Jan 18 11:11am
Thousands of screens across the U.S. are participating with National Popcorn Day discounts. Here is where to satisfy your popcorn cravings.
Jan 17 8:40am
“We’d like to thank Will for his contributions on and off of the field during his time at the club. We wish him all the best in the future,” the Rapids said.
Jan 13 7:23pm
Lakewood Police said investigators were able to follow tire tracks in the snow from a second crash scene to Chain Reaction Records, which was heavily damaged.
Jan 12 4:36am
A Wind Chill Watch is in effect for Denver and the eastern plains from Midnight Friday through 11am Tuesday for winds chills as low as 30 below zero.
Jan 11 8:11pm
Nearly 7,000 words in the State of the State and not 1 about the migrant crisis. - A week after sweeping the Zuni/Speer encampment, another one is growing to take its place. - And a law meant to expand access to insurance information has the opposite result.
Jan 11 5:06am
Single digits and sub-zero readings will be common with light snow for the plains and much heavier snow for the high country.
Jan 8 8:55pm
Past heads of Colorado Republican Party blast current leader as unethical. - Republicans prepare for 3 wild House primaries. - Do landlords have to provide heat?
Jan 8 5:12pm
Interstate 70 is closed east of Denver to the Kansas state line due to weather conditions.
Jan 8 3:28pm
I’m 9NEWS reporter Steve Staeger. I’m taking on a new beat here – consumer investigator. My job is to look into everything that involves your wallet and your money. And I can’t do my job – without input from you.
Jan 4 8:44pm
Police said the person was struck near East 48th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard Thursday evening.
Jan 3 6:00pm
El campamento para personas sin hogar en Speer Boulevard y Zuni Street está lleno de cientos de migrantes que ya no son elegibles para vivir en refugios.
Jan 1 5:56pm
The Next team highlights some of the most interesting and inspiring people we met over the last year.
Jan 1 4:32am
However, several systems moving through the forecast area will have varying effects on our weather this week.
Dec 31 10:52pm
We asked people celebrating in downtown Denver to look back on the highlights of the past 12 months.
Dec 31 11:17am
We are tracking a rather gray finish to 2023 with brighter conditions as we head into 2024!
Dec 29 9:21pm
The Aurora Police Department said the shooting happened just after 7 p.m. outside a home in the 1000 block of Emporia Street.
Dec 29 12:44pm
Two passengers died when a vehicle went airborne off Interstate 76 and hit an electrical transformer box, police said.
Dec 28 12:14pm
Potting up cuttings from plants you already have can save you money when it comes time to buy plants for the spring and summer.
Dec 26 6:04pm
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) reintroduced 10 wolves last week, which were captured in Oregon. Going forward, CPW hopes to find sources other than Oregon.
Dec 23 5:18pm
Rain and snow showers develop Saturday evening, changing to scattered snow showers by Sunday morning.
Dec 23 7:04am
The snow will be heavy at times in the mountains today, while the snow develops in the Denver area after about 7 p.m.
Dec 22 9:58pm
The warm weather has moved out, making way for a chilly Saturday afternoon, then scattered snow showers Sunday.
Dec 22 8:11pm
Two ranching organizations filed a federal lawsuit to halt gray wolf reintroduction. After Colorado reintroduced wolves, the plaintiffs dismissed their lawsuit.
Dec 19 10:28am
Colorado is running out of "970" phone numbers, so eventually, new phones registered in northern and western Colorado will get a new area code.
Dec 19 10:17am
House Bill 21-1162 prohibits stores and retail food establishments from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
Dec 18 6:40am
The ramp will help with access to a master-planned community that will expand the eastern Denver metro area.
Dec 15 8:37pm
Diana Freyta told Dr. Fabio Grassia she just wants to sing to her kids on Christmas, so he devised a plan to have her sing while he removed a tumor from her brain.
Jun 16 2:19pm
The United States would like a face-to-face meeting with Iran to discuss prisoner releases and it wants the U.N. Security Council to impose an indefinite arms embargo on the Islamic Republic, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday.
Jun 16 12:55pm
Turkey angrily accused France on Tuesday of exacerbating the crisis in Libya and violating U.N. and NATO decisions by supporting the forces of Khalifa Haftar against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Slashdot Apr 16 2:41pm
Creating a sexually explicit "deepfake" image is to be made an offence under a new law in the UK, the Ministry of Justice has announced. The Guardian: Under the legislation, anyone who creates such an image without consent will face a criminal record and an unlimited fine. They could also face jail if the image is shared more widely. The creation of a deepfake image will be an offence regardless of whether the creator intended to share it, the department said. The Online Safety Act, introduced last year, has already criminalised the sharing of deepfake intimate images, whose creation is being facilitated by advances in artificial intelligence. The offence will be introduced through an amendment to the criminal justice bill, which is making its way through parliament. Laura Farris, the minister for victims and safeguarding, said the creation of deepfake sexual images was "unacceptable irrespective of whether the image is shared."

Apr 13 2:34pm
An anonymous reader shared this report from BleepingComputer: Researchers have demonstrated the "first native Spectre v2 exploit" for a new speculative execution side-channel flaw that impacts Linux systems running on many modern Intel processors. Spectre V2 is a new variant of the original Spectre attack discovered by a team of researchers at the VUSec group from VU Amsterdam. The researchers also released a tool that uses symbolic execution to identify exploitable code segments within the Linux kernel to help with mitigation. The new finding underscores the challenges in balancing performance optimization with security, which makes addressing fundamental CPU flaws complicated even six years after the discovery of the original Spectre.... As the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) disclosed yesterday, the new flaw, tracked as CVE-2024-2201, allows unauthenticated attackers to read arbitrary memory data by leveraging speculative execution, bypassing present security mechanisms designed to isolate privilege levels. "An unauthenticated attacker can exploit this vulnerability to leak privileged memory from the CPU by speculatively jumping to a chosen gadget," reads the CERT/CC announcement. "Current research shows that existing mitigation techniques of disabling privileged eBPF and enabling (Fine)IBT are insufficient in stopping BHI exploitation against the kernel/hypervisor." "For a complete list of impacted Intel processors to the various speculative execution side-channel flaws, check this page updated by the vendor."

Apr 12 5:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google says it will start removing links to California news websites in a "short term test for a small percentage of California users." The move is in response to the pending California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), which would require Google to pay a fee for linking Californians to news articles. "If passed, CJPA may result in significant changes to the services we can offer Californians and the traffic we can provide to California publishers," Jaffer Zaidi, Google VP of global news partnerships, wrote in a blog post announcing the decision. "The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience." Zaidi adds that Google will also pause "further investments in the California news ecosystem," referring to initiatives like Google News Showcase, product and licensing programs for news organizations, and the Google News Initiative. A study (PDF) conducted in 2023 estimates that Google would owe U.S. publishers around $10 to 12 billion annually if the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a national bill, is passed.

Apr 12 2:21pm
Adobe has begun to procure videos to build its AI text-to-video generator, trying to catch up to competitors after OpenAI demonstrated a similar technology. From a report: The software company is offering its network of photographers and artists $120 to submit videos of people engaged in everyday actions such as walking or expressing emotions including joy and anger, according to documents seen by Bloomberg. The goal is to source assets for artificial intelligence training, the company wrote. Over the past year, Adobe has focused on adding generative AI features to its portfolio of software for creative professionals, including Photoshop and Illustrator. [...] Adobe is requesting more than 100 short clips of people engaged in actions and showing emotions as well as simple anatomy shots of feet, hands or eyes. The company also wants video of people "interacting with objects" such as smartphones or fitness equipment. It cautions against providing copyrighted material, nudity or other "offensive content." Pay for the submission works out, on average, to about $2.62 per minute of submitted video, although it could be as much as about $7.25 per minute.

Apr 12 1:01pm
Apple on Friday lost a bid to throw out a mass lawsuit valued at just under $1 billion, brought in London on behalf of more than 1,500 app developers over its App Store fees. Reuters: The case, worth up to 785 million pounds ($979 million) and one of several faced by the U.S. tech giant in the United Kingdom, alleges Apple charged third-party developers unfair commissions of up to 30% on purchases of apps or other content. Sean Ennis, a competition law professor and economist, is spearheading the case which was filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) last year. His lawyers say Apple has abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of apps on iPhones and other Apple devices and are seeking damages for UK-based developers. Apple, however, says 85% of developers on its App Store do not pay any commission at all.

Apr 12 4:00am
Scientists from Oxford University Physics have developed a breakthrough in cloud-based quantum computing that could allow it to be harnessed by millions of individuals and companies. The findings have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Phys.Org reports: In the new study, the researchers use an approach dubbed "blind quantum computing," which connects two totally separate quantum computing entities -- potentially an individual at home or in an office accessing a cloud server -- in a completely secure way. Importantly, their new methods could be scaled up to large quantum computations. "Using blind quantum computing, clients can access remote quantum computers to process confidential data with secret algorithms and even verify the results are correct, without revealing any useful information. Realizing this concept is a big step forward in both quantum computing and keeping our information safe online," said study lead Dr. Peter Drmota, of Oxford University Physics. The researchers created a system comprising a fiber network link between a quantum computing server and a simple device detecting photons, or particles of light, at an independent computer remotely accessing its cloud services. This allows so-called blind quantum computing over a network. Every computation incurs a correction that must be applied to all that follow and needs real-time information to comply with the algorithm. The researchers used a unique combination of quantum memory and photons to achieve this. The results could ultimately lead to commercial development of devices to plug into laptops, to safeguard data when people are using quantum cloud computing services. "We have shown for the first time that quantum computing in the cloud can be accessed in a scalable, practical way which will also give people complete security and privacy of data, plus the ability to verify its authenticity," said Professor David Lucas, who co-heads the Oxford University Physics research team and is lead scientist at the UK Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub, led from Oxford University Physics.

Apr 11 8:02pm
Amanda Hoover reports via Wired: Students have submitted more than 22 million papers that may have used generative AI in the past year, new data released by plagiarism detection company Turnitin shows. A year ago, Turnitin rolled out an AI writing detection tool that was trained on its trove of papers written by students as well as other AI-generated texts. Since then, more than 200 million papers have been reviewed by the detector, predominantly written by high school and college students. Turnitin found that 11 percent may contain AI-written language in 20 percent of its content, with 3 percent of the total papers reviewed getting flagged for having 80 percent or more AI writing. Turnitin says its detector has a false positive rate of less than 1 percent when analyzing full documents.

Apr 11 10:46am
Computational scientist and mathematician Avi Wigderson of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton has won the 2023 A.M. Turing Award. From a report: The prize, which is given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to a computer scientist for their contributions to the field, comes with $1 million thanks to Google. It is named in honor of the British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped develop a theoretical foundation for understanding machine computation. Wigderson is being honored "for foundational contributions to the theory of computation, including reshaping our understanding of the role of randomness in computation and for his decades of intellectual leadership in theoretical computer science." He also won the prestigious Abel Prize in 2021 for his work in theoretical computer science -- the first person to be so doubly honored.

Apr 10 3:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: More books were called to be banned in 2023 across US schools and libraries than any other year on record, according to a new report from the American Library Association (ALA). Building on a surge that started in 2021, some 4,240 unique book titles were challenged last year -- a 65% increase from 2022, and the highest figure documented in over 20 years of tracking. Although the number of affected titles has grown dramatically, as groups increasingly target multiple books at once, overall censorship demands dropped slightly, down 2% to 1,247. Literature concerning race and gender was particularly contested, with autobiographical graphic novel Gender Queer named the most challenged library book of the year.

Apr 10 2:01pm
The Securities and Exchange Commission warned Uniswap on Wednesday that it intends to bring an enforcement action against the company, which is the leading platform for DeFi -- a segment of the crypto market where traders rely on computer protocols that act as automated market makers for exchanging various tokens. From a report: The warning came in the form of a so-called Wells Notice, which the SEC sends to a company prior to launching a formal lawsuit and which provides it a final opportunity to rebut any allegations. In this case, that process is likely to prove little more than a formality as the agency has reportedly been investigating Uniswap for some time, and is in the midst of a sweeping crackdown of the crypto industry.

Apr 10 8:20am
Privacy startup Proton already offers an email app, a VPN tool, cloud storage, a password manager, and a calendar app. In April 2022, Proton acquired SimpleLogin, an open-source product that generates email aliases to protect inboxes from spam and phishing. Today, Proton acquired Standard Notes, advancing its already strong commitment to the open-source community. From a report: Standard Notes is an open-source note-taking app, available on both mobile and desktop platforms, with a user base of over 300,000. [...] Proton founder and CEO Andy Yen makes a point of stating that Standard Notes will remain open-source, will continue to undergo independent audits, will continue to develop new features and updates, and that prices for the app/service will not change. Standard Notes has three tiers: Free, which includes 100MB of storage, offline access, and unlimited device sync; Productivity for $90 per year, which includes features like markdown, spreadsheets with advanced formulas, Daily Notebooks, and two-factor authentication; and Professional for $120 per year, which includes 100GB of cloud storage, sharing for up to five accounts, no file limit size, and more.

Apr 9 8:42am
More than 200 chemical plants across the country will be required to curb the toxic pollutants they release into the air [non-paywalled link] under a regulation announced by the Biden administration on Tuesday. From a report: The regulation is aimed at reducing the risk of cancer for people living near industrial sites. This is the first time in nearly two decades that the government has tightened limits on pollution from chemical plants. The new rule, from the Environmental Protection Agency, specifically targets ethylene oxide, which is used to sterilize medical devices, and chloroprene, which is used to make rubber in footwear. The E.P.A. has classified the two chemicals as likely carcinogens. They are considered a top health concern in an area of Louisiana so dense with petrochemical and refinery plants that it is known as Cancer Alley. Most of the facilities affected by the rule are in Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast as well as in the Ohio River Valley and West Virginia. Communities in proximity to the plants are often disproportionately Black or Latino and have elevated rates of cancer, respiratory problems and premature deaths.

Apr 8 8:30pm
Magnetic switches are emerging as a potential game-changer for mechanical keyboards. By using magnets instead of physical contacts, these switches allow users to adjust the actuation point of each key. While still a nascent technology lacking standardization, magnetic switches could bring a new level of customization to keyboards, TechCrunch writes.

Apr 8 5:00pm
Despite investing billions in new streaming services, media giants have failed to dethrone old favorites, according to Nielsen data. The 21-year-old legal drama "NCIS" tops the list, with viewers streaming 11.4 million episodes per week. Netflix dominates the top 10, with eight shows owing most of their viewership to the platform. Reruns from CBS and other networks make up the majority of the list, with "Stranger Things" being the only original series. "Nine of the 10 most-watched streaming programs are reruns. In addition to the three from CBS, there is one from YouTube (CoComelon), one from Canada (Heartland), one from Australia (Bluey) and Suits. The only original series to crack the list is Stranger Things," Bloomberg writes. However: "While reruns dominate the top 10, that is not the case overall. Most of the 100 most popular titles of the last three years are original series," it added.

Apr 6 9:34am
Slashdot reader Mononymous writes: The latest release of OpenBSD, the FOSS Unix-like operating system focused on correctness and security over features and performance, has been released. This version includes newer driver support, performance improvements, stability fixes, and lots of package updates. One highlight is a complete port of KDE Plasma 5. You can view the announcement and get the bits at OpenBSD.org. Phoronix reports that with OpenBSD 7.5 "there is a number of improvements for ARM (AArch64) hardware, never-ending kernel optimizations and other tuning work, countless package updates, and other adjustments to this popular BSD platform."

Apr 5 10:05am
AI will lead to many companies employing fewer people in the next five years, staffing provider Adecco Group said on Friday, in a new survey highlighting the upheaval AI will bring to the workplace. From a report: Some 41% of senior executives expect to have smaller workforces because of AI technology, Adecco said in a report based on a survey of executives at 2,000 large companies worldwide. Generative AI, which can create text, photos and videos in response to open-ended prompts, has spurred both hope it could eliminate repetitive tasks and fear it will make some jobs obsolete. [...] The Adecco survey is one of the largest into the AI topic, and follows a 2023 World Economic Forum study which said 25% of companies expected AI to trigger job losses, while 50% expected the technology to create new roles.

