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What should be the Book Club pick for December 2018?

  • Snow Crash - by Neal Stephenson
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) - by Dennis Taylor
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) - by Octavia Butler
  • The Metropolitan Man (Fan Fiction) - by Alexander Wales
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (Non-Fiction) - by Daniel Kahneman
  • Superforecasting (Non-Fiction) - by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
  • Makers (Fiction) - by Cory Doctorow
  • Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet - by Harold L. Goodwin

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:24 | Votes:40

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday September 20, @05:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the wild-Satoshi-"Sato"-Nakamoto dept.

'Wild West' Bitcoin 'should be regulated'

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are a "Wild West industry" and need to be regulated to protect investors, a committee of MPs has urged. Problems include volatile prices, minimal consumer protection and risks of hacking and money-laundering, says the Treasury Committee.

The committee said there were no well-functioning crypto-currencies and preferred to call them "crypto-assets". It urged City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority to supervise them.

At present, the FCA has no power to regulate either the issuers of these assets or the exchanges on which they are traded.

"City" refers to the "City of London", a financial district within London.

Also at The Guardian.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday September 20, @04:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the bigger-but-less-filling dept.

Times Newer Roman is a new font to make academic papers appear longer.

Times Newer Roman is designed to add length to any academic paper that has page requirements and also requires the use of Times New Roman.

[...] This means that a paper of given word count will have more length when rendered in Times Newer Roman instead of the old Times New Roman—hopefully without being noticeable to whoever's job it is to grade the paper.

Bigger and therefore better academic papers help advance the state of the art.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday September 20, @02:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the dropped-off-the-grid dept.

From the Guardian we have this story:

On 20 August, Arjen Kamphuis, a leading Dutch cybersecurity expert, checked out of his hotel in Bodø, northern Norway. He had told friends that he planned to take the train to Trondheim, 10 hours away.

He never boarded the train. Nor, two days later at the supposed end of his holiday, did he catch his return flight to Amsterdam. An intensive search by Norwegian police, and two Dutch investigators dispatched to help them has failed to locate him.

A kayak believed to belong to Kamphuis, who advised governments, corporations, journalists and activists on information security, was pulled from the sea about 50km from Bodø on Thursday, police said, the day after an amateur fisherman found some of his belongings – reportedly including an ID card – floating in the water. ...

I suppose if someone wanted to go off the grid for a while a good security expert could do it.

Previously: Privacy Expert and WikiLeaks Consultant, Arjen Kamphuis, Still Missing

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday September 20, @01:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the who-you-calling-a-barbarian? dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

The genetics of Europe are a bit strange. Just within historic times, it has seen waves of migrations, invasions, and the rise and fall of empires—all of which should have mixed its populations up thoroughly. Yet, if you look at the modern populations, there's little sign of all this upheaval and some indications that many of the populations have been in place since agriculture spread across the continent.

This was rarely more obvious than during the contraction and collapse of the Roman Empire. Various Germanic tribes from northeastern Europe poured into Roman territory in the west only to be followed by the force they were fleeing, the Huns. Before it was over, one of the groups ended up founding a kingdom in North Africa that extended throughout much of the Mediterranean, while another ended up controlling much of Italy.

It's that last group, the Longobards (often shorted as "Lombards"), that is the focus of a new paper. We know very little of them or any of the other barbarian tribes that roared through Western Europe other than roughly contemporary descriptions of where they came from. But a study of the DNA left behind in the cemeteries of the Longobards provides some indication of their origins and how they interacted with the Europeans they encountered.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 19, @11:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-more-herbie dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

Volkswagen will stop making the Beetle car next year, ending nearly seven decades of production in North America, the company has announced.

The company's American unit said it would halt output at its plant in Mexico after making two special edition models of the third-generation bulbous bug in July 2019.

[...] The car sold for about 30 years in the US before it was taken off the market in 1979. Production continued in Mexico and Latin America.

