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posted by martyb on Tuesday April 16 2019, @11:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the Walks-like-a-duck^W-attack... dept.

Soon after a fire engulfed Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday, news outlets began streaming live broadcasts on YouTube. Below several of the clips was an odd box of text: A snippet from Encyclopedia Britannica about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

YouTube, a division of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, introduced this text box feature last year to combat the spread of conspiracy theories, including those that question the 9/11 attacks. On Monday, YouTube’s software mistakenly labeled the plumes of smoke in Paris as footage from 2001, triggering the panel below the video.

“We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral,” said a YouTube spokesman. “These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call. We are disabling these panels for live streams related to the fire.”

Who are the humans to say the AI was wrong on this one? It found a correlation between the two topics and made its decision. The exact reasons for its decision are inscrutable to the humans, they are just contradicting the AI based on preconceived bias or because they don't like the resulting discussion.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 16 2019, @10:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the What-a-wicked-web-we-weave... dept.

Ghosn: Bail conditions revealed by lawyer

The lawyer for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has revealed the terms his client had to meet to secure his initial release from custody on bail. Conditions the 65-year-old had faced included using a sole computer, in his lawyer's office, and one mobile phone. A 24-hour surveillance camera also had to be installed at the entrance of his court-approved permanent residence.

Mr Ghosn was re-arrested in Tokyo last week, pending trial over claims of financial misconduct. He has been detained over suspicions that he tried to enrich himself at the carmaker's expense. In a statement, Mr Ghosn - who denies any wrongdoing - said his re-arrest was "outrageous and arbitrary".

Previously: Nissan Motor Chairman and Others Set to be Indicted
French Government Seeks Integration of Renault and Nissan Automakers

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @08:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the apple-products-have-bugs dept.

The famed Apple store on 5th Avenue isn't just crawling with thousands of tourists– it's also been crawling with bed bugs for nearly a month, The Post has learned.

This past Friday, after weeks of bed bug sightings, a critter was spotted in the manager's office, sending desperate employees into a frenzy, terrified they'd bring the pest home with them.

"It was just mayhem," an employee told The Post.

"There was a mass exodus... employees were freaking out they felt really unsafe and management kept giving them the runaround."

Staff were ordered to double bag their belongings in plastic while a "bed bug sniffing beagle" came to the store where it was "activated" by two lockers in a staff area.

"I shouldn't have to go to work feeling unsafe and unprotected," one worker told The Post.

"We felt very anxious, used and unimportant, like we were just another number."

One worker said the issue has been going on for "nearly a month" and "Friday was the first day they acknowledged they found something."

The employee said the issue started about three to four weeks ago during the overnight hours at the 24-hour store, which frequently has homeless visitors, when a table on the second floor was "cordoned off" because a bed bug was found, believed to have come from one of the homeless visitors.

The table was left cordoned off while employees and customers were allowed in the store and around the table with no warning of the bed bug threat, an employee said.

"No one could go to that table but it was still on the floor, if a customer leaned on it and they didn't know" a bug could've crawled on them, the worker said.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @06:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the they're-screwed dept.

Supreme Court Dances Around The F-Word With Real Potential Financial Consequences

Dirty words make it to the U.S. Supreme Court only occasionally. One of those occasions came Monday, in a case involving a clothing line named "FUCT." The issue is whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office acted unconstitutionally when it refused to grant trademark protection to the brand name. And, for the justices, the immediate problem was how to discuss the the F-word without actually saying it.

The "FUCT" clothing line, created by designer Eric Brunetti, is mainly hoodies, loose pants, shorts and T-shirts, all with the brand name prominently displayed.

[...] Brunetti's case got a boost two years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that an Asian-American band calling itself "The Slants" could not be denied trademark protection. The trademark office had turned the band down, because it deemed the name racially "disparaging," but the court said the denial amounted to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

Dealing with the brand name "FUCT" proved a bit more daunting in the Supreme Court chamber Monday. Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart referred to the brand name as a "profane past participle form of a well-known word of profanity and perhaps the paradigmatic word of profanity in our language."