Apr 4 1:30pm
The Document Foundation: Following a successful pilot project, the northern German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided to move from Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office to Linux and LibreOffice (and other free and open source software) on the 30,000 PCs used in the local government. As reported on the homepage of the Minister-President: "Independent, sustainable, secure: Schleswig-Holstein will be a digital pioneer region and the first German state to introduce a digitally sovereign IT workplace in its state administration. With a cabinet decision to introduce the open-source software LibreOffice as the standard office solution across the board, the government has given the go-ahead for the first step towards complete digital sovereignty in the state, with further steps to follow."

Apr 2 11:25am
The White House plans to renew a push in April to convince Congress to extend an internet subsidy program used by 23 million American households just weeks before it runs out of money, officials said. From a report: In October, the White House asked for $6 billion to extend the program through December 2024, but Congress has not funded it, potentially putting millions of households at risk of losing their internet service. Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel told lawmakers in a letter that April is the last month participants will get the full subsidy, with partial subsidies in May. Congress previously allocated $17 billion to help lower-income families and people impacted by COVID-19 gain broadband access through a $30 per month voucher to use toward internet service. "We have come too far to allow this successful effort to promote internet access for all to end," Rosenworcel said on Tuesday. "Despite the breadth of this support and the urgent need to continue this program to ensure millions of households nationwide do not lose essential internet access, no additional funding has yet been appropriated."

Apr 1 6:40pm
Starting this week, Discord will show ads on the site from video game companies, some of which will offer users gifts for carrying out in-game tasks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Discord said users will be able to turn off the ads in their settings. From a report: The sources said Discord aims to hire more than a dozen ad sales people. WSJ said the addition of ads marks a pivot for Discord, whose CEO Jason Citron has repeatedly said the company would not rely on advertisers the way platforms like Facebook and Instagram do.

Apr 1 8:00am
Microsoft will introduce a new version of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscription service that excludes Teams, unbundling a suite following scrutiny from the European Union regulator and complaints from rival Slack. From a report: The move follows Microsoft agreeing to sell Office 365 suite sans Microsoft Teams offering in the EU and Switzerland last year. The company introduced Teams as a complimentary offering to the Office 365 suite in 2017. Microsoft has enjoyed an unfair advantage by coupling the two offerings, many businesses have argued. Slack, owned by Salesforce, termed the move "illegal" alleging that Microsoft forced installation of Teams to customers through its market-dominant productivity suite and hid the true cost of the chat and video service.

Mar 30 7:34pm
"After being in development since 2019, the huge NetBSD 10.0 is out today as a wonderful Easter surprise," reports Phoronix: NetBSD 10 provides WireGuard support, support for many newer Arm platforms including for Apple Silicon and newer Raspberry Pi boards, a new Intel Ethernet drive, support for Realtek 2.5GbE network adapters, SMP performance improvements, automatic swap encryption, and an enormous amount of other hardware support improvements that accumulated over the past 4+ years. Plus there is no shortage of bug fixes and performance optimizations with NetBSD 10. Some tests of NetBSD 10.0 in development back during 2020 showed at that point it was already 12% faster than NetBSD 9. "A lot of development went into this new release," NetBSD wrote on their blog, saying "This also caused the release announcement to be one of the longest we ever did." Among the new userspace programs is warp(6), which they describe as a "classic BSD space war game (copyright donated to the NetBSD Foundation by Larry Wall)."

Mar 30 11:34am
"Researchers have successfully transformed CO2 into methanol," reports SciTechDaily, "by shining sunlight on single atoms of copper deposited on a light-activated material, a discovery that paves the way for creating new green fuels." Tara LeMercier, a PhD student who carried out the experimental work at the University of Nottingham, School of Chemistry, said: "We measured the current generated by light and used it as a criterion to judge the quality of the catalyst. Even without copper, the new form of carbon nitride is 44 times more active than traditional carbon nitride. However, to our surprise, the addition of only 1 mg of copper per 1 g of carbon nitride quadrupled this efficiency. Most importantly the selectivity changed from methane, another greenhouse gas, to methanol, a valuable green fuel." Professor Andrei Khlobystov, School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, said: "Carbon dioxide valorization holds the key for achieving the net-zero ambition of the UK. It is vitally important to ensure the sustainability of our catalyst materials for this important reaction. A big advantage of the new catalyst is that it consists of sustainable elements — carbon, nitrogen, and copper — all highly abundant on our planet." This invention represents a significant step towards a deep understanding of photocatalytic materials in CO2 conversion. It opens a pathway for creating highly selective and tuneable catalysts where the desired product could be dialed up by controlling the catalyst at the nanoscale. "The research has been published in the Sustainable Energy & Fuels journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader Baron_Yam for sharing the article.

Mar 29 7:00pm
Google is preparing to introduce a significant change to its ChromeOS platform by decoupling the Chrome browser from the operating system, AndroidCentral writes. The project, known as "Lacros" (Linux And Chrome OS), aims to solve several issues, including the inability to receive browser updates after a Chromebook reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date. This change will allow users to install updates for the browser separately, potentially extending the lifespan of their devices and reducing e-waste. Additionally, Lacros will bring a consistent user experience across all platforms, including features like profile switching without the need to log out of accounts. Google has yet to announce the exact release date of the change, however, the report adds.

Mar 29 12:01pm
Abstract of a paper on Nature: Online media is important for society in informing and shaping opinions, hence raising the question of what drives online news consumption. Here we analyse the causal effect of negative and emotional words on news consumption using a large online dataset of viral news stories. Specifically, we conducted our analyses using a series of randomized controlled trials (N=22,743). Our dataset comprises ~105,000 different variations of news stories from Upworthy.com that generated 5.7 million clicks across more than 370 million overall impressions. Although positive words were slightly more prevalent than negative words, we found that negative words in news headlines increased consumption rates (and positive words decreased consumption rates). For a headline of average length, each additional negative word increased the click-through rate by 2.3%. Our results contribute to a better understanding of why users engage with online media.

Mar 29 10:40am
Algorithms might help hotels illegally collude on prices, even if no humans from those businesses actually talk to each other about them, according to US antitrust enforcers. From a report: The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission jointly submitted a statement of interest in Cornish-Adebiyi v. Caesars Entertainment, a case brought before the US District Court of New Jersey. The class action case was brought by New Jersey residents who rented rooms in Atlantic City hotels and alleged that several of those hotels engaged in an illegal price-fixing conspiracy through the use of a common pricing algorithm. The plaintiffs are trying to show that the hotels violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits "conspiracy in restraint of trade" and is used to prosecute illegal price-fixing. They say that the hotels allegedly used a pricing algorithm platform called Rainmaker, knowing that their competitors were also using the platform and choosing it for that reason. The agencies really care about how this issue is handled. "Judicial treatment of the use of algorithms in price fixing has tremendous practical importance," the DOJ and FTC write in their statement.

Mar 29 9:20am
The US has seen a significant increase in student absenteeism since the pandemic closed schools four years ago, with an estimated 26% of public school students considered chronically absent in the last school year, up from 15% before the pandemic, according to data from 40 states and Washington, D.C. A report adds: The increases have occurred in districts big and small, and across income and race. For districts in wealthier areas, chronic absenteeism rates have about doubled, to 19 percent in the 2022-23 school year from 10 percent before the pandemic, a New York Times analysis of the data found. Poor communities, which started with elevated rates of student absenteeism, are facing an even bigger crisis: Around 32 percent of students in the poorest districts were chronically absent in the 2022-23 school year, up from 19 percent before the pandemic. Even districts that reopened quickly during the pandemic, in fall 2020, have seen vast increases.

Mar 28 4:20pm
According to Bloomberg, the U.S. and U.K. are investigating more than $20 billion worth of USDT transactions that have passed through Garantex, a Russia-based crypto exchange. Milk Road reports: If confirmed, the $20 billion in transactions would represent one of the most significant breaches of the sanctions imposed on Russia since the conflict began. However, the sources cautioned that the inquiries are ongoing and that it is too early to draw conclusions given the complexity of crypto transactions. They also noted that there was no immediate suggestion of wrongdoing by Tether. Key points: - The transactions under scrutiny were conducted using Tether (USDT). - The US and UK sanctioned Garantex on suspicion of facilitating financial crimes and illicit transactions in Russia. - The $20 billion USDT transactions would represent one of the biggest breaches of sanctions imposed on Russia since the start of the war. - Tether froze assets of entities on the U.S. sanctions list.

Mar 28 3:40pm
Michael Larabel reports via Phoronix: Given the recent change by Redis to adopt dual source-available licensing for all their releases moving forward (Redis Source Available License v2 and Server Side Public License v1), the Linux Foundation announced today their fork of Redis. The Linux Foundation went public today with their intent to fork Valkey as an open-source alternative to the Redis in-memory store. Due to the Redis licensing changes, Valkey is forking from Redis 7.2.4 and will maintain a BSD 3-clause license. Google, AWS, Oracle, and others are helping form this new Valkey project. The Linux Foundation press release shares: "To continue improving on this important technology and allow for unfettered distribution of the project, the community created Valkey, an open source high performance key-value store. Valkey supports the Linux, macOS, OpenBSD, NetBSD, and FreeBSD platforms. In addition, the community will continue working on its existing roadmap including new features such as a more reliable slot migration, dramatic scalability and stability improvements to the clustering system, multi-threaded performance improvements, triggers, new commands, vector search support, and more. Industry participants, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Oracle, Ericsson, and Snap Inc. are supporting Valkey. They are focused on making contributions that support the long-term health and viability of the project so that everyone can benefit from it."

Mar 27 10:01am
The U.S. Air Force paid for a test version of an AI-powered chatbot to assist in intelligence and surveillance tasks as part of a $1.2 million deal, according to internal Air Force documents obtained by 404 Media. From the report: The news provides more insight into what military agencies are currently exploring using AI for, and comes as more AI companies eye the military space as a business opportunity. OpenAI, for instance, quietly removed language that expressly prohibited its technology for military purposes in January. "Edge Al Platform for Space and Unmanned Aerial Imagery Intelligence," a section of one of the documents reads. The contract is between the Air Force and a company called Misram LLC, which also operates under the name Spectronn. Included in a "milestone schedule" explaining the specifics of the deal are the items "ISR chatbot design" and "ISR chatbot software." ISR refers to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, a common military term. Other items in the schedule include "data ingestion tool" and "data visualization tool." 404 Media obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Air Force. On its website, Spectronn advertises an "AI Digital Assistant for Analytics." It says the bot can take data such as images and videos, and then answer plain English questions about that information. "Current analytics dashboard solutions are complex and not human-friendly. It leads to severe latency (from hours to days), cognitive load on the data analyst, false alarms, and frustrated decision makers or end-users," it reads.

Mar 25 11:10am
Atlas VPN informed customers on Monday that it will discontinue its services on April 24, citing technological demands, market competition, and escalating costs as key factors in the decision. The company said it will transfer its paid subscribers to its sister company, NordVPN, for the remainder of their subscription period to ensure uninterrupted VPN services.

Mar 22 3:20pm
DOJ, in the court filing (PDF): Many prominent, well-financed companies have tried and failed to successfully enter the relevant markets because of these entry barriers. Past failures include Amazon (which released its Fire mobile phone in 2014 but could not profitably sustain its business and exited the following year); Microsoft (which discontinued its mobile business in 2017); HTC (which exited the market by selling its smartphone business to Google in September 2017); and LG (which exited the smartphone market in 2021). Today, only Samsung and Google remain as meaningful competitors in the U.S. performance smartphone market. Barriers are so high that Google is a distant third to Apple and Samsung despite the fact that Google controls development of the Android operating system.

Mar 22 2:01pm
Search Engine Land: Google is now testing AI overviews in the main Google Search results, even if you have not opted into the Google Search Generative Experience labs feature. Google said this is an experience on a "subset of queries, on a small percentage of search traffic in the U.S.," a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

Mar 22 10:01am
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Monday, the Biden administration announced that six new countries had joined an international coalition to fight the proliferation of commercial spyware, sold by companies such as NSO Group or Intellexa. Now, some investors have announced that they too are committed to fighting spyware. But at least one of those investors, Paladin Capital Group, has previously invested in a company that developed malware, according to a leaked 2021-dated slide deck obtained by TechCrunch, although the firm tells TechCrunch it "got out" of the firm some time ago. In the last couple of years, the U.S. government has led an effort to limit or at least restrain the use of spyware across the world by putting surveillance tech makers like NSO Group, Candiru, and Intellexa on blocklists, as well as imposing export controls on those companies and visa restrictions on people involved in the industry. More recently, the government has imposed economic sanctions not only on companies, but also directly on the executive who founded Intellexa. These actions have put others in the spyware industry on alert. In a call with reporters on Monday that TechCrunch attended, a senior Biden administration official said that a representative from Paladin participated in meetings at the White House on March 7, as well as this week in Seoul, where governments gathered for the Summit for Democracy to discuss spyware. Paladin, one of the biggest investors in cybersecurity startups, and several other venture firms published a set of voluntary investment principles, noting that they would invest in companies that "enhance the defense, national security, and foreign policy interests of free and open societies." "For us, it was an important first step in having an investor outline both recognition that investments should not be going towards companies that are undertaking selling products, and selling to clients that can undermine free and fair societies," the senior administration official said in the call, where journalists agreed not to quote the officials by name.

Mar 21 4:00am
prisoninmate shares a report from 9to5Linux: Dubbed "Kathmandu" after the host city of the GNOME.Asia 2023 conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, the GNOME 46 desktop environment is here to introduce major new features like headless remote desktop support that lets you connect to your GNOME system remotely without there being an existing session. While experimental, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support is another major new feature in GNOME 46, which will allow you to change the variable refresh rate of your monitor from the GNOME Settings app in the Displays section. Talking about GNOME Settings, the GNOME 46 release brings a new System panel that incorporates the Region, Language, Date, Time, Users, Remote Desktop, and About panels, as well as new Secure Shell settings. Check out the release notes and the official release video here. GNOME 46 will be available shortly in many distributions, such as Fedora 40 and Ubuntu 24.04. You can try it today by looking for a beta release here.

Mar 20 8:02pm
sinij shares a report from the New York Post: The Biden administration finalized its crackdown on gas cars Wednesday, with the Environmental Protection Agency announcing drastic climate regulations meant to ensure more than two-thirds of passenger cars and light trucks sold by 2032 are electric or hybrid vehicles. The EPA rule imposes strict limits on tailpipe pollution, limits the agency says can be met if 56% of new vehicles sold in the US are electric by eight years from now, along with 13% that are plug-in hybrids or other partially electric cars. That would be a huge increase over current EV sales, which rose to 7.6% of new vehicle sales last year, up from 5.8% in 2022. [...] The new rule slows implementation of stricter pollution standards from 2027 through 2029, before ramping up to near the level the EPA preferred by 2032. "Personal car ownership is about to get A LOT more expensive as it will have to carry the costs of deep discounts to entice EV sales," adds Slashdot reader sinij.

Mar 20 4:00pm
samleecole writes: Last month, the surveillance company Flock Safety published a study and press release claiming that its automated license plate readers (ALPR) are "instrumental in solving 10 percent of reported crime in the U.S." The study was done by Flock employees, and given legitimacy with the "oversight" of two academic researchers whose names are also on the paper. Now, one of those researchers has told 404 Media that "I personally would have done things much differently" than the Flock researchers did. The researcher, Johnny Nhan of Texas Christian University, said that he has pivoted future research on Flock because he found "the information that is collected by the police departments are too varied and incomplete for us to do any type of meaningful statistical analysis on them." Flock is one of the largest vendors of ALPR cameras and other surveillance technologies, and is partially responsible for the widespread proliferation of this technology. It markets its cameras to law enforcement, homeowners associations, property managers, schools, and businesses. It regularly publishes in-house case studies and white papers that it says shows Flock is instrumental in solving and reducing crime, then uses those studies to market its products.

Mar 20 12:40pm
Major U.S. broadband internet providers must start displaying information similar to nutrition labels on food products to help consumers shop for services starting on April 10, under new rules from the Federal Communications Commission. From a report: Verizon Communications said it will begin providing the labels on Wednesday. The FCC first moved to mandate the labels in 2022. Smaller providers will be required to provide labels starting in October. The rules require broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels that show prices, speeds, fees and data allowances for both wireless and wired products. Verizon Chief Customer Experience Officer Brian Higgins said in an interview the labels will help consumers make "an equal comparison" between product offerings, speeds and fees. Higgins said standardized labels across the industry "make it easier for customers to do a comparison of which provider is going to be the best fit for their needs." He said customers will still need to research various bundling offers across carriers. The labels were first unveiled as a voluntary program in 2016. Congress ordered the FCC to mandate them under the 2021 infrastructure law. "Consumers will finally get information they can use to comparison shop, avoid junk fees, and make informed choices about which high-speed internet service is the best fit for their needs and budget," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said.

