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MIT Engineers Develop Stickers That Can See Inside the Body

Sun, 2022-07-31 20:44
Live and high-resolution images of a patient's internal organs are already possible with ultrasound imaging technology. But currently the technology "requires bulky and specialized equipment available only in hospitals and doctor's offices," explains an annoncement from MIT. Now a new design by MIT engineers "might make the technology as wearable and accessible as buying Band-Aids at the pharmacy." In a paper appearing today in Science, the engineers present the design for a new ultrasound sticker — a stamp-sized device that sticks to skin and can provide continuous ultrasound imaging of internal organs for 48 hours. The researchers applied the stickers to volunteers and showed the devices produced live, high-resolution images of major blood vessels and deeper organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach. The stickers maintained a strong adhesion and captured changes in underlying organs as volunteers performed various activities, including sitting, standing, jogging, and biking.... From the stickers' images, the team was able to observe the changing diameter of major blood vessels when seated versus standing. The stickers also captured details of deeper organs, such as how the heart changes shape as it exerts during exercise. The researchers were also able to watch the stomach distend, then shrink back as volunteers drank then later passed juice out of their system. And as some volunteers lifted weights, the team could detect bright patterns in underlying muscles, signaling temporary microdamage. "With imaging, we might be able to capture the moment in a workout before overuse, and stop before muscles become sore," says Chen. "We do not know when that moment might be yet, but now we can provide imaging data that experts can interpret." They're already envisioning other possibilities: If the devices can be made to operate wirelessly — a goal the team is currently working toward — the ultrasound stickers could be made into wearable imaging products that patients could take home from a doctor's office or even buy at a pharmacy. "We envision a few patches adhered to different locations on the body, and the patches would communicate with your cellphone, where AI algorithms would analyze the images on demand," says the study's senior author, Xuanhe Zhao, professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering at MIT. "We believe we've opened a new era of wearable imaging: With a few patches on your body, you could see your internal organs."

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Linus Torvalds Releases Linux 5.19 - From an Apple Silicon MacBook

Sun, 2022-07-31 19:29
"Linus Torvalds just released Linux 5.19 as stable for the newest version of the Linux kernel..." reports Phoronix. But they also note that on the Linux kernel mailing list, "Torvalds went on to write about his Arm-based MacBook [running an AArch64 Apple M1 SoC]... now under Linux thanks to the work of the Asahi Linux project." Torvalds wrote: [T]he most interesting part here is that I did the release (and am writing this) on an arm64 laptop. It's something I've been waiting for for a _loong_ time, and it's finally reality, thanks to the Asahi team. We've had arm64 hardware around running Linux for a long time, but none of it has really been usable as a development platform until now. It's the third time I'm using Apple hardware for Linux development — I did it many years ago for powerpc development on a ppc970 machine. And then a decade+ ago when the Macbook Air was the only real thin-and-lite around. And now as an arm64 platform. Not that I've used it for any real work, I literally have only been doing test builds and boots and now the actual release tagging. But I'm trying to make sure that the next time I travel, I can travel with this as a laptop and finally dogfooding the arm64 side too.

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Nichelle Nichols, Who Played Uhura In 'Star Trek' Franchise, Dies At 89

Sun, 2022-07-31 18:07
A sad announcement was posted online today, reports CNN: "Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration," Johnson said in a statement shared to Nichols' official site on Sunday. "Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all." Nichols died from natural causes, he said... George Takei, who portrayed the USS Enterprise's helmsman Hikaru Sulu, posted a touching tribute to his co-star. "I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89," wrote Takei on Twitter. "For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend." "We lived long and prospered together," he added with a photo of the pair making the iconic Vulcan salute. It was Nichols herself who came up with the name "Uhura" for her character, she revealed years in a 2010 interview. After the series Nichols authored the science fiction novels Saturn's Child and Saturna's Quest, as well as a memoir titled Beyond Uhura — Star Trek and Other Memories. But Nichols also served on the board of directors of the National Space Society (a charity advocating for space advocacy) — and maintained ties to other real-world space agencies. "Nichols was always interested in space travel," according to a NASA web page. "She flew aboard the C-141 Astronomy Observatory, which analyzed the atmospheres of Mars and Saturn on an eight hour, high altitude mission." But in addition, "From the late 1970's until the late 1980's, NASA employed Nichelle Nichols to recruit new astronaut candidates" (including Dr. Sally Ride).

