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 Jul 16 10:49am
A judge in the UK High Court has directed prosecutors to consider bringing criminal charges against computer scientist Craig Wright, after ruling that he lied "extensively and repeatedly" and committed forgery "on a grand scale" in service of his quest to prove he is Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of bitcoin. From a report: In a judgment published Tuesday, Justice James Mellor outlined various injunctions to be imposed upon Wright, after finding in May that he had "engaged in the deliberate production of false documents to support false claims [to be Satoshi] and use the Courts as a vehicle for fraud." By order of the judge, Wright will be prevented from claiming publicly that he is Satoshi and from bringing or threatening legal action in any jurisdiction on that basis. He will be required to pin a notice to the front page of his personal website and X feed detailing the findings against him. The matter, Mellor writes, will also be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the body responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in the UK, "for consideration of whether a prosecution should be commenced against Dr Wright." It will be up to the CPS to decide whether the available evidence is sufficient to bring charges against Wright "for his wholescale perjury and forgery of documents" and "whether a warrant for his arrest should be issued."

Jul 16 4:00am
Last week, the U.S. Senate introduced a new bill to outlaw the unethical use of AI-generated content and deepfake technology. Called the Content Origin Protection and Integrity from Edited and Deepfaked Media Act (COPIED Act), the bill would "set new federal transparency guidelines for marking, authenticating and detecting AI-generated content, protect journalists, actors and artists against AI-driven theft, and hold violators accountable for abuses." TechSpot reports: Proposed and sponsored by Democrats Maria Cantwell of Washington and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, along with Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the aims to establish enforceable transparency standards in AI development [such a through watermarking]. The legislation also wants to curb unauthorized data use in training models. The senators intend to task the National Institutes of Standards and Technology with developing sensible transparency guidelines should the bill pass. [...] The senators feel that clarifying and defining what is okay and what is not regarding AI development is vital in protecting citizens, artists, and public figures from the harm that misuse of the technology could cause, particularly in creating deepfakes. The text of the bill can be read here.

Jul 15 12:50pm
Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, has told workers in its U.S.-based division that they are being laid off this week and that it is closing its U.S. business, Zero Day reported Monday, citing sources. From a report: The sudden move comes after the U.S. Commerce Department announced last month that it was banning the sale of Kaspersky software in the U.S. beginning July 20. The company has been selling its software here since 2005. Kaspersky confirmed the news to Zero Day, saying that beginning July 20 it will "gradually wind down" its U.S. operations and eliminate U.S.-based positions as a result of the new ban, despite initially vowing to fight the ban in court.

Jul 12 8:46am
Indonesia said it is beginning to recover data that had been encrypted in a major ransomware attack last month which affected more than 160 government agencies. From a report: The attackers identified as Brain Cipher asked for $8 million in ransom to unlock the data before later apologising and releasing the decryption key for free, according to Singapore-based cybersecurity firm StealthMole. The attack has disrupted multiple government services including immigration and operations at major airports. Indonesian officials have acknowledged that the bulk of the data had not been backed up. Chief Security Minister Hadi Tjahjanto said in a statement late on Thursday that data for 30 public services overseen by 12 ministries had been recovered using a "decryption strategy" without elaborating.

Jul 12 1:00am
Aryan Kapoor, a high schooler from JRD Propulsion, successfully developed a model rocket with SpaceX-style vertical landing capabilities. The three-year effort was made possible by a thrust-vector control and clever landing gear design. Hackaday reports: He started in 2021 with none of the basic skills needed to pull off something like this, but it seems like he quickly learned the ropes. His development program was comprehensive, with static test vehicles, a low-altitude hopper, and extensive testing of the key technology: thrust-vector control. His rocket uses two solid-propellant motors stacked on top of each other, one for ascent and one for descent and landing. They both live in a 3D printed gimbal mount with two servos that give the stack plus and minus seven degrees of thrust vectoring in two dimensions, which is controlled by a custom flight computer with a barometric altimeter and an inertial measurement unit. The landing gear is also clever, using rubber bands to absorb landing forces and syringes as dampers. You can watch the first successful test flight and landing on YouTube.

Jul 11 6:45pm
Ancient Slashdot reader Alain Williams writes: Palestinians living abroad have accused Microsoft of closing their email accounts without warning -- cutting them off from crucial online services. They say it has left them unable to access bank accounts and job offers -- and stopped them using Skype, which Microsoft owns, to contact relatives in war-torn Gaza. Microsoft says they violated its terms of service -- a claim they dispute. He also said being cut off from Skype was a huge blow for his family. The internet is frequently disrupted or switched off there because of the Israeli military campaign - and standard international calls are very expensive. [...] With a paid Skype subscription, it is possible to call mobiles in Gaza cheaply -- and while the internet is down -- so it has become a lifeline to many Palestinians. Some of the people the BBC spoke to said they suspected they were wrongly thought to have ties to Hamas, which Israel is fighting, and is designated a terrorist organization by many countries. Microsoft did not respond directly when asked if suspected ties to Hamas were the reason for the accounts being shut. But a spokesperson said it did not block calls or ban users based on calling region or destination. "Blocking in Skype can occur in response to suspected fraudulent activity," they said, without elaborating.

Jul 10 9:31am
An anonymous reader shares a report: A CNN investigation found the use of hidden cameras is a persistent problem in the industry. Regulations are sparse, and the punishments for those that commit these crimes are lenient -- video voyeurism is typically charged as a misdemeanor. Meanwhile, the people who are recorded -- often naked or engaging in sexual activities -- say they suffer from long-term trauma and the fear that their images could, at any moment, be disseminated on the internet. An Airbnb spokesperson told CNN that hidden camera complaints are rare, but when they do occur, "we take appropriate, swift action, which can include removing hosts and listings that violate the policy." At a court-ordered deposition last year, an Airbnb representative was supposed to answer a key question from the attorney suing the company: How many complaints or reports had been made to Airbnb since December 1, 2013, of people who had been recorded by surveillance devices? The Airbnb representative testified that the company generated 35,000 customer support tickets about surveillance devices in the preceding decade. An Airbnb spokesperson told CNN that a single report could create multiple tickets. The company declined to specify how many unique complaints there have been. In the deposition, which has not been previously reported, the company representative sought to downplay the significance of the number of tickets, testifying they could reflect instances such as a malfunctioning doorbell camera or a tablet with recording capabilities left out on a coffee table. The representative did not provide any statistics detailing the number of claims she suggested were innocuous among the 35,000 tickets.

Jul 10 8:40am
TurboTax-parent Intuit said on Wednesday it will let go of about 1,800 employees, or 10% of its workforce, as it looks to focus on its AI-powered tax preparation software and other financial products. From a report: The company, which has invested heavily in providing generative AI powered accounting and tax preparation tools for small and medium businesses in the past few years, expects to close two of its sites in Edmonton, Canada and Boise, Idaho. Intuit will rehire 1,800 new people primarily in engineering, product and customer-facing roles, CEO Sasan Goodarzi said in a note to employees.

Jul 10 8:00am
Google has streamlined its Advanced Protection Program, allowing users to enroll using a single passkey instead of two physical security keys. The program, designed for individuals at high risk of targeted online attacks, now uses built-in biometric authentication on Pixel phones and iPhones.

Jul 9 2:20pm
wiredmikey shares a report from SecurityWeek: Security vendor InkBridge Networks on Tuesday called urgent attention to the discovery of a thirty-year-old design flaw in the RADIUS protocol and warned that advanced attackers can launch exploits to authenticate anyone to a local network, bypassing any multi-factor-authentication (MFA) protections. The company published a technical description of what is being called the BlastRADIUS attack and warned that corporate networks such as internal enterprise networks, ISPs, and telcos are exposed to major risk. The vulnerability is being tracked as CVE-2024-3596 and VU#456537. "The root cause of the attack is that in the RADIUS protocol, some Access-Request packets are not authenticated and lack integrity checks. An attacker can modify these packets in a way which allows them to control who gets onto the network," the research team explained (PDF). The RADIUS protocol, first standardized in the late 1990s, is used to control network access via authentication, authorization, and accounting and is still used widely today in switches, routers, access points and VPN products. "All of those devices are likely vulnerable to this attack," the researchers warned. "The key to the attack is that in many cases, Access-Request packets have no authentication or integrity checks. An attacker can then perform a chosen prefix attack, which allows modifying the Access-Request in order to replace a valid response with one chosen by the attacker. Even though the response is authenticated and integrity checked, the chosen prefix vulnerability allows the attacker to modify the response packet, almost at will," according to the InkBridge Networks documentation. The researchers say that every single RADIUS server must be upgraded in order to protect against this vulnerability. "It is not sufficient to upgrade only RADIUS clients, as doing so will allow the network to remain vulnerable."

Jul 9 11:20am
williamyf writes: Mozilla has released version 128 of the Firefox web browser. Some noteworthy features include: "Firefox can now translate selections of text and hyperlinked text to other languages from the context menu. [...] Firefox now has a simpler and more unified dialog for clearing user data. In addition to streamlining data categories, the new dialog also provides insights into the site data size corresponding to the selected time range. [...] On macOS, microphone capture through getUserMedia will now use system-provided voice processing when applicable, improving audio quality." More info in the release notes here. But the most important feature of 128 is that it is the newest ESR. Why is this important? Glad you asked: * Firefox ESR is the browser of choice for many Linux distros (including Debian), so this is important for the Linux community at large.* Many downstream projects (like Thunderbird or KAiOS) use Firefox ESR as their base, so whatever is included in 128 will determine the capabilities of those projects for the next year.* Many ISVs (software makers), both big and small, test/certify their software only against the ESR version of Firefox. For users of such software, the new ESR is very important.* Many companies and individuals value stability of the UI/Workflow over new bells and whistles, for them, ESR is important.* When an OS is discontinued, Mozilla lets the ESR be the last browser on the platform, exceeding the support window of the likes of Alphabeth, Apple or Microsoft, so for people on older OSs, ESR is important. Link to download (the ESR) here.

Jul 9 9:22am
Google will extend its Dark Web monitoring service to all account holders starting late July 2024, following the closure of its VPN offering last month. The feature, which scans for personal data compromised in breaches, was previously exclusive to Google One subscribers in dozens of countries.

Jul 8 2:50pm
An anonymous reader writes: Google Maps is testing a new ad format that could cause distractions while driving. It brings up a pop-up notification during navigation that covers the bottom half of the screen with an unnecessary detour suggestion. Anthony Higman on X (formerly Twitter) recently spotted the new ad format during their commute. According to Higman, the ad popped up while passing a Royal Farms gas station, even though they did not search for a gas station or convenience store while setting their destination. The ad has a Sponsored tag at the top of the card, followed by the name of the location, its review rating, and the estimated arrival time. It also includes two buttons to add it as a stop or cancel the suggestion.

