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What should be the Book Club pick for December 2018?

  • Snow Crash - by Neal Stephenson
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) - by Dennis Taylor
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) - by Octavia Butler
  • The Metropolitan Man (Fan Fiction) - by Alexander Wales
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (Non-Fiction) - by Daniel Kahneman
  • Superforecasting (Non-Fiction) - by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
  • Makers (Fiction) - by Cory Doctorow
  • Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet - by Harold L. Goodwin

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:20 | Votes:34

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 12, @10:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the we're-rootin'-for-you dept.

The Mars Opportunity rover is caught in a dust storm, and the craft is hunkered down doing its best to survive the intensifying weather. The storm was first detected on Friday June 1st by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, at which point the rover's team was notified because of the weather event's proximity to Opportunity. The rover uses solar panels, so a dust storm could have an extremely negative impact on Opportunity's power levels and its batteries.

By Wednesday June 6th, Opportunity was in minimal operations mode because of sharply decreasing power levels. The brave little rover is continuing to weather the storm; it sent a transmission back to Earth Sunday morning, which is a good sign. It means there's still enough charge left in the batteries to communicate with home, despite the fact that the storm is continuing to worsen.

[...] The main concern here isn't the dust storm itself. It's the need to keep the rover's heaters operational while maintaining a minimal power level in the batteries. This isn't the first storm that Opportunity has weathered, but it is the worst. According to NASA, the weather event the rover faced in 2007 had an opacity level around 5.5. The estimate for this current storm is somewhere around 10.8.

Opportunity is a hardy little rover, though, and it has continually defied our expectations over the last 15 years. The rover was only designed to last for a 90-day mission, and yet it's still going. Here's hoping that Oppy will continue its trek across the Martian surface for many, many days to come.


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posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 12, @09:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-dunno-where-it-is-I-can't-see-it! dept.

A British drone firm has made a 29km beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight, a small but important step for fuller commercialisation of the tech.

Operating under a special dispensation from the Civil Aviation Authority, Sensat flew its craft – a conventional layout small unmanned aeroplane – around its 29km course, during which its furthest distance from its operators was 12.2km.

The flight took place "in East Sussex" and at a height of less than 500ft, Sensat's head of product Harry Atkinson told The Register. The fact that such a long BVLOS flight was authorised by regulators is promising for the industry. BVLOS flying is what will unlock visions of the future promoted by companies such as Amazon, with its famous drone delivery ambitions.

It is also important to highlight that flying at below 500ft kept the Sensat drone well outside the hugely complex airspace restrictions over East Sussex, which includes the approaches to Gatwick Airport.

[...] "BVLOS is often cited as the turning point for our industry, it is the moment from which we can begin to see drones truly making a positive impact on our daily lives," said Sensat chief exec James Dean in a statement. "At SenSat we are using that advantage to make data freely available, with the ultimate goal of driving better decision making that brings transparency and consistency across publicly funded infrastructure projects."

The firm reckons that, under similar permissions as for this demonstration BVLOS flight, it could survey the entire High Speed Two rail route with just seven flights, contrasting this with what it said would be 470 flights by an operator working within current drone flight restrictions.

A French company made a 50km BVLOS flight last year, though its craft was controlled through the local 3G mobile network and flew along an electricity pylon route – which, by its nature, is off-limits to all other forms of aviation and therefore poses fewer regulatory headaches.

The EU's published drone regulation draft, which appears likely to be adopted as is, would require all commercial drone operators to gain pre-flight authorisation from a regulator and to follow a flight planning process that bears more in common with conventional manned aviation than anything else.


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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday June 12, @07:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-more-you-tighten-your-grip dept.

Vietnam wants more control of its internet.

Vietnam is taking a leaf out of China's book when it comes to regulating the internet.

Legislators in Vietnam have approved a law requiring global tech firms with operations in the country to keep user data there, Reuters reported Tuesday. In addition, social media companies like Facebook will have to remove offending content from their platforms within one day of receiving a request from authorities.

An estimated 55 million people in Vietnam use social media regularly and the country is home to some of Facebook's most active users, ranking at seventh worldwide, according to a 2018 global digital report. Vietnam already has existing laws penalising anyone guilty of "propaganda against the state."

[...] There's no timeline given yet as to when the new law will kick in. Still, people are concerned it will stifle free expression in Vietnam.


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posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 12, @06:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the apps-have-ears dept.

The Spanish soccer league's smartphone app, which has been installed by millions of users, uses the microphone and GPS readings of the devices its installed on to report possible instances of streaming piracy by listening. The smartphone app listens to and analyzes the audio in its surroundings to check if one of La Liga’s matches is being played and then pairs that with GPS data to see if that location is an authorized broadcaster and file reports.

