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Comments:45 | Votes:134

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @10:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the Elon-Musk-is-not-alone dept.

The 161mph $129,000 Fisker EMotion:

Henrik Fisker's new electric car project is finally here, unveiled in full at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Get past those show-stopping ingress points however, and you find something that'll give a certain electric car company something to chew on...

We must first discuss the looks. Henrik – famously responsible for the design of the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW Z8 – clearly hasn't lost his touch. There are elements of his former hybrid motor, the Karma, and everything has been sculpted in the name of the tech underneath.

It's built from carbon fibre and aluminium, and features elements designed around the LiDARs dotted at the front and rear of the car. The door handles are flush, operated via your smartphone. It's big, too: 5m in length and 1.4m in height, around the size of a BMW 5 Series. The wheels are similarly huge: 24s as standard, on low rolling-resistance Pirellis.

Sulky Dutch model not included with the base model.

Fisker Relaunches Electric Car Effort
Fisker Automotive Comes Back Under New Name, Plans to Launch Electric Car

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @09:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the does-it-count-as-a-foreign-language dept.

Mark Guzdial at ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) writes:

I have three reasons for thinking that learning CS is different than learning other STEM disciplines.

  1. Our infrastructure for teaching CS is younger, smaller, and weaker;
  2. We don't realize how hard learning to program is;
  3. CS is so valuable that it changes the affective components of learning.

The author makes compelling arguments to support the claims, ending with:

We are increasingly finding that the emotional component of learning computing (e.g., motivation, feeling of belonging, self-efficacy) is among the most critical variables. When you put more and more students in a high-pressure, competitive setting, and some of whom feel "like" the teacher and some don't, you get emotional complexity that is unlike any other STEM discipline. Not mathematics, any of the sciences, or any of the engineering disciplines are facing growing numbers of majors and non-majors at the same time. That makes learning CS different and harder.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @07:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the everyone-must-carry-a-radio dept.

Trek joins with Ford to propose bicycle to vehicle communications, as an addition to already proposed vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications.

The system connects vehicles to a larger communications system, which means cars can communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, bicycles, roadside signs, and construction zones.

A cyclist would ride with B2V-enabled equipment, initially manufactured by Trek or Bontrager. Or, he or she could have a mobile app with C-V2X. The driver would then be alerted by their car when a cyclist is present in a potentially dangerous area.

Trek partnered with a company named Tome, who also add in the buzzword, "AI-based" to make sure you know that they are really with it. No mention of the power requirements for this system, and how they can be met within the extremely small power capability of a bike rider, or even the small battery system used on e-bikes.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 10 2018, @06:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-ain't-seen-nothing-yet dept.

Most expensive year on record for US natural disasters

2017 will be remembered as a year of extremes for the U.S. as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, fires and freezes claimed hundreds of lives and visited economic hardship upon the nation. Recovery from the ravages of three major Atlantic hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. and an extreme and ongoing wildfire season in the West is expected to continue well into the new year.

The US experienced a record year of losses from fires, hurricanes and other weather related disasters in 2017, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). Total losses amounted to $306bn the agency said, over $90bn more than the previous record set in 2005.

Last year saw 16 separate events with losses exceeding $1bn, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Noaa confirmed that 2017 was the third warmest year on record for the US.

Hurricane Harvey produced major flooding as a result of a storm surge and extreme rain. Nearly 800,000 people needed help. Researchers have already shown that climate change increased the likelihood of the observed rainfall by a factor of at least 3.5. Noaa says the total costs of the Harvey event were $125bn, which is second only to Hurricane Katrina in terms of costs over the 38 years the record has been maintained. Hurricane Irma was a Category 5 storm for the longest period on record. Rain gauges in Nederland, Texas, recorded 1,539mm, the largest ever recorded for a single event in the mainland US. Hurricanes Irma and Maria cost $50bn and $90bn respectively.

