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The glory days of the Internet

  • was in the 80s
  • was in the 90s
  • was in the 2000s
  • was in the 2010s
  • is now because it is the best of times and the worst of times
  • is yet to come
  • other (describe in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:141 | Votes:346

posted by janrinok on Friday September 29, @04:28AM   Printer-friendly

Regulators close investigation into Blue Origin's New Shepard anomaly:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has closed the investigation into a mishap that occurred last September during a launch of Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle, with the regulator saying that Blue must implement 21 corrective actions before it can fly New Shepard again.

New Shepard was grounded after a September 2022 launch ended with an abort about a minute after liftoff. The vehicle's capsule, which was not filled with people, had to conduct an emergency parachute landing to clear the booster. It landed safely while the propulsion module was destroyed on impact with the ground. There were no injuries to Blue Origin personnel.

In an emailed statement, a representative for the FAA said the anomaly was caused by a "structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher than expected engine operating temperatures." Among the 21 corrective actions includes redesigning the engine and nozzle components as well as "organizational changes."

In response to TechCrunch's inquiries into the corrective actions, a Blue Origin spokesperson simply said, "We've received the FAA's letter and plan to fly soon."

The closure of the mishap investigation does not mean that Blue Origin can immediately start flying New Shepard. The company must implement all the corrective actions and receive a launch license modification from the FAA first, the FAA spokesperson said.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday September 28, @11:42PM   Printer-friendly

Security researcher warns of chilling effect after feds search phone at airport:

A U.S. security researcher is warning of a chilling effect after he was detained on arrival at a U.S. airport, his phone was searched, and was ordered to testify to a grand jury, only to have prosecutors reverse course and drop the investigation later.

On Wednesday, Sam Curry, a security engineer at blockchain technology company Yuga Labs, said in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, that he was taken into secondary inspection by U.S. federal agents on September 15 after returning from a trip to Japan. Curry said agents with the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) unit and the Department of Homeland Security questioned him at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC about a "high profile phishing campaign," searched his unlocked phone, and served him with a grand jury subpoena to testify in New York the week after.

According to a photo of the subpoena that Curry posted, the grand jury was investigating wire fraud and money laundering.

But Curry said he later received confirmation that the copy of his device data was deleted and the grand jury subpoena was canceled once prosecutors realized that Curry was investigating the theft of crypto, and not involved in it.

In a post, Curry said that in December 2022 he discovered that scammers had inadvertently exposed their Ethereum private key in the source code of a phishing website that had stolen millions of dollars worth of crypto. Curry said he imported the key to his own crypto wallet to see if there was anything left in the alleged scammers' wallet, but that he found the key "five minutes too late and the stolen assets were gone."

Curry said he was "on my home IP address and obviously not attempting to conceal my identity as I was simply investigating this."

"We normally take this approach where it's seeing if there's anything we can do to help. And then if we can't, obviously we can't. It's tricky, because there are so many of these phishing campaigns," Curry told TechCrunch in a phone call.

Curry said that the feds had requested the authorization logs from crypto marketplace OpenSea, which Curry used to check the contents of the scammers' wallet. Those logs included Curry's home IP address. Curry accused the feds of using his arrival to the U.S. "as an excuse to ask for my device and summon me to a grand jury, rather than just email me or something."

"I'm sharing this because I think it's something people should be aware of if they're doing similar work. It was widely shared that the private key was leaked and my background as a security researcher wasn't enough to dissuade using immigrations and a grand jury to intimidate me," Curry said in his post.

Curry is a widely known security researcher, whose work has helped to discover flaws in airline rewards programs, connected vehicles, and helped to uncover security weaknesses at Apple, and Starbucks. Curry said was flying into Washington DC to attend an election security research forum set up by U.S. cybersecurity agency CISA to audit U.S. voting machines.

After he was released from the airport, he spoke to his attorney, who told the federal investigators that Curry was investigating the incident as part of routine work as a security researcher.

[...] Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where the grand jury subpoena was filed, declined to comment when reached Wednesday. Terry Lemons, a spokesperson for the IRS-CI, the criminal investigative arm of the U.S. tax authority known for probing crypto thefts, did not return a request for comment.

It's not unheard of for U.S. authorities to target security researchers or journalists with threats of prosecution or other kinds of legal process to compel testimony, like grand juries, which convene in secret to determine if formal criminal charges should be brought against a person.

