danuri, officially known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, takes the country beyond Earth's orbit for the first time," reports Nature. From the report: Danuri should arrive at its destination around mid-December. Its trajectory means it will take longer than most past missions to the Moon, which typically arrived in days, but will require minimal fuel. About an hour after lift-off, the spacecraft detached from the Falcon 9 rocket on which it launched. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute's control centre in Daejeon then took command and made contact with the spacecraft. The bulk of the mission's scientific observations will take place once Danuri reaches the Moon, which it will orbit for a year at 100 kilometres above the lunar surface. KGRS has a broader energy range than previous y-ray detectors sent to the Moon, and scientists hope that it will create the clearest maps yet of the distribution of elements including iron, titanium, uranium and thorium. [...] [T]he spectrometer is also sensitive enough to detect hydrogen, which can be used to infer the presence of water on the surface, and create a water-resource map of the entire Moon. Previous probes have struggled to map the presence of water beyond the poles, where it is relatively more abundant [...]. KMAG will take precise measurements of the magnetic field on the surface. It will also study electric currents induced by the magnetic field of the solar wind, which streams out into space from the Sun, says Garrick-Bethell, who is part of the instrument's science team. Studying how these currents pass through the Moon could reveal what the Moon is made of deep inside. To do this, Danuri will make use of simultaneous measurements by two NASA probes currently circling the Moon, says Garrick-Bethell. This "will make a beautiful experiment that was only briefly attempted in the Apollo era, but not over the entire Moon," he says. You can watch a recording of the launch here.

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'Huge Flaw' Threatens US Emergency Alert System, DHS Researcher Warns

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 20:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The US Department of Homeland Security is warning of vulnerabilities in the nation's emergency broadcast network that makes it possible for hackers to issue bogus warnings over radio and TV stations. "We recently became aware of certain vulnerabilities in EAS encoder/decoder devices that, if not updated to the most recent software versions, could allow an actor to issue EAS alerts over the host infrastructure (TV, radio, cable network)," the DHS's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned. "This exploit was successfully demonstrated by Ken Pyle, a security researcher at, and may be presented as a proof of concept at the upcoming DEFCON 2022 conference in Las Vegas, August 11-14." Pyle told reporters at CNN and Bleeping Computer that the vulnerabilities reside in the Monroe Electronics R189 One-Net DASDEC EAS, an emergency alert system encoder and decoder. TV and radio stations use the equipment to transmit emergency alerts. The researcher told Bleeping Computer that "multiple vulnerabilities and issues (confirmed by other researchers) haven't been patched for several years and snowballed into a huge flaw." "When asked what can be done after successful exploitation, Pyle said: 'I can easily obtain access to the credentials, certs, devices, exploit the web server, send fake alerts via crafts message, have them valid / pre-empting signals at will. I can also lock legitimate users out when I do, neutralizing or disabling a response,'" Bleeping Computer added.

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Meta Puts Its Latest AI Chatbot On the Web

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 19:20
Meta's AI research labs have created a new state-of-the-art chatbot and are letting members of the public talk to the system in order to collect feedback on its capabilities. The Verge reports: The bot is called BlenderBot 3 and can be accessed on the web. (Though, right now, it seems only residents in the US can do so.) BlenderBot 3 is able to engage in general chitchat, says Meta, but also answer the sort of queries you might ask a digital assistant, "from talking about healthy food recipes to finding child-friendly amenities in the city." The bot is a prototype and built on Meta's previous work with what are known as large language models or LLMS -- powerful but flawed text-generation software of which OpenAI's GPT-3 is the most widely known example. Like all LLMs, BlenderBot is initially trained on vast datasets of text, which it mines for statistical patterns in order to generate language. Such systems have proved to be extremely flexible and have been put to a range of uses, from generating code for programmers to helping authors write their next bestseller. However, these models also have serious flaws: they regurgitate biases in their training data and often invent answers to users' questions (a big problem if they're going to be useful as digital assistants). This latter issue is something Meta specifically wants to test with BlenderBot. A big feature of the chatbot is that it's capable of searching the internet in order to talk about specific topics. Even more importantly, users can then click on its responses to see where it got its information from. BlenderBot 3, in other words, can cite its sources. By releasing the chatbot to the general public, Meta wants to collect feedback on the various problems facing large language models. Users who chat with BlenderBot will be able to flag any suspect responses from the system, and Meta says it's worked hard to 'minimize the bots' use of vulgar language, slurs, and culturally insensitive comments." Users will have to opt in to have their data collected, and if so, their conversations and feedback will be stored and later published by Meta to be used by the general AI research community. "We are committed to publicly releasing all the data we collect in the demo in the hopes that we can improve conversational AI," Kurt Shuster, a research engineer at Meta who helped create BlenderBot 3, told The Verge. Further reading: Microsoft's 'Teen Girl' AI Experiment Becomes a 'Neo-Nazi Sex Robot'

