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Comments:46 | Votes:136

posted by hubie on Friday January 20, @09:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the one-person's-insecurity-is-another-person's-opportunity dept.

MSI accidentally disables Secure Boot on hundreds of its motherboards:

One of the latest MSI UEFI updates accidentally disabled Secure Boot technology on hundreds of its motherboards, reports Bleeping Computer. As a consequence, over 290 motherboards for AMD and Intel processors can run insecure operating systems, which can be harmful.

MSI's firmware update version 7C02v3C released on January 18, 2022, comes with Image Execution Policy set to 'Always Execute' by default, which allows the PC to boot an operating system that lacks proper signature by its developer. This means that a computer can boot an OS that may have been tampered with, which is an insecure policy as the operating system may be infected or have malicious intent.

The discovery was recently made by Polish security researcher named Dawid Potocki. The researcher noted that he contacted MSI, but did not receive any response, which essentially means that so far the motherboard maker has not fixed its Secure Boot.

See article for a list of motherboard models.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @08:33PM   Printer-friendly

Iconic musician David Crosby, RIP:

Iconic musician David Crosby has died at 81. The co-founder of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash also had a long solo career beginning in 1971 with the absolute masterpiece If I Could Only Remember My Name.

"David was fearless in life and in music," posted Graham Nash. "He leaves behind a tremendous void as far as sheer personality and talent in this world. He spoke his mind, his heart, and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most."

What memories do you have of the man or his music?

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday January 20, @06:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the SoylentNews-thought-leader dept.

Generative AI, like OpenAI's ChatGPT, could completely revamp how digital content is developed, said Nina Schick, adviser, speaker, and A.I. thought leader told Yahoo Finance Live:

"I think we might reach 90% of online content generated by AI by 2025, so this technology is exponential," she said. "I believe that the majority of digital content is going to start to be produced by AI. You see ChatGPT... but there are a whole plethora of other platforms and applications that are coming up."

The surge of interest in OpenAI's DALL-E and ChatGPT has facilitated a wide-ranging public discussion about AI and its expanding role in our world, particularly generative AI.

[...] Though it's complicated, the extent to which ChatGPT in its current form is a viable Google competitor, there's little doubt of the possibilities. Meanwhile, Microsoft already has invested $1 billion in OpenAI, and there's talk of further investment from the enterprise tech giant, which owns search engine Bing. The company is reportedly looking to invest another $10 billion in OpenAI.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @04:09PM   Printer-friendly

UK lawmakers vote to jail tech execs who fail to protect kids online:

The United Kingdom wants to become the safest place for children to grow up online. Many UK lawmakers have argued that the only way to guarantee that future is to criminalize tech leaders whose platforms knowingly fail to protect children. Today, the UK House of Commons reached a deal to appease those lawmakers, Reuters reports, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government agreeing to modify the Online Safety Bill to ensure its passage. It now appears that tech company executives found to be "deliberately" exposing children to harmful content could soon risk steep fines and jail time of up to two years.

The agreement was reached during the safety bill's remaining stages before a vote in the House of Commons. Next, it will move on to review by the House of Lords, where the BBC reports it will "face a lengthy journey." Sunak says he will revise the bill to include new terms before it reaches the House of Lords, where lawmakers will have additional opportunities to revise the wording.

Reports say that tech executives responsible for platforms hosting user-generated content would only be liable if they fail to take "proportionate measures" to prevent exposing children to harmful content, such as materials featuring child sexual abuse, child abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm. Some measures that tech companies can take to avoid jail time and fines of up to 10 percent of a company's global revenue include adding age verification, providing parental controls, and policing content.

If passed, the Online Safety Bill would make managers liable for holding tech companies to their own community guidelines, including content and age restrictions. If a breach of online safety duties is discovered, UK media regulator Ofcom would be responsible for prosecuting tech leaders who fail to respond to enforcement notices. Anyone found to be acting in good faith to police content and protect kids reportedly won't be prosecuted.