Mar 20 11:20am
The abstract of a new paper published on Journal of Financial Economics: We study aggregate lapsation risk in the life insurance sector. We construct two lapsation risk factors that explain a large fraction of the common variation in lapse rates of the 30 largest life insurance companies. The first is a cyclical factor that is positively correlated with credit spreads and unemployment, while the second factor is a trend factor that correlates with the level of interest rates. Using a novel policy-level database from a large life insurer, we examine the heterogeneity in risk factor exposures based on policy and policyholder characteristics. Young policyholders with higher health risk in low-income areas are more likely to lapse their policies during economic downturns. We explore the implications for hedging and valuation of life insurance contracts. Ignoring aggregate lapsation risk results in mispricing of life insurance policies. The calibrated model points to overpricing on average. In the cross-section, young, low-income, and high-health risk households face higher effective mark-ups than the old, high-income, and healthy.

Mar 19 12:40pm
A man has been sentenced for cyber flashing in England for the first time. From a report: Nicholas Hawkes, 39, from Basildon in Essex, was jailed for 66 weeks at Southend Crown Court today after he sent unsolicited photos of his erect penis to a 15-year-old girl and a woman on 9 February. The older victim took screenshots of the offending image on WhatsApp and reported Hawkes to the police the same day. Cyber flashing became a criminal offence in England with the passage of the Online Safety Act on 31 January. It has been a crime in Scotland since 2010. The offence covers the sending of an unsolicited sexual image to people via social media, dating apps, text message or data-sharing services such as Bluetooth and AirDrop. Victims of cyber flashing get lifelong anonymity from the time they report the offence, as it also falls under the Sexual Offences Act.

Mar 14 10:10am
Damage to at least three subsea cables off the west coast of Africa is disrupting internet services across the continent. From a report: The West Africa Cable System, MainOne and ACE sea cables -- arteries for telecommunications data -- were all affected on Thursday, triggering outages and connectivity issues for mobile operators and internet service providers, according to data from internet analysis firms including NetBlocks, Kentik and Cloudflare. The cause of the cable faults has not yet been determined. Data show a major disruption to connectivity in eight West African countries, with Ivory Coast, Liberia and Benin being the most affected, NetBlocks, an internet watchdog, said in a post on X. Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are among other countries impacted. Several companies have also reported service disruptions in South Africa. "This is a devastating blow to internet connectivity along the west coast of Africa, which will be operating in a degraded state for weeks to come," said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis firm Kentik. The cable faults off the Ivory Coast come less than a month after three telecommunications cables were severed in the Red Sea, highlighting the vulnerability of critical communications infrastructure.

Mar 14 8:41am
A judge in the UK High Court has declared that Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, marking the end of a years-long debate. From a report: "The evidence is overwhelming," said Honourable Mr. Justice James Mellor, delivering a surprise ruling at the close of the trial. "Dr. Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin white paper. Dr. Wright is not the person that operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Dr. Wright is not the person that created the Bitcoin system. Nor is Dr. Wright the author of the Bitcoin software," he said. The ruling brings to a close a six-week trial, in which the Crypto Open Patent Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of crypto companies, asked the court to declare that Wright is not Satoshi on the basis that he had allegedly fabricated his evidence and contorted his story repeatedly as new inconsistencies came to light. "After all the evidence in this remarkable trial, it is clear beyond doubt that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto," claimed Jonathan Hough, legal counsel for COPA, as he began his closing submissions on Tuesday. "Wright has lied, and lied, and lied."

Mar 13 4:40pm
Roman Sterlingov, the founder of a $400 million crypto-mixing service called Bitcoin Fog, has been convicted of money laundering in a United State District Court on Tuesday. Other charges include money laundering conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and violations of the D.C. Money Transmitters Act. CoinTelegraph reports: Sterlingov, however, had argued throughout the trial that he was only a user of the service, and not its operator. His attorney, Tok Ekeland said in a March 12 X post that his team will appeal the verdict. According to evidence presented at the trial, Sterlingov operated Bitcoin Fog from October 2011 to April 2021, which acted as a money laundering service for "criminals seeking to hide their illicit proceeds from law enforcement." The service moved over 1.2 million Bitcoin over the decade-long operation -- worth $400 million at the time of the transactions -- with the bulk of cryptocurrency coming from darknet marketplaces tied to narcotics, computer fraud abuse and identity theft, the government said. Bitcoin Fog also served distributors of child sexual abuse material. Evidence used to convict Sterlingov found that the "vast majority" of crypto deposited to his crypto exchange accounts came from "Bitcoin clusters" associated with Bitcoin Fog. "Evidence presented at trial clearly showed that the defendant laundered hundreds of millions of illicit funds from the dark web through Bitcoin Fog in an attempt to conceal the origin of those funds," said Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee.

Mar 13 10:00am
Rates of more than a dozen cancers are increasing among adults under 50 worldwide, with the number of early-onset cancer cases predicted to rise by around 30% between 2019 and 2030. Investigators are searching for explanations, considering factors such as obesity, early-cancer screening, gut microbiome, and tumor genomes. Despite increased screening and awareness, mortality from early-onset cancers has risen by nearly 28% between 1990 and 2019 globally.

Mar 12 11:22am
None of the big oil and gas producers surrounding the North Sea plan to stop drilling soon enough to meet the 1.5C (2.7F) global heating target, a report has found. From a report: The five countries -- the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark -- have failed to align their oil and gas policies with their climate promises under the Paris agreement, according to the campaign group Oil Change International. North Sea governments must act urgently, said Silje Ask Lundberg from Oil Change International, who co-wrote the report. "Failure to address these issues not only undermines international climate goals, but also jeopardises the liveability of our planet." The report found that policies in Norway and the UK were furthest from the Paris climate agreement because the countries were "aggressively" exploring and licensing new oil and gas fields. In 2021, the International Energy Agency found there was no room for new oil exploration in its pathway to net zero emissions.

Mar 10 8:34am
Slashdot reader ArchieBunker shared this article from NBC News: Exposure to leaded gasoline lowered the IQ of about half the population of the United States, a new study estimates. The peer-reviewed study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on people born before 1996 — the year the U.S. banned gas containing lead. Overall, the researchers from Florida State University and Duke University found, childhood lead exposure cost America an estimated 824 million points, or 2.6 points per person on average. Certain cohorts were more affected than others. For people born in the 1960s and the 1970s, when leaded gas consumption was skyrocketing, the IQ loss was estimated to be up to 6 points and for some, more than 7 points. Exposure to it came primarily from inhaling auto exhaust. "Lead is a neurotoxin, and no amount of it is safe.

Mar 8 1:41pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Dario Amodei, chief executive of the high-profile A.I. start-up Anthropic, told Congress last year that new A.I. technology could soon help unskilled but malevolent people create large-scale biological attacks, such as the release of viruses or toxic substances that cause widespread disease and death. Senators from both parties were alarmed, while A.I. researchers in industry and academia debated how serious the threat might be. Now, over 90 biologists and other scientists who specialize in A.I. technologies used to design new proteins -- the microscopic mechanisms that drive all creations in biology -- have signed an agreement that seeks to ensure that their A.I.-aided research will move forward without exposing the world to serious harm. The biologists, who include the Nobel laureate Frances Arnold and represent labs in the United States and other countries, also argued that the latest technologies would have far more benefits than negatives, including new vaccines and medicines. "As scientists engaged in this work, we believe the benefits of current A.I. technologies for protein design far outweigh the potential for harm, and we would like to ensure our research remains beneficial for all going forward," the agreement reads. The agreement does not seek to suppress the development or distribution of A.I. technologies. Instead, the biologists aim to regulate the use of equipment needed to manufacture new genetic material. This DNA manufacturing equipment is ultimately what allows for the development of bioweapons, said David Baker, the director of the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington, who helped shepherd the agreement.

Mar 8 11:40am
Epic Games, in a blog post: Apple has told us and committed to the European Commission that they will reinstate our developer account. This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable. We are moving forward as planned to launch the Epic Games Store and bring Fortnite back to iOS in Europe. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney adds: The DMA went through its first major challenge with Apple banning Epic Games Sweden from competing with the App Store, and the DMA just had its first major victory. Following a swift inquiry by the European Commission, Apple notified the Commission and Epic that it would relent and restore our access to bring back Fortnite and launch Epic Games Store in Europe under the DMA law.

Mar 7 8:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Doctors have warned of potentially life-threatening effects from plastic pollution after finding a substantially raised risk of stroke, heart attack and earlier death in people whose blood vessels were contaminated with microscopic plastics. Researchers in Naples examined fatty plaques removed from the blood vessels of patients with arterial disease and found that more than half had deposits contaminated with tiny particles of polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Those whose plaques contained microplastics or nanoplastics were nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or death from any cause over the following 34 months, compared with those whose plaques were free from plastic contamination. The findings do not prove that plastic particles drive strokes and heart attacks -- people who are more exposed to the pollution may be at greater risk for other reasons -- but research on animals and human cells suggests the particles may be to blame. [...] Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors describe how they analyzed fatty plaques removed from 304 patients with atherosclerosis affecting the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels that supply blood to the neck, face and brain. The disease causes a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which substantially raises the risk of stroke. The plaques can be removed by a procedure called carotid endarterectomy. Lab tests on the extracted plaques revealed polyethylene in 150 patients and polyvinyl chloride in 31, alongside signs of inflammation. On examination under an electron microscope, the researchers spotted jagged foreign particles in the fatty deposits, most less than a thousandth of a millimeter across. The doctors followed 257 of the patients for an average of 34 months after they had carotid plaques removed. Those who had plastic particles in their plaques were 4.5 times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, or to die from any cause, than those whose plaques were free from plastic pollution. "People must become aware of the risks we are taking with our lifestyle," said Dr Raffaele Marfella, first author on the study at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Naples. "I hope the alarm message from our study will raise the consciousness of citizens, especially governments, to finally become aware of the importance of the health of our planet. To put it in a slogan that can unite the need for health for humans and the planet, plastic-free is healthy for the heart and the Earth."

Mar 7 6:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A group of US lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require Chinese tech giant ByteDance to sell off the popular video-sharing TikTok app within six months or face a ban. For years American officials have raised concerns that data from the app could fall into the hands of the Chinese government. A bipartisan set of 19 lawmakers introduced the legislation on Tuesday. TikTok called the bill a disguised "outright ban." In a statement announcing the bill, the lawmakers said "applications like TikTok that are controlled by foreign adversaries pose an unacceptable risk to US national security." The bill would give ByteDance 165 days to divest, or it would be blocked from the app store and web hosting platforms in the US. TikTok has previously argued against divestment, saying a change in ownership would not impose new restrictions on data use. [...] The House Energy and Commerce Committee said it would consider the latest bill on Thursday. "This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs," TikTok said in a statement to the BBC. Former President Donald Trump attempted to completely ban TikTok in 2020, but that was unsuccessful. More recently, a group of senators introduced legislation to block TikTok last year, but it was stalled due to lobbying from the company.

Mar 6 6:40pm
dcblogs writes: A recent study in the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that companies are quietly adapting to rising temperatures by shifting operations from hotter to cooler locations. The researchers analyzed data from 50,000 companies between 2009 and 2020. "To illustrate the economic impact, the researchers found that when a company with equal employment across two counties experiences a heat shock in one county, there is a subsequent 0.7% increase in employment growth in the unaffected county over a three-year horizon," reports TechTarget. "The finding is significant, given that the mean employment growth for the sample of businesses in the study is 2.4%." Heat shocks are characterized by their severe impact on health, energy grids, and increased fire risks, influencing companies with multiple locations to reconsider their geographical distribution of operations. Despite this trend, states like Arizona and Nevada, which have some of the highest heat-related death tolls, continue to experience rapid business expansion. Experts believe that factors such as labor pool, taxes, and regulations still outweigh environmental climate risks when it comes to business site selection. But heat associated deaths are on the rise. In the Phoenix area alone, it experienced 425 heat related deaths in 2022 and a similar number in 2023 -- record highs for this region. The study suggests that the implications of climate change on business operations are becoming more apparent. Companies are beginning to evaluate climate risks as part of their regular risk assessment process.

Mar 5 11:00am
Google announced updates to its search ranking systems aimed at promoting high-quality content and demoting manipulative or low-effort material, including content generated by AI solely to summarize other sources. The company also stated it is improving its ability to detect and combat tactics used to deceive its ranking algorithms.

Mar 4 4:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Jack Teixeira, the National Guard airman who leaked confidential military documents on Discord, agreed Monday to plead guilty, promising to cooperate with officials attempting to trace the full extent of government secrets leaked. Under the plea deal, Teixeira will serve a much-reduced sentence, The Boston Globe reported, recommended between 11 years and 16 years and eight months. Previously, Teixeira had pleaded not guilty to six counts of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information," potentially facing up to 10 years per count. During a pretrial hearing, prosecutors suggested he could face up to 25 years, The Globe reported. By taking the deal, Teixeira will also avoid being charged with violations of the Espionage Act, The New York Times reported, including allegations of unlawful gathering and unauthorized removal of top-secret military documents. According to prosecutors, it was clear that Teixeira, 22, was leaking sensitive documents -- including national security secrets tied to US foreign adversaries and allies, including Russia, China, Ukraine, and South Korea -- just to impress his friends on Discord -- some of them teenage boys. Investigators found no evidence of espionage. US District Judge Indira Talwani will decide whether or not to sign off on the deal at a hearing scheduled for September 27.

Mar 4 3:30pm
Longtime Slashdot reader jmv writes: After more than two years of work, Opus 1.5 is out. It brings many new features that can improve quality and the general audio experience through machine learning, while maintaining fully-compatibility with previous releases. See this release page demonstrating all the new features, including: Significant improvement to packet loss robustness using Deep Redundancy (DRED)Improved packet loss concealment through Deep PLCLow-bitrate speech quality enhancement down to 6 kb/s widebandImproved x86 (AVX2) and Arm (Neon) optimizationsSupport for 4th and 5th order ambisonics

Mar 4 2:50pm
ZipK writes: Cord Cutters New reports that Roku has rolled out new terms of service that require users to accept individual arbitration. To gain acceptance, Roku devices pop up a dialog box that can only be dismissed if you accept the new terms or turn off your Roku and stop using it. As expected, much discussion has ensued in the Roku community. Per the Roku Dispute Resolution Terms, users can opt out within 30 days of being subject to the new terms by sending a surface mail request to General Counsel, Roku Inc., 1701 Junction Court, Suite 100, San Jose, CA 95112. One poster in the community forum noted that the effective date of the change was Feb 20th, which may shorten the 30 day period for opting out. Longtime Slashdot reader blastard also shared the news.

Mar 4 10:20am
Gartner: By 2026, traditional search engine volume will drop 25%, with search marketing losing market share to AI chatbots and other virtual agents, according to Gartner. "Organic and paid search are vital channels for tech marketers seeking to reach awareness and demand generation goals," said Alan Antin, Vice President Analyst at Gartner. "Generative AI (GenAI) solutions are becoming substitute answer engines, replacing user queries that previously may have been executed in traditional search engines. This will force companies to rethink their marketing channels strategy as GenAI becomes more embedded across all aspects of the enterprise." With GenAI driving down the cost of producing content, there is an impact around activities including keyword strategy and website domain authority scoring. Search engine algorithms will further value the quality of content to offset the sheer amount of AI-generated content, as content utility and quality still reigns supreme for success in organic search results. There will also be a greater emphasis placed on watermarking and other means to authenticate high-value content. Government regulations across the globe are already holding companies accountable as they begin to require the identification of marketing content assets that AI creates. This will likely play a role in how search engines will display such digital content.

