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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:46 | Votes:136

posted by hubie on Sunday January 22, @11:49PM   Printer-friendly

Some people want to win arguments no matter the cost:

WTF?! Governments looking for classified documents on other nations' military vehicles might no longer require spies to get the job done; they can just check out the War Thunder forum. Once again, someone used the popular game's message board to post restricted military Intel—twice.

The first incident occurred earlier this week during a discussion about the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force. It was introduced in 1978 but is still used in active duty today.

Aerotime reports that during the lengthy conversation about the aircraft, a user called spacenavy90 wrote that he found something "interesting" during his research about AMRAAM missiles for the F-16. He proved this by attaching a document that contained export-restricted data.

[...] This is a familiar phenomenon for the War Thunder forums. Schematics for the Challenger 2 tank extracted from its Army Equipment Support Publication (AESP) were posted in 2021. This was followed a few months later by another leaked document, this one on the French Leclerc Main Battle Tank and its variants, prompting Gaijin to warn users against the practice as the team didn't want to "end up chained at the bottom of a disguised CIA cargo ship in international waters." The warning was ignored—classified documents relating to Chinese tanks were posted to the forum last year.

These documents are usually posted to win arguments. But even those that have been declassified fall under the jurisdiction of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which limits the disclosure of US weapons data. One has to wonder if proving you're correct is worth a potential ten-year prison sentence.

Obligatory XKCD


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday January 22, @07:02PM   Printer-friendly

An opinion piece but some pretty good advice here. Below is a sub-sample of "20 years of software distilled down into 20 pithy pieces":

1. I still don't know very much
"How can you not know what BGP is?" "You've never heard of Rust?" Most of us have heard these kinds of statements, probably too often. The reason many of us love software is because we are lifelong learners, and in software no matter which direction you look, there are wide vistas of knowledge going off in every direction and expanding by the day. [...] The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can start to shed your imposter syndrome and instead delight in learning from and teaching others.

2. The hardest part of software is building the right thing
I know this is cliche at this point, but the reason most software engineers don't believe it is because they think it devalues their work. Personally I think that is nonsense. Instead it highlights the complexity and irrationality of the environments in which we have to work, which compounds our challenges.
[...]
4. The best code is no code, or code you don't have to maintain
[...] Engineering teams are apt to want to reinvent the wheel, when lots of wheels already exist. This is a balancing act, there are lots of reasons to grow your own, but beware of toxic "Not Invented Here" syndrome.
[...]
8. Every system eventually sucks, get over it
Bjarne Stroustrup has a quote that goes "There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses". This can be extended to large systems as well. [...]

12. People don't really want innovation
People talk about innovation a whole lot, but what they are usually looking for is cheap wins and novelty. If you truly innovate, and change the way that people have to do things, expect mostly negative feedback. If you believe in what you're doing, and know it will really improve things, then brace yourself for a long battle.
[...]
18. Software engineers, like all humans, need to feel ownership
[...] Give a group of passionate people complete ownership over designing, building, and delivering a piece of software (or anything really) and amazing things will happen.

19. Interviews are almost worthless for telling how good of a team member someone will be
[...] No one is going to tell you in an interview that they are going to be unreliable, abusive, pompous, or never show up to meetings on time. People might claim they have "signals" for these things... "if they ask about time off in the first interview then they are never going to be there!" But these are all bullshit. If you're using signals like these you're just guessing and turning away good candidates.

20. Always strive to build a smaller system
There are a lot of forces that will push you to build the bigger system up-front. Budget allocation, the inability to decide which features should be cut, the desire to deliver the "best version" of a system. All of these things push us very forcefully towards building too much. You should fight this.[...]


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday January 22, @02:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-keep-Meta-out-of-this-experience dept.

Video game developers and cancer researchers have teamed up to turn spreadsheet data into highly detailed VR imagery of cancer cells:

Virtual reality software has become an unlikely tool in the fight against cancer.

In a bid to help doctors better understand how to treat cancer, video game designers and cancer researchers have teamed up at the University of Cambridge, England, to turn spreadsheet data into highly detailed VR imagery of cancer cells, ITV reports(Opens in a new window).

The university's IMAXT Laboratory has transformed brain-crunching numbers and data into an interactive 3D picture of a tumor that makes it easy for researchers to differentiate between cancer cells, as each type of cell is colored or shaped differently.

