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2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
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2021-01-23 15:23:12 UTC --martyb

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Coming into the new year, I expect 2021 to be...

  • categorically better than 2020, as specified below.
  • generally better than 2020.
  • about the same as 2020.
  • generally worse than 2020.
  • categorically worse than 2020, as specified below.
  • I don't use the Gregorian calendar, you insensitive clod!

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:60 | Votes:149

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @11:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Storks-on-Strike? dept.


The report, published Wednesday, showed that birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women younger than 35 but rose for women in their late 30s and early 40s.

From 2017 to 2018, the birth rate dropped 7% among teenagers aged 15 to 19; 4% among women 20 to 24; 3% among women 25 to 29; and 1% among women 30 to 34, according to the report.

The birth rate rose 1% among women aged 35 to 39 and 2% among women 40 to 44. The rate for women 45 to 49, which also includes births to women 50 and older, did not change from 2017 to 2018.

On the other hand, there have been recent studies that indicate children born to older women enjoy better long term academic and professional success.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday May 15 2019, @10:22PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the there-will-be-beta dept.

Salon Media Announces $5 Million Sale, 'Bankruptcy and Liquidation' Threatened If Deal Fails

Salon Media says they have reached an 11th hour deal to sell the company and its flagship property for $5 million. In an SEC filing, Salon also revealed its position was dire and that it would face imminent "bankruptcy and liquidation" if the deal should fall through.

[...] The company buying Salon was named only as LLC and appeared to be getting an even better deal than the top line figures first suggest. To complete the sale, the buyer need only pay $550,000 at closing, with an additional $100,000 left in an escrow account. The filing also showed that a deposit of $500,000 had already been paid.

[...] Though it was once a powerful force in the early days of internet blogging and a prominent incubator of talent, the website has fallen on hard times in recent years. On May 3, the filing revealed, CEO Jordan Hoffner departed the company. Salon's longtime chief financial officer, Elizabeth Hambrecht, also jumped ship last October.

[...] The company's troubles, however began long before and were documented in detail in a 2016 Politico Magazine story, which revealed that for years Salon — deeply unprofitable — had been kept afloat by elderly benefactors, John Warnock, a co-founder of Adobe, and Bill Hambrecht a venture capitalist. The two are now 78 and 84 respectively.

"Because Salon has run deficits for almost every quarter since it was founded, the company has relied on regular interest-free cash advances from Warnock, chairman of Salon's board, and Hambrecht, a board member," Politico wrote at the time. "From Salon's founding until the end of 2015, the most recent data available, Warnock and Hambrecht have given the company nearly $20 million in cash advances, and Warnock also personally guaranteed a $1 million line of credit."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it-was-an-accident-honest dept.

It supposedly only affects those with more than one Twitter account on iOS who opted into using Twitter's precise location feature on one of those accounts, but I received the alert despite having only a single account.

Twitter on Monday alerted some iOS users that its app accidentally collected and shared location data with a third party. The bug has since been fixed.

Twitter didn't mention exactly how many people were affected. It claims that only those with more than one Twitter account on iOS who opted into using Twitter's precise location feature on one of those accounts had their data exposed, but I received the alert despite having only a single account.

That alert says the bug was related to Twitter's advertising business, where clients pay for their ads to appear on the app based on users' current location.

"We had intended to remove location data from the fields sent to a trusted partner during an advertising process known as real-time bidding," Twitter said. "This removal of location did not happen as planned."

Twitter didn't reveal the name of this trusted partner. But it said the location data it sent was "fuzzed," so it was no more precise than a 3-mile area. Actual Twitter handles and unique account IDs were not shared during the process.

From we get the following:

"We have discovered that we were inadvertently collecting and sharing iOS location data with one of our trusted partners in certain circumstances. Specifically, if you used more than one account on Twitter for iOS and opted into using the precise location feature in one account, we may have accidentally collected location data when you were using any other account(s) on that same device for which you had not turned on the precise location feature."

[...] "We have confirmed with our partner that the location data has not been retained and that it only existed in their systems for a short time, and was then deleted as part of their normal process," it said. "We have fixed this problem and are working hard to make sure it does not happen again. We have also communicated with the people whose accounts were impacted to let them know the bug has been fixed."

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday May 15 2019, @07:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

[UPDATE #1 20190516_015859 UTC to reflect change in scheduled window start being delayed 30 minutes. --martyb]

[UPDATE #2 20190516_025012 UTC Launch scrubbed for today; will try again during backup 90-minute window which starts 2230 EDT May 16 (0230 UTC May 17). Just as the broadcast went live, they learned the upper altitude winds were outside of allowable bounds and they decided to postpone the launch until the backup window. --martyb]

Yesterday (May 13th), we posted a story SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More. Here are a few more details about Starlink and — more importantly — the launch schedule and a link to the YouTube page to follow along.