Mar 2 12:34pm
You know how like-charged objects repel — and do so regardless of the sign of their electrical charge? Maybe not always, according to new research published in Nature. "We demonstrate experimentally that the solvent plays a hitherto unforeseen but crucial role in interparticle interactions," they write. But more importantly, "interactions in the fluid phase can break charge-reversal symmetry. We show that in aqueous solution, negatively charged particles can attract at long range while positively charged particles repel. [In solvents like alcohols "that exhibit an inversion of the net molecular dipole at an interface"], positively charged particles may attract whereas negatives repel. The observations hold across a wide variety of surface chemistries: from inorganic silica and polymeric particles to polyelectrolyte- and polypeptide-coated surfaces in aqueous solution. A theory of interparticle interactions that invokes solvent structuring at an interface captures the observations. Our study establishes a nanoscopic interfacial mechanism by which solvent molecules may give rise to a strong and long-ranged force in solution, with immediate ramifications for a range of particulate and molecular processes across length scales such as self-assembly, gelation and crystallization, biomolecular condensation, coacervation, and phase segregation. The delicate interplay of interactions between objects in the fluid phase influences the behaviour, organization and properties of systems from nanometric to more macroscopic size and length scales and thus underpins a wealth of natural phenomena... Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader Greymane for sharing the article.

Feb 29 2:22pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Google is introducing improvements to search suggestions in Chrome, the company announced today. As part of the changes, users will start to get more helpful search suggestions in Chrome based on what others are searching for, see more images for suggested searches and find search suggestions even with a poor connection. Search suggestions are the drop-down list of suggested completions that appear before you finish typing out your query in Google. The feature generates predictions to help users save time and speed up their search. With these new updates, Google is expanding the availability of search suggestions and using them to boost inspiration. When users are signed into Chrome on desktop and open a new tab, they will now start to see suggestions in the search box related to their previous searches based on what other people are searching for.

Feb 28 6:01pm
Michael Larabel reports via Phoronix: Back in 2022 Cloudflare announced they were ditching Nginx for an in-house, Rust-written software called Pingora. Today Cloudflare is open-sourcing the Pingora framework. Cloudflare announced today that they have open-sourced Pingora under an Apache 2.0 license. Pingora is a Rust async multi-threaded framework for building programmable network services. Pingora has long been used internally within Cloudflare and is capable of sustaining a lot of traffic while now Pingora is being open-sourced for helping to build infrastructure outside of Cloudflare. The Pingora Rust code is available on GitHub.

Feb 28 3:40pm
"Today, the KDE Community is announcing a new major release of Plasma 6.0 and Gear 24.02," writes longtime Slashdot reader jrepin. "The new version brings new windows and desktop overview effects, improved color management, a cleaner theme, better overall performance, and much more." From the announcement: KDE Plasma is a modern, feature-rich desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems. Known for its sleek design, customizable interface, and extensive set of applications, it is also open source, devoid of ads, and makes protecting your privacy and personal data a priority. With Plasma 6, the technology stack has undergone two major upgrades: a transition to the latest version of the application framework, Qt 6, and a migration to the modern Linux graphics platform, Wayland. We will continue providing support for the legacy X11 session for users who prefer to stick with it for now. [...] KDE Gear 24.02 brings many applications to Qt 6. In addition to the changes in Breeze, many applications adopted a more frameless look for their interface.

Feb 28 1:39am
Amazon aggregator Thrasio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and received commitments for $90 million in new financing from existing shareholders, it said on Wednesday. From a report: Thrasio also entered into a restructuring agreement with some of its lenders to reduce debt of $495 million from its existing debt pile, it said in a statement. It listed its estimated assets in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion and estimated liabilities of $500 million to $1 billion, according to a document filed with the New Jersey bankruptcy court. The startup raised more than $3 billion.

Feb 27 7:40am
Optical discs that can store up to 200 TB of data could be possible with a new technology developed in China. If commercialized, it could revive optical media as an alternative to hard disk or tape for cost-effective long-term storage. The Register: Researchers at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST) and Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) say they have demonstrated that optical storage is possible up to the petabit level by using hundreds of layers, while also claiming to have broken the optical diffraction barrier limiting how close together recorded features can be. In an article published in Nature titled "A 3D nanoscale optical disk memory with petabit capacity," the researchers detail how they developed a novel optical storage medium they call dye-doped photoresist (DDPR) with aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIE-DDPR). When applied as a recording layer, this is claimed to outperform other optical systems and hard drives in terms of areal density -- the amount of storage per unit of area. To be specific, the researchers claim it to be 125 times that of a multi-layer optical disk based on gold nanorods, and 24 times that of the most advanced hard drives (based on data from 2022). The proposed recording and retrieval processes for this medium calls for two laser beams each. For optical writing, a 515 nm femtosecond Gaussian laser beam and a doughnut-shaped 639 nm continuous wave laser beam are focused on the recording area.

Feb 26 11:40am
wiredmikey writes: The LockBit ransomware operators launched a new leak site over the weekend, claiming they restored their infrastructure following a law enforcement takedown and invited affiliates to re-join the operation. Over the weekend, an individual involved with the RaaS, who uses the moniker of "LockBitSupp", launched a new leak site that lists hundreds of victim organizations and which contains a long message providing his view on the takedown.

Feb 23 7:08am
JSTOR: At the end of 2023, JSTOR -- a vast digital library of secondary and primary sources to support teaching and learning -- reached a once unimaginable goal: providing JSTOR access in 1,000 prisons. Spread across four continents, the JSTOR Access in Prison initiative now supports the education and growth of more than 550,000 incarcerated people. Incarcerated learners have been left behind for decades. Limited access to the internet and scarce funding and support for higher education in prisons made access to digital libraries like JSTOR all but impossible. In October 2021, with funding from the Mellon Foundation, JSTOR set an ambitious goal to change that. The aspiration? For every incarcerated college student in the United States to have access to JSTOR, along with the research skills to use it and other digital resources. Prior to 2021, JSTOR developed an offline index of its digital library. At the time, less than twenty prisons had access to it. Since then, developers have created an online version that meets the unique needs of carceral settings, most recently delivering online access on tablets. These changes -- and the leadership of Stacy Burnett, a graduate of the Bard Prison Initiative who was hired to lead the JSTOR Access in Prison initiative -- have enabled 1,000 prisons and more than 500,000 people to gain access to the digital equivalent of a college library.

Feb 22 6:02pm
Stephanie Saul reports via the New York Times: Yale University will require standardized test scores for admission for students applying to enter for the class entering in the fall of 2025, becoming the second Ivy League university to abandon test-optional policies that had been widely embraced during the Covid pandemic. Yale officials said in an announcement on Thursday that the shift to test-optional policies might have unwittingly harmed students from lower-income families whose test scores could have helped their chances. While it will require standardized tests, Yale said its policy would be "test flexible," permitting students to submit scores from subject-based Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests in lieu of SAT or ACT scores. The decision follows a similar decision in February from Dartmouth College. MIT also announced that it had reinstated its testing requirement in 2022.

Feb 22 10:20am
Windows 11 users still clinging to the past are to be dragged into a bright, 23H2-shaped future by Microsoft, whether they want to or not. From a report: Microsoft has added a notification to its Release Health dashboard warning Windows 11 users that it is time for the beatings automatic upgrades to begin. "We are starting to update eligible Windows 11 devices automatically to version 23H2." As for what eligible means, according to Microsoft, this is "Windows 11 devices that have reached or are approaching end of servicing." Support for Windows 11 21H2 came to an end last year on October 10, 2023, and version 22H2 is due to end on October 8, 2024. Win 11 23H2 itself will endure until November 11, 2025, or just after the plug gets pulled on Windows 10. The update comes shortly after Microsoft quashed the last of its compatibility holds in Windows 11 23H2, which affected customers attempting to use the Co-pilot preview with multiple monitors. Icons tended to move unexpectedly between monitors.

Feb 22 8:21am
U.S. healthcare technology giant Change Healthcare has confirmed a cyberattack on its systems. In a brief statement, the company said it was "experiencing a network interruption related to a cyber security issue." From a report: "Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact," Change Healthcare wrote on its status page. "The disruption is expected to last at least through the day." The incident began early on Tuesday morning on the U.S. East Coast, according to the incident tracker. The specific nature of the cybersecurity incident was not disclosed. Most of the login pages for Change Healthcare were inaccessible or offline when TechCrunch checked at the time of writing. Michigan local newspaper the Huron Daily Tribune is reporting that local pharmacies are experiencing outages due to the Change Healthcare cyberattack.

Feb 22 12:00am
In a warning issued Wednesday, the FDA said it has not authorized or approved any smartwatch or smart ring to measure blood glucose levels. The use of these devices can lead to inaccurate measurements and errors in managing diabetes that can be life-threatening, the agency said. From a report: These unauthorized devices are different from smartwatch apps that display data from FDA-approved continuous glucose monitoring devices that pierce the skin. The FDA did not name specific brands but said the sellers of these unauthorized smartwatches and smart rings advertise using âoenon-invasive techniquesâ to measure blood glucose without requiring people to prick their fingers or pierce their skin. However, these devices do not directly test blood glucose levels, the agency said, urging consumers to avoid buying them for that purpose. The agency also advised health care providers to discuss the risk of using unauthorized blood glucose measuring devices with their patients and to help them select an appropriate authorized device for their needs. âoeThe agency is working to ensure that manufacturers, distributors, and sellers do not illegally market unauthorized smartwatches or smart rings that claim to measure blood glucose levels,â the FDA said in the statement. âoeIf your medical care depends on accurate blood glucose measurements, talk to your health care provider about an appropriate FDA-authorized device for your needs." .

Feb 21 9:41am
A day after the U.S., UK and EU said they had disrupted the ransomware group LockBit, the State Department said the U.S. is offering a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the identification or location of the leaders of the ransomware group.

Feb 21 9:06am
Academics have found that the U.S. mortality declines during recessions, with "reductions in air pollution... a quantitatively important mechanism." Abstract of a paper on National Bureau of Economic Research: We leverage spatial variation in the severity of the Great Recession across the United States to examine its impact on mortality and to explore implications for the welfare consequences of recessions. We estimate that an increase in the unemployment rate of the magnitude of the Great Recession reduces the average, annual age-adjusted mortality rate by 2.3 percent, with effects persisting for at least 10 years. Mortality reductions appear across causes of death and are concentrated in the half of the population with a high school degree or less. We estimate similar percentage reductions in mortality at all ages, with declines in elderly mortality thus responsible for about three-quarters of the total mortality reduction. Recession-induced mortality declines are driven primarily by external effects of reduced aggregate economic activity on mortality, and recession-induced reductions in air pollution appear to be a quantitatively important mechanism. Incorporating our estimates of pro-cyclical mortality into a standard macroeconomics framework substantially reduces the welfare costs of recessions, particularly for people with less education, and at older ages where they may even be welfare-improving.

Feb 20 2:20pm
Microsoft is confirming plans to deprecate its Publisher application in 2026. From a report: This writer has fond memories of Microsoft Publisher, which started life in 1991 as a desktop publisher for Windows 3.0. While alternatives existed in the form of Ventura Publisher, Timeworks, and later QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher was a useful tool to write newsletters. Unlike Word, Publisher was focused on layout and page design. Though it lacked many of the features of its competitors, it was responsible for some genuinely horrendous designs, and was popular due to its cheap price. Despite not finding much favor with professionals, Microsoft Publisher continued to be updated over the years. Microsoft Publisher 97 was the first to turn up in the Microsoft Office suite, and the most recent edition, released in 2021, is available as part of Microsoft 365. However, all good things -- and Publisher -- must come to an end. Microsoft has warned that the end is nigh for its venerable designer. "In October 2026, Microsoft Publisher will reach its end of life," the company said. "After that time, it will no longer be included in Microsoft 365, and existing on-premises suites will no longer be supported. Until then, support for Publisher will continue, and users can expect the same experience as today."

Feb 19 1:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: In a concession to automakers and labor unions, the Biden administration intends to relax elements of one of its most ambitious strategies to combat climate change, limits on tailpipe emissions that are designed to get Americans to switch from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles, according to three people familiar with the plan. Instead of essentially requiring automakers to rapidly ramp up sales of electric vehicles over the next few years, the administration would give car manufacturers more time [non-paywalled source], with a sharp increase in sales not required until after 2030, these people said. They asked to remain anonymous because the regulation has not been finalized. The administration plans to publish the final rule by early spring. The change comes as President Biden faces intense crosswinds as he runs for re-election while trying to confront climate change. He is aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles, which make up the largest single source of greenhouse gases emitted by the United States. At the same time, Mr. Biden needs cooperation from the auto industry and political support from the unionized auto workers who backed him in 2020 but now worry that an abrupt transition to electric vehicles would cost jobs. Meanwhile, consumer demand has not been what automakers hoped, with potential buyers put off by sticker prices and the relative scarcity of charging stations. The EPA last year proposed the toughest-ever limits on tailpipe emissions. The rules would be so strict, the only way car makers could comply would be to sell a tremendous number of zero-emissions vehicles in a relatively short time frame. The E.P.A. designed the proposed regulations so that 67% of sales of new cars and light-duty trucks would be all-electric by 2032, up from 7.6% in 2023, a radical remaking of the American automobile market.

Feb 19 11:57am
Capital One is buying Discover Financial (non-payalled source) in a deal that would marry two of the largest credit-card companies in the U.S. WSJ: The all-stock deal could be announced Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter. Discover has a market value of $28 billion, and the takeover would be expected to value it at a premium to that. Buying Discover will give Capital One, a credit-card lender with a market value of a little over $52 billion, a network that would vastly increase its power in the payments ecosystem. Card networks are critical to enabling transactions and setting fees that merchants pay when consumers shop with credit cards. Though much smaller than Visa and Mastercard, Discover is one of the few competitors to those companies in the U.S. and it is one of a small number of card issuers that also has a payments network. Capital One, the ninth-largest bank in the country and a major credit-card issuer, uses Visa and Mastercard for most of its cards. The bank plans to switch at least some of its cards to the Discover network, while continuing to use Visa and Mastercard on others. Those larger networks have more merchant acceptance abroad than Discover does.

Feb 16 6:25pm
Lauren Feiner reports via The Verge: Reps. Mark Takano (D-CA) and Dwight Evans (D-PA) reintroduced the Justice in Forensic Algorithms Act on Thursday, which would allow defendants to access the source code of software used to analyze evidence in their criminal proceedings. It would also require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create testing standards for forensic algorithms, which software used by federal enforcers would need to meet. The bill would act as a check on unintended outcomes that could be created by using technology to help solve crimes. Academic research has highlighted the ways human bias can be built into software and how facial recognition systems often struggle to differentiate Black faces, in particular. The use of algorithms to make consequential decisions in many different sectors, including both crime-solving and health care, has raised alarms for consumers and advocates as a result of such research. Takano acknowledged that gaining or hiring the deep expertise needed to analyze the source code might not be possible for every defendant. But requiring NIST to create standards for the tools could at least give them a starting point for understanding whether a program matches the basic standards. Takano introduced previous iterations of the bill in 2019 and 2021, but they were not taken up by a committee.

Feb 15 4:30pm
Following a hoax bomb threat sent via ProtonMail to schools in Chennai, India, police in the state of Tamil Nadu put in a request to block the encrypted email service in the region since they have been unable to identify the sender. According to Hindustan Times, that request was granted today. From the report: The decision to block Proton Mail was taken at a meeting of the 69A blocking committee on Wednesday afternoon. Under Section 69A of the IT Act, the designated officer, on approval by the IT Secretary and at the recommendation of the 69A blocking committee, can issue orders to any intermediary or a government agency to block any content for national security, public order and allied reasons. HT could not ascertain if a blocking order will be issued to Apple and Google to block the Proton Mail app. The final order to block the website has not yet been sent to the Department of Telecommunications but the MeitY has flagged the issue with the DoT. During the meeting, the nodal officer representing the Tamil Nadu government submitted that a bomb threat was sent to multiple schools using ProtonMail, HT has learnt. The police attempted to trace the IP address of the sender but to no avail. They also tried to seek help from the Interpol but that did not materialise either, the nodal officer said. During the meeting, HT has learnt, MeitY representatives noted that getting information from Proton Mail, on other criminal matters, not necessarily linked to Section 69A related issues, is a recurrent problem. Although Proton Mail is end-to-end encrypted, which means the content of the emails cannot be intercepted and can only be seen by the sender and recipient if both are using Proton Mail, its privacy policy states that due to the nature of the SMTP protocol, certain email metadata -- including sender and recipient email addresses, the IP address incoming messages originated from, attachment name, message subject, and message sent and received times -- is available with the company. "We condemn a potential block as a misguided measure that only serves to harm ordinary people. Blocking access to Proton is an ineffective and inappropriate response to the reported threats. It will not prevent cybercriminals from sending threats with another email service and will not be effective if the perpetrators are located outside of India," said ProtonMail in a statement. "We are currently working to resolve this situation and are investigating how we can best work together with the Indian authorities to do so. We understand the urgency of the situation and are completely clear that our services are not to be used for illegal purposes. We routinely remove users who are found to be doing so and are willing to cooperate wherever possible within international cooperation agreements."