With the help of a VR headset, doctors and researchers can essentially step inside patients' tumors, making it easier to assess the severity and origin of the cancer cells. The aim of the tool, its makers say, is to give a better insight into how tumors can be treated.

Originally spotted on The Eponymous Pickle.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday January 22, @09:36AM   Printer-friendly

I couldn't find any stories on this leak, except from Schneier on Security:

Cellebrite is the global leader in partnering with public and private organizations to transform how they manage Digital Intelligence in investigations to protect and save lives, accelerate justice and ensure data privacy. Schneier is a bit more cynical:

Cellebrite is cyberweapons arms manufacturer that sells smartphone forensic software to governments around the world.

MSAB is a world leader in forensic technology for extracting and analyzing data in seized mobile devices.

Leaked data available on Substack and 4chan.

Ed. note: Two other sources:
    https://www.hackread.com/hacktivists-leak-cellebrite-msab-data/
    https://ddosecrets.substack.com/p/cellebrite-msab-phone-forensics-leak


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday January 22, @04:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the sounds-like-someone-has-their-priorities-mixed-up dept.

Finnish Parliament reminds us that copyright should not trump fundamental human rights:

One of the key dogmas the copyright industry fights hard to impose on the world is that copyright should trump all other considerations, and in all situations. For its supporters, copyright should even be placed above basic human rights, if ever a clash arises between them. For the most part, legislators and judges have allowed this distorted viewpoint to be spread unchallenged, as Walled Culture noted with regret in November last year. That fact makes the following news from Finland, reported by Benjamin White on the site of the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), important:

In October 2022 we witnessed a significant development in Finland, with the Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee concluding that the government's draft implementation of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive is not in line with the Finnish constitution. In particular, the Committee found that it conflicted with human rights – namely the right to education and science under Section 16 of the Finnish Constitution.

White points out:

Academic commentators have long argued that copyright, and indeed other intellectual property rights, risk undermining fundamental rights in their application. Given the obligation on governments to make careful judgements in situations of legal conflict, fundamental rights undoubtedly provide a clear reason for limiting the scope of IP rights.

[...] The Finnish move is of particular interest for the following reason:

Until developments in the autumn of this year in the Finnish Parliament, we have been unaware of the fundamental human right to education and science being used in practice by European legislators to challenge the broadening scope of exclusive rights under copyright law.

We need other legislators and lawyers to follow the Finnish example and recognise that fundamental and universal rights matter more than the supposed sanctity of copyright, which only benefits corporations and a tiny number of "star" creators.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday January 22, @12:09AM   Printer-friendly

It was an innocuous-looking photograph that turned out to be the downfall of Zheng Xiaoqing, a former employee with energy conglomerate General Electric Power:

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment, the US citizen hid confidential files stolen from his employers in the binary code of a digital photograph of a sunset, which Mr Zheng then mailed to himself.

It was a technique called steganography, a means of hiding a data file within the code of another data file. Mr Zheng utilised it on multiple occasions to take sensitive files from GE.

[...] The information Zheng stole was related to the design and manufacture of gas and steam turbines, including turbine blades and turbine seals. Considered to be worth millions, it was sent to his accomplice in China. It would ultimately benefit the Chinese government, as well as China-based companies and universities.

Zheng was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month. It is the latest in a series of similar cases prosecuted by US authorities. In November Chinese national Xu Yanjun, said to be a career spy, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for plotting to steal trade secrets from several US aviation and aerospace companies - including GE.

Originally spotted on Schneier on Security.

Related:


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 21, @07:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the dishing-the-dirt dept.

First precise calculation of the pre-agricultural rate of erosion across the Midwestern U.S., thanks to exploding stars:

In a discovery that has repercussions for everything from domestic agricultural policy to global food security and the plans to mitigate climate change, researchers at the University of Massachusetts recently announced that the rate of soil erosion in the Midwestern US is 10 to 1,000 times greater than pre-agricultural erosion rates. These newly discovered pre-agricultural rates, which reflect the rate at which soils form, are orders of magnitude lower than the upper allowable limit of erosion set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The study, which appears in the journal Geology, makes use of a rare element, beryllium-10, or 10Be, that occurs when stars in the Milky Way explode and send high-energy particles, called cosmic rays, rocketing toward Earth. When this galactic shrapnel slams into the Earth's crust, it splits oxygen in the soil apart, leaving tiny trace amounts of 10Be, which can be used to precisely determine average erosion rates over the span of thousands to millions of years.