Volkswagen revived it in 1998 as a more modern "New Beetle", attracting mainly female buyers. The company revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to make it appeal to men, giving it a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system. US sales rose fivefold to nearly 29,000 in the first year, but tailed off after that.

[...] Volkswagen has no immediate plans to revive the Beetle again, but the company wouldn't rule it out. "I would say 'never say never'," the CEO of VW of America, Hinrich Woebcken, said in a statement.

I thought they'd stopped making this over a decade ago. Do they still make the New Beetle?


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday September 19, @10:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the rotten-egg dept.

Newegg has been hacked (archive). If you bought anything on between August 13th and September 18th, get a new credit card:

Newegg is investigating a data breach that may have compromised credit card details and other information about its customers, though the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

"Yesterday, we learned one of our servers had been injected with malware which may have allowed some of your information to be acquired or accessed by a third party," Newegg CEO Danny Lee states in an email being sent out to potentially affected customers." The malware was quite sophisticated and we are conducting extensive research to determine exactly what information may have been acquired or accessed and how many customers may have been impacted."

[...] Researchers from RiskIQ and Volexity say the attackers installed credit card skimming malware onto Newegg's website. They injected the malicious code into Newegg's payment processing page, basically hiding in plain site for more than a month, the researchers say.

The stolen credit card data was then sent to a drop server on a domain the hackers had registered, initially parked at They obtained a security certificate for the site from Comodo so that it appeared legitimate.

takyon: A news search for "Newegg" finds numerous examples of PC Gamer directing its readers to the site for deals (and steals?) during the breach period.

Also at Ars Technica and The Verge.

Previously: Encryption Patent That Roiled Newegg is Dead on Appeal
Newegg Is Being Sued for Allegedly Engaging in Massive Fraud

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 19, @08:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-get-a-cloud-and-you-get-a-cloud-and-... dept.

'I am admin' bug turns WD's My Cloud boxes into Everyone's Cloud:

Miscreants can potentially gain admin-level control over Western Digital's My Cloud gear via an HTTP request over the network or internet.

Researchers at infosec shop Securify revealed today the vulnerability, designated CVE-2018-17153, which allows an unauthenticated attacker with network access to the device to bypass password checks and login with admin privileges.

This would, in turn, give the scumbag full control over the NAS device, including the ability to view and copy all stored data as well as overwrite and erase contents. If the box is accessible from the public internet, it could be remotely pwned, it appears. Alternatively, malware on a PC on the local network could search for and find a vulnerable My Cloud machine, and compromise it.

According to Securify, the flaw itself lies in the way My Cloud creates admin sessions that are attached to an IP address. When an attacker sends a command to the device's web interface, as an HTTP CGI request, they can also include the cookie username=admin – which unlocks admin access.

[...] The team has posted a proof-of-concept exploit showing how the bug could be targeted with a few lines of code.

Securify said it reported the vulnerability to Western Digital back in April, but did not receive a response. Now, some five months later, they are finally disclosing the bug.

Western Digital did not return a Reg request for comment on the matter.

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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday September 19, @07:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the slow-n-easy dept.

New Atlas:

It's quick, it's quiet, and it's covered in 300 square meters (3,229 sq ft) of solar panels. The 78-ft (24-m) electric SolarImpact yacht is a concept designed as the first of its kind – an ocean-going solar-powered yacht. An 800-kWh battery on board gives it 10 hours of cruising capability, which can be extended by topping up the battery when the Sun's shining.

The yacht's giant solar array, which covers the vast majority of its upward-facing surfaces, can generate up to 320 kWh a day if they're getting lots of sun. They can serve as the vessel's sole power source if conditions allow, and you're prepared to take your time.

Although this 70-ton aluminum-hulled beast boasts 1,000 kW (1,341 hp) of all-electric power and has an impressive maximum speed of 22 knots, if you're running all the regular systems solely on solar, you will be able to cruise indefinitely, but only at a slow 5 knots – which would take you around the world in about six months if there wasn't a whole lot of land in the way.