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US Air Force Grounds Most of Its F-35 Fighter Jets Over Ejection Seat Concerns

Sun, 2022-07-31 16:29
The F-35 stealth-combat aircraft is the "crown jewel" of America's Air Force fight fleet, according to the defense news site Task & Purpose. But Friday they were all grounded — "sidelined for an indeterminate amount of time as the service inspects most of its F-35 fighter jet ejection seats for faulty launch cartridges, service officials said..." The news marks the latest difficult headline for the beleaguered fighter, which U.S. military officials have placed at the forefront of their airpower strategy despite a long list of maintenance issues. Air Combat Command, the Air Force command which oversees the bulk of the service's fighter fleet, made the decision to ground its F-35s on Friday after other units of the Air Force and Navy grounded many of their aircraft due to concerns over faulty parts which could prevent the pilot ejection seat from launching out of the cockpit in an emergency. Air Combat Command spokesperson Alexi Worley said that the command started a 90-day inspection period of all cartridges on its F-35 ejection seats on July 19. "Out of an abundance of caution, ACC units will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process," Worley said. "Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations." Worley later added that the stand-down "will continue through the weekend, and a determination to safely resume normal operations is expected to be made early next week, pending analysis of the inspection data." Many jet aircraft in the U.S. military are equipped with ejection seats made by the company Martin-Baker, which notified the Navy about potential defects earlier this month, according to Breaking Defense, which first reported the F-35 grounding story on Friday. The problem part is the cartridge actuated device, an explosive cartridge that helps launch the ejection seat out of an aircraft. Martin-Baker identified certain production lots of cartridge actuated devices as being defective and in need of replacement, the Air Force told Breaking Defense. "While the aircraft are flyable, I don't think too many pilots would be willing to fly knowing they may not be able [to] eject," Michael Cisek, a senior associate at the aviation consulting firm AeroDynamic Advisory, told Breaking Defense.... America's allies may also be affected by the issue. On Wednesday, Breaking Defense reported that the Navy had informed foreign military sales customers about the issue and was working with them to resolve it.

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What's New in Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon

Sun, 2022-07-31 15:24
Today saw the release of Linux Mint 21 "Vanessa" Cinnamon Edition, a long term support release (supported until 2027). Release notes at LinuxMint.com promise that it comes with "refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable." Among the highlights: its Bluetooth manager is now Blueman (instead of Blueberry). Blueberry depended on gnome-bluetooth, which was developed exclusively for GNOME. In contrast, Blueman relies on the standard Bluez stack which works everywhere and can even be used or queried from the command line. The Blueman manager and tray icon provide many features that weren't available in Blueberry and a lot more information which can be used to monitor your connection or troubleshoot Bluetooth issues. Out of the box Blueman features better connectivity, especially when it comes to headsets and audio profiles. In preparation for Linux Mint 21 the Blueman user interface was improved and received support for symbolic icons. Upstream, Blueman and Bluez are actively developed and used in many environments. The lack of thumbnails for some common file types was identified as a usability issue. To address it a new Xapp project called xapp-thumbnailers was started and is now featured in Linux Mint 21. The project brings support for the following mimetypes: - AppImage - ePub - MP3 (album cover) - RAW pictures (most formats) - Webp Automated tasks are great to keep your computer safe but they can sometimes affect the system's performance while you're working on it. A little process monitor was added to Linux Mint to detect automated updates and automated system snapshots running in the background. Whenever an automated task is running the monitor places an icon in your system tray. Your computer might still become slow momentarily during an update or a snapshot, but with a quick look on the tray you'll immediately know what's going on.... Linux Mint 21 uses IPP, also known as Driverless Printing and Scanning (i.e. a standard protocol which communicates with printers/scanners without using drivers). For most printers and scanners no drivers are needed, and the device is detected automatically. And there's also a fabulous collection of new backgrounds.

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Why Are People Moving Out of California?

