2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-10-18 11:21:58 UTC
2021-10-18 12:49:30 UTC --martyb
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Futurism has done an interview over e-mail with Alexandra Elbakyan who founded Sci-Hub ten years ago. Over that time, it has become both widely used and well-stocked, having picked up momentum in 2016. There are now over 87 million research articles in its database, though not evenly distributed over academic disciplines.
As of September, Sci-Hub has officially existed for 10 years — a milestone that came as a lawsuit to determine if the website infringed on copyright laws sits in India’s Delhi High Court. Just a few months prior, Elbakyan tweeted that she was notified of a request from the FBI to access her data from Apple. And before that, the major academic publisher Elsevier was awarded $15 million in damages after the Department of Justice ruled that Sci-Hub broke copyright law in the U.S.
But that ruling can’t seem to touch Sci-Hub. And Elbakyan remains absolutely unrepentant. She advocates for a future in which scientific knowledge is shared freely, and she’s confident that it’s coming.
Futurism caught up with Elbakyan to hear what’s next. Over email, she explained her vision for the site’s future, her thoughts on copyright law, and more. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The article goes on to report that she had expected copyright law to be corrected long before so much time had passed. In many ways Sci-Hub can be seen as a form of push back against the academic publishing houses which are infamous for abusive practices and pricing. The cost of research, writing, editing, peer-review, and more are all borne by the researchers and their institutions with little beyond distribution borne by the publisher. The big publishing houses then sell access back to the same researchers and institutions at rates that a small and decreasing number can afford.
(2021) Large Publishers Aim to Own the Entire Academic Research Publishing Stack
(2021) Sci-Hub Pledges Open Source & AI Alongside Crypto Donation Drive
(2018) Swedish ISP Punishes Elsevier for Forcing It to Block Sci-Hub by Also Blocking Elsevier
(2018) Sci-Hub Proves That Piracy Can be Dangerously Useful
(2017) Sci-Hub Bounces from TLD to TLD
(2015) Elsevier Cracks Down on "Pirate" Science Search Engines
Sigurdur Thordarson, a key witness for the FBI against Julian Assange, has been jailed in Iceland. The notorious alleged hacker and convicted pedophile was remanded to custody in Iceland's highest security prison, Litla Hraun, on September 24. Þórðarson´s lawyer, Húnbogi J. Andersen, confirms that he is in custody. Thordarson was given immunity by the FBI in exchange for testimony against Julian Assange.
Thordarson was arrested the same day he arrived back in Iceland from a trip to Spain, and was subsequently brought before a judge after police requested indefinite detention intended to halt an ongoing crime spree. The judge apparently agreed that Thordarson's repeated, blatant and ongoing offences against the law put him at high risk for continued re-offending.
[...] Thordarson is a key witness for the United States Justice Department according to documents presented to a UK court in an effort to secure the extradition of Julian Assange. He was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In a recent interview with Stundin he admitted to fabricating statements to implicate Assange and contradicted what he was quoted as saying in US court documents. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. Julian Assange was visiting Thordarson's home country of Iceland around this time due to his work with Icelandic media and members of parliament in preparing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a press freedom project that produced a parliamentary resolution supporting whistleblowers and investigative journalism.
The boss of Intel says the US chipmaker is no longer considering building a factory in the UK because of Brexit.
Pat Gelsinger told the BBC that before the UK left the EU, the country "would have been a site that we would have considered".
[...] Intel wants to boost its output amid a global chip shortage that has hit the supply of cars and other goods.
[...] "I have no idea whether we would have had a superior site from the UK," he said. "But we now have about 70 proposals for sites across Europe from maybe 10 different countries.
[...] The new study, published in the journal the Lancet Planetary Health, revealed that while most people are eating less red and processed meat compared to a decade ago, they are eating more white meat.
High consumption of red and processed meat can increase the risk of health problems including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Meat production also has a higher environmental impact - producing more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions - than other types of agriculture and food production.
Cristina Stewart, Carmen Piernas, Brian Cook, et al. Trends in UK meat consumption: analysis of data from years 1–11 (2008–09 to 2018–19) of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme The Lancet Planet Health [Open] (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00228-X)
Police should be banned from using blanket facial-recognition surveillance to identify people not suspected of crimes. Certain private databases of people’s faces for identification systems ought to be outlawed, too.
That's the feeling of the majority of members in the European Parliament this week. In a vote on Wednesday, 377 MEPs backed a resolution restricting law enforcement’s use of facial recognition, 248 voted against, and 62 abstained.
“AI-based identification systems already misidentify minority ethnic groups, LGBTI people, seniors and women at higher rates, which is particularly concerning in the context of law enforcement and the judiciary,” reads a statement from the parliament.