[...] But accessing a victim's wallet — even a scammer's wallet — in an attempt to recover funds falls in "a real gray area" of the law, former prosecutor Elizabeth Roper told Motherboard last year.

"If it ends up saving everyone, every user on the platform and a bunch of money and the person who did it kind of immediately discloses it," Roper said, "maybe we wouldn't use our resources to prosecute that person, but again it depends on the specific case."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday September 28, @07:02PM   Printer-friendly

Raspberry Pi 5 has been announced for an October launch of 4 GB ($60) and 8 GB RAM ($80) variants. Features include:

  • 2.4GHz quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex-A76 CPU
  • VideoCore VII GPU, supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, Vulkan 1.2
  • Dual 4Kp60 HDMI® display output
  • 4Kp60 HEVC decoder
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi®
  • Bluetooth 5.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • High-speed microSD card interface with SDR104 mode support
  • 2 × USB 3.0 ports, supporting simultaneous 5Gbps operation
  • 2 × USB 2.0 ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet, with PoE+ support (requires separate PoE+ HAT, coming soon)
  • 2 × 4-lane MIPI camera/display transceivers
  • PCIe 2.0 x1 interface for fast peripherals
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40-pin GPIO header
  • Real-time clock
  • Power button

CPU performance should be about 2-3x the Raspberry Pi 4 from three generational Cortex-A increases (from A72, skipping A73/A75 to A76), 33% higher clock speed (from the updated 1.8 GHz of RPi4), and a superior process node (16nm from 28nm).

[...] One notable loss is the analogue 3.5mm audio jack. Most users will be getting audio from micro-HDMI.

Specs were accidentally leaked about a day in advance, for example by element14 (farnell) or the MicroLinux YouTube channel (6m1s video).

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday September 28, @02:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the corporate-schadenfreude dept.

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general today sued Amazon, claiming the online retail giant illegally maintains monopoly power.

[...] The FTC announced that it filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. The FTC press release said it is "seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that would prohibit Amazon from engaging in its unlawful conduct and pry loose Amazon's monopolistic control to restore competition."

The lawsuit seeks declarations that Amazon's conduct violates federal and state laws. It asks for an injunction prohibiting the conduct described in the lawsuit along with unspecified "structural relief" that would be "necessary to redress and prevent recurrence of Amazon's violations of the law." Structural relief could involve breaking up the company.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday September 28, @09:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-to-clap-about dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

In the last days of the 1400s, a terrible epidemic swept through Europe. Men and women spiked sudden fevers. Their joints ached, and they broke out in rashes that ripened into bursting boils. Ulcers ate away at their faces, collapsing their noses and jaws, working down their throats and airways, making it impossible to eat or drink. Survivors were grossly disfigured. Unluckier victims died.

The infection sped across the borders of a politically fractured landscape, from France into Italy, on to Switzerland and Germany, and north to the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Russia. The Holy Roman Emperor declared it a punishment from God. “Nothing could be more serious than this curse, this barbarian poison,” an Italian historian wrote in 1495.

It seemed plausible that the great pox, later called syphilis, might have journeyed with Spanish mercenaries, who represented much of the army of Naples when France attacked that kingdom in 1495. And it might have arrived in Spain with the crews of Christopher Columbus, who returned there in 1493 from the first of his exploratory voyages.

For most of the centuries since, a significant historical narrative has blamed Columbus and his sailors for bringing syphilis to Europe. It arrived as a ravaging plague and then adapted to become a long-simmering disease that, before the discovery of penicillin, could cripple people and drive them mad. Investigating what’s called the “Columbian hypothesis” has proved challenging: The symptoms related in old accounts could describe several diseases, and the bacterium that causes it, Treponema pallidum, was not identified until 1905.

But for roughly two decades, paleopathologists examining European burial sites have suggested that medieval bones and teeth display signs of syphilis infection, disrupting the belief that the disease arrived there in the 15th century. Now, a team based in Marseille has used ancient-DNA analysis to reveal evidence of Treponema bacteria, and the body’s immunological reaction to it, in a skeleton that was buried in a chapel in Provence in the 7th or 8th century. It’s the best evidence yet that syphilis—or something related to it—was infecting Europeans centuries before Columbus sailed.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first, proven, strong piece of evidence that the Treponema of syphilis were circulating in the European population before Columbus,” says Michel Drancourt, a physician and professor of microbiology at Aix-Marseille University, who led the work published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. “So far, this was a hypothesis in science and the medical literature, without any strong proof.”

