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What is the most overly over hyped tech trend

  • Generative AI
  • Quantum computing
  • Blockchain, NFT, Cryptocurrency
  • Edge computing
  • Internet of Things
  • 6G
  • I use the metaverse you insensitive clod
  • Other (please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:21 | Votes:73

posted by janrinok on Friday June 21, @08:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the flat-circle dept.

[Source]: Popular Mechanics

Time has puzzled scientists for many decades. Does it meaningfully exist apart from our experience of it as everything moves toward the disintegration of entropy along its irrefutable arrow? You can't put the "spilled milk" of the weirdness of time back in the jug.

Could the observable universe be exclusively composed of layered, mutually entangled systems?

The passage of time puzzles quantum physicists, who seek to fit it into a cohesive model.

One wild theory posits that time visibly passes because we're entangled with ... well ... everything.

In new research published in the American Physical Society's peer-reviewed journal Physical Review A, scientists from Italy (led by Alessandro Coppo) try to translate one theory of time into real life—or, at least, closer to it. The theory is called Page and Wootters mechanism, and Coppo has studied it for years. It's a quantum mechanics idea that dates back to 1983.

Journal Reference:
Tiago Martinelli, Diogo O. Soares-Pinto. Quantifying quantum reference frames in composed systems: Local, global, and mutual asymmetries, Physical Review A (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.99.042124)

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday June 21, @03:23AM   Printer-friendly

Signal, MEPs Urge EU Council To Drop Encryption-Eroding Law

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

On Thursday, the EU Council is scheduled to vote on a legislative proposal that would attempt to protect children online by disallowing confidential communication.

[...] Known to detractors as Chat Control, the proposal seeks to prevent the online dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) by requiring internet service providers to scan digital communication – private chats, emails, social media messages, and photos – for unlawful content.

The proposal [PDF], recognizing the difficulty of explicitly outlawing encryption, calls for "client-side scanning" or "upload moderation" – analyzing content on people's mobile devices and computers for certain wrongdoing before it gets encrypted and transmitted.

The idea is that algorithms running locally on people's devices will reliably recognize CSAM (and whatever else is deemed sufficiently awful), block it, and/or report it to authorities. This act of automatically policing and reporting people's stuff before it's even had a chance to be securely transferred rather undermines the point of encryption in the first place.

Europe's planned "regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse" is not the only legislative proposal that contemplates client-side scanning as a way to front-run the application of encryption. The US Earn-It Act imagines something similar.

In the UK, the Online Safety Act of 2023 includes a content scanning requirement, though with the government's acknowledgement that enforcement isn't presently feasible. While it does allow telecoms regulator Ofcom to require online platforms to adopt an "accredited technology" to identify unlawful content, there is currently no such technology and it's unclear how accreditation would work.

With the EU proposal vote approaching, opponents of the plan have renewed their calls to shelve the pre-crime surveillance regime.

In an open letter [PDF] on Monday, Meredith Whittaker, CEO of Signal, which threatened to withdraw its app from the UK if the Online Safety Act disallowed encryption, reiterated why the EU client-side scanning plan is unworkable and dangerous.

"There is no way to implement such proposals in the context of end-to-end encrypted communications without fundamentally undermining encryption and creating a dangerous vulnerability in core infrastructure that would have global implications well beyond Europe," wrote Whittaker.

European countries continue to play rhetorical games. They’ve come back to the table with the same idea under a new label

"Instead of accepting this fundamental mathematical reality, some European countries continue to play rhetorical games.

[...] Threema said if it isn't allowed to offer encryption, it will leave the EU.

And on Tuesday, 37 Members of Parliament signed an open letter to the Council of Europe urging legislators to reject Chat Control.

