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posted by martyb on Wednesday April 14, @09:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Slackware Lives! Upcoming Slackware 15.0 Beta is Out. Download and Test Now.

The oldest Linux distribution Slackware 15.0 beta is out, crashing many rumors that the project is dead. Slackware Linux is the oldest Linux distribution today. It started as a personal project and became a working base for many Linux distributions back in the day such as the initial SUSE Linux. Slackware is perfect for technically


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday April 14, @07:18PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the glue-for-damaged-brainz dept.

KIST finds protein binding that repairs brain damage:

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) said its researchers have discovered a new protein binding that repairs brain damage.

The research team, led by Doctor Hwang Eun-mi from Brain Science Institute (BSI) at KIST and Professor Suk Kyoung-ho of Kyungpook National University College of Medicine, found that new protein binding of Hevin and Calcyon is needed in the repairing process of brain damage.

[...] The enzyme proteins induced by inflammatory reactions in the early stage of brain damage decompose Hevin, inhibiting Hevin-Calcyon binding. In the animal experiment, researchers confirmed that the recovery started in two to three weeks instead of four weeks by administering inflammatory response inhibitors directly to the brain's damaged areas.

[...] The study results were published in the latest issue of Cell Death & Differentiation.

Journal Reference:
Jong-Heon Kim, Hyun-Gug Jung, Ajung Kim, et al. Hevin–calcyon interaction promotes synaptic reorganization after brain injury, Cell Death & Differentiation (DOI: 10.1038/s41418-021-00772-5)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 14, @04:47PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Charter must pay $19 million for tricking customers into switching ISPs:

A judge has ordered Charter Communications to pay $19.2 million to Windstream for lying to customers in order to trick them into switching from Windstream to Charter's Spectrum Internet service. Charter also faces a $5,279 penalty for shutting off service to hundreds of Windstream's resale customers.

When Windstream filed for bankruptcy in early 2019, Charter began a "literally false and intentionally misleading advertising campaign intended to create the impression, using mailings designed to seem as if they were coming from the Debtors [Windstream], that the Debtors were going out of business," said an order issued Thursday by Judge Robert Drain of US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Charter's goal with the mailings "was to induce the Debtors' customers to terminate their contracts and switch to Charter by sending them literally false and intentionally misleading information about the Debtors' bankruptcy cases and financial wherewithal," the ruling said. Charter premised its ad campaign "on false assertions regarding the Debtors' bankruptcy cases," the ruling said.

"We are gratified that Judge Drain's ruling means Charter will have to pay a significant price for its egregious false advertising," Windstream General Counsel Kristi Moody said, according to a FierceTelecom article. "Charter knew full well what it was doing when it embarked on a dishonest scare-tactic campaign to lure away our customers. At Windstream, we will always aggressively defend ourselves and our customers against predatory schemes and meritless allegations."

Charter declined to comment on the ruling when contacted by Ars today.

As mentioned in a related Gizmodo article:

Ironically, Charter had filed a lawsuit against DirecTV in 2009 for giving its customers a false impression they would lose their service because of Charter's bankruptcy filing.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 14, @02:15PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the pattern-recognition dept.

Detroit man sues police for wrongfully arresting him based on facial recognition:

A man who was falsely accused of shoplifting has sued the Detroit Police Department for arresting him based on an incorrect facial recognition match. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Robert Williams, whom it calls the first US person wrongfully arrested based on facial recognition.

[...] The ACLU claims Detroit police used facial recognition under circumstances that they should have known would produce unreliable results, then dishonestly failed to mention the system's shortcomings — including a "woefully substandard" image and the known racial bias of recognition systems.

[...] Thousands of law enforcement agencies have allegedly used facial recognition tech to identify suspects. But a backlash has led several cities to ban the practice, while Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have pledged to keep their systems out of police hands.

Also at The Washington Post, The Detroit News, and others.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 14, @11:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

It now seems likely that Starliner will not launch crew until early 2022:

The primary issue is the availability of space station docking ports fitted with an "international docking adapter," which are used by SpaceX's Crew Dragon, Cargo Dragon 2, and Starliner vehicles. There are presently two such ports on the station, and for NASA, the priority for access to these ports are crew rotations followed by supply missions. So the question becomes when the Starliner test flight can find an open slot on station.

The Crew-2 mission, carrying four astronauts on SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, is expected to launch on April 22 and remain attached to one of these ports for about six months. Then, on June 3, a SpaceX cargo supply mission (CRS-22) is due to launch and occupy the other port.