“To ensure that fundamental rights are upheld when using these technologies, algorithms should be transparent, traceable and sufficiently documented, MEPs ask. Where possible, public authorities should use open-source software in order to be more transparent.”
MEP = Member of the European Parliament
The first scientific analysis of images taken by NASA's Perseverance rover has now confirmed that Mars' Jezero crater -- which today is a dry, wind-eroded depression -- was once a quiet lake, fed steadily by a small river some 3.7 billion years ago.
The images also reveal evidence that the crater endured flash floods. This flooding was energetic enough to sweep up large boulders from tens of miles upstream and deposit them into the lakebed, where the massive rocks lie today.
[...] "We now have the opportunity to look for fossils," says team member Tanja Bosak, associate professor of geobiology at MIT. "It will take some time to get to the rocks that we really hope to sample for signs of life. So, it's a marathon, with a lot of potential."
A survey conducted earlier this year by the Pew Research Center found that 7% of Americans lack access to reliable broadband. One reason for this may be how expensive internet access is in the U.S.
"People in the U.S. pay more for slower internet than people abroad," Open Technology Institute policy analyst Claire Park said. "For many consumers, the cost of getting online right now is simply too high and also too complicated."
The Open Technology Institute has been studying the price and speed of internet services advertised within the United States as well as abroad. Its 2020 Cost of Connectivity Report found that the average advertised monthly cost of internet in the U.S. is $68.38, which is higher than the average price of internet access for all of North America, Europe and Asia.
Outdated infrastructure in the U.S. may also be impeding internet access to millions of Americans, and lawmakers have been debating how to increase internet availability and performance.
[Ed note: In observance of the US federal holiday which is observed on Monday October 11, 2021, I am inviting the editorial staff to run stories on a weekend schedule tomorrow. Please join me in thanking them for all their hard work and for the sacrifice of their spare time and energy! --martyb.]
"The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history — in public service, entrepreneurship, scholarship, the arts, and countless other fields — are integral to our Nation, our culture, and our society," Biden wrote in the proclamation Friday. "Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation."
Biden also marked a change of course from previous administrations in his proclamation marking Columbus Day, which honors the explorer Christopher Columbus. In that proclamation, the President acknowledged the death and destruction wrought on native communities after Columbus journeyed to North America in the late 1500s, ushering in an age of European exploration of the Western Hemisphere.
"Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them," Biden wrote.
More than 100 cities -- including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco -- and a number of states -- including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon -- have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, choosing instead to recognize the native populations that were displaced and decimated after Columbus and other European explorers reached the continent. Berkeley, California, was the first city to adopt Indigenous Peoples' Day, in 1992.
Also at Al Jazeera.
Earlier this week [we published] an article about the upcoming flagship GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphics card, which is now set to launch in January. The graphics card is supposedly the first card to feature a PCIe Gen5 power connector, a new standard that will ultimately solve one of the biggest drawbacks of the current 8-pin power connector, an insufficient power it can provide (up to 150W).
Igor Wallossek from Igor'sLAB managed to obtain the schematics and the information on the new connector, confirming that there is indeed a new standard coming, possibly to all new graphics cards in 2022.
Just as we said, the power connector has 16 lanes in total (12 power and 4 signal lanes), but it's not a MicroFit Molex standard, but something entirely new. The standard [as defined] has smaller spacing than existing connectors, a change from 4.2 mm to 3.0 mm. The connector has a width of 18.85 mm, so it is not exactly small, but much smaller than dual or triple 8-pin connector configuration. This will greatly simplify the circuit and PCB design process, not to mention all the space that will be saved.
The PCI-SIG specs define that each pin can sustain up to 9.2A, which means a total of 55.2 A at 12V. This gives a maximum power of 662W, but the specs officially go up to 600W, Igor notes. Along with twelve pins for power, there are [an] additional 4 signal lanes right underneath the connector. At this moment it is unclear what [their purpose is] or whether they are required or optional.
Also at Wccftech.
University of Arizona engineers have developed a type of wearable they call a "biosymbiotic device," which has several unprecedented benefits. Not only are the devices custom 3D-printed and based on body scans of wearers, but they can operate continuously using a combination of wireless power transfer and compact energy storage. The team, led by Philipp Gutruf, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and Craig M. Berge Faculty Fellow in the College of Engineering, published its findings today in the journal Science Advances.