Feb 13 2:20pm
Estate agents are increasingly using AI tools to digitally furnish empty rental flats, a practice known as "virtual staging," to make them look occupied in listings. While virtual staging has existed for years, AI advancements have made the process faster and cheaper. One major UK estate agency already offers AI staging services to customers, Vice reported this week. Industry insiders cited by Vice said AI virtual staging is likely to become more widespread as costs fall. The unrealistic furniture from AI staging can be noticeable, such as bunk beds with overlapping ladders. But the technology continues advancing in quality. The story adds: Although some agents have experimented with using popular AI image generators like Dall-e and Midjourney to "fix" property pictures, the results are usually pretty bizarre, like in this example, where the AI has envisioned bookcases in every corner of the living room and put a hob at perfect height for a toddler. Companies like Virtual Staging AI, ModelProp and Gepetto, which describes itself as like "Pinterest on steroids," are now taking this technology and tailoring it specifically to virtual furnishing.

Feb 13 9:40am
Wunderlist, a beloved to-do app known for its delightful design, was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 and discontinued years later. Now Wunderlist co-founder Christian Reber -- who apparently attempted to buy back Wunderlist to no luck -- has launched Superlist to revive its spirit. The new app focuses on centralized project management by compiling tasks, notes, files and more into shareable lists. It then automatically organizes tasks into a daily agenda. Superlist starts at $8 a month, but offers "uinlimited tasks, notes, and reminders, and unlimited private lists" for individuals at no cost.

Feb 13 9:01am
A company called Hands-Free Automation (HFA) has been accused of improperly relisting properties on Airbnb at higher prices after taking listings from hotel and short-term rental sites, according to a lawsuit filed in February. HFA founder Anthony Agyeman allegedly promised investors returns in 3-6 months for $20,000-30,000 investments in owning stakes in Airbnb listings. However, Airbnb prohibits the practice, and HFA has not been authorized by property owners, CNBC reported this week. The Federal Trade Commission has accused similar companies previously of making false promises of profits. Airbnb said it was unaware of contact from regulators regarding HFA.

Feb 12 5:02pm
A registered sex offender has become the first person in England and Wales to be convicted of cyber-flashing. The BBC reports: Nicholas Hawkes, 39, of Basildon, Essex, sent unsolicited photos of his erect penis to a 15-year-old girl and a woman on Friday. The woman took screenshots of the image on WhatsApp and reported Hawkes to Essex Police the same day. Hawkes admitted two charges when he appeared before magistrates in Southend earlier. He is the first person to be convicted of the new offense of cyber-flashing, which was brought in under the Online Safety Act and came into effect on January 31. After pleading guilty to two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress, or humiliation, he was remanded in custody until March 11, when he will be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court. Hawkes is a registered sex offender until November 2033 after he was convicted and given a community order for sexual activity with a child under 16 and exposure last year at Basildon Crown Court, the CPS said. He will also be sentenced for breaching the order when he is sentenced in March.

Feb 12 11:52am
Amid increasing speculation about the future of Xbox, its exclusives, and even its status as a hardware manufacturer, Phil Spencer reportedly told employees last week that it has no plans to stop making consoles. From a report: Reporter Shannon Liao said in her weekly Substack industry newsletter that Spencer moved to reassure staff during an all-hands meeting on Tuesday. "The company held an internal Tuesday townhall where Spencer told employees that there were no plans to stop making consoles, and that Xboxes would continue to be part of a strategy that involves multiple kinds of devices," Liao reported.

Feb 12 11:52am
Amid increasing speculation about the future of Xbox, its exclusives, and even its status as a hardware manufacturer, Phil Spencer reportedly told employees last week that it has no plans to stop making consoles. From a report: Reporter Shannon Liao said in her weekly Substack industry newsletter that Spencer moved to reassure staff during an all-hands meeting on Tuesday. "The company held an internal Tuesday townhall where Spencer told employees that there were no plans to stop making consoles, and that Xboxes would continue to be part of a strategy that involves multiple kinds of devices," Liao reported.

Feb 12 7:40am
Many websites are using AI tools to generate fake obituaries about average people for profit. These articles lack substantiating details but are optimized for SEO, frequently outranking legitimate obituaries, The Verge reports. The fake obituaries, as one can imagine, are causing distress for grieving families and friends. In response, Google told The Verge that it aims to surface high-quality information but struggles with "data voids." The company terminated some YouTube channels sharing fake notices but declined to say if the flagged websites violate policies.

Feb 9 4:40pm
Longtime Slashdot reader Alain Williams shares a report from the BBC: Users of Ring video doorbells have reacted angrily to a huge price hike being introduced in March. After buying the devices, customers can pay a subscription to store footage on the cloud, download clips and get discounted products. That subscription is going up 43%, from $44 to $63 per device, per year, for basic plan customers. The firm, which is owned by Amazon, insisted it still provided "some of the best value in the industry." Its customers appear not to to agree.

Feb 9 3:40pm
Network giant Cisco is planning to restructure its business which will include laying off thousands of employees, as it seeks to focus on high-growth areas, according to three sources familiar with the matter. From the Reuters report: The San Jose, California-based company has a total employee count of 84,900 as of fiscal 2023, according to its website.The company is still deciding on the total number of employees to be affected by the layoffs, one person said.

Feb 8 7:00am
Google has renamed its AI assistant to "Gemini" and unveiled a paid subscription tier offering. The $19.99/month "Gemini Advanced" includes a more powerful AI model and cloud storage integration, targeting users seeking advanced content creation and complex query resolution. Google is also leveraging its Android user base by making Gemini the default digital assistant, aiming to replicate the success of its billion-user products.

Feb 8 3:00am
James Felton reports via IFL Science: One of the deepest metal mines in Europe -- the Pyhasalmi Mine in central Finland -- is to be turned into an enormous gravity battery capable of storing 2 megawatts of energy. [...] Despite the cool name, the idea behind gravity batteries is really simple. During times when energy sources are producing more energy than the demand, the excess energy is used to move weights (in the form of water or sometimes sand) upwards, turning it into potential energy. When the power supply is low, these objects can then be released, powering turbines as our good friend (and deadly enemy) gravity sends them towards the Earth. Though generally gravity batteries take the form of reservoirs, abandoned mines moving sand or other weights up when excess power is being produced have also been suggested. Scottish company Gravitricity created a system of winches and hoists that can be installed in such disused mineshafts. The company will install the system in the 1,400-meter-deep (4,600 feet) zinc and copper mine in Pyhajarvi, Finland. "A study last year by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) estimated that gravity batteries in abandoned underground mines could store up to 70TWh of energy -- enough to meet global electricity demands," reports The Independent. "The repurposed mines could also provide economic benefits to the communities that previously relied on the mine for their livelihoods."

Feb 7 1:40pm
The Chinese state-sponsored hacking group known as Volt Typhoon has been living in the networks of some critical industries for "at least five years," (non-paywalled link) according to a joint cybersecurity advisory issued by the US and its allies on Wednesday. From a report: The compromised environments are in the continental US and elsewhere, including Guam, the advisory said. It was published by US agencies and their security counterparts in Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. The report comes a week after US officials announced an operation to disrupt Volt Typhoon by deleting malware from thousands of internet-connected devices the group had hijacked to gain access to the networks in critical parts of the economy. Among the sectors targeted were communications, energy, transportation and water systems.

Feb 7 9:40am
Apple has released a new open-source AI model, called "MGIE," that can edit images based on natural language instructions. From a report: MGIE, which stands for MLLM-Guided Image Editing, leverages multimodal large language models (MLLMs) to interpret user commands and perform pixel-level manipulations. The model can handle various editing aspects, such as Photoshop-style modification, global photo optimization, and local editing. MGIE is the result of a collaboration between Apple and researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The model was presented in a paper accepted at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) 2024, one of the top venues for AI research. The paper demonstrates the effectiveness of MGIE in improving automatic metrics and human evaluation, all while maintaining competitive inference efficiency. MGIE is based on the idea of using MLLMs, which are powerful AI models that can process both text and images, to enhance instruction-based image editing. MLLMs have shown remarkable capabilities in cross-modal understanding and visual-aware response generation, but they have not been widely applied to image editing tasks. MGIE integrates MLLMs into the image editing process in two ways: First, it uses MLLMs to derive expressive instructions from user input. These instructions are concise and clear and provide explicit guidance for the editing process. For example, given the input "make the sky more blue," MGIE can produce the instruction "increase the saturation of the sky region by 20%."

Feb 7 9:00am
New submitter Dustin Destree shares a report: Android users in Singapore will be blocked from installing apps from unverified sources, a process called sideloading, as part of a new trial by Google to crack down on malware scams. The security tool will work in the background to detect apps that demand suspicious permissions, like those that grant the ability to spy on screen content or read SMS messages, which scammers have been known to abuse to intercept one-time passwords. Singapore is the first country to begin the gradual roll-out of the security feature over the next few weeks, done in collaboration with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, according to a statement on Feb 7 by Google, which develops the Android software.

Feb 7 12:00am
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko set a world record for total time spent in space, "surpassing his compatriot Gennady Padalka who logged more than 878 days in orbit," reports Reuters. From the report: At 0830 GMT Kononenko broke the record, Roscosmos said. Kononenko is expected to reach a total of 1,000 days in space on June 5 and by late September he will have clocked 1,110 days. "I fly into space to do my favourite thing, not to set records," Kononenko told TASS in an interview from the International Space Station (ISS) where he is orbiting about 263 miles (423 km) from the earth. "I am proud of all my achievements, but I am more proud that the record for the total duration of human stay in space is still held by a Russian cosmonaut." The 59-year-old took the top spot from Padalka, who accumulated a total of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds, Roscosmos said. Kononenko said that he worked out regularly to counter the physical effects of "insidious" weightlessness, but that it was on returning to earth that the realisation came of how much life he had missed out on. "I do not feel deprived or isolated," he said. "It is only upon returning home that the realisation comes that for hundreds of days in my absence the children have been growing up without a papa. No one will return this time to me." He said cosmonauts could now use video calls and messaging to keep in touch with relatives but getting ready for each new space flight became more difficult due to technological advances. "The profession of a cosmonaut is becoming more complicated. The systems and experiments are becoming more complicated. I repeat, the preparation has not become easier," he said. Kononenko dreamed of going to space as a child and enrolled in an engineering institute, before undergoing cosmonaut training. His first space flight was in 2008. His current trip to the ISS launched last year on a Soyuz MS-24.

Feb 6 3:00pm
Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney are planning to launch a new streaming joint venture that will combine all their sports programming "under a single broadband roof," reports Variety. The move "will put content from ESPN, TNT and Fox Sports on a new standalone app and, in the process, likely shake up the world of TV sports." From the report: The three media giants are slated to launch the new service in the fall. Subscribers would get access to linear sports networks including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV and ESPN+, as well as hundreds of hours from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL and many top college divisions. Pricing will be announced at a later date. Each company would own one third of the new outlet and license their sports content to it on a non-exclusive basis. The service would have a new brand and an independent management team. The concept surfaces as traditional media companies are grappling with the migration of sports -- the last TV format that generates steady crowds and sustained ratings -- to streaming venues. The concentration of top sports under one roof would be significant. Between them, ESPN and Warner have most rights to the NHL and the NBA, while Fox, Warner and ESPN control at present the majority of rights to Major League Baseball. Only the NFL would enjoy a large presence with entities that are not a part of the joint venture, with "Sunday Night Football" at NBCUniversal, "Thursday Night Football" at Amazon and a Sunday afternoon game at CBS.

Feb 6 11:01am
The U.S. has announced new visa restrictions for individuals and companies misusing commercial spyware to surveil, harass or intimidate journalists, activists and other dissidents. Citing a senior Biden administration official, Reuters adds that the new policy will also apply to investors and operators of the commercial spyware believed to be misused. At least 50 U.S. officials have been targeted by private hacking tools in recent years.

Feb 6 8:20am
Mozilla has rolled out a new $9 per month service called Mozilla Monitor Plus that automatically scrubs personal information from over 190 data broker sites. The tool builds on the free Firefox Monitor platform, expanding monitoring capabilities and proactively removing exposed details to protect user privacy. Subscribers will also receive data breach alerts under the new service.

Feb 6 3:00am
AT&T is applying to end its obligation to service landlines in certain areas of California. "The application is pending under the California Public Utilities Commission, but the end of a landline means the end of communication for some people," reports CBS News. From the report: The company said in a statement to CBS13: "Our application seeks approval from the CPUC to remove outdated regulations in California and to help the limited remaining landline consumers transition to modern, alternative services to replace their current outdated ones. All AT&T California customers will continue to receive their traditional landline services until an alternative service becomes available by AT&T or another provider." The CPUC will be holding four public hearings on the matter through March.

Feb 5 11:03am
Parisians have approved a steep rise in parking rates for SUVs in the French capital. The proposals were approved by 54.55% of voters, but turnout was only about 5.7%. From a report: The move triples parking rates for cars weighing 1.6 tonnes or more to $20 an hour in inner Paris. The vote was called by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has argued that SUVs are dangerous and bad for the environment. About 1.3m residents of central Paris were eligible to vote. However they will not be affected by the result as street-parking for local residents will remained unchanged. The move is mainly aimed at people from the suburbs who drive into the centre of the capital for the day. There are exemptions for fully electric cars, taxi drivers, tradespeople, health workers and people with disabilities. Ms Hidalgo has been in office for almost 10 years. Under her tenure as mayor, many Paris streets, including the banks of the river Seine, have been pedestrianised. An extensive network of cycle lanes has also been built, in an effort to discourage driving. Environmentalists argue that SUVs consume more fuel than other cars and that their construction and use produce more harmful emissions. Supporters of the move also note that tall vehicles are deadlier than lighter cars when they are involved in accidents.

Feb 2 2:20pm
Layoffs are being mentioned on US earnings calls at the highest rate since the pandemic -- and as Meta Platforms shows, such cost cutting can pay off for investors. Bloomberg: Efforts by the Facebook parent to slash costs and refocus its business upended the lives of thousands of workers, but has since helped propel its stock 340% from a 2022 low. With an economic soft landing being the base case for many, positioning by firms to protect margins -- particularly in the technology sector -- is being welcomed by investors. Mentions of job cuts and synonyms per earnings calls this season have jumped to the highest levels since the second quarter of 2020, according to a Bloomberg transcript analysis of S&P 1500 Composite Index firms. For the technology industry in particular, "more recent cuts come out of a position of strength," said Wolf von Rotberg, equity strategist at Bank J. Safra Sarasin. "Confidence in the sector appears high that growth can persist even with a smaller workforce," he said.

Feb 2 9:40am
Shiftall, the Japan-based VR hardware creator, is no longer owned by Panasonic, as the company has been effectively sold off to the Tokyo-based company CREEK & RIVER. From a report: As first noted by tech analyst and YouTuber Brad Lynch, Panasonic today announced it has transferred all shares of Shiftall to the Tokyo-based company CREEK & RIVER Co., Ltd., which specializes in outsourcing, consulting, content management and distribution services. Acquired by Panasonic in 2018, Shiftall primarily focused on niche consumer devices, but shifted over the years to focusing on VR hardware, such as its MeganeX PC VR headset, HaritoraX wireless body trackers, FlipVR motion controllers, and mutalk soundproof microphones.

Feb 2 7:40am
Cybercriminals are selling ready-made "pig-butchering" scam kits on the dark web to conduct "DeFi savings" cryptocurrency fraud, according to Sophos. The kits expedite scamming worldwide. In these scams, criminals build online relationships then persuade victims to invest in fake crypto schemes, manipulating them to drain digital wallets. The bundled kits contain websites enabling wallet access via Ethereum blockchain plus chat support posing as technical staff. Victims open legitimate crypto apps but enter malicious sites letting criminals steal funds. The report details the mass distribution of these DIY crypto fraud kits.

