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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:28 | Votes:58

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday July 11, @11:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the facial-profiling dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

All liars have classic tells: the lack of eye contact, the fidgeting, the overly elaborate stories. Except when they don't.

In fact, researchers say, the most adept deceivers often don't present any of those signs and, further, the average observer's tendency to rely on such visual cues impedes their ability to tell when someone is lying. But those detection skills can be improved markedly with as little as one hour of training.

That is among the primary findings of new research from Norah Dunbar, a UC Santa Barbara professor of communication who has been studying deception and credibility for 20 years, now online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Source: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2018/019107/face-value

Norah E. Dunbar, et. al. Reliable deception cues training in an interactive video game. Computers in Human Behavior, 2018; 85: 74 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.03.027


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @09:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the exact-location-is-up-in-the-air dept.

Rocket Lab plans to build its second launch site in the U.S. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is located in New Zealand:

Small satellite launch company Rocket Lab says it's looking to expand its spaceflight operations by creating a new launch pad in the United States. This new site will be the second one for the US-based startup, which already launches its rockets from a private pad in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab hasn't picked a location for the second launch site yet, but has narrowed it down to four places, all at government-run launch facilities. These include the US's two most prolific spaceports, Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The other two sites include Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, as well as the Pacific Spaceport Complex in southern Alaska. Rocket Lab says a final decision will be made in 2018. First, the company needs to work through all the necessary regulatory hurdles and costs, as well as figure out how long construction will take. A new pad will be built specifically for Rocket Lab's primary vehicle, the Electron.

The company's third launch, "It's Business Time," has been delayed. That launch will carry commercial payloads.

Also at SpaceNews and NBR.

Related: Rocket Lab's Second "Electron" Rocket Launch Succeeds, Reaches Orbit
NASA Awards Launch Contracts to Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @07:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the much-improved-from-V4.0 dept.

From The Reg:

Miscreants have developed the first strain of ransomware worm capable of infecting legacy systems, such as Windows XP and 2003.

The infamous WannaCry outbreak, which severely affected the UK's NHS, showed just how much damage ransomware can do.

Subsequent tests showed that in most cases WannaCry could only crash – rather than infect – Windows XP systems, which remained in use by the health service connected to MRI scanners and the like, despite being retired by Microsoft years ago. Extended support for Windows XP ended in April 2014.

A new version of the GandCrab (v4.1) ransomware has an SMB exploit spreader that works against XP and 2003, as well as later versions of Windows. It's the first ransomware to actually "support" legacy systems, according to UK infosec practitioner Kevin Beaumont.

From Kevin Beaumont's security blog:

For those who haven't been following GandGrab, it's a ransomware operation where people pay for the kit, and earn money by spreading it. Notably it usually only impacts organisations and people with poor security and/or security practice — e.g. people tend to embed it into keygens on BitTorrent, that sort of thing. Most antivirus software can detect it quickly.

However being able to spread without internet access and impacting legacy XP and 2003 systems suggests some older environments may end up at risk where there is poor security practice — e.g. no working antivirus software.

[...] Install patch MS17–010. This patch is available for all operating systems — including back to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 — since early 2017. There is no patch for Windows 2000.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @06:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the where-many-flops-is-a-GOOD-thing dept.

In an interview posted just before the release of the latest TOP500 list, high performance computing expert Dr. Thomas Sterling (one of the two builders of the original "Beowulf cluster") had this to say about the possibility of reaching "zettascale" (beyond 1,000 exaflops):

I'll close here by mentioning two other possibilities that, while not widely considered currently, are nonetheless worthy of research. The first is superconducting supercomputing and the second is non-von Neumann architectures. Interestingly, the two at least in some forms can serve each other making both viable and highly competitive with respect to future post-exascale computing designs. Niobium Josephson Junction-based technologies cooled to four Kelvins can operate beyond 100 and 200 GHz and has slowly evolved over two or more decades. When once such cold temperatures were considered a show stopper, now quantum computing – or at least quantum annealing – typically is performed at 40 milli-Kelvins or lower, where four Kelvins would appear like a balmy day on the beach. But latencies measured in cycles grow proportionally with clock rate and superconducting supercomputing must take a very distinct form from typical von Neumann cores; this is a controversial view, by the way.

Possible alternative non-von Neumann architectures that would address this challenge are cellular automata and data flow, both with their own problems, of course – nothing is easy. I introduce this thought not to necessarily advocate for a pet project – it is a pet project of mine – but to suggest that the view of the future possibilities as we enter the post-exascale era is a wide and exciting field at a time where we may cross a singularity before relaxing once again on a path of incremental optimizations.

