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Funding Goal
For 6-month period:
2017-07-01 to 2017-12-31
Base Goal: $3000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $1044.92
34.8%
Stretch Goal: $2000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $0.00
0.0%

Covers transactions:
2017-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2017-11-10 23:13:37 UTC
(SPIDs: [719..767])
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2017-11-10 20:41:20 UTC
--martyb


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How many ISPs can you choose from for your home network?

  • none (library, coffee shop, etc.)
  • one
  • two
  • three
  • four
  • five or more
  • other (specify)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:36 | Votes:152

posted by mrpg on Sunday November 19, @04:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the color-me-oil dept.

Keystone Pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

Keystone Pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

"A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked Thursday (Nov 16, 2017) from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, the pipeline's operator, TransCanada, said.

Crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning, and officials are investigating the cause of the leak, which occurred about three miles southeast of the town of Amherst, said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

This is the largest Keystone oil spill to date in South Dakota, Walsh said. The leak comes just days before Nebraska officials announce a decision on whether the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, a sister project, can move forward."

Keystone pipeline - major leak/spill

Elsewhere there are notes of smaller spills in the same pipeline--this AC submitter is wondering about the long term use of a pipeline that is leaking when it's nearly brand new. Doesn't sound good for the long term.

PBS has a followup article from today (Saturday), 'We need to know' more about Keystone oil pipeline leak, tribal chairman says

The leak comes as the debate over the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline rages on. Nebraska's Public Service Commission is scheduled to announce its decision Monday on whether to permit TransCanada to build Keystone XL along its proposed route in the state, the Omaha World-Herald reported. A spokeswoman for the commission told the AP that the board's members will only use information provided during public hearings and official public comments in order to make their decision.

Related:
US District Court: Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law
Dakota Access Pipeline Suffers Oil Leak Even Before Becoming Operational
Company Behind Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Sues Greenpeace


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Sunday November 19, @02:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-so-catchy-name dept.

The solar system's first "interstellar interloper" has been named 1I/ʻOumuamua. It is the first known "hyperbolic asteroid" from outside the solar system:

The first known asteroid to visit our Solar System from interstellar space has been given a name. Scientists who have studied its speed and trajectory believe it originated in a planetary system around another star.

The interstellar interloper will now be referred to as 'Oumuamua, which means "a messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian. The name reflects the object's discovery by a Hawaii-based astronomer using an observatory on Maui. It was discovered on 19 October this year by Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

[...] Scientists who have made observations of 'Oumuamua, say that despite its exotic origins, the asteroid is familiar in appearance. In a paper submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters, they argue that its size, rotation, and reddish colour are similar to those of asteroids in our Solar System. Measuring about 180m by 30m, it resembles a chunky cigar.

"The most remarkable thing about ['Oumuamua'] is that, except for its shape, how familiar and physically unremarkable it is," said co-author Jayadev Rajagopal from the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).

Also at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Scientific American.

Previously: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday November 18, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the fortunately-skynet-isn't-self-aware-yet dept.

Atlas, the hulking humanoid robot from Boston Dynamics, now does backflips.

To be clear: Humanoids aren't supposed to be able to do this. It's extremely difficult to make a bipedal robot that can move effectively, much less kick off a tumbling routine. The beauty of four-legged robots is that they balance easily, both at rest and as they're moving, but bipeds like Atlas have to balance a bulky upper body on just two legs. Accordingly, you could argue that roboticists can better spend their time on non-human forms that are easier to master.

But there's a case to be made for Atlas and the other bipeds like Cassie (which walks more like a bird than a human). We live in a world built for humans, so there may be situations where you want to deploy a robot that works like a human. If you have to explore a contaminated nuclear facility, for instance, you'll want something that can climb stairs and ladders, and turn valves. So a humanoid may be the way to go.

Source: https://techxplore.com/news/2017-11-atlas-robot-backflip.html

Also: https://www.wired.com/story/atlas-robot-does-backflips-now/

takyon: Don't forget the new SpotMini as seen at The Verge, Quartz, and Popular Mechanics. Even Ethanol-fueled couldn't stop it.


Original Submission #1   Original Submission #2

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @10:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the monkey-see-monkey-do dept.