Jul 7 1:34am
In Communications of the ACM,/em>, long-time FreeBSD contributor Poul-Henning Kamp mocks the idea that the free and open-source software has "come apart" and "will end in tears and regret." Economists and others focused on money — like my bank — have had a lot of trouble figuring out the free and open source software (FOSS) phenomenon, and eventually they seem to have reached the conclusion that it just makes no sense. So, they go with the flow. Recently, very serious people in the FOSS movement have started to write long and thoughtful opinion pieces about how it has all come apart and will end in tears and regret. Allow me to disagree... What follows is a humorous history of how the Open Source movement bested a series of ill-conceived marketing failures starting after the "utterly bad" 1980s when IBM had an "unimaginably huge monopoly" — and an era of vendor lock-in from companies trying to be the next IBM: Out of that utter market failure came Minix, (Net/Free/Open)BSD, and Linux, at a median year of approximately 1991. I can absolutely guarantee that if we had been able to buy a reasonably priced and solid Unix for our 32-bit PCs — no strings attached — nobody would be running FreeBSD or Linux today, except possibly as an obscure hobby. Bill Gates would also have had a lot less of our money... The essay moves on to when "that dot-com thing happened, fueled by the availability of FOSS operating systems, which did a much better job than any operating system you could buy — not just for the price, but in absolute terms of performance on any given piece of hardware. Thus, out of utter market failure, the FOSS movement was born." And ultimately, the essay ends with our present day, and the phenomenon of companies that "make a business out of FOSS or derivatives thereof..." The "F" in FOSS was never silent. In retrospect, it seems clear that open source was not so much the goal itself as a means to an end, which is freedom: freedom to fix broken things, freedom from people who thought they could clutch the source code tightly and wield our ignorance of it as a weapon to force us all to pay for and run Windows Vista. But the FOSS movement has won what it wanted, and no matter how much oldsters dream about their glorious days as young revolutionaries, it is not coming back; the frustrations and anger of IT in 2024 are entirely different from those of 1991. One very big difference is that more people have realized that source code is a liability rather than an asset. For some, that realization came creeping along the path from young teenage FOSS activists in the late 1990s to CIOs of BigCorp today. For most of us, I expect, it was the increasingly crushing workload of maintaining legacy code bases...

Jul 5 12:45pm
Amazon has introduced new advertising strategies for its Fire TV platform, displaying full-screen ads before screensavers activate on idle devices, CordCutters reports. Users have observed ads from various brands during these pre-screensaver intervals, the report added.

Jul 5 8:03am
No leap second will be added to universal time in 2024, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has announced. From a report: An additional second has previously been added to the universal time as displayed by atomic clocks (UTC) when this measurement has become out of sync with the rotation of the Earth (UT1). But in a statement released on Thursday, the IERS, which enacts changes to UTC on behalf of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), said the difference between UTC and UT1 is not great enough to warrant a change. Changes in the relationship between UTC and UT1 sometimes occur because the Earth does not always spin at the same speed, with natural events such as earthquakes often causing small changes.

Jul 5 12:00am
Nintendo has announced the end of repair services for its Wii U console, following the earlier decision to shut down all Wii U servers. Nintendo cited the expiration of the parts retention period as the reason for discontinuing repairs. The move marks the final chapter for the Wii U, which launched in 2012 but struggled to gain traction, selling only 13.56 million units compared to its successor, the Switch, which has sold over 140 million units.

Jul 3 5:20pm
Netflix has started booting subscribers off its cheapest ad-free subscription tier, "starting with the UK and Canada, with more countries inevitably to follow," reports MacRumors. From the report: The streaming giant has reportedly begun notifying users via on-screen messages about the last day they can access the service unless they upgrade. One Reddit user shared a notification they had received from the Netflix app, saying: "Your last day to watch Netflix is July 13th. Choose a new plan to keep watching." Customers are being prompted to instead choose the cheaper Standard with ads, or the more expensive Standard or Premium 4K plans. The Basic plan, which costs $11.99 per month in the United States, has not been available to new subscribers since last year. In its early 2024 earnings call, Netflix announced its intention to retire its Basic plan in some countries where the ads plan has been introduced, starting with Canada and the UK in the second quarter, and then "taking it from there." Netflix said in May that its ad-supported streaming tier has 40 million global monthly active users, up 35 million from a year ago.

Jul 3 2:13pm
Microsoft conducted another round of layoffs this week in the latest workforce reduction implemented by the Redmond tech giant this year. From a report: The cuts impacted multiple teams and geographies. Posts on LinkedIn from impacted employees show the cuts affecting employees in product and program management roles. "Organizational and workforce adjustments are a necessary and regular part of managing our business," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We will continue to prioritize and invest in strategic growth areas for our future and in support of our customers and partners."

Jul 3 12:01pm
Twilio, a major U.S. messaging company, has confirmed that unauthorized actors had identified phone numbers associated with users of its Authy two-factor authentication app. The disclosure comes after a hacker claimed last week to have obtained 33 million phone numbers from Twilio. A Twilio spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company had detected an unauthenticated endpoint allowing access to Authy account data, including phone numbers. The endpoint has since been secured.

Jul 3 8:40am
Proton, the privacy-focused technology company, has launched Proton Docs, a new document editing tool that bears a striking resemblance to Google Docs. The service, launched as part of Proton Drive, offers features such as rich text editing, real-time collaboration, and multimedia support.

Jul 2 10:45am
Netflix is following through on its plan to phase out its cheapest ad-free tier for existing subscribers. From a report: As spotted in numerous posts on Reddit, Netflix is now asking some basic plan subscribers to choose a new plan to stay subscribed to Netflix. One Reddit user received a notification on their Netflix app, saying "Your last day to watch Netflix is July 13th. Choose a new plan to keep watching." Subscribers paying $11.99 / month for the basic plan will have to choose either the $6.99 ad-supported tier, the $15.49 ad-free tier, or the $22.99 ad-free 4K premium plan.

Jul 2 10:08am
Greece has introduced a six-day working week for some businesses in a bid to boost productivity and employment in the southern European country. From a report: The regulation, which came into force on July 1, bucks a global trend of companies exploring a shorter working week. Under the new legislation, which was passed as part of a broader set of labor laws last year, employees of private businesses that provide round-the-clock services will reportedly have the option of working an additional two hours per day or an extra eight-hour shift. The change means a traditional 40-hour workweek could be extended to 48 hours per week for some businesses. Food service and tourism workers are not included in the six-day working week initiative.

Jul 2 4:00am
Digital audio broadcasting (DAB+) and internet radio have largely replaced traditional FM radio in Switzerland, with digital radio holding an 81% share of use in spring 2023. Due to the high costs of maintaining FM transmitters and declining financial resources, Switzerland plans to fully transition to digital radio by the end of 2026, phasing out FM broadcasting completely. From a report: DAB+ and the internet offer better quality and a larger program selection, are more energy and cost efficient, and can provide additional information in text and images, it said. To receive DAB+ requires a corresponding device or adapter, and new cars have been equipped with digital technology as standard for several years. In addition, the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) will upgrade all tunnels on the national road network for digital radio reception by the end of the year and switch off FM transmitters. FM was originally expected to be switched off throughout Switzerland by the end of 2024. The government extended FM licenses for the radio industry for the last time in October 2023 to the end of 2026, after which radio stations in Switzerland will no longer be able to broadcast via FM, only digitally. OFCOM announced at the time that the final extension would give the radio industry the flexibility to complete the transition process from analogue to digital radio.

Jun 30 8:34am
What if across the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, six high-voltage power cables stretched -- each over 2,000 miles long. CNN reports that a group of entrepreneurs "wants to build what would be the worldâ(TM)s largest subsea energy interconnector between continents, linking Europe and North America...to connect places like the United Kingdomâ(TM)s west with eastern Canada, and potentially New York with western France... "The Europe-US cables could send 6 gigawatts of energy in both directions at the speed of light, said Laurent Segalen, founder of the London-based Megawatt-X renewable energy firm, who is also part of the trio proposing the transatlantic interconnector. Thatâ(TM)s equivalent to what six large-scale nuclear power plants can generate, transmitted in near-real time." The interconnector would send renewable energy both east and west, taking advantage of the sunâ(TM)s diurnal journey across the sky. âoeWhen the sun is at its zenith, we probably have more power in Europe than we can really use,â said Simon Ludlam, founder and CEO of Etchea Energy, and one of the trio of Europeans leading the project. âoeWeâ(TM)ve got wind and weâ(TM)ve also got too much solar. Thatâ(TM)s a good time to send it to a demand center, like the East Coast of the United States. Five, six hours later, itâ(TM)s the zenith in the East Coast, and obviously, we in Europe have come back for dinner, and we get the reverse flow,â he added. The transatlantic interconnector is still a proposal, but networks of green energy cables are starting to sprawl across the worldâ(TM)s sea beds. They are fast becoming part of a global climate solution, transmitting large amounts of renewable energy to countries struggling to make the green transition alone. But they are also forging new relations that are reshaping the geopolitical map and shifting some of the worldâ(TM)s energy wars down to the depths of the ocean... Already, energy cables run between several countries in Europe, most of them allied neighbors. Not all of them carry renewable power exclusively â" thatâ(TM)s sometimes determined by what makes up each countryâ(TM)s energy grid â"âbut new ones are typically being built for a green energy future. The UK, where land space for power plants is limited, is already connected with Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark under the sea. It has signed up to a solar and wind link with Morocco to take advantage of the North African countryâ(TM)s many hours of sunlight and strong trade winds that run across the equator. Similar proposals are popping up around the globe. A project called Sun Cable seeks to send solar power from sunny Australia, where land is abundant, to the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore, which also has plenty of sun but very little room for solar farms. India and Saudi Arabia plan to link their respective power grids via the Arabian Sea, part of a broader economic corridor plan to connect Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Jun 28 11:04am
The SEC sued Ethereum software provider ConsenSys over its MetaMask service on Friday, alleging the wallet product was an unregistered broker that "engaged in the offer and sale of securities." From a report: MetaMask also offered an unregistered securities program through its staking service, the SEC alleged in a filing in the courthouse in the Eastern District of New York. The SEC alleged in its lawsuit that it offered staking services for Lido and Rocket Pool as investment contracts, meaning they are also unregistered securities. "Consensys has collected over $250 million in fees," the SEC alleged. You can read the full lawsuit here [PDF].

Jun 28 8:00am
TeamViewer, the company that makes widely used remote access tools for companies, has confirmed an ongoing cyberattack on its corporate network. TechCrunch: In a statement Friday, the company attributed the compromise to government-backed hackers working for Russian intelligence, known as APT29 (and Midnight Blizzard). The Germany-based company said its investigation so far points to an initial intrusion on June 26 "tied to credentials of a standard employee account within our corporate IT environment." TeamViewer said that the cyberattack "was contained" to its corporate network and that the company keeps its internal network and customer systems separate. The company added that it has "no evidence that the threat actor gained access to our product environment or customer data." Martina Dier, a spokesperson for TeamViewer, declined to answer a series of questions from TechCrunch, including whether the company has the technical ability, such as logs, to determine what, if any, data was accessed or exfiltrated from its network.

Jun 27 9:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are displacing healthy diets "all over the world" despite growing evidence of the risks they pose and should be sold with tobacco-style warnings, according to the nutritional scientist who first coined the term. Prof Carlos Monteiro of the University of Sao Paulo will highlight the increasing danger UPFs present to children and adults at the International Congress on Obesity this week. "UPFs are increasing their share in and domination of global diets, despite the risk they represent to health in terms of increasing the risk of multiple chronic diseases," Monteiro told the Guardian ahead of the conference in Sao Paulo. "UPFs are displacing healthier, less processed foods all over the world, and also causing a deterioration in diet quality due to their several harmful attributes. Together, these foods are driving the pandemic of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes." Monteiro and his colleagues first used the phrase UPF 15 years ago when designing the food classification system "Nova." This assesses not only nutritional content but also the processes food undergoes before it is consumed. The system places food and drink into four groups: minimally processed food, processed culinary ingredients, processed food and ultra-processed food. Monteiro told the Guardian he was now so concerned about the impact UPF was having on human health that studies and reviews were no longer sufficient to warn the public of the health hazards. "Public health campaigns are needed like those against tobacco to curb the dangers of UPFs," he told the Guardian in an email. "Such campaigns would include the health dangers of consumption of UPFs. Advertisements for UPFs should also be banned or heavily restricted, and front-of-pack warnings should be introduced similar to those used for cigarette packs." He will tell delegates: "Sales of UPFs in schools and health facilities should be banned, and there should be heavy taxation of UPFs, with the revenue generated used to subsidize fresh foods." Monteiro will tell the conference that food giants marketing UPFs know that, in order to be competitive, their products must be more convenient, more affordable and tastier than freshly prepared meals. "To maximize profits, these UPFs must have lower cost of production and be overconsumed," he said. He will also draw parallels between UPF and tobacco companies. "Both tobacco and UPFs cause numerous serious illnesses and premature mortality; both are produced by transnational corporations that invest the enormous profits they obtain with their attractive/addictive products in aggressive marketing strategies, and in lobbying against regulation; and both are pathogenic (dangerous) by design, so reformulation is not a solution."