Sea-steaders, rejoice!

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday September 19, @05:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the step-it-up dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

World speed record for polymer simulations shattered by over a hundred-fold

"5D Entanglement in Star Polymer Dynamics," by Airidas Korolkovas [was] published in Advanced Theory and Simulations, a new journal focusing on breakthroughs in the science of modelling. A unique computer algorithm was invented to capture the billions of steps needed for entangled polymers. It runs on a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) and takes advantage of texture mapping, an often-overlooked functionality. Originally, this feature was designed for video games, but here it has been repurposed to calculate the molecular forces inside a little polymer droplet. Using a streamlined physics model, this simulation runs hundreds of times faster than traditional code. It opens new horizons on the time scales that can be addressed in scientific computing. This can further push the frontiers for the latest generation of supercomputers, like the recently opened Summit in Oak Ridge National Lab, USA, which has almost 30,000 GPUs.

The effect of higher dimensional entanglement can be observed in real life, using an instrument called neutron spin-echo. This machine shoots tiny subatomic particles, called neutrons, and listens to the echo of their nuclear spin as they scatter, or bounce off the polymer sample. A prime example is the IN15 beamline at the Institut Laue-Langevin, France, where the entanglement of linear polymers was first discovered. Thanks to constant upgrades and to upcoming new facilities like the European Spallation Source, Sweden, an experimental proof of the simulation prediction for star polymers may soon be within reach. A combination of high performance computing and neutron scattering is a powerful tool of discovery for new materials that improve our quality of life and respect the environment.

5D Entanglement in Star Polymer Dynamics (DOI: 10.1002/adts.201800078) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday September 19, @03:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the push-pedal dept.

VeloNews reports: Mueller-Korenek rides 183.9mph, smashing world record

On the Bonneville Salt Flats, tucked in behind a 1,000-horsepower drag race car, Denise Mueller-Korenek hit 183.932 miles per hour, smashing a 23-year-old world record.

"It was a crazy wild ride to 183.9 mph, but so worth the sacrifice and years of focus on becoming the fastest human on a bicycle in the world," said Mueller-Korenek after breaking the record on September 16.

She hit the record speed on her second attempt, breaking Fred Rompelberg's 1995 Paced Bicycle Speed Record, 167mph.

Mueller-Korenek, 45, is familiar to top speeds on Utah's salt flats. She previously set a women's world record of 147.75mph in 2016. This Sunday, the mother of two took the world record outright, paced by an overhauled version of the dragster that paced Rompelberg to his record speed.

Also at NPR.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by chromas on Wednesday September 19, @02:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the is-anyone-using-it? dept.

Molly de Blanc writes at that it has been one year since the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sold out. It was then they, including Tim Berners-Lee himself, decided to incorporate Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) into web standards signalling an end to the open Web. She covers how it happened, what has transpired during the last year in regards to EME, and what steps can be taken.

Digital Restrictions Management exists all over the world in all sorts of technologies. In addition to media files, like music and film, we can find DRM on the Web and enshrined in Web standards. As a Web standard, its use is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), making it not only easier, but expected for all media files on the Web to be locked down with DRM.

It's been a year since the the W3C voted to bring Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) into Web standards. They claimed to want to "lead the Web to its full potential," but in a secret vote, members of the W3C, with the blessing of Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, agreed to put "the copyright industry in control" of media access. The enshrinement of EME as an official recommendation is not how we envision the "full potential" of the Web at the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday September 19, @12:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the 🔒 dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

The free-to-use nonprofit was founded in 2014 in part by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is backed by Akamai, Google, Facebook, Mozilla and more. Three years ago Friday, it issued its first certificate.

Since then, the numbers have exploded. To date, more than 380 million certificates have been issued on 129 million unique domains. That also makes it the largest certificate issuer in the world, by far.

