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Which war to fight first

  • vi vs emacs
  • tabs vs spaces
  • static vs dynamic typing
  • gui vs text
  • functional vs OOP
  • Light vs Dark theme
  • Other (please specify)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:128 | Votes:160

posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @11:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the sounds-very-fishy dept.

The largest group of nesting fish ever found lives beneath Antarctic ice:

Five hundred meters below the ice covering Antarctica's Weddell Sea sits the world's largest known colony of breeding fish, a new study finds.

An estimated 60 million active nests of a type of icefish stretch across at least 240 square kilometers, nearly the size of Orlando, Fla. Many fish create nests, from freshwater cichlids to artistically inclined pufferfish (SN: 10/13/20). But until now, researchers have encountered only a handful of icefish nests at a time, or perhaps several dozen. Even the most gregarious nest-building fish species were previously known to gather only in the hundreds.

The icefish probably have a substantial and previously unknown influence on Antarctic food webs, researchers report January 13 in Current Biology.

Deep sea biologist Autun Purser of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, and colleagues stumbled across the massive colony in early 2021 while on a research cruise in the Weddell Sea, which is located between the Antarctic Peninsula and the main continent.

[...] The researchers were studying chemical connections between surface waters and the seafloor. Part of the research involved surveying seafloor life by slowly towing a device behind the scientists' icebreaking research vessel. That device recorded video as it glides just above the bottom of the ocean and used sound to map seafloor features.

At one location on the Filchner ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, one of Purser's colleagues was operating the camera tow and noticed that it kept encountering circular Jonah's icefish (Neopagetopsis ionah)[*] nests down below. Icefish, of the family Channichthyidae, are only found in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters and have strange adaptations to the extreme cold such as clear blood full of antifreeze compounds (SN: 9/19/98).

"When I came down half an hour later and just saw nest after nest the whole four hours of the first dive, I thought we were onto something unusual," Purser recounts.

[*] Jonah's icefish entry on Wikipedia.

Journal Reference:
Autun Purser, Laura Hehemann, Lilian Boehringer, et al A vast icefish breeding colony discovered in the Antarctic, (DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.12.022)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @08:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the fine-art dept.

AI turned a Rembrandt masterpiece into 5.6 terabytes of data:

A high-resolution image of Rembrandt's Nightwatch is now online. 717 gigapixels (yes, giga) to a claimed resolution of .0005-millimeters.

Last week the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam posted an AI-constructed, ultra-high-res image of "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt. The original piece is nearly 15 feet long and more than 12 feet high and has been under intensive restoration since the early 1900s.

They've actually reconstructed some parts that had been destroyed over the ages, based on historical records.

Is a pixel size finer than the hairs on Rembrandt's brush enough detail for you?

Previously:
(2020-05-23) Revelations About Rembrandt's Masterpiece Captured on Camera


Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday January 20, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the read-three-more-stories-to-earn-a-virtual-taco!-(redeem-via-IRC) dept.

How 'Gamification' of Everything Is Manipulating You (and How to Recognize It):

“Gamification” is the practice of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts. It isn’t new, nor it is always a negative, but it is being aimed at consumers and employees more and more frequently, whether to keep you addicted to an app, motivated at work, or inclined to spend your money on something.

[...] There’s nothing necessarily wrong with making consuming a product or doing a job “fun,” but when marketers and employers are hacking our pleasure centers in ways we don’t fully recognize, that’s manipulation, and that’s not really a game. Below are some of the tricks of the gamification trade, so you can spot it before it happens to you.

Behaviorists’ studies of rats and humans prove that both species are more motivated by intermittent, unpredictable rewards than anticipated ones. Rats will pull the lever more often if they sometimes get a food pellet than if they always get a food pellet, and gamblers would never play a slot machine that returned 89 cents every time they put in a dollar, even though that’s what will happen over time.

