2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-10-14 13:46:04 UTC
2019-10-15 09:01:52 UTC
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Not only is the problem of cars killing pedestrians not going away, but the annual death toll over the last decade has actually increased by 35%. The proliferation of cars with automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems that detect pedestrians is therefore a good thing, right?
According to a study by the American Automobile Association, maybe we shouldn't count on AEB. The association has just tested the pedestrian-detection behavior of four popular mid-sized model-year 2019 sedans—a Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Tesla Model 3, and Toyota Camry—in a variety of different scenarios. Unfortunately, the results are not promising, particularly when it comes to anything but the least challenging scenarios.
[...] The testing was all carried out on dry asphalt in a testing area marked out as a four-lane highway with a solid white line dividing the two middle lanes. For one other test, one of the speedway's surface streets was appropriated: a right turn with a 57-foot (17.3m)-radius curve. Different tests involved adult or child pedestrian targets moving at 3.1mph (5km/h), from left to right across the path of the test vehicle. For each test, the longitudinal distance and the time-to-collision was recorded when each vehicle gave a visual alert that a collision was imminent, as well as once the vehicle began to automatically brake. Impact speed or separation distance were recorded, depending upon the outcome of the test.
Unfortunately, the results of the tests were very much a mixed bag.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones, are now a fundamental part of defence force capability, from intelligence gathering to unmanned engagement in military operations. But what happens if our own technology is turned against us?
Between 2015 and 2022, the global commercial drone market is expected to grow from A$5.95 billion to A$7.47 billion.
[...] UK cybersecurity consultant James Dale warned earlier this year that "equipment is now available to hack drones so they can bypass technology controls".
Drones are relatively cheap technologies for military use—certainly cheaper than the use of satellites for surveillance. Off-the-shelf drones can be used to gather intelligence, without any significant development effort.
[...] Russian software company Coptersafe sells such modifications for a few hundred dollars. Anyone can buy a drone from a retail store, purchase the modifications, and then send their drone into no-fly zones such as military bases and airports. Ironically, Russia's military base in Syria came under attack from drones last year.
Australia is at the frontier of the military drone revolution, equipping itself with a fleet of hundreds of new drones. Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce, discussing the program in a recent defence podcast, declared Australia will soon be "the most unmanned [air vehicle] army in the world per capita".
It will be essential to safeguard every single component of this sophisticated unmanned aerial fleet from cyber attack.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Scientists in Siberia have discovered an area of sea that is "boiling" with methane, with bubbles that can be scooped from the water with buckets. Researchers on an expedition to the East Siberian Sea said the "methane fountain" was unlike anything they had seen before, with concentrations of the gas in the region to be six to seven times higher than the global average.
The team, led by Igor Semiletov, from Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia, traveled to an area of the Eastern Arctic previously known to produce methane fountains. They were studying the environmental consequences of permafrost thawing beneath the ocean.
Permafrost is ground that is permanently frozen—in some cases for tens of thousands of years. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, permafrost currently covers about 8.7 million square miles of the Northern Hemisphere.
[...] permafrost is also present under the ocean. In 2017, scientists announced they had discovered hundreds of craters at the bottom of the Barents Sea, north of Norway and Russia. The craters had formed from methane building up then exploding suddenly when the pressure got too high.
In the latest expedition to chart methane emissions coming from the ocean, researchers analyzed the water around Bennett Island, taking samples of sea water and sediments. In one area, however, they found something unexpected—an extremely sharp increase in the concentration of atmospheric methane. According to a statement from Tomsk Polytechnic University, it was six to seven times higher than average.
They then noticed an area of water around four to five square meters that was "boiling with methane bubbles," the statement said. This could be scooped out with buckets, the researchers said. After identifying the fountain, the team was able to take samples directly from it. Methane levels around the fountain were nine times higher than average global concentrations.
A secretive US court has determined that some of the FBI's surveillance activities violated Americans' constitutional rights, newly unsealed documents reveal. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled last year that the law enforcement agency improperly searched an NSA repository for information on Americans, according to the declassified documents.
The court found that the FBI intercepted emails without obtaining a warrant, a violation of Americans' Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The FBI appealed the decision to FISA, which affirmed the ruling and issued new querying procedures for the FBI.