I once said in public and in writing that I predicted we would never get to zettaflops computing. Here, I retract this prediction and contribute a contradicting assertion: zettaflops can be achieved in less than 10 years if we adopt innovations in non-von Neumann architecture. With a change to cryogenic technologies, we can reach yottaflops by 2030.

The rest of the interview covers a number of interesting topics, such as China's increased presence on the supercomputing list.

Also at NextBigFuture.

Previously: Thomas Sterling: 'I Think We Will Never Reach Zettaflops' (2012)

Related: IBM Reduces Neural Network Energy Consumption Using Analog Memory and Non-Von Neumann Architecture
IEEE Releases the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS)
June 2018 TOP500 List: U.S. Claims #1 and #3 Spots


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @04:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the orly? dept.

Burnout Tied to Twofold Higher Risk for Medical Errors

Doctors who reported at least one major symptom of burnout were more than twice as likely to report a major medical error within the previous 3 months, according to a new study published online [DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.05.014] [DX] today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study is based on a cross-sectional, observational survey, which precludes conclusions about causality or the association's directionality. But "it is conceptually likely that the two are reciprocal," write Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS, an instructor of pediatric critical care medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues. [...] The medical errors question asked, "Are you concerned you have made any major medical errors in the last 3 months?" This wording, the authors explain, "is intended to identify recent events internalized as a major medical error; events identified in this way have been found to have a high correlation with actual medical errors."

[...] The findings are not only not surprising but actually gratifying to Michael Hicks, MD, executive vice president for clinical affairs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, because they provide quantitative data to support long-time observations. "The problem we have with American healthcare, probably global healthcare, is frequently the system is designed for optimal circumstances. The environment makes the assumption that everything is going to occur correctly and that people are playing at the top of their game," Hicks told Medscape Medical News.


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday July 11, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the there-are-no-tech-jobs dept.

The economy of the San Francisco Bay Area has grown at an annual rate of 4.3% over the last 3 years, which is nearly double that of the rest of the USA. With a "GDP" of $748B, the Bay Area would be the 18th largest economy in the world if it were a country; between the Netherlands and Switzerland. Overall employment grew by 26%, largely driven by tech jobs.


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday July 11, @01:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the …shall-not-be-responsible-or-liable-for-any-damage-or-loss,-including-but-not-limited-to-any-damage… dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

Two insurance companies are suing a cyber-security firm to recover insurance fees paid to a customer after the security firm failed to detect malware on the client's network for months, an issue that led to one of the biggest security breaches of the 2000s. The security firms says the lawsuit is meritless.

The two insurance firms are Lexington Insurance Company and Beazley Insurance Company, and both insured Heartland Payment Systems, a leading payment processing company.

In January 2009, Heartland announced a major security breach of its network, following which an attacker stole details for over 100 million payment cards stored on its systems by over 650 of Heartland's customers.

Following this devastating hack and one of the biggest of the 2000s, Heartland paid over $148 million in settlement fees for various lawsuits, and other remediation costs and expenses Heartland owed its customers.

As part of their insurance agreements, the two firms paid $30 million to Heartland in the hack's aftermath, with the Lexington Insurance Company footing a $20 million bill, and the Beazley Insurance Company paying another $10 million.

But now, according to a civil lawsuit filed on June 28 in Illinois, and first reported by the Cook County Record, the two companies are trying to recover those costs, and are claiming that the security firm with which Heartland had a service contract had failed to honor its agreement.

Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/security-firm-sued-for-failing-to-detect-malware-that-caused-a-2009-breach/


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday July 11, @11:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the yoink dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

From Ars:

Criminals recently stole code-signing certificates from router and camera maker D-Link and another Taiwanese company and used them to pass off malware that steals passwords and backdoors PCs, a researcher said Monday.

The certificates were used to cryptographically verify that legitimate software was issued by D-Link and Changing Information Technology. Microsoft Windows, Apple's macOS, and most other operating systems rely on the cryptographic signatures produced by such certificates to help users ensure that executable files attached to emails or downloaded on websites were developed by trusted companies rather than malicious actors masquerading as those trusted companies.

Bleeping Computer adds:

"The exact same certificate had been used to sign [official] D-Link software; therefore, the certificate was likely stolen," says Anton Cherepanov, a security researcher for Slovak antivirus company ESET, and the one who discovered the stolen cert.

Cherepanov says BlackTech operators used the stolen cert to sign two malware payloads —the first is the PLEAD backdoor, while the second is a nondescript password stealer.