The Freedom to Tinker has a post on using Javascript to facilitate the exfiltration of personal data by session-replay scripts.

You may know that most websites have third-party analytics scripts that record which pages you visit and the searches you make. But lately, more and more sites use "session replay" scripts. These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers. Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.

The stated purpose of this data collection includes gathering insights into how users interact with websites and discovering broken or confusing pages. However the extent of data collected by these services far exceeds user expectations [1]; text typed into forms is collected before the user submits the form, and precise mouse movements are saved, all without any visual indication to the user. This data can't reasonably be expected to be kept anonymous. In fact, some companies allow publishers to explicitly link recordings to a user's real identity.

Though the post refers to scripts added by the web server intentionally, if third party, such an ISP, competiting company, or government agency, is in control of a certificate already loaded into a target's browser, either overtly or covertly, a Man-in-the-Middle attack is trivial with SSL/TLS and exfiltration scripts can be sent as payload. If you want to see the latency burden that even ostensibly well-behaved scripts cause, press ctrl-shift-i in the browser, select "network" and then reload the page.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @07:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-a-bo-staff-battle dept.

Some of the fastest growing financial technology firms in Wales are at risk of being held back by skills shortages, a leading specialist lawyer has warned.

Cerian Jones said so-called fintech companies have told her they are "chasing fish in the same small pool".

She said those firms not actually trying to fill a recruitment gap "are trying to retain staff so they don't go elsewhere".

Cardiff is facing competition from London and Bristol among other cities.

Ms Jones, a patents attorney and partner at UDL in Cardiff, said: "When I talk to software companies about what their biggest challenge is, nine times out of 10 it's recruitment.

"These are very skilled positions, needing skilled graduates with the right coding and development skills."

She said there was a lure of working in London and firms in south Wales were having to be creative in trying to entice people "in a candidates' market".

Some were finding it difficult, even when offering £60,000 salaries.

There you have it. You can code to make banks richer. In Cardiff.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @05:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the deep-sea-plastics dept.

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

Animals from the deepest places on Earth have been found with plastic in their stomachs, confirming fears that manmade fibres have contaminated the most remote places on the planet.

The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes.

Dr Alan Jamieson, who led the study, said the findings were startling and proved that nowhere on the planet was free from plastics pollution. "There is now no doubt that plastics pollution is so pervasive that nowhere – no matter how remote – is immune," he said.

Evidence of the scale of plastic pollution has been growing in recent months. Earlier this year scientists found plastic in 83% of global tapwater samples, while other studies have found plastic in rock salt and fish. Humans have produced an estimated 8.3bn tonnes of plastic since the 1950s and scientists said it risked near permanent contamination of the planet.

Also at Newcastle University.


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday November 18, @03:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the turning-a-blind-eye dept.

WHEN AMAZON LAUNCHED[sic] its Amazon Key service last month, it also offered a remedy for anyone—realistically, most people—who might be creeped out that the service gives random strangers unfettered access to your home. That security antidote? An internet-enabled camera called Cloud Cam, designed to sit opposite your door and reassuringly record every Amazon Key delivery.

But now security researchers have demonstrated that with a simple program run from any computer in Wi-Fi range, that camera can be not only disabled but frozen. A viewer watching its live or recorded stream sees only a closed door, even as their actual door is opened and someone slips inside. That attack would potentially enable rogue delivery people to stealthily steal from Amazon customers, or otherwise invade their inner sanctum.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-key-flaw-let-deliverymen-disable-your-camera/

Previously: Walmart Wants to Deliver Groceries Directly Into Your Fridge
Amazon Wants to Deliver Purchases into Your Home


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @12:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-daydreaming dept.

HTC will not widely commercialize a planned Google Daydream headset, but released more details about the Vive Focus, a standalone VR headset with integrated positional tracking:

HTC has officially revealed the Vive Focus, its all-in-one VR headset. As previously announced, the Vive Focus runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip and uses inside-out positional tracking. It should be the first standalone six-degrees-of-freedom VR headset to see release, though HTC isn't saying exactly when it'll be available.

[...] HTC has only announced plans for the Vive Focus in China just yet, and even then there aren't any details on pricing or a release date. If you were holding out for that Vive-branded standalone Google Daydream headset, meanwhile, there's bad news — HTC and Google have cancelled their plans to bring it to the US.