Under a new requirement mandated by Congress in 2018, US agencies wishing to search the NSA repository for Americans' data must get court approval for rules covering how they intend to search the database. FBI searches of the database mustn't be overly broad, have an authorized purpose and a reasonable expectation of uncovering evidence of a crime.
The FISA court, under Judge James E. Boasberg, found tens of thousands of queries executed in 2017 and 2018 were unlikely to return evidence of a crime (PDF). In one case, the court found that a contractor ran queries on himself, his relatives and other FBI employees.
As a result, the court found the FBI's querying procedures were "not consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment."
The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the ruling, saying that the government shouldn't be able to conduct electronic surveillance of Americans' communications without a warrant.
"Any surveillance legislation considered by Congress this year must include reforms that address the disturbing abuses detailed in these opinions," ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani said in a statement. "Congress and the courts now have even more reason to prohibit warrantless searches of our information, and to permanently close the door on any collection of information that is not to or from a surveillance target."
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337
As the field of players in "urban air mobility" (read: flying cars) get more crowded every day, the Larry Page-backed effort Kitty Hawk is trying a different approach with its latest vehicle: it's very quiet. Dubbed Project Heaviside, it's all-electric, flies like a plane but is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) like a helicopter, while being as much as 100 times quieter than a helicopter.
It's also tiny, as you can make out in a picture with a person crouching next to the aircraft with seating for one. TechCrunch got up close and personal with Heaviside, noting that at the moment the cockpit seats its passenger on bare carbon fiber.
Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun told TechCrunch "The calculus here is that this has to be socially acceptable for people," while demonstrating Heaviside's capability to fly overhead without being any louder than an office air conditioner. It's also intended to support both manual and autonomous flight, although regulatory approval could be quite a way off.
From TechCrunch we get the following:
HVSD, which is named after renowned physicist and electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside, is Kitty Hawk's third act.
The first is Flyer, a single-seater, all-electric, vertical take-off and landing vehicle powered by 10 independent lift fans that operates between three to 10 feet off the water. Then there's Cora, a two-person, autonomous taxi that Kitty Hawk unveiled in 2018. Kitty Hawk, which is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, recently formed a strategic partnership with Boeing to collaborate on urban air mobility, particularly around safety and how autonomous and piloted vehicles will co-exist. The partnership will focus on Cora.
HVSD is an electric aircraft designed to go anywhere and land anywhere fast and quietly, Vander Lind says.
"If you build an aircraft that can land anywhere and then say 'actually, oh wait it can't just land anywhere, no I need a big helipad and I need to build a bunch of structure and all that' — you miss the point," said Vander Lind.
And indeed, HVSD isn't parked on a large runway or giant helipad. The aircraft, which weighs about one-third of a Cessna, is on a section of asphalt not much bigger than its wingspan. Just beyond this man-made parking spot are acres of grassland and the occasional tree. There is no runway to be found.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Tesla set new records for both production and delivery of vehicles in the third quarter of 2019, the company announced on Wednesday. Tesla produced 96,155 vehicles and delivered slightly more—97,000.
It's a modest improvement over the 95,200 cars Tesla delivered in the second quarter. But Wall Street wasn't impressed by the new figures, with Tesla stock falling about 4% in after-hours trading.
One of the most significant trends in Tesla's vehicle deliveries this year has been the sharp decline in sales of Tesla's pricier Model S and Model X models. Tesla enjoyed combined S and X sales of almost 100,000 vehicles in 2018—or nearly 25,000 per quarter.
Then sales of the Model S and X plunged to 12,100 in the first quarter of 2019. This was a painful shift given the higher margins on these vehicles. Tesla delivered 17,650 of the high-end vehicles in the second quarter but then backslid (slightly) to 17,400 in Q3. That's not going to be good for Tesla's profit figures, which are expected out later this month.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
As research involving the transplantation of human "mini-brains" -- known as brain organoids -- into animals to study disease continues to expand, so do the ethical debates around the practice. One concern is the possibility, however minute, that the grafted organoids may one day induce a level of consciousness in host animals, as models evolve to resemble the human brain more closely.