Also at Reuters.

Previously: Two Unanimous SCOTUS Victories for Free Speech

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @05:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-was-an-accident dept.

Mozilla "Got Outfoxed" by Google – Former VP Accuses Google for Sabotaging Firefox

Former Mozilla VP, Johnathan Nightingale, has called out on Google for what could only be termed as anti-competitive practices. In a Twitter thread on a somewhat unrelated subject, Nightingale said that during his 8 years at Mozilla, Google was the company's biggest partner. "Our revenue share deal on search drove 90% of Mozilla's income," he tweeted.

However, that doesn't mean Google wasn't involved in some underhand practices. "When I started at Mozilla in 2007 there was no Google Chrome and most folks we spoke with inside were Firefox fans," Nightingale wrote. "When chrome launched things got complicated, but not in the way you might expect. They had a competing product now, but they didn't cut ties, break our search deal – nothing like that. In fact, the story we kept hearing was, 'We're on the same side. We want the same things.'"

"I think our friends inside google genuinely believed that. At the individual level, their engineers cared about most of the same things we did. Their product and design folks made many decisions very similarly and we learned from watching each other. But Google as a whole is very different than individual googlers," Nightingale added.

Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms. gmail & gdocs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox. Demo sites would falsely block Firefox as "incompatible."

All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we'd say "hey what gives?"

And every time, they'd say, "oops. That was accidental. We'll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks."

Usage share of web browsers.

Previously: After 10 Years with Google, Firefox Switches to Yahoo
Netmarketshare Claims Mozilla Firefox Usage Drops Below Ten Percent
Mozilla CEO Warns Microsoft's Switch to Chromium Will Give More Control of the Web to Google
Is Google Using an "Embrace, Extend..." Strategy?
Google Denies Altering YouTube Code to Break Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Employee Sparks Outrage by Suggesting Firefox Switch Browser Engine to Chromium

Related: Firefox 29 is a Flop; UI Design Trends Only Getting Worse
Mozilla Teases Chromium-Based Firefox, Then Pulls Back
Can the New Firefox Quantum Regain its Web Browser Market Share?
Firefox 64 Will Remove Support for RSS and Atom Feeds
Microsoft Reportedly Building a Chromium-Based Web Browser to Replace Edge, and "Windows Lite" OS

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Tuesday April 16 2019, @03:44PM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

Confirmed: New phase of matter is solid and liquid at the same time

Solid, liquid, gas … and something else? While most of us learn about just three states of matter in elementary school, physicists have discovered several exotic varieties that can exist under extreme temperature and pressure conditions.

Now, a team has used a type of artificial intelligence to confirm the existence of a bizarre new state of matter, one in which potassium atoms exhibit properties of both a solid and a liquid at the same time. If you were somehow able to pull out a chunk of such material, it would probably look like a solid block leaking molten potassium that eventually all dissolved away.

“It would be like holding a sponge filled with water that starts dripping out, except the sponge is also made of water,” says study coauthor Andreas Hermann, a condensed matter physicist at the University of Edinburgh whose team describes the work this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 16 2019, @02:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-think-I-can,-I-think-I-can dept.

135 miles out to sea in the Gulf of Thailand, a lone dog swims up to an oil rig and is rescued by rig workers.

Workers on an oil rig noticed the pooch's head poking out above the ripples as she paddled through the ocean last Friday.

They called out to the exhausted animal - which is between three and five years old - and she swam towards them, taking refuge among the rusty metal bars of the rig.

Workers lowered a rope down and plucked the dog up to safety.

'After she made it onto the bars below the rig she didn't cry or bark at all. We looked for a way to help her and in the end, decided to use the rope to tie around her body to lift her up.

'When we first took her onboard her she was depressed and tired from being in the water for a long time . She had lost her body water.

After two days of care and feeding (and lots of pictures apparently), the dog was placed in a rather luxurious cage welded together just for her and placed on a passing oil tanker and taken to shore to a vet.

If an owner is not found one of the workers on the rig that rescued her wants to adopt the dog.