[...] The numbers are not encouraging. "Our median pre-agricultural erosion rate across all the sites we sampled is 0.04 mm per year," says Larsen. Any modern-day erosion rate higher than that number means that soil is disappearing faster than it is accumulating.

Unfortunately, the USDA's current limit for erosion is 1 mm per year—twenty-five times greater than the average rate Larsen's team found. And some sites are experiencing far greater erosion, disappearing at 1,000 times the natural rate. This means that the USDA's current guidelines will inevitably lead to rapid loss of topsoil.

[...] Yet, there's no reason to despair. "There are agricultural practices, such as no-till farming, that we know how to do and we know greatly reduce erosion," says Quarrier. "The key is to reduce our current erosion rates to natural levels," adds Larsen.

Journal Reference:
Caroline L. Quarrier, Jeffrey S. Kwang, Brendon J. Quirk, et al.; Pre-agricultural soil erosion rates in the midwestern United States. Geology 2022;; 51 (1): 44–48. doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G50667.1


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 21, @02:41PM   Printer-friendly

Chinese Companies to Build Commercial Spaceport on the Horn of Africa

The Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) and a Shanghai-based Touchroad International Holdings Group have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Djibouti to build a $1 billion commercial spaceport with seven launch pads and three rocket engine test facilities.

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh met with company officials on Monday to discuss the planned Djiboutian Spaceport, which will be constructed in the northern Obock region near the entrance to the Red Sea. It would be the first orbital spaceport in Africa.

[...] HKATG and the Djiboutian government will manage the spaceport for a period of 30 years. The government will then take control over the facility.

Construction of the spaceport is expected to begin after the parties sign a formal agreement in March. The project is expected to take five years.

The Djiboutian government said the project will require the development of a port facility, a network of highways, and a power grid.

See also: Rocket Report: SpaceX reaches 'ludicrous' cadence; ABL explains RS1 failure

Previously:
    A Small Secret Airstrip in Africa is the Future of America's Way of War
    China Sends Troops to Djibouti Ahead of Establishment of its First Overseas Military Base
    U.S. Complains That Chinese Military Personnel Are Injuring American Pilots With Lasers in Africa


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 21, @09:53AM   Printer-friendly

Lisa OS 3.1's 1984 source Pascal code now available under a non-commercial license:

As part of the Apple Lisa's 40th birthday celebrations, the Computer History Museum has released the source code for Lisa OS version 3.1 under an Apple Academic License Agreement. With Apple's blessing, the Pascal source code is available for download from the CHM website after filling out a form.

Lisa Office System 3.1 dates back to April 1984, during the early Mac era, and it was the equivalent of operating systems like macOS and Windows today.

The entire source package is about 26MB and consists of over 1,300 commented source files, divided nicely into subfolders that denote code for the main Lisa OS, various included apps, and the Lisa Toolkit development system.

First released on January 19, 1983, the Apple Lisa remains an influential and important machine in Apple's history, pioneering the mouse-based graphical user interface (GUI) that made its way to the Macintosh a year later. Despite its innovations, the Lisa's high price ($9,995 retail, or about $30,300 today) and lack of application support held it back as a platform. A year after its release, the similarly capable Macintosh undercut it dramatically in price. Apple launched a major revision of the Lisa hardware in 1984, then discontinued the platform in 1985.

The Lisa was not the first commercial computer to ship with a GUI, as some have claimed in the past—that honor goes to the Xerox Star—but Lisa OS defined important conventions that we still use in windowing OSes today, such as drag-and-drop icons, movable windows, the waste basket, the menu bar, pull-down menus, copy and paste shortcuts, control panels, overlapping windows, and even one-touch automatic system shutdown.

With the LisaOS source release, researchers and educators will now be able to study how Apple developers implemented those historically important features four decades ago. Apple's Academic license permits using and compiling the source code for "non-commercial, academic research, educational teaching, and personal study purposes only."

The Computer History Museum had previously teased the release of the code in 2018, but after spending some time in review, they decided to hold back its release until the computer's 40th birthday—the perfect gift to honor this important machine's legacy.

More Info:
Inventing the Lisa user interface [open], Interactions, 1997 (DOI: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/242388.242405)


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by hubie on Saturday January 21, @05:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the soylent-green-meet-the-matrix dept.