Some of the tricks are: Variable rewards and suspense, Manipulating our desire for progress, and Engagement and “streaks”.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @02:59PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the sls-spice-must-flow dept.

NASA safety panel recommends agency review how it manages human spaceflight programs

[...] The shift to commercial crew transportation has created some specific issues in the last year mentioned in the report. The panel cited a "concerning dissonance" between NASA and SpaceX during preparations for the Crew-1 landing last May. The two organizations "differed in their understanding of the level of risk to be incurred" regarding a nighttime landing of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA initially preferring a daytime landing as the lowest risk option. SpaceX argued that a nighttime landing was acceptable and offered better sea state conditions than the proposed daytime landing. The report stated that "last-minute communications had been necessary to ensure NASA approved the plans for the night landing."

There was also a difference of opinion between NASA and Boeing involving the risk of stuck propulsion valves on the company's CST-100 Starliner that delayed an uncrewed test flight last summer. Boeing evaluated the risk as low, the panel said, while NASA considered it moderate during a flight readiness review. That review, the panel concluded, "revealed NASA and Boeing do not share a common understanding of how to assess and characterize risk."

[...] The panel also took issue with the "disaggregated" way NASA's exploration efforts are organized. That structure treats the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and Exploration Ground Systems as separate programs, which the panel attributes to the uncertain direction of the agency's exploration programs after the cancellation of the Constellation program more than a decade ago.

Among the panel's recommendations was to create an integrated Artemis program led by a single manager "endowed with authority, responsibility, and accountability" along with a bottoms-up approach to systems engineering and integration as well as risk management. NASA sometimes refers to an "Artemis program" today, the panel noted, but without the formal program architecture that risks "confusing both employees and contractors about who is ultimately responsible and accountable."

It might help NASA if Congress would stop treating it like a jobs program.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @12:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the no-affiliation-with-Monty-Python dept.

Radian announces plans to build one of the holy grails of spaceflight:

A Washington-state based aerospace company has exited stealth mode by announcing plans to develop one of the holy grails of spaceflight—a single-stage-to-orbit space plane. Radian Aerospace said it is deep into the design of an airplane-like vehicle that could take off from a runway, ignite its rocket engines, spend time in orbit, and then return to Earth and land on a runway.

"We all understand how difficult this is," said Livingston Holder, Radian's co-founder, chief technology officer, and former head of the Future Space Transportation and X-33 program at Boeing.

On Wednesday, Radian announced that it had recently closed a $27.5 million round of seed funding, led by Fine Structure Ventures. To date, Radian has raised about $32 million and has 18 full-time employees at its Renton, Washington, headquarters.

During an interview with Ars, Holder and Radian CEO Richard Humphrey explained that they realized it would require significantly more funding to build such an ambitious orbital space plane. Funding will pace their development efforts. For that reason, Humphrey said he was not comfortable putting a date on the company's first test flights but said that Radian was aiming to have an operational capability well before the end of the 2020s.

The current design of Radian One calls for taking up to five people and 5,000 pounds of cargo into orbit. The vehicle would have a down-mass capability of about 10,000 pounds and be powered by three liquid-fueled engines. The idea would be to get as close to airline operations as possible, by flying, landing, re-fueling, and flying again.

Since its founding in 2016, Radian has focused on the propulsion and structure of a vehicle that must withstand a variety of thermal and pressure environments. Humphrey said the company has built and tested its first "full-scale" engine. At full power, this cryogenic-fueled engine will have a thrust of about 200,000 pounds.

[...] There can be no question that this is a hugely challenging endeavor that many people have tried before. Will Radian find the right stuff, at the right moment in time? We'd like to think so.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @09:29AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the yes,-you-read-that-right! dept.

Millionaires ask to pay more tax:

A group of more than 100 of the world's richest people have called on governments to make them pay more tax. The group, named the Patriotic Millionaires, said the ultra-wealthy were not being forced to pay their share towards the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair," they said in an open letter. The signatories included Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Nick Hanauer. Mr Hanauer is a US entrepreneur and an early investor in online retail giant Amazon.

