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2018-03-22 14:18:28 UTC
2018-03-23 00:10:51 UTC
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WSBTV is reporting that a large number of City of Atlanta computers have been infected by ransomware.
The city has been experiencing outages on internal and external networks, that are affecting the ability to pay bills and access court-related information.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security are investigating, and Atlanta Information Management is working with support from Microsoft to resolve the issue
Atlanta COO Richard Cox confirmed the attack in a news conference Thursday afternoon. He said it happened at 5:40 a.m. Cox said several departments have been affected by the attack.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms warned "This is a very serious situation", "We don't know the extent, so I would ask for people to assume that you may be included." She further warned employees to monitor their bank accounts and that possible compromised information may belong to the public.
The European Space Agency's Science Programme Committee has selected ARIEL as its fourth medium-class mission for the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in mid-2028, and will focus on studying the atmospheres of exoplanets:
ARIEL, the Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey mission, was selected by ESA today as part of its Cosmic Vision plan. [...] ARIEL will address fundamental questions on what exoplanets are made of and how planetary systems form and evolve by investigating the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting different types of stars, enabling the diversity of properties of both individual planets as well as within populations to be assessed.
[...] The mission will focus on warm and hot planets, ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars, taking advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres to decipher their bulk composition. ARIEL will measure the chemical fingerprints of the atmospheres as the planet crosses in front of its host star, observing the amount of dimming at a precision level of 10–100 parts per million relative to the star.
The UK will lead the mission:
Ariel is likely to cost Esa about €460m (£405m) for the spacecraft chassis, the launch vehicle and operations. As is customary for science missions like this, the agency's individual member states pick up the cost of the scientific payload.
The UK will have the technical lead on the project and the instrumentation therefore will be assembled at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire. Dr Graham Turnock, the chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: "It is thanks to the world-leading skills of our innovative space community that a UK-led consortium has been chosen to take forward the next ESA science mission. This demonstrates what a vital role we continue to play in European collaboration on research in space."
ARIEL is expected to observe at least 500-1,000 exoplanets, compared to 150-200 for the James Webb Space Telescope during its first five years. Two other European exoplanet missions, CHEOPS and PLATO, are scheduled to launch in 2018 and 2026 respectively.
South Korea is pushing to commercialize 10-gigabit (Gb) transfer speeds for its online network systems, which is 10 times faster than [gigabit] Internet, the fastest broadband service currently available, the ICT ministry said Sunday.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said it will work closely with local IT firms to adopt 10 Gb service, considered the core technology behind fifth-generation wireless technology as well as virtual reality and augmented reality.
[...] Asia's fourth-largest economy and one of the most connected countries in the world is aiming for 50-percent coverage of 10 Gb Internet by 2022.
"Coverage" means availability. Singapore and South Korea currently lead in 1 Gbps availability (although the U.S. leads in the total number of people who could get a 1 Gbps connection):
The United States has the highest number of people with access to gigabit internet (56.4 million) with a population coverage of 17 percent. Singapore currently has the highest proportion of citizens with gigabit internet availability at 95 percent. South Korea has the second highest number of citizens with gigabit internet availability (46.7 million), representing 93 percent of its population.
Of the current gigabit installations tracked by Gigabit Monitor, unsurprisingly, 91 percent are based on fiber – with cellular connections accounting for 3.65 percent, HFC accounting for 5.26 percent, and WiFi making up less than 1 percent. However, with many launches of gigabit LTE and 5G expected in the near future, the scale of cellular gigabit connectivity is expected to change significantly.
Also at NBF.
Patients diagnosed with heart failure, stroke, infertility and kidney failure could actually be suffering from rare and undiagnosed genetic diseases.
And now researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have found a way to search genetic data in electronic health records to identify these diseases in large populations so treatments can be tailored to the actual cause of the illness.
The implications for the findings reported today in the journal Science are broad and numerous -- 14 percent of patients with genetic variants affecting the kidney had kidney transplants and 10 percent with another variant required liver transplants.
If their genetic cause had been diagnosed, those transplants might have been avoided.
"We started with a simple idea: look for a cluster of symptoms and diseases to find an undiagnosed underlying disease," said Josh Denny, MD, MS, professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine and director of the Center for Precision Medicine.