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday November 18, @10:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-hear-you dept.

A series of recently disclosed critical Bluetooth flaws that affect billions of Android, iOS, Windows and Linux devices have now been discovered in millions of AI-based voice-activated personal assistants, including Google Home and Amazon Echo.

As estimated during the discovery of this devastating threat, several IoT and smart devices whose operating systems are often updated less frequently than smartphones and desktops are also vulnerable to BlueBorne.

BlueBorne is the name given to the sophisticated attack exploiting a total of eight Bluetooth implementation vulnerabilities that allow attackers within the range of the targeted devices to run malicious code, steal sensitive information, take complete control, and launch man-in-the-middle attacks.

What's worse? Triggering the BlueBorne exploit doesn't require victims to click any link or open any file—all without requiring user interaction. Also, most security products would likely not be able to detect the attack. What's even scarier is that once an attacker gains control of one Bluetooth-enabled device, he/she can infect any or all devices on the same network.

These Bluetooth vulnerabilities were patched by Google for Android in September, Microsoft for Windows in July, Apple for iOS one year before disclosure, and Linux distributions also shortly after disclosure. However, many of these 5 billion devices are still unpatched and open to attacks via these flaws.

Source: https://thehackernews.com/2017/11/amazon-alexa-hacking-bluetooth.html


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @08:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the doing-the-laundry dept.

Friends don't let friends talk about drugs.

A 24-year-old man from Illinois has been accused by federal prosecutors of being the spokesman for AlphaBay, the now-defunct online drug marketplace.

On Wednesday, Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, Ill. was charged in federal court in Atlanta with "conspiracy to commit access device fraud," according to the Associated Press.
...
Prosecutors said that Wheeler operated online under the names "Trappy" and "Trappy-Pandora." He is said to have served as AlphaBay's "public relations specialist" beginning in May 2015, mediating sales disputes and promoting AlphaBay online, including on Reddit.

It is, however, OK to do PR for a company that launders billions of dollars for drug cartels.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 18, @05:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the keep-on-truckin' dept.

Elon Musk has unveiled the Tesla Semi Truck. It supposedly boasts a single-charge range of over 500 miles, more than what analysts had expected. Tesla could begin producing the vehicles by the end of 2019 (assuming it isn't delayed):

The truck can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds without a trailer, and in 20 seconds when carrying a maximum load of 80,000 pounds, less than a third of the time required for a diesel truck, he said.

He gave no price for the truck but hinted that it would be costly. "Tesla stuff is expensive," Mr. Musk said, drawing another cheer from the crowd, gathered at an airfield outside of Los Angeles. But he also said the electric truck would be less expensive to operate, in part because it has fewer components that require regular maintenance (no engine, transmission or drive shaft). Instead, the truck, called the Tesla Semi, is powered by a giant battery beneath the cab. It has two rear axles, each outfitted with two electric motors, one for each wheel. Its acceleration and uphill speeds will allow it to cover more distance in less time than diesel trucks, he added.

As a result, Tesla is estimating it will cost $1.26 per mile to operate, compared with $1.51 a mile for a diesel truck. The cost can fall further — to 85 cents a mile, according to Tesla — if groups of trucks travel together in convoys, which reduces wind drag. "This beats rail," Mr. Musk said.

In typical Tesla fashion, the truck is a sharp departure from industry norms. The cabin is spacious enough for a driver and passenger to stand. The driver's seat is in the center of the cab, not on the left side. It is flanked by two laptop-size video screens providing navigation and scheduling data as well as images of blind spots and other areas around the truck. It will be equipped with radar sensors, cameras and processors to enable drivers to use a version of Autopilot, the advanced driver-assistance system featured in Tesla cars such as the Model S and the new Model 3.

Tesla will also produce a new version of the Tesla Roadster that can go from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds.

Also at BBC, TechCrunch, and Firstpost.

Pre-conference coverage at Bloomberg

Previously: Tesla Sued Over Alleged Racism; Deliveries Pushed Back; Semi Truck to be Unveiled


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday November 18, @03:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the strong-claims dept.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been diagnosed in a (formerly) living person and confirmed by an autopsy:

Researchers published, what they say is the first case of a living person identified with the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

While unnamed in the study, lead author Dr. Bennet Omalu confirmed to CNN that the subject of the case was former NFL player, Fred McNeill -- who died in 2015.

