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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @10:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the justice dept.

RawStory, originally from Agence France-Presse.

Eight members of a German far-right group were sentenced to jail Wednesday on terrorism and attempted murder charges for a series of explosives attacks targeting refugees and anti-fascist activists.

Based in Germany's ex-communist east, the so-called "Freital group" had sought to create "a climate of fear" at the height of Germany's refugee and migrant influx in 2015, the court was told.

Its leaders Timo Schulz and Patrick Festing were sentenced to 10 and nine-and-a-half years prison respectively. The other six received custodial terms of between four and eight-and-a-half years.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @08:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-a-shame dept.

It's 7 Years in Prison for Martin Shkreli, Convicted of Fraud

A federal judge sentenced former pharmaceutical executive and hedge-fund manager Martin Shkreli to seven years in prison Friday following his earlier conviction on three of eight counts of securities and wire fraud charges.

According to reporters present in the Brooklyn courtroom, Shkreli gave an emotional and tearful speech prior to his sentencing, taking blame and responsibility for his actions and saying he had changed as a person since his conviction. US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto reportedly handed him a box of tissues and took a lengthy amount of time reviewing his transgressions and history.

The sentencing caps a long, public saga for Shkreli, who is widely reviled for drastically raising the price of a cheap, decades-old drug, as well as provocative and offensive online antics, including harassing women.

Obligatory Nelson HaHa

Source: ArsTechnica

Sobbing "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors

KSWB-TV reports

He was convicted on August 5, 2017 of securities fraud and conspiracy in what prosecutors said amounted to a Ponzi scheme. Shkreli called the charges "a witch hunt of epic proportions".

During his sentencing on Friday in Brooklyn federal court, Shkreli, 34, broke into tears and pleaded with the judge for leniency.

"I look back and I'm embarrassed and ashamed", he told the court. "I am terribly sorry", he said to his investors, "I lost your trust."

At his trial last year, Shkreli often wore a smirk and was chastised by the judge for his behavior, including for an incident in which he told reporters that the prosecutors on the case were "junior varsity". He also ignored the advice of his lawyer by commenting on the trial via social media and YouTube.

More coverage from:

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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 11, @06:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the planning-for-the-future dept.

Smart land-use planning could ease the conflict between agricultural production and nature conservation. A team of researchers from the University of Göttingen, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Münster integrated global datasets on the geographical distributions and ecological requirements of thousands of animal species with detailed information on the production of the world’s major agricultural crops. The results were published in Global Change Biology.

Increasing agricultural production usually leads to various negative side effects in agricultural landscapes, such as local decline in wildlife and loss of ecosystem functions. But what would happen if agricultural growth would be focused on areas of the world where only a few animal species would be affected?

The researchers evaluated how far global biodiversity loss could be minimized by such planning. They found that 88 percent of the biodiversity that is expected to be lost under future agricultural intensification could be avoided if global land use was spatially optimized.

“However, global optimization implies that species-rich countries, mainly in the tropics, would be more responsible for safeguarding the world’s natural resources – at the expense of their own production opportunities and economic development,” says lead author Lukas Egli of Göttingen University and UFZ.

This applies mainly to countries that are highly dependent on agriculture. “Unless such conflicting national interests can be somehow accommodated in international sustainability policies, global cooperation seems unlikely and might generate new socioeconomic dependencies.”

Lukas Egli et al. Winners and losers of national and global efforts to reconcile agricultural intensification and biodiversity conservation. Global Change Biology 2018. Doi: 10.1111/gcb.14076.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 11, @03:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the harsh-test-environment dept.

Waymo officially expands self-driving effort into trucks

Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving company born out of Google X, is seen by many as the leader in the field of self-driving.

After focusing on autonomous passenger cars to soon launch a self-driving ride-hailing service, the company is now expanding the effort to trucks. The company has been known to have been working on a truck program since last summer, but they confirmed it today in a blog post.

[...] Now the program is expanding to Atlanta, Georgia, which they will make the home of Google's logistical operations. From there, Waymo will ship cargo to Google's data centers. They say that you will be able to see Waymo's blue trucks on the road as soon as next week as part of the pilot program

Also at TechCrunch, Ars Technica, and Reuters.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 11, @01:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the pretty-please dept.