Sun, 2022-07-31 13:59
A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago analyzed data from a moving company, concluding that 59.4% of the moves in California were out of the state — the second-highest percentage for any state in America (behind only Illinois). And that percentage is growing, reports the Los Angeles Times, since between 2018 and 2019, California had a lower outbound move rate of just 56%. Citing changes in work-life balance, opportunities for remote work and more people deciding to quit their jobs, the report found that droves of Californians are leaving for states like Texas, Virginia, Washington and Florida. California lost more than 352,000 residents between April 2020 and January 2022, according to California Department of Finance statistics [about 15,476 per month]. San Francisco and Los Angeles rank first and second in the country, respectively, for outbound moves as the cost of living and housing prices continue to balloon and homeowners flee to less expensive cities, according to a report from Redfin released this month. [Los Angeles residents] in particular, are flocking to places like Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Antonio and Dallas. The number of Los Angeles residents leaving the city jumped from around 33,000 in the second quarter of 2021 to nearly 41,000 in the same span of 2022, according to the report. California has grappled with extremely high housing prices compared with other states, according to USC economics professor Matthew Kahn. Combined with the pandemic and the rise in remote work, privileged households relocated when they had the opportunity. "People want to live here, but an unintended consequence of the state's environmentalism is we're not building enough housing in desirable downtown areas," Kahn said. "That prices out middle-class people to the suburbs [and creates] long commutes. We don't have road pricing to help the traffic congestion, and these headaches add up. So when you create the possibility of work from home, many of these people ... they say 'enough' and they move to a cheaper metropolitan area." Kahn also pointed out that urban crime, a growing unhoused population, public school quality and overall quality of life are driving out residents. "In New York City, but also in San Francisco, there are all these fights about which kids get into which elite public schools," he said. "The rich are always able to hide in their bubble, but if the middle class looks at this quality of life declining, that's a push factor to leave." Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather cited a June report that tracked the change in spending power of a homebuyer on a $2,500 monthly budget. While 11.2% of homes in Los Angeles were affordable on that budget, using a 3% interest rate, that amount swelled to about 72% in Houston and about 50% in Phoenix. "It's really an affordability problem," Fairweather said. "California for the longest time has prioritized single-family zoning, which makes it so people stay in their homes longer because their property taxes don't reflect the true value. California is the epicenter of where the housing shortage is so people have no choice but to move elsewhere." The Times also notes figures from the Public Policy Institute of California showing that the state's population did increase between 2010 and 2020 — but by just 5.8%, "below the national growth rate of 6.8%, and resulting in the loss of a congressional seat in 2021 for the first time in the state's history." At least part of this seems tied to a sudden curtailing of immigration into California. UCLA economics professor Lee Ohanian points out that immigration had offset California's population outflow over the past two decades, but "Delays in processing migration requests to the U.S. were compounded during the pandemic, resulting in the lowest levels of immigration in decades, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Estimates showed a net increase of 244,000 new immigrants between 2020 and 2021 — roughly half the 477,000 new immigrant residents recorded between 2019 and 2020 and a drastic reduction from more than 1 million reported from 2015 to 2016." The state is also seeing a dwindling middle class, said Ohanian, who cited a report from the National Association of Realtors, outlining that the national median home sales price has reached $416,000, a record high. Meanwhile, California's median home price has topped $800,000. "(California is) at a risk for becoming a state for very, very wealthy people and very, very low earners who receive state and local and federal aid that allows them to be able to live here," Ohanian said. "We should worry about those in the middle who are earning that $78,000 household median income and is, at the end of the day, really struggling, especially if they have interest in buying a home."

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Over Half a Century, Bill Gates Has Been Playing Pickleball

Sun, 2022-07-31 12:34
"I started playing pickleball more than 50 years ago," Bill Gates says in a new video — not long after the game was invented... Now the 66-year-old Microsoft co-founder writes in a blog post that "I've been a little stunned — and delighted — by the sudden popularity of one of my favorite pastimes..." Largely confined to the Pacific Northwest for decades, it has now emerged as America's fastest-growing sport.... It's best described as a mash up of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. And if you haven't heard of it, I expect you soon will.... Boredom was what got this sport started in 1965. Three dads living on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, came home one summer evening to find their children complaining that there was nothing for them to do. So, they found a net, a Wiffle ball, some ping-pong paddles, and created a game on an old badminton court that the entire family could play together.... Over the next year, the three friends worked together to develop a set of rules, formalize the court layout, and introduce a larger plywood paddle that was good for striking the ball. And they decided to call it pickleball... Meanwhile, word slowly spread in Seattle of this odd new pastime. My dad was friends with the game's inventors, Joel Pritchard, a state legislator and later Washington's lieutenant governor, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell. He learned about their creation and by the late 1960s, he got inspired to build a pickleball court at our house. I've been playing ever since. At the time, the pickleball community was very small. I doubt there were more than a thousand people in the Seattle area who had ever seen the sport when my family picked it up. And I don't think anyone expected it would ever become a national phenomenon. Today, there are more than 4.8 million players nationwide, a growth of nearly 40 percent over the last two years. And I expect it will only get bigger.... The best thing about pickleball, however, is that it's just super fun. I look forward to playing a pickleball game with friends and family at least once a week and more often during the summer.

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Scientists Discover 200 Pits On the Moon That Are Always 63F/17C In the Shade.

