2018-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-07-15 21:33:37 UTC
2018-07-18 12:36:56 UTC
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Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd
Mobile internet speeds are blazing fast these days thanks to 4G LTE, and they are about to get even faster with the impending roll-out of 5G. Not all carriers are created equally, however. In a new study by Ookla -- of Speedtest.net fame -- it is discovered that T-Mobile offers the fastest mobile internet overall in the USA. As you can expect, Sprint is dead last.
Ookla didn't just rank carriers, but cities too. After all, speed can vary by location since performance can be impacted by number of towers, terrain, and other factors. Shockingly, the overall fastest city in the USA is not New York or Los Angeles, but Minneapolis -- located in the cold state of Minnesota.
"While you may expect a bustling coastal city or carrier's headquarters to take first prize for fastest city out of the 100 studied (by population), it was Minneapolis that was awarded the title thanks to having the fastest mean download speed over mobile. This year, the twin cities edged out Fort Wayne to take the number one and two spots, followed by San Francisco and Irvine surpassing Atlanta and Pittsburg in the fourth and fifth place spots,"says Ookla.
Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd
Experts were able to simulate the mechanism that stabilizes plasma in fusion reactors. This development could take humankind one step closer to a clean, unlimited source of fusion energy.
So...practical commercial fusion is still 50 years way (just like it's been for the past 60 years), right?
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Last week, the world was riveted by the successful rescue of a youth soccer team as they and their coach were pulled out of a flooded cave in Thailand. The team had been stranded on a narrow rock shelf in the dark for two weeks, the way out blocked by turbid stormwater. The rescue involved far more than a few divers putting on gear and heading into the cave—it required a tremendous amount of technical skill and posed extreme danger.
But why, exactly, was it so dangerous? And what would it feel like to dive in those kinds of conditions?
But to answer the second question, I decided to open my logbook and go back to a dive from many years ago—well before I was diving professionally. As a few select passages below highlight, this was a dive where things almost went fatally wrong.
-- submitted from IRC
This May, sleuths at IEEE Spectrum revealed something exciting -- Facebook appeared to be secrely working on an experimental satellite that could beam internet down to Earth using millimeter wave radio signals.
Now, Facebook has confirmed to Wired and CNET that the satellite, dubbed Athena, is indeed a Facebook project -- and that Facebook is a believer in satellite internet technology.
"While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET and Wired.
But Wired does have more to share about this specific project. Using a Freedom of Information Act request, Wired says it obtained emails from the FCC that reportedly show Facebook plans to launch the Athena satellite in early 2019. In space launch terms, that's coming up pretty dang fast.
Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President's trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.
Moreno's itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange's denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain's central government against protesters marching for Catalonia independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador's decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange's tweets about Catalonia. A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the President's office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to the Intercept that Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the UK within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday, RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.
[...] The central oddity of Assange's case – that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime – is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities. The only known criminal proceeding Assange currently faces is a pending 2012 arrest warrant for "failure to surrender" – basically a minor bail violation that arose when he obtained asylum from Ecuador rather than complying with bail conditions by returning to court for a hearing on his attempt to resist extradition to Sweden. That offense carries a prison term of three months and a fine, though it is possible that the time Assange has already spent in prison in the UK could be counted against that sentence. In 2010, Assange was imprisoned in Wandsworth Prison, kept in isolation, for 10 days until he was released on bail; he was then under house arrest for 550 days at the home of a supporter.
Assange's lawyer, Jen Robinson, told the Intercept that he would argue that all of that prison time already served should count toward (and thus completely fulfill) any prison term imposed on the "failure to surrender" charge, though British prosecutors would almost certainly contest that claim. Assange would also argue that he had a reasonable, valid basis for seeking asylum rather than submitting to UK authorities: namely, well-grounded fear that he would be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution for the act of publishing documents.
Today, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter joined to announce a new standards initiative called the Data Transfer Project, designed as a new way to move data between platforms. In a blog post, Google described the project as letting users "transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it."
The current version of the system supports data transfer for photos, mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks, drawing from publicly available APIs from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Remember the Milk, and SmugMug. Many of those transfers could already be accomplished through other means, but participants hope the project will grow into a more robust and flexible alternative to conventional APIs. In its own blog post, Microsoft called for more companies to sign onto the effort, adding that "portability and interoperability are central to cloud innovation and competition."
