Computers & Linux News

Explore Egyptian Mausoleums, Buddhist Temples and Other Heritage Sites on Google - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 11:38
The search giant has partnered with the US State Department in celebration of World Heritage Day.

Verizon Raises Minimum Wage for Retail, Customer Service Staff to $20 Per Hour - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 11:36
The increase will automatically apply to both new and existing retail, sales and customer service employees.

Catalan Independence Leaders Targeted By Spyware, Rights Group Says

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 11:26
Catalonia's regional leader accused the Spanish government on Monday of spying on its citizens after a rights group said his phone and dozens more belonging to Catalan pro-independence figures had been infected with spyware used by sovereign states. From a report: The Citizen Lab digital rights group found more than 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement, including several members of the European Parliament, other politicians, lawyers and activists, had been targeted with "Pegasus" spyware made by Israel's NSO Group after a failed independence bid. NSO, which markets the software as a law-enforcement tool, said Citizen Lab and Amnesty International, which was not involved in this investigation but has published previous studies about Pegasus, had produced inaccurate and unsubstantiated reports to target the company.

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Shop Savings on TVs, Headphones, Laptops and More at Best Buy's 4-Day Flash Sale - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 11:01
Now through April 21, Best Buy is offering massive discounts on tons of top tech sitewide -- including top brands like Microsoft, Fitbit, Beats and more.

Friends and Family Sale: Score Up to 50% Off Beauty at SkinStore - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 10:58
Get your skin ready for the summer for less.

DeFi Project Beanstalk Loses $182 Million in Flash Loan Attack

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 10:40
Decentralized finance project Beanstalk Farms suffered one of the largest-ever flash-loan exploits on Sunday, sending its price tumbling. From a report: The credit-focused, Ethereum-based stablecoin protocol suffered a total loss of around $182 million and the attacker got away with around $80 million of crypto tokens, according to blockchain security firm PeckShield, which had flagged the incident on Twitter. The project's native token BEAN fell about 75% from its $1 peg against the dollar, pricing from CoinGecko showed. The protocol's creators disclosed their identities on Beanstalk's Discord server, and said that they were not involved in the attack. "We are not aware of the identity of the individuals who were involved. Like all other investors in Beanstalk, we lost all of our deposited assets in the Silo, which was substantial," the founders wrote. It isn't yet clear whether investors who lost funds will be reimbursed -- or if so, how and to what extent. Unlike traditional lending, which requires a loan to be secured with a collateral or credit checks, DeFi smart contracts allow users to borrow huge sums of stablecoins in what are known as flash loans, without any form of security. Flash loans, where the entire process of borrowing and returning the loan happens in a single transaction on the blockchain, are fairly popular among arbitrage traders.

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'Thor: Love and Thunder' Trailer Teases Natalie Portman's Hammer-Wielding Jane Foster - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 10:38
The first trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder takes you away to that special place and hints at what's in store for the Avenger.

BOGO Sale: Get SiO Beauty's Skin Plumping Products Today Only - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 10:17
Try this noninvasive skin care brand that gives mature skin a lift.

Intel Calls Its AI That Detects Student Emotions a Teaching Tool. Others Call It 'Morally Reprehensible'

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 10:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: When college instructor Angela Dancey wants to decipher whether her first-year English students comprehend what she's trying to get across in class, their facial expressions and body language don't reveal much. "Even in an in-person class, students can be difficult to read. Typically, undergraduates don't communicate much through their faces, especially a lack of understanding," said Dancey, a senior lecturer at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dancey uses tried-and-true methods such as asking students to identify their "muddiest point" -- a concept or idea she said students still struggle with -- following a lecture or discussion. "I ask them to write it down, share it and we address it as a class for everyone's benefit," she said. But Intel and Classroom Technologies, which sells virtual school software called Class, think there might be a better way. The companies have partnered to integrate an AI-based technology developed by Intel with Class, which runs on top of Zoom. Intel claims its system can detect whether students are bored, distracted or confused by assessing their facial expressions and how they're interacting with educational content. "We can give the teacher additional insights to allow them to better communicate," said Michael Chasen, co-founder and CEO of Classroom Technologies, who said teachers have had trouble engaging with students in virtual classroom environments throughout the pandemic. His company plans to test Intel's student engagement analytics technology, which captures images of students' faces with a computer camera and computer vision technology and combines it with contextual information about what a student is working on at that moment to assess a student's state of understanding. Intel hopes to transform the technology into a product it can distribute more broadly, said Sinem Aslan, a research scientist at Intel, who helped develop the technology. "We are trying to enable one-on-one tutoring at scale," said Aslan, adding that the system is intended to help teachers recognize when students need help and to inform how they might alter educational materials based on how students interact with the educational content. "High levels of boredom will lead [students to] completely zone out of educational content," said Aslan. But critics argue that it is not possible to accurately determine whether someone is feeling bored, confused, happy or sad based on their facial expressions or other external signals.