"Then we got really excited when we saw how we could systematize it across thousands of genetic diseases to figure out the impact of millions of genetic variants," he said.
The new method, developed by Denny, Lisa Bastarache, MS, and a team of collaborators, creates a phenotype risk score to find patterns of symptoms that may be caused by an underlying genetic variant -- including some genetic variants whose effects were previously unknown.
[...] As genetic testing becomes more common, there is a growing need to understand the impact of genetic variants. Only a fraction of the rare genetic variants found in human beings are well understood. This study shows that looking at outcomes in electronic health records can be helpful in deciding if a variant might be disease-associated.
"Phenotype risk scoring can easily be applied in any electronic medical record system that is linked to DNA," Bastarache said. "Our work looked at only a small sample of the human genome, about 6,000 variants. The opportunity for additional discoveries using this method is huge."
If Elon Musk can increase Tesla's market value 12-fold in the next 10 years, he may be entitled to a maximum of $56 billion in stock awards (likely lower if more shares are sold to the public). This, along with the ballooning of Musk's existing $12 billion share in his company, and his stake in SpaceX and other companies, could help Musk become a Kardashev I trillionaire alongside Jeff Bezos:
A new payment plan for the CEO was approved by Tesla (TSLA) shareholders Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed. The incentive-based package essentially states that if Musk hits a series of performance milestones between now and January 2028, and he drives his electric car company's market value 12 times higher — taking it from $54 billion to $650 billion — he'll become astronomically rich.
Now, if Musk does drive a 12-fold increase in Tesla's market value, that doesn't necessarily mean the price of a single share in the company will be 12 times larger. The company can do things like issue new stock that could dilute the value of existing shares. But let's assume Musk's Tesla stock would grow at least 10 times more valuable. That would mean just the shares Musk owns today would be worth $120 billion.
Plus, reaching the agreed upon milestones means Musk would get additional stock awards. According to the new compensation plan, Tesla estimates the value of the stock awards to be $2.6 billion, using accounting methods for estimating the cash value of stock options. But if Tesla's market value balloons just as the payment plan hopes, those stock awards could be worth nearly $56 billion, according to a public filing.
Related: Tesla Fires Hundreds of Employees
Tesla Burns More Cash, Fails to Meet Production Targets
Tesla Sued Over Alleged Racism; Deliveries Pushed Back; Semi Truck to be Unveiled
Tesla Semi Truck Will Have a 500+ Mile Range
Tesla Delivers on 100 MW Australian Battery Promise
Elon Musk Vows to Build Tesla Pickup Truck 'Right After' Model Y
Woz Likes his Tesla, Doesn't Trust Elon
Tesla Creating Huge Virtual Power Plant
Elon Musk Expects to Do Coast-to-Coast Autonomous Tesla Drive in 3 to 6 Months
Best Buy will cut ties with Huawei and stop selling Huawei products over the next few weeks. Huawei's smartphones, such as its new flagship Mate 10 Pro, are sold in the U.S. by retailers, but no U.S. wireless service provider will sell them. Now the largest electronics retailer in the U.S. is calling it quits:
The move, after similar actions from U.S. carriers including AT&T Inc, comes as U.S. scrutiny of Chinese tech firms grows amid simmering tensions over U.S.-China trade and concerns of security.
[...] Earlier this year, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters. Verizon Communications Inc also ended its plans to sell Huawei phones last year, according to media reports.
Last month two Republican Senators introduced legislation that would block the U.S. government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from Huawei or Chinese peer ZTE Corp, citing concern the firms would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.
Previously: U.S. Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties With Huawei
Verizon Cancels Plans to Sell Huawei Phone Due to U.S. Government Pressure
U.S. Intelligence Agency Heads Warn Against Using Huawei and ZTE Products
The U.S. Intelligence Community's Demonization of Huawei Remains Highly Hypocritical
Apple Inc. is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, using a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters to make small numbers of the screens for testing purposes, according to people familiar with the situation.
The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.
The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and the company almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people say. Engineers have since been making progress and the technology is now at an advanced stage, they say, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results.