"We explicitly warn that the obligation to systematically scan encrypted communication, whether called 'upload-moderation' or 'client-side scanning,' would not only break secure end-to-end encryption, but will to a high probability also not withstand the case law of the European Court of Justice," the MEPs said. "Rather, such an attack would be in complete contrast to the European commitment to secure communication and digital privacy, as well as human rights in the digital space." ®

EU Chat Control Law Proposes Scanning Your Messages — Even Encrypted Ones

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

[...] The proposed solution is to leave messages wide open for scanning — but somehow without compromising the layer of privacy offered by end-to-end encryption. It suggests that the new moderation system could accomplish this by scanning the contents of your messages before apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Messenger encrypt them.

In response, Signal president Meredith Whittaker says the app will stop functioning in the EU if the rules become law, as the proposal “fundamentally undermines encryption,” regardless of whether it’s scanned before encryption or not. “We can call it a backdoor, a front door, or ‘upload moderation,’” Whittaker writes. “But whatever we call it, each one of these approaches creates a vulnerability that can be exploited by hackers and hostile nation states, removing the protection of unbreakable math and putting in its place a high-value vulnerability.”

Several organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy & Technology, and Mozilla, have also signed a joint statement urging the EU to reject proposals that scan user content.

Privacy advocates aren’t the only ones raising alarm bells about the proposal. This week, dozens of Parliament members wrote to the EU Council to express their opposition to the proposal. Patrick Breyer, a German member of the European Parliament, has also spoken out about the bill, saying that “indiscriminate searches and error-prone leaks of private chats and intimate photos destroy our fundamental right to private correspondence.”

[...] “Many lawmakers understand that fundamental rights prohibit mass surveillance, but they don’t want to be seen opposing a scheme that’s framed as combatting CSAM,” Breyer says. “My message is that children and abuse victims deserve measures that are truly effective and will hold up in court, not just empty promises, tech solutionism and hidden agendas.”

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Friday June 21, @01:00AM   Printer-friendly

Note: Comments are enabled for everyone including Anonymous Cowards and should be on-topic. However, if you abuse this privilege do not be surprised or complain if your comments are deleted.

This came to my attention on IRC; it was published yesterday. It should not surprise anyone, nor is it a unique occurrence. Most sites on the internet nowadays are suffering from the same problem. But I find it hard to understand how anyone can benefit from personal attacks, or by forcing sites to make unwanted decisions about how they operate.

Schneier writes:

New Blog Moderation Policy

There has been a lot of toxicity in the comments section of this blog. Recently, we're having to delete more and more comments. Not just spam and off-topic comments, but also sniping and personal attacks. It's gotten so bad that I need to do something.

My options are limited because I'm just one person, and this website is free, ad-free, and anonymous. I pay for a part-time moderator out of pocket; he isn't able to constantly monitor comments. And I'm unwilling to require verified accounts.

So starting now, we will be pre-screening comments and letting through only those that 1) are on topic, 2) contribute to the discussion, and 3) don't attack or insult anyone. The standard is not going to be "well, I guess this doesn't technically quite break a rule," but "is this actually contributing."

Obviously, this is a subjective standard; sometimes good comments will accidentally get thrown out. And the delayed nature of the screening will result in less conversation and more disjointed comments. Those are costs, and they're significant ones. But something has to be done, and I would like to try this before turning off all comments.

In our own case it is rarely someone posting under his/her username that does similar things or at least not anyone who is logged in and posting anonymously. There are a few who push the boundaries from time to time but they usually do it without resorting to anonymity. It is almost without exception those who wish to remain Anonymous Cowards. Surely they realise that the eventual outcome will be to force sites to ban AC posting. How does that benefit any site or those ACs in particular? The end result will be that there will be fewer places where they are allowed to express themselves.


posted by hubie on Thursday June 20, @10:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the kidney-stones-weigh-less-on-mars dept.

Human missions to Mars in serious doubt after discovery made on effects to astronaut's bodies

Scientists have admitted they do not know why it is happening

Even though Elon Musk claimed that humans could be flying to Mars within 10-20 years, it seems as though that plan could be at risk after studies have found some major issues.