Sun, 2022-07-31 11:34
"Lunar scientists think they've found the hottest places on the Moon," reports Live Science, "as well as some 200 'Goldilocks' zones that are always near the average temperature in San Francisco." Long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot shared their report: The moon has wild temperature fluctuations, with parts of the moon heating up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius) during the day and dropping to minus 280 F (minus 173 C) at night. But the newly analyzed 200 shaded lunar pits are always always 63 F (17 C), meaning they're perfect for humans to shelter from the extreme temperatures. They could also shield astronauts from the dangers of the solar wind, micrometeorites and cosmic rays. Some of those pits may lead to similarly warm caves. These partially-shaded pits and dark caves could be ideal for a lunar base, scientists say. "Surviving the lunar night is incredibly difficult because it requires a lot of energy, but being in these pits and caves almost entirely removes that requirement," Tyler Horvath, a doctoral student in planetary science at the University of California, Los Angeles and lead author on the NASA-funded research published online July 8 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, told Live Science.

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Anonymous Hacktivists Breach Russian Databases, Leak 'Massive' Amounts of Data

Sun, 2022-07-31 10:34
"The Anonymous declaration of cyberwar was a top news story despite no evidence," writes cybersecurity specialist Jeremiah Fowler (an American who worked in Kyiv for the last 10 years — until fleeing in February to Poland). To investigate, Fowler performed a random sampling of 100 exposed Russian databases — and discovered that 92 of them had indeed been compromised. "Anti-Russian hackers used a similar script to the infamous 'MeowBot' that changed the name of folders and deleted the contents of the files. " (For example, renaming the folders to "putin_stop_this_war".) And that was just the beginning, reports CNBC: Anonymous has claimed to have hacked over 2,500 Russian and Belarusian sites, said Fowler. In some instances, stolen data was leaked online, he said, in amounts so large it will take years to review. "The biggest development would be the overall massive number of records taken, encrypted or dumped online," said Fowler. Shmuel Gihon, a security researcher at the threat intelligence company Cyberint, agreed that amount of leaked data is "massive." "We currently don't even know what to do with all this information, because it's something that we haven't expected to have in such a short period of time," he said.... The more immediate outcome of the hacks, Fowler and Gihon agreed, is that Russia's cybersecurity defenses have been revealed as being far weaker than previously thought. Fowler's report argues that Anonymous has "rewritten the rules of how a crowdsourced modern cyberwar is conducted" — with the group also offering penetration testing to Ukraine, "finding vulnerabilities before Russia could exploit them." But in addition, Fowler writes, Anonymous's efforts have also "transformed into a larger operation that spread far beyond the Russian government, companies, or organizations, and included an information campaign aimed at Russian citizens." Some examples: Hacking Printers — Russian censorship has blocked many inside the country from knowing the true scale of the war and Russian losses. Anonymous hacked printers across Russia and printed uncensored facts or anti-propaganda and pro-ukrainian messages. The group claims to have printed over 100,000 documents. This also includes barcode printers at grocery stores where prices were changed and product names were changed to anti-war or pro-Ukrainian slogans.... RoboDial, SMS, and Email Spam — Almost everyone on earth has received some form of spam in the form of a phone call, text, or email message. These usually try to sell a service or scam victims out of money. Now this same technology has been used to bypass Russian censorship and inform citizens of news and messages they are forbidden to learn on state sponsored propaganda channels. Anonymous affiliated Squad303 claimed to have sent over 100 million messages to Russian devices.

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More Evidence Covid-19 Originated at Wuhan Market in Two New Studies

Sun, 2022-07-31 07:34
"Two new studies provide more evidence that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Wuhan, China market where live animals were sold," reports the Associated Press, "further bolstering the theory that the virus emerged in the wild rather than escaping from a Chinese lab." CNN reports: "All eight COVID-19 cases detected prior to 20 December were from the western side of the market, where mammal species were also sold," the [first] study says. The proximity to five stalls that sold live or recently butchered animals was predictive of human cases... The "extraordinary" pattern that emerged from mapping these cases was very clear, said another co-author, Michael Worobey, department head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. The researchers mapped the earliest cases that had no connection to the market, Worobey noted, and those people lived or worked in close proximity to the market. "This is an indication that the virus started spreading in people who worked at the market but then started that spread ... into the surrounding local community as vendors went into local shops, infected people who worked in those shops," Worobey said. The other study takes a molecular approach and seems to determine when the first coronavirus infections crossed from animals to humans.... The researchers suggest that the first animal-to-human transmission probably happened around November 18, 2019, and it came from lineage B. They found the lineage B type only in people who had a direct connection to the Huanan market. "All this evidence tells us the same thing: It points right to this particular market in the middle of Wuhan," said Kristian Andersen a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research and coauthor of one of the studies. The AP quotes Andersen as saying "I was quite convinced of the lab leak myself until we dove into this very carefully and looked at it much closer." Andersen said they found case clusters inside the market, too, "and that clustering is very, very specifically in the parts of the market" where they now know people were selling wildlife, such as raccoon dogs, that are susceptible to infection with the coronavirus.... Matthew Aliota, a researcher in the college of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota, said in his mind the pair of studies "kind of puts to rest, hopefully, the lab leak hypothesis." "Both of these two studies really provide compelling evidence for the natural origin hypothesis," said Aliota, who wasn't involved in either study. Since sampling an animal that was at the market is impossible, "this is maybe as close to a smoking gun as you could get." CNN notes that Worobey also had initially thought the lab leak had been a possibility, but now says the epidemiological preponderance of cases linked to the market is "not a mirage. It's a real thing. "It's just not plausible that this virus was introduced any other way than through the wildlife trade." To reduce the chances of future pandemics, the researchers hope they can determine exactly what animal may have first become infected and how. "The raw ingredients for a zoonotic virus with pandemic potential are still lurking in the wild," said Joel Wertheim, an associate adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He believes the world needs to do a much better job doing surveillance and monitoring animals and other potential threats to human health.