Broadcom has sent a letter to Congress:

Broadcom Limited said, in a letter to Members of Congress regarding its offer to acquire Qualcomm Inc., that it is committed to making the United States the global leader in 5G by focusing resources and strengthening leadership in this area. Any notion that a combined Broadcom-Qualcomm would slash funding or cede leadership in 5G is completely unfounded. In addition, Broadcom will not sell any critical national security assets to any foreign companies. Of course, any dispositions of assets to foreign buyers would be themselves subject to CFIUS review.

Broadcom is also pledging to create a new $1.5 billion fund with a focus on innovation to train and educate the next generation of RF engineers in the United States. This will ensure America's continued leadership in future wireless technology.

Broadcom also said it will work closely with the United States government as it drives to achieve and sustain this global leadership in 5G and beyond.

Broadcom also smeared Qualcomm's "anticompetitive licensing practices", and created an infographic "to set the record straight about Qualcomm's business relationships in China".

Also at WSJ and CNBC.

See also: The incredible multi-dimensional chess of Qualcomm vs. Broadcom

Previously: Broadcom's Hostile Takeover Attempt of Qualcomm Delayed by U.S. Government Panel

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posted by martyb on Sunday March 11, @10:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the söylêntné dept.

Brian Krebs writes on how browsers choose to display IDN. The issue here is of course spoofing valid URLs with visually similar letters. You probably would notice the lame attempt in the department line but some of the international characters are very similar or indeed identical. Depending on your personal preferences it might be a good idea to use punycode instead. Could save you a headache later.

Here are some of the applicable RFCs:

  • RFC 3490 - Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)
  • RFC 3491 - Nameprep: A Stringprep Profile for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)
  • RFC 3492 - Punycode: A Bootstring encoding of Unicode for Internationalized Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)
  • RFC 3986 - Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax
  • RFC 4690 - Review and Recommendations for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)
  • RFC 5890 - Internationalized Domain Names for Applications (IDNA): Definitions and Document Framework
  • RFC 5891 - Internationalized Domain Names in Applications (IDNA): Protocol
  • RFC 5892 - The Unicode Code Points and Internationalized Domain Names for Applications (IDNA)
  • RFC 5893 - Right-to-Left Scripts for Internationalized Domain Names for Applications (IDNA)
  • RFC 5894 - Internationalized Domain Names for Applications (IDNA): Background, Explanation, and Rationale

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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @08:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-had-her-all-along dept.

Amelia Earhart: Island bones 'likely' belonged to famed pilot

Bones discovered on a Pacific island in 1940 are "likely" to be those of famed pilot Amelia Earhart, according to a US peer reviewed science journal. Earhart, her plane, and her navigator vanished without a trace in 1937 over the Pacific Ocean. Many theories have sought to explain her disappearance.

But a new study published in Forensic Anthropology claims these bones prove she died as an island castaway. The report claims they are a 99% match, despite an earlier conclusion.

The study, titled Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones, was first published by the University of Florida and conducted by Professor Richard Jantz from the University of Tennessee. It disputes that the remains found on the eastern Pacific island of Nikumaroro - about 1,800 miles (2,900km) southwest of Hawaii - belonged to a man, as a researcher had determined in 1941.

Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones (open, DOI: 10.5744/fa.2018.0009) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @06:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-have-no-secrets dept.

GrayShift is a new company that promises to unlock even iPhones running the latest version of iOS for a relatively cheap price.

In a sign of how hacking technology often trickles down from more well-funded federal agencies to local bodies, at least one regional police department has already signed up for GrayShift's services, according to documents and emails obtained by Motherboard.

As Forbes reported on Monday, GrayShift is an American company which appears to be run by an ex-Apple security engineer and others who have long held contracts with intelligence agencies. In its marketing materials, GrayShift offers a tool called GrayKey, an offline version of which costs $30,000 and comes with an unlimited number of uses. For $15,000, customers can instead buy the online version, which grants 300 iPhones unlocks.