Thus, there will be no docking ports available this summer until about July 20, the approximate date when the CRS-22 Dragon will depart the station and return to Earth. This departure will open an approximately one-month window during which Starliner could make its test flight. Therefore, although NASA and Boeing have not yet made a target date public, we can expect this flight to take place no earlier than late July or early August.

[...] After this repeat test flight, which is officially known as Orbital Flight Test-2, NASA and Boeing will perform a detailed data analysis. One source said that optimistically, this process would require about six months. This would push a crewed test flight into January 2022. Another NASA official said the spacecraft would not fly until the "hardware is ready and it makes the most sense to fly based on station's needs." He added that there is no clock on this crewed flight test, since NASA already has an operational vehicle, Crew Dragon, to meet its astronaut-rotation needs.

[...] Finally, if this crew test flight is successful, Boeing could fly its first "operational" Starliner mission for NASA. This would carry a full complement of four astronauts to the space station for about six months and would happen sometime later in 2022, most likely during the April or September time frames.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 14, @09:11AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the stuxnet-2.0? dept.

Submitted via IRC for boru

Israel appeared to confirm claims that it was behind a cyber-attack on Iran's main nuclear facility on Sunday, which Tehran's nuclear energy chief described as an act of terrorism that warranted a response against its perpetrators.

The apparent attack took place hours after officials at the Natanz reactor restarted spinning advanced centrifuges that could speed up the production of enriched uranium, in what had been billed as a pivotal moment in the country's nuclear programme.

As Iranian authorities scrambled to deal with a large-scale blackout at Natanz, which the country's Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged had damaged the electricity grid at the site, the Israeli defence chief, Aviv Kochavi, said the country's "operations in the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemy".

Israel imposed no censorship restrictions on coverage as it had often done after similar previous incidents and the apparent attack was widely covered by Israeli media. Public radio took the unusual step of claiming that the Mossad intelligence agency had played a central role.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 14, @06:39AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the apple-in-cider-says dept.

Google gamed its ad auction system to favor its own ads, generated $213 million:

Google used a secret program called "Bernanke" that used historical bidding data to give its ad-buying system a major advantage over its rivals, an antitrust lawsuit filing claims, a program that earned the company hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

[...] The antitrust lawsuit centers around how Google's ownership of a platform for selling online advertising, as well as its position as an ad buyer for its own properties, was a problem. By being both an owner and a client, Google was thought to be able to game the system due to having access to data that ad buyers wouldn't necessarily receive.

Google allegedly used this data from publisher ad servers to guide ad buyers to a price they would have to pay to secure a specific ad placement. This knowledge and usage was effectively insider trading to the states, as Google could feasibly pay less to publishers, as well as having a natural advantage over third-party ad-buying systems.

Project Bernanke specifically was a system that used data from historical bids made in Google Ads, massaging the bids of its clients to increase the possibility it will win an advertising auction. This put rival systems at a bigger disadvantage.

In terms of how important it was to Google, an internal presentation from 2013 shows Project Bernanke was anticipated to generate $230 million in revenue for that year alone.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday April 14, @04:07AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the like-Jekyll-and-Hyde dept.

Genetic Engineering 2.0: An On-Off Switch for Gene Editing:

Over the past decade, the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system has revolutionized genetic engineering, allowing scientists to make targeted changes to organisms' DNA. While the system could potentially be useful in treating a variety of diseases, CRISPR-Cas9 editing involves cutting DNA strands, leading to permanent changes to the cell's genetic material.

Now, in a paper published online in Cell on April 9, researchers describe a new gene editing technology called CRISPRoff that allows researchers to control gene expression with high specificity while leaving the sequence of the DNA unchanged. Designed by Whitehead Institute Member Jonathan Weissman, University of California San Francisco assistant professor Luke Gilbert, Weissman lab postdoc James Nuñez and collaborators, the method is stable enough to be inherited through hundreds of cell divisions, and is also fully reversible.

"The big story here is we now have a simple tool that can silence the vast majority of genes," says Weissman, who is also a professor of biology at MIT and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "We can do this for multiple genes at the same time without any DNA damage, with great deal of homogeneity, and in a way that can be reversed. It's a great tool for controlling gene expression."

The project was partially funded by a 2017 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create a reversible gene editor. "Fast forward four years [from the initial grant], and CRISPRoff finally works as envisioned in a science fiction way," says co-senior author Gilbert. "It's exciting to see it work so well in practice."