Jan 31 5:45pm
Jess Weatherbed reports via The Verge: Bullitt Group, the UK-based smartphone manufacturer behind the rugged handsets of Cat, Land Rover, and Motorola, has seemingly shut down. On Monday, Mobile World Live spotted several Bullitt Group employees on LinkedIn saying that the company folded on January 26th after a "critical planned restructuring" failed. The Telegraph reported earlier this month that the company was on the brink of insolvency. Bullitt Group has yet to issue an official statement confirming the closure. The manufacturer previously told The Telegraph that it planned to transfer its satellite connectivity business and all 100 of its employees to a new company owned by its creditors, though one former employee now claims the entire workforce has been laid off. Founded in 2009, Bullitt found its niche producing mobile devices and accessories for other companies. The most notable are the hardy, rugged handsets like the Land Rover Explore and Motorola Defy series, though it also made more traditional smartphones like the Kodak Ektra. In recent years, the company placed greater focus on satellite connectivity projects like the Motorola Defy Satellite Link as it struggled to compete against larger phone providers like Apple and Samsung.

Jan 31 4:20pm
A lawyer for FTX said the defunct crypto exchange has abandoned its plans to relaunch, instead opting to liquidate all assets and return funds to customers. The Guardian reports: The exchange, founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, has been negotiating for months with potential bidders and investors, but none were willing to put in enough money to rebuild it, FTX attorney Andy Dietderich said at a bankruptcy court hearing in Delaware. The failed negotiations underscored the fact that FTX was never what it appeared to be, and that Bankman-Fried never built the underlying technology or administration necessary to run the company as a viable business, Dietderich said. Bankman-Fried has been convicted on fraud charges related to his operation of FTX. He faces decades in prison. "FTX was an irresponsible sham created by a convicted felon," Dietderich said. "The costs and risks of creating a viable exchange from what Mr Bankman-Fried left in a dumpster were simply too high." The company will instead focus on liquidating its assets to repay customers whose cryptocurrency deposits were locked when the company filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. FTX has recovered over $7 billion in assets to repay customers, and it has reached agreements with government regulators who have agreed to wait until customers are fully repaid before attempting to collect on about $9 billion in claims, Dietderich said. While FTX plans to repay its customers, the exchange will calculate their repayment based on cryptocurrency prices from November 2022, when the crypto market was suffering a prolonged slump. "The price of bitcoin has risen to about $43,300 from its November 2022 price of $16,872," notes the report.

Jan 31 7:40am
PayPal will reduce its workforce by about 9 per cent this year as chief executive Alex Chriss, who took over in September, grapples with rising competition, profit pressures and a raft of analyst downgrades. From a report: In a letter to staff on Tuesday, Mr Chriss said the decision was made to "right-size" the company through both direct cuts and the elimination of open roles throughout the year. Affected staff will be notified by the end of the week, according to the letter. PayPal, which employed about 29,900 workers at the end of 2022, announced a similar round of cuts last January. The latest move will affect about 2,500 workers.

Jan 30 4:30pm
sdinfoserv writes: UPS is cutting 12,000 jobs, or about 2.5% of its global workforce. The cuts mostly effect managers and contractors. Meanwhile, as the company wrestles with struggling profits and sales, workers are to return to the office five days a week and the company is "investing in artificial intelligence (AI) as it pushes to become more efficient," according to the BBC. [The job cuts are expected to reduce costs by $1 billion this year.] The BBC reports: The company said that reflected economic weakness in Europe and parts of Asia, as well as disruption in the US, where a strike threatened by staff over the summer led some customers to shift their business to rivals. UPS said it had since won back about 60% of that business and expected modest growth to start to return this year, with average daily volumes flat or up 2% in the US and flat or up 3% internationally. But its forecast was weaker than analysts had expected, sending shares down more than 7%. It also warned that costs associated with its new contract with the Teamsters union would continue to weigh on the company over the next six months. As part of that deal, the average full-time driver won a pay and benefits package worth about $170,000 a year by the end of the five-year contract in 2028.

Jan 30 11:00am
Dan Goodin, reporting for ArsTechnica: ChatGPT is leaking private conversations that include login credentials and other personal details of unrelated users, screenshots submitted by an Ars reader on Monday indicated. Two of the seven screenshots the reader submitted stood out in particular. Both contained multiple pairs of usernames and passwords that appeared to be connected to a support system used by employees of a pharmacy prescription drug portal. An employee using the AI chatbot seemed to be troubleshooting problems they encountered while using the portal. "THIS is so f-ing insane, horrible, horrible, horrible, i cannot believe how poorly this was built in the first place, and the obstruction that is being put in front of me that prevents it from getting better," the user wrote. "I would fire [redacted name of software] just for this absurdity if it was my choice. This is wrong." Besides the candid language and the credentials, the leaked conversation includes the name of the app the employee is troubleshooting and the store number where the problem occurred. The entire conversation goes well beyond whatâ(TM)s shown in the redacted screenshot above. A link Ars reader Chase Whiteside included showed the chat conversation in its entirety. The URL disclosed additional credential pairs. The results appeared Monday morning shortly after reader Whiteside had used ChatGPT for an unrelated query.

Jan 30 8:20am
The U.S. government in recent months launched an operation to fight a pervasive Chinese hacking operation that successfully compromised thousands of internet-connected devices, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing two Western security officials and another person familiar with the matter. From the report: The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation sought and received legal authorization to remotely disable aspects of the Chinese hacking campaign, the sources told Reuters. The Biden administration has increasingly focused on hacking, not only for fear nation states may try to disrupt the U.S. election in November, but because ransomware wreaked havoc on Corporate America in 2023. The hacking group at the center of recent activity, Volt Typhoon, has especially alarmed intelligence officials who say it is part of a larger effort to compromise Western critical infrastructure, including naval ports, internet service providers and utilities. While the Volt Typhoon campaign initially came to light in May 2023, the hackers expanded the scope of their operations late last year and changed some of their techniques, according to three people familiar with the matter. The widespread nature of the hacks led to a series of meetings between the White House and private technology industry, including several telecommunications and cloud commuting companies, where the U.S. government asked for assistance in tracking the activity.

Jan 29 9:45am
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft has introduced more protections to Designer, an AI text-to-image generation tool that people were using to make nonconsensual sexual images of celebrities. Microsoft made the changes after 404 Media reported that the AI-generated nude images of Taylor Swift that went viral last week came from 4chan and a Telegram channel where people were using Designer to make AI-generated images of celebrities. "We are investigating these reports and are taking appropriate action to address them," a Microsoft spokesperson told us in an email on Friday. "Our Code of Conduct prohibits the use of our tools for the creation of adult or non-consensual intimate content, and any repeated attempts to produce content that goes against our policies may result in loss of access to the service. We have large teams working on the development of guardrails and other safety systems in line with our responsible AI principles, including content filtering, operational monitoring and abuse detection to mitigate misuse of the system and help create a safer environment for users."

Jan 27 1:01am
Fossil Group has decided to call it quits on smartwatches. The company announced Friday that it would leave the smartwatch business and redirect resources to its less-smart goods instead. From a report: The company has been one of the most prolific makers of Wear OS smartwatches over the years, and its absence will leave a large gap in the market. "As the smartwatch landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, we have made the strategic decision to exit the smartwatch business," Fossil spokesperson Amanda Castelli tells The Verge. "Fossil Group is redirecting resources to support our core strength and the core segments of our business that continue to provide strong growth opportunities for us: designing and distributing exciting traditional watches, jewelry, and leather goods under our own as well as licensed brand names." This means that the Gen 6, which first launched in 2021, will be the last Fossil smartwatch. Castelli says the company will continue to keep existing Wear OS watches updated "for the next few years."

Jan 25 4:01pm
PlayStation 5 system update blocks Cronus Zen controller adapter. The $100+ device promises controller compatibility but also enables gameplay "amplification." Sony crackdown follows concerns over GamePacks providing unfair advantages in Call of Duty and other online multiplayer titles. Cronus admits no timeframe for a fix. Workaround requires avoiding update or using Remote Play.

Jan 24 11:00am
Abstract of a paper published on pre-print server arXiv: We show that content on the web is often translated into many languages, and the low quality of these multi-way translations indicates they were likely created using Machine Translation (MT). Multi-way parallel, machine generated content not only dominates the translations in lower resource languages; it also constitutes a large fraction of the total web content in those languages. We also find evidence of a selection bias in the type of content which is translated into many languages, consistent with low quality English content being translated en masse into many lower resource languages, via MT. Our work raises serious concerns about training models such as multilingual large language models on both monolingual and bilingual data scraped from the web.

Jan 22 8:20am
Terraform Labs, the company behind the stablecoin TerraUSD, which collapsed and roiled cryptocurrency markets in 2022, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, according to court papers filed on Sunday. From a report: Singapore-based Terraform Labs, in a filing with the bankruptcy court in Delaware, listed assets and liabilities in the range of $100-$500 million. Terraform Labs said it would meet all financial obligations to employees and vendors during the Chapter 11 case without requiring additional financing. It also plans to continue Web3 offerings expansion. "The filing will allow TFL to execute on its business plan while navigating ongoing legal proceedings, including representative litigation pending in Singapore and U.S. litigation involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)," Terraform Labs said in a statement.

Jan 19 4:03am
David Mills, the man who invented NTP and wrote the implementation, has passed away. He also created the Fuzzballs and EGP, and helped make global-scale internetworking possible. Vint Cerf, in a mail group: His daughter, Leigh, just sent me the news that Dave passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024. He was such an iconic element of the early Internet. Network Time Protocol, the Fuzzball routers of the early NSFNET, INARG taskforce lead, COMSAT Labs and University of Delaware and so much more. R.I.P.

Jan 18 11:05am
The EU has proposed sweeping changes within the music streaming industry to promote smaller artists and make sure underpaid performers are being fairly compensated. From a report: A resolution to address concerns regarding inadequate streaming royalties for artists and biased recommendation algorithms was adopted by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Wednesday, highlighting that no existing EU rules currently apply to music streaming services, despite being the most popular way to consume audio. The proposition was made to ensure European musical works are accessible and avoid being overshadowed by the "overwhelming amount" of content being continually added to streaming platforms like Spotify. MEPs also called for outdated "pre-digital" royalty rates to be revised, noting that some schemes force performers to accept little to no revenue in exchange for greater exposure. Imposing quotas for European musical works is being considered to help promote artists in the EU.

Jan 17 9:00am
An anonymous reader shares a report: India has warned tech companies that it is prepared to impose bans if they fail to take active measures against deepfake videos, a senior government minister said, on the heels of warning by a well-known personality over a deepfake advertisement using his likeness to endorse a gaming app.

Jan 16 7:40am
Synopsys, a chip-design company, agreed to acquire software developer Ansys for about $35 billion in enterprise value. From a report: Ansys shareholders will receive $197 in cash and 0.345 shares of Synopsys stock per share, according to an announcement by the companies Tuesday. The takeover of Ansys is one of the largest transactions globally of the past 12 months and provides an early boost for dealmakers in 2024 as they seek to move on from a lackluster period of mergers and acquisitions activity. Synopsys, based in Sunnyvale, California, is one of a few major companies that make software used to design semiconductors, competing primarily with Cadence Design Systems Inc.

Jan 15 4:20pm
A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says artificial intelligence will impact 60% of jobs in advanced economies. That number "goes down to 40 percent for emerging markets, 26 percent for low-income countries," added IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Overall, almost 40 percent of global employment is exposed to AI, notes the report. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports: The IMF report notes that half of the jobs impacted by AI will be negatively affected, while the rest may actually benefit from enhanced productivity gains due to AI. "Your job may disappear altogether -- not good -- or artificial intelligence may enhance your job, so you actually will be more productive and your income level may go up," Georgieva told AFP. While AI will initially have a lower impact on emerging markets and developing economies, they are also less likely to benefit from the advantages of the novel technology, according to the IMF. "This could exacerbate the digital divide and cross-country income disparity," the report continued, adding that older workers are likely to be more vulnerable to the change brought about by AI. The IMF sees an important opportunity for policy prescriptions to help address these concerns, Georgieva told AFP. "We must focus on helping low-income countries in particular to move faster to be able to catch the opportunities that artificial intelligence will present," she said. "In other words, embrace it, it is coming," she added. "So artificial intelligence, yes, a little scary. But it is also a tremendous opportunity for everyone."

Jan 15 1:40pm
Verizon has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its monthly "Administrative and Telco Recovery Charge." The telecom giant will distribute the funds to customers who submit claims, with individuals receiving up to $100 each. Though admitting no wrongdoing, Verizon said it "continues to deny that it did anything wrong." The company defended its right to impose the charge, which was recently raised from $1.95 to $3.30 per month per line, and warned it may increase the fee again in the future. Settlement emails are still going out to eligible customers, who have until April 15 to file.

Jan 15 9:40am
Android Authority combed through the code of Edge browser (for Android) to find what may be hints for things to come to Copilot: Microsoft has offered its Copilot AI service (formerly Bing Chat) on mobile devices for a while. The service has long been free to use, allowing you to speak to a chatbot, generate AI images, and more. Now, recent Edge browser updates for Android hint at a so-called Copilot Pro option. [...] But what should you expect from this Pro tier? Fortunately, a string also mentions Copilot Pro perks. This includes access to the latest AI models, priority access for quicker answers, and "high-quality" image generation.

Jan 15 9:00am
Web3 is Going Great: A trader looking to buy $9 million of a recently popular Solana memecoin, dogwifhat (WIF), lost $5.7 million of their funds to slippage as they placed a massive order in a pool with relatively low liquidity. $5.7 million of their funds were lost to "slippage" -- the discrepancy in price that can occur when a trade is so large or a market is so illiquid that the trade itself impacts the asset price.

Jan 15 8:20am
GPS data reveal that young people encounter fewer individuals from diverse groups than do adults. The isolation of young people is exacerbated in larger cities, and for those living in poverty. Abstract from a paper: We find that students in major metropolitan areas experience more racial and income isolation, spend more time at home, stay closer to home when they do leave, and visit fewer restaurants and retail establishments than adults. Looking across levels of income, students from higher-income families visit more amenities, spend more time outside of the home, and explore more unique locations than low-income students. Combining a number of measures into an index of urban mobility, we find that, conditional on income, urban mobility is positively correlated with home neighborhood characteristics such as distance from the urban core, car ownership and social capital.

Jan 13 1:34pm
A new analysis suggests that wind turbines have little impact on bird populations, according to the Economist — and that oil-and-gas extraction may be worse: Erik Katovich [an economist at the University of Geneva] combined bird population and species maps with the locations and construction dates of all wind turbines in the United States, with the exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii, between 2000 and 2020. He found that building turbines had no discernible effect on bird populations. That reassuring finding held even when he looked specifically at large birds like hawks, vultures and eagles that many people believe are particularly vulnerable to being struck. But Dr. Katovich did not confine his analysis to wind power alone. He also examined oil-and-gas extraction. Like wind power, this has boomed in America over the past couple of decades, with the rise of shale gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of rocks. Production has risen from 37m cubic metres in 2007 to 740m cubic metres in 2020. Comparing bird populations to the locations of new gas wells revealed an average 15% drop in bird numbers when new wells were drilled, probably due to a combination of noise, air pollution and the disturbance of rivers and ponds that many birds rely upon. When drilling happens in places designated by the National Audubon Society as "important bird areas", bird numbers instead dropped by 25%. Such places are typically migration hubs, feeding grounds or breeding locations. Wind power, in other words, not only produces far less planet-heating carbon dioxide and methane than do fossil fuels. It appears to be significantly less damaging to wildlife, too. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader SpzToid for sharing the article.

Jan 11 10:20am
An anonymous reader writes: Millions of dollars have gone down the drain right when the Chicago Public Schools face a looming budget deficit -- as a brand-new CPS Inspector General report revealed the district lost thousands of computers and devices in a school year. In all, more than $20 million were lost -- as about students failed to return 77,505 laptops and other electronic devices within a year. This is even though the district spends millions to track such devices. The underlying concern is that taxpayer dollars will be used to replace them.

Jan 11 2:31am
An anonymous reader shares a column: Apple delisting a dozen global crypto apps -- relied by big traders in India, in part due to its tax evasive properties -- from its Indian App Store seems the final nail in the coffin, capping a brutal two years. The pending removal across Google Play, internet providers and beyond caps a journey mired with shutdowns, pivots and relocations abroad for Indian crypto startups. The web3 dreams of local entrepreneurs now appear dashed against the rocky shores of regulatory resistance.