Samples from more than 40 space missions, involving both humans and mice, have revealed that the conditions in space have adverse reactions on the body.

[....] Scientists at University College London (UCL), who carried out the study, have found that microgravity and galactic radiation from space caused serious health risks that emerge the longer a person is exposed to it.

The main part of the body that is at risk is the kidneys, with the research showing that parts of the kidneys showed signs of shrinkage after less than a month in space.

[....] Talking to The Independent, Dr. Keith Siew, first author of the study, said: "We know what has happened to astronauts on the relatively short space missions conducted so far, in terms of an increase in health issues such as kidney stones.

[....] "If we don't develop new ways to protect the kidneys, I'd say that while an astronaut could make it to Mars they might need dialysis on the way back."

The scientist added: "We know that the kidneys are late to show signs of radiation damage.

"By the time this becomes apparent it's probably too late to prevent failure, which would be catastrophic for the mission's chances of success."

Despite likely health problems and much shorter life, there would no doubt be a long list of volunteers willing to make the first trip.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 20, @05:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the AI-can't-cut-to-the-chase dept.

Tech Review is running a story about comedians who were asked to use "AI" to write jokes. The results were mixed at best:

Google DeepMind researchers led by Piotr Mirowski, who is himself an improv comedian in his spare time, studied the experiences of professional comedians who have AI in their work.
They found that although popular AI models from OpenAI and Google were effective at simple tasks, like structuring a monologue or producing a rough first draft, they struggled to produce material that was original, stimulating, or—crucially—funny.
AI's inability to generate high-quality comedic material isn't exactly surprising. The same safety filters that OpenAI and Google use to prevent models from generating violent or racist responses also hinder them from producing the kind of material that's common in comedy writing, such as offensive or sexually uggestive jokes and dark humor.
The experiment also exposed the LLMs' bias. Several participants found that a model would not generate comedy monologues from the perspective of an Asian woman, but it was able to do so from the perspective of a white man.

Tech Review ends with a couple of the lame AI generated jokes, it seems fair to say that comedians don't have to worry about competition from AI anytime soon:

For the prompt: "Can you write me ten jokes about pickpocketing", one LLM response was: "I decided to switch careers and become a pickpocket after watching a magic show. Little did I know, the only thing disappearing would be my reputation!"

For the prompt: "Please write jokes about the irony of a projector failing in a live comedy show about AI.", one of the better LLM responses was: "Our projector must've misunderstood the concept of 'AI.' It thought it meant 'Absolutely Invisible' because, well, it's doing a fantastic job of disappearing tonight!"

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 20, @01:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the killing-the-goose-that-lays-the-golden-egg? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

With its new unskippable ad feature, YouTube might end up killing ad blockers once and for all. Currently, the video platform is experimenting with server-side ad injection, which means the ads would appear directly in a video’s stream, bypassing ad blockers.

A Google spokesperson explained the test to Gizmodo: “YouTube is improving its performance and reliability in serving both organic and ad video content. This update may result in suboptimal viewing experiences for viewers with ad blockers installed. Ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, and we’ve been urging viewers for some time to support their favorite creators and allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.”

[...] As a matter of fact, YouTube has been adding as many ads as it can to videos on the platform, as users occasionally have to sit through three ads before a video starts, a few more while watching the content, and a final ad after the video ends.

This is why, instead of using an ad blocker, I decided to pay for YouTube Premium. Not only did I leave the platform’s miserable ad-based experience behind, but I also learned to enjoy other perks, such as listening to a video in the background and downloading as many videos as I want when I’m on a trip with no cellular connection.

YouTube isn’t the only platform focusing on unskippable ads, as even Instagram has started testing some new forms of ad revenue that might see the light of day soon. While YouTube at least offers you a plan to get rid of ads, Meta doesn’t offer the same option yet.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 20, @08:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the long-time-coming dept.