Also at 9to5Google.
The India Telecom Regulatory Authority, or TRAI, has introduced a new revision to its policy focused on reducing spam calls and text messages in the country. Part of that policy is a requirement that carriers allow customers to download a 'Do Not Disturb' application that would let them report spam calls and messages.
Apple, however, has long refused to allow the application on the App Store over privacy concerns. Essentially, the app would require access to call and message logs, which Apple was not willing to offer.
This week, however, TRAI published new regulations that mandate all customers be allowed to install the Do Not Disturb application on their device, whether they use iPhone or iPad. TRAI explained that companies and carriers have six months to ensure all smartphone devices allow the application, as reported by India Today.
If companies like Apple continue to resist the Indian government's anti-spam app, TRAI says it will force carriers to remove those devices from their networks. This means that, theoretically, all iPhones would lose access to 3G, 4G, and voice service
Western Digital has started sampling its 96-layer 3D NAND chips featuring QLC architecture that stores four bits per cell. The chip happens to be the world's highest-capacity 3D NAND device. The company expects to commence volume shipments of this memory chip already this calendar year.
Western Digital's 96-layer BICS4 3D QLC NAND chip can store up to 1.33 Tb of raw data, or around 166 GB. The IC will be initially used for consumer products Western Digital sells under the SanDisk brand, so think of memory cards (e.g., high-capacity SD and microSD products), USB drives, and some other devices. The manufacturer expects its 3D QLD[sic] NAND memory to be used in a variety of applications, including retail, mobile, embedded, client, and enterprise, but does not elaborate on timing at this point.
The 1.33-Tb BICS4 IC is Western Digital's second-gen 3D QLC NAND device. Last year the company announced its BICS3 64-layer 3D QLC chips featuring a 768 Gb capacity, but it is unclear whether they have ever been used for commercial products. Meanwhile, it is clear that the device was used to learn about 3D QLC behavior in general (i.e., endurance, read errors, retention, etc.)
[...] What is noteworthy is that officially the BiCS4 range was to include both TLC and QLC ICs with capacities ranging from 256 Gb to 1 Tb, so the 1.33 Tb IC is a surprising addition to the lineup which signals Western Digital's confidence of its technology.
Recent products have been using 512 Gb per die NAND, with 768 Gb and 1 Tb on the horizon. Samsung's announced 128 TB SSD was supposed to use 1 Tb 3D QLC dies, so ~1.33 Tb dies could bring that capacity to about 170 TB. Given a couple more generations of NAND or some fancy die/package stacking, and we will probably see a 1 petabyte SSD.
Related: SK Hynix Developing 96 and 128-Layer TLC 3D NAND
Western Digital Announces 96-Layer 3D NAND, Including Both TLC and QLC
WD Announces 64-Layer 3D QLC NAND With 768 Gb Per Die, to be Shown at Flash Memory Summit
Samsung Announces a 128 TB SSD With QLC NAND
Expect 20-30% Cheaper NAND in Late 2018
Samsung Announces a 30.72 TB 2.5" SSD
Micron Launches First QLC NAND SSD
Did the Stars and Stripes on the moon signify the establishment of an American colony?
Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a national flag in another part of the world still amounted to claiming that territory for the fatherland. Did the Stars and Stripes on the moon signify the establishment of an American colony?
[...] Still, the simple answer to the question of whether Armstrong and Aldrin by way of their small ceremony did transform the moon, or at least a major part thereof, into U.S. territory turns out to be “no.” They, nor NASA, nor the U.S. government intended the U.S. flag to have that effect.
Most importantly, that answer was enshrined in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, to which both the United States and the Soviet Union as well as all other space-faring nations, had become a party. Both superpowers agreed that “colonization” on Earth had been responsible for tremendous human suffering and many armed conflicts that had raged over the last centuries. They were determined not to repeat that mistake of the old European colonial powers when it came to decide on the legal status of the moon; at least the possibility of a “land grab” in outer space giving rise to another world war was to be avoided. By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries—two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing.