Pictures and Video of the entire saga are in TFA.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @12:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the "vapor"ware dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

Google today launched a set of plugins for popular development environments like IntelliJ and Visual Studio Code that promise to make building cloud-native applications significantly easier. You can’t say ‘cloud-native’ without saying Kubernetes, so it’s no surprise that the focus here is on helping developers build, debug and deploy their code to a Kubernetes cluster right from their IDE.

Typically, Google argues, developers edit, compile and debug their code locally. That’s often just fine, but it can also create issues when the production environment doesn’t quite match the local one. But building containers comes with its own challenges — and nobody really enjoys writing YAML files by hand just to test code. Indeed, the promise here is that the developer doesn’t have to write a single line of YAML.

The promise then, is that you can continue to develop your code just like you used to, while Cloud Code handles all of the work of turning it into a cloud-native application. The tools are also integrated with Google’s DevOps tools like Cloud Build and Stackdriver.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @10:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the social-engineering++ dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Microsoft: Hackers compromised support agent’s credentials to access customer email accounts

On the heels of a trove of 773 million emails, and tens of millions of passwords, from a variety of domains getting leaked in January, Microsoft has faced another breach affecting its web-based email services.

Microsoft has confirmed to TechCrunch that a certain “limited” number of people who use web email services managed by Microsoft — which cover services like and — had their accounts compromised.

“We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators’ access,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in an email.

According to an email Microsoft has sent out to affected users (the reader who tipped us off got his late Friday evening), malicious hackers were potentially able to access an affected user’s e-mail address, folder names, the subject lines of e-mails, and the names of other e-mail addresses the user communicates with — “but not the content of any e-mails or attachments,” nor — it seems — login credentials like passwords.

Microsoft is still recommending that affected users change their passwords regardless.

The breach occurred between January 1 and March 28, Microsoft’s letter to users said. 

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @09:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-the-band dept.

They have the video of this one. But, you can see the same pictures in the story!

Emily Hammer, assistant professor of near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and Jason Ur, professor of anthropology at Harvard, painstakingly analyzed thousands of once-secret aerial photos from the 50s and 60s.

The images, for example, reveal “desert kites,” which are ancient stone wall structures used to trap animals such as gazelle. An Assyrian canal system in northern Iraq was also spotted in the images, providing a glimpse into the ancient empire’s government and transport network.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday April 16 2019, @07:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the caution-deck-is-slippery dept.

SpaceX had a successful launch, orbit insertion, and recovery of all 3 rocket boosters last Thursday. Unfortunately, they were unable to fasten down the central core on the ASDS (Autonomous spaceport drone ship) "Of Course I Still Love You:

Shifting seas and high winds brought it down.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday April 16 2019, @06:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the I've-never-had-functioning-brakes,-I-don't-oil-my-chain-and-my-derailleur's-out-of-adjustment dept.

Brakes that are too effective have led Lyft to remove thousands of its electric pedal-assist bicycles from New York City (Citi Bike), San Francisco (Ford GoBike), and Washington, D.C. (Capital Bikeshare):

A month ago, Jordan Wyckoff was riding an electric Citi Bike to work in Brooklyn when he slammed on the brakes to avoid a minivan that swerved in the bike lane. But when he hit the brakes, the front wheel locked up, sending Mr. Wyckoff over the front of the handlebars and onto the pavement.

The same thing happened to Dominik Glodzik when he tried to brake before a stop sign in Astoria, Queens about two months ago.

William Turton flipped over the front of an electric Citi Bike while trying to brake before an intersection on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.

In recent months, dozens of riders have reported injuries while riding electric Citi Bikes, prompting the company on Sunday to pull all of the approximately 1,000 electric bicycles from New York City's streets amid safety concerns about the brakes. Lyft, which owns Citi Bike, took similar precautions with its other bike-sharing services in Washington and San Francisco.

Motivate, a subsidiary of Lyft since 2018, operates bicycle sharing systems in several cities.

Also at BBC and Engadget.