Jun 27 1:30pm
Nine astronauts on the International Space Station briefly took shelter late Wednesday as a satellite broke up in low Earth orbit, creating a "debris-generating event." Space.com reports: The Expedition 71 crew on the International Space Station (ISS) went to their three spacecraft, including Boeing Starliner, shortly after 9 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT), according to a brief NASA update on X, formerly known as Twitter. As the ISS follows a time zone identical to GMT, according to the European Space Agency, the astronauts were likely in their sleep period when the incident occurred. The procedure was a "precautionary measure", NASA officials added, stating that the crew only stayed in their spacecraft for about an hour before they were "cleared to exit their spacecraft, and the station resumed normal operations." NASA did not specify which satellite was associated with the incident, but satellite monitoring and collision detection firm LeoLabs identified a "debris-generating event" that same evening. "Early indications are that a non-operational Russian spacecraft, Resurs-P1 [or] SATNO 39186, released a number of fragments," the company wrote on X. U.S. Space Command also reported the Resurs-P1 event, saying on X that over 100 pieces of trackable debris were generated. The military said it "observed no immediate threats and is continuing to conduct routine conjunction assessments." (A conjunction refers to a close approach of two objects in orbit to one another.)

Jun 27 10:01am
The number of climate lawsuits filed against companies around the world is rising swiftly, a report has found, and a majority of cases that have concluded have been successful. From a report: About 230 climate-aligned lawsuits have been filed against corporations and trade associations since 2015, two-thirds of which have been initiated since 2020, according to the analysis published on Thursday by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. One of the most rapidly growing forms of litigation is over "climate-washing" -- when companies are accused of misrepresenting their progress towards environmental targets -- and the analysis found that 47 such cases were filed against companies and governments in 2023. As climate communications are increasingly scrutinised, there has been arise in climate-washing litigation, often with positive outcomes for those bringing the cases. Of the 140 climate-washing cases reviewed between 2016 and 2023, 77 have officially concluded, 54 of which ended with a ruling in favour of the claimant. More than 30 cases in 2023 concerned the "polluter pays" principle, whereby companies are held accountable for climate damage caused by high greenhouse gas emissions. The authors also highlighted six "turning off the taps" cases, which challenge the flow of finance to areas which hinder climate goals.

Jun 26 2:10pm
The US Conference of Mayors, which speaks for the administrations of more than 1,400 cities with a population of at least 30,000 people, adopted a resolution over the weekend at its annual meeting that voiced an objection to HR 3557, a draft law known as the American Broadband Deployment Act of 2023. From a report: The bill, which was introduced by House Rep Earl Carter (R-GA) last May and is awaiting further consideration by Congress, is ostensibly designed to make it easier for telcos to build infrastructure and run additional cables on state and locally managed land, ideally allowing fast broadband connectivity to reach more and more folks. Rep Carter went as far as saying his proposals will ensure "more Americans have access to internet and the United States can maintain its competitive edge against China." Meanwhile, the mayors say HR 3557 strips local governments of authority to oppose bad projects. What raises particular ire are provisions in the draft law that would provide a very short window for opposition. What we have here, basically, is a classic example of one side trying to strip away what is perceived to be bureaucracy and red tape, and the other side insisting that checks and balances are sorely needed.

Jun 25 3:20pm
Volkswagen today announced it will invest up to $5 billion in U.S. electric-vehicle maker Rivian as part of a new, equally controlled joint venture to share EV architecture and software. Shares surged 40% in extended Nasdaq trading after the announcement. Reuters reports: The investment will provide Rivian - known for its flagship R1S SUVs and R1T pickups - the funding it needs to develop its less-expensive and smaller R2 SUVs that are set to roll out in 2026, CEO RJ Scaringe told Reuters. Volkswagen will initially invest $1 billion in Rivian and a further $4 billion in investments later, the companies said. The partnership will help Volkswagen accelerate its plans to develop software-defined vehicles (SDV), with Rivian licensing its existing intellectual property rights to the joint venture.

Jun 25 1:30pm
Google is switching back to pagination for its search results, abandoning the continuous scroll feature introduced in 2022 for desktop and 2021 for mobile. The change, effective immediately for desktop users, aims to improve search result loading speeds, Google said, adding that infinite scrolling did not significantly enhance user satisfaction. Mobile users will see the change in coming months.

Jun 25 12:50pm
Federal regulators have given Amazon key permission that will allow it to expand its drone delivery program, the company announced Thursday. From a report: In a blog post published on its website, Seattle-based Amazon said that the Federal Aviation Administration has given its Prime Air delivery service the OK to operate drones "beyond visual line of sight," removing a barrier that has prevented its drones from traveling longer distances. With the approval, Amazon pilots can now operate drones remotely without seeing it with their own eyes. An FAA spokesperson said the approval applies to College Station, Texas, where the company launched drone deliveries in late 2022. Amazon said its planning to immediately scale its operations in that city in an effort to reach customers in more densely populated areas. It says the approval from regulators also "lays the foundation" to scale its operations to more locations around the country. Businesses have wanted simpler rules that could open neighborhood skies to new commercial applications of drones, but privacy advocates and some airplane and balloon pilots remain wary.

Jun 24 6:02pm
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department over his alleged role in one of the largest U.S. government breaches of classified material. As a result, he will avoid imprisonment in the United States. CNN reports: Under the terms of the new agreement (PDF), Justice Department prosecutors will seek a 62-month sentence -- which is equal to the amount of time Assange has served in a high-security prison in London while he fought extradition to the US. The plea deal would credit that time served, allowing Assange to immediately return to Australia, his native country. The plea deal must still be approved by a federal judge. Assange had faced 18 counts from a 2019 indictment for his alleged role in the breach that carried a max of up to 175 years in prison, though he was unlikely to be sentenced to that time in full. Assange was being pursued by US authorities for publishing confidential military records supplied by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 and 2011. US officials alleged that Assange goaded Manning into obtaining thousands of pages of unfiltered US diplomatic cables that potentially endangered confidential sources, Iraq war-related significant activity reports and information related to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Jun 24 1:22pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Uber has begun locking New York City drivers out of its app during periods of low demand in an attempt to fight a minimum wage rule, and Lyft is threatening to do the same. As a result, some drivers say their wages have fallen by as much as 50%. At the heart of the move, say the two companies, is a six-year-old pay rule in New York that, among other things, requires firms like Uber and Lyft to pay drivers for the idle time they rack up between rides. The lockouts, which began last month, are aimed at limiting how much non-passenger time drivers are able to log and be paid for. Drivers, meanwhile, say they need to work longer hours to earn the same amount as before.

Jun 21 10:40am
A federal jury in Las Vegas has convicted five men for operating Jetflicks, one of the largest illegal streaming services in the U.S., the Justice Department announced Thursday. The service, which charged $9.99 monthly, allegedly hosted over 183,200 TV episodes, surpassing legitimate streaming platforms. Prosecutors said the operation caused "substantial harm" to copyright owners. The defendants face up to 48 years in prison for conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and related charges. Sentencing dates are pending.

Jun 18 9:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Meta has created a system that can embed hidden signals, known as watermarks, in AI-generated audio clips, which could help in detecting AI-generated content online. The tool, called AudioSeal, is the first that can pinpoint which bits of audio in, for example, a full hourlong podcast might have been generated by AI. It could help to tackle the growing problem of misinformation and scams using voice cloning tools, says Hady Elsahar, a research scientist at Meta. Malicious actors have used generative AI to create audio deepfakes of President Joe Biden, and scammers have used deepfakes to blackmail their victims. Watermarks could in theory help social media companies detect and remove unwanted content. However, there are some big caveats. Meta says it has no plans yet to apply the watermarks to AI-generated audio created using its tools. Audio watermarks are not yet adopted widely, and there is no single agreed industry standard for them. And watermarks for AI-generated content tend to be easy to tamper with -- for example, by removing or forging them. Fast detection, and the ability to pinpoint which elements of an audio file are AI-generated, will be critical to making the system useful, says Elsahar. He says the team achieved between 90% and 100% accuracy in detecting the watermarks, much better results than in previous attempts at watermarking audio. AudioSeal is available on GitHub for free. Anyone can download it and use it to add watermarks to AI-generated audio clips. It could eventually be overlaid on top of AI audio generation models, so that it is automatically applied to any speech generated using them. The researchers who created it will present their work at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Vienna, Austria, in July.

Jun 18 4:40pm
Mozilla has acquired ad metrics firm Anonym in a move to "support user privacy" while delivering effective online advertising. Anonym, founded by former Meta executives in 2022, helps advertisers and ad networks measure the performance of online ads while preserving user privacy. The acquisition comes amid growing consumer concerns and regulatory scrutiny over current data practices in the advertising industry. Mozilla CEO Laura Chambers sees this as a pivotal shift in the coexistence of privacy and advertising. Mozilla maintains that advertising is the underlying business model of the web, but it can be reformed to minimize societal harms.

Jun 18 3:20pm
"The KDE community announced the latest release of their popular desktop environment: Plasma 6.1," writes longtime Slashdot reader jrepin. From the announcement: While Plasma 6.0 was all about getting the migration to the underlying Qt 6 frameworks correct, Plasma 6.1 is where developers start implementing the features that will take you desktop to a new level. In this release, you will find features that go far beyond subtle changes to themes and tweaks to animations (although there is plenty of those too). Among some of the new features in this release you will find improved remote desktop support with a new built-in server, overhauled and streamlined desktop edit mode, restoration of open applications from the previous session on Wayland, synchronization of keyboard LED colors with the desktop accent color, making mouse cursor bigger and easier to find by shaking it, edge barriers (a sticky area for mouse cursor near the edges between screens), explicit sync support eliminates flickering and glitches for NVidia graphics card users on Wayland, and triple buffering support for smoother animations and screen rendering. The changelog for Plasma 6.1 is available here.

Jun 18 12:07pm
A new Gallup survey released Tuesday found cost and work conflicts are the top reasons Americans choose to discontinue their higher education. From a report: In the poll, 87 percent said cost was a "very" or "moderately" important reason for pursuing further institutional study, while 81 percent pointed to work conflicts. The other two leading reasons were the time it takes to complete a degree at 73 percent and lack of remote options at 70 percent. Cost tops the list among all demographic groups, including across racial and ethnic lines. "For many of these Americans, their time enrolled in these courses represents significant opportunity costs and financial investment. Given that they lack a degree or credential to show for their time enrolled, they are often worse off than if they never enrolled to begin with," Gallup said. Colleges prices have been surging for decades, with some estimating a 180 percent increase between 1980 and 2020. The cost of Ivy League schools is nearing $90,000 a year, and the average student debt held in the U.S. sits around $30,000. "Today, approximately 41.9 million Americans have some college experience but no degree or credential. The percentage of Americans who have taken some college courses, but who have stopped out and not completed their degree or credential, has increased significantly over the past five years," Gallup found.

Jun 17 10:52am
The U.S. government on Monday sued Adobe, accusing the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat of harming consumers by enrolling them in its most lucrative subscription plans without clearly disclosing important terms. From a report: In a complaint filed in the San Jose, California, federal court, the government said Adobe failed to adequately disclose hefty early termination fees, sometimes reaching hundreds of dollars, when customers sign up for "annual, paid monthly" subscription plans. The government said Adobe hides important terms in fine print and behind textboxes and hyperlinks, clearly discloses the fees only when subscribers try to cancel, and makes canceling an onerous and complicated process.