On 14 June 2024 IEEE and The Open Group published the first major revision of POSIX.1 since 2008*. It is simultaneously IEEE 1003.1-2024 and The Open Group Base Specifications, Issue 8. The latter will form, together with a soon to be published update to XCurses, The Single UNIX Specification, Version 5. The new standard will also be published by ISO as a revision to 9945:2009 in the not too distant future.

The revision adds the following 102 new functions (mostly from C17):

_Fork aligned_alloc
at_quick_exit atomic_compare_exchange_strong
atomic_compare_exchange_strong_explicit atomic_compare_exchange_weak
atomic_compare_exchange_weak_explicit atomic_exchange
atomic_exchange_explicit atomic_fetch_add
atomic_fetch_add_explicit atomic_fetch_and
atomic_fetch_and_explicit atomic_fetch_or
atomic_fetch_or_explicit atomic_fetch_sub
atomic_fetch_sub_explicit atomic_fetch_xor
atomic_fetch_xor_explicit atomic_flag_clear
atomic_flag_clear_explicit atomic_flag_test_and_set
atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit atomic_init
atomic_is_lock_free atomic_load
atomic_load_explicit atomic_signal_fence
atomic_store atomic_store_explicit
atomic_thread_fence bind_textdomain_codeset
bindtextdomain c16rtomb
c32rtomb call_once
cnd_broadcast cnd_destroy
cnd_init cnd_signal
cnd_timedwait cnd_wait
dcgettext dcgettext_l
dcngettext dcngettext_l
dgettext dgettext_l
dladdr dngettext
dngettext_l getentropy
getlocalename_l getresgid
getresuid gettext
gettext_l mbrtoc16
mbrtoc32 memmem
mtx_destroy mtx_init
mtx_lock mtx_timedlock
mtx_trylock mtx_unlock
ngettext ngettext_l
posix_close posix_devctl
posix_getdents ppoll
pthread_cond_clockwait pthread_mutex_clocklock
pthread_rwlock_clockrdlock pthread_rwlock_clockwrlock
qsort_r quick_exit
reallocarray sem_clockwait
setresgid setresuid
sig2str str2sig
strlcat strlcpy
textdomain thrd_create
thrd_current thrd_detach
thrd_equal thrd_exit
thrd_join thrd_sleep
thrd_yield timespec_get
tss_create tss_delete
tss_get tss_set
wcslcat wcslcpy

and the following new utilities:


[*] There was a revision in 2017, but it was just POSIX.1-2008 with two technical corrigenda rolled in; it did not contain any new interfaces.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 20, @03:37AM   Printer-friendly

Thirty years ago, a breakthrough technology was poised to transform how people stayed informed, entertained themselves, and maybe even shopped. I'm not talking about the World Wide Web. True, it was already getting good buzz among early adopter types. But even three years after going online, Tim Berners-Lee's creation was "still relatively slow and crude" and "limited to perhaps two million Internet users who have the proper software to gain access to it," wrote The New York Times' Peter H. Lewis in November 1994.

At the time, it was the CD-ROM that had captured the imagination of consumers and the entire publishing industry. The high-capacity optical discs enabled mass distribution of multimedia for the first time, giving software developers the ability to create new kinds of experiences. Some of the largest companies in America saw them as media's next frontier, as did throngs of startups. In terms of pure mindshare, 1994 might have been the year of Peak CD, with 17.5 million CD-ROM drives and $590 million in discs sold, according to research firms Dataquest and Link Resources.

Note, the following bookmarklet will remove the thin lightweight font style from the page, making the overall text much easier to read:

javascript:(function(){var all=document.getElementsByTagName("*");for (var i=0,max=all.length;i<max;i++){all[i].style.fontWeight='400';};void(0);})();

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 19, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly

MSU researchers discover honeybees can detect lung cancer:

Michigan State University researchers have discovered that honeybees can detect biomarkers or chemical concentrations associated with lung cancer in human breath. The researchers have also shown that the honeybees can distinguish between different lung cancer cell types using only the 'smell' of the cell cultures. These findings could be used as a model for developing new tests to diagnose lung cancer early.