Most expensive year on record for US natural disasters

[Also Covered By]: U.S. Spent a Record $306 Billion on Natural Disasters in 2017

2017 most expensive year because of climate change

According to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, fires and freezes claimed hundreds of lives and visited economic hardship upon the United States in 2017. Price tag? 306 billion USD. The article has a cute little graph of the major (> 1 billion USD) disasters.

Drill baby drill? Business as usual?

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 10 2018, @04:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the do-you-see-what-I-see? dept.

Image recognition technology may be sophisticated, but it is also easily duped. Researchers have fooled algorithms into confusing two skiers for a dog, a baseball for espresso, and a turtle for a rifle. But a new method of deceiving the machines is simple and far-reaching, involving just a humble sticker.

Google researchers developed a psychedelic sticker that, when placed in an unrelated image, tricks deep learning systems into classifying the image as a toaster. According to a recently submitted research paper about the attack, this adversarial patch is "scene-independent," meaning someone could deploy it "without prior knowledge of the lighting conditions, camera angle, type of classifier being attacked, or even the other items within the scene." It's also easily accessible, given it can be shared and printed from the internet.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @03:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the practicing-safe-sftp dept.

The SFTP component in OpenSSH provides a chroot-feature for hardening. It is stated in the documentation that the chroot directory must not be writable by the user account, though specific files and subdirectories within it are allowed. Some people were questioning the read-only restriction. halfdog documents some analysis which is the result of discussions on openssh-dev mailing list. Here are some arguments about why these restrictions still makes sense in 2018.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @01:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-boat-anchors dept.

Microsoft's 'Meltdown' updates are reportedly bricking AMD PCs

Following reports of unbootable machines, Microsoft has halted updates of its Meltdown and Spectre security patches for AMD computers, according to a support note spotted by the Verge. It made the move after numerous complaints from users who installed the patch and then couldn't get past the Windows 10 splash screen. "To prevent AMD customers from getting into an unbootable state, Microsoft will temporarily pause sending the following Windows operating system updates to devices with impacted AMD processors," it wrote.

[...] "After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown," the company said.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the your-porn-is-showing dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Enforcing age verification checks for online porn sites could be detrimental to smaller ISPs and significantly increase online fraud, the government has admitted.

The measures, which are due to come into force in May, will require UK residents to prove they are 18 or over in order to get access to porn sites.

[...] And the one for age verification (PDF) – slipped out over the Christmas break – is a doozy, reeling off a list covering concerns about privacy, online fraud and reputational damage to the government.

The document also set out the costs of the new measures, which includes a cost to the public purse of between £1m and £7.9m for the creation of the regulator.

Meanwhile, the estimated cost to large ISPs of blocking sites – on the assumption that this would be for between 1 and 50 sites a year on a DNS level – is in the range of £100,000 to £500,000, which they said would cover a system update to include the BBFC's chosen porn sites.

These providers told government it was likely they would be able to absorb ongoing operational costs, probably because many already have blocking systems.

But this isn't true for all providers, as Neil Brown, tech lawyer at decoded:Legal, pointed out: "If every ISP needs to block non-compliant sites, that will impact smaller ISPs, especially if they don't already have a blocking system in place."

The government acknowledges this risk in the impact assessment, saying that the requirement "could have a negative impact on smaller ISPs with a much smaller workforce and we will need to carefully consider the impact on them".

[...] The security measures of the age verification providers has also been questioned – especially as the frontrunner at the moment, AgeID, is produced by mega-porn-corp MindGeek, whose companies don't have a great reputation for security.

"It would be ironic if a mass exposure of people's porn proclivities... is what teaches the public about the importance of online privacy and security," said Jackman.

Faced with all of this, perhaps it's not surprising that the government also lists as a potential risk that people simply stop using online porn at all.

But, hey, perhaps that's what the government wants...®

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @10:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the never-enough-storage dept.

The Register asked Seagate's Director of Technology Strategy and Product Planning Jason Feist about the company's plans to use multi-actuator technology in upcoming hard disk drives. Seagate insists that the technology can double input/output operations per second (rather than increasing it by, for example, 1.8x), and says that customers have validated the concept:

Howard Marks, founder and chief scientist at Deep Storage Net said: "We've had drives with 2 positioners before (IBM 3380 - one set of heads were dedicated to inner tracks, the other to outer tracks). That was back in the day of linear voice coils so they came from opposite sides of the 14-inch platters."