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CERN Is Totally Not Opening a Portal To Hell

Sun, 2022-07-31 03:52
"Ten years on from discovery, there's still a lot left to learn about the Higgs boson!" tweeted a researcher anticipating their experiment on the Large Hadron Collider. But on Facebook, there's posts calling CERN "a demonic/Evil machine that opens up portals to other dimensions/Hell/other spiritual worlds" and "brings in demons wicked spirits/High Evil Principalities." And USA Today reports that similar posts making that same claim "have amassed hundreds of interactions on Facebook and Twitter." (Their article then goes on to assure readers that "the claim is baseless.") In fact, USA Today's "Fact Check" feature spent some time investigating the claims of a demonic machine opening portals to hell, and after exhaustive research can report that at this time "There is no evidence scientists at CERN are engaged in anything other than scientific-related activities." Physics experts told USA TODAY scientists use the Large Hadron Collider to collide particles at very high energies to study matter. There is no truth to the claim that scientists at CERN are communicating with demonic entities and using the collider to open up a portal to hell, Dejan Stojkovic, a physics professor at the University at Buffalo, told USA TODAY in an email. The physics behind his explanation is interesting: "To create a black hole or a wormhole, even microscopic ones, with our current technology, in the context of our standard theories of gravity, we need an accelerator as big as the whole universe," Stojkovic said. "So there is no chance whatsoever to create such a portal at the [Large Hadron Collider]." "Since these are previously unexplored energies in a controlled environment, we might expect production of some new elementary particles that we did not know if they existed," Stojkovic said. "However, these are microscopic particles, so there is no chance such a portal would open." Facebook has now attached a warning to its user's post about a demonic machine opening up portals to hell, notifying users that the post contains "False information." (It adds that this assertion has been "checked by independent fact-checkers," linking back to USA Today's article for support.) USA Today ends its analysis with a definitive summation: Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that scientists at CERN are communicating with demonic entities and opening a portal to hell. There is no evidence scientists at CERN are engaged in anything other than scientific-related activities. The collider cannot open up portals to other dimensions. Experts said scientists use the machine to collide particles at very high energies to study matter.... Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook. Thanks to Slashdot reader Iamthecheese for sharing the story!

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Amazon's Ring and Google Can Share Footage With Police Without Warrants (or Your Consent)