Jun 15 3:34pm
The New York Times magazine remembers that once upon a time, in the early 1990s, "some prominent researchers were promoting, and the media helped popularize, the idea that moderate drinking...was linked to greater longevity. "The cause of that association was not clear, but red wine, researchers theorized, might have anti-inflammatory properties that extended life and protected cardiovascular health..." More recently, though, research has piled up debunking the idea that moderate drinking is good for you. Last year, a major meta-analysis that re-examined 107 studies over 40 years came to the conclusion that no amount of alcohol improves health; and in 2022, a well-designed study found that consuming even a small amount brought some risk to heart health. That same year, Nature published research stating that consuming as little as one or two drinks a day (even less for women) was associated with shrinkage in the brain — a phenomenon normally associated with aging... [M]ore people are now reporting that they consume cannabis than alcohol on a daily basis. Some governments are responding to the new research by overhauling their messaging. Last year, Ireland became the first country to pass legislation requiring a cancer warning on all alcohol products sold there, similar to those found on cigarettes: "There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers," the language will read. And in Canada, the government has revised its alcohol guidelines, announcing: "We now know that even a small amount of alcohol can be damaging to health." The guidelines characterize one to two drinks a week as carrying "low risk" and three to six drinks as carrying "moderate risk." (Previously the guidelines suggested that women limit themselves to no more than two standard drinks most days, and that men place that limit at three.)

Jun 14 2:02pm
Mozilla has reinstated certain add-ons for Firefox that earlier this week had been banned in Russia by the Kremlin. From a report: The browser extensions, which are hosted on the Mozilla store, were made unavailable in the Land of Putin on or around June 8 after a request by the Russian government and its internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor. Among those extensions were three pieces of code that were explicitly designed to circumvent state censorship -- including a VPN and Censor Tracker, a multi-purpose add-on that allowed users to see what websites shared user data, and a tool to access Tor websites. The day the ban went into effect, Roskomsvoboda -- the developer of Censor Tracker -- took to the official Mozilla forums and asked why his extension was suddenly banned in Russia with no warning.

Jun 14 1:30pm
The iconic recycling symbol, invented 20 years before Earth Day 1990, has become omnipresent on products, often misleading consumers about what can be recycled, according to experts cited in a story explored by Grist. The chasing arrows logo, which promises rebirth for discarded materials, is frequently plastered on items that are not recyclable, particularly plastic products. Confusion over recycling rules has led to contamination at recycling facilities, driving up costs for cities. Only around 5 percent of plastic waste in the United States gets recycled, with much of the rest ending up in landfills or incinerators. Environmental groups have called plastic recycling a "false solution." The trouble began in the 1970s when corporations, facing pressure to address litter, embraced recycling as a way to shift responsibility for waste onto individuals and local governments. The plastics industry introduced a resin code system in 1988, surrounding numbers with the chasing arrows logo, giving the impression that all plastics could be recycled. Despite industry efforts to promote recycling, experts say fulfilling the "urgent need to recycle" has proven difficult and unprofitable. The result is a lack of markets for most recycled plastics, with only 9 percent of all plastics ever produced having been recycled.

Jun 13 4:00pm
The Ukraine cyber police, supported by information from the Dutch police, arrested a 28-year-old Russian man in Kyiv for aiding Conti and LockBit ransomware operations by making their malware undetectable and conducting at least one attack himself. He was arrested on April 18, 2024, as part of a global law enforcement operation known as "Operation Endgame," which took down various botnets and their main operators. "As the Conti ransomware group used some of those botnets for initial access on breached endpoints, evidence led investigators to the Russian hacker," reports BleepingComputer. From the report: The Ukrainian police reported that the arrested individual was a specialist in developing custom crypters for packing the ransomware payloads into what appeared as safe files, making them FUD (fully undetectable) to evade detection by the popular antivirus products. The police found that the man was selling his crypting services to both the Conti and LockBit cybercrime syndicates, helping them significantly increase their chances of success on breached networks. The Dutch police confirmed at least one case of the arrested individual orchestrating a ransomware attack in 2021, using a Conti payload, so he also operated as an affiliate for maximum profit. "As part of the pre-trial investigation, police, together with patrol officers of the special unit "TacTeam" of the TOR DPP battalion, conducted a search in Kyiv," reads the Ukraine police announcement. "Additionally, at the international request of law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands, a search was conducted in the Kharkiv region." [...] The suspect has already been charged with Part 5 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Unauthorized interference in the work of information, electronic communication, information and communication systems, electronic communication networks) and faces up to 15 years imprisonment.

Jun 13 10:40am
Turkish authorities have arrested a student for cheating during a university entrance exam by using a makeshift device linked to AI software to answer questions. From a report: The student was spotted behaving in a suspicious way during the exam at the weekend and was detained by police, before being formally arrested and sent to jail pending trial. Another person, who was helping the student, was also detained.

Jun 10 12:44pm
Apple has announced that its Messages app will support RCS in iOS 18. From a report: The new standard will replace SMS as the default communication protocol between Android and iOS devices. The move comes after years of taunting, cajoling, and finally, some regulatory scrutiny from the EU. Right now, when people on iOS and Android message each other, the service falls back to SMS -- photos and videos are sent at a lower quality, messages are shortened, and importantly, conversations are not end-to-end encrypted like they are in iMessage. Messages from Android phones show up as green bubbles in iMessage chats and chaos ensues.

Jun 7 6:02pm
Bruce66423 shares a report from The Independent: A potential disaster was narrowly avoided when a packed passenger plane took off just seconds before it was about to run out of runway because of a software glitch. The Boeing aircraft, operated by TUI, departed from Bristol Airport for Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on 9 March with 163 passengers on board when it struggled to take off. The 737-800 plane cleared runway nine with just 260 metres (853ft) of tarmac to spare at a height of 10ft. It then flew over the nearby A38 road at a height of just 30 metres (100ft) travelling at the speed of around 150kts (about 173mph). The A38 is a major A-class busy road, connecting South West England with the Midlands and the north. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), part of the Department for Transport, said the incident was the result of insufficient thrust being used during take-off. Pilots manually set the thrust level following a software glitch that Beoing was aware of before take-off. "A Boeing 737-800 completed a takeoff from Runway 09 at Bristol Airport with insufficient thrust to meet regulated performance," the AAIB report said. "The autothrottle (A/T) disengaged when the takeoff mode was selected, at the start of the takeoff roll, and subsequently the thrust manually set by the crew (84.5% N1 ) was less than the required takeoff thrust (92.8% N1 ). Neither pilot then noticed that the thrust was set incorrectly, and it was not picked up through the standard operating procedures (SOPs)."

Jun 7 12:45pm
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has released Ubuntu Core 24, a version of its operating system designed for edge devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). The new release comes with a 12-year Long Term Support commitment and features that enable secure, reliable, and efficient deployment of intelligent devices. Ubuntu Core 24 introduces validation sets for custom image creation, offline remodelling for air-gapped environments, and new integrations for GPU operations and graphics support. It also offers device management integrations with Landscape and Microsoft Azure IoT Edge. The release is expected to benefit various industries, including automation, healthcare, and robotics, Canonical said.

Jun 7 12:12pm
A 27-year old Tamagotchi mystery was solved this week when a collector figured out how to unlock secret characters on the Mothra Tamagotchi, released in Japan in 1997. From a report: A Discord user named rhubarb_pie found out how to unlock the "Moll & Lora" twins as playable characters, which were previously seen in the handheld pet-raising-simulator as medical nurses who healed your character when it was sick. The Tamagotchi Wiki states they had previously been obtained through a "battery glitch," but rhubarb_pie figured out how to unlock them as playable characters through the normal course of gaming. As a reminder, Tamagotchis are virtual pets made by Bandai and introduced in 1996 that were incredibly popular at the time and inspired a ton of clones. There have been many different versions of Tamagotchi since its original release, which included the Mothra Tamagotchi, which was tied to the Japanese release of the movie Rebirth of Mothra II. Mothra is a giant flying moth that exists in the Godzilla cinematic universe. There is an entire community of Tamagotchi collectors, enthusiasts, and reverse engineers, and for several decades players had wondered whether Moll & Lora could be unlocked as playable characters on the Mothra Tamagotchi. "After years of debate whether this was even possible, I have proven that, in fact, you can raise the Twin characters Moll & Lora on the Mothra," rhubarb_pie wrote in a lengthy guide to unlocking the characters posted on Discord Wednesday. "The ROM for the Mothra was dumped about a month ago and I figured out how everything worked by studying the code."

Jun 6 5:59am
An anonymous reader shared a report: Amazon has agreed to acquire key assets of Indian video streaming service MX Player from the local media powerhouse Times Internet, the latest step by the e-commerce giant to make its services and brand popular in smaller cities and towns in the key overseas market. [...] Times Internet acquired MX Player in 2018 for $140 million. The app, which originated in South Korea, gained immense popularity in India due to its unique local video playback feature. This functionality allows the app to support a wide range of video file formats, making it highly compatible with affordable Android smartphones that are prevalent in developing markets.

Jun 5 8:00am
Apple is secretly developing robotic devices powered by generative AI, including a table-top robotic arm with an iPad-like display and a mobile robot for household chores, Bloomberg News is reporting, citing people familiar with the matter.

Jun 4 9:22am
By 2050, 61% of U.S. adults will have cardiovascular disease, driven mainly by high blood pressure, according to new American Heart Association research. High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other dangerous cardiovascular problems. The findings also point to ongoing challenges with arrhythmias, heart failure, and congenital heart disease. CNN: In the research published Tuesday, the association predicts that 45 million adults will have some form of cardiovascular disease -- excluding high blood pressure -- or will have a stroke in 2050, up from 28 million in 2020. An aging population will be another force behind these trends, as the older you get, the more likely you are to have heart problems. By 2050, 22% of the US will be over the age of 65, whereas seniors made up just 13% of the population 10 years ago, studies say. The median age in the US is projected to increase from 37 in 2010 to 41 in 2050, other research shows. The American population is also becoming more diverse, and communities of color tend to have a disproportionate number of heart problems. By 2050, people who identify as Hispanic will make up about a quarter of the US population, vs. about 20% today, and people who identify as Black will be 14.4% of the country, up from 13.6% today. The number of people who identify as Asian will also increase, from 6.2% of the population to 8.6%, according to US Census predictions.

Jun 4 8:01am
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR and Anduril, has launched the ModRetro Chromatic, a retro gaming handheld that plays original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges. The device boasts a magnesium alloy case, sapphire crystal screen, and a pixel-perfect IPS display. It comes bundled with a licensed copy of Tetris and supports Link Cable multiplayer. Luckey suggested that the Chromatic is the most authentic way to play Game Boy games, with custom components designed to provide the ultimate gaming experience. The handheld is available for preorder and will ship during the 2024 holiday season.

Jun 3 2:13pm
After growing concerned about potential stock manipulation, E*Trade is "considering telling meme-stock leader Keith Gill he can no longer use its platform," reports the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. Gill, known online as "Roaring Kitty," gained notoriety for his role in the 2020 meme stock frenzy, where he encouraged amateur investors to buy GameStop shares, significantly driving up the stock price and challenging hedge funds. Just hours ago, Roaring Kitty announced he bought $116 million worth of GameStop options and stocks. Developing...