"Most of us can say that, while the world has gone through an immense amount of suffering in the last two years, we have actually seen our wealth rise during the pandemic - yet few if any of us can honestly say that we pay our fair share in taxes," the signatories said in the letter to the World Economic Forum.

[...] It said globally, $2.52tn could lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty and make enough vaccines for the world.

Gemma McGough, British entrepreneur and founding member of Patriotic Millionaires, UK said: "For all our well-being - rich and poor alike - it's time we right the wrongs of an unequal world. It's time we tax the rich."

Ms McGough added: "At a time when simply living will cost the average household a further £1,200 a year, our government cannot expect to be trusted if it would rather tax working people than wealthy people.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @06:42AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-all-up-in-the-air dept.

Emirates President: the 5G Snafu is the Biggest Screwup I've Witnessed in My Career

Emirates president: The 5G snafu is the biggest screwup I've witnessed in my career:

The president of Emirates tells CNN that the airline was not aware of some of the potential 5G rollout issues until yesterday morning, calling the situation "one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible" he has seen in his aviation career.

[...] Emirates president Tim Clark said that they were not aware of the issues until yesterday morning "to the extent that it was going to compromise the safety of operation of our aircraft and just about every other 777 operator to and from the United States and within the United States."

Transportation regulators had already been concerned that the version of 5G that was scheduled to be switched on could interfere with some airplane instruments, and many aviation industry groups shared those fears — despite reassurances from federal telecom regulators and wireless carriers.

Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration has been worried that 5G cellular antennas near some airports — not air travelers' mobile devices — could throw off readings from some aircraft equipment designed to tell pilots how far they are from the ground. Those systems, known as radar altimeters, are used throughout a flight and are considered critical equipment. (Radar altimeters differ from standard altimeters, which rely on air pressure readings and do not use radio signals to gauge altitude.)

International Airlines Suspend Some US Flights Over 5G Uncertainty

International airlines suspend some US flights over 5G uncertainty:

Major international airlines are scrambling to modify or cancel flights to the United States amid uncertainty about potential interference between new 5G cell phone services and critical airplane technologies.

Emirates, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways all announced changes to some flights, citing the issue.

Emirates said it would suspend flights into nine US airports: Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco and Seattle. It said it would continue flying into New York's John F. Kennedy airport, Los Angeles International and Washington Dulles.

"We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible," Emirates said in its statement.

Air India said it would suspend service between Delhi and San Francisco, Chicago and JFK. It will also suspend a Mumbai to Newark flight. It will continue to fly into Washington Dulles.

Both ANA and Japan Airlines said they canceled some flights to the United States scheduled to use Boeing 777 aircraft, but will operate some flights using Boeing 787s instead.

Germany's Lufthansa canceled a flight between Frankfurt and Miami. It said it would swap Boeing 747-8 aircraft for 747-400s on flights from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

A spokesperson for British Airways told CNN Business that it "had to make a handful of cancellations" because a decision by telecom operators to delay activating the new 5G service at some locations didn't cover all the airports the airline serves.

Will 5G Mobile Networks in the US Really Interfere with Aircraft Altimeters?

Will 5G Mobile Networks in the US Really Interfere With Aircraft?

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has raised concerns that 5G telephone networks will interfere with radio altimeters fitted to some aircraft. These are crucial for making landings in poor visibility and for helicopters flying at low altitude. Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorised the roll-out of these networks, including the placement of phone masts near airports.

The radio spectrum is a public resource, and it is both congested and hotly contested in the US. Nothing goes to waste and industries lobby hard to secure their portion. Unfortunately, the part of the spectrum set aside for vital aircraft operations sits very close to that assigned for 5G in the US and raises the chance of interference.