SpaceX plans to launch 60 satellites tonight for its next round of development and test towards its goal of deploying Starlink:

SpaceX has plans to deploy nearly 12,000 satellites in three orbital shells by the mid-2020s: initially placing approximately 1600 in a 550-kilometer (340 mi)-altitude shell, subsequently placing ~2800 Ku- and Ka-band spectrum sats at 1,150 km (710 mi) and ~7500 V-band sats at 340 km (210 mi). The total cost of the decade-long project to design, build and deploy such a network is estimated at nearly US$10 billion.

According to Spaceflight Now:

The Federal Communications Commission has granted a request by SpaceX to begin launching spacecraft for the company’s Starlink broadband network to a lower orbit than originally planned, overruling protests by competitors and clearing a major regulatory hurdle before the launch of the first batch of Internet satellites from Cape Canaveral in May.

The regulatory commission approved SpaceX’s proposal Friday to fly more than 1,500 of its Starlink satellites at an altitude of 341 miles, or 550 kilometers, instead of the 714-mile-high (1,150-kilometer) orbit originally planned.

These would be in what is called low Earth orbit (LEO), which ultimately promises to rival terrestrial gigabit fiber connections. Current satellite internet connections communicate with satellites that are in geostationary orbit (GEO), where they stay over a fixed point on Earth. To do so, they orbit at an altitude of approximately 22,236 miles (35,786 km) above the equator. Even at the speed of light, that imposes a minimum round-trip delay of 250ms. To access satellites in LEO, a user's ground station would employ a steerable phased array antenna about the size of a pizza box. The antenna would dynamically steer its connection to one of the satellites passing overhead, much like how a GPS receiver gets its signal from the selection of currently-overhead satellites. (You cannot directly link your mobile phone to one of the satellites.) But, it does promise much better connectivity for those in rural areas who are currently underserved by terrestrial ISPs who at best offer DSL speeds, if any at all. Ships out in the middle of the ocean would also greatly benefit from this availability.

From SpaceX's live stream page on YouTube with text retrieved 20190515 @ 1200 UTC:

Since the original launch proved unaceptable due to upper altitude winds being outside allowable bounds, SpaceX announced they will try again during the backup launch window.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 15 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX’s Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.

Liftoff is targeted for 11:00 p.m. EDT on May 15, or 3:00 UTC on May 16, with the launch window closing at 12:00 a.m. on May 16, or 4:00 UTC. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, or 4:00 UTC. Falcon 9’s first stage for this mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018 and the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. They will then use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.

Historically, the stream goes live about 20-30 minutes before the scheduled launch.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 15 2019, @05:54PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the do-no-evil-only-when-it-suits-us dept.

"Give us torrents or give us freedom!" Cried absolutely no one in Australia after Google decided to start filtering out torrent site results from search queries submitted from Australian locations.

The tech giant has voluntarily agreed to remove sites that facilitate copyright infringement from its search results, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Google has reached a voluntary agreement with Australian ISPs and content rights holders to de-index sites that have been blocked by internet providers under recent laws.

With the search giant of the internet on their side local content owners will no longer need to jump through hoops and costs to petition for sites to be occluded based on a purely voluntary agreement between ISPs and and content owners. The Australian Federal Government introduced laws in 2015 for blocking sites deemed to be breaching copyrights, following up in 2018 with 65 sites and over 378 domains blocked. This way of dealing with the issue has been roundly criticized for years by interested parties.

In response to this recent agreement a spokesperson said "Google supports effective industry-led measures to fight piracy," while local content representative Graham Burke has said that "Google is leading people to the back door" "shamelessly facilitating crime by leading people to pirate sites" while everyday Australians follow the advice of a former Communications Minister and just use a VPN making the filtering by Google moot.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 15 2019, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

An independent report claims Huawei boosted the UK economy by £1.7 billion in 2018, as the debate over the company's security continues.

A study by Oxford Economics, commissioned at the end of last year, said the Chinese firm now supports more than 26,000 jobs in the UK.

But the company's place in the development and infrastructure of 5G networks is under scrutiny over concerns Huawei equipment could be exploited for espionage.

[...] The technology company is now the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer and a market leader in equipment 5G mobile data network equipment.

[...] The [UK] Government has since said no decision has yet been made over Huawei's presence in 5G networks.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 15 2019, @02:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the indemnification-my-backside dept.

Citing ongoing litigation, Adobe is warning its customers of legal problems if they keep using old versions of Creative Cloud apps. It has not stated yet with whom or what it has the dispute, but early indicators suggest that it may be over copyright. Going forward Adobe is only supporting the two most recent versions of its Creative Cloud services.