Jun 2 2:10pm
Will appetite-suppressing drugs hurt the sugar industry? Executives from Walmart warned that Ozempic and Zepbound "are impacting food sales," reports Bloomberg, "and multiple analyst surveys have showed that less-hungry customers are spending fewer dollars at grocery stores and restaurants." The drugs, which cut cravings, will result in a decline in calorie consumption in the US of 1.5% to 2.5% by 2035, with a drop of as much as 5% in the consumption of sweets such as baked goods, confectionery and soda, Morgan Stanley analysts including Pamela Kaufman said in a report last month. Morgan Stanley forecast about a 10th of the US population will be on the so-called GLP-1 medications — originally designed to treat diabetes but being used by many as a powerful weight-loss tool — by 2035... Even with tight supplies and sky-high prices limiting uptake of the medications, sales of GLP-1 drugs for both obesity and diabetes already exceeded $19 billion in 2023. The global obesity market alone could top $100 billion by the end of the decade, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates, while Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts $80 billion of sales. More than 60% of US consumers taking the drugs said they had cut back on sweet treats like candy, ice cream and baked goods, and many said they had either significantly — or entirely — stopped eating those products, according to Morgan Stanley.

May 31 2:50pm
The retraction rate for European biomedical-science papers increased fourfold between 2000 and 2021, a study of thousands of retractions has found. Nature: Two-thirds of these papers were withdrawn for reasons relating to research misconduct, such as data and image manipulation or authorship fraud. These factors accounted for an increasing proportion of retractions over the roughly 20-year period, the analysis suggests. "Our findings indicate that research misconduct has become more prevalent in Europe over the last two decades," write the authors, led by Alberto RuanoâRavina, a public-health researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Other research-integrity specialists point out that retractions could be on the rise because researchers and publishers are getting better at investigating and identifying potential misconduct. There are more people working to spot errors and new digital tools to screen publications for suspicious text or data. Scholarly publishers have faced increased pressure to clear up the literature in recent years as sleuths have exposed cases of research fraud, identified when peer review has been compromised and uncovered the buying and selling of research articles. Last year saw a record 10,000 papers retracted. Although misconduct is a leading cause of retractions, it is not always responsible: some papers are retracted when authors discover honest errors in their work.

May 31 10:55am
Google has published an update on the deprecation timeline of so-called Manifest V2 extensions in the Chrome web browser. Starting this June, Chrome will inform users with classic extensions about the deprecation. From a report: Manifests are rulesets for extensions. They define the capabilities of extensions. When Google published the initial Manifest V3 draft, it was criticized heavily for it. This initial draft had significant impact on content blockers, privacy extensions, and many other extension types. Many called it the end of adblockers in Chrome because of that. In the years that followed, Google postponed the introduction and updated the draft several times to address some of these concerns. Despite all the changes, Manifest V3 is still limiting certain capabilities. The developer of uBlock Origin listed some of these on GitHub. According to the information, current uBlock Origin capabilities such as dynamic filtering, certain per-site switches, or regex-based filters are not supported by Manifest V3. The release of uBlock Origin Minus highlights this. It is a Manifest V3 extension, but limited in comparison to the Manifest V2-based uBlock Origin.

May 31 4:00am
David Snow reports via Cult of Mac: A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows Apple News+ growing its subscription rate about four times as fast as major news sites are. CIRP showed Apple increased its News+ subscriptions in the United States from 15% to 24% between 2020 to 2024, a 9% increase. In that same period, The New York Times and The Washington Post managed a 2% bump apiece and The Wall Street Journal managed a 3% increase. The results come from data measuring how many Apple product buyers say they subscribe to the News+ service. CIRP also cited a report indicating that the Apple News+ partnership program is increasingly becoming a lifeline for news websites losing revenue, according to major publishers. And as far as the growth of Apple News+ subscription growth is concerned, it may keep growing as long as the user install base for devices keeps growing. "One-quarter of the U.S. base of Apple customers represents tens of millions of users, an enormous audience relative to what individual media outlets can expect on their own," CIRP noted.

May 30 2:45pm
Framework, a company known for its modular laptops, has announced a fourth round of iterative updates and upgrade options for its Framework Laptop 13. The upgrades include motherboards and pre-built laptops featuring new Intel Meteor Lake Core Ultra processors with Intel Arc dedicated GPUs, lower prices for AMD Ryzen 7000 and 13th-gen Intel editions, and a new display with a higher resolution and refresh rate. The Core Ultra boards come with three CPU options, with prices starting at $899 for a pre-built or DIY model. Upgrading from an older Intel Framework board requires an upgrade to DDR5 RAM, and Framework charges $40 for every 8GB of DDR5-5600, which is above market rates. The new 13.5-inch display has a resolution of 2880x1920, a 120 Hz refresh rate, and costs $130 more than the standard display.

May 28 12:42pm
Fintech firm Klarna, one of the early adopters of generative AI said on Tuesday it is using AI for purposes such as running marketing campaigns and generating images, saving about $10 million in costs annually. From a report: The company has cut its sales and marketing budget by 11% in the first quarter, with AI responsible for 37% of the cost savings, while increasing the number of campaigns, the company said. Using GenAI tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Firefly for image generation, Klarna said it has reduced image production costs by $6 million.

May 28 11:20am
The WeWork founder Adam Neumann has shelved his bid to acquire the bankrupt shared office space provider. From a report: It emerged earlier this year that Neumann, who was ousted from the business in 2019 following a botched attempt to take it public on the stock market, was seeking to buy the business. His new real estate venture, Flow Global, submitted a bid of more than $500m to take over WeWork and its assets. On Tuesday morning, however, Neumann confirmed that Flow was walking away from his dream to take back control of the firm. "For several months, we tried to work constructively with WeWork to create a strategy that would allow it to thrive," he told DealBook. "Instead, the company looks to be emerging from bankruptcy with a plan that appears unrealistic and unlikely to succeed." WeWork, with over $13bn in long-term leases, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last November in order to renegotiate these agreements. At its peak, the company had been valued at $47bn as investors including the Japanese multinational SoftBank lined up to back it. As it prepared to go public in 2019, however, analysts gave it a far lower valuation. After it eventually went public, in 2021, its market valuation tumbled to less than $50m.

May 27 8:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Similar to the GCC compiler dropping support for the Xeon Phi Knights Mill and Knights Landing accelerators a few days ago, Intel has also gone ahead and seen to the removal of Xeon Phi support for the LLVM/Clang 19 compiler. Since earlier this year in LLVM/Clang 18 the Xeon Phi Knights Mill and Knights Landing support was treated as deprecated. Now for the LLVM 19 release due out around September, the support is removed entirely. This aligns with GCC 14 having deprecated Xeon Phi support too and now in GCC 15 Git having the code removed.

May 27 3:30pm
Millions of Americans face the threat of dangerous heatwaves in the coming weeks with another summer of record-breaking temperatures forecast to hit the US. From a report: Most of New Mexico and Utah -- alongside parts of Arizona, Texas and Colorado -- have the highest chance (60% to 70%) of seeing hotter-than-average summer temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). In addition, the entire north-east -- from Maine down to Pennsylvania and New Jersey -- as well as a large stretch from Louisiana to Arizona, Washington and Idaho, have a 40% to 50% chance of experiencing above-average temperatures from June through August. Only south-west Alaska is expected to have below-normal temperatures. "We can expect another dangerous hot summer season, with daily records already being broken in parts of Texas and Florida," said Kristy Dahl, principal climate scientist for the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "As we warm the planet, we are going to see climate disasters pile up and compound against each other because of the lack of resilience in our infrastructure and government systems." Texas has already been hit with a series of tornadoes, unprecedented floods and record-breaking temperatures. Earlier in May, temperatures spiked as hundreds of thousands of households around Houston were left without power after a destructive storm killed at least seven people and damaged transmission towers and power lines.

May 27 11:05am
Microsoft says the Cortana, Tips, and WordPad applications will be automatically removed on systems upgraded to the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 release. From a report: This was shared in a Thursday blog announcing that Windows 11, version 24H2 (Build 26100.712) is now available for Insiders in the Release Preview Channel. The company removed the Cortana standalone app from Windows 11 in preview build 25967 for Insiders, released in the Canary Channel in early October. It first announced that it would end support for Cortana in a support document published in June and deprecated it in another Canary build in August. In September, Microsoft announced that it would deprecate WordPad -- automatically installed on Windows systems for 28 years, since 1995, and an optional Windows feature since the Windows 10 Insider Build 19551 release in February 2020 -- with a future Windows update. In November, the company also informed users that the Tips app was deprecated and would be removed in a future Windows release.

May 24 3:05pm
Countries around the globe have failed to reach consensus on the terms of a treaty that would unify the world in a strategy against the inevitable next pandemic, trumping the nationalist ethos that emerged during Covid-19. From a report: The deliberations, which were scheduled to be a central item at the weeklong meeting of the World Health Assembly beginning Monday in Geneva, aimed to correct the inequities in access to vaccines and treatments between wealthier nations and poorer ones that became glaringly apparent during the Covid pandemic. Although much of the urgency around Covid has faded since the treaty negotiations began two years ago, public health experts are still acutely aware of the pandemic potential of emerging pathogens, familiar threats like bird flu and mpox, and once-vanquished diseases like smallpox. "Those of us in public health recognize that another pandemic really could be around the corner," said Loyce Pace, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, who oversees the negotiations in her role as the United States liaison to the World Health Organization. Negotiators had hoped to adopt the treaty next week. But canceled meetings and fractious debates -- sometimes over a single word -- stalled agreement on key sections, including equitable access to vaccines. The negotiating body plans to ask for more time to continue the discussions.

May 24 8:01am
Hackers have compromised a popular courtroom recording software, JAVS, gaining full control through a backdoored update. Louisville, Kentucky-based Justice AV Solutions, its maker, pulled the compromised software, reset passwords, and audited its systems. Cybersecurity firm Rapid7 found that the corrupted installer grants attackers full access and transmits host system data to a command-and-control server. The Record adds: In its advisory, Rapid7 stressed the need to reimage all endpoints where the software was installed, and to reset credentials on web browsers and for any accounts logged into affected endpoints, both local and remote. "Simply uninstalling the software is insufficient, as attackers may have implanted additional backdoors or malware. Re-imaging provides a clean slate," they wrote. "Completely re-imaging affected endpoints and resetting associated credentials is critical to ensure attackers have not persisted through backdoors or stolen credentials."

May 24 4:00am
Using the Euclid space telescope, astronomers have discovered dozens of rogue planets drifting without stars in the Orion nebula. The Guardian reports: The European Space Agency (Esa) launched the $1 billion observatory last summer on a six-year mission to create a 3D map of the cosmos. Armed with its images, scientists hope to understand more about the mysterious 95% of the universe that is unexplained. The first wave of scientific results come from only 24 hours of observations, which revealed 11m objects in visible light and 5m in infrared. Along with the rogue planets, the researchers describe new star clusters, dwarf galaxies and very distant, bright galaxies from the first billion years of the universe. A flurry of new images from the same observations are the largest ever taken in space and demonstrate the stunning wide-field views that astronomers can expect from Euclid in the coming years. Among those released on Thursday is a breathtaking image of Messier 78, a vibrant star nursery shrouded in interstellar dust, that reveals complex filaments of gas and dust in unprecedented detail. One of the newly released images shows Abell 2390, a giant conglomeration of more than 50,000 Milky Way-like galaxies. Such galaxy clusters contain up to 10 trillion times as much mass as the sun, much of which is believed to be elusive dark matter. Another image of the Abell 2764 galaxy cluster reveals hundreds of galaxies orbiting within a halo of dark matter. Other images capture NGC 6744, one of the largest spiral galaxies in the nearby universe, and the Dorado group of galaxies, where evolving and merging galaxies produce shell-like structures and vast, curving tidal tails. The rogue planets spotted by Euclid are about 3m years old, making them youngsters on the cosmic scale. They are at least four times as big as Jupiter and were detected thanks to the warmth they emit. Astronomers know they are free-floating because they are so far away from the nearest stars. The celestial strays are destined to drift through the galaxy unless they encounter a star that pulls them into orbit.