Life on earth could not survive without seaweed and algae. Every second oxygen molecule that we inhale originates from them. In the future, they could also become an important food source:

Fraunhofer researchers are working on processes for commercial cultivation, as well as the extraction of many kinds of protein and other nutrients.

Dr. Ulrike Schmid-Staiger is group manager for Algae Biotechnology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart. For 25 years now, she has been perfecting the cultivation of microalgae in photobioreactors – transparent water tanks that supply the tiny organisms with light, CO2 and nutrients until they grow to form a thick green soup. Dr. Schmid-Staiger currently devotes most of her time to the marine Phaeodactylum tricornutum, which can generate particularly large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, and to Chlorella vulgaris, which feels most at home in ponds and brackish water and stands out thanks to its high protein content of around 50 percent. When suspended in water, neither alga is detectable to the naked eye.

"Compared to terrestrial plants, our algae contain around ten times the amount of valuable nutritious substances," declares Dr. Schmid-Staiger with pride. Every single cell contains the same rich mix of nutrients. Terrestrial plants, on the other hand, also have roots, stalks and leaves. The substances contained in the cells vary in the different parts of a plant – the protein content of a corn kernel is different to that of its leaves or roots. "I can make use of every part of the algal biomass we grow here. There is hardly any waste material," emphasizes Dr. Schmid-Staiger. And these are not the only advantages microalgae have to offer. For one thing, they grow much more quickly than their botanical, land-based cousins. While 1 hectare of farmland can yield around 30 tons of corn biomass, a photobioreactor with artificial lighting can yield up to 150 tons of algae from the same surface area.

[...] Up to now, microalgae have been sold in tablet form as a food supplement for the most part, while consumers and food industry stakeholders are more familiar with multi-celled marine macroalgae, or seaweed. Most people will have seen this in sushi, where nori, a savory/sweet seaweed, is used to wrap up rice and fish. However, while seaweed has been a dietary staple in the Asiatic world for centuries, Europeans are still dubious about this superfood. It is rarely served in the form of a salad or soup. Yet even consumers that avoid sushi have probably already eaten algae without realizing it, as alginates and carrageen are common food additives. Alginates are often used as a gelatin substitute, while carrageen is added to products such as cream to prevent flocculation and ensure even fat distribution.

Originally spotted on The Eponymous Pickle.

Previously: Microalgae Promise Abundant Healthy Food and Feed in Any Environment


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Saturday January 21, @12:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-weren't-supposed-to-take-us-literally dept.

The claim was made in a lawsuit over Walter Huang's fatal Model X crash in 2018:

Tesla's widely viewed 2016 Autopilot demonstration video showing the system stopping for red lights and moving off again when the light changed to green was faked, according to the director of Autopilot software, Ashok Elluswamy. Elluswamy made the statement under oath during a deposition for a lawsuit brought against Tesla following the fatal crash of Apple engineer Walter Huang in 2018.

The video, posted in October 2016 and still available on Tesla's website, begins with the caption: "The person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself." We then see a Tesla Model X leave a garage, and a driver enters the car as The Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" begins to play.

[...] At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk publicized the video via his Twitter account, telling the world that "Tesla drives itself (no human input at all) thru urban streets to highway to streets, then finds a parking spot." Musk went on to add that "8 cameras, 12 ultrasonars and radar all flush mounted and body color. Beauty remains."

[...] But the Model X in the video was preprogrammed to drive from Menlo Park to Palo Alto, according to Elluswamy, who was a senior software engineer in 2019 before being promoted to head all Autopilot software development in 2019.

"The intent of the video was not to accurately portray what was available for customers in 2016. It was to portray what was possible to build into the system," Elluswamy said in his testimony, according to Reuters. 3D maps were used to pre-program the route, including where to stop, and during the self-parking demo a Tesla crashed into a fence, Elluswamy said.

The fatal crash occurred on Highway 101 in Mountain View, California, in March 2018 when Huang's Model X, operating under Autopilot, swerved into a highway crash attenuator at more than 70 mph. Tesla blamed Huang for the crash, claiming he was not paying attention. But according to the National Transportation Safety Board, Huang had repeatedly complained to friends and family about his car's propensity to swerve at that particular crash barrier in the past. The National Transportation Safety Board had harsh words for Tesla, CalTrans, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all of which shared blame for the death, it said in 2020.


Original Submission

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.

Previously:


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