"Insects have an amazing sense of smell the same way dogs do," said Debajit Saha, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering and MSU's Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering.

Saha and his team wanted to see if honeybees could distinguish between the chemicals in human breath from someone who was healthy compared to someone with lung cancer. Elyssa Cox, Saha's former lab manager, and Michael Parnas, a doctoral candidate working in Saha's lab, developed a "recipe" for a synthetic breath mixture using different levels of six compounds such as trichloroethylene and 2-methylheptane to create the chemical makeup of the breath of someone with lung cancer and a synthetic healthy breath mixture.

"It took a steady hand to create the recipe," said Cox. "We tested the synthetic lung cancer versus healthy human breath mixtures on approximately 20 bees."

Cox helped design a custom 3D-printed harness to hold a live honeybee while she attached a tiny electrode to its brain to measure any changes in the bee's brain signals.

"We pass those odors on to the antenna of the honeybees and recorded the neural signals from their brain," said Saha. "We see a change in the honeybee's neural firing response."

The researchers also wanted to measure how much of the cancer-indicating compounds needed to be present in someone's breath for the honeybee to detect cancer.

"The honeybees detected very small concentrations; it was a very strong result," said Saha. "Bees can differentiate between minute changes in the chemical concentrations of the breath mixture which is in the parts per 1 billion range."

Parnas analyzed the neural data and saw the spikes in the bees' brain signals.

"We can see differences in how the honeybees are smelling," said Parnas. "We detected several different neurons firing in the honeybees' brains that clearly differentiated between the synthetic lung cancer breath and healthy breath."

Another graduate student from Saha's team, Autumn McLane-Svoboda and an undergrad, Summer McLane-Svoboda jointly led the human lung cancer cell culture experiments with the help of Christopher Contag, director of Michigan State University's Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering, and his lab. For these experiments, different types of human lung cancer cell cultures were grown in closed, airtight flasks and the honeybee brain-based sensor was used to test the odor of the lung cancer cells. The researchers have successfully demonstrated that using this honeybee brain-based sensor can distinguish between small cell lung cancer, non-small lung cancer cells and healthy cells.

"What's amazing is the honeybees ability to not only detect cancer cells, but also distinguish between cell lines of various types of lung cancer," said Autumn McLane-Svoboda. "The future implications for this are huge as our sensor could allow for patients to receive specific cancer diagnoses quickly which is imperative for correct treatment routes."

Saha envisions this work will open the door for more biological and smell-based disease detection technologies. In the future, Saha's team plans to develop a noninvasive test that only requires patients breathe into a device and the sensor inside, based on honeybee brains, would analyze the breath and wirelessly report back in real time if cancer chemicals are present.

The research was published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

Journal Reference DOI:

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 19, @06:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the curl-and-libcurl dept.

cURL (established 1998) is one of the most widely used pieces of software in the world, especially if the development library libcurl is included. As has become tradition, the founder and lead developer Daniel Stenberg has published a detailed analysis of the annual cURL survey.

Ten quick things to take away

If you are in too much of a hurry to read it all, here are ten facts this year's survey revealed:

  • 96.4% of the users run it on Linux (*)
  • 98.6% use it for HTTPS (*)
  • 98% of Windows users run curl on x86 64 bit architecture (*)
  • 99% of the users who know, use curl with OpenSSL (*)
  • curl users run it on Android more than on FreeBSD
  • Windows 10 is the most used Windows version for curl use
  • More than 100 different command line options is a favorite for at least one
  • 83.1% rates our "security handling" 5 out of 5
  • 22.8% of users would like to see it offer recursive HTML download
  • 14.1% of users have used curl for 18 or more years

(*) = not exclusively - as these questions allowed respondents to select multiple answers the total ends up larger than 100%

cURL and libcurl are Free and Open Source Software. cURL and libcurl are licensed under conditions similar to the MIT License.