May 23 7:25pm
The IRS has extended the Free File program through 2029, "continuing its partnership with a coalition of private tax software companies that allow most Americans to file federal taxes for free," reports CNBC. From the report: This season, Free File processed 2.9 million returns through May 11, a 7.3% increase compared to the same period last year, according to the IRS. "Free File has been an important partner with the IRS for more than two decades and helped tens of millions of taxpayers," Ken Corbin, chief of IRS taxpayer services, said in a statement Wednesday. "This extension will continue that relationship into the future." "This multi-year agreement will also provide certainty for private-sector partners to help with their future Free File planning," Corbin added. IRS Free File remains open through the Oct. 15 federal tax extension deadline. You can use Free File for 2023 returns with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less, which is up from $73,000 in 2022. Fillable Forms are also still available for all income levels.

May 23 6:02pm
Speaking of Samsung, samleecole shares a report about the contract the South Korean firm requires repair shops to sign: In exchange for selling them repair parts, Samsung requires independent repair shops to give Samsung the name, contact information, phone identifier, and customer complaint details of everyone who gets their phone repaired at these shops, according to a contract obtained by 404 Media. Stunningly, it also requires these nominally independent shops to "immediately disassemble" any phones that customers have brought them that have been previously repaired with aftermarket or third-party parts and to "immediately notify" Samsung that the customer has used third-party parts. "Company shall immediately disassemble all products that are created or assembled out of, comprised of, or that contain any Service Parts not purchased from Samsung," a section of the agreement reads. "And shall immediately notify Samsung in writing of the details and circumstances of any unauthorized use or misappropriation of any Service Part for any purpose other than pursuant to this Agreement. Samsung may terminate this Agreement if these terms are violated."

May 22 1:21pm
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declared on Wednesday that customers of the burgeoning buy now, pay later industry have the same federal protections as users of credit cards. From a report: The agency unveiled what it called an "interpretive rule" that deemed BNPL lenders essentially the same as traditional credit card providers under the decades-old Truth in Lending Act. That means the industry -- currently dominated by fintech firms like Affirm, Klarna and PayPal -- must make refunds for returned products or canceled services, must investigate merchant disputes and pause payments during those probes, and must provide bills with fee disclosures. "Regardless of whether a shopper swipes a credit card or uses Buy Now, Pay Later, they are entitled to important consumer protections under long-standing laws and regulations already on the books," CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a release. The CFPB, which last week was handed a crucial victory by the Supreme Court, has pushed hard against the U.S. financial industry, issuing rules that slashed credit card late fees and overdraft penalties. The agency, formed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, began investigating the BNPL industry in late 2021.

May 21 4:02pm
Apple said on Tuesday it plans to ask a U.S. judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department and 15 states in March that alleged the iPhone maker monopolized the smartphone market, hurt smaller rivals and drove up prices. From a report: In a letter to U.S. District Judge Julien X. Neals in New Jersey, Apple said "far from being a monopolist, Apple faces fierce competition from well-established rivals, and the complaint fails to allege that Apple has the ability to charge supra-competitive prices or restrict output in the alleged smartphone markets." In the letter to the judge, Apple said the DOJ relies on a new "theory of antitrust liability that no court has recognized." The government is expected to respond within seven days to the Apple letter, which the court requires parties to submit, hoping to expedite cases before advancing to a potentially more robust and expensive effort to dismiss a lawsuit. The Justice Department alleges that Apple uses its market power to get more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses and merchants. The civil lawsuit accuses Apple of an illegal monopoly on smartphones maintained by imposing contractual restrictions on, and withholding critical access from, developers.

May 21 2:45pm
Companies working with the US government may be required to start protecting their data and technology from attacks by quantum computers as soon as July. From a report: The National Institute for Standards and Technology, part of the Department of Commerce, will in July stipulate three types of encryption algorithms the agency deems sufficient for protecting data from quantum computers, setting an internationally-recognized standard aimed at helping organizations manage evolving cybersecurity threats. The rollout of the standards will kick off "the transition to the next generation of cryptography," White House deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger told Bloomberg in Cambridge, England on Tuesday. Breaking encryption not only threatens "national security secrets" but also the the way we secure the internet, online payments and bank transactions, she added. Neuberger was speaking at an event organized by the University of Cambridge and Vanderbilt University, hosting academics, industry professionals and government officials to discuss the threats posed to cybersecurity by quantum computing, which vastly accelerates processing power by performing calculations in parallel rather than sequentially and will make existing encryption systems obsolete.

May 20 2:50pm
With JPMorgan and Mastercard piloting biometric payment options, a future where consumers can pay with their face is rapidly approaching. "Our focus on biometrics as a secure way to verify identity, replacing the password with the person, is at the heart of our efforts in this area," said Dennis Gamiello, executive vice president of identity products and innovation at Mastercard. Based on the positive feedback received thus far, Gamiello says the biometric checkout technology will roll out to more new markets later this year. CNBC reports: Biometric payment options are becoming more common. Amazon introduced pay-by-palm technology in 2020, and while its cashier-less store experiment has faltered, it installed the tech in 500 of its Whole Foods stores last year. Mastercard, which is working with PopID, launched a pilot for face-based payments in Brazil back in 2022, and it was deemed a success -- 76% of pilot participants said they would recommend the technology to a friend. Late last year, Mastercard said it was teaming with NEC to bring its Biometric Checkout Program to the Asia-Pacific region. A deal that PopID recently signed with JPMorgan is a sign of things to come in the U.S., said John Miller, PopID CEO, and what he thinks will be a "breakthrough" year for pay-by-face technology. The consumer case is tied to the growing importance of loyalty programs. Most quick-service restaurants require consumers to provide their loyalty information to earn rewards -- which means pulling out a phone, opening an app, finding the link to the loyalty QR code, and then presenting the QR code to the cashier or reader. For payment, consumers are typically choosing between pulling out their wallet, selecting a credit card, and then dipping or tapping the card or pulling out their phone, opening it with Face ID, and then presenting it to the reader. Miller says PopID simplifies this process by requiring just tapping an on-screen button, and then looking briefly at a camera for both loyalty check-in and payment. "We believe our partnership with JPMorgan is a watershed moment for biometric payments as it represents the first time a leading merchant acquirer has agreed to push biometric payments to its merchant customers," Miller said. "JPMorgan brings the kind of credibility and assurance that both merchants and consumers need to adopt biometric payments." Juniper Research forecasts over 100% market growth for global biometric payments between 2024 and 2028, and by 2025, $3 trillion in mobile, biometric-secured payments. Sheldon Jacobson, a professor in computer science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said he sees biometric identification as part of a technology continuum that has evolved from payment with a credit card to smartphones. "The next natural step is to simply use facial recognition," he said.

May 20 8:40am
A new Pew Research Center analysis shows just how fleeting online content actually is: 1. A quarter of all webpages that existed at one point between 2013 and 2023 are no longer accessible, as of October 2023. In most cases, this is because an individual page was deleted or removed on an otherwise functional website. 2. For older content, this trend is even starker. Some 38% of webpages that existed in 2013 are not available today, compared with 8% of pages that existed in 2023. This "digital decay" occurs in many different online spaces. We examined the links that appear on government and news websites, as well as in the "References" section of Wikipedia pages as of spring 2023. This analysis found that: 1. 23% of news webpages contain at least one broken link, as do 21% of webpages from government sites. News sites with a high level of site traffic and those with less are about equally likely to contain broken links. Local-level government webpages (those belonging to city governments) are especially likely to have broken links. 2. 54% of Wikipedia pages contain at least one link in their "References" section that points to a page that no longer exists.[...]

May 16 7:25pm
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. has officially surpassed 5 million solar installations. "The 5 million milestone comes just eight years after the U.S. achieved its first million in 2016 -- a stark contrast to the four decades it took to reach that initial milestone since the first grid-connected solar project in 1973," reports Electrek. From the report: Since the beginning of 2020, more than half of all U.S. solar installations have come online, and over 25% have been activated since the Inflation Reduction Act became law 20 months ago. Solar arrays have been installed on homes and businesses and as utility-scale solar farms. The U.S. solar market was valued at $51 billion in 2023. Even with changes in state policies, market trends indicate robust growth in solar installations across the U.S. According to SEIA forecasts, the number of solar installations is expected to double to 10 million by 2030 and triple to 15 million by 2034. The residential sector represents 97% of all U.S. solar installations. This sector has consistently set new records for annual installations over the past several years, achieving new highs for five straight years and in 10 out of the last 12 years. The significant growth in residential solar can be attributed to its proven value as an investment for homeowners who wish to manage their energy costs more effectively. California is the frontrunner with 2 million solar installations, though recent state policies have significantly damaged its rooftop solar market. Meanwhile, other states are experiencing rapid growth. For example, Illinois, which had only 2,500 solar installations in 2017, now boasts over 87,000. Similarly, Florida has seen its solar installations surge from 22,000 in 2017 to 235,000 today. By 2030, 22 states or territories are anticipated to surpass 100,000 solar installations. The U.S. has enough solar installed to cover every residential rooftop in the Four Corners states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

May 15 11:30pm
The recent surge in bitcoin prices has the phones at crypto wallet recovery firms ringing off the hook, as retail investors locked out of their digital vaults make frantic calls to regain access to their accounts. From a report: Cryptocurrencies exist on a decentralized digital ledger known as blockchain and investors may opt to access their holdings either through a locally stored software wallet or a hardware wallet, to avoid risks related to owning crypto with an exchange, as in the case of the former FTX. Losing access to a crypto wallet is a well-known problem. Investors forgetting their intricate passwords is a primary reason, but loss of access to two-factor authentication devices, unexpected shutdowns of cryptocurrency exchanges and cyberattacks are also common. Wallet passwords are usually alphanumeric and the wallet provider also offers a set of randomized words, known as "seed phrases," for additional security - both these are known only to the user. If investors lose the passwords and phrases, access to their wallets is cut off. With bitcoin prices regaining traction since last October and hitting a record high of $73,803.25 in March, investors seem to be suffering from a classic case of FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Reuters spoke to nearly a dozen retail investors who had lost access to their crypto wallets. Six of them contacted a recovery services firm and managed to regain access to their holdings.

May 15 11:29am
A bipartisan group of four senators led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is recommending that Congress spend at least $32 billion over the next three years to develop AI and place safeguards around it, writing in a report released Wednesday that the U.S. needs to "harness the opportunities and address the risks" of the quickly developing technology. AP: The group of two Democrats and two Republicans said in an interview Tuesday that while they sometimes disagreed on the best paths forward, it was imperative to find consensus with the technology taking off and other countries like China investing heavily in its development. They settled on a raft of broad policy recommendations that were included in their 33-page report. While any legislation related to AI will be difficult to pass, especially in an election year and in a divided Congress, the senators said that regulation and incentives for innovation are urgently needed.

May 15 8:09am
The Department of Justice says it is considering whether to prosecute Boeing over two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft. From a report: The aviation giant breached the terms of an agreement made in 2021 that shielded the firm from criminal charges linked to the incidents, the DOJ said. Boeing has denied that it violated the agreement. The crashes - one in Indonesia in 2018, and another in Ethiopia in 2019 - killed a total of 346 people. The plane maker failed to "design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the US fraud laws throughout its operations," the DOJ said. Boeing said it was looking forward to the opportunity to respond to the Justice Department and "believes it honoured the terms of that agreement." Under the deal, Boeing paid a $2.5bn settlement, while prosecutors agreed to ask the court to drop a criminal charge after a period of three years. The DOJ said Boeing has until 13 June to respond to the allegations and that what it said would be taken into consideration as it decides what to do next.