"Adobe recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications. Customers using those versions have been notified that they are no longer licensed to use them and were provided guidance on how to upgrade to the latest authorized versions," said Adobe in a statement to AppleInsider.

"Unfortunately, customers who continue to use or deploy older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud may face potential claims of infringement by third parties. We cannot comment on claims of third-party infringement, as it concerns ongoing litigation."

Instead, users are receiving the equivalent of a cease and desist email, informing them that the apps that they are using are discontinued.

Gimp and Darktable are not perfect replacements but may be close enough for many hobbyists and maybe a handful of professionals.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @01:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Ready!-Shoot!-Aim! dept.

What's faster than a speeding bullet? The Dutch F-16 that shot itself.

The Netherlands' Defense Safety Inspection Agency (Inspectie Veiligheid Defensie) is investigating an incident during a January military exercise in which a Dutch Air Force F-16 was damaged by live fire from a 20-millimeter cannon—its own 20-millimeter cannon. At least one round fired from the aircraft's M61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun struck the aircraft as it fired at targets on the Dutch military's Vliehors range on the island of Vlieland, according to a report from the Netherlands' NOS news service.

Two F-16s were conducting firing exercises on January 21. It appears that the damaged aircraft actually caught up with the 20mm rounds it fired as it pulled out of its firing run. At least one of them struck the side of the F-16's fuselage, and parts of a round were ingested by the aircraft's engine. The F-16's pilot managed to land the aircraft safely at Leeuwarden Air Base.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @11:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the did-you-see-that? dept.

In an observation piece at Scientific American, Ralph Nader ( writes about the decades of struggles by conscientious engineers—whether employees or consultants—who strive to balance professional ethics with occupational survival.

Nader writes:

[...] today's engineers are working in an improved environment for taking their conscience to work. Yet much more remains to be done to safeguard the ability of engineers to speak truth to the powers-that-be.

For starters, the word whistle-blower—once popularly meant to describe a snitch or a disgruntled employee—now describes an ethical person willing to put his or her job on the line in order to expose corrupt, illegal, fraudulent and harmful activities. Indeed, in the aftermath of recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes, the media routinely and positively refers to disclosures by "Boeing whistle-blowers." Congressional investigating committees and federal agencies have called for whistle-blowers to come forward and shed light on corporate misdeeds and governmental agency lapses.

To put it mildly, this was not always the case.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @10:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the place-your-orders-now! dept.

Vodafone has become the first UK operator to announce the official switch-on date for its 5G network, revealing it will go live for consumers and businesses in seven cities on 3 July.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London will be the first to receive coverage, with Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton following later in the year.

The operator said it will also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain this summer.

The network will be priced the same as 4G for consumers and businesses. Vodafone's first 5G smartphone goes on sale next week and a 5G home and office router will also be available in time for launch, to give customers without a fixed line connection high-speed internet access.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @08:28AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the because-2011's-20-year-oversight-agreement-was-so-effective? dept.

Facebook is nearing a settlement with US regulators over its privacy and data practices that would put it under 20 years of oversight, Reuters reported.

The deal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would resolve a probe into whether it violated a similar pact dating from 2011, which Facebook said it did not.

The probe centres on Facebook's handling of last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the now-defunct political consultancy allegedly misappropriated data on some 87 million users.

[...] Some politicians and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes have pointed out that the 2011 arrangement failed to prevent the Cambridge Analytica incident from occurring.

They have called for more stringent measures, such as forcing Facebook to sell off properties such as the WhatsApp messaging system, acquired in 2014, and Instagram, which it bought in 2012.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday May 15 2019, @06:50AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the uncover-camera-for-verification-before-commenting-citizen dept.

San Francisco is the first major United States city to restrict the use of facial recognition technology by government and law enforcement.

San Francisco has become the first major city in America, if not the world, to effectively ban facial recognition technology and other forms of state surveillance.

In an 8-1 vote on Tuesday, the city's Board of Supervisors passed a new ordinance that requires all local government departments – including the police – to follow a series of new policies and get explicit permission from the Board before introducing any new technology that stores information on individuals.

The ordinance also will require all departments to provide a report listing any and all technologies and software in use to "collect, retain, process or share" a person’s data "audio, electronic, visual, location, thermal, biometric, olfactory or similar" within 60 days.

It provides an extensive example list of the sort of technologies included: cell site simulators, license plate readers, closed-circuit television cameras, gunshot detection hardware, body cameras, DNA capture technology, biometric software and so on.

The ordinance makes it plain what the intent and concern is behind the new law by referring to all such efforts as "surveillance technology." After it has reviewed all the reports, the Board will decide which technologies are appropriate and change the ordinance in response.

Going forward any city department will have to go through an extensive multi-step impact and public review process culminating in obtaining final approval from the Board.

The tech-industry-backed Information Technology and Innovation Foundation opposes the ban, while the American Civil Liberties Union supports it.