(2024) The I in LLM Stands for Intelligence
(2023) "cURL", the URL Code That Can, Marks 25 Years of Transfers
(2021) Half of Curl's Security Vulnerabilities Due to C Mistakes
(2020) curl up 2020 and Other Conferences Go Online Only
(2018) Daniel Stenberg, Author of cURL and libcurl, Denied US Visit Again
(2018) Reducing Year 2038 Problems in curl
(2016) Your wget (and curl) is Broken and Should DIE, GitHubbers Tell Microsoft

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday June 19, @01:33PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

In the U.S., as farmers wrestle with extreme heat and drought, heavy rainfall and flooding, and erosion—all factors of climate change which can take a toll on crops—there's been a lot of buzz over regenerative agriculture over the past few years, as big agriculture companies promise opportunities to make money from "carbon farming" while also improving soil health.

Regenerative farming strives to improve soil health through various methods, including reduced or no tillage, keeping the soil covered year-round through the use of cover crops, integrating livestock into crop farming, and rotating crops to encourage both above and below ground biodiversity.

Such practices can also be used to create carbon credits for carbon offset programs, which enable polluters to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions through the purchase of credits.

Farmers have often been told all they need to do is adopt certain practices, such as no-till or cover cropping. But few adopting these practices have signed up for carbon market programs.

While farmer surveys suggest that carbon prices are still too low relative to the paperwork these programs demand, a new study published in Agriculture and Human Values finds that money alone does not explain either farmers' doubts about carbon markets or their interest in regenerative agriculture. Instead, many farmers view improving soil health as a way to improve their quality of life by reducing their dependence on agrochemical companies' products and advice.

"Farmers are really looking to get off that treadmill of high-input, high yield commodity agriculture," says the study's co-lead author Susanne Freidberg, a professor of geography at Dartmouth.

[...] Below-ground microbial activity not only builds soil fertility, which enables farmers to use less fertilizer, but also helps reduce erosion, conserve water, and sequester carbon. But field practices that are good for soil microbes are not always good for relations with neighbors and landlords.

"Farmers mentioned that when they stopped tilling and started planting multi-species cover crops, they started getting strange looks at their local coffee shop because now their fields looked messy," said Freidberg.

These tensions made regenerative farmers' relationships with each other all the more important with some indicating that they joined informal "support groups" to share experiences or farm equipment. "Farmers who viewed regenerative agriculture as a way to gain more personal freedom also saw that this freedom depended on the support of other farmers," said Freidberg.

Some farmers also mentioned how they liked seeing birds and other wildlife returning to their fields, and how farming regeneratively had made their day-to-day work more enjoyable and interesting.

The handful of farmers in the study who had signed up for carbon programs emphasized that they looked for programs that did not demand long-term commitments or major changes in their farming practices. One farmer described it as a way to earn "beer money."

[...] But whether many farmers enroll in them, said Freidberg, will depend at least partly on how well the projects take account of what farmers value about such practices. "When farmers talk about the return on investment on regenerative agriculture, they're talking about more than just money," said Freidberg.

More information: Julie Snorek et al, Relationships of regeneration in Great Plains commodity agriculture, Agriculture and Human Values (2024). DOI: 10.1007/s10460-024-10558-3

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday June 19, @08:50AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Japan’s parliament passed a landmark law on Wednesday, officially titled the Act on Promotion of Competition for Specified Smartphone Software. The law is a direct response to concerns about stifled competition and consumer choice, particularly regarding Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, which have dominated the smartphone market.

This legislation, echoing some elements of Europe’s recent Digital Markets Act (DMA), aims to prevent tech giants like Apple and Google from monopolizing app sales and operations on their respective platforms, a practice generally known as “gatekeeping.”