There is no single part of the electromagnetic spectrum that 5G occupies. Some countries are using 600 megahertz to 900 megahertz, which isn’t dissimilar to 4G. Some are placing it between 2.3 gigahertz and 4.7 gigahertz, which boosts data speed somewhat. And others are using 24 gigahertz to 47 gigahertz, which requires more towers but offers even higher data speeds. In many cases a network will use a mix of these. In the US, the frequencies allocated for 5G are closer to those used by aircraft than those allocated by the EU.

Radio altimeters operate in the 4.2 gigahertz to 4.4 gigahertz band, and the US has set aside a portion of the spectrum right up to the lower band of that for 5G. In Europe, the comparable band ends at 4 gigahertz.

[...] Time will tell how the matter is resolved, but, in truth, both the telecoms industry and the airline industry are too profitable for a solution not to be found quickly. It is likely that existing altimeters will be rated as safe eventually, or new ones will be designed that are more robust against 5G interference.

What is your take on this?


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Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @03:56AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the try-again dept.

Reasserting US leadership in microelectronics:

The global semiconductor shortage has grabbed headlines and caused a cascade of production bottlenecks that have driven up prices on all sorts of consumer goods, from refrigerators to SUVs. The chip shortage has thrown into sharp relief the critical role semiconductors play in many aspects of everyday life.

But years before the pandemic-induced shortage took hold, the United States was already facing a growing chip crisis. Its longstanding dominance in microelectronics innovation and manufacturing has been eroding over the past several decades in the face of stepped-up international competition. Now, reasserting U.S. leadership in microelectronics has become a priority for both industry and government, not just for economic reasons but also as a matter of national security.

In a new white paper, a group of MIT researchers argue that the country's strategy for reasserting its place as a semiconductor superpower must heavily involve universities, which are uniquely positioned to pioneer new technology and train a highly skilled workforce. Their report, "Reasserting U.S. Leadership in Microelectronics," lays out a series of recommendations for how universities can play a leading role in the national effort to reattain global preeminence in semiconductor research and manufacturing.

"In this national quest to regain leadership in microelectronics manufacturing, it was clear to us that universities should play a major role. We wanted to think from scratch about how universities can best contribute to this important effort," says Jesús del Alamo, the Donner Professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the leading author of the white paper. "Our goal is that, when these national programs are constructed, they are built in a well-balanced way, taking advantage of the tremendous resources and talent that American universities can bring to bear."

[...] Reasserting leadership in semiconductor manufacturing will also require thousands of new highly skilled workers, and universities contribute a sizable fraction of the workforce for the industry. Expanding the size and diversity of this workforce will be key, but educational institutions face an uphill battle as more students abandon "hard tech" for fields like computer science. Attracting more students will require exciting hands-on lab courses, inspiring research experiences, well-crafted internships, and support from industry mentors, as well as fellowships at all levels, among many other initiatives.

"We are already in a situation where we are not producing enough engineers at all levels for the semiconductor industry, and we are talking about a major expansion. So, it just doesn't add up," del Alamo says. "If we want to provide the workforce for this major expansion, we need to engage more students. The only way, in the short term, to provide many more graduates for this industry is expanding existing programs and engaging institutions that have not been involved in the past."


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @01:12AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the of-course-nobody-ever-gets-bored dept.

Study: Basic income would not reduce people's willingness to work:

A basic income would not necessarily mean that people would work less. This is the conclusion of a series of behavioral experiments by cognitive psychologist Fenna Poletiek, social psychologist Erik de Kwaadsteniet and cognitive psychologist Bastiaan Vuyk. They also found indications that people with a basic income are more likely to find a job that suits them better.

The psychologists received a grant from the FNV union to research the behavioral effects of a basic income. They simulated the reward structure of different forms of social security in an experiment. "We got people to do a task on a computer," says De Kwaadsteniet. "In multiple rounds, which represented the months they had to work, they did a boring task in which they had to put points on a bar. The more of these they did, the more money they earned."