Previously: Uber May Try to Buy Citi Bike Parent Company Motivate
Lyft Acquires America's Largest Bike-Sharing Company, Motivate

Related: New Electric Bikes, Scooters, and Dockless Bicycles Hitting U.S. Streets
Uber Buys Electric Bicycle-Sharing Startup JUMP Bikes

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 16 2019, @04:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the next-rest-stop-238,900-miles dept.

Take a cluster of cubesats, shoot them into orbit, outfit them with sunlight reflecting mylar sails, and spell out PEPSI.

Yes, they are working on it.

A Russian company called StartRocket says it’s going to launch a cluster of cubesats into space that will act as an “orbital billboard,” projecting enormous advertisements into the night sky like artificial constellations. And its first client, it says, will be PepsiCo — which will use the system to promote a “campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers” on behalf of an energy drink called Adrenaline Rush.

Typical reactions toward the idea are as cool as interstellar space, for example when discussed on futurism's forums individuals opined

“This startup made an AI read every dystopian fiction novel and is turning its cursed ramblings into business plans,” wrote one. Another said that “shooting down those ads should be legal.”

StartRocket has now successfully tested the idea out by launching one of their reflectors from a helium balloon into space where it was visible from the ground.

StartRocket plans to launch the system into orbit in 2021. It’s currently raising funds, it says — and a $20,000 investment will buy eight hours of advertising in the night sky.

Hopefully we can use them to project the Milky Way so people can see the stars again.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday April 16 2019, @03:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the How-big-is-the-receiver? dept.

SLAC has developed a compact portable transmitter that uses very low frequency (VLF) radiation:

A new type of pocket-sized antenna, developed at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, could enable mobile communication in situations where conventional radios don't work, such as under water, through the ground and over very long distances through air.

The device emits very low frequency (VLF) radiation with wavelengths of tens to hundreds of miles. These waves travel long distances beyond the horizon and can penetrate environments that would block radio waves with shorter wavelengths. While today's most powerful VLF technology requires gigantic emitters, this antenna is only four inches tall, so it could potentially be used for tasks that demand high mobility, including rescue and defense missions.

"Our device is also hundreds of times more efficient and can transmit data faster than previous devices of comparable size," said SLAC's Mark Kemp, the project's principal investigator. "Its performance pushes the limits of what's technologically possible and puts portable VLF applications, like sending short text messages in challenging situations, within reach."

The SLAC-led team reported their results today [open, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09680-2] [DX] in Nature Communications.

SLAC was originally named Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Now it's just SLAC or SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Also at Engadget.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday April 16 2019, @01:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the Squirrel! dept.

Abundance of Information Narrows our Collective Attention Span:

The negative effects of social media and a hectic news cycle on our attention span has been an ongoing discussion in recent years—but there's been a lack of empirical data supporting claims of a 'social acceleration.' A new study in Nature Communications finds that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing, and that this effect occurs not only on social media, but also across diverse domains including books, web searches, movie popularity, and more.

Our public discussion can appear to be increasingly fragmented and accelerated. Sociologists, psychologists, and teachers have warned of an emerging crisis stemming from a 'fear of missing out,' keeping up to date on social media, and breaking news 24/7. So far, the evidence to support these claims has only been hinted at or has been largely anecdotal. There has been an obvious lack of a strong empirical foundation.

In a new study, conducted by a team of European scientists from Technische Universität Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, University College Cork, and DTU, this empirical evidence has been presented regarding one dimension of social acceleration, namely the increasing rates of change within collective attention.

"It seems that the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but that the cultural items competing for that attention have become more densely packed. This would support the claim that it has, indeed, become more difficult to keep up to date on the news cycle, for example." says Professor Sune Lehmann from DTU Compute.

[...] "Our data only supports the claim that our collective attention span is narrowing. Therefore, as a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual's ability to evaluate the information they consume. Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists' ability to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. We hope that more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems, such that information quality does not suffer even when new topics appear at increasing rates."

More information: Philipp Lorenz-Spreen et al. Accelerating dynamics of collective attention, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09311-w


Also at EurekAlert!

Original Submission