[...] Right now smartphones and other gadgets essentially use off-the-shelf display technology. The Apple Watch screen is made by LG Display. Ditto for Google's larger Pixel phone. The iPhone X, Apple's first OLED phone, uses Samsung technology. Phone manufacturers tweak screens to their specifications, and Apple has for years calibrated iPhone screens for color accuracy. But this marks the first time Apple is designing screens end-to-end itself.
MicroLEDs could have several advantages over today's OLEDs:
microLED, also known as micro-LED, mLED or µLED, is an emerging flat panel display technology. As the name implies, microLED displays consist of arrays of microscopic LEDs forming the individual pixel elements. When compared to the widespread LCD technology, microLED displays offer better contrast, response times, and energy efficiency. [...] Unlike OLED, microLED is based on conventional GaN LED technology, which offers far higher total brightness than OLED produces, as much as 30 times, as well as higher efficiency in terms of lux/W. It also does not suffer from the shorter lifetimes of OLED.
Also at 9to5Mac.
It looks like a fish, moves like a fish, but it's definitely a robot. It's name is SoFi (short for soft robotic fish), and according to its creators at MIT's computer science and AI lab CSAIL, it's the most versatile bot of its kind. And with its built-in cameras, scientists should be able to use SoFi to get close to the ocean's inhabitants without spooking them — hopefully giving us greater insight into the lives of under-observed sea creatures.
SoFi is not the first robot fish designed for scientific use, but it does bring together a number of different innovations that give it a unique advantage. For a start, its housing is made from molded and 3D printed plastics, meaning it's cheap and fast to fabricate. It's got a built-in buoyancy tank full of compressed air that means it can adjust its depth and linger at specific points in the water column (good for stakeouts). It's also got a custom control system, which uses coded audio bursts to transmit instructions from a human operator. SoFi can swim semi-autonomously, and will keep going in a specific direction without oversight, but a handler can steer it left or right, up and down, using a modified SNES controller.
Most important, though, is SoFi's propulsion system. This is a powerful hydraulic actuator that pumps water in and out of a pair of internal chambers, moving its tail fin back and forth. Not only is this quieter than using propellors like a submarine, but it's also less dangerous, as there are no sharp moving parts, and better camouflage. A hydraulic tail is quiet and looks just like the real thing. (Or should that be the real fin.)
Also at NYT.
A malware campaign discovered by researchers for Kaspersky Lab this month was in fact a US military operation, according to a report by CyberScoop's Chris Bing and Patrick Howell O'Neill. Unnamed US intelligence officials told CyberScoop that Kaspersky's report had exposed a long-running Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operation targeting the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
The malware used in the campaign, according to the officials, was used to target computers in Internet cafés where it was believed individuals associated with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda would communicate with their organizations' leadership. Kaspersky's report showed Slingshot had targeted computers in countries where ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other radical Islamic terrorist groups have a presence or recruit: Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The publication of the report, the officials contended, likely caused JSOC to abandon the operation and may have put the lives of soldiers fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda in danger. One former intelligence official told CyberScoop that it was standard operating procedure "to kill it all with fire once you get caught... It happens sometimes and we're accustomed to dealing with it. But it still sucks. I can tell you this didn't help anyone."
This is good malware. You can't expose the good malware!
Related: Kaspersky Claims to have Found NSA's Advanced Malware Trojan
Ties Alleged Between Kaspersky Lab and Russian Intelligence Agencies
Kaspersky Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government
Kaspersky Lab has been Working With Russian Intelligence
FBI Reportedly Advising Companies to Ditch Kaspersky Apps
Federal Government, Concerned About Cyberespionage, Bans Use of Kaspersky Labs Products
Kaspersky Lab and Lax Contractor Blamed for Russian Acquisition of NSA Tools
A first of its kind study shows typical interruptions experienced by on-call radiologists do not reduce diagnostic accuracy but do change what they look at and increase the amount of time spent on a case.
The implication of the finding is that as radiologists contend with an increasing number of workplace interruptions, they must either process fewer cases or work longer hours -- both of which have adverse effects in terms of patient outcomes, said Trafton Drew, the study's lead author. They also may spend more time looking at dictation screens than reviewing medical images.