This is what the Indiana State Police bought, judging by a purchase order obtained by Motherboard. The document, dated February 21, is for one GrayKey unit costing $500, and a "GrayKey annual license—online—300 uses," for $14,500. The order, and an accompanying request for quotation, indicate the unlocking service was intended for Indiana State Police's cybercrime department. A quotation document emblazoned with GrayShift's logo shows the company gave Indiana State Police a $500 dollar discount for their first year of the service.

Importantly, according to the marketing material cited by Forbes, GrayKey can unlock iPhones running modern versions of Apple's mobile operating system, such as iOS 10 and 11, as well as the most up to date Apple hardware, like the iPhone 8 and X.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @03:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the Sexy-Einstein dept.

From The New York Times:

"Reports that the first lady, Melania Trump, received an immigrant visa reserved for "individuals with extraordinary ability" in 2001, when she was a model, have thrust the EB-1 visa program into the spotlight. The news, first reported by The Washington Post, raised questions about whether Mrs. Trump had truly qualified for the visa.

But several immigration lawyers rebuffed those questions, saying the requirements for the EB-1 immigrant visa leave far more room for interpretation than its nickname and its best-and-brightest reputation suggest."

"The notion that you somehow have to be a genius or Einstein is utter fiction, said Chris Wright, a lawyer based in Los Angeles. We have succeeded with models no more accomplished than Melania Trump."

"Elissa Taub, a lawyer in Memphis who secured the EB-1 for [a] German gymnast, said that some of her denials burn me to this day, like that of a nuclear astrophysicist who had produced groundbreaking work at a national lab. Immigration officials said his title on the job was not senior enough to merit the EB-1.

We lost a great scientific mind due to this crazy decision, she said of the scholar, who returned to India.

In another case, U.S.C.I.S. acknowledged that a Chinese researcher had fulfilled three criteria to qualify, but that scientists who have risen to the very top of the field have garnered citations numbered in the thousands, not in the hundreds, as he had shown. He was denied."

Nothing like the best and the brightest, right?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 11, @01:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the life-goes-on dept.

The renamed TPP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership has been signed by 11 countries.

Thankfully, Trump's withdrawal from the TPP allowed the Canadian people to persuade their government to push for removal of most of the contentious IP obligations that the US demanded, America is considering rejoining,

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 per cent of the global economy – a total of $10 trillion. With the United States, it would have represented 40 per cent.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the globe's three largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.

[...] Trump has also threatened to dump the North American Free Trade Agreement unless the other two members of the pact, Canada and Mexico, agree to provisions that Trump says would boost U.S. manufacturing and employment. He argues that the 1994 accord has caused the migration of jobs and factories southward to lower-cost Mexico.

[...] The 11 member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday March 10, @11:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the people-are-DMCA-circumvention-devices-too dept.

The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits devices and software that can be used to circumvent digital restrictions, no matter how trivial the restrictions. A new slide deck from the US Department of Homeland Security (warning for PDF) states that the overall number of copyright-, patent-, trademark-related seizures increased by 8% last year. Though much of it was from traditional counterfeit goods, there were some hints at something more problematic regarding interpretation of the rules:

New data released by Homeland Security shows that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized significantly more DMCA circumvention devices in 2017. The seizures, which includes mod chips for gaming consoles, increased 324% compared to the year before, although the actual number remains fairly low.

[...] What we did notice is that the International Intellectual Property [sic] Alliance (IIPA) recently framed streaming boxes as possible circumvention tools. The strong enforcement focus of rightsholders on these devices may have been communicated to border patrols as well.

Again, there is no word yet on what the border staff actually consider to be circumvention technologies.

From TorrentFreak : U.S. Border Seizures of DMCA Circumvention Devices Surges
and the Washington Examiner : US customs agencies seize $1.2B in counterfeit imports as illegal goods market continues to grow.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Saturday March 10, @09:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the great-firewall-in-space dept.

China unveils plans for x-ray satellite to probe most violent corners of the universe

China is raising the stakes in its bid to become a major player in space science. At a kick-off meeting in Beijing last week, China's National Space Science Center, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), began detailed design studies for a satellite that would round out an array of orbiting platforms for probing x-rays from the most violent corners of the cosmos.