San Francisco's civil liberties first approach stands in contrast to that taken in other cities such as London which have instead aggressively rolled out such technologies.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @05:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the with-some-fava-beans-and-a-slight-hint-of-roundup dept.

It's in the Weeds: Herbicide Linked to Human Liver Disease

In a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology[$], a team [...] examined glyphosate excretion in the urine samples of two patient groups — those with a diagnosis of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD), and those without. The results, they found, were significant: Regardless of age, race, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity or diabetes status, glyphosate residue was significantly higher in patients with NASH than it was in patients with a healthier liver.

The findings, coupled with prior animal studies, said Mills, suggest a link between the use of commercial glyphosate in our food supply, which has increased significantly over the past 25 years, and the prevalence of NAFLD in the United States, which too has been on the rise for two decades.

"There have been a handful of studies, all of which we cited in our paper, where animals either were or weren't fed Roundup or glyphosate directly, and they all point to the same thing: the development of liver pathology," said Mills. "So I naturally thought: 'Well, could it be exposure to this same herbicide that is driving liver disease in the U.S.?'"

The study examined urine samples of 93 patients. Forty-one percent were male; 42 percent were white or Caucasian; 35 percent were Hispanic or Latino. Average BMI was 31.8. Patients were originally recruited as part of a larger study at the UC San Diego NAFLD Research Center conducted between 2012 and 2018. Liver biopsies were used to determine the presence or absence of NAFLD while classifying the subjects by cohort.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @03:52AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the The-bigger-they-are dept.

Who's is bigger? Russia or the good old US of A? Do we need to get out the measuring tape? Maybe we do, after China completes what looks to be the latest generation naval defense: the Type 002 aircraft carrier that is currently under construction in a floodable dry dock. Tinfoil hatters among us will be glad to hear that updates of the progress for the construction of this mighty vessel come from satellite imagery. Now that battleships are pretty much obsolete with maybe carriers to follow this latest addition to China's growing fleet may just be an expensive showboat.

Entry for the carrier on Wikipedia.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @03:07AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the need-more-patches dept.

The RIDL and Fallout speculative execution attacks allow attackers to leak confidential data across arbitrary security boundaries on a victim system, for instance compromising data held in the cloud or leaking your information to malicious websites.

[...] RIDL (Rogue In-Flight Data Load) shows attackers can exploit MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) vulnerabilities to mount practical attacks and leak sensitive data in real-world settings.

[....] Fallout demonstrates that attackers can leak data from Store Buffers, which are used every time a CPU pipeline needs to store any data. Making things worse, an unprivileged attacker can then later pick which data they leak from the CPU's Store Buffer.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday May 15 2019, @02:16AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the R.I.P. dept.

Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway passed away today, Tuesday May 14, 2019 at the age of 85.

He gained his first national following as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale's Navy in the 1960s. He was possibly best known for his being a regular cast member on The Carol Burnett Show where he frequently attempted -- and often succeeded -- in getting his fellow cast members to "break character". He'd ceaselessly ad-lib lines and employ mannerisms that led them to bust out laughing.

Wikipedia has a full write-up on his life and career that I was only fortunate enough to experience a small fraction of his comedic genius. His humor was self-effacing, self-deprecating, and his comedic timing was unparalleled.

My favorite skit was his portrayal of a dentist, fresh out of dental school, and his difficulties with helping a patient (Harvey Korman) who was complaining of a toothache. (Video available on YouTube. (Watch Harvey Korman struggling to maintain his composure.)

Coverage at: Variety, CBS News, USA Today, NPR, LA Times, and TV Guide.

The world is a darker place for his passing.

What were your favorite scenes, skits, or memories?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @12:37AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the if-they-win-at-trial,-would-they-be-called-Avengers? dept.

Stan Lee: Ex-manager of comic book legend charged with elder abuse

The former manager of comic book co-creator Stan Lee has been charged with elder abuse against the late writer. Kyle Morgan is facing five counts of abuse against Lee - including false imprisonment, fraud and forgery - all stemming from an incident last summer.

The Marvel superhero visionary died in November last year aged 95.

A spokesperson for Los Angeles Superior Court confirmed an arrest warrant for Mr Morgan - who is yet to comment - had been issued.

[...] The charges follow previous filings against Mr Morgan in May and June last year, including falsely reporting an emergency and falsely reporting a crime, along with a probation violation. This culminated in a judge granting a restraining order brought by Lee's family, after Mr Morgan was accused of moving the magnate out of his home at midnight to isolate him from his caregivers. Speaking to Variety at the time, Mr Morgan denied the accusations.

Previously: Legendary Marvel Comics Writer-Editor Stan Lee Has Died at Age 95

Original Submission

Today's News | May 16 | May 14  >