Jan 10 4:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: For much of the 21st century, software engineering has been seen as one of the safest havens in the tenuous and ever-changing American job market. But there are a growing number of signs that the field is starting to become a little less secure and comfortable, due to an industry-wide downturn and the looming threat of artificial intelligence that is spurring growing competition for software jobs. "The amount of competition is insane," said Joe Forzano, an unemployed software engineer who has worked at the mental health startup Alma and private equity giant Blackstone. Since he lost his job in March, Forzano has applied to over 250 jobs. In six cases, he went through the "full interview gauntlet," which included between six and eight interviews each, before learning he had been passed over. "It has been very, very rough," he told Motherboard. Forzano is not alone in his pessimism, according to a December survey of 9,338 software engineers performed on behalf of Motherboard by Blind, an online anonymous platform for verified employees. In the poll, nearly nine in 10 surveyed software engineers said it is more difficult to get a job now than it was before the pandemic, with 66 percent saying it was "much harder." Nearly 80 percent of respondents said the job market has even become more competitive over the last year. Only 6 percent of the software engineers were "extremely confident" they could find another job with the same total compensation if they lost their job today while 32 percent said they were "not at all confident." Over 2022 and 2023, the tech sector incurred more than 400,000 layoffs, according to the tracking site Layoffs.fyi. But up until recently, it seemed software engineers were more often spared compared to their co-workers in non-technical fields. One analysis found tech companies cut their recruiting teams by 50 percent, compared to only 10 percent of their engineering departments. At Salesforce, engineers were four times less likely to lose their jobs than those in marketing and sales, which Bloomberg has said is a trend replicated at other tech companies such as Dell and Zoom. But signs of dread among software engineers have started to become more common online. In December, one Amazon employee wrote a long post on the anonymous employee platform Blind saying that the "job market is terrible" and that he was struggling to get interviews of any sort. "In the age of AI, computer science is no longer the safe major," Kelli Maria Korducki wrote in The Atlantic in September. AI programs like ChatGPT and Google Bard allow users to write code using natural language, greatly reducing the time it takes workers to complete coding tasks. It could lead to less job security and lower compensation for all but the very best in the software trade, warns Matt Welsh, a former computer science professor at Harvard. "More than 60 percent of those surveyed said they believed their company would hire fewer people because of AI moving forward," reports Motherboard.

Jan 10 12:20pm
prisoninmate shares a report: Originally released on November 12th, 2017, the long-term supported (LTS) Linux 4.14 kernel series has now reached its end of supported life after being maintained for more than six years. Renowned kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced today on the Linux kernel mailing list the release of Linux 4.14.336 as what appears to be the last maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 4.14 kernel series, which is now marked as EOL (End of Life) on the kernel.org website. "This is the LAST 4.14.y kernel to be released. It is now officially end-of-life. Do NOT use this kernel version anymore, please move to a newer one, as shown on the kernel.org releases page," said Greg Kroah-Hartman. "If you are stuck at this version due to a vendor requiring it, go get support from that vendor for this obsolete kernel tree, as that is what you are paying them for."

Jan 9 12:21pm
UnknowingFool writes: Following the incident on Alaska Airlines 1282 on Friday where a door plug blew off mid-flight, the FAA ordered all Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes to be grounded and the door plugs to be inspected. Both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have now reported finding loose parts on their planes with United specifically listing "bolts" whereas Alaska only referred to "hardware." Both airlines have repaired the situation and put the planes back into service. It remains to be answered why the parts were loose and what further issues could arise.

Jan 8 4:50pm
In just a few weeks, Waymo will begin testing its driverless passenger vehicles on the highways in Phoenix, Arizona. The company will start by shuttling employees, and if all goes well, it will expand its operations to include regular customers. TechCrunch reports: Bringing its autonomous cars to the highway is just the latest in a series of big steps for Waymo, especially in the Phoenix area. In December, the company started offering curbside drop-off and pickup at the Phoenix airport. Just a few months before that, Waymo made its autonomous vehicles available in the Uber app.

Jan 4 7:02pm
Generative AI models like Google Bard and GitHub Copilot are increasingly being used in various industries, but users often overlook their limitations, leading to serious errors and inefficiencies. Daniel Stenberg of curl and libcurl highlights a specific problem of AI-generated security reports: when reports are made to look better and to appear to have a point, it takes a longer time to research and eventually discard it. "Every security report has to have a human spend time to look at it and assess what it means," adds Stenberg. "The better the crap, the longer time and the more energy we have to spend on the report until we close it." The Register reports: The curl project offers a bug bounty to security researchers who find and report legitimate vulnerabilities. According to Stenberg, the program has paid out over $70,000 in rewards to date. Of 415 vulnerability reports received, 64 have been confirmed as security flaws and 77 have been deemed informative -- bugs without obvious security implications. So about 66 percent of the reports have been invalid. The issue for Stenberg is that these reports still need to be investigated and that takes developer time. And while those submitting bug reports have begun using AI tools to accelerate the process of finding supposed bugs and writing up reports, those reviewing bug reports still rely on human review. The result of this asymmetry is more plausible-sounding reports, because chatbot models can produce detailed, readable text without regard to accuracy. As Stenberg puts it, AI produces better crap. "A crap report does not help the project at all. It instead takes away developer time and energy from something productive. Partly because security work is considered one of the most important areas so it tends to trump almost everything else." As examples, he cites two reports submitted to HackerOne, a vulnerability reporting community. One claimed to describe Curl CVE-2023-38545 prior to actual disclosure. But Stenberg had to post to the forum to make clear that the bug report was bogus. He said that the report, produced with the help of Google Bard, "reeks of typical AI style hallucinations: it mixes and matches facts and details from old security issues, creating and making up something new that has no connection with reality." [...] Stenberg readily acknowledges that AI assistance can be genuinely helpful. But he argues that having a human in the loop makes the use and outcome of AI tools much better. Even so, he expects the ease and utility of these tools, coupled with the financial incentive of bug bounties, will lead to more shoddy LLM-generated security reports, to the detriment of those on the receiving end.

Jan 4 9:00am
Several prominent museums have been unable to display their collections online since a cyberattack hit a prominent technological service provider that helps hundreds of cultural organizations show their works digitally and manage internal documents. From a report: The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas were among the institutions confirming that their systems have experienced outages in recent days. The service provider, Gallery Systems, said in a recent message to clients, which was obtained by The New York Times, that it had noticed a problem on Dec. 28, when computers running its software became encrypted and could no longer operate. "We immediately took steps to isolate those systems and implemented measures to prevent additional systems from being affected, including taking systems offline as a precaution," the company said in the message. "We also launched an investigation and third-party cybersecurity experts were engaged to assist. In addition, we notified law enforcement." Signs of disruption were evident on several museum websites because eMuseum, a tool that usually lets visitors search online collections, was down. There was also disruption behind the scenes: Some curators said that they had returned from their winter vacations to find themselves unable to access sensitive information from another Gallery Systems program called TMS. That system can include the names of donors, loan agreements, provenance records, shipping information and storage locations of priceless artworks.

Jan 4 12:00am
fahrbot-bot shares a report from The Guardian: Scientists have discovered an entirely new class of antibiotic that appears to kill one of three bacteria considered to pose the greatest threat to human health because of their extensive drug-resistance. Zosurabalpin defeated highly drug-resistant strains of Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (Crab) in mouse models of pneumonia and sepsis, and was being tested in human trials. Crab is classified as a priority 1 critical pathogen by the World Health Organization, alongside two other drug-resistant forms of bacteria -- Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacteriaceae. Antibiotic-resistant infections pose an urgent threat to human health -- particularly those caused by a large group of bacteria known as Gram-negative bacteria, which are protected by an outer shell containing a substance called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). "LPS allows bacteria to live in harsh environments, and it also allows them to evade attack by our immune system," said Dr Michael Lobritz, the global head of infectious diseases at Roche Pharma Research and Early Development in Basel Switzerland, which developed the new drug. No new antibiotic for Gram-negative bacteria have been approved in more than 50 years. Roche had previously identified Zosurabalpin as capable of blocking the growth of A baumannii but it was not clear how it worked, or if it would be effective in animals with Crab-related infections. Through a series of experiments published in Nature, Prof Daniel Kahne at Harvard University in Cambridge, US, and colleagues showed that the drug prevented LPS from being transported to the outer membrane of the bacterium, killing it. They also found that Zosurabalpin considerably reduced levels of bacteria in mice with Crab-induced pneumonia and prevented the death of those with Crab-related sepsis. While [Lobritz] stressed that this molecule alone would not solve the public health threat of antimicrobial resistant infections, the discovery could lay the foundations for future efforts to drug the same transport system in other bacteria.

Jan 2 9:00am
Retired officers and departing defense officials are flocking to investment firms that are pushing the government to provide more money to defense-technology startups. The New York Times: When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and other top officials assembled for an event this month at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, they walked into a lesson in how the high-stakes world of Pentagon lobbying is being altered by the rise of defense technology startups. Inside, at this elite gathering near Los Angeles of senior leaders from government and the arms industry, was a rapidly growing group of participants: former Pentagon officials and military officers who have joined venture capital firms and are trying to use their connections in Washington to cash in on the potential to sell a new generation of weapons. They represent a new path through the revolving door that has always connected the Defense Department and the military contracting business. Retiring generals and departing top Pentagon officials once migrated regularly to the big established weapons makers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Now they are increasingly flocking to venture capital firms that have collectively pumped billions of dollars into Silicon Valley-style startups offering the Pentagon new war-fighting tools like autonomous killer drones, hypersonic jets and space surveillance equipment. This new route to the private sector is one indicator of the ways in which the United States is trying to become more agile in harnessing technological advances to maintain military superiority over China and other rivals. But the close ties between venture capital firms and Defense Department decision makers have also put a new twist on long-running questions about industry access and influence at a time when the Pentagon is under pressure to rethink how it allocates its huge procurement budget.

Jan 2 12:15am
Steam: As of January 1 2024, Steam has officially stopped supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. After that date, existing Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind including security updates. Steam Support will be unable to offer users technical support for issues related to the old operating systems, and Steam will be unable to guarantee continued functionality of Steam on the unsupported operating system versions. In order to ensure continued operation of Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users should update to a more recent version of Windows. We expect the Steam client and games on these older operating systems to continue running for some time without updates after January 1st, 2024, but we are unable to guarantee continued functionality after that date. The Verge adds: 95.57 percent of surveyed Steam users are already on Windows 10 and 11, with nearly 2 percent of the remainder on Linux and 1.5 percent on Mac -- so we may be talking about fewer than 1 percent of users on these older Windows builds. Older versions of MacOS will also lose support on February 15th, just a month and a half from now.

Jan 1 4:45pm
Nikon, Sony Group and Canon are developing camera technology that embeds digital signatures in images so that they can be distinguished from increasingly sophisticated fakes. From a report: Nikon will offer mirrorless cameras with authentication technology for photojournalists and other professionals. The tamper-resistant digital signatures will include such information as date, time, location and photographer. Such efforts come as ever-more-realistic fakes appear, testing the judgment of content producers and users alike. An alliance of global news organizations, technology companies and camera makers has launched a web-based tool called Verify for checking images free of charge. If an image has a digital signature, the site displays date, location and other credentials. The digital signatures now share a global standard used by Nikon, Sony and Canon. Japanese companies control around 90% of the global camera market. If an image has been created with artificial intelligence or tampered with, the Verify tool flags it as having "No Content Credentials."

Jan 1 8:01am
Vizio has agreed to $3 million settlement over allegations it misled consumers on TV refresh rates. The TV maker denies wrongdoing but will cease advertising on "effective" refresh rates. Eligible buyers have until March 2024 to file claims and submit proof of purchase. Settlement includes enhanced one-year warranties. The Verge adds: TV makers often use marketing terms like "effective refresh rate" to refer to motion smoothing features, often called the "soap opera effect," that are intended to reduce motion blur on modern TVs. Motion smoothing is already controversial enough on its own, but companies like Vizio can be frustratingly casual with refresh rate terminology in their marketing.

Dec 31 4:42pm
"Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren has asked NASA to delay a scheduled launch to the Moon that could include cremated remains," reports Arizona Public Radio station KNAU: Nygren says he recently learned of the January 8 launch of the Vulcan Centaur carrying the Peregrine Mission One. The lander will carry some payloads from a company known to provide memorial services by shipping human cremated remains to the Moon. Nygren wants the launch delayed and the tribe consulted immediately. He noted the Moon is sacred to numerous Indigenous cultures and that depositing human remains on it is "tantamount to desecration." NASA previously came under fire after the ashes of former geologist and planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker were sent to the Moon in 1998. Then-Navajo Nation President Albert Hale said the action was a gross insensitivity to the beliefs of many Native Americans. NASA later apologized and promised to consult with tribes before authorizing any similar missions in the future.

Dec 29 2:20pm
Microsoft has again disabled the MSIX ms-appinstaller protocol handler after multiple financially motivated threat groups abused it to infect Windows users with malware. From a report: The attackers exploited the CVE-2021-43890 Windows AppX Installer spoofing vulnerability to circumvent security measures that would otherwise protect Windows users from malware, such as the Defender SmartScreen anti-phishing and anti-malware component and built-in browser alerts cautioning users against executable file downloads. Microsoft says the threat actors use both malicious advertisements for popular software and Microsoft Teams phishing messages to push signed malicious MSIX application packages. "Since mid-November 2023, Microsoft Threat Intelligence has observed threat actors, including financially motivated actors like Storm-0569, Storm-1113, Sangria Tempest, and Storm-1674, utilizing the ms-appinstaller URI scheme (App Installer) to distribute malware," the company said.

Dec 29 11:00am
Daihatsu, the Japanese automaker owned by Toyota, has halted domestic production after admitting it forged the results of safety tests for its vehicles for more than 30 years. From a report: The brand, best known for manufacturing small passenger cars, has stopped output at all four of its Japanese factories as of Tuesday, including one at its headquarters in Osaka, a spokesperson told CNN. The shutdown will last through at least the end of January, affecting roughly 9,000 employees who work in domestic production, according to the representative. The move comes as Daihatsu grapples with a deepening safety scandal that Toyota says "has shaken the very foundations of the company." Last week, Daihatsu announced an independent third-party committee had found evidence of tampering with safety tests on as many as 64 vehicle models, including those sold under the Toyota brand. As a result, Daihatsu said it would temporarily suspend all domestic and international vehicle shipments and consult with authorities on how to move forward. The scandal is another blow to the automaker, which had admitted in April to violating standards on crash tests on more than 88,000 cars, mostly sold under the Toyota brand in countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. In that case, "the inside lining of the front seat door was improperly modified" for some checks, while Daihatsu did not comply with regulatory requirements for certain side collision tests, it said in a statement at the time.

Dec 28 11:40am
Web software firm 37Signals has migrated off the cloud after spending $3.2 million on Amazon Web Services last year, said co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson, who is also the creator of Ruby on Rails. The Basecamp project management software-maker bought $600,000 of Dell servers and expects to save over $7 million in five years by running operations in-house. From a report: DHH likened clouds to "merchants of complexity" where they are incentivized to make things as complex as possible to keep customers hooked. He compared that to the original Internet, which was not built on complex cloud services geared for multi-tenancy, but rather on simpler tools such as Linux and PHP, which anyone could use without cost. This is not to say cloud has zero value for all use cases, [Kelsey] Hightower and DHH agreed. Clouds make perfect sense in many cases, for start-ups that do not know how much infrastructure they will need, and also for enterprises with a lack of expertise and money to burn. For many companies in the middle, though a lot of profit margin can be recovered by reducing cloud costs and running things in-house instead, the two argued.

Dec 26 9:30am
After promising early dumps of snow in some areas of Europe this autumn, the pattern of recent years resumed and rain and sleet took over. From a report: In the ski resorts of Morzine and Les Gets in the French Alps, the heavy rainfall meant that full opening of resorts was delayed until two days before Christmas, leaving the industry and the millions of tourists planning trips to stare at the sky in hope. But no amount of wishing and hoping will overcome what is an existential threat to skiing in the Alps, an industry worth $30bn that provides the most popular ski destination in the world. The science is clear, and is spelled out in carefully weighed-up peer reviewed reports. The most recent, this year, warned that at 2C of global heating above pre-industrial levels, 53% of the 28 European resorts examined would be at very high risk of a scarce amount of snow. Scarce snow has been defined as the poorest coverage seen on average every five years between 1961 and 1990. If the world were to hit 4C of heating, 98% of the resorts would be at very high risk of scarce snow cover. Another study has revealed the way in which snow cover in the Alps has had an "unprecedented" decline over the past 600 years, with the duration of the cover now shorter by 36 days.

