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posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @11:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the Ph'nglui-mglw'nafh-Cthulhu-R'lyeh-wgah'nagl-fhtagn dept.

Six new species of catfish covered in bony armor and sporting faces full of tentacles have been discovered in Amazon museums.

Pics of two of the new species, Ancistrus kellerae and Ancistrus patronus, are shown in the article. Additional documentation in the journal (paywall) Zootaxa

The fish were identified from specimens collected in the Guiana Shield region, an area encompassing parts of Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana.

Insightfully, on the purpose of the tentacles, Dr Lesley de Souza from the Chicago Field Museum, who discovered the Lovecraftian delights, speculated

If males have impressive tentacles, females will see them as high quality partners.

No word from Wizards of the Coast on whether they will be added into the next edition Monster Manual.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @08:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the Atari-game-fodder dept.

'Rare species' of asteroid spotted in our solar system

The Zwicky Transient Facility, known as ZTF, was installed on the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory in March. Since then, it has observed over a thousand supernovae outside our galaxy, extreme cosmic events and more than a billion Milky Way stars.

[...] ZTF is also pretty good at spotting near-Earth asteroids that zoom past our planet. [...] But this asteroid, known as 2019 AQ3, isn't like anything they've seen before. Quanzhi Ye, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology's data and science center for astronomy, spotted the images of the asteroid on January 4.

"This is one of the largest asteroids with an orbit entirely within the orbit of Earth -- a very rare species," Ye said.
Ye reported it to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which officially categorizes asteroids and other objects in our solar system. His data, along with that of other telescopes around the world, helped determine the orbit that 2019 AQ3 takes around the sun.

The asteroid is one of the first to be found that remains within Venus' orbit. It has a vertically angled orbit that takes it in a loop up and over the space where the planets orbit the sun. It has the shortest year of any known asteroid, completing its orbit every 165 days. It's also estimated to be fairly large, about a mile across. But researchers don't know the true size just yet, due to the limited data.

2019 AQ3 has a diameter estimated at 1.4 km, a perihelion of 0.4036 AU, and an aphelion of 0.7737 AU.

Mercury orbits the Sun between 0.3075 AU and 0.4667 AU, and Venus orbits the Sun between 0.7184 AU and 0.7282 AU.

Minor Planet Center. Also at Caltech and ScienceAlert.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday February 10 2019, @06:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the pot-meets-kettle dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Apple to developers: disclose screen recording or get booted from App Store

Apple has begun notifying developers who use screen-recording code in their apps to either properly disclose it to users or remove it entirely if they want to keep their apps in the App Store. The move comes after a TechCrunch report showed that many apps do not disclose such activity to users at all, and some sensitive user data has been compromised through screen recordings.

Apple revokes Facebook's developer certificate over data-snooping app—Google could be next"Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem," an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. "Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity."

The initial report highlighted third-party analytics code used by Air Canada, Expedia,, Hollister and other companies in their mobile apps that allows them to record the screens of users while they navigate the app. These "session replays" are designed to help developers work out kinks, make informed UI decisions, and better inform them on how users are interacting with their apps in general.

However, many apps do not tell users that their activity is being monitored by screen-recording code. Also, some session replays reportedly compromised sensitive user information. While they are designed to mask such data, TechCrunch reported that Air Canada's app was not properly masking information such as users' passport and credit card numbers.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday February 10 2019, @04:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-all-in-the-name dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

AT&T sued by Sprint, must defend decision to tell users that 4G is "5G E"

Sprint is suing AT&T, alleging that AT&T's misleading "5G E" advertising campaign violates laws prohibiting false advertising and deceptive acts and practices.

AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it "5G E," for "5G Evolution." But as we've written, what AT&T calls 5G E consists of technologies that are part of the years-old 4G LTE-Advanced standard and are already used by Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint on their 4G networks. Despite that, AT&T has been advertising this supposed upgrade to 5G E and even changing network indicators on smartphones from 4G to 5G E.AT&T decides 4G is now "5G," starts issuing icon-changing software updates

"By making the false claim that it is offering a 5G wireless network where it offers only a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT&T is attempting to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market," Sprint wrote in a complaint filed yesterday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. "AT&T's false and misleading statements deceive consumers into believing that AT&T now operates a 5G wireless network and, through this deception, AT&T seeks to induce consumers to purchase or renew AT&T's services when they might otherwise have purchased Sprint's services."