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Save $300 on One of Our Favorite Chromebooks of the Year - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 09:34
The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a powerful 2-in-1 with a fully detachable keyboard, and today only at Best Buy you can pick it up for just $299.

Flash Sale: Save an Extra 20% Off Kohl's Today - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 09:34
Trying to give your home a new look? You can do it for less during this 1-day sale.

Here Are Today's Mortgage Rates on April 18, 2022: Rates Tick Up - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 09:00
Today a few major mortgage rates inched up. See how that could affect your mortgage payments.

Mortgage Refinance Rates for April 18, 2022: Rates Tick Higher - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 09:00
Multiple important refinance rates moved higher today.

Best Portable Generators for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 08:00
When the power goes out, these generators kick into gear to keep the essentials up and running.

Richard Stallman Speaks on Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, GNU Taler, and Encryption

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 07:34
During a 92-minute presentation Wednesday on the state of the free software movement, Richard Stallman spoke at length on a wide variety of topics, including the need for freedom-respecting package systems. But Stallman also shared his deepest thoughts on a topic dear to the hearts of Slashdot readers: privacy and currency: I won't order from online stores, because I can't pay them . For one thing, the payment services require running non-free JavaScript... [And] to pay remotely you've got to do it by credit card, and that's tracking people, and I want to resist tracking too.... This is a really serious problem for society, that you can't order things remotely anonymously. But GNU Taler is part of the path to fixing that. You'll be able to get a Taler token from your bank, or a whole bunch of Taler tokens, and then you'll be able to use those to pay anonymously. Then if the store can send the thing you bought to a delivery box in your neighborhood, the store doesn't ever have to know who you are. But there's another issue Stallman touched on earlier in his talk: There is a proposed U.S. law called KOSA which would require mandatory age-verification of users -- which means mandatory identification of users, which is likely to mean via face recognition. And it would be in every commercial software application or electronic service that connects to the internet.... [It's] supposedly for protecting children. That's one of the favorite excuses for surveillance and repression: to protect the children. Whether it would actually protect anyone is dubious, but they hope that won't actually be checked.... You can always propose a completely useless method that will repress everyone.... So instead, Stallman suggests that age verification could be handled by.... GNU Taler: Suppose there's some sort of service which charges money, or even a tiny amount of money, and is only for people over 16, or people over 18 or whatever it is. Well, you could get from your bank a Taler token that says the person using this token is over 16. This bank has verified that.... So then the site only needs to insist on a 16-or-over Taler token, and your age is verified, but the site has no idea who you are. Unfortunately that won't help if user-identifying age-tracking systems are legislated now. The code of Taler works, but it's still being integrated with a bank so that people could actually start to use it with real businesses. Read on for Slashdot's report on Stallman's remarks on cryptocurrencies and encryption, or jump ahead to... Can GNU Taler accounts be frozen? Why cryptocurrency shouldn't replace banking The problem with VPN apps - and how interoperable encryption could protect your freedom

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Applications Surged After Colleges Started Ignoring Standardized Test Scores

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 04:04
What happened when college admissions offices started ignoring the standardized test scores? NBC News asked college administrators like Jon Burdick, Cornell's vice provost for enrollment: When the health crisis closed testing sites in 2020, four of Cornell's undergraduate colleges decided to go test optional, meaning students could submit a test score if they thought it would help them, but didn't have to. Three of Cornell's colleges adopted test-blind policies, meaning admissions officers wouldn't look at any student's scores. The effects were immediate, Burdick said. Like many other colleges and universities, Cornell was inundated with applications — roughly 71,000 compared to 50,000 in a typical year. And the new applications — particularly those that arrived without test scores attached — were far more likely to come from "students that have felt historically excluded," Burdick said. The university had always looked at many factors in making admissions decisions, and low test scores were never singularly disqualifying, Burdick said. But it became clear that students had been self-rejecting, deciding not to apply to places like Cornell because they thought their lower SAT scores meant they couldn't get in, he said. Other colleges also saw a similar surge in applications.... At Cornell, managing the surge in applications wasn't easy, Burdick said. The university hired several admissions officers and about a dozen part-time application readers — paid for in part by the additional application fees.... In the end, Cornell enrolled a more diverse class, including a nearly 50 percent increase in the share of first-generation college students. "It showed me that these students, given the opportunity, can show really impressive competitive credentials and get admitted with the test barrier reduced or eliminated," Burdick said. Research on colleges that went test optional years ago shows that students admitted without test scores come from more diverse backgrounds and do about as well in their classes once they arrive as peers who did submit test scores.