May 14 3:30pm
A portal linking New York City to Dublin via a livestream has been temporarily shut down after inappropriate behavior ensued, according to the Dublin City Council. From a report: Less than a week after the 24/7 visual art installation was put in place, officials have opted to close it down temporarily after people began to flash each other, grind on the portal, and one person even shared pictures of the twin tower attack to people in New York City. Alternatively, the portal had also been the site of reunions with old friends and even a proposal, with many documenting their experience with the installation online. The Dublin City Council said that although those engaged in the inappropriate behavior were few and far between, videos of said behavior went viral online. "While we cannot control all of these actions, we are implementing some technical solutions to address this and these will go live in the next 24 hours," the council said in a Monday statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days with our partners in New York to ensure that portals continue to deliver a positive experience for both cities and the world."

May 14 7:50am
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky is stepping down, effective June 3, according to an email from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. Matt Garman, SVP of AWS sales, marketing, and global services at Amazon, will replace Selipsky as CEO.

May 14 4:00am
According to a new study published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior, researchers found that internet use is associated with greater wellbeing in people around the world. "Our analysis is the first to test whether or not internet access, mobile internet access and regular use of the internet relates to wellbeing on a global level," said Prof Andrew Przybylski, of the University of Oxford, who co-authored the work. The Guardian reports: [T]he study describes how Przybylski and Dr Matti Vuorre, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, analysed data collected through interviews involving about 1,000 people each year from 168 countries as part of the Gallup World Poll. Participants were asked about their internet access and use as well as eight different measures of wellbeing, such as life satisfaction, social life, purpose in life and feelings of community wellbeing. The team analyzed data from 2006 to 2021, encompassing about 2.4 million participants aged 15 and above. The researchers employed more than 33,000 statistical models, allowing them to explore various possible associations while taking into account factors that could influence them, such as income, education, health problems and relationship status. The results reveal that internet access, mobile internet access and use generally predicted higher measures of the different aspects of wellbeing, with 84.9% of associations between internet connectivity and wellbeing positive, 0.4% negative and 14.7% not statistically significant. The study was not able to prove cause and effect, but the team found measures of life satisfaction were 8.5% higher for those who had internet access. Nor did the study look at the length of time people spent using the internet or what they used it for, while some factors that could explain associations may not have be considered. Przybylski said it was important that policy on technology was evidence-based and that the impact of any interventions was tracked.

May 13 2:40pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: Richard "Rick" Slayman, the first human to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, has died almost two months after the procedure. Slayman, who had end-stage kidney disease, underwent the transplant in March at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston at age 62. The hospital said in a statement on Saturday that there was "no indication" that his death was the result of the transplant. The transplant surgeon had said he hoped the transplant would function for at least two years. "The Mass General transplant team is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman," read the hospital statement. "Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide and we are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation." The surgery was a milestone for the field of xenotransplantation -- the transplant of organs from one species to another -- as a way to alleviate the organ shortage for people who need transplants. The effort to genetically modify animal organs is in hopes that the human body will not reject the foreign tissue. NPR notes that there are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. on the waitlist for organs.

May 8 3:12pm
Smart home device maker Brilliant has laid off most of its staff and is seeking a buyer after failing to secure funding, CEO Aaron Emigh told The Verge. The company has shut down its support center and halted sales of its smart light switches and controllers, which integrate with various smart home platforms. Emigh said existing devices will continue to function, but their long-term functionality remains uncertain. Founded in 2016, Brilliant aimed to simplify smart home control but struggled with high prices, interoperability issues, and slower-than-expected market growth. The company raised $60 million in funding over eight years.

May 8 5:17am
An anonymous reader shares a report: According to data analyzed by Morgan Stanley and Pitchbook, the number of active venture capital firms worldwide surged from 2014 levels, more than doubling by 2021, before sharply contracting to below 2014 figures in a stunning reversal.

May 7 2:01pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether Boeing failed to complete required inspections on 787 Dreamliner planes and whether Boeing employees falsified aircraft records, the agency said this week. The investigation was launched after an employee reported the problem to Boeing management, and Boeing informed the FAA. "The FAA has opened an investigation into Boeing after the company voluntarily informed us in April that it may not have completed required inspections to confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes," the FAA said in a statement provided to Ars today. The FAA said it "is investigating whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records. At the same time, Boeing is reinspecting all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet." The agency added that it "will take any necessary action -- as always -- to ensure the safety of the flying public." Boeing VP Scott Stocker, who leads the 787 Dreamliner program, described "misconduct" in an April 29 email to employees in South Carolina. Boeing provided a copy of the email to Ars. "After receiving the report, we quickly reviewed the matter and learned that several people had been violating Company policies by not performing a required test, but recording the work as having been completed," Stocker wrote. "As you all know, we have zero tolerance for not following processes designed to ensure quality and safety. We promptly informed our regulator about what we learned and are taking swift and serious corrective action with multiple teammates."

May 7 12:03pm
Motional, the autonomous vehicle startup borne out of a $4 billion joint venture between Hyundai and automotive supplier Aptiv, will pause its commercial operations and delay plans to launch a driverless taxi service as it undergoes a restructuring, TechCrunch reported Tuesday. From a report: The aim is make progress on the core technology and the business model, while preserving capital, according to sources familiar with the changes. Motional has pushed its plan to launch a commercial driverless robotaxi service with its second-generation AV -- the Hyundai Ioniq 5 -- to 2026, two years later than planned. The company told employees Tuesday during an all-hands meeting that the changes will include layoffs, but did not provide a figure of how many people would be affected, according to sources who spoke to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity. Motional began notifying employees if they were laid off shortly after the meeting ended. The company employed more than 1,300 people prior to a 5% cut in workforce in March 2024. Motional will halt its commercial operations, which today includes taxi rides in autonomous Hyundai Ioniq 5 vehicles in Las Vegas via the Uber and Lyft network. The company will also end deliveries for Uber Eats customers in Santa Monica using its autonomous vehicles. A human safety operator is behind the wheel in all of its commercial operations.

May 7 7:36am
Wesley Yin-Poole, reporting for IGN: Microsoft has closed a number of Bethesda studios, including Redfall maker Arkane Austin, Hi-Fi Rush and The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, and more in devastating cuts at Bethesda, IGN can confirm. Alpha Dog Studios, maker of mobile game Mighty Doom, will also close. Roundhouse Games will be absorbed by The Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios. On Redfall, the disastrous vampire co-op game will now not receive promised updates as Microsoft has ended all development on the game. Microsoft said Redfall will remain online to play, and it will provide a "make-good" offer for those who bought the Hero DLC. In an email to staff sent by Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft blamed the cuts on a "reprioritization of titles and resources."

May 6 12:42pm
Google is streamlining the process of setting up two-factor authentication (2FA). From a report: Instead of entering your phone number first to enable 2FA, you can now add a "second step method" to your account such as an authenticator app or a hardware security key to get things set up. This should make it safer to turn on 2FA, as it lets you avoid using less secure SMS verification. You can choose to enter a time-based one-time passcode through apps like Google Authenticator, or you can follow the steps to link a hardware security key.

May 5 5:34am
"A leap in our ability to see the chemistry of matter in three-dimensions at the nanoscale was achieved, allowing scientists to understand how nanomaterials are chemically arranged," writes Slashdot reader Hovden: Traditionally, seeing matter at the smallest sizes requires too many high-energy electrons for 3D chemical imaging. The high beam exposure destroys the specimen before an experiment is completed. Even larger doses are required to achieve high resolution. Thus, chemical mapping in 3D has been unachievable except at lower resolution with the most radiation-hard materials. High-resolution 3D chemical imaging is now achievable near or below one-nanometer resolution. A team from Dow Chemical and the University of Michigan used a newly introduced method, called multi-modal data fusion, high-resolution chemical tomography, that provides 99% less dose by linking information encoded within both elastic and inelastic scattered signals. The researchers showed sub-nanometer 3D resolution of chemistry is measurable for a broad class of geometrically and compositionally complex materials. "Here are the pretty pictures," adds long-time Slashdot reader thoper. Phys.org also has this quote from Robert Hovden, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan and corresponding author on the study published in Nature Communications. "Seeing invisible worlds, far smaller than the wavelengths of light, is absolutely critical to understanding the matter we are engineering at the nanoscale, not just in 2D but in 3D as well."

May 3 6:50pm
Senior Department arms control official Paul Dean on Thursday urged China and Russia to declare that artificial intelligence would never make decisions on deploying nuclear weapons. Washington had made a "clear and strong commitment" that humans had total control over nuclear weapons, said Dean. Britain and France have made similar commitments. Reuters reports: "We would welcome a similar statement by China and the Russian Federation," said Dean, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Arms Control, Deterrence and Stability. "We think it is an extremely important norm of responsible behaviour and we think it is something that would be very welcome in a P5 context," he said, referring to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

May 3 5:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent, published last month: Humans now share the web equally with bots, according to a major new report -- as some fear that the internet is dying. In recent months, the so-called "dead internet theory" has gained new popularity. It suggests that much of the content online is in fact automatically generated, and that the number of humans on the web is dwindling in comparison with bot accounts. Now a new report from cyber security company Imperva suggests that it is increasingly becoming true. Nearly half, 49.6 per cent, of all internet traffic came from bots last year, its "Bad Bot Report" indicates. That is up 2 percent in comparison with last year, and is the highest number ever seen since the report began in 2013. In some countries, the picture is worse. In Ireland, 71 per cent of internet traffic is automated, it said. Some of that rise is the result of the adoption of generative artificial intelligence and large language models. Companies that build those systems use bots scrape the internet and gather data that can then be used to train them. Some of those bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated, Imperva warned. More and more of them come from residential internet connections, which makes them look more legitimate. "Automated bots will soon surpass the proportion of internet traffic coming from humans, changing the way that organizations approach building and protecting their websites and applications," said Nanhi Singh, general manager for application security at Imperva. "As more AI-enabled tools are introduced, bots will become omnipresent."

May 2 1:22pm
Ecobee, the company that pioneered smart thermostats with its Ecobee Smart in 2008, has announced it will end online support for the device and its commercial counterpart, the Ecobee Energy Management System, on July 31, 2024. The move will disable internet-dependent features such as web portal control, smart integrations, and weather-related functionality, while basic HVAC control and scheduling will remain operational.

May 2 10:01am
Microsoft is fully rolling out passkey support for all consumer accounts today. From a report: After enabling them in Windows 11 last year, Microsoft account owners can also now generate passkeys across Windows, Android, and iOS. This makes it effortless to sign in to a Microsoft account without having to type a password in every time.

May 1 2:42pm
Microsoft has confirmed that the April 2024 Windows security updates break VPN connections across client and server platforms. From a report: The company explains on the Windows health dashboard that "Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update or the April 2024 non-security preview update." "We are investigating user reports, and we will provide more information in the coming days," Redmond added. The list of affected Windows versions includes Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2008 and later.

May 1 10:41am
LastPass, the password manager company, has officially separated from its parent company, GoTo, following a series of high-profile hacks in recent years. The company will now operate under a shareholder holding company called LMI Parent. LastPass -- owned by private equity firms Francisco Partners and Elliott Management -- has faced criticism for its handling of the breaches, which resulted in the theft of customer data and encryption keys. The company has since enforced a 12-character minimum for master passwords to improve security.

Apr 29 8:02pm
Crypto company Tether announced Monday that it has invested $200 million to acquire a majority stake in brain-computer interface company Blackrock Neurotech via its venture capital division Tether Evo. [The firm is not related to the asset management giant BlackRock.] CoinDesk reports: Blackrock Neurotech develops medical devices that are powered by brain signals and aims to help people impacted by paralysis and neurological disorders. The investment will fund the roll-out and commercialization of the medical devices and also for research and development purposes, the press release said. Tether is the company behind USDT, the largest stablecoin with a market cap of $110 billion. Recently, Tether established four divisions to expand beyond stablecoin issuance. "Tether has long believed in nurturing emerging technologies that have transformative capabilities, and the Brain-Computer-Interfaces of Blackrock Neurotech have the potential to open new realms of communication, rehabilitation, and cognitive enhancement," Paolo Ardoino, CEO of Tether, said in a statement.