Spanish soccer league "La Liga" is using its official Android app to create an army of millions of piracy spies. The app can access microphone and location data to scan for restaurants, bars, and other establishments that broadcast their matches without a license. "Protect your team," La Liga notes, while encouraging users to enable the functionality.


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posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 12, @04:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-dare-you-not-break-the-law dept.

Håkon Wium Lie of WWW fame has written on his blog about being sued for publishing public domain court decisions in Norway. Various volunteers have been publishing this material at rettspraksis.no, which is now down because of the copyright lawsuit against them even though both Norwegian laws and court decisions are exempted from copyright in Norway.

The basis for the lawsuit has been the copyright harmonization effort, Directive 96/9/EC from 1996, which asserts a 15-year copyright on databases and their contents. Not worried that Norway is outside the EU, the judge apparently considered the matter for less than 24 hours and without hearing counter arguments before deciding against rettspraksis.no, taking the site's contents offline, even material older than 15 years, and then slapping the volunteers with a large legal bill. An appeal is underway.

Via Boing Boing : Norwegian court orders volunteers to take down public domain court verdicts and pay copyright troll's legal bills.


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posted by martyb on Tuesday June 12, @03:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the hunter2 dept.

A personal email account of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was hacked, according to an email obtained by Buzzfeed via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. "As we discussed ... my folks are nervous about the emails you send and ask that you no longer include them on any postings," Kelly wrote. "Then there is hacking which one of my own personal accounts has suffered recently. I do almost everything now by phone or face-to-face comms."

The FOIA email confirms previous reports from Politico that Kelly used a compromised smartphone for months. If it's the same incident (the White House never confirmed the original reports), the attack happened during Trump's transition in late 2016 while Kelly was secretary of homeland security.

https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/11/john-kelly-hacked-foia-request/


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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @01:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the global-warming-is-a-hoax dept.

World spending on renewable vitality is outpacing investment decision in electric power from coal, natural gasoline and nuclear energy plants, pushed by slipping costs of manufacturing wind and solar ability.

More than 50 % of the energy-producing capacity extra all-around the entire world in current several years has been in renewable sources this kind of as wind and solar, in accordance to the International Vitality Company.

In 2016, the newest calendar year for which data is out there, about $297 billion was used on renewables—more than two times the $143 billion spent on new nuclear, coal, gas and gas oil electric power plants, according to the IEA. The Paris-based organization assignments renewables will make up 56% of net producing potential additional through 2025.

The moment supported overwhelmingly by hard cash-back incentives, tax credits and other authorities incentives, wind- and solar-era charges have fallen continually for a 10 years, earning renewable-energy financial commitment additional competitive.

Renewable charges have fallen so significantly in the earlier number of yrs that "wind and photo voltaic now symbolize the least expensive-charge selection for building electrical energy," claimed Francis O'Sullivan, study director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative.

Sustained government assistance in Europe and other formulated economies spurred the development of renewable vitality. But expenses have fallen for other factors. China invested closely in a domestic photo voltaic-producing market, generating a glut of affordable solar panels. Innovation assisted makers make for a longer period wind-turbine blades, generating devices ready to generate significantly far more ability at a reduced expense.

Quoted Article: http://relatednews.net/31303/global-investment-in-wind-and-solar-energy-is-outshining-fossil-fuels/

Originally Submitted Article [paywalled]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-investment-in-wind-and-solar-energy-is-outshining-fossil-fuels-1528718400


Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @11:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the humans-are-overrated dept.

Do we need another [HB]ollywood blockbuster? Apparently not if it is up to the future of AI:

...goal of having Benjamin [the AI] "write, direct, perform and score" this short film within 48 hours, without any human intervention...

Maybe it is not perfection yet, but it looks like reality is slowly catching up with science fiction. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/06/this-wild-ai-generated-film-is-the-next-step-in-whole-movie-puppetry

Two years ago, Ars Technica hosted the online premiere of a weird short film called Sunspring, which was mostly remarkable because its entire script was created by an AI. The film's human cast laughed at odd, computer-generated dialogue and stage direction before performing the results in particularly earnest fashion.

That film's production duo, Director Oscar Sharp and AI researcher Ross Goodwin, have returned with another AI-driven experiment that, on its face, looks decidedly worse. Blurry faces, computer-generated dialogue, and awkward scene changes fill out this year's Zone Out, a film created as an entry in the Sci-Fi-London 48-Hour Challenge—meaning, just like last time, it had to be produced in 48 hours and adhere to certain specific prompts.