Dec 25 10:00am
Mint Mobile has disclosed a new data breach that exposed the personal information of its customers, including data that can be used to perform SIM swap attacks. From a report: Mint is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) offering budget, pre-paid mobile plans. T-Mobile has proposed paying $1.3 billion to purchase the company. The company began notifying customers on December 22nd via emails titled "Important information regarding your account," stating that they suffered a security incident and a hacker obtained customer information. "We are writing to inform you about a security incident we recently identified in which an unauthorized actor obtained some limited types of customer information," warns the Mint Mobile data breach notification. "Our investigation indicates that certain information associated with your account was impacted."

Dec 21 11:40am
Worldcoin is no longer offering its Orb-verification service in India, Brazil and France, just months after the crypto startup expanded the helmet-shaped eyeball-scanning device to those markets. From a report: Tools for Humanity, the foundation that oversees development of Worldcoin, exclusively told TechCrunch in a statement that it had expanded the Orb to many markets this year for a "limited time access." The sudden retreat, however, comes as a surprise. Worldcoin had opened pop-up kiosks in many parts of India to onboard new users to the platform and drove crowds as people lined up to sign up and collect the free tokens.

Dec 21 10:26am
Artificial rain has been used in an attempt to lower pollution levels in Lahore, Pakistan. From a report: The capital city of the eastern province of Punjab, near the Indian border, has some of the worst air quality in the world and has become extremely polluted because of a growing population of more than 13 million people. By early December, the air quality in the city had grown so bad that schools, markets and parks were closed for four days. By last weekend, the cityâ(TM)s air quality index (AQI) had reached levels considered extremely hazardous to health. To try to reduce them, on Saturday the Punjab government used cloud seeding to create rain in 10 locations around the city using a small Cessna plane. To create the clouds, there needs to be enough moisture already present in the clouds in the lower atmosphere. In summer, common table salt mixed with water is sprayed over the cloud patches from planes. After a few hours, the mist integrates with the clouds and produces rain. In winter, the clouds are seeded using flakes of silver iodide, which can be fired from a vehicle or a plane. The practice, also known as "blueskying," has been used to induce precipitation in several countries in the Middle East, as well as China and India.

Dec 21 9:00am
New submitter ekimminau writes: On the morning of December 20, 2023, thousands of users turned on their Samsung TV to find that the Samsung TV Plus application was missing. Available for free on 2016-2023 Samsung Smart TVs, Galaxy devices, Smart Monitors, Family Hub refrigerators, and the web, for many it is their primary method of TV viewing. The masses began flocking to the Samsung community forums asking ... what was going on. From Cord Cutters: At this time, Samsung has not posted any updates about the outage. Customer service has been telling customers they are aware of the outage and are working on fixing it. This news comes as Samsung recently added seven local FOX news channels for community stories, sports updates, weather forecasts and more. The new markets are Austin, Detroit, Milwaukee, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Right now, this outage seems to only be affecting the app on Smart TVs as the website is still working letting anyone stream Samsung TV Plus for free streaming online through the website.

Dec 21 7:00am
Marina Temkin, writing at PitchBook: Boston-based OpenView stunned the VC world with news in early December that it laid off most of its employees and would stop all new investments months after raising its $570 million seventh fund. The 17-year-old firm, which managed $2.4 billion, was too prominent to keep its closure under wraps. But OpenView was far from the only investor that stopped backing startups this year. The number of active investors in US VC, which we defined as making two or more deals, plummeted by 38% in the first three quarters of 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to PitchBook data. That translates to 2,725 fewer firms making deals. The decline in active investors is far higher than the 28% decrease in deal count during the period, the Q3 2023 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor shows. The data indicates that investors are not merely writing fewer checks. Some dealmakers may have run out of funds and could be deemed zombie funds. Others, such as crossover investors, may have stopped allocating to the VC asset class.

Dec 20 2:22pm
Susan Zhuang, a Democrat who will soon represent the 43rd Council District in Brooklyn, New York, admitted to using AI when answering questions from a local news publication, according to a report by the New York Post. From a report: In a text message sent to the Post, Zhuang wrote that she uses "AI as a tool to help foster deeper understanding" because English is not her first language. The responses in question were included in an article from City & State, which asked local council member-elects to fill out a questionnaire about their personal interests and policies.

Dec 20 9:40am
samleecole writes: The LAION-5B machine learning dataset used by Google, Stable Diffusion, and other major AI products has been removed by the organization that created it after a Stanford study found that it contained 3,226 suspected instances of child sexual abuse material, 1,008 of which were externally validated. LAION told 404 Media on Tuesday that out of "an abundance of caution," it was taking down its datasets temporarily "to ensure they are safe before republishing them." According to a new study by the Stanford Internet Observatory shared with 404 Media ahead of publication, the researchers found the suspected instances of CSAM through a combination of perceptual and cryptographic hash-based detection and analysis of the images themselves.

Dec 19 11:58am
Imported raw materials such as steel and cement will incur a new carbon tax from 2027 under UK plans designed to support domestic producers and reduce emissions, but the government is facing criticism for not moving fast enough. From a report: The Treasury said the tax would help address the phenomenon of "carbon leakage," in which UK manufacturers are undercut on price by foreign rivals whose governments do not impose levies on businesses that emit a lot of carbon. The result is that emissions are simply displaced to other countries, while greener UK producers lose out because they have to pay carbon-related charges. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, said: "This levy will make sure carbon intensive products from overseas -- like steel and ceramics -- face a comparable carbon price to those produced in the UK, so that our decarbonisation efforts translate into reductions in global emissions. "This should give UK industry the confidence to invest in decarbonisation as the world transitions to net zero."

Dec 18 6:17am
Following mounting pressure from regulators in the UK and EU, Adobe and Figma announced on Monday that both companies are mutually terminating their merger agreement, which would have seen Adobe acquire the Figma product design platform for $20 billion. From a report: As a result of the termination, Adobe will be required to pay Figma a reverse termination fee of $1 billion in cash. "Adobe and Figma strongly disagree with the recent regulatory findings, but we believe it is in our respective best interests to move forward independently," said Adobe chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen in a statement. "While Adobe and Figma shared a vision to jointly redefine the future of creativity and productivity, we continue to be well positioned to capitalize on our massive market opportunity and mission to change the world through personalized digital experiences."

Dec 15 7:05am
Soon after payment-processing giant Wirecard reported in June 2020 that nearly $2 billion had gone missing from its balance sheet, its chief operating officer Jan Marsalek boarded a private jet out of Austria. After a landing in Belarus, he was whisked by car to Moscow, where he got a Russian passport under an assumed name. Western intelligence and security officials now say they have reached the unsettling conclusion that Marsalek had likely been a Russian agent for nearly a decade. From a report: Marsalek already stands accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from investors. Following multiple international investigations, officials from intelligence, police and judiciary agencies in several countries now say the 43-year-old native of Austria used his defunct payments company to illegally help Russian spy agencies move money to fund covert operations around the world. One of the most wanted men in the world, Marsalek has also provided assistance to the mercenary organization of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late Russian warlord, and is now involved in the reconfiguration of his business empire in Africa on behalf of Russian officials from his new domicile in Dubai, according to Western intelligence. Wirecard got its start processing payments for pornography websites on its way to becoming an Internet finance behemoth. During its heyday, the company claimed to process $140 billion of transactions a year on behalf of a quarter million businesses, making it a rival of Square and PayPal. It was briefly valued at more than any German bank. Former associates remember Marsalek as a bon vivant who at one point rented a Munich mansion for 35,000 euros, or $38,000, a month. He was making millions of dollars a year in salary and crisscrossing the globe in private jets. He was also obsessed with the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage, often intimating that he had connections with intelligence officers, they say -- claims many dismissed as bluster.

Dec 13 8:20am
An anonymous reader shares a report: This year has been marked by many terrifying things, but perhaps the most surprising of the 2023 horrors was ... eye drops. The seemingly innocuous teeny squeeze bottle made for alarming headlines numerous times during our current revolution around the sun, with lengthy lists of recalls, startling factory inspections, and ghastly reports of people developing near-untreatable bacterial infections, losing their eyes and vision, and dying. Recapping this unexpected threat to health, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released an advisory titled "What You Should Know about Eye Drops" in hopes of keeping the dangers of this year from leaking into the next. Among the notable points from the regulator was this stark pronouncement: No one should ever use any homeopathic ophthalmic products, and every single such product should be pulled off the market. The point is unexpected, given that none of the high-profile infections and recalls this year involved homeopathic products. But, it should be welcomed by any advocates of evidence-based medicine.

Dec 13 7:40am
More than 190 governments at the United Nations climate conference approved an agreement Wednesday calling for the world to transition away from fossil fuels, an accord that bridged differences between big energy-producing nations and countries that want to completely phase out coal, oil and natural gas. From a report: The deal, the result of all-night talks, calls for "transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner." It says the shift to clean energy for the global economy should accelerate this decade with the aim of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Scientists say that is crucial to fulfilling the Paris accord, the landmark climate agreement that calls for governments to attempt to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures. The deal marks the first time a U.N. climate agreement has called for governments to cut back on all fossil fuels.

AVC Jan 10 6:49am
The Partnership for NYC, alongside its partners at the MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, and NYC Department of Transportation, launched a call for applications for the 6th annual Transit Tech Lab this week. To kick off this year’s program, the Transit Tech Lab is seeking early and growth-stage […]
Jan 9 8:05am
Last summer I sat down with Tom Secunda, who co-founded Bloomberg LP with Mike Bloomberg, to talk about areas of shared philanthropic interest. Tom told me that academic institutions do not have access to the kind of AI/ML infrastructure that the top tech companies have and he wanted to fix that. His idea was a […]
Jan 8 8:02am
Chris Dixon, who leads the A16Z crypto fund, and has been an entrepreneur, VC, and friend of mine for over twenty years, has written a book called Read Write Own that is available for pre-order now and will start shipping at the end of the month. Chris gave me a copy right before the holidays […]
Jan 1 8:31am
As we enter 2024, the capital markets have found their footing and are moving higher. The Fed has taken interest rates as far as they want at this time and inflation has come down. It seems that a “soft landing” is likely. That is good news for the innovation economy because healthy capital markets are […]
Dec 31 7:45am
I like to bookend the New Year holiday with two posts, one looking back at the year that is ending (What Happened) and one looking forward to the year ahead (What Will Happen). This is the first of these two posts. The second one will run tomorrow. I ended my What Will Happen In 2023 […]
Dec 20 6:15am
Every year I put together a playlist at the end of the year with some of the new music I found and got into. Most of these songs are under the radar which is my favorite kind of music. So I hope you find something new that you like in here.
Oct 30 5:21am
I got an Oura ring a couple of years ago and have been working on improving my sleep and sleep habits ever since. For much of my adult life, I have been a poor sleeper. I have always been able to fall asleep quickly, but I have been plagued by two sleep issues. The first […]
Oct 12 4:21am
NYC Tech Week is next week. It will be a week filled with events for the tech sector to engage and connect with each other. A particularly great part of tech week is VC Open Office Hours. There are over 100 VC investors signed up to participate next week. Here is how it works: 1/ […]
Sep 26 6:21am
On Saturday, September 9th, the Gotham Gal and I arrived at JFK airport after an eight-hour flight from Paris. While waiting for our luggage, I got pushed a notification in my web3 wallet that there was an NFT drop underway that I could participate in. So I clicked on the link, signed the transaction, and […]
Aug 28 5:58am
I’ve written about this topic before. It is an important topic and I want to raise it again. Boards often discuss CEO performance without really knowing how things work inside the company. And CEOs often have very little visibility to how they are doing and what the board thinks about their performance. When you work […]
Aug 23 5:17am
For many years, there were three ways to subscribe to AVC: 1/ Email – Get new posts delivered to your inbox 2/ RSS – Get new posts delivered to your RSS reader 3/ X – Follow AVC on X X revoked the API access that I was using to autopost three or four months ago. […]
Aug 13 6:18am
I got a new Pixel 7 last week and have started the tedious process of moving over to a new phone. One of the more painful chores in moving from one phone to another is moving the Google Authenticator app and all of the two factor codes to the new phone. My partner Nick told […]
Aug 6 5:12am
USV has been an investor in the Helium network since 2019. I have always loved the idea of using web3 technologies to let consumers to “peer produce” a communications network creating a people-powered network. Helium started out powering communications between low-power “Internet of Things (IOT)” devices but with the introduction of Helium Mobile back in […]
Jul 30 5:19am
I’ve written about this topic a bunch over the years. It is something I’ve been interested in for quite a while. Our homes are filled with big hunks of plastic hanging on the wall that are off most of the time. They look like this: Now that’s a lovely scene. Some nice plants. A cool […]
Jul 26 6:05am
The New York Times had a piece yesterday suggesting that tech will no longer be a growth engine for NYC and the surrounding metro area as it has been for the last twenty years. I am not going to link to the piece because it is behind a paywall but if you want to read […]
Brad Feld Jul 17 9:16am

I recently wrote the Foreword for Unshackled, a new book co-authored by Soundarya Basubramani, a writer from India, and Sameer Khedekar, a veteran immigration lawyer. Unshackled breaks down how legal immigration works in America in a way that is friendly, accessible, and human. It’s filled with raw stories of high-skilled immigrants who walked unconventional paths […]

The post Book: Unshackled: A Practical Guide For Highly-Skilled Immigrants To Thrive In The United States appeared first on Brad Feld.

AVC Jul 17 4:29am
The venture capital sector has been in a sustained downturn for almost eighteen months. How does this downturn end? Well, it may have already ended, but let’s see about that. We will know for sure in a few quarters. The NASDAQ peaked at roughly 16,000 in November 2021. By June 2022, it was down 33%. […]
Brad Feld Jun 30 9:18am

Alan Arkin is one of my favorite actors. I just saw a note that he passed away yesterday. I expect I’ll look like him when I lose my hair since he looks like my dad. And every time I see Alan Arkin, I think of my dad. If you see me driving my Jeep around […]

The post RIP Alan Arkin appeared first on Brad Feld.

Jun 1 7:36am

The Venture Deals course is free and starts on June 20, 2023. This is the fourth time we are running the new version of the course (v2!) that was co-created with Techstars and Kauffman Fellows. If interested, sign up now. I hope to see you in one of the AMAs we will host for anyone who takes the […]

The post Venture Deals Summer 2023 Course appeared first on Brad Feld.

May 21 12:03pm

John McPhee’s Levels of the Game was published when I was three. I’ve read many books about tennis, but it’s still my favorite, with String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis coming in a close second. Both books share extraordinary writers and a topic I can relate to, given my short but profane junior tennis […]

The post Book: Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process appeared first on Brad Feld.

May 10 9:57am

I got an email from Matt Blumberg this morning with the above image that said, “We have been blogging for 19 years. I can remember sitting together above Super Liquor futzing with Typepad like it was yesterday.” “Super Liquor” is Superior Liquor in Superior, Colorado, which was on the first floor of the building off […]

The post 19 Years Ago Today appeared first on Brad Feld.

May 8 8:44am

Startup Snapshot, a data-sharing platform for the entrepreneurial ecosystem, recently released its latest report, The Untold Toll: The Impact of stress on the well-being of startup founders and CEOs. Clearly, the emotional state of founders and entrepreneurs in any period, especially now in this economic environment, is a critical driver of success. Yet the emotional, cognitive, […]

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Apr 26 5:16am

Chris Heivly released Build the Fort: The Startup Community Builder’s Field Guide. I encourage you to get Chris’s book if you are a startup community builder or are interested in startup communities. When Ian Hathaway and I started working on The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, we initially talked to Chris about writing […]

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Apr 20 6:35am

After my post about the Founder Mental Health Pledge, I received a note from Kari Palazzari, the Executive Director of Studio Arts Boulder, a local nonprofit that manages a community pottery studio. She lamented that very few members of the Boulder startup community seem to take advantage of their programs. She said, “Studio Arts Boulder […]

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