[...] Current wearable sensors face various limitations. Smartwatches, for example, need to be charged, and they can only gather limited amounts of data due to their placement on the wrist. By using 3D scans of a wearer's body, which can be gathered via methods including MRIs, CT scans and even carefully combined smartphone images, Gutruf and his team can 3D-print custom-fitted devices that wrap around various body parts. Think a virtually unnoticeable, lightweight, breathable, mesh cuff designed specifically for your bicep, calf or torso. The ability to specialize sensor placement allows researchers to measure physiological parameters they otherwise couldn't.
[...] Because these biosymbiotic devices are custom fitted to the wearer, they're also highly sensitive. Gutruf's team tested the device's ability to monitor parameters including temperature and strain while a person jumped, walked on a treadmill and used a rowing machine. In the rowing machine test, subjects wore multiple devices, tracking exercise intensity and the way muscles deformed with fine detail. The devices were accurate enough to detect body temperature changes induced by walking up a single flight of stairs.
Video on YouTube.
Tucker Stuart, Kevin Albert, Kasper Ifechukwude, et al. Biosymbiotic, personalized, and digitally manufactured wireless devices for indefinite collection of high-fidelity biosignals. Science Advances, 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abj3269
Google has warned about 14,000 of its users about being targeted in a state-sponsored phishing campaign from APT28, a threat group that has been linked to Russia.
The campaign was detected in late September and accounts for a larger than usual batch of Government-Backed Attack notifications that Google sends to targeted users every month.
[...] Shane Huntley, who is at the helm of Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) that responds to government-backed hacking, notes that the higher-than-usual number of alerts this month comes from “from a small number of widely targeted campaigns which were blocked.”
The campaign from APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, lead to a larger number of warnings for Gmail users across various industries.
In a statement sent by a Google spokesperson, Huntley says that Fancy Bear’s phishing campaign accounts for 86% of all the batch warnings delivered this month.
[...] “So why do we do these government warnings then? The warning really mostly tells people you are a potential target for the next attack so, now may be a good time to take some security actions” - Shane Huntley
Fossil fuelsFossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds
The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11m every minute, according to analysis by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF found the production and burning of coal, oil and gas was subsidised by $5.9tn in 2020, with not a single country pricing all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs. Experts said the subsidies were “adding fuel to the fire” of the climate crisis, at a time when rapid reductions in carbon emissions were urgently needed.
Explicit subsidies that cut fuel prices accounted for 8% of the total and tax breaks another 6%. The biggest factors were failing to make polluters pay for the deaths and poor health caused by air pollution (42%) and for the heatwaves and other impacts of global heating (29%).
Setting fossil fuel prices that reflect their true cost would cut global CO2 emissions by over a third, the IMF analysts said. This would be a big step towards meeting the internationally agreed 1.5C target. Keeping this target within reach is a key goal of the UN Cop26 climate summit in November.
Agreeing rules for carbon markets, which enable the proper pricing of pollution, is another Cop26 goal. “Fossil fuel price reform could not be timelier,” the IMF researchers said. The ending of fossil fuel subsidies would also prevent nearly a million deaths a year from dirty air and raise trillions of dollars for governments, they said.
“There would be enormous benefits from reform, so there’s an enormous amount at stake,” said Ian Parry, the lead author of the IMF report. “Some countries are reluctant to raise energy prices because they think it will harm the poor. But holding down fossil fuel prices is a highly inefficient way to help the poor, because most of the benefits accrue to wealthier households. It would be better to target resources towards helping poor and vulnerable people directly.”
[...] The G20 countries emit almost 80% of global greenhouse gases. More than 600 global companies in the We Mean Business coalition, including Unilever, Ikea, Aviva, Siemens and Volvo Cars, recently urged G20 leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.
For more than 20 years, D-Wave has been synonymous with quantum annealing. Its early bet on this technology allowed it to become the world's first company to sell quantum computers, but that also somewhat limited the real-world problems its hardware could solve, given that quantum annealing works especially well for optimization problems like protein folding or route planning. But as the company announced at its Qubits conference today, a superconducting gate-model quantum computer — of the kind IBM and others currently offer — is now also on its roadmap.
D-Wave believes the combination of annealing, gate-model quantum computing and classic machines is what its businesses' users will need to get the most value from this technology. "Like we did when we initially chose to pursue annealing, we're looking ahead," the company notes in today's announcement. "We're anticipating what our customers need to drive practical business value, and we know error-corrected gate-model quantum systems with practical application value will be required for another important part of the quantum application market: simulating quantum systems. This is an application that's particularly useful in fields like materials science and pharmaceutical research."
It sounds like a scene from a spy thriller. An attacker gets through the IT defenses of a nuclear power plant and feeds it fake, realistic data, tricking its computer systems and personnel into thinking operations are normal. The attacker then disrupts the function of key plant machinery, causing it to misperform or break down. By the time system operators realize they've been duped, it's too late, with catastrophic results.