A new paper published today in Cell Stem Cell by researchers from Penn Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs sought to address this dilemma by clarifying the abilities of brain organoids and suggesting an ethical framework that better defines and contextualizes these organoids and establishes thresholds for their use. Their paper accompanies another study in the same journal that reported the presence of brain wave patterns, known as oscillatory activity, in brain organoids, which brought fresh attention to the overall research and ethical discussion.
"Due to their ability to mimic certain brain structures and activity, human brain organoids -- in animal models -- allow us to study neurological diseases and other disorders in previously unimaginable ways," said the study's first author H. Isaac Chen, MD, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. "However, the field is developing quickly, and as we continue down this path, researchers need to contribute to the creation of ethical guidelines grounded in scientific principles that define how to approach their use before and after transplantation in animals. Such guidelines can help avoid confusion for scientists, especially when communicating with the public, and clearly lay out the benefits of this research, against which any ethical or moral risks can be weighed."
Lab-grown brain organoids -- which are derived from human pluripotent stem cells and grown to a size no bigger than a pea -- can recapitulate important brain architecture and several basic layers of the human cortex. Some resemble the midbrain, hippocampus, and the hypothalamus, and have genetic similarities to the human brain. There is also preliminary evidence suggesting that neurons within transplanted organoids respond to light stimulation of the host animal's eye, results which were presented in a Penn Medicine abstract at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November 2017.
Still, today's brain organoids remain distinctly different from the actual human brain, the authors note. Their maximum size remains small (measured in millimeters) due to inadequate nutrient, gas, and waste exchange which limits development. Organoids also lack endothelial cells, microglia cells (key cells in overall brain maintenance), and other cell types that contribute to the brain's microenvironment. Furthermore, organized structural nodes and the white matter connections among these cells are absent -- which are both necessary for higher brain function.
Work on developing a "better" brain organoid, however, continues to make strides. And with that, the question of the host animal becoming more "human" remains at the forefront of the ethical debate. One particular outcome that has raised concerns is the potential appearance of self-awareness and consciousness in the animals, but authors note that this is unlikely for several reasons.
H. Isaac Chen, John A. Wolf, Rachel Blue, Mingyan Maggie Song, Jonathan D. Moreno, Guo-li Ming, Hongjun Song. Transplantation of Human Brain Organoids: Revisiting the Science and Ethics of Brain Chimeras. Cell Stem Cell, 2019; 25 (4): 462 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2019.09.002
-- submitted from IRC
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has sent last month a security advisory to private industry partners about the rising threat of attacks against organizations and their employees that can bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions.
"The FBI has observed cyber actors circumventing multi-factor authentication through common social engineering and technical attacks," the FBI wrote in a Private Industry Notification (PIN) sent out on September 17.
While nowadays there are multiple ways of bypassing MFA protections, the FBI alert specifically warned about SIM swapping, vulnerabilities in online pages handling MFA operations, and the use of transparent proxies like Muraen and NecroBrowser.
To get the point across, the FBI listed recent incidents where hackers had used these techniques to bypass MFA and steal money from companies and regular users alike. We cite from the report:
- In 2016 customers of a US banking institution were targeted by a cyber attacker who ported their phone numbers to a phone he owned-an attack called SIM swapping. The attacker called the phone companies' customer service representatives, finding some who were more willing to provide him information to complete the SIM swap. Once the attacker had control over the customers' phone numbers, he called the bank to request a wire transfer from the victims' accounts to another account he owned. The bank, recognizing the phone number as belonging to the customer, did not ask for full security questions but requested a one-time code sent to the phone number from which he was calling. He also requested to change PINs and passwords and was able to attach victims' credit card numbers to a mobile payment application.
- Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center and FBI victim complaints observed the above attack-SIM swapping-as a common tactic from cyber criminals seeking to circumvent two-factor authentication. Victims of these attacks have had their phone numbers stolen, their bank accounts drained, and their passwords and PINs changed. Many of these attacks rely on socially engineering customer service representatives for major phone companies, who give information to the attackers.
- In 2019 a US banking institution was targeted by a cyber attacker who was able to take advantage of a flaw in the bank's website to circumvent the two-factor authentication implemented to protect accounts. The cyber attacker logged in with stolen victim credentials and, when reaching the secondary page where the customer would normally need to enter a PIN and answer a security question, the attacker entered a manipulated string into the Web URL setting the computer as one recognized on the account. This allowed him to bypass the PIN and security question pages and initiate wire transfers from the victims' accounts.