The result is both awful, funny and impressive. Especially with the background knowledge that it was done by an AI in just 48 hours and limited resources. Maybe we are on the path of robotic entertainment sooner than later. You'll know who'll be the boss when you start hearing discussions for the AI's necessity for copyright ownership of the AI's creation.


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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @10:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the where-we-get-all-our-stuff dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

Foxconn Technology Group says it is investigating a factory it operates that makes Amazon devices, including Kindles, after an in-depth report by advocacy group China Labor Watch criticized its "appalling working conditions," including excessive hours and over-reliance on temporary workers.

"We are carrying out a full investigation of the areas raised by the report, and if found to be true, immediate actions will be taken to bring the operations into compliance with our Code of Conduct," Taiwan-based Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., told Reuters.

New York-based China Labor Watch says its investigators were sent to the factory, which is located in south central China in Hunan Province's Hengyang city and also makes Amazon's Echo Dot Bluetooth speakers and tablets, from August 2017 to April 2018.

During that time, the group says it found that dispatch, or temporary, workers made up more than 40% of the workforce, far exceeding the 10% limit set by Chinese law. Dispatch workers were also treated very differently than regular workers, receiving far less safety training and no overtime wages. Instead, dispatch workers were paid the same rate, or 14.5 RMB ($2.26) an hour for both normal and overtime hours.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/10/after-report-on-appalling-conditions-foxconn-will-investigate-plant-that-makes-amazon-devices/


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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @08:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the glimpse-behind-the-Great-Firewall dept.

The Globe and Mail covers an unpublished Chinese censorship document revealing sweeping effort to eradicate online political content.

Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on the country's online broadcasting platforms, banning a long list of content – everything from tattoos to religious proselytizing, violations of "mainstream values," flirtatious dancing, images of leaders and Western political critiques – as the government seeks to stamp out any venue that could be used for dissent or behaviour it considers obscene, according to an unpublished censorship directive obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The meteoric growth of online video services in China has offered a vibrant venue for creativity and, occasionally, obscenity and political protest – unleashing a daily riptide of user-made cat videos, pranks and glimpses of everyday life. Hundreds of millions of people in China watch short video clips and live-stream video every month.

Chinese authorities have responded with strict new rules, ordering online broadcasters to eradicate a wide range of content, according to the document obtained by The Globe, which is entitled "Management requirements for live service information and content."

The document is being used as a master guideline for content blocking by some of the country's most-used video sites, multiple sources in the industry told The Globe. It began circulating early this year, and is believed to have been issued by the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China, China's central Internet authority, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Comments from Amnesty International and other organizations are included. The document outlines ten basic categories of banned content and provides insight into the Chinese government's goals.


Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @06:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the scamming-the-big-guys dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

A few levels past the bestsellers and sci-fi/romance/adventure titles on Kindle Unlimited, in the darkest corners of the Kindle Direct Publishing market, there are books that are made entirely out of garbage designed to make scammers hundreds of dollars a day. One user, who called his or herself Chance Carter, was one of the biggest abusers of the KDP system and, more important, made over $15 per book they uploaded to the system, over and over, for books that contained no real content.

Carter, according to the Digital Reader, would create large novels out of other books. The books, which were simple hack jobs written by Fiverr writers, were hundreds of pages long and, on the first page, featured a recommendation to flip to the last page to get a free giveaway. KDP pays authors for both paid downloads as well as for pages read and it doesn't sense reading speed, just the highest number of pages reached. Therefore Chance's "readers" were instantly sending him or her about twenty dollars a read.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore/


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday June 12, @05:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the Flaming-but-Not-Boring-Dept dept.

Six months after Elon Musk raised the eyebrows of sane people everywhere by announcing his Boring Co. would sell flamethrowers for $500 a pop, the first 1,000 deliveries were made Saturday for customers who showed up at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

The flamethrowers went like, well, flaming hotcakes when they went on sale in late January, selling out in just four days. In all, 20,000 were sold, raising about $10 million in revenue for Musk's tunnel-boring startup. The devices, technically called "Not a Flamethrower" to skirt federal shipping regulations, shoot a two-foot flame.

[...] Despite concerns about the wisdom of allowing personal flamethrowers in wildfire-prone California, state legislators last month shelved legislation that would have required them to come with a safety warning.

[...] 2017 was California's most destructive wildfire season ever, with more than 9,000 fires burning acreage the size of Delaware and killing at least 46 people.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday June 12, @03:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the debugging-the-debugging-of-wetware dept.

Editing cells' genomes with CRISPR-Cas9 might increase the risk that the altered cells, intended to treat disease, will trigger cancer, two studies published on Monday warn — a potential game-changer for the companies developing CRISPR-based therapies.