So, the U.S. flag was not a manifestation of claiming sovereignty, but of honoring the U.S. taxpayers and engineers who made Armstrong, Aldrin, and third astronaut Michael Collins’ mission possible. The two men carried a plaque that they “came in peace for all mankind,” and of course Neil’s famous words echoed the same sentiment: his “small step for man” was not a “giant leap” for the United States, but “for mankind.” Furthermore, the United States and NASA lived up to their commitment by sharing the moon rocks and other samples of soil from the lunar surface with the rest of the world, whether by giving them away to foreign governments or by allowing scientists from all over the globe to access them for scientific analysis and discussion. In the midst of the Cold War, this even included scientists from the Soviet Union.
Case closed, no need for space lawyers anymore then? No need for me to prepare University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s space law students for further discussions and disputes on the lunar law, right?
[...] The very fundamental prohibition under the Outer Space Treaty to acquire new state territory, by planting a flag or by any other means, failed to address the commercial exploitation of natural resources on the moon and other celestial bodies. This is a major debate currently raging in the international community, with no unequivocally accepted solution in sight yet. Roughly, there are two general interpretations possible.
Countries such as the United States and Luxembourg (as the gateway to the European Union) agree that the moon and asteroids are "global commons," which means that each country allows its private entrepreneurs, as long as duly licensed and in compliance with other relevant rules of space law, to go out there and extract what they can, to try and make money with it. It's a bit like the law of the high seas, which are not under the control of an individual country, but completely open to duly licensed law-abiding fishing operations from any country's citizens and companies. Then, once the fish is in their nets, it is legally theirs to sell.
On the other hand, countries such as Russia and somewhat less explicitly Brazil and Belgium hold that the moon and asteroids belong to humanity as a whole. And therefore the potential benefits from commercial exploitation should somehow accrue for humanity as a whole—or at least should be subjected to a presumably rigorous international regime to guarantee humanity-wide benefits. It’s a bit like the regime originally established for harvesting mineral resources from the deep seabed. Here, an international licensing regime was created as well as an international enterprise, which was to mine those resources and generally share the benefits among all countries.
[...] While ultimately it is up to the community of states to determine whether common agreement can be reached on either of the two positions or maybe somewhere in between, it is of crucial importance that agreement can be reached one way or another. Such activities developing without any law that is generally applicable and accepted would be a worst-case scenario. While not a matter of colonization anymore, it may have all the same harmful results.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Alphabet's Loon project said Thursday that its balloons will bring internet to remote parts of Kenya next year.
This'll be the project's first deal in Africa, Reuters reports, and it'll see Loon working with Telkom Kenya to get high-speed internet to the East African country's rural and suburban populations.
Loon became its own company only last week -- having started in 2016 as a project at X, Google parent Alphabet's research-and-development facility. It uses high-flying balloons powered by on-board solar panels as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from above.
The balloons float at 60,000 feet (20 km) above sea level -- high over air traffic, wildlife and weather events.
[...] Last year, Alphabet teamed with AT&T to bring limited internet access to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.
-- submitted from IRC
[...] Coronet, which sells wireless network security products, recently published its list of best and worst airport WiFi offerings here in the United States when it comes to security. According to a study of 45 of the busiest U.S. airports, San Diego International Airport has the riskiest WiFi hotspots. The least vulnerable is Chicago Midway International Airport.
“Unfortunately, WiFi security is often sacrificed by airport operators in exchange for consumer convenience, leaving networks unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured,” notes the study (PDF). “Even for those airports that do prioritize security, attack techniques such as the Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK), which can break the WPA2 protocol to capture and/ or expose information shared over public and private WiFi, presents significant risk to passengers in transit.”
Network risk scores were based on the probability of an attacker on a network.
The most troublesome issues found at airports included a WiFi network named “SouthwestWiFi,” which performed an attack on SSL/HTTPS traffic at the Houston William Hobby International Airport.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that unless the U.S. government and private industry are able to come to a compromise on the issue of default encryption on consumer devices, legislation may be how the debate is ultimately decided.
"I think there should be [room for compromise]," Wray said Wednesday night at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado. "I don't want to characterize private conversations we're having with people in the industry. We're not there yet for sure. And if we can't get there, there may be other remedies, like legislation, that would have to come to bear."