According to a 2017 Trend Micro report, the BlackTech group has used the PLEAD malware in the past. Just like in previous attacks, the group's targets for these most recent attacks were again located in East Asia, particularly in Taiwan.

The password stealer isn't anything special, being capable of extracting passwords from only four apps —Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Outlook.

Following Cherepanov's report about BlackTech using one of its certificates, D-Link revoked it last Tuesday, July 3. Before the revocation, the certificate was being used to secure the web panel of mydlink IP cameras.


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday July 11, @10:24AM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for Sulla

When Georgia Bowen was born by emergency cesarean on May 18, she took a breath, threw her arms in the air, cried twice, and went into cardiac arrest. The baby had had a heart attack, most likely while she was still in the womb. Her heart was profoundly damaged; a large portion of the muscle was dead, or nearly so, leading to the cardiac arrest.

Doctors kept her alive with a cumbersome machine that did the work of her heart and lungs. The physicians moved her from Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was born, to Boston Children's Hospital and decided to try an experimental procedure that had never before been attempted in a human following a heart attack.

They would take 1 billion mitochondria — the energy factories found in every cell in the body — from a small plug of Georgia's healthy abdominal muscle and infuse them into the injured muscle of her heart.

Mitochondria are tiny organelles that fuel the operation of the cell, and they are among the first parts of the cell to die when it is deprived of oxygen-rich blood. Once they are lost, the cell itself dies.

But a series of experiments has found that fresh mitochondria can revive flagging cells and enable them to quickly recover. In animal studies at Boston Children's Hospital and elsewhere, mitochondrial transplants revived heart muscle that was stunned from a heart attack but not yet dead, and revived injured lungs and kidneys.

[...] In the only human tests, mitochondrial transplants appear to revive and restore heart muscle in infants that was injured in operations to repair congenital heart defects.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/health/mitochondria-transplant-heart-attack.html (alt)


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday July 11, @08:40AM   Printer-friendly
from the consequences-will-never-be-the-same dept.

From The Register:

India has warned Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp to do something about abuse of its service that has led to murders.

A July 3rd statement from the nation's Ministry of Electronics & IT says "Instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation are being circulated on WhatsApp."

"Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the senior management of the WhatsApp and they have been advised that necessary remedial measures should be taken to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages," the statement adds. "The Government has also directed that spread of such messages should be immediately contained through the application of appropriate technology."

The statement points out that rumours aren't WhatsApp's fault, saying the service has been "abused by some miscreants who resort to provocative messages which lead to spread of violence."

But the nation's government isn't letting the platform off easily as the statement ends as follows:

The Government has also conveyed in no uncertain terms that WhatsApp must take immediate action to end this menace and ensure that their platform is not used for such malafide activities.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @07:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the competition++ dept.

Israeli Companies Plan to Take 'One Small Step' by Early 2019

State-run Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. and non-profit SpaceIL announced plans to launch a lunar mission in December, putting Israel on track to become the fourth country to land on the moon.

The unmanned, $88 million Israeli spacecraft will blast off on a Falcon 9 rocket made by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. At 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), it will be the smallest spaceship so far to make a lunar landing. Its two-month journey will start from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"I am filled with pride that the first Israeli spacecraft, which is in its final construction and testing phases, will soon be making its way to the moon," said Morris Kahn, SpaceIL president and a founder of Israeli communications and media technology developer Amdocs Ltd.

No government has landed a craft on the moon since the 1970s[*], but interest has revived recently. President Donald Trump has requested almost $900 million in new funding for NASA moon missions. China this year plans to land a probe on the unexplored dark side of the moon, where radio signals from Earth can't be received.

[*] Incorrect. See, for example, China's Chang'e 3 lander and "Jade Rabbit" rover.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @05:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the Ruh-Roh! dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

In a statement published hours ago, Israeli-based cryptocurrency exchange Bancor fessed up to a security incident following which a hacker made off with roughly $13.5 million worth of cryptocurrency.

The hack took place yesterday, July 9, at 00:00 UTC, according to Bancor, after an unknown intruder(s) gained access to one of the company's wallets.

This was a big deal because Bancor doesn't run as a classic exchange platform, but uses a complex mechanism based on smart contracts running on the Ethereum platform to move funds at a quicker pace than classic exchange platforms.

The compromised wallet also granted the attacker access to updating the smart contracts responsible for converting user funds.

Bancor says the hacker used this access to withdraw 24,984 Ether (ETH) coins (~$12.5 million) from Bancor smart contracts and sent the Ether to his own private wallet.