[...] Should these companies violate the new regulations, they will face hefty fines — 20 percent of the offending service’s domestic revenue, which can increase to 30 percent if the anti-competitive behavior continues. These fines represent a substantial increase from the existing anti-monopoly penalties in Japan, which are set at 6 percent of revenue gained through unfair practices.

[...] Outlined in the new regulations, the law specifies that companies identified under the law as ‘designated providers’ cannot prevent third-party providers from offering their own app stores, using third-party billing systems, or providing items through websites.

Additionally, they cannot unfairly discriminate against app developers or restrict the use of third-party browsers. Much like Europe, Japan wants users to be able to change default settings easily and have a choice among similar services for browsers and search services.

Scheduled to take effect by the end of 2025, this legislation mirrors regulatory efforts seen in other parts of the world. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which was fully implemented in March, and recent legal actions by the U.S. Department of Justice against large tech firms illustrate a global push towards stricter control over digital markets.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday June 19, @04:03AM   Printer-friendly

A study of medieval warrior monks at Zorita de los Canes castle revealed their high-society diet and violent deaths, including the unexpected discovery of a female warrior among them:

A collaborative study conducted by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and the Max Planck Institute analyzed the remains of 25 individuals interred from the 12th to 15th centuries at the Zorita de los Canes castle in Guadalajara. The team exhumed these remains from the castle's graveyard, allowing them to determine the diet, lifestyle, and causes of death of the warrior monks who belonged to the Order of Calatrava.

The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, have determined that 23 of the individuals died in battle and that the knights of the order followed a diet typical of medieval high society, with a considerable intake of animal protein and marine fish, in an area far from the coast. Unexpectedly, Carme Rissech, a researcher at the URV, identified the remains of a woman among the warrior monks.

[...] When Carme Rissech, a researcher at the URV's Department of Basic Medical Sciences, was told that they were sending her the remains of the Calatrava knights, she couldn't quite believe that they were actually knights. As part of the MONBONES project, which studies diet and lifestyle in monasteries during the Middle Ages, her project partners analyzed the presence of carbon isotopes 14 and nitrogen 15 in the bones of the 25 individuals. They also studied animal remains, found around the castle, which complemented the information provided by the isotopes and helped them to work out the habits of the people who lived in the castle between the 12th and 15th centuries. Once she got the remains in the laboratory, Rissech studied them to determine the age, sex, morphology, and health of the individuals and to determine their lifestyle and causes of death.

Of the 25 skeletons studied, 23 showed marks compatible with violent death. These were mainly penetrating puncture wounds and blunt force injuries and were found on the parts of the body that were most vulnerable to and unprotected from the weapons of the time. "We observed many lesions on the upper part of the skull, the cheeks, and the inner part of the pelvis, which is consistent with the hypothesis that we are dealing with warriors," explains Rissech. It was by studying the bone proportions that she realized that among the warriors there was a woman.

[...] On the one hand, the woman's injuries led the research team to believe that she participated and died in battle, as there was no sign of bone regrowth in her injuries. "She may have died in a manner very similar to that of male knights, and it is likely that she was wearing some kind of armor or chain mail," says Rissech.

On the other hand, she did not have the same dietary indicators as some of the individuals analyzed: "We observed a lower level of protein consumption in the case of this woman, which could indicate lower status in the social group," he says. Some researchers have hypothesized that she was a servant who would have been called upon to join the knights in defending the castle if the need arose, but the URV researcher does not think so: "Her work as a servant would have left signs on her bones, indicators of certain types of physical activity that we could now identify".

In contrast, her skeleton did show attributes similar to those of the other warrior monks, whose job required them to train in the use of the sword, an activity that leaves verifiable marks which were also observed on the woman's bones. "I believe that these remains belong to a female warrior, but further analysis is needed to determine to what extent this woman is contemporary with the other knights", says Rissech. According to the researcher, we should picture her as a warrior of about forty years of age, just under five feet tall, neither stocky nor slender, and skillful with a sword.