Sprint alleged that AT&T violated a US law prohibiting false advertising and New York state laws against deceptive acts and practices and false advertising. Sprint asked the court for monetary damages and an injunction preventing AT&T from using 5G or 5G E branding "until the wireless network that AT&T advertises as '5GE,' '5G E,' or '5G Evolution,' or any designation containing '5G,' complies with 3GPP 5G standards." Sprint's complaint cites reporting from Ars and other news outlets.AT&T defends misleading "5G" network icons on 4G phones

[...] AT&T continued its defiance today.

"We understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it," AT&T said in a statement provided to Ars. "We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G. 5G Evolution and the 5G E indicator simply let customers know when their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available. That's what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers."

AT&T said it "will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G," and that "customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds."

AT&T also took a shot at Sprint's claims that it can't deploy a robust 5G network unless US regulators approve its proposed merger with T-Mobile.

"Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently,'" AT&T said.

Previously: AT&T Misleads Customers by Updating Phones With Fake 5G Icon

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @01:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-greed dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Drug companies are sitting on generics—43% of recently approved aren't for sale

Of the more than 1,600 generic drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration since January of 2017, more than 700—or 43 percent—are not for sale in the US, according to a new analysis by Kaiser Health News.

The finding means that many pricy, brand-name drugs are not facing the competition that could help drive down soaring prices. Among the drugs missing in action are generic versions of the expensive blood thinner Brilinta and the HIV medication Truvada. Moreover, of the approved drugs that would offer a brand-name drug its first competition, 36 percent are being held off the market, the analysis found.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @11:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the chilling-effects dept.

Major Security Breach Found in Hospital and Supermarket Refrigeration Systems

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Major Security Breach Found in Hospital and Supermarket Refrigeration Systems:

Israeli hackers and activists Noam Rotem and Ran L from Safety Detective research lab have uncovered a major security breach in temperature control systems manufactured by Resource Data Management, a Scotland-based remote monitoring solutions company.

These control systems are used by hospitals and supermarket chains all over the world, including Marks & Spencer, Ocado, Way-on, and many others.

A basic scan reveals hundreds of installations in the UK, Australia, Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Iceland, and many other countries around the world. As each installation has dozens of machines under it, we're looking at many thousands of vulnerable machines.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @09:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the taking-a-shot-in-the-dark dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

New pill can deliver insulin through the stomach

About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach. In tests in animals, the researchers showed that they could deliver enough insulin to lower blood sugar to levels comparable to those produced by injections given through skin. They also demonstrated that the device can be adapted to deliver other protein drugs.

[...] Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and a visiting scientist in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he is starting as a faculty member in 2019, is also a senior author of the study. The first author of the paper, which appears in the February 8 issue of Science, is MIT graduate student Alex Abramson. The research team also includes scientists from the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

[...] Several years ago, Traverso, Langer, and their colleagues developed a pill coated with many tiny needles that could be used to inject drugs into the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. For the new capsule, the researchers changed the design to have just one needle, allowing them to avoid injecting drugs into the interior of the stomach, where they would be broken down by stomach acids before having any effect.

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 percent compressed, freeze-dried insulin, using the same process used to form tablets of medicine. The shaft of the needle, which does not enter the stomach wall, is made from another biodegradable material.

Within the capsule, the needle is attached to a compressed spring that is held in place by a disk made of sugar. When the capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the sugar disk, releasing the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @06:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-can-he-do-with-a-Teletype? dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Feel the beep: This album is played entirely on a PC motherboard speaker

If you’re craving a truly different sound with which to slay the crew this weekend, look no further than System Beeps, a new album by shiru8bit — though you may have to drag your old 486 out of storage to play it. Yes, this album runs in MS-DOS and its music is produced entirely through the PC speaker — you know, the one that can only beep.