The psychologists researched three different conditions: no social security, a conditional benefits system and an unconditional basic income. De Kwaadsteniet: "In the condition without social security, the test participants didn't receive a basic sum. In the benefits condition they received a basic sum, which they lost as soon as they started working. In the basic income condition they received the same basic sum but didn't lose this when they started work."

The basic income did not cause a reduction in the participants' willingness to work and efforts, say the psychologists. Nor did their salary expectations increase. "In the discussion on a basic income, it's sometimes said that people will sit around doing nothing if you give them free money," says Poletiek, who saw no indications of such a behavioral effect.

What would you do if you were to receive a basic income?


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 19, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-[almost]-all-in-your-head? dept.

More Than Two-Thirds of Adverse COVID-19 Vaccine Events Are Due to Placebo Effect:

The placebo effect is the well-known phenomenon of a person's physical or mental health improving after taking a treatment with no pharmacological therapeutic benefit – a sugar pill, or a syringe full of saline, for example. While the exact biological, psychological, and genetic underpinnings of the placebo effect are not well understood, some theories point to expectations as the primary cause and others argue that non-conscious factors embedded in the patient-physician relationship automatically turn down the volume of symptoms. Sometimes placebo effects can also harm –the so-called "nocebo effect" occurs when a person experiencing unpleasant side effects after taking a treatment with no pharmacological effects. That same sugar pill causing nausea, or that syringe full of saline resulting in fatigue.

In a new meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled COVID-19 vaccine trials, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) compared the rates of adverse events reported by participants who received the vaccines to the rates of adverse events reported by those who received a placebo injection containing no vaccine. While the scientists found significantly more trial participants who received the vaccine reported adverse events, nearly a third of participants who received the placebo also reported at least one adverse event, with headache and fatigue being the most common. The team's findings are published in JAMA Network Open.

"Adverse events after placebo treatment are common in randomized controlled trials," said lead author Julia W. Haas, PhD, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at BIDMC. "Collecting systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, especially because concern about side effects is reported to be a reason for vaccine hesitancy."

Haas and colleagues analyzed data from 12 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. The 12 trials included adverse effects reports from 22,578 placebo recipients and 22,802 vaccine recipients. After the first injection, more than 35 percent of placebo recipients experienced systemic adverse events – symptoms affecting the entire body, such as fever – with headache and fatigue most common at 19.6 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively. Sixteen percent of placebo recipients reported at least one local event, such as pain at site of injection, redness, or swelling.

In comparison after the first injection, 46 percent of vaccine recipients experienced at least one systemic adverse event and two-thirds of them reported at least one local event. While this group received a pharmacologically active treatment, at least some of their adverse events are attributable to the placebo – or in this case, nocebo – effect, as well given that many of these effects also occurred in the placebo group. Haas and colleagues' analysis suggested that nocebo accounted for 76 percent of all adverse events in the vaccine group and nearly a quarter of all local effects reported.

Journal Reference:
Julia W. Haas, Friederike L. Bender, Sarah Ballou, et al. Frequency of Adverse Events in the Placebo Arms of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials [open], JAMA Network Open (DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.43955)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 19, @07:49PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it-has-begun dept.

Now You Can Rent a Robot Worker:

Polar Manufacturing has been making ​metal ​hinges, locks, and brackets ​in south Chicago for more than 100 years. Some of the company's metal presses—hulking great machines that loom over a worker—date from the 1950s. Last year, to meet rising demand amid a shortage of workers, Polar hired its first robot employee.

The robot arm performs a simple, repetitive job: lifting a piece of metal into a press, which then bends the metal into a new shape. And like a person, the robot worker gets paid for the hours it works.

​Jose Figueroa​, who manages Polar's production line, says the robot, which is leased from a company called Formic, costs the equivalent of $8 per hour, compared with a minimum wage of $15 per hour for a human employee. Deploying the robot allowed a human worker to do different work, increasing output, Figueroa says.

"Smaller companies sometimes suffer because they can't spend the capital to invest in new technology," Figueroa says. "We're just struggling to get by with the minimum wage increase."