Now, 75 percent of all Firefox traffic is HTTPS, according to public Firefox data — in part thanks to Let's Encrypt. That's a massive increase from when it was founded, where only 38 percent of website page loads were served over an HTTPS encrypted connection.

"Change at that speed and scale is incredible," a spokesperson told TechCrunch. "Let's Encrypt isn't solely responsible for this change, but we certainly catalyzed it."


Previously: "Let's Encrypt" Has Issued 1 Million Certificates
Let's Encrypt Issues 100 Millionth Certificate
Let's Encrypt is Now Officially Trusted by All Major Root Programs

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday September 19, @11:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the rights-for-me-but-not-for-þe dept.

The International Day Against DRM is twelve years old today. International Day Against DRM fights to raise awareness of the problem of digital restrictions management technology (DRM) and offers methods how to fight it. Specifically, one idea is to try to avoid any and all DRM for the day to be cognizant of where and how it is creeping into daily life. The other is to nudge others to eschew or at least become aware of DRM. The author Cory Doctorow has posted an editorial over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation about how and why to resist DRM.

The Free Software Foundation's Defective by Design campaign today celebrates its 12th annual International Day Against Digital Rights Management. DRM is the controversial practice of restricting what consumers can do with legitimately acquired digital media. Given its pervasive nature, is it possible for you to completely avoid DRM for the day?

[...] Content with DRM is restricted by default yet by its very nature only affects legitimate purchases. Those who pirate their software, for example, are unaffected since piracy groups remove the DRM from content before release. Bizarrely, however, some pirates have even protected their work with DRM, signalling that no one is immune. There are great alternatives, however.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday September 19, @09:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the MS-DoS dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Microsoft released a security advisory about a denial-of-service vulnerability that could render multiple versions of Windows completely unresponsive and has no mitigation factors, the company says.

The vulnerability affects all versions of Windows 7 through 10 (including 8.1 RT), Server 2008, 2012, 2016, and Core Installations that don't have the latest set of security updates released as part of the September 2018 Patch Tuesday updates.

Tagged with the identification number CVE-2018-5391, the bug received the moniker FragmentSmack because it responds to IP fragmentation, a process that adjusts the packet size to fit the maximum transmission unit (MTU) at the receiving end.

IP fragmentation attacks are a known form of denial of service, where the victim computer receives multiple IP packets of a smaller size that are expected to be reassembled into their original form at the destination.

FragmentSmack is a TCP fragmentation type of attack, also known as a Teardrop attack, that prevents reassembling the packets on the recipient end. The vulnerability is as old as Windows 3.1 and 95, where it crashed the OS, but it was seen in the more recent Windows 7, too.

Why write all new bugs when you can just reboot old ones?


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday September 19, @08:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the logical-deduction dept.

An exoplanet with a minimum mass of 8.47±0.47 Earth masses has been discovered around 40 Eridani A:

"Star Trek's" planet Vulcan, ancestral home of Spock and his species, just became a little more real, thanks to a team of exoplanet scientists. Because "Star Trek" creators eventually associated planet Vulcan with a real star, called 40 Eridani A, scientists have wondered for years whether a factual equivalent of the beloved science fiction planet exists, with or without pointy-eared inhabitants. And now, a team of scientists has said that the star really does host at least one planet.

"This star can be seen with the naked eye, unlike the host stars of most of the known planets discovered to date," Bo Ma, lead author of the new research and an astronomer at the University of Florida, said in a statement. "Now, anyone can see 40 Eridani A on a clear night and be proud to point out Spock's home." That star, located about 16 light-years away from Earth, is also known as HD 26965. It's a bit orange, because it's a little smaller and cooler than our sun. But it also has some clear similarities to Earth's star: It's about the same age and sports a fairly similar sunspot pattern.

Also at Science Magazine.

Original Submission