"In radiology, there is a growing recognition that interruptions are bad and the number of interruptions faced by radiologists is increasing," said Drew, an assistant professor of cognitive and neural science in the University of Utah's Department of Psychology. "But there isn't much research at all on the consequences of this situation."
Big technology firms face paying more tax under plans announced by the European Commission. It said companies with significant online revenues should pay a 3% tax on turnover for various online services, bringing in an estimated €5bn (£4.4bn). The proposal would affect firms such as Facebook and Google with global annual revenues above €750m and taxable EU revenue above €50m.
The move follows criticism that tech giants pay too little tax in Europe. EU economics affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the "current legal vacuum is creating a serious shortfall in the public revenue of our member states". He stressed it was not a move against the US or "GAFA" - the acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. According to the Commission, top digital firms pay an average tax rate of just 9.5% in the EU - far less than the 23.3% paid by traditional companies.
An infection with cytomegalovirus is usually harmless for adults. However, during pregnancy the virus can be transmitted to the unborn baby and cause malformations. Once the viruses have invaded a human cell, they start to produce large amounts of viral proteins. This includes more than 500 different proteins and peptides, including 200 previously unknown to science.
This discovery was made possible by a new bioinformatics analysis method developed at the Department of Virology of Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany. The teams of Professor Lars Dölken and Professor Florian Erhard have published their method in the journal Nature Methods. The new technique is relevant for medical applications, because knowledge of the repertoire of viral proteins used to evade the immune system, for example, is crucial to fight infections or develop vaccines.
What makes the JMU development superior to the previous method? It allows the ribosomal activities to be captured much more accurately than before. All proteins and peptides are assembled at the numerous ribosomes of a cell. During viral infection, the ribosomes also synthesize all proteins the virus needs to reproduce. The assembly instructions are delivered by special messenger molecules, the mRNAs.
[...] To make this possible, the Würzburg scientists provide their analysis tool as open-source software on the internet. They assume that their method will be used on a wide scale and become the international standard to analyse Ribo-seq experiments.
Florian Erhard, Anne Halenius, Cosima Zimmermann, Anne L'Hernault, Daniel J Kowalewski, Michael P Weekes, Stefan Stevanovic, Ralf Zimmer, Lars Dölken. Improved Ribo-seq enables identification of cryptic translation events. Nature Methods, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4631
A few Soylentils wrote in to tell us about a fatal accident between a pedestrian and an autonomous Uber vehicle.
The Uber vehicle was operating in autonomous mode when it crashed into 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg on Sunday evening. Herzberg was transported to a hospital, where she later died from her injuries, in what may be the first known pedestrian fatality in a self-driving crash.
The video footage does not conclusively show who is at fault. Tempe police initially reported that Herzberg appeared suddenly; however, the video footage seems to show her coming into view a number of seconds before the crash. It also showed the vehicle operator behind the wheel intermittently looking down while the car was driving itself.
The link shows video of the seconds just before the accident.
The pedestrian did not step out in front of the vehicle, she was essentially out in the middle of the road, and all her lateral movement was nearly irrelevant. She might as well have been a stationary object in the middle of the road. You can see the headlights bring her feet into view first, (meaning she was pretty much in the line before the headlights could see her, and then move up her body; she's already in the middle of the road in front of him when she comes into view.
If I were driving that car, I think I'd have had time to hit brakes (but not stop in time). I also think that that if the camera view is an accurate representation of what was really visible, then the car was overdriving its headlights. Although given my experience with cameras, I wouldn't be surprised if actual visibility was better than what the video shows.
This, in my opinion, is pretty damning.
The chief of the Tempe Police has told the San Francisco Chronicle that Uber is likely not responsible for the Sunday evening crash that killed 49-year-old pedestrian Elaine Herzberg. “I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident," said chief Sylvia Moir.
Herzberg was "pushing a bicycle laden with plastic shopping bags," according to the Chronicle's Carolyn Said, when she "abruptly walked from a center median into a lane of traffic."
After viewing video captured by the Uber vehicle, Moir concluded that “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway." Moir added that "it is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated, managed crosswalks are available."
The death of a woman who was struck by a self-driving Uber in Arizona on Sunday has auto-safety advocates demanding that U.S. regulators and lawmakers slow down the rush to bring autonomous vehicles to the nation's roadways. Don't count on it.