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 19, @04:53PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ray-tracing-phone dept.

Samsung announces Exynos 2200 with AMD "Xclipse" GPU

Now, the Exynos 2200 is finally official. The headline feature is a new "Samsung Xclipse 920 GPU" that was co-developed by AMD. Samsung says the GPU uses AMD's RDNA 2 architecture, the same as AMD's Radeon desktop GPUs, and will bring "hardware-accelerated ray tracing" to mobile devices.

David Wang, the SVP of AMD's Radeon division, said, "Samsung's Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs." Previous reports have indicated that Samsung isn't just eyeing smartphones but eventually wants to put together an Apple M1-fighting ARM laptop chip.

The CPU is about what you would expect from a 2022 ARM chip. The 4 nm SoC has one Cortex X2 CPU for single-threaded performance, three Cortex A710 cores, and four low-power Cortex A510 cores, just like Qualcomm's 2022 chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. These are all new ARM v9 cores, with the X2 and little cores both being 64-bit only.

Despite finally announcing the Exynos 2200, Samsung's announcement does not put to bed any questions about a troubled development of the Exynos 2200. The press release and product site are both lacking many of the details that are typically disclosed at this point. For instance, Samsung has not made any performance claims about the Exynos 2200 CPU or GPU. If you read through the Exynos 2100 press release from this time last year, you'll see claims like 30 percent better CPU multi-core performance and 40 percent faster graphics.

Leaks have pointed to thermal issues with the Exynos 2200 which could potentially lead to lower performance than its main competitors: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, MediaTek's Dimensity 9000, and Apple's A15.

Also at The Verge, SamMobile, and Bloomberg.

Related: Samsung Ends Development on Custom ARM Cores, Signals Layoffs at Austin, Texas R&D Center


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 19, @02:03PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the umbrella++ dept.

Open Invention Network expands Linux patent protection:

Today, everyone -- yes, even Microsoft -- use Linux and open-source. It's been years since Linux was under attack by SCO for imaginary copyright violations, and then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed that Linux violated over 200 of Microsoft's patents. So over 15-years ago, the Open Invention Network (OIN) patent consortium was formed to defend Linux against intellectual property (IP) attacks. Even so, Linux and open-source software are still under attack from patent trolls and other attackers. That's where the Open Invention Network (OIN) steps up by expanding its patent non-aggression coverage by updating its Linux System definition.

The OIN, the world's largest patent non-aggression community in history, is adding the following programs and components to the Linux System: .NET, ONNX, tvm, Prometheus, Helm, Notary, Istio, Nix, OpenEmbedded, CoreOS, uClibc-ng, mbed-tls, musl, SPDX, AGL Services, OVN, FuseSoc, Verilator, Flutter, Jasmine, Weex, NodeRED, Eclipse Paho, Californium, Cyclone, and Wakaama, among others. Altogether 337 new software components are being added. This brings the total number of protected packages to 3,730.

Yes, that includes a programming environment, .NET, from Microsoft; Prometheus, the open-source time-series monitoring program; and Helm, the Kubernetes DevOps framework. In short, OIN's protecting parasol against open-source's IP enemies has grown ever wider, ever more protective.

"Linux and open source collaboration continue to thrive as they accelerate the pace of transformation across a spectrum of industries. With this update, we have addressed expansion in key software platforms and projects. Additionally, we have added protection for strategic packages that enable hardware design and embedded applications," said Keith Bergelt, the OIN's CEO.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 19, @11:19AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the I-hope-that-they-have-backups-no,-of-course-they-won't dept.

Microsoft Warns of Destructive Disk Wiper Targeting Ukraine

Microsoft warns of destructive disk wiper targeting Ukraine:

[...] "All data on the computer is being destroyed, it is impossible to recover it," said a message, written in Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish, that appeared late last week on at least some of the infected systems. "All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst."