Similarly, he also withdrew 229,356,645 Pundi X (NPXS) coins, worth another $1 million.

[...] The hacker also withdrew 3,200,000 Bancor tokens (BNT) (worth around $10 million), which Bancor had issued last year as part of its ICO that raised over $150 million, but Bancor says a security feature in Bancor tokens allowed it to freeze the funds and prevent the hacker from cashing it out at other exchanges.

Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hacker-steals-135-million-from-bancor-cryptocurrency-exchange/


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday July 11, @03:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the spelunking dept.

With the news that the Thai boys who were stuck in a flooded cave were, remarkably, rescued without any of them dying, I thought it would be interesting to submit an article about the technical challenges of cave diving, in particular rescue diving. FTFA:

Why the Thai Cave-Diving Rescue Was So Dangerous

"Rescues are actually pretty rare."

What Robert Laird, the co-founder of International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery, means is this: When cave divers get in serious trouble, they usually die. There is no one to rescue, just a body to recover.

In Thailand, an extraordinary rescue effort played out this week for 12 boys and their soccer coach, who managed to find high ground when floodwater trapped them in a cave. To get out, these boys had to dive through those same floodwaters. It's a perilous journey even for experienced divers, as underscored by the death of a Thai Navy SEAL in the cave last week. Cave diving is a different beast from diving in the open waters. The water can be so muddy that divers have to feel their way out. The passage can be so narrow that you have to take off your oxygen tank. And you cannot simply swim up to safety. By Tuesday morning, divers had miraculously guided all 12 of the boys and their coach out of the cave under these conditions.

Previously: Elon Musk Orders SpaceX Engineers to Build Kid-Sized Rescue Submarine


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @01:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the trial-roundup dept.

Monsanto 'bullied scientists' and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court

Monsanto has long worked to "bully scientists" and suppress evidence of the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, a lawyer argued on Monday in a landmark lawsuit against the global chemical corporation.

"Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully ... and to fight independent researchers," said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. "They fought science."

Wisner, who spoke inside a crowded San Francisco courtroom, is representing DeWayne Johnson, known also as Lee, a California man whose cancer has spread through his body. The father of three and former school groundskeeper, who doctors say may have just months to live, is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer. Thousands have made similar legal claims across the US.

Monsanto? Never heard of it.

Also at the San Francisco Chronicle.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 11, @12:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the all-the-better-to-watch-you-with,-my-dear dept.

Google Is Building a City of the Future in Toronto. Would Anyone Want to Live There?

TORONTO—Even with a chilly mid-May breeze blowing off Lake Ontario, this city's western waterfront approaches idyllic. The lake laps up against the boardwalk, people sit in colorful Adirondack chairs and footfalls of pedestrians compete with the cry of gulls. But walk east, and the scene quickly changes. Cut off from gleaming downtown Toronto by the Gardiner Expressway, the city trails off into a dusty landscape of rock-strewn parking lots and heaps of construction materials. Toronto's eastern waterfront is bleak enough that Guillermo del Toro's gothic film The Shape of Water used it as a plausible stand-in for Baltimore circa 1962. Says Adam Vaughan, a former journalist who represents this district in Canada's Parliament, "It's this weird industrial land that's just been sitting there—acres and acres of it. And no one's really known what to do with it."

That was before Google.

This past October, a coalition of the Toronto, Ontario and Canadian governments contracted with Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, to come up with a $50 million design for a dozen acres on the waterfront's far eastern end. The idea is to reimagine Toronto's derelict waterfront as "the world's first neighborhood built from the internet up," as Sidewalk describes it. The neighborhood, called Quayside, would leapfrog the usual slow walk of gentrification to build an entire zone, all at once, as a "smart city," a sensor-enabled, highly wired metropolis that can run itself.

Toronto's choice of the Google-affiliated firm immediately captured the attention of urban planners and city officials all over the world; magazine stories trumpeted "Google's Guinea-Pig City" and "A Smarter Smart City." Still in its early days, the partnership has left people curious but wary. Google? What does a tech company know about running a real live city?

In one sense, what's perhaps surprising is that it has taken this long. Silicon Valley's innovators have long had side obsessions with making the world a better place, driven largely by the confidence that their own brainpower and a near-total disregard for tradition can break old logjams. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel helped seed the "seasteading" movement to create offshore libertarian paradises; the tech incubator YCombinator is currently running a public-policy experiment in Oakland, California, giving residents a guaranteed monthly stipend to see how it might improve their quality of life.


Original Submission