- In February 2019 a cyber security expert at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, demonstrated a large variety of schemes and attacks cyber actors could use to circumvent multi-factor authentication. The security expert presented real-time examples of how cyber actors could use man-in-the-middle attacks and session hijacking to intercept the traffic between a user and a website to conduct these attacks and maintain access for as long as possible. He also demonstrated social engineering attacks, including phishing schemes or fraudulent text messages purporting to be a bank or other service to cause a user to log into a fake website and give up their private information.
- At the June 2019 Hack-in-the-Box conference in Amsterdam, cyber security experts demonstrated a pair of tools - Muraena and NecroBrowser - which worked in tandem to automate a phishing scheme against users of multi-factor authentication. The Muraena tool intercepts traffic between a user and a target website where they are requested to enter login credentials and a token code as usual. Once authenticated, NecroBrowser stores the data for the victims of this attack and hijacks the session cookie, allowing cyber actors to log into these private accounts, take them over, and change user passwords and recovery e-mail addresses while maintaining access as long as possible.
Saturn has overtaken Jupiter as the planet with the most moons, according to US researchers. A team discovered a haul of 20 new moons orbiting the ringed planet, bringing its total to 82; Jupiter, by contrast, has 79 natural satellites. The moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii.
Each of the newly discovered objects in orbit around Saturn is about 5km (three miles) in diameter; 17 of them orbit the planet "backwards". This is known as a retrograde direction. The other three moons orbit in a prograde direction - the same direction as Saturn rotates. Two of the prograde moons take about two years to travel once around the ringed planet. The more-distant retrograde moons and one of the prograde moons each take more than three years to complete an orbit.
Also at Carnegie Science.
Hackers caused havoc at four restaurant chains in the U.S. over the summer after compromising their payment systems with malware that stole customers' payment card information.
In the last two days, McAlister's Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, and Hy-Vee disclosed publicly that their networks were infected with point-of-sale malware copying data from cards used in person at certain locations.
McAlister's, Moe's, and Schlotzsky’s together have around 1,500 locations spread across the U.S. and are owned by the same parent company, Focus Brands.
Hy-Vee operates in the retail (fuel pumps, grocery, convenience, drug stores) business and it is employee-owned. It has over 245 locations in the U.S. that registered $10 billion in revenue last year.
Yesterday, the three Focus Brands subsidiaries provided details about a payment card security incident affecting corporate and franchised restaurants (1, 2, 3). The intrusion was ended on July 22 for all three chains although it had started at different dates.
At Moe’s and McAlister’s, the attackers scraped the information beginning April 29 while at Schlotzsky’s the operation began earlier, on April 11.
"The unauthorized code was not present at all locations, and at most locations it was present for only a few weeks in July," reads the notification from the three chains.
[...] It appears that malware was used on PoS devices "at certain Hy-Vee fuel pumps, drive-thru coffee shops, and restaurants."
Unlike the compromise at Focus Brands subsidiaries where the malware resided for about a month on the systems, the duration of the malicious activity at Hy-Vee was much longer.
For fuel pumps, it began on December 14, 2018, while for restaurants and drive-thru coffee shops the malware had been active since January 15, the update informs.
In six locations, though, there are suspicions that the start date for sweeping the card data was November 9, 2018. Furthermore, in one location access to the payment information may have lasted until August 2.
A man has been able to move all four of his paralysed limbs with a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit, French researchers report.
Thibault, 30, said taking his first steps in the suit felt like being the "first man on the Moon".
His movements, particularly walking, are far from perfect and the robo-suit is being used only in the lab.
But researchers say the approach could one day improve patients' quality of life.
[...] Prof Tom Shakespeare, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "Although this study presents a welcome and exciting advance, we must remember that proof of concept is a long way from usable clinical possibility.
"A danger of hype always exists in this field.
"Even if ever workable, cost constraints mean that hi-tech options are never going to be available to most people in the world with spinal cord injury."
He said only 15% of people with disabilities had a wheelchair or other assistive devices.
Details of the exoskeleton have been published in The Lancet Neurology journal.