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Ultra-Rare Black Hole Ancestor Detected at the Dawn of the Universe

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-04-18 01:05
"Astronomers have discovered a dusty, red object 13 billion light-years from Earth that may be the earliest known ancestor of a supermassive black hole," reports Live Science: The ancient object shows characteristics that fall between dusty, star-forming galaxies and brightly glowing black holes known as quasars, according to the authors of a new study, published April 13 in the journal Nature. Born just 750 million years after the Big Bang, during an epoch called the "cosmic dawn," the object appears to be the first direct evidence of an early galaxy weaving stardust into the foundations of a supermassive black hole. Objects like these, known as transitioning red quasars, have been theorized to exist in the early universe, but they have never been observed — until now.... Prior research has shown that quasars existed within the first 700 million years of the universe, the study authors wrote; however, it's unclear exactly how these supermassive objects formed so quickly after the Big Bang. Simulations suggest that some sort of fast-growing transition phase occurs in dusty, star-dense galaxies. "Theorists have predicted that these black holes undergo an early phase of rapid growth: a dust-reddened compact object emerges from a heavily dust-obscured starburst galaxy," study co-author Gabriel Brammer, an associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, said in the statement. In their new paper, the researchers claim to have detected one of these rare transitional objects — officially named GNz7q — while studying an ancient, star-forming galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope. The team caught the early galaxy in the midst of a stellar baby boom, with the galaxy seemingly churning out new stars 1,600 times faster than the Milky Way does today. All those newborn stars produced an immense amount of heat, which warmed the galaxy's ambient gas and caused it to glow brightly in infrared wavelengths. The galaxy became so hot, in fact, that its dust shines brighter than any other known object from the cosmic dawn period, the researchers said. Amid that brightly glowing dust, the researchers detected a single red point of light — a large, compact object tinged by the enormous fog of dust around it. According to the researchers, this red dot's luminosity and color perfectly match the predicted characteristics of a transitioning red quasar.... [T]here are likely many, many others like it just waiting to be discovered by telescopes that can peer even further back, into the earliest eras of the universe. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, which launched on Dec. 25, 2021, will be able to hunt for these elusive objects with much greater clarity than Hubble, the researchers wrote, hopefully shedding a bit more light onto the dusty cosmic dawn.

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Is GitHub Suspending the Accounts of Russian Developers at Sanctioned Companies?

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-04-17 21:39
"Russian software developers are reporting that their GitHub accounts are being suspended without warning if they work for or previously worked for companies under U.S. sanctions, writes Bleeping Computer: According to Russian media outlets, the ban wave began on April 13 and didn't discriminate between companies and individuals. For example, the GitHub accounts of Sberbank Technology, Sberbank AI Lab, and the Alfa Bank Laboratory had their code repositories initially disabled and are now removed from the platform.... Personal accounts suspended on GitHub have their content wiped while all repositories become immediately out of reach, and the same applies to issues and pull requests. [a Russian collaborative blog about IT] reports that some Russian developers contacted GitHub about the suspension and received an email titled 'GitHub and Trade Controls' that explained their account was disabled due to US sanctions. This email contains a link to a GitHub page explaining the company's policies regarding sanctions and trade controls, which explains how a user can appeal their suspension. This appeal form requires the individual to certify that they do not use their GitHub account on behalf of a sanctioned entity. A developer posted to Twitter saying that he could remove the suspension after filling out the form and that it was due to his previous employer being sanctioned. A GitHub blog post in March had promised to ensure the availability of open source services "to all, including developers in Russia." So Bleeping Computer contacted a GitHub spokesperson, who explained this weekend that while GitHub may be required to restrict some users to comply with U.S. laws, "We examine government sanctions thoroughly to be certain that users and customers are not impacted beyond what is required by law." According to this, the suspended private accounts are either affiliated, collaborating, or working with/for sanctioned entities. However, even those who previously worked for a sanctioned company appear to be suspended by mistake. This means that Russian users, in general, can suddenly find their projects wiped and accounts suspended, even if those projects have nothing to do with the sanctioned entities.

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