Apr 29 7:25pm
ReneR writes: A major T2 Linux milestone has been released, shipping with full support for 25 CPU architectures and several C libraries, as well as restored support for Intel IA-64 Itanium. Additionally, many vintage X.org DDX drivers were fixed and tested to work again, as well as complete support for the latest KDE 6 and GNOME 46. T2 is known for its sophisticated cross compile support and support for nearly all existing CPU architectures: Alpha, Arc, ARM(64), Avr32, HPPA(64), IA64, M68k, MIPS(64), Nios2, PowerPC(64)(le), RISCV(64), s390x, SPARC(64), and SuperH x86(64). T2 is an increasingly popular choice for embedded systems and virtualization. It also still supports the Sony PS3, Sgi, Sun and HP workstations, as well as the latest ARM64 and RISCV64 architectures. The release contains a total of 5,140 changesets, including approximately 5,314 package updates, 564 issues fixed, 317 packages or features added and 163 removed, and around 53 improvements. Usually most packages are up-to-date, including Linux 6.8, GCC 13, LLVM/Clang 18, as well as the latest version of X.org, Mesa, Firefox, Rust, KDE 6 and GNOME 46! More information, source and binary distribution are open source and free at T2 SDE.

Apr 29 10:02am
Countries are for the first time considering restrictions on the global production of plastic -- to reduce it by 40% in 15 years -- in an attempt to protect human health and the environment. From a report: As the world attempts to make a treaty to cut plastic waste at UN talks in Ottawa, Canada, two countries have put forward the first concrete proposal to limit production to reduce its harmful effects including the huge carbon emissions from producing it. The motion submitted by Rwanda and Peru sets out a global reduction target, ambitiously termed a "north star," to cut the production of primary plastic polymers across the world by 40% by 2040, from a 2025 baseline. It says: "The effectiveness of both supply and demand-side measures will be assessed, in whole or in part, on their success in reducing the production of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels." The proposal calls for the consideration of mandatory reporting by countries of statistical data on production, imports and exports of primary plastic polymers. A global plastic reduction target would be similar to the legally binding Paris agreement to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C above preindustrial levels, Rwanda and Peru said.

Apr 29 9:25am
Amazon says its deliveries are getting even faster, announcing that it delivered over 2 billion items the same or next day to Prime members during the first three months of 2024, breaking its record for 2023. From a report: The company says it delivered almost 60 percent of Prime orders the same or next day in 60 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the US.

Apr 27 7:34pm
An anonymous reader shared this report from the Associated Press: Tech giant Cisco Systems on Wednesday joined Microsoft and IBM in signing onto a Vatican-sponsored pledge to ensure artificial intelligence is developed and used ethically and to benefit the common good... The pledge outlines key pillars of ethical and responsible use of AI. It emphasizes that AI systems must be designed, used and regulated to serve and protect the dignity of all human beings, without discrimination, and their environments. It highlights principles of transparency, inclusion, responsibility, impartiality and security as necessary to guide all AI developments. The document was unveiled and signed at a Vatican conference on Feb. 28, 2020... Pope Francis has called for an international treaty to ensure AI is developed and used ethically, devoting his annual peace message this year to the topic.

Apr 26 5:20pm
The free tax filing pilot from the IRS that rolled out in 12 states last month saved filers an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees for federal returns, said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. CNBC reports: This season, more than 140,000 taxpayers successfully filed returns using IRS Direct File, a free tax filing pilot from the IRS, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS. Direct File surveyed more than 15,000 users, around 90% of whom rated their experience as "excellent," the agencies reported. "We have not made a decision about the future of Direct File," Werfel said, noting the agency still needs to analyze data and get feedback from a "wide variety of stakeholders." The IRS plans to release a more detailed report about the Direct File pilot "in the coming days," he added. If Direct File were expanded for the next season, the program could add additional states and tax situations, according to a senior IRS official. The agency expects to decide the future of Direct File later this spring, Werfel said.

Apr 26 8:40am
An anonymous reader shares a report: With Windows 11 24H2 all geared up to have AI-intensive applications, Microsoft has added a code that will warn you if your PC does not meet the hardware requirements, according to code dug up by Twitter/X sleuth Albacore. The warning will be displayed as a watermark so you know that you cannot use certain AI-powered built-in apps because of an unsupported CPU.

Apr 24 12:41pm
Just as Google, Samsung and Microsoft continue to push their efforts with generative AI on PCs and mobile devices, Apple is moving to join the party with OpenELM, a new family of open source large language models (LLMs) that can run entirely on a single device rather than having to connect to cloud servers. From a report: Released a few hours ago on AI code community Hugging Face, OpenELM consists of small models designed to perform efficiently at text generation tasks. There are eight OpenELM models in total -- four pre-trained and four instruction-tuned -- covering different parameter sizes between 270 million and 3 billion parameters (referring to the connections between artificial neurons in an LLM, and more parameters typically denote greater performance and more capabilities, though not always). [...] Apple is offering the weights of its OpenELM models under what it deems a "sample code license," along with different checkpoints from training, stats on how the models perform as well as instructions for pre-training, evaluation, instruction tuning and parameter-efficient fine tuning. The sample code license does not prohibit commercial usage or modification, only mandating that "if you redistribute the Apple Software in its entirety and without modifications, you must retain this notice and the following text and disclaimers in all such redistributions of the Apple Software." The company further notes that the models "are made available without any safety guarantees. Consequently, there exists the possibility of these models producing outputs that are inaccurate, harmful, biased, or objectionable in response to user prompts."

Apr 24 7:38am
Nvidia, in a blog post: To help customers make more efficient use of their AI computing resources, NVIDIA today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Run:ai, a Kubernetes-based workload management and orchestration software provider. Customer AI deployments are becoming increasingly complex, with workloads distributed across cloud, edge and on-premises data center infrastructure. Managing and orchestrating generative AI, recommender systems, search engines and other workloads requires sophisticated scheduling to optimize performance at the system level and on the underlying infrastructure. Run:ai enables enterprise customers to manage and optimize their compute infrastructure, whether on premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environments. The deal is valued at about $700 million.

Apr 23 10:40am
The U.S. publishing industry is driven by celebrity authors and repeat bestsellers, according to testimony from a blocked merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Only 50 authors sell over 500,000 copies annually, with 96% of books selling under 1,000 copies. Publishing houses spend most of their advance money on celebrity books, which along with backlist titles like The Bible, account for the bulk of their revenue and fund less commercially successful books.

Apr 23 8:45am
Microsoft has launched Phi-3 Mini, a lightweight AI model with 3.8 billion parameters, as part of its plan to release three small models. Phi-3 Mini, trained on a smaller data set compared to large language models, is available on Azure, Hugging Face, and Ollama. Microsoft claims Phi-3 Mini performs as well as models 10 times its size, offering capabilities similar to GPT-3.5 in a smaller form factor. Smaller AI models are more cost-effective and perform better on personal devices.

Apr 22 5:20pm
Jess Weatherbed reports via The Verge: Swedish gaming conglomerate Embracer Group announced plans on Monday to split itself into three distinct games and entertainment companies: Asmodee Group, Coffee Stain & Friends, and Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends. These will be separate, publicly listed companies, according to Embracer, which says the move will allow "each entity to better focus on their respective core strategies and offer more differentiated and distinct equity stories for existing and new shareholders." [...] The three new companies will be broken down as follows: - Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends: This company, which will be renamed from Embracer Group, is described as a "creative powerhouse in AAA game development and publishing" that will retain ownership of the Dead Island, Killing Floor, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Tomb Raider, and The Lord of the Rings IPs. - Asmodee Group: a new arm dedicated to publishing and distributing tabletop games. The existing catalog includes established titles like Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Azul, CATAN, Dobble, and Exploding Kittens. Asmodee is also developing licensed tabletop games based on The Lord of the Rings, Marvel, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars franchises. Embracer anticipates the spinoff and share listings will take place "within 12 months." - Coffee Stain & Friends: described as a "diverse gaming entity" that will focus on indie, mid-market, and free-to-play games. Properties sitting under this new company include Deep Rock Galactic, Goat Simulator, Satisfactory, Wreckfest, Teardown, and Valheim. The share listings are projected to become available in 2025.

Apr 22 8:40am
Abstract of a paper on National Bureau of Economic Research: Physicians commonly receive marketing-related transfers from drug firms. We examine the impact of these relationships on the prescribing of physician-administered cancer drugs in Medicare. We find that prescribing of the associated drug increases 4\% in the twelve months after a payment is received, with the increase beginning sharply in the month of payment and fading out within a year. A marketing payment also leads physicians to begin treating cancer patients with lower expected mortality. While payments result in greater expenditure on cancer drugs, there are no associated improvements in patient mortality.

Apr 19 12:02pm
Adult content companies Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos will have to do risk assessment reports and take measures to address systemic risks linked to their services to comply with new EU online content rules, the European Commission said on Friday. From a report: The three companies were designated as very large online platforms last December under the Digital Services Act (DSA) which requires them to do more to remove illegal and harmful content on their platforms. Pornhub and Stripchat will have to comply with these DSA obligations, among the strictest, on April 21 and XVideos on April 23, the EU executive said. "These specific obligations include submitting risk assessment reports to the Commission, putting in place mitigation measures to address systemic risks linked to the provision of their services," it said in a statement.

Apr 19 8:40am
Microsoft is getting ready to annoy its faithful Windows 10 user base with yet another prompt. From a report: This time, Microsoft wants Windows 10 users to switch from using a local account to their online Microsoft account. As first noticed by the outlet Windows Latest, the most recent Windows 10 update Release Preview includes some information about new notifications added to the operating system intended to make users switch from their local account to their Microsoft account. "New! This update starts the [roll out] of account-related notifications for Microsoft accounts in Settings > Home," reads the update, originally from the official Windows blog, which then lays out its case for using a Microsoft account.

Apr 18 11:22am
An anonymous reader shares a report: A financially motivated criminal hacking group says it has stolen a confidential database containing millions of records that companies use for screening potential customers for links to sanctions and financial crime. The hackers, which call themselves GhostR, said they stole 5.3 million records from the World-Check screening database in March and are threatening to publish the data online. World-Check is a screening database used for "know your customer" checks (or KYC), allowing companies to determine if prospective customers are high risk or potential criminals, such as people with links to money laundering or who are under government sanctions.The hackers told TechCrunch that they stole the data from a Singapore-based firm with access to the World-Check database, but did not name the firm. A portion of the stolen data, which the hackers shared with TechCrunch, includes individuals who were sanctioned as recently as this year.

Apr 17 9:20am
Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram messaging app, has accused tech giants Google and Apple of threatening to censor content on smartphones [YouTube link]. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Durov claimed that these companies told Telegram to comply with their guidelines or face removal from their app stores. "Those two platforms, they could basically censor everything you can read, access on your smart phone," Durov said. With 900 million active users, Telegram is expected to cross the one billion mark within a year.

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 May 2 11:30am
Over the last few years, I’ve moved my internet life from web2 to web3 and rarely use any web2 services anymore. So I am starting a series called “I’ve Moved Onchain” to explain this journey to everyone and today’s opening post is about blogging, naturally. I’ve blogged at AVC.com for a very long time. I […]
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, […]

The post The Impact of Stress on the Well-being of Startup Founders and CEOs appeared first on Brad Feld.

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 […]

The post Book: Build the Fort: The Startup Community Builder’s Field Guide appeared first on Brad Feld.

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 […]

The post Pottery and Mental Health for Entrepreneurs in Boulder appeared first on Brad Feld.