AndyTheAbsurd submitted a story that was the inspiration for the following:
Discord, one of the best-known video chat and instant messaging platforms in the video game sector, has confirmed the application of a dismissal process that affects part of its workforce. This internal restructuring has been described as "complicated" by one of the company's representatives.
The business, born in 2015, has had an exponential growth since then, extending as an almost inescapable communication tool for streamers and other content creators for its facilities of voice over IP options available.
A Discord representative made the following statement to GamesIndustry.
Yesterday, we made an active shift in the talent needs of our marketing department to better serve our growing business and future ambitions. As part of this, some difficult personnel decisions had to be made to meet these goals.
Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956
The more we read about [Josh Pieper]’s quadruped, the mjbots quad A0, the more blown away we are by his year of progress on the design. Each part of the robot deserves its own article: from the heavily modified brushless motors (with custom planetary gears) to the custom motor driver designed just for this project.
[Josh], realized early on that the off-the-shelf components like an ODrive just weren’t going to cut it for his application. So he designed his own board, took it through four revisions, and even did thermal and cycle testing on it. He ended up with the compact moteus board. It can pump out 400 Watts of peak power while its 3Mbit control protocol leaves plenty of bandwidth for real time dynamic control.
[...] Finally it’s all packed into a neat four-legged robot frame with batteries and a Pi. You can get a video summary of the robot here or after the break, and we recommend reading his blog for some more images and details.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow9088
The developer behind the HildaCrypt Ransomware has decided to release the ransomware's private decryption keys. With these keys a decryptor can be made that would allow any potential victims to recover their files for free.
When a new ransomware or a variant is discovered, it is very common for researchers to post about them on Twitter. This week, researcher GrujaRS discovered a new ransomware variant and identified it as a STOP variant.
Last night, the developer contacted the researcher to tell him that it was an incorrect identification and that it was actually a variant of the HildaCrypt Ransomware.
As part of this communication, the developer decided to also release the master private decryption keys for the ransomware.
With these keys a decryptor can be made that allows a victim to get their files back for free.
Well this is different.
Sony skipped games show E3 this year, a void during which Microsoft unveiled details about its own next-gen console, a successor to the Xbox One referred to only as Project Scarlett. Like the PS5, Scarlett will boast a CPU based on AMD's Ryzen line and a GPU based on its Navi family; like the PS5, it will ditch the spinning hard drive for a solid-state drive. Now, though, in a conference room at Sony's US headquarters, [Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan] and system architect Mark Cerny are eager to share specifics.
Before they do, Cerny wants to clarify something. When we last discussed the forthcoming console, he spoke about its ability to support ray-tracing, a technique that can enable complex lighting and sound effects in 3D environments. Given the many questions he's received since, he fears he may have been ambiguous about how the PS5 would accomplish this—and confirms that it's not a software-level fix, which some had feared. "There is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware," he says, "which I believe is the statement that people were looking for." (A belief born out by my own Twitter mentions, which for a couple of weeks in April made a graphics-rendering technique seem like the only thing the internet had ever cared about.)
[Since] games are getting quite large (Red Dead Redemption 2 took up nearly 100GB; The Elder Scrolls Online is even larger), the PlayStation 5 will use 100GB optical discs. It will support the 4K Blu-ray disc format.
Previously: Sony's Next PlayStation Will Include an AMD Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU
Microsoft, Sony Partner on Streaming Games, Chips and AI
Microsoft Announces New Xbox Console and xCloud Streaming Game Service
The Raspberry Pi 4 is much faster than every prior Raspberry Pi, but what if you could squeeze much more than the base 1.5 GHz out of its Broadcom BCM2711B0 CPU? Fortunately, it's easy to overclock any Raspberry Pi and you can do it just by tweaking a few lines of text in the /boot/config.txt file. Now, with the latest firmware, we were able to reach a speed of 2,147 MHz, which we believe is a new high.
With prior firmware, the Pi 4 B's processor was limited to a maximum overclocked frequency of 2 GHz, which is pretty good all by itself. However, the latest update let us push it up another 147 MHz. We were also able to increase the GPU clock speed to 750 MHz, a big boost over its 500 MHz stock speed and the 600 MHz we had overclocked it to previously.
Before 2 GHz, the max overclock was 1.75 GHz with the original, stable firmware.
Also at Electronics Weekly.