[...] Shiru, a programmer and musician who’s been doing “retro” sound since before it was retro, took it upon himself to make some music for this extremely limited audio platform. Originally he was just planning on making a couple of tunes for a game project, but in this interesting breakdown of how he made the music, he explains that it ended up ballooning as he got into the tech.

[...] How was he able to do this with such limited tools? [...] I direct you to his lengthy write-up, where he describes, for instance, how to create the impression of different kinds of drums when the hardware is incapable of the white noise usually used to create them (and if it could, it would be unable to layer it over a tone). It’s a fun read and the music is… well, it’s an acquired taste, but it’s original and weird.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @04:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the they-couldn't-dig-it dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Google Fiber's biggest failure: ISP will turn service off in Louisville

Google Fiber will turn off its network in Louisville, Kentucky and exit the city after a series of fiber installation failures left cables exposed in the roads. Google Fiber's customers in Louisville will have to switch ISPs and will get their final two months of Google Fiber service for free to help make up for the disruption.

Google Fiber went live in Louisville late in 2017, just a few months after construction began. The quick turnaround happened because Google Fiber used a shallow trenching strategy that is quicker than traditional underground fiber deployment and doesn't require digging giant holes. Instead of a foot-wide trench, a micro-trench is generally about an inch wide and four inches deep. In Louisville, Google Fiber reportedly was burying cables in "nano-trenches" that were just two inches deep.

But Louisville residents soon found exposed cables, as a WDRB article noted in March 2018. "When you're walking around the neighborhood, [the lines are] popping up out of the road all over the place," resident Larry Coomes said at the time. "People are tripping over it."

In August 2018, Google Fiber announced a plan to fix the problem, WDRB reported at the time. But Google Fiber never quite got it right, and yesterday the Alphabet-owned ISP announced that it will leave the city in a blog post titled "Saying Goodbye to Louisville."Google Fiber is now in Louisville thanks to new fiber deployment strategy

"As we told our customers today, we will be turning off the network on April 15 and their next two months of service are on us," Google Fiber wrote, pledging to "work with our customers and partners to minimize disruption."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 10 2019, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the On-the-edge dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Microsoft begs you to stop using Internet Explorer

In a blog post, Microsoft senior cybersecurity architect Chris Jackson said continuing to use Internet Explorer is racking up companies a ton of "technical debt." Essentially, by continuing to use IE, organizations are creating additional costs down the line by selecting the easiest, most convenient solution now rather than the approach that is best for the long term. Jackson laid out a scenario in which a company, choosing the easiest possible route since Internet Explorer 6, goes to make a webpage today and ends up using a 1999 implementation of web standards by default.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday February 09 2019, @11:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the Mechano-was-better-dept dept.

After losing his arm to a rare generic condition Adrian Aguilar made a replacement limb out of lego. His first attempt at making an artificial arm was at nine years old, making a number of limbs Iron Man style over the years. His goal is to help others make prosthetic limbs cheaply.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday February 09 2019, @09:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-forget-to-exercise dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Athletes know a vigorous workout can release a flood of endorphins: "feel-good" hormones that boost mood. Now there's evidence that exercise produces another hormone that may improve memory and protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study co-led by Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, a researcher at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain.

The study was published in Nature Medicine.

Physical activity is known to improve memory, and studies suggest it may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. But researchers don't understand why.

A few years ago, exercise researchers discovered a hormone called irisin that is released into the circulation during physical activity. Initial studies suggested that irisin mainly played a role in energy metabolism. But newer research found that the hormone may also promote neuronal growth in the brain's hippocampus, a region critical for learning and memory.

"This raised the possibility that irisin may help explain why physical activity improves memory and seems to play a protective role in brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease" says Arancio, who is a professor of pathology and cell biology and of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

How exercise may protect against Alzheimer's

Journal Reference:

  1. Mychael V. Lourenco, et. al. Exercise-linked FNDC5/irisin rescues synaptic plasticity and memory defects in Alzheimer’s models. Nature Medicine, 2019; 25 (1): 165 DOI: 10.1038/s41591-018-0275-4

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday February 09 2019, @06:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the YMMV dept.