Sun, 2022-07-31 00:52
U.S. law let's companies like Google and Amazon's Ring doorbell/security camera system "share user footage with police during emergencies without consent and without warrants," CNET reported this week. They add that after that revelation "came under renewed criticism from privacy activists this month after disclosing it gave video footage to police in more than 10 cases without users' consent thus far in 2022 in what it described as 'emergency situations'." "That includes instances where the police didn't have a warrant." "So far this year, Ring has provided videos to law enforcement in response to an emergency request only 11 times," Amazon vice president of public policy Brian Huseman wrote. "In each instance, Ring made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay...." Of the 11 emergency requests Ring has complied with so far in 2022, the company said they include cases involving kidnapping, self-harm and attempted murder, but it won't provide further details, including information about which agencies or countries the requests came from. We also asked Ring if it notified customers after the company had granted law enforcement access to their footage without their consent. "We have nothing to share," the spokesperson responded. CNET also supplies this historical context: It's been barely a year since Ring made the decision to stop allowing police to email users to request footage. Facing criticism that requests like those were subverting the warrant process and contributing to police overreach, Ring directed police instead to post public requests for assistance in the Neighbors app, where community members are free to view and comment on them (or opt out of seeing them altogether)... That post made no mention of a workaround for the police during emergency circumstances. When CNET asked why that workaround wasn't mentioned, Amazon response was that law enforcement requests, "including emergency requests, are directed to Ring (the company), the same way a warrant or subpoena is directed to Ring (and not the customer), which is why we treat them entirely separately." CNET notes there's also no mention of warrantless emergency requests without independent oversight in Ring's own transparency reports about law enforcement requests from past years. CNET adds that it's not just Amazon. "Google, Ring and other companies that process user video footage have a legal basis for warrantless disclosure without consent during emergency situations, and it's up to them to decide whether or not to do so when the police come calling...." (Although Google told CNET that while it reserves the right to comply with warrantless requests for user data during emergencies, to date it has never actually done so.) The article also points out that "Others, most notably Apple, use end-to-end encryption as the default setting for user video, which blocks the company from sharing that video at all... Ring enabled end-to-end encryption as an option for users in 2021, but it isn't the default setting, and Ring notes that turning it on will break certain features, including the ability to view your video feed on a third-party device like a smart TV, or even Amazon devices like the Echo Show smart display." The bottom line? [C]onsumers have a choice to make about what they're comfortable with... That said, you can't make informed choices when you aren't well-informed to begin with, and the brands in question don't always make it easy to understand their policies and practices. Ring published a blog post last year walking through its new, public-facing format for police footage requests, but there was no mention of emergency exceptions granted without user consent or independent oversight, the details of which only came to light after a Senate probe. Google describes its emergency sharing policies within its Terms of Service, but the language doesn't make it clear that those cases include instances where footage may be shared without a warrant, subpoena or court order compelling Google to do so.

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Tons of Chinese Rocket Debris Have Crashed into the Indian Ocean

Sat, 2022-07-30 21:52
The 25-ton core stage of a Long March 5B rocket "reentered Earth's atmosphere over the Indian Ocean this afternoon," reports Space.com, citing an announcement on Twitter from the U.S. Space Command. Mission managers didn't screw anything up; this end-of-life scenario is built into the Long March 5B's design, to the consternation of exploration advocates and much of the broader spaceflight community. This disposal strategy is reckless, critics say, given that the big rocket doesn't burn up completely upon reentry. Indeed, 5.5 tons to 9.9 tons (5 to 9 metric tons) of the Long March 5B likely survived all the way to the ground today, experts with The Aerospace Corporation's Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies have estimated. And it's possible that falling rocket chunks caused some injuries or infrastructure damage today, given where the Long March 5B reentered. One observer appeared to capture the rocket's breakup from Kuching, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, for example, posting video of the dramatic event on Twitter. "The video from Kuching implies it was high in the atmosphere at that time — any debris would land hundreds of km further along track, near Sibu, Bintulu or even Brunei," astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said via Twitter today. It's "unlikely but not impossible" that one or more chunks hit a population center, he added in another tweet.... "What really should have happened is, there should have been some fuel left on board for this to be a controlled reentry," Darren McKnight, a senior technical fellow at the California-based tracking company LeoLabs, said Thursday (July 28) during a Long March 5B reentry discussion that The Aerospace Corporation livestreamed on Twitter. "That would be the responsible thing to do...." This was the third uncontrolled fall for a Long March 5B core stage to date. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also released a critical statement today pointing out that China "did not share specific trajectory information as their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth." All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy-lift vehicles, like the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property.

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Boosters of US Climate Bill Included Clean Energy Companies, Nuclear Developers - and Bill Gates

Sat, 2022-07-30 20:22
A proposed $369 billion bill would have far-reaching impacts on America's energy landscape — and in a wide variety of ways. The Washington Post took a close look at its tightly targetted energy-industry tax subisidies. "The goal? To make new green energy production cheaper for utilities to build than fossil fuel plants are." But others benefit too: The bill contains numerous smaller measures aimed at specific parts of the economy with high emissions: $20 billion for agriculture subsidies to help farmers reduce emissions, $6 billion to reduce emissions in chemical, steel and cement plants, and $3 billion to reduce air pollution at ports. Yet how do you convince a congressman from a coal-producing state? Politico explores what changed the mind of one of the legislation's last hold-out votes and convinced West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that "The next generation of clean tech needed Washington's backing to take off." Brandon Dennison, CEO of the economic development organization Coalfield Development, said he'd argued that the legislation offered a way for the coal-producing region to "stay an energy state.... If we want to benefit from the investments and the jobs that are going to come with that transition, we need to be part of the proactive solutions and policies rather than constantly playing on defense." Jason Walsh, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, said several West Virginia companies pushed Manchin to back the credits as well — even suggesting failure to pass the bill imperiled their plans to invest in new operations. "There were folks who I can't talk about who are directly involved in potentially developing clean energy manufacturing in the state of West Virginia where site visits had happened where all they needed was a set of investments," Walsh said. "And that communication happened as well." A senior executive with a utility operating in Appalachia said that his company communicated with Manchin how aspects of the bill such as tax credits to build clean energy manufacturing plants at former coal sites and incentives for developing small nuclear reactors and hydrogen would help West Virginia's economy. "We know coal plants are ultimately going to close," the executive said. "What is going to replace them? What are the jobs? What are we transitioning to? In this case, we are going to explore hydrogen, new nuclear and get manufacturing in the state." Form Energy, a battery storage startup backed by Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures and which has plans for a West Virginia manufacturing hub, walked Manchin's staff through its growth trajectories with and without the proposed suite of legislative incentives, a person directly familiar with the interaction said. That person said Form Energy officials showed the differences on a graph. Its investors — including Gates — also called to assuage Manchin's concerns over disbursing the tax credits to companies through a direct pay system rather than using tax equity markets.