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday September 28, @04:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the all-your-pixels-belong-to-us dept.

GPUs from all six of the major suppliers are vulnerable to a newly discovered attack that allows malicious websites to read the usernames, passwords, and other sensitive visual data displayed by other websites, researchers have demonstrated in a paper published Tuesday.

The cross-origin attack allows a malicious website from one domain—say,—to effectively read the pixels displayed by a website from, or another different domain. Attackers can then reconstruct them in a way that allows them to view the words or images displayed by the latter site. This leakage violates a critical security principle that forms one of the most fundamental security boundaries safeguarding the Internet. Known as the same origin policy, it mandates that content hosted on one website domain be isolated from all other website domains., as the proof-of-concept attack has been named, starts with a malicious website that places a link to the webpage it wants to read inside of an iframe, a common HTML element that allows sites to embed ads, images, or other content hosted on other websites. Normally, the same origin policy prevents either site from inspecting the source code, content, or final visual product of the other. The researchers found that data compression that both internal and discrete GPUs use to improve performance acts as a side channel that they can abuse to bypass the restriction and steal pixels one by one.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday September 28, @12:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the can-I-see-a-license-for-that-core? dept.

Like a scene strait out of Robocop, Larry Ellison has chosen Tesla's Cybertruck for its police vehicles.

Former Tesla board member and Oracle founder Larry Ellison revealed: "Our next generation of a police car is coming out very soon - it's my favorite police car - it's my favorite car actually - it's Elon's favorite car - it's incredible, and I know too much about it."

Articles, like this one found in Motor Trend, are still light on details. It is mostly reported in car and EV outfits. Like most puff pieces, they are scant on any details and generally all have the same 5 to 6 paragraphs. The National News adds a bit more, with additional information suggesting AI will be employed in the Law Enforcement version of the Cybertruck. Regardless of the shallow reporting, the images are still a sight to behold as they mirror 1980s visions of a dystopian future.

As an aside note, what use does Oracle have for a police cruiser beyond parking lot security? The cynic in me hopes this is the future license enforcement squad!

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 27, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the bonfire dept.

The "first official Unity user group in the world" has announced that it is dissolving after 13 years because "the trust we used to have in the company has been completely eroded." The move comes as many developers are saying they will continue to stay away from the company's products even after last week's partial rollback of some of the most controversial parts of its fee structure plans.

Since its founding in 2010, the Boston Unity Group (BUG) has attracted thousands of members to regular gatherings, talks, and networking events, including many technical lectures archived on YouTube. But the group says it will be hosting its last meeting Wednesday evening via Zoom because the Unity of today is very different from the Dave Helgason-led company that BUG says "enthusiastically sanctioned and supported" the group at its founding.
BUG's feelings are being echoed across large swaths of the game development community, where many prominent developers are saying Unity's public reversal has done little to nothing to restore their trust in the company.

Vampire Survivors developer Poncle, for instance, gave a succinct "lol no thank you" when asked during a Reddit AMA over the weekend if their next game/sequel would again use the Unity Engine. "Even if Unity were to walk back entirely on their decisions, I don't think it would be wise to trust them while they are under the current leadership," Poncle added later in the AMA.
Some developers are now also suggesting that Unity ignored advice from the development community before announcing their initial plans earlier this month. Brandon Sheffield of Necrosoft Games (Demonschool) told Wired that his company was "privy to these [initial] install-fee changes well before they went live and pushed back against them. We knew the reaction would be resoundingly negative, but we weren't listened to."

In part because of that intentional ignorance on Unity's part, Sheffield says he will stick with an earlier pledge to never use Unity in a future project despite the later fee structure changes.

Unity Makes Major Changes to Controversial Install-Fee Program

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 27, @02:35PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Although Low Power DDR(LPDDR) memory has played a pivotal role in reducing PC laptop power usage, the drawback to the mobile-focused memory has always been its tight signaling and power delivery requirements. Designed to be placed close to its host CPU in order to minimize power expenditures and maximize clockspeeds, LPDDR memory is unsuitable for use in traditional DIMMs and SO-DIMMs – instead requiring that it be soldered down on a device in advance. But it looks like the days of soldered-down LPDDR memory are soon at an end, as this evening Samsung is announcing a new standard for removable and modular LPDDR memory: LPCAMM.