The scenario isn't fictional; it happened in 2010, when the Stuxnet virus was used to damage nuclear centrifuges in Iran. And as ransomware and other cyberattacks around the world increase, system operators worry more about these sophisticated "false data injection" strikes. In the wrong hands, the computer models and data analytics – based on artificial intelligence – that ensure smooth operation of today's electric grids, manufacturing facilities, and power plants could be turned against themselves.
Purdue University's Hany Abdel-Khalik has come up with a powerful response: to make the computer models that run these cyberphysical systems both self-aware and self-healing. Using the background noise within these systems' data streams, Abdel-Khalik and his students embed invisible, ever-changing, one-time-use signals that turn passive components into active watchers. Even if an attacker is armed with a perfect duplicate of a system's model, any attempt to introduce falsified data will be immediately detected and rejected by the system itself, requiring no human response.
[Source]: Purdue University
President Biden on Friday signed into law a bill that provides financial support to U.S. government officials who have fallen victim to "Havana syndrome," mysterious health symptoms that have affected U.S. personnel in various parts of the world.
"We are bringing to bear the full resources of the U.S. Government to make available first-class medical care to those affected and to get to the bottom of these incidents, including to determine the cause and who is responsible," Biden said in a written statement Friday. "Protecting Americans and all those who serve our country is our first duty, and we will do everything we can to care for our personnel and their families."
Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, called for greater coordination within the U.S. government to combat the growing number of mysterious soundwave attacks against Americans dubbed as "Havana Syndrome."
"I still don't see the kind of coordinated, across agency, government-wide approach to this where there's a central medical review that's done, no matter which agency you're from, if you've been impacted, and look, these attacks have stepped-up in their brazenness," Figliuzzi said.
Figliuzzi, an NBC News national security analyst, gave examples of the increasingly flagrant attacks against high-ranking U.S. officials. One attack occurred during a trip to India in September with CIA Director William Burns. Another potential attack delayed Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to Vietnam in August.
The U.S. government's investigation into the mysterious illnesses impacting American personnel overseas and at home is turning up new evidence that the symptoms are the result of directed-energy attacks, according to five lawmakers and officials briefed on the matter.
In response to a report by the news magazine Der Spiegel, Berlin police said they had since August been investigating an "alleged sonic weapon attack on employees of the U.S. Embassy," but declined to provide further information.
Also at NYT.
Wccftech reported a few days ago about known issues appearing after users have installed Microsoft's newest Windows 11 operating system—Oracle VirtualBox software and Cốc Cốc browser compatibility issues, as well as Intel networking issues. Today, AMD reported issues that their Windows 11 compatible AMD processors were having with performance while running certain applications after the new OS installation.
AMD urges users to stick with Windows 10 as a workaround, hotfix coming
[...] Known changes to performance affected areas such as
- Measured and functional L3 cache latency may increase by ~3X.
- UEFI CPPC2 ("preferred core") may not preferentially schedule threads on a processor's fastest core.
[...] To fix these issues, AMD and Microsoft have rolled out both updates to Windows 11, as well as software updates from AMD that will roll out over this month. Microsoft and AMD plan to update their separate knowledge bases with articles updating users with included version numbers and other information as they become available. AMD does state, that while these problems are happening, to continue to use a current supported version of Windows 10 instead of continuing utilizing Windows 11 until the problems have been actively concluded.
More details at AMD's Knowledge Base.
Intel's Core i7-12700K Alder Lake CPU has been tested in the CPU-z benchmark and allegedly is up to 45% faster than the fastest 8 core CPUs based on Intel's Rocket Lake and AMD's Zen 3 processor lineups.
Intel Core i7-12700K Alder Lake 12 Core Up To 45% Faster Than Core i9-11900K & Ryzen 7 5800X In CPU-z Multi-Threaded Benchmark
The alleged CPU-z benchmark result has been tweeted by TUM_APISAK and shows the Intel Core i7-12700K scoring 800.2 points in the single-core and 9423.2 points in the multi-core benchmark tests. The Core i7-12700K is a 12 core chip but it should be positioned in the same price category as AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and Intel Core i7-11700K. Based on that, the performance improvement is huge for both single-core and multi-core tests.
In the single-core test, the Intel Core i7-12700K is around 17.3% faster than the Core i9-11900K, 24% faster than the Core i7-11700K, and 25% faster than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. In Multi-core tests, the Intel Core i7-12700K pushes on top with a 45% lead over the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and Intel Core i9-11900K. Compared to its predecessor, the multi-core performance is improved by 50%. The CPU only loses to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X which is a 12 core and 24 thread part and is around 2% faster than the Core i7-12700K.