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America's 'Transformative' Climate Bill Would Fund EV Purchases - While Penalizing China

Sat, 2022-07-30 18:52
This week U.S. lawmakers drew closer to passing a $369 billion bill with wide-ranging climate provisions. It helps U.S consumers buy electric vehicle chargers, rooftop solar panels, and fuel-efficient heat pumps. It extends energy-industry tax credits for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources -- and for carbon capture technology. In fact, most of its impact is accomplished through tax credits, reports the New York Times, "viewed as one of the least expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions. "The benefits are worth four times their cost, according to calculations by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago." One example is ending an eligibility cap on the $7,500 tax credit for consumers buying electric vehicles: Currently, the credits are phased out after a manufacturer has sold 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Restoring the credits would be huge for Tesla and General Motors, which have used up their quotas, as well as companies like Ford Motor and Toyota that will soon lose access to the credits. The new tax credit, available through 2032, would make vehicles from those companies more affordable and address criticism that only rich people can afford electric cars... As it exists, the 200,000-vehicle cap on tax credits would provide a competitive advantage to market newcomers like BYD of China that are expected to use electric vehicles to enter the U.S. market. They could have benefited from the credit while Tesla, the Texas-based company, could not. The Democratic climate legislation would flip that. As written, the bill appears to disqualify cars not made in North America from the credit. Cars made in North America by foreign companies like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota or Volvo would qualify, but imported models would not. In fact, the 725-page legislation also includes "a strong dose of industrial policy," with several provisions that "appear designed to undermine China's hold over the electric vehicle supply chain... It favors companies that get their components and raw materials from the United States or its allies, while effectively excluding China." "I think it is absolutely a transformative bill," said Leah Stokes, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who specializes in energy and climate change... Cars would qualify for the full credit only if their batteries were made with materials and components from the United States and countries with which it has trade agreements. The percentage of components that have to meet those restrictions to qualify for the credit would increase over time, under the bill. That provision is aimed at encouraging domestic development of businesses like lithium mining and refining.

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The Spice DAO Crypto Collective Wants to Sell Its 'Dune' Bible - But Can't Find Buyers

Sat, 2022-07-30 17:52
Remember the Spice DAO? They raised $3 million to buy a rare copy of a proposed film adaptation of Dune, "allegedly with the misguided idea that owning the book would also grant them the rights to its content," Morning Brew reported back in January. Their ambitious goal was to make the Dune bible public, before producing an animated series and supporting community projects. But now they're just trying to sell it, in what they're calling "Redemption Phase One" — although project lead Kortelin indicated on Discord that the bible currently has "no willing buyers," the Verge reports: After a series of setbacks in an ambitious plan for a crypto-powered media studio, the group is letting people who hold its $SPICE token cash out by withdrawing their money from the group's treasury. It will change its name to "Spice Club," a "members only group" instead of a body with a formal voting structure. And it will cut its upkeep expenses to the bare minimum, a process that includes handing off the fragile and valuable book that inspired its creation. Members who hold $SPICE might earn returns from the Spice Club's remaining initiatives. The group hopes to make money from the sale of the book and a non-fungible token (NFT) collaboration with comics artist Frank Miller. But that plan is complicated by the dismal state of the cryptocurrency market and legal questions around DAOs and tokens like $SPICE as well as doubts about whether the book could be auctioned for anything remotely approaching its purchase price of roughly $3 million. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader UnknowingFool for sharing the story!