[...] "The onus for keeping young people safe online will sit squarely on the tech companies' shoulders," Donelan wrote. "You or your child will not have to change any settings or apply any filters to shield them from harmful content. Social media companies and their executives in Silicon Valley will have to build these protections into their platforms—and if they fail in their responsibilities, they will face severe legal consequences."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @01:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the hot-potato dept.

Though spuds may not have all of the same benefits as other vegies, they can still be part of a healthy diet - so long as they're prepared the right way:

With low or no-carbohydrate diets rising in popularity in recent times, the humble potato is now regularly overlooked in favour of other vegetables.

In fact, research literature has previously indicated potatoes may have a detrimental effect on health, such as possibly increasing the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.

However, new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has shown while spuds may not have all the same benefits as some other vegetables — such as lowering risk of Type 2 diabetes — health issues associated with potatoes may actually be due to how people are preparing them and what they're eating them with.

[...] "In previous studies, potatoes have been positively linked to incidence of diabetes, regardless of how they're prepared — but we found that's not true," Mr Pokharel said.

"In Denmark, people consume potatoes prepared in many different ways; in our study, we could distinguish between the different preparation methods.

"When we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, fries or crisps, boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes: they had a null effect.

[...] Mr Pokharel said findings from the study indicate vegetables could play a key role in reducing Type 2 diabetes, as people who ate a lot of leafy greens and cruciferous vegies such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower had a significantly lower risk of developing the condition.

[...] "Regarding potatoes, we can't say they have a benefit in terms of type 2 diabetes, but they also aren't bad if prepared in a healthy way.

"We should separate potatoes and other vegetables in regard to messaging about disease prevention but replacing refined grains such as white rice and pasta with potatoes can improve your diet quality because of fibre and other nutrients found in potatoes."

Journal Reference:
Pratik Pokharel, Cecilie Kyrø, Anja Olsen, et al.; Vegetable, But Not Potato, Intake is Associated With a Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort. Diabetes Care 2022; dc220974.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @10:37AM   Printer-friendly

NASA Reveals Tantalizing Details About Webb Telescope's Successor:

The Habitable Worlds Observatory now has a name, a rough timeline, and a whole lot of hype.

[...] In the session, Mark Clampin, the Astrophysics Division Director NASA's Science Mission Directorate, offered a few details about the telescope, which could be operational in the early 2040s.

One of the key findings of the most recent decadal survey was the necessity of finding habitable worlds beyond our own, using a telescope tailored specifically for such a purpose. The report suggested an $11 billion observatory—one with a 6-meter telescope that would take in light at optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared wavelengths. (Hubble Space Telescope sees mostly in optical and ultraviolet light, while the more recently launched Webb Space Telescope images at mid-infrared and near-infrared wavelengths.)

The authors of the decadal survey suggested the Habitable Worlds Observatory as the first in a new Great Observatories program; basically, the linchpin in the next generation of 21st-century space telescopes. As Science reported, the decadal report's suggestion of an exoplanet-focused space telescope falls somewhere between two older NASA proposals, telescope concepts named HabEx and LUVOIR.

[...] Unlike other telescopes—both operational and those still on the drawing board—the planned Habitable Worlds Observatory would look specifically for so-called Goldilocks planets, worlds with conditions that could foster life.

The search for extraterrestrial life is a relentless goal of NASA. The Perseverance rover on Mars is collecting rock samples on Mars to learn, among other things, whether there's any evidence for ancient microbial life in a region of the planet that once was a flowing river delta. (An environment, it's important to note, that scientists believe was similar to that where Earth's first known life materialized.)

[...] Space News reported that NASA will imminently begin seeking out nominations for people to join the Science, Technology, Architecture Review Team (START) for the new observatory. The first phase of the observatory's development is slated for 2029.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @07:49AM   Printer-friendly

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to reconsider rules social networks operate under, potentially leading to the most significant reset of the doctrines governing online speech since the 1990s:

For years, giant social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have operated under two crucial tenets.

The first is that the platforms have the power to decide what content to keep online and what to take down, free from government oversight. The second is that the websites cannot be held legally responsible for most of what their users post online, shielding the companies from lawsuits over libelous speech, extremist content and real-world harm linked to their platforms.