He identifies a software issue with Seagate's multi-actuator single pivot design: "Most storage software including logical volume managers and file systems, are built with the knowledge that a disk drive can only have it's heads in one place at a time and their queuing logic may mismatch with the multipositioner logic." This means: "It may not double throughput for large I/Os."

It could get close though, as "I understand that Seagate is going to make these look like 2 logical drives via a driver. That should solve #1 above and let systems get 1.8-1.9X IOPS."

[...] El Reg: What are your ideas and thoughts about multi-actuator disk drives and the arguments for and against them?

Jason Feist: We are bullish on this technology. A number of key customers have validated the concept and are working closely with us on the development of the technology.

Hyperscale data center service-level agreements (SLAs) are a critical factor in defining storage deployment needs and designing next-generation technologies that efficiently support storage deployments. In order for TCO (total cost of ownership) to continue to improve, the IOPS of a disk drive need to increase along with the capacity increases we're enabling with new areal density advancements.

The small cost adder that is required for additional components to deliver this performance gain is a much more cost-effective solution than using additional drives/spindles. The hard drive and SSD have a strong relationship in a data center, and both are required to achieve capacity and performance requirements at scale.

The IOPS growth provided by Multi Actuator technology in disk drives enables this relationship to continue to scale into the future.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @08:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the trust-us-we're-the-government dept.

The Washington Post has a story which says:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday renewed a call for tech companies to help law enforcement officials gain access to encrypted smartphones, describing it as a "major public safety issue."

Wray said the bureau was unable to gain access to the content of 7,775 devices in fiscal 2017 — more than half of all the smartphones it tried to crack in that time period — despite having a warrant from a judge.

"Being unable to access nearly 7,800 devices in a single year is a major public safety issue," he said, taking up a theme that was a signature issue of his predecessor, James B. Comey.

Wray was then quoted as saying:

"We're not interested in the millions of devices of everyday citizens," he said in New York at Fordham University's International Conference on Cyber Security. "We're interested in those devices that have been used to plan or execute terrorist or criminal activities."

He then went on to promote the long-disparaged idea of key escrow:

As an example of a possible compromise, Wray cited a case from New York several years ago. Four major banks, he said, were using a chat messaging platform called Symphony, which was marketed as offering "guaranteed data deletion." State financial regulators became concerned that the chat platform would hamper investigations of Wall Street.

"In response," Wray said, "the four banks reached an agreement with the regulators to ensure responsible use" of Symphony. They agreed to keep a copy of their communications sent through the app for seven years and to store duplicate copies of their encryption keys with independent custodians not controlled by the banks, he said.

To me this is more of the utter nonsense the government has spouted. When will they understand that key escrow only works when one trusts the government and the keeper of the keys?


Original Submission   Alternate Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @07:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-consists-of-R-N-A dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

It is the less known member of the nucleic acid family, superseded in popularity by its cousin DNA. And yet RNA, or ribonucleic acid, plays an essential role in many biological processes: not only as messenger molecule with the task of transmitting genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for protein production, but also as protagonist of different and significantly important cellular mechanisms.

In many of these, its structure plays a crucial role. Structure is different and characteristic for each RNA depending on the sequence of specific units, known as nucleotides, which compose it like the links of a chain.

A research team at SISSA, led by Professor Giovanni Bussi, has developed a computerised simulation model which can effectively predict the three-dimensional conformation of the RNA filament starting from a sequence of nucleotides. The lead author of the study, just published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, is SISSA researcher Simón Poblete. The work promises to have a significant impact in the research and application field.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @05:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-Oklahoma-is-a-rockin... dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

In Oklahoma, reducing the amount of saltwater (highly brackish water produced during oil and gas recovery) pumped into the ground seems to be decreasing the number of small fluid-triggered earthquakes. But a new study shows why it wasn't enough to ease bigger earthquakes. The study, led by Ryan M. Pollyea of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, was published online ahead of print in Geology this week.