Journal Reference:
Pérez-Ramallo, Patxi, Rissech, Carme, Lloveras, Lluis, et al. Unravelling social status in the first medieval military order of the Iberian Peninsula using isotope analysis [open], Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-024-61792-y)

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 18, @11:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the I've-just-seen-a-flying-pig dept.

Microsoft and China

It looks like Chinese routers aren't the only things that come loaded with bonus software...

NBC news reports:

Microsoft's president told Congress on Thursday his company accepted responsibility for major security failures that let China-linked hackers penetrate federal government computer networks, but defended his company's presence in China.

Brad Smith struck a humble tone in his testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee and promised that the giant tech firm would fix security gaps in its products, which are widely used across federal agencies.


Somehow, I think it's so ironic that my own government is such a fan of security, yet, by enforced ignorance, the very things that they implement give only the illusion of security. No one knows if there's a backdoor or not, and who can verify?

Gone are the days just a homebrew CRC16 digester, knowledge of exact file length, and a list of files to check, would tell me with almost absolute certainty if my system files had been monkeyed with. If so, which ones? And what did they do? ( File compare... FC.EXE to known good backup copies of the critical files stored on another floppy )

"We acknowledge that we can and must do better"

Microsoft "accepts responsibility for each and every one" of the issues cited in a scathing US government-backed report on the tech giant's cybersecurity failings, Microsoft President Brad Smith will tell US lawmakers Thursday, according to his prepared testimony.

"We acknowledge that we can and must do better, and we apologize and express our deepest regrets to those who have been impacted," reads Smith's testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee. He is set to testify before the panel Thursday afternoon in a hearing the committee says will assess the impact of Microsoft's "cybersecurity shortfalls" on homeland security.

Microsoft has been at the center of two sweeping hacking campaigns in the last year allegedly carried out by Chinese and Russian spies.

A report issued in April by the US Cyber Safety Review Board found that Microsoft committed a "cascade" of "avoidable errors" that allowed Chinese hackers to breach the tech giant's network and later the email accounts of senior US officials last year, including the secretary of commerce. The board is comprised of government and private cybersecurity experts led by the Department of Homeland Security.

Smith says Microsoft has for months been overhauling its cybersecurity practices, in part by implementing recommendations from the US government-backed board.

A snippet from a Wired article:

"When Microsoft revealed in January that foreign government hackers had once again breached its systems, the news prompted another round of recriminations about the security posture of the world's largest tech company.

Despite the angst among policymakers, security experts, and competitors, Microsoft faced no consequences for its latest embarrassing failure. The United States government kept buying and using Microsoft products, and senior officials refused to publicly rebuke the tech giant. It was another reminder of how insulated Microsoft has become from virtually any government accountability, even as the Biden administration vows to make powerful tech firms take more responsibility for America's cyberdefense.

That state of affairs is unlikely to change even in the wake of a new report by the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB), a group of government and industry experts, which lambasts Microsoft for failing to prevent one of the worst hacking incidents in the company's recent history. The report says Microsoft's "security culture was inadequate and requires an overhaul.""

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 18, @06:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the so-much-news-so-little-care dept.

News consumption is down. The reasons appear to be multiple from that the readers don't trust the sources anymore, disinformation, journalistic agendas, AI (fake-) news or that news in general are just downers and sad to read.

This year's report reveals new findings about the consumption of online news globally. It is based on a YouGov survey of more than 95,000 people in 47 countries representing half of the world's population.

The report looks at the growing importance of platforms in news consumption and production, including more visual and video-led social media such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. It explores audience attitudes towards the use of AI in news, the role of creators and news influencers, how much people pay for news and more.

[...] There is no single cause for this crisis; it has been building for some time, but many of the immediate challenges are compounded by the power and changing strategies of rival big tech companies, including social media, search engines, and video platforms.
(report available as pdf or read to you or in various summaries)

I guess I have entered the porch phase of my news consumption. I don't care for video news, or having someone read the news to me. I much prefer to just read it.

Original Submission