[...] On Friday, the Supreme Court is expected to discuss whether to hear two cases that challenge laws in Texas and Florida barring online platforms from taking down certain political content. Next month, the court is scheduled to hear a case that questions Section 230, a 1996 statute that protects the platforms from liability for the content posted by their users.

[...] The cases are part of a growing global battle over how to handle harmful speech online. In recent years, as Facebook and other sites attracted billions of users and became influential communications conduits, the power they wielded came under increasing scrutiny. Questions arose over how the social networks might have unduly affected elections, genocides, wars and political debates.

[...] If the Supreme Court's justices decide to hear the challenges, they could move to take the cases immediately for the court's term ending in June or for its next term, which runs from October until the summer of 2024.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 20, @05:06AM   Printer-friendly

KIT's Spinoff 'Digital Power Systems' Develops Ultralong-lived Industrial Power Supplies:

Switching power supplies are omnipresent in our daily life, may it be in households, offices, or industry. They convert the alternating current supplied into direct current for smartphones, laptops, charging stations of e-cars, and logistics and computing centers. However, conventional power supplies usually have to be exchanged after nine years of permanent operation. Digital Power Systems (DPS), a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has now developed and tested power supplies with a lifetime of 50 years.

Conventional switching power supplies are light and compact, but highly susceptible to failure due to the electrolyte capacitors they contain. Film capacitors are far more long-lived. So far, however, they have needed up to ten times more space. "We have now developed a digital control process, by means of which film capacitors can be used on smaller space," DPS Director Michael Heidinger says. [...]

[...] The novel digital control process allows for the use of film capacitors with a slightly increased space requirement only. For control purposes, a microprocessor is integrated in the power supply. It detects disturbing ambient impacts and balances large voltage fluctuations of the film capacitor. As a result, storage capacitors of smaller capacity are sufficient. Heidinger explains that powerful microprocessors have made this possible.

I've had to replace a number of electrolytic capacitors in several of my home appliances over the years, so I can appreciate this development, but do you think the concepts "lifetime of 50 years" and "integrated microprocessor" generally compatible?

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday January 20, @02:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the there's-yttrium-in-them-thar-hills! dept.

Sweden Finds Largest-Ever Rare Earth Metal Deposit In Europe:

Rare earth elements are vital to a green energy future because you can't build batteries and other EV components without them. That's a problem for Europe, which has no rare earth mining operations. That could be changing, though. Government-run mining firm LKAB has reported the largest rare earth mineral deposit ever discovered in Europe.

In 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted that European mining of rare earth metals, as well as lithium, would soon be more important than oil and gas. According to LKAB, the north of Sweden is home to 1 million metric tons of rare earth oxides. These elements, the names of which you probably don't hear often, have a huge number of applications. For example, Yttrium is used in battery cathodes, lasers, and camera lenses. Neodymium is used for magnets, more lasers, and capacitors.

[...] LKAB cautions that it's too early to tell China to take its mountains of rare earth minerals someplace else. The Per Geijer deposit, which sits in and around the town of Kiruna, has only just been identified. It will take several more years of exploration to determine the full extent of the deposit, and then there's the long process of getting mining permits. Some residents of Kiruna have also expressed concern about how mining will affect the region, and that could further slow the process of getting the minerals out of the ground and into the supply chain. LKAB currently expects it will be 10-15 years before any mining operation could be up and running.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday January 19, @11:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the side-effects dept.

A SoylentNews contributor writes:

This trade magazine, is reporting on a new study and modeling effort--

A new study conducted by MIT researchers has found that in the future, the amount of energy required to run computers on board an international fleet of AVs could generate the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all the world's current data centers. The study explored the potential energy consumption and related carbon emissions if autonomous vehicles were widely adopted.

At present, the data centers that house the physical computing infrastructure used for running applications account for approximately 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). As there has been little focus on the potential footprint of AVs, MIT researchers developed a statistical model to study the potential issue.