Starting around 2009, saltwater disposal (SWD) volume began increasing dramatically as unconventional oil and gas production increased rapidly throughout Oklahoma. As a result, the number of magnitude 3-plus earthquakes rattling the state has jumped from about one per year before 2011 to more than 900 in 2015. "Fluids are basically lubricating existing faults," Pollyea explains. Oklahoma is now the most seismically active state in the lower 48 United States.

Previous studies linked Oklahoma SWD wells and seismic activity in time. Instead, Pollyea and colleagues studied that correlation in space, analyzing earthquake epicenters and SWD well locations. The team focused on the Arbuckle Group, a porous geologic formation in north-central Oklahoma used extensively for saltwater disposal. The earthquakes originate in the basement rock directly below the Arbuckle, at a depth of 4 to 8 kilometers.

The correlation was clear: "When we plotted the average annual well locations and earthquake epicenters, they moved together in space," says Pollyea. The researchers also found that SWD volume and earthquake occurrence are spatially correlated up to 125 km. That's the distance within which there seems to be a connection between injection volume, fluid movement, and earthquake occurrence.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @04:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the get-your-snowboards-out dept.

Submitted via IRC for cmn32480

The Sahara Desert is famously hot, dry, generally inhospitable and covered in sand as far as the eye can see. It's a little bit more diverse than that in reality, however, with lush green segments dotted along the Nile Valley and scattered in the margins surrounding an extremely arid heart – and, yes, precipitation does fall across the region several times per year.

Snowfall on the sand dunes of the Sahara, however, is a little unexpected.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @02:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-can-see-clearly-now dept.

To improve the ability of telescopes to directly image exoplanets, rather than blocking light using a coronagraph, deformable mirrors could be used to bounce photons from different light sources into different sensors. The "multi-star wavefront control" method could help account for multiple light sources, which is useful for binary stars and other multiple star systems which are common in our galaxy:

Technology in development could capture images from an Earth-size planet in the nearby Alpha Centauri system in the 2020s, new research suggests. The new technique, presented Dec. 15 at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in New Orleans, could also help researchers see exoplanets in other systems with more than one star.

[...] Although scientists could conceivably use more than one coronagraph to block out the light from all the stars in a multiple system, tiny imperfections within the components of a telescope would inevitably cause light to leak through a coronagraph, Belikov said. "This light is only a small fraction of the original star's light but can still overwhelm planets, which are much fainter still," he told and his colleagues have developed a way to get around that issue and image exoplanets in multiple-star systems.

[...] The new method the researchers have devised, known as the multi-star wavefront control, relies on deformable mirrors within telescopes that are used to bounce light from stars and planets onto sensors. These mirrors can alter the shape of their surfaces to correct for imperfections within the optical components of telescopes.

[...] A major advantage of this new system "is that it is compatible with many already-designed instruments," Belikov said. "A deformable mirror is all that's needed, which is almost always present with modern coronagraphs." Ideally, "we hope to infuse our technology into future space telescopes to enable them to target Alpha Centauri and other binaries," Belikov said. "These range from small telescopes like ACESat or Project Blue that can be launched in the early 2020s, WFIRST in the mid-2020s, and LUVOIR or HabEx in the 2030s. There are also telescopes on the ground that can use this technology."

Also at ExtremeTech.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 10 2018, @01:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the found-at-the-bottom-of-the-closet dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

[Yeo Kheng Meng] had a question: what is the oldest x86 processor that is still supported by a modern Linux kernel? Furthermore, is it actually possible to use modern software with this processor? It's a question that surely involves experimentation, staring into the bluescreen abyss of BIOS configurations, and compiling your own kernel. Considering Linux dropped support for the 386 in 2012, the obvious answer is a 486. This supposition was tested, and the results are fantastic. You can, indeed, install a modern Linux on an ancient desktop.


Original Submission