Omalu is credited with first discovering CTE in professional football players. The only way to definitively diagnose the disease is with a brain exam after death.

The discovery was first made in 2012 using an experimental brain scan that can trace a signature protein of CTE called tau. The case study was published in the journal Neurosurgery [open, DOI: 10.1093/neuros/nyx536] [DX] this week.

[...] While the experimental technology has been used on at least a dozen other former NFL players including Pro Football Hall of Famer, Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett, McNeill is the first case to have the test results confirmed with an autopsy. Omalu helped develop and is invested in the diagnostic exam, which uses a radioactive "tracer" called FDDNP to bind to tau proteins in the brain. The tau proteins can then be seen on a PET scan of the brain.

Also at ESPN.

Note: Some skepticism may be warranted.

Previously: Researchers: Aaron Hernandez Had the Worst Case of CTE Ever Seen in an Athlete So Young


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday November 18, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the changing-tide dept.

Australians have voted 61.6% to approve of same-sex marriage, and the Turnbull-led government has said it would aim to pass legislation by Christmas:

Australians decisively support same-sex marriage

Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic poll. The non-binding postal vote showed 61.6% of people favour allowing same-sex couples to wed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Jubilant supporters have been celebrating in public spaces, waving rainbow flags and singing and dancing.

A bill to change the law was introduced into the Senate late on Wednesday. It will now be debated for amendments. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government would aim to pass legislation in parliament by Christmas. "[Australians] have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality," Mr Turnbull said after the result was announced. "They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love."

The issue only went to a voluntary postal vote after a long and bitter debate about amending Australia's Marriage Act. The result on Wednesday brings an end to what was at times a heated campaign. The vote itself had been criticised by same-sex marriage supporters, many of whom said it was unnecessary when parliament could debate the issue directly.

Related: (U.S.) Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
One in Three People Globally Think Gay Marriage Should Be Legal
Taiwanese Court Invalidates Ban on Same-Sex Marriage


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday November 17, @10:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the engineers-need-artists-to-keep-them-honest dept.

A very clever (imo) artist has developed a simple trap for autonomous cars --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thuN2HD6m2s
Less than 90 seconds of video, no sound. If you get it right away it's only a minute.

Oh, and if you didn't get the title, there is this,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heffalump


Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Friday November 17, @08:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-cosmic-ballet-goes-on dept.

New California telescope aims to catch quickly moving celestial events

Astronomers in California have taken a telescope built before most of them were born and converted it into a new instrument dedicated to one of the newest and fastest-moving branches of astronomy: spotting objects in the sky that change from one day to the next.

The new Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), which today opened its eye to the sky, was created by retooling the 1.2-meter Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California, which, starting in 1948, took pictures of the night sky onto specially curved glass photographic plates. The ZTF, named in honor of Fritz Zwicky, the Bulgaria-born astronomer who worked for most of his career at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, has been fitted with a new camera made up of 16 charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors. That will enable it to snap single images covering an area more than 200 times the size of the full moon.

With such a wide field of view—the biggest of any telescope more than 0.5 meters wide—the ZTF can survey the whole northern sky visible from Palomar every night. By doing so, astronomers can spot anything that changes from the previous night's images, enabling them to identify quickly changing celestial phenomena, including supernovae, variable and binary stars, the active cores of distant galaxies, potentially Earth-threatening asteroids, and the flash of merging neutron stars that could also emit gravitational waves.

Although the scientific haul is expected to be high, the ZTF is also a testbed for a larger upcoming instrument, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will begin observing from Chile in 2022. The LSST is expected to be so prolific that researchers will have to automate the process of sifting through observed events to find ones worth following up, and then getting a more detailed spectrum. To build such automated systems, ZTF researchers are involved in efforts to create the necessary data processing systems and robotic follow-up telescopes. "The headline goal is to get [an automated system] working and implemented in a way that astronomers can interact with it and use it," says Adam Bolton of the National Science Foundation's National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, Arizona.

The LSST is expected to discover many objects in the Kuiper belt.


Original Submission