The research team calculated that one billion AVs driving for an hour each day, with each vehicle's computer using 840W, would consume enough energy to generate roughly the same number of emissions as global data centers do currently. Researchers also found that in 90% of modeled scenarios, to keep AV emissions from surpassing present day data center emissions, the vehicle would have to use under 1.2kW of computing power. To achieve this target, more efficient hardware for AVs would be required.

In one test, the team modeled a scenario in 2050 where 95% of the global fleet is made up of AVs. During this scenario, computational workloads doubled every three years and the Earth continued to decarbonize at the current rate. Upon completion of this simulation, researchers found that hardware efficiency would need to double faster than every 1.1 years to keep emissions under those levels.

"If we just keep the business-as-usual trends in decarbonization and the current rate of hardware efficiency improvements, it doesn't seem like it is going to be enough to constrain the emissions from computing on board autonomous vehicles," said first author Soumya Sudhakar, a graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics. "This has the potential to become an enormous problem. But if we get ahead of it, we could design more efficient autonomous vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint from the start."

The source paper is here (abstract), with the full text linked (may be behind an IEEE paywall?)

[Paper made available by MIT Open Access --hubie]

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday January 19, @08:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the let-us-know-how-that-works-out dept.

Seattle Public Schools is joining a growing number of school districts banning ChatGPT, the natural language chatbot from OpenAI that has sparked widespread attention in recent weeks.

ChatGPT has garnered praise for its ability to quickly answer complex queries and instantly produce content.

But it's also generating concern among educators worried that students will use the technology to do their homework.

SPS blocked ChatGPT on all school devices in December, said Tim Robinson, a spokesman for Seattle Public Schools, in an email to GeekWire.

"Like all school districts, Seattle Public Schools does not allow cheating and requires original thought and work from students," he said.

The district also blocks other "cheating tools," Robinson said.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday January 19, @05:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the waste-not-want-not dept.

Germany wants to force its power-hungry data centers to harness excess heat for warming residential homes — an effort which the industry warns is likely to fall flat:

The country has become one of the largest global hubs for data centers thanks to its clear data protection and security laws. Politicians are now trying to re-purpose some of their controversial excess heat to improve efficiency in light of the energy crisis.

While in theory an innovative way to reduce the industry's immense carbon footprint, experts have pointed to a flaw in the government's proposal expected to be passed this month: potential recipients of waste heat are not being compelled to take it.

[...] "Data center operators are mostly ready and willing to give away their waste heat," according to Ralph Hintemann, senior researcher at the data center lobby group Borderstep. "The challenge here is finding someone who can use that heat economically."

What's at stake for Europe's largest economy is that it either risks scaring off IT investments and slowing its efforts to digitize, or falling behind on climate goals. The energy efficiency law being prepared by the government aims to save some 500 terawatt-hours of energy by 2030 — pegged in part on a requirement to reuse at least 30% of a new data center's heat by 2025.

Not a new idea, as demonstrated by this article from almost a decade ago.

Original article on Bloomberg but javascript and all...

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday January 19, @03:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-so-tiny-bubbles dept.

Physics models and real-world experiments help keep bubbles from popping:

Blowing soap bubbles, besides being a favorite pastime for children, also happens to be an art form and a subject of interest for physicists. Emmanuelle Rio, François Boulogne, Marina Pasquet, and Frédéric Restagno from the Laboratory of Solid State Physics at the University of Paris-Saclay have been studying bubbles for years, trying to understand the different processes at play in these innocuous-looking structures.

"Bubbles are important as they appear in many places, including washing products, cosmetics, building materials, and also in nature. For example, sea foam plays a role in terms of the exchanges between the atmosphere and the sea," Boulogne said.

Now, the team has described a key event in the life of bubbles: when they pop.

[...] Boulogne stated that although there is a link between temperature and aging of the bubbles, the impact of low temperatures on when the bubbles pop remains to be understood—and is likely to stay that way for a while. "So far, we have no model that can make this prediction. Understanding the stability of bubbles is a challenge that will take several decades," he said.