[...] Around the same time, Microsoft wrote in a post over the weekend, "destructive" malware with the ability to permanently destroy computers and all data stored on them began appearing on the networks at dozens of government, nonprofit, and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine. The malware—which Microsoft is calling Whispergate—masquerades as ransomware and demands $10,000 in bitcoin for data to be restored.

But Whispergate lacks the means to distribute decryption keys and provide technical support to victims, traits that are found in virtually all working ransomware deployed in the wild. It also overwrites the master boot record—a part of the hard drive that starts the operating system during bootup.

"Overwriting the MBR is atypical for cybercriminal ransomware," members of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center wrote in Saturday's post. "In reality, the ransomware note is a ruse and that the malware destructs MBR and the contents of the files it targets. There are several reasons why this activity is inconsistent with cybercriminal ransomware activity observed by MSTIC."

Over the weekend, Serhiy Demedyuk, deputy head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, told news outlets that preliminary findings from a joint investigation of several Ukrainian state agencies show that a threat actor group known as UNC1151 was likely behind the defacement hack. The group, which researchers at security firm Mandiant have linked to the government of Russian ally Belarus, was behind an influence campaign named Ghostwriter.

Ghostwriter worked by using phishing emails and theft domains that spoof legitimate websites such as Facebook to steal victim credentials. With control of content management systems belonging to news sites and other heavily trafficked properties, UNC1151 "primarily promoted anti-NATO narratives that appeared intended to undercut regional security cooperation in operations targeting Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland," authors of the Mandiant report wrote.

'Russian-backed' Hackers Defaced Ukrainian Websites as Cover for Dangerous Malware Attack

'Russian-backed' hackers defaced Ukrainian websites as cover for dangerous malware attack:

Malicious malware posing as ransomware has been discovered on multiple computer systems in the Ukraine following a hacking attack on Friday that targeted more than 70 government websites.

Hackers exploited a known vulnerability in a content management system used by government agencies and other organisations to deface websites with threatening messages written in Ukrainian, Polish and Russian.

The Ukrainian government has blamed a Russian-influenced hacking group for defacing government websites with messages warning Ukrainians "to expect the worst".

But it emerged over the weekend that Friday's attacks appeared to have been a distraction exercise to divert attention from more serious malware implanted on Ukrainian government and commercial computer systems.

Microsoft disclosed over the weekend that it had detected "destructive malware" on dozens of computer systems belonging to Ukrainian agencies and organisations, including IT companies, that work closely with the Ukrainian government.

The malware, first detected on 13 January 2020, masquerades as ransomware, but is designed to destroy information on infected computer systems without offering victims the ability to recover the data in return for a ransom payment.


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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 19, @08:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

After six decades, Russia will build its final Proton rocket this year:

Russia's main space corporation, Roscosmos, said it is in the process of building four more Proton rockets before it shuts down production of the venerable booster.

In a news release, Roscosmos said the four rockets are on an assembly line at the Khrunichev State Space Research and Design Center's factory in Moscow's Fili district. After their production is complete, these four rockets will be added to its present inventory of 10 flight-ready Proton-M rockets. (The news release was translated for Ars by Rob Mitchell.)

Russia said it plans to launch these remaining 14 Proton rockets over the next four or five years. During this time frame Russia plans to transition payloads, such as military communications satellites, that would have launched on the Proton booster to the new Angara-A5 rocket.

The final flight of the Proton rocket will bring an end to a long-running era. The first Proton rocket launched in 1965, nearly 57 years ago, amid the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Variants of the Proton rocket have launched 426 times, with about a 10 percent failure rate.

Notably, the Proton rocket has launched elements of four separate space stations—Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir, and the International Space Station. But the rocket, with a lift capacity of 23.7 metric tons to low Earth orbit, had come under increasing competition for commercial launches. As a result, whereas the Proton booster once launched 10 or 12 times a year, the flight rate has fallen to three or fewer missions a year since 2015.


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