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Australian Teenager Sold Remote-Access Spyware To 14,500 People, Earned $300,000

Sat, 2022-07-30 16:34
"Jacob Wayne John Keen, now 24, was 15 years old and living in his mother's rental when he allegedly created a sophisticated spyware tool known as a remote access trojan that allowed users to remotely take control of their victims' computers," reports the Guardian. Once installed it could be used to steal victims' personal information, spy on them via webcams and microphones and track what they typed into emails or documents. Keen allegedly sold the tool for $35 on a hacking forum, making between $300,000 and $400,000 by selling it to more than 14,500 people in 128 countries.... Keen was slapped with six charges earlier in July, and is due to appear at Brisbane's magistrates court next month. His mother, 42, has also been charged with allegedly dealing in the proceeds of crime. A global investigation involving more than a dozen law enforcement agencies across Europe led to 85 search warrants being executed around the world, with 434 devices seized and 13 people arrested for using the malware for "alleged criminality". Among the tool's 14,500 users were a "statistically high" proportion of domestic violence perpetrators (and at least one child sex offender), according to the Australian federal police, who believe there were ultimately "tens of thousands" of victims globally. Slashdot reader Bruce66423 suggests an appropriate punishment would be sentencing Keen to work for spy agencies.

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'Halt and Catch Fire' Co-Creator's Next Project? A 'Max Headroom' Reboot

Sat, 2022-07-30 15:34
"A 1980s pop culture mainstay is plotting a comeback," reports Deadline. "AMC Networks is developing a Max Headroom drama series reboot, with Matt Frewer set to reprise his role as the world's first artificial intelligence TV personality." Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell is writing the adaptation and is attached as showrunner for the project, which is produced by Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah's SpectreVision and All3Media. Known for biting commentary, quick wit and manic glitching, the supposedly computer-generated TV host played by Frewer was first introduced in the 1985 British cyberpunk TV movie Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future. He became an instant pop culture phenom and went on to host a music-video show, star in ads for New Coke, appear on the cover of Newsweek and headline his own primetime series. Max Headroom aired on ABC for two seasons from 1987-88. IGN notes that "Although Frewer is best known for Max Headroom, he recently had roles in Fear the Walking Dead and Orphan Black, and notably played the character Moloch in Zack Snyder's Watchmen."

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A Large Chunk of Rocket Space Debris Landed In Australia

Sat, 2022-07-30 14:34
Newsweek reports that "A huge piece of space debris appears to have fallen from the sky and landed on a sheep farm in Australia." On July 9, locals across the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales heard a bang, ABC Australia reported. It was heard for miles, by those as far away as Albury, Wagga Wagga and Canberra.... Sheep farmer Mick Miners then came across a strange, charred object on his ranch, south of Jindabyne, on July 25. "I didn't know what to think, I had no idea what it was," Miners told ABC Australia. He found the 10 foot chunk of metal wedged into the ground in a remote part of his sheep paddock. He was not the only one. His neighbor, Jock Wallace also found some strange debris in the area. "I didn't hear the bang, but my daughters said it was very loud," Wallace told ABC. "I think it's a concern, it's just fallen out of the sky. If it landed on your house it would make a hell of a mess." Serial numbers were noted on the charred, pieces of debris. Australian National University College of Science astrophysicist Brad Tucker told ABC News that the debris is likely from the trunk section of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched in 2020, and the debris may have fallen as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Tucker told ABC that is may have been the largest piece of space debris to fall in Australia for decades — the last time was in 1979, when NASA's Skylab space station fell in Western Australia. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader 192_kbps for sharing the article!

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Proxy Service 911[.]re Closes After Disclosing Breach and Data Damage

Sat, 2022-07-30 13:34
Long-time Slashdot reader tsu doh nimh writes: 911[.]re, a proxy service that since 2015 has sold access to hundreds of thousands of Microsoft Windows computers daily, announced this week that it is shutting down in the wake of a data breach that destroyed key components of its business operations, KrebsOnSecurity reports. From the article: "On July 28th, a large number of users reported that they could not log in the system," the statement continues. "We found that the data on the server was maliciously damaged by the hacker, resulting in the loss of data and backups. Its [sic] confirmed that the recharge system was also hacked the same way. We were forced to make this difficult decision due to the loss of important data that made the service unrecoverable." Operated largely out of China, 911 was an enormously popular service across many cybercrime forums, and it became something akin to critical infrastructure for this community after two of 911's longtime competitors — malware-based proxy services VIP72 and LuxSock — closed their doors in the past year... 911 wasn't the only major proxy provider disclosing a breach this week tied to unauthenticated APIs: On July 28, KrebsOnSecurity reported that internal APIs exposed to the web had leaked the customer database for Microleaves, a proxy service that rotates its customers' IP addresses every five to ten minutes. That investigation showed Microleaves — like 911 — had a long history of using pay-per-install schemes to spread its proxy software.

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