Wccftech reports that Micron plans to "introduce" NAND with 8 bits (1 byte) per cell:

Back in May of 2018, Micron introduced Quad-Level (QLC) NAND tech and, surprisingly, saw their stock tumble to pricing levels of ~$30 down from ~$60. This was the result of complex NAND pricing and supply/demand factors, not just the introduction of QLC, to be clear. I have just confirmed from multiple sources and stakeholders that Micron is intending to introduce their Octa-Level (OLC) NAND either in Q1 or latest by Q2 2019.

OLC NAND would have 28 (256) states and 28-1 (255) threshold voltages, compared to just 16 states for today's QLC NAND.

3D QLC NAND SSDs arrived on the market in 2018. QLC NAND has lower write endurance, estimated at 1,000 program/erase (PE) cycles, compared to 3,000 P/E cycles for triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, 10,000 P/E cycles for multi-level cell (MLC) NAND, and 100,000 P/E cycles for single-level cell NAND. This exceeds previous expectations of 1,000 P/E cycles for TLC NAND and 100 cycles for QLC NAND. Intel's SSD 660p drives using QLC NAND are rated for only about 0.1 drive writes per day for 5 years, or about 200 TB written on a 1 TB drive. Data retention is also reduced.

In 2013, it was reported that the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) funded Crocus Technology development of 8-bits-per-cell Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) memory, which would use two 4-bit layers:

Douglas Lee, VP for system strategy and corporate product development at Crocus, pointed out NAND and MRAM bits-per-cell limitations: "The current semiconductor non-volatile memory state-of-the-art is 3-4 bits per cell, as achieved in NAND flash memory, and is reaching the physical limits of floating gate memory technology. The current state-of-the-art in MRAM is only 1 bit per cell storage."

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday February 09 2019, @04:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the phase-2 dept.

Ukuu, or Ubuntu Kernel Update Utility, a fairly popular unofficial GUI tool for easily installing the latest mainline Linux kernel on Ubuntu-based distributions, has moved to a paid ($11) licensing model with its latest 19.01 release.

Ukuu displays the list of kernels available in the Ubuntu Mainline kernel website, allowing users to easily download and install the desired version. The utility can also remove installed kernels, display the changes in the selected Linux version, display notifications when new kernels are available, and so on.

With the 19.01 release of Ukuu, the application requires a personal license which costs $11, and the source code is no longer available. Tony George, the application developer, notes the reason for this being the lack of donations, with alternatives being stopping the development or requiring a paid license:

"The last version of this app (v18.9) had 60,000 downloads, yet only 12 users have donated over the last 2 years. It was not possible for me to continue working on this application for free, and making it paid seemed like a better alternative than discontinuing the project."

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday February 09 2019, @02:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the have-played-it-once dept.

Apex Legends Notches 10 Million Players in Three Days:

Electronic Arts may've(sic) found the next Fortnite.

The video game giant, known for its Battlefield war simulation games and upcoming Anthem action adventure title launching in two weeks, surprised the gaming world on Monday when it suddenly released a new game called Apex Legends. The title is free to download and offers a similar feel to Epic Games' Fortnite: Battle Royale, a free last-man-standing "battle royale" title that's become a cultural phenomenon since launching nearly two years ago. Both make their money by selling different looks for characters.

So far, EA says, more than 10 million people have played Apex Legends since it launched. "We hoped you'd love it as much as us, but never in our wildest dreams could we have expected the outpouring of support and positivity we've seen," wrote Vince Zampella, head of EA's Respawn Entertainment division, which made the popular Titanfall shooting game series and its spinoff Apex Legends. "We tested and tweaked. We argued and agreed. We got to a point where we felt some magic."

Apex Legends are... ancient ghost stories told around a campfire at night at a mountainop retreat?

Original Submission