Pitched as an LPDDR-centric version of the upcoming Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) standard for removable mobile memory, LPCAMM is Samsung’s take on using the same style of compression connector interface for LPDDR memory. The net result is that, thanks to the more exacting specifications and shorter trace lengths used by a CAMM-style connector, Samsung says it’s possible to have modular and swappable LPDDR5 memory at last. And all in a fraction of the space a traditional SO-DIMM setup would occupy.

While the CAMM format has barely gotten off of the ground itself – JEDEC has yet to even approve the standard – Samsung is essentially opting to run with the idea to do something different with it by focusing on LPDDR memory. Notably, however, the resulting LPCAMM form factor is incompatible with CAMMs – both physically and electrically – so despite the similar names and use of compression connectors, the two are not interchangeable. But both pursue the same ideas for their respective memory types.

[...] For their first generation of LPCAMM modules, Samsung is looking as capacities of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, with data rates up to LPDDR5X-7500. Samsung doesn’t currently have any 256Gbit LPDDR5X memory modules in their catalog, so either the company has a way to fit 8 modules on to an LPCAMM, or more likely they intend to introduce larger memory modules by the time LPCAMMs ship next year. Otherwise the data rate is a tier below Samsung’s best memory modules (8533 MT/sec), but I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually find out that it’s the trade-off for having modular LPDDR memory.

According to Samsung, they’ve already verified their LPCAMMs with an unnamed Intel platform – almost certainly Raptor Lake mobile, given the timing of the announcement. Though nothing about LPCAMMs is vendor-specific, and if the form factor is successful, I wouldn’t be surprised to see laptop manufacturers also pick it up for AMD designs.

[...] For the moment, Samsung isn’t saying how LPCAMM compares to soldered LPDDR5X memory with regards to size or performance – it bigger and almost certainly a bit more power hungry due to trace lengths. Otherwise, as a replacement for SO-DIMMs, Samsung says that LPDDR5X LPCAMMs only occupy 40% of the space of a DDR5 SO-DIMM, and improve power efficiency by up to 70%, roughly in line with the general benefit of LPDDR5X over LPDDR5.

But even with this newfound flexibility, don’t expect to see LPCAMMs replace soldered LPDDR memory – at least not wholesale. Besides the higher qualified speeds for a soldered solution, LPCAMMs can’t match the smaller footprint of a soldered solution, especially as vendors are starting to put LPDDR memory directly on chip packages (i.e. Apple). Depending on the cost of implementation, LPCAMMs may displace soldered-on-motherboard memory, while ultraportable devices will increasingly embrace soldered-on-package memory to maximize space and efficiency.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 27, @09:47AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Scientists said on Tuesday they have found the "missing ingredient" for pink diamonds, some of the world's most expensive stones due their rarity and beauty, and the discovery could help find more.

More than 90 percent of all the pink diamonds ever found were discovered at the recently closed Argyle mine in the remote northwest of Australia.

But exactly why Argyle—which unlike most other diamond mines does not sit in the middle of a continent but on the edge of one—produced so many pink gems has remained a mystery.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of Australia-based researchers said the pink diamonds were brought to the Earth's surface by the break up of the first supercontinent around 1.3 billion years ago.

Hugo Olierook, a researcher at Curtin University in the state of Western Australia and the study's lead author, told AFP that two of the three ingredients for forming pink diamonds had already been known.

Journal Information:
Hugo Olierook, Emplacement of the Argyle diamond deposit into an ancient rift zone triggered by supercontinent breakup, Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-40904-8.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 27, @05:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the atomic-bill-going-nuclear dept.

Microsoft wants to become a nuclear power. Their need for power to power their AI and other things is now so great that they want to run their own nuclear reactors.

Nuclear energy doesn't create greenhouse gas emissions. Even so, it could also open up a whole new can of worms when it comes to handling radioactive waste and building up a uranium supply chain. The role nuclear energy ought to play in combatting climate change is still hotly debated, but Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has long been a big fan of the technology.

Based on the new job listing, it looks like Microsoft is betting on advanced nuclear reactors to be the answer. The job posting says it's hiring someone to "lead project initiatives for all aspects of nuclear energy infrastructure for global growth."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 27, @12:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-you-don't-know-what-you've-got-till-it's-gone dept.

The loss of dark skies is so painful, astronomers coined a new term for it: 'Noctalgia', a feature of the modern age.