[...] The CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics, Sam Kulkarni, told STAT the results are "plausible." Although they likely apply to only one of the ways that CRISPR edits genomes (replacing disease-causing DNA with healthy versions) and not the other (just excising DNA), he said, "it's something we need to pay attention to, especially as CRISPR expands to more diseases. We need to do the work and make sure edited cells returned to patients don't become cancerous."

Another leading CRISPR scientist, who asked not to be named because of involvement with genome-editing companies, called the new data "pretty striking," and raised concerns that a potential fatal flaw in some uses of CRISPR had "been missed."

[...] "We found that cutting the genome with CRISPR-Cas9 induced the activation of ... p53[*]," said Emma Haapaniemi, the lead author of the Karolinska study. That "makes editing much more difficult."

The flip side of p53 repairing CRISPR edits, or killing cells that accept the edits, is that cells that survive with the edits do so precisely because they have a dysfunctional p53 and therefore lack this fix-it-or-kill-it mechanism.

https://www.statnews.com/2018/06/11/crispr-hurdle-edited-cells-might-cause-cancer/

I've been skeptical about this for awhile, and arguing this exact point: double stranded breaks would induce the majority of cells with the target sequence to self-destruct, lyse, or go senescent. I've seen this reflected in the data on cell counts of almost every paper that includes it. Things are much worse than I thought if "leading CRISPR scientists" are now acting surprised at this.

[*] Entry on Wikipedia for p53 states:

Tumor protein p53, also known as p53, cellular tumor antigen p53 (UniProt name), phosphoprotein p53, tumor suppressor p53, antigen NY-CO-13, or transformation-related protein 53 (TRP53), is any isoform of a protein encoded by homologous genes in various organisms, such as TP53 (humans) and Trp53 (mice). This homolog (originally thought to be, and often spoken of as, a single protein) is crucial in multicellular organisms, where it prevents cancer formation, thus, functions as a tumor suppressor.[5] As such, p53 has been described as "the guardian of the genome" because of its role in conserving stability by preventing genome mutation.[6] Hence TP53 is classified as a tumor suppressor gene.[7][8][9][10][11] (Italics are used to denote the TP53 gene name and distinguish it from the protein it encodes.)


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posted by martyb on Tuesday June 12, @01:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the software-maybe-free/libre,-but-attorneys-are-not dept.

Bruce Perens has a blog post on his site stating that the court has ordered Open Source Security, Inc. and Bradley Spengler to pay $259,900.50 to his attorneys. At issue was Bruce getting sued for pointing out that Grsecurity and their customers are involved in contributory infringement and breach of contract by deploying their product in conjunction with the Linux kernel under the no-redistribution policy employed by Grsecurity.

The court has ordered Open Source Security, Inc, and Bradley Spengler to pay $259,900.50 in legal fees to my attorneys, O’Melveny and Meyers. The court awarded about half what we asked for, courts usually do reduce awards. There is no new comment at this time, but please see my comment upon asking for the award of legal fees.

Here are all of the case documents.

Earlier on SN:
Bruce Perens Wants to Anti-SLAPP GRSecurity's Brad Spengler With $670,000 in Legal Bills (2018)
Grsecurity's Defamation Suit Against Bruce Perens Dismissed (2017)
Bruce Perens Warns of Potential Contributory Infringement Risk for Grsecurity Customers (2017)


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posted by takyon on Tuesday June 12, @12:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the launch-coded dept.

President Trump meets Kim Jong Un

President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un will meet in just a few hours. Here's what to watch for and when, according to the White House schedule.

  • 8 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump departs Shangri-La Hotel en route to Capella Singapore, where the two leaders will meet.
  • 8:20 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8:20 a.m. Singapore (June 12): Trump arrives at Capella Singapore.
  • 9 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un greet each other. This is the big moment. Cameras will be there to capture their expected handshake.
  • 9:15 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9:15 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in a one-on-one bilateral meeting.
  • 10 p.m. ET (June 11) / 10 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in an expanded bilateral meeting.
  • 11:30 p.m. ET (June 11) / 11:30 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un have a working lunch.
  • 4 a.m. ET (June 12) / 4 p.m. Singapore: President Trump is expected to speak with reporters.
  • 6:30 a.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. Singapore: President Trump departs Capella Singapore for Paya Lebar Air Base Singapore.
  • 7 a.m. ET / 7 p.m. Singapore: Trump departs Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore, en route to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. From there, he will travel on to the United States.

Kim Jong Un tours Singapore, takes selfie ahead of summit

Trump Kim: US says N Korea negotiations making quick progress

For All His Deals, Trump Has Never Faced an Adversary Like Kim Jong-un

Kim-Trump summit rife with opportunity for US


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