Efforts to streamline regulations to accommodate the emerging technology have been under way since the Obama administration with strong bipartisan support. And the Trump administration's aversion to restrictions and regulations makes it even more unlikely that the accident in Tempe, Arizona, in which an autonomous Uber sport utility vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian, will result in significant new barriers, according to former U.S. officials and some safety advocates.
"Honestly, the last thing under this administration that car companies and self-driving vehicle developers have to worry about is heavy regulation," said David Friedman, a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator under President Barack Obama who's now director of cars and product policy for Consumers Union.
[Partial] or full autonomy raises the question of who is to blame in the case of an accident involving a self-driving car? In conventional (human-driven) cars, the answer is simple: the driver is responsible because they are in control. When it comes to autonomous vehicles, it isn't so clear cut. We propose a blockchain-based framework that uses sensor data to ascertain liability in accidents involving self-driving cars.
Seagate has announced a 14 terabyte helium-filled hard drive that uses perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) rather than shingled magnetic recording (SMR). Toshiba announced a similar drive in December:
Seagate this week formally introduced its first hard drive with 14 TB capacity aimed at cloud datacenters that does not use shingled magnetic recording. The new Exos X14 HDDs are filed with helium and are based on the latest-generation PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) platters, running at 7200 RPM.
[...] The Exos X14 is Seagate's response to Toshiba's MG07ACA HDD with 14 TB capacity announced last year, although until we recieve further information, we cannot do a direct comparison. The major benefit of both drives is their increased capacity that enables datacenter operators to store 3360 TB of data per rack (compared to 2440 TB with 10 TB HDDs), which is a key advantage for companies that need to maximize their storage capacity per square meter and per watt, while meeting other TCO objectives. Another indisputable win of 14 TB hard disks from Seagate and Toshiba (vs. HGST's Ultrastar Hs14) is their conventional magnetic recording technology, which ensures predictable writing performance and permits drop in compatibility of the HDDs with existing storage applications.
The author guesses it will have nine ~1.55 TB platters, like Toshiba's version. 9th-generation and beyond PMR platters that can store 1.8 TB or more may be seen before the technology is phased out:
[November 2017's] top-of-the-range enterprise-class 3.5" HDDs from Seagate and Western Digital can store up to 12 TB of data. They are based on eight 8th generation PMR platters featuring ~1.5 TB capacities. Toshiba is a little bit behind its rivals with their 10 TB units featuring seven 8th gen platters with 1.43 TB capacity. With the arrival of the 9th gen PMR platters in 2018, hard drive makers will be able to increase the capacities of their eight-platter models to 14 TB, while designs with seven platters can go up to 12 TB.
Related: Western Digital Announces 12-14 TB Hard Drives and an 8 TB SSD
Western Digital to Use Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording to Produce 40 TB HDDs by 2025
Western Digital Shipping 14 TB Helium-Filled Shingled Magnetic Recording Hard Drives
Seagate to Stay the Course With HAMR HDDs, Plans 20 TB by 2020, ~50 TB Before 2025
The hop plant Humulus lupulus L. produces a flower with remarkable biochemical properties. When boiled, various compounds are isomerized and produce bitter-tasting compounds that serve to cut what would be a very sweet drink to make it palatable, but it also has good antimicrobal characteristics that keeps the beer from spoiling. Depending upon the beer style, they can also make a significant flavor contribution, such as the pine notes from Northern Brewer and Chinook, the citrus and tropical notes from Citra, or even the chocolate notes from Southern Cross. A thousand different chemical compounds have been identified in hops, but two major ones that drive hop flavor are linalool and geraniol. It is the subtle relative differences between hops varieties of these and other compounds that lets one produce beers with a very broad range of flavor profiles.
A team of researchers wanted to insert the genetic material that produces linalool and geraniol into the brewing yeast and have those compounds generated during the fermentation process. They inserted the gene sequences that are known to produce these compounds into a widely used commercial strain of beer yeast (White Labs WLP001). They made beer using these engineered strains as well as one with an unmodified strain and presented the results to a tasting panel. The found that the engineered strains produced a product that had a "hoppier" flavor than the unmodified strain.