Most of our light pollution comes from sources on the ground, but satellites don't just spoil deep-space astronomical observations when they cross a telescope's field of view; they also scatter and reflect sunlight from their solar arrays. The abundance of satellites is causing the overall brightness of the sky to increase all around the globe. Some researchers have estimated that, on average, our darkest night skies, located in the most remote regions of the world, are 10% brighter than they were a half century ago.

Humans are ineffably impacted. How can someone who has never seen a clear night sky know what they are missing? It's like someone without gonads or genital nerves trying to understand orgasm.

Many animal species are suffering as well. What good are night-adapted senses in nocturnal species if the night sky isn't much darker than the daytime sky? Researchers have identified several species whose circadian rhythms are getting thrown off, making them vulnerable to predation (or, the reverse: the inability to effectively locate prey).

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 26, @07:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the advertisement-apocalypse dept.

Amazon announced today that Prime Video users in the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK will automatically start seeing advertisements "in early 2024." Subscribers will receive a notification email "several weeks" in advance, at which point they can opt to pay $2.99 extra for ad-free Prime Video, Amazon said.

That takes the price of ad-free Prime Video from $8.99/month alone to $11.98/month and from $14.99/month with Prime to $17.98/month.

[...] Prime Video subscribers who don't pay the extra $2.99 (and don't just cancel their subscription altogether) are promised "meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers."

[...] With current prices starting at $9.99 per month, Prime Video was one of the cheapest ways to get streaming TV without ads. While the changes put pricing for ad-free Prime Video more on par with its competitors, it may still disappoint budget-minded cord-cutters. Streaming services started off as a cheaper, simpler alternative to cable TV. But as an influx in services, changes in pricing, confusing bundles, and scattered content have proven, we haven't gotten that far from cable after all.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 26, @02:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-eating-gilbert-grape dept.

The dreaded rat lungworm—a parasite with a penchant for rats and slugs that occasionally finds itself rambling and writhing in human brains—has firmly established itself in the Southeast US and will likely continue its rapid invasion, a study published this week suggests.

The study involved small-scale surveillance of dead rats in the Atlanta zoo. Between 2019 and 2022, researchers continually turned up evidence of the worm. In all, the study identified seven out of 33 collected rats (21 percent) with evidence of a rat lungworm infection. The infected animals were spread throughout the study's time frame, all in different months, with one in 2019, three in 2021, and three in 2022, indicating sustained transmission.

Although small, the study "suggests that the zoonotic parasite was introduced to and has become established in a new area of the southeastern United States," the study's authors, led by researchers at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, concluded. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

[...] When a rat lungworm finds itself in a human, it does what it usually does in rats—it heads to the central nervous system and brain. Sometimes the migration of the worms to the central nervous system is asymptomatic or only causes mild transient symptoms. But, sometimes, they cause severe neurological dysfunction. This can start with nonspecific symptoms like headache, light sensitivity, and insomnia and develop into neck stiffness and pain, tingling or burning of the skin, double vision, bowel or bladder difficulties, and seizures. In severe cases, it can cause nerve damage, paralysis, coma, and even death.

It's often thought that the worm can't complete its life cycle in humans and that it ends up idly wandering around the brain for a month or two before it's eventually killed off by immune responses. However, there has been some evidence of adult worms reaching the human lungs.

Regardless, there's no specific treatment for a rat lungworm infection. No anti-parasitic drugs have proven effective, and, in fact, there's some evidence they can make symptoms worse by spurring more immune responses to dying worms. For now, supportive treatment, pain medications, and steroids are typically the only options.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 26, @10:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the whole-systems-thinking dept.

The BBC reports that Lego won't be making blocks from recycled drink bottles after all, It appears they did a full depth study over the last two years,

Currently, many of Lego's bricks are made using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a virgin plastic made from crude oil.
In 2021, it said it has developed prototype bricks made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, with some other chemicals added.

The hope was that material could have offered an alternative to oil-based bricks.

But Lego has now revealed that after more than two years of testing, it had found that using recycled PET didn't reduce carbon emissions.

It said the reason for that was because extra steps were required in the production process, which meant it needed to use more energy.

Two comments from your submitter:
      * Good for Lego to come clean and not continue with "greenwashing".
      * What's wrong with wooden blocks anyway? I really enjoyed mine. They didn't lock me into a fixed attachment the way that Lego does. Don't be square (aka boring)!

Original Submission