Journal Reference:
James K. Nuñez, Jin Chen, Greg C. Pommier, et al. Genome-wide programmable transcriptional memory by CRISPR-based epigenome editing, Cell, (DOI: DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.025)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday April 14, @01:25AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the life's-a-Bitche-sometimes dept.

Facebook takes down official page for the French town of Bitche:

In an unusual turn of events, the Facebook page for Bitche, a small town in northeastern Moselle, France, was taken down on March 19, as Zuck's offensive verbiage police pulled the town's name into the social platform's unusually stringent dragnet.

According to, the Monday takedown temporarily forced Valérie Degouy, the town's communications administrator, to generate a new page labeled after the area postal code, Mairie 57230.

[...] "I already had problems when I created the town's Facebook page. I could not enter the word Bitche; it was impossible," she said. "I had to create a page that I had called Ville fortifiée, and change it afterwards, in the description, to say that it was the official page of the town of Bitche and point out at the same time, the username was Ville de Bitche. At that time in 2016, it was allowed."

[...] At long last, Facebook restored the original page on Tuesday, almost a month later. The mayor, Benoît Kieffer, said in a Facebook post, translated by the Guardian: "The name of our town seems to suffer from a bad interpretation ... the most astonishing thing is that Facebook took so long to correct this."

What overly-aggressive filter blocks have you encountered?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 13, @10:39PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

J&J COVID vaccine use paused due to one-in-a-million complication;:

On Tuesday morning, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a release acknowledging that an extremely rare clotting disorder was associated with the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The problem is actually less than a one-in-a-million issue; in data from the US, where 6.8 million doses of this vaccine have been used, there have only been six instances of the clotting problem detected.

Because the clots call for an unusual treatment, however, the organizations are calling for a pause in administering the shot. This will provide them with time to ensure the medical community is aware of the appropriate treatment.

[...] The leading hypothesis to explain the phenomenon is that, in very rare cases, the adenovirus triggers an immune response to factors found on the surface of platelets, which are an essential part of the clotting process. This activates platelets, causing clots, and at the same time reduces the total platelet count.

These seemingly contradictory changes make treating the issue through the normal approach to excessive clotting dangerous. Typically, the appearance of clots would call for using a treatment that would reduce the probability of clots forming. But due to the low platelet counts in these individuals, those treatments can make it much less likely that clots form when they're needed.

It's this difference between apparent patient needs and appropriate treatment that has caused the CDC and FDA to call for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine.

[...] So far, all six cases have occurred among women below the age of 50 and appeared between one and two weeks after vaccination.

To put that in a different perspective, imagine giving a shot of vaccine every single second of every minute of every hour of every day.

How long would it take to reach 1 million doses? Start on the first second of a Sunday. Go through that whole day. And Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday and Saturday — i.e. one whole week.

We're not done yet!

Add another Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday; that gets us to 11 consecutive days of non-stop dosing. That would still be less than 1 million doses. Remember this is at a rate of Jab. Jab. Jab. Jab. Non-stop.

After all that, you're still not done! You'd still need another 49,600 doses to reach exactly 1 million.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 13, @08:03PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-many-boosters-will-land? dept.

Astrobotic selects Falcon Heavy to launch NASA's VIPER lunar rover

Astrobotic has signed a contract with SpaceX for the launch of its Griffin lunar lander, carrying a NASA lunar rover, on a Falcon Heavy in 2023.

Astrobotic announced April 13 that it selected SpaceX's Falcon Heavy for its Griffin Mission 1 lunar lander mission, which will deliver the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) spacecraft to the south pole of the moon in late 2023. Astrobotic won a NASA competition through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program last year to transport VIPER on its Griffin lunar lander.

[...] VIPER is a NASA mission to investigate permanently shadowed regions of craters at the lunar south pole that may contain deposits of water ice that could serve as resources for future crewed missions. It is designed to operate for 100 days after landing.

NASA originally planned to launch VIPER in 2022, with a mission cost of $250 million. However, NASA postponed the launch to late 2023 to provide more time for work to increase VIPER's mission life from 14 to 100 days. That, in turn, drove up the cost of VIPER to $433.5 million, NASA disclosed in March.