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ChromeOS 104 Rolling Out With Dark Theme, Redesigned Launcher, and More

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 18:40
ChromeOS 104 is rolling out starting today with several big interface updates that improve how you use the operating system. 9to5Google reports: ChromeOS 104 introduces proper dark and light themes that touch every aspect of the user interface. This includes the shelf, app launcher, Files app, and the backgrounds of various settings pages. You can enable the dark theme from the second page of Quick Settings. Google also created wallpapers that "subtly shift from light to dark," depending on the set theme. After updating, you'll notice that the month and day now appear to the left of the time in the shelf. Tapping opens a monthly calendar with the ability to tap a day to see all events, with an additional click opening the Google Calendar PWA. You can see other months and quickly return to "Today." This takes up the same size as Quick Settings, while any available alerts appear just above. Notifications from the same sender are now grouped together, while there are bigger touch targets for alert actions. The redesigned Launcher that's more compact and does not take up your entire screen is seeing wider availability. Additionally, some might be able to quickly search for Android apps from the Play Store with an inline rating. Version 104 of ChromeOS introduces a more full-featured Gallery app (with a new purple icon) that can open PDFs with the ability to fill out forms, sign documents, and make text annotations, like highlights. There's also a new Wallpaper & style application that's accessed by right-clicking the shelf and selecting the last option. Besides the collections curated by Google, you can set wallpapers from your Google Photos library. There's the ability to select an album and have a new background appear daily. This experience also lets you set the device theme (auto-switching available), and Screen saver with three styles available: Slide show, Feel the breeze, and Float on by.

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Best Wireless Headphones for 2022: Top Picks in Every Style - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2022-08-05 18:00
There are a ton of wireless headphones to choose from, so which are really the best? Here are CNET's top picks, from full-size, noise-canceling models to tiny true wireless earbuds.

Bitcoin Miner Made Millions In Credits By Shutting Rigs During Texas Heat

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 18:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Riot Blockchain earned about $9.5 million in credits last month from shutting down its Bitcoin mining rigs at a Texas facility while the region weathered a historic heat wave. The amount will be credited against the company's power usage. The value of the credit is equal to around 439 Bitcoin. Riot also mined 318 coins during the month, according to the company's monthly production and operations update. The publicly traded miner has a 750-megawatt facility and is building another one-gigawatt site in the Lone Star State. The sites are two of the largest mining farms in the world. Nearly all industrial scale miners shut down their rigs in Texas while the state experienced a severe power crunch during the record heat wave in early July. While the power crunch sent electricity prices soaring and made Bitcoin mining operations unprofitable, some large-scale miners such as Riot were able to sell electricity purchased earlier at a lower price back to the grid with a premium. Riot is participating in the 4 Coincident Peak program from the state power operator known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Riot's 750-megawatt Whinstone Facility in Rockdale, Texas, is encouraged, though not required, to curtail consumption when called during the four summer months of peak energy demand. The company sold 275 mined coins for about $5.6 million in July. The 318 Bitcoin mined represents a decrease of 28% in production compared to the prior month, according to the update.

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Hidden Menace: Massive Methane Leaks Speed Up Climate Change

SlashDot - Fri, 2022-08-05 17:25
To the naked eye, the Mako Compressor Station outside the dusty West Texas crossroads of Lenorah appears unremarkable, similar to tens of thousands of oil and gas operations scattered throughout the oil-rich Permian Basin. What's not visible through the chain-link fence is the plume of invisible gas, primarily methane, billowing from the gleaming white storage tanks up into the cloudless blue sky. From a report: The Mako station, owned by a subsidiary of West Texas Gas, was observed releasing an estimated 870 kilograms of methane -- an extraordinarily potent greenhouse gas -- into the atmosphere each hour. That's the equivalent impact on the climate of burning seven tanker trucks full of gasoline every day. But Mako's outsized emissions aren't illegal, or even regulated. And it was only one of 533 methane "super emitters" detected during a 2021 aerial survey of the Permian conducted by Carbon Mapper, a partnership of university researchers and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The group documented massive amounts of methane venting into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations across the Permian, a 250-mile-wide bone-dry expanse along the Texas-New Mexico border that a billion years ago was the bottom of a shallow sea. Hundreds of those sites were seen spewing the gas over and over again. Ongoing leaks, gushers, going unfixed.

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