The enhanced X-Ray Timing and Polarimetry (eXTP) mission would be China's most ambitious space science satellite yet—and its most expensive, with an estimated price tag of $473 million. To pull it off, China is assembling a collaboration involving more than 200 scientists so far from dozens of institutions in 20 countries. If the eXTP mission passes a final review next year, it would launch around 2025.

Chinese scientists "are becoming leaders in the field of x-ray astrophysics," says Andrea Santangelo, an astrophysicist at the University of Tübingen in Germany and eXTP's international coordinator. Last year, the National Space Science Center launched the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, which is observing high-energy objects such as black holes and neutron stars. As early as 2021 it will be joined by the Einstein Probe, a wide-field x-ray sentinel for transient phenomena such as gamma ray bursts and the titanic collisions of neutron stars or black holes that generate gravitational waves. "For years we have used data from U.S. and European missions," says eXTP Project Manager Lu Fangjun, an astrophysicist at the CAS Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. Now, he says, "We want to contribute [observational data] to the international community."

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday March 10, @07:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the left-the-freezer-door-open-again dept.

University Hospitals notifies 700 fertility patients of freezer "fluctuation" and potential damage to stored eggs and embryos

University Hospitals has notified about 700 fertility patients and their families that the frozen eggs and embryos they had stored at one of its hospitals may have been damaged over the weekend when the temperature rose in a storage tank.

The problem, in one of two large freezers preserving specimens at the UH Fertility Center housed at the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, was discovered on Sunday morning. It occurred some time after staff left the previous afternoon, according to Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital.

The liquid nitrogen freezer held about 2,000 egg and embryo specimens, according to Dr. James Liu, chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center. Some patients had more than one sample stored, and some of the samples were provided as long ago as the 1980's.

Also at Newsweek.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday March 10, @04:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the struth-mate dept.

A study shows that misinformation spreads faster and farther than correct information:

An analysis of news stories tweeted by three million people between 2006 and 2017 shows that fake news spreads significantly more than the truth on social media.

[...] Truthful tweets took six times as long as fake ones to spread across Twitter to 1,500 people – in large part because falsehoods in the sample were 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than the truth, even after accounting for account age, activity level and their number of followers. The most viral fake news was political in nature.

The study was carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Laboratory for Social Machines.

From The : False stories travel way faster than the truth, says study
and New Scientist : Fake news travels six times faster than the truth on Twitter
and The Economist : On Twitter, falsehood spreads faster than truth.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday March 10, @02:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-goes-up dept.

The out-of-control Chinese space station is now predicted to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere sometime around the beginning of April. Most of it will burn up on the way down, but it's possible some pieces of the 9-ton spacecraft could make it to the surface.

Tiangong means "Heavenly Palace" in English and Tiangong-1 was China's first space station, launched in 2011. The original plan for the craft's demise was a controlled re-entry that would allow it to burn up over an unpopulated section of the South Pacific, with any surviving fragments falling in the sea. 

But as early as March 2016, reports began to suggest that Tiangong-1 was malfunctioning and ground crews had lost control of the craft. In other words, there appears to be little chance of performing the maneuvers to steer it to a graceful breakup over the ocean. Instead, it's all up to chance.

According to a new projection from the European Space Agency on Tuesday, the space station is expected to make a likely uncontrolled re-entry roughly between March 29 and April 9. The ESA stresses that it won't be possible to make a precise prediction about exactly when or where Tiangong-1 will burn up and how much of it will get all the way through the atmosphere to the surface. 

That said, the Chinese space station is fairly easy to track and ESA says in an online FAQ that we should know about a day in advance of the craft's end which regions of the planet might be able to see it actually burning up in the sky. Predicting where any impact might occur is significantly more difficult, however. 

"Even 7 hours before the actual re-entry, the uncertainty on the break-up location is a full orbital revolution -- meaning plus or minus thousands of kilometers," writes ESA's Daniel Scuka.

Tiangong-1's orbit spans from 43 degrees north to 43 degrees south, or from the central United States down to the southern tip of Australia, according to Jay Melosh, a professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University. He explains that it could come down anywhere between the two points but is more likely to land at either extreme because the station spends more time there.

Original Submission