Previously: Astrobotic to Use "CubeRover" to Explore the Moon
NASA Selects Three Companies to Land Science Payloads on the Moon
MoonRanger Robotic Rover Will Seek out Water on the Moon

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 13, @05:33PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

AMD has announced "Cezanne" desktop APUs with Zen 3 cores and Vega integrated graphics:

AMD has officially launched its next-generation Ryzen 5000G APUs codenamed Cezanne which features the brand new Zen 3 core architecture. The AMD Ryzen 5000G APUs are aimed at the consumer segment with an initial supply coming to OEM PCs first and later heading out to the gaming & mainstream DIY segment.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G will be the flagship offering within the lineup. It will feature 8 cores and 16 threads. The clock speeds are reported at a 3.8 GHz base and a 4.6 GHz boost. The CPU will carry a total of 16 MB L3 and 4 MB L2 cache with the TDP being set at 65W. The APU will also carry a Vega integrated GPU with 8 CUs or 512 stream processors running at clock speeds around 2.0 GHz. The 35W Ryzen 7 5700GE will feature the same specs but reduced core clocks of 3.2 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost. The CPU should retail at around $350-$400 US.

Unlike the previous-generation "Renoir" desktop APUs, these processors should eventually see a retail release, but will only be offered by OEMs for now.

AMD has also launched OEM-only Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800 CPUs with lower TDPs and clock speeds than their X counterparts.

Also at AnandTech.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 13, @03:06PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the do-your-part dept.

FCC asks public to help test broadband speeds across the US:

The Federal Communications Commission is asking more Americans to use its speed test app to help improve the accuracy of its  broadband speeds throughout the US. The tool is being used as part of a larger effort at the agency to improve its maps to get a clearer picture of broadband in America.

The Android and iOS FCC Speed Test App is similar to other online speed-testing apps from companies like Ookla. The test automatically generates results once you press the button to start the test. The data that's collected will be used to help the FCC improve its broadband maps.

[...] In a separate effort, the FCC is also asking the public to verify ISP-reported data regarding individual addresses. The agency wants people to type in their home addresses to double-check whether the information the agency has about their broadband service matches what providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon have reported to the agency. If the information doesn't match, the FCC is asking people to submit a form to dispute the information in the database.

The issue around inaccurate maps has gained the attention of both Republicans and Democrats on the FCC and in Congress. Both sides agree that data for mapping needs to be more granular in order to get an accurate picture of where broadband exists and where it doesn't.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 13, @12:35PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the is-the-signup-page-encrypted? dept.

MEP Patrick Breyer, representing Germany via the Pirate Party, has written that there is a short time left to provide input to the public consultation on the proposal to eliminate encrypted services in Europe. The deadline is April 15th. He goes over the key survey questions to pay particular attention to, the gist of the draft legislation is as follows:

  • The EU Commission is drafting permanent legislation on the automatic searching of all online activities, including personal electronic mail and messages of each citizen, for suspicious content in the search for child pornography. Suspected cases would be notified to the police. An online consultation is underway until 15 April. It includes questions on whether private communications should be covered and whether backdoors to end-to-end encrypted communications services should be required to enable this monitoring.
  • Such privatised mass surveillance is unprecedented in western democracies and would have unacceptable consequences for our freedom of communications and expression. According to police reports, in the vast majority of cases, innocent citizens come under suspicion of having committed an offence due to unreliable processes.
  • Therefore, please participate in the ongoing consultation. The responses will be taken into account by the Commission when deciding on the content of the planned legislation. So far, almost only child protection organizations and industry stakeholders have participated.
  • The public consultation on chat control legislation is open until 15 April:

To participate, you need to create an account as well as be able to vote in the EU.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 13, @10:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the save-money,-get-pwned dept.

No password required: Mobile carrier exposes data for millions of accounts:

Q Link Wireless, a provider of low-cost mobile phone and data services to 2 million US-based customers, has been making sensitive account data available to anyone who knows a valid phone number on the carrier's network, an analysis of the company's account management app shows.

Dania, Florida-based Q Link Wireless is what's known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, meaning it doesn't operate its own wireless network but rather buys services in bulk from other carriers and resells them. It provides government-subsidized phones and service to low-income consumers through the FCC's Lifeline Program. It also offers a range of low-cost service plans through its Hello Mobile brand. In 2019, Q Link Wireless said it had 2 million customers.

The carrier offers an app called My Mobile Account (for both iOS and Android) that customers can use to monitor text and minutes histories, data and minute usage, or to buy additional minutes or data. The app also displays the customer's:

  • First and last name
  • Home address
  • Phone call history (from/to)
  • Text message history (from/to)
  • Phone carrier account number needed for porting
  • Email address
  • Last four digits of the associated payment card

[...] No password required . . . what?

Original Submission