[...] Working with the French artist Pierre-Yves Fusier, who specializes in bubbles art, Rio and her colleagues developed the recipe, which consists of 40 milliliters of dishwashing liquid, 100 milliliters of glycerol, and 1 gram of long polymer such as the naturally occurring guar gum mixed in 1 liter of water. Using this recipe, Rio created 5 cm-diameter bubbles in her laboratory that lasted an hour.

While adding glycerol may make the bubbles more stable, Rio said the impact of other ingredients on the bubbles' stability is still an open question. "Glycerol is a hydroscopic molecule which can help condensate water. But we know the surfactant (dishwashing liquid) and the polymer also impact evaporation. The next step in our study, therefore, is to find out how our recipe impacts the evaporation," Rio said.

Journal Reference:
Pasquet, M., Wallon, L., Fusier, PY. et al. An optimized recipe for making giant bubbles. Eur. Phys. J. E 45, 101 (2022).

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Thursday January 19, @12:25PM   Printer-friendly

Peer review has failed, and that's great news – for diamond open access, science and society:

[...] Mastroianni explains that although ubiquitous today, peer review is a relatively new phenomenon. After World War II governments poured huge amounts of money into research; peer review was supposed to make sure the money was well spent. But as Mastroianni documents, peer review has failed on just about every metric.

Research productivity has been flat or declining for decades; reviewers consistently miss major flaws in submitted papers; fraudulent work is published all the time. Peer review often encourages bad research because of unhelpful comments; and scientists themselves don't care about peer review: they actively seek to circumvent it, and ignore it in their own reading.

[...] last month I published a paper, by which I mean I uploaded a PDF to the internet. I wrote it in normal language so anyone could understand it. I held nothing back—I even admitted that I forgot why I ran one of the studies. I put jokes in it because nobody could tell me not to. I uploaded all the materials, data, and code where everybody could see them. I figured I'd look like a total dummy and nobody would pay any attention, but at least I was having fun and doing what I thought was right.

Then, before I even told anyone about the paper, thousands of people found it, commented on it, and retweeted it.

What Mastroianni describes is essentially the diamond open access approach, something Walled Culture has discussed several times. It is designed to provide an extremely simple and lightweight publishing platform to help researchers get their papers quickly and easily before as many people as possible. It is costless, for both the person uploading their paper, and those who download it.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday January 19, @09:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-won't-get-fooled-again dept.

Whenever you see cryptocurrency prices suddenly rise, that's probably why:

We're not just a couple of weeks into 2023 and crypto prices are spiking. Seeing number go up might entice you to throw some money into Bitcoin or Ethereum. After all, maybe this is the beginning of another crypto bull market? You wouldn't want to miss out!

Well, just wait a minute. Consider this first: Why are crypto prices suddenly rising?

There are plenty of analysts out there trying to make logical sense of the recent bump in cryptocurrencies value – inflation is slowing, belief that the Federal Reserve is done with hiking interest rate hiking, bullish news on crypto – but no, that's not really it.

There's been no big positive news in the industry. There aren't reports of some new, mainstream avenues of adoption. Sure, the stock market is up a bit right now in the new year, but not at the same level cryptocurrency is.

So, what's going on here? Market manipulation.

[...] As longtime cryptocurrency writer and critic David Gerard explains: The big players in the industry are "buying" in order to control the market.

"The bitcoin price is whatever the large players need it to be," writes Gerard. "The market is very thin and trivially manipulable with the billions of pseudo-dollars in unbacked stablecoins on the unregulated offshore exchanges. The price needs to be high enough so the big boys' loans don't get liquidated; but it needs to be low enough so that the bagholders don't attempt to cash out."

John Reed Stark, a former SEC official, concurred with Gerard's assessment.

"​​A recent Forbes analysis of 157 crypto exchanges found that 51 percent of daily bitcoin trading volume being reported was likely bogus," tweeted Stark, referring to a Forbes report from last summer.

[...] It's just yet another way the big crypto companies and investment funds manipulate the market.

Original Submission