Wray described the issue of “Going Dark” because of encryption as a "significant" and "growing" problem for federal, state and local law enforcement as well as foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He claims strong encryption on mobile phones keeps law enforcement from gaining access to key evidence as it relates to active criminal investigations.
Google owns Duck.com, which has been driving rival search engine DuckDuckGo up the wall for over six years. Because when you type "duck.com" into a web browser, you get Google.com. Doesn't make a lot of sense, yes?
But after a new round of complaints this Friday, Google has relented. Google comms VP Rob Shilkin just
quackedtweeted that a new landing page will give people an opportunity to click from Duck.com straight through to DuckDuckGo. Or to the Wikipedia page for ducks, because that's only fair.
Please note that On2 was previously called the Duck Corporation. So if you typed Duck.com, you are redirected to On2.com:
The Daily Beast reports The Creator of Pepe is Winning his War on the Alt-Right:
Matt Furie had no idea a stoned frog he posted on Myspace would be co-opted by Nazis. Now he’s on a mission to reclaim his infamous work.
Matt Furie drew the alt-right’s favorite cartoon frog. Now he is leading one of the most successful legal campaigns against the racist right.
More than a decade has passed since Furie first drew a stoned-looking frog named “Pepe” and uploaded it to Myspace. The frog rose from MySpace in-joke to popular meme, before being taken up as an unofficial mascot of internet neo-Nazis during the 2016 presidential primaries. Since then, Furie has been leading a campaign to reclaim his creation, filing copyright infringement complaints against white nationalist Richard Spencer, conspiracy news site InfoWars,[sic]
This week he won another battle, pressuring neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer into deleting most of their Pepes, as Motherboard reported.
Though a cartoon frog might seem an unlikely mascot for the racist right, a leaked version of The Daily Stormer’s style guide explains the strategy.
“The tone of the site should be light,” reads the style guide, which leaked to HuffPost last year. “Most people are not comfortable with material that comes across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred. The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not … This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas kikes.”
Recognizable memes like Pepe are an easy stand-in for humor.
“We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” a white supremacist Twitter user told The Daily Beast in 2016 of the campaign to make Pepe a gateway meme to the alt-right.
Furie was initially casual about the frog’s incorporation into meme culture.
“I get emails pretty regularly, from kids, from high schools, who need my permission to use Pepe in their senior shirts, or their clarinet club, or their photography clubs,” Furie told The Atlantic in 2016. “I tell them to go ahead as long as they sell me a shirt.”
But soon Pepes proliferated across sites like The Daily Stormer, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to designate the cartoon as a hate symbol, and inspiring Furie to lawyer up.
The official history of Earth has a new chapter - and we are in it. Geologists have classified the last 4,200 years as being a distinct age in the story of our planet. They are calling it the Meghalayan Age, the onset of which was marked by a mega-drought that crushed a number of civilisations worldwide.
The International Chronostratigraphic Chart, the famous diagram depicting the timeline for Earth's history (seen on many classroom walls) will be updated. It should be said, however, there is disquiet in the scientific community at the way the change has been introduced. Some researchers feel there has been insufficient discussion on the matter since the Meghalayan was first raised as an idea in a scholarly paper [DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2565] [DX] six years ago.
[...] The Meghalayan, the youngest stage, runs from 4,200 years ago to the present. It began with a destructive drought, whose effects lasted two centuries, and severely disrupted civilisations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley. It was likely triggered by shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation. The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the geologic timescale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, says Stanley Finney, professor of geological sciences at Long Beach State University and Secretary-General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), which ratified the ICS proposal.
The middle phase of the Holocene will be referred to as the Northgrippian, and runs from 8,300 years ago up to the start of the Meghalayan. The onset for this age was an abrupt cooling, attributed to vast volumes of freshwater from melting glaciers in Canada running into the North Atlantic and disrupting ocean currents. The oldest phase of the Holocene - the exit from the ice age - will be known as the Greenlandian.
Scientists are still working on defining the (ongoing) Athropocene and some have criticized this new definition.
Related: For the Second Time, We Are Witnessing a New Geological Epoch: The Anthropocene
Crystals Win in the Anthropocene: 208 Manmade Minerals Identified
Anthropocene News: Scientists Warn of "Sixth Mass Extinction", the Era of "Biological Annihilation"