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What was highest label on your first car speedometer?

  • 80 mph
  • 88 mph
  • 100 mph
  • 120 mph
  • 150 mph
  • it was in kph like civilized countries use you insensitive clod
  • Other (please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:67 | Votes:266

posted by hubie on Thursday March 28, @10:14PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

As spotted by German tech site DeskModder, Microsoft has begun automatically installing a Copilot app on Windows 11. The new application doesn't seem to have any functionality, and further investigation revealed that it has 0 bytes of data, suggesting that it's actually a placeholder shell for the most part. Thankfully, users can uninstall the app by simply using the built-in 'Uninstall' option in Windows.

[...] It's unclear how the Copilot app is getting installed on systems that have automatic updates turned off, but according to Ghacks, it showed up on their test PC after the Edge browser was updated to the latest version. Interestingly, the application's AppxManifest.xml lists Windows 10 as the minimum compatible version, while the maximum version is listed as Windows

[...] Microsoft recently started rolling out Copilot to more Windows 10/11 devices, enabling users to experience the AI features on their desktop. According to the company, users can access up to ten Copilot requests before needing to sign-in with a Microsoft ID. The feature is still in preview as of now, but is enabled by default in Windows 11 version 23H2. It is, however, disabled by default in Windows 11 version 22H2.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday March 28, @05:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the Americans-would-still-prefer-Budweiser dept.

AI models were better than human experts at predicting the ratings Belgian beers received on a popular review site:

To compare the models, they split the data into a training set and a test set. Once a model was trained on the data within the training set, they evaluated its ability to predict the test set.

The researchers found that all the models were better than the trained panel of human experts at predicting the rating a beer had received from RateBeer.

Through these models, the researchers were able to pinpoint specific compounds that contribute to consumer appreciation of a beer: people were more likely to rate a beer highly if it contained these specific compounds. For example, the models predicted that adding lactic acid, which is present in tart-tasting sour beers, could improve other kinds of beers by making them taste fresher.

"We had the models analyze these beers and then asked them 'How can we make these beers better?'" says Kevin Verstrepen, a professor at KU Leuven and director of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, who worked on the project. "Then we went in and actually made those changes to the beers by adding flavor compounds. And lo and behold—once we did blind tastings, the beers became better, and more generally appreciated."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @12:41PM   Printer-friendly

Researchers explain the dissimilar smells of babies and teenagers:

A team of aroma chemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, working with psychologist colleagues from the Technical University of Dresden, has uncovered the reasons for the dissimilar smells between babies and teenagers. The study is published in the journal Communications Chemistry.

Prior research and anecdotal evidence have shown that babies have a pleasant smell, often described as sweet. Teenagers, on the other hand, especially males, have often been described as smelling less pleasant. In this new effort, the research team sought to find out what causes the difference.

[...] The researchers found that most of the chemicals responsible for body odor were similar between the two groups of volunteers. But there were a few that made the difference. Teenage sweat, for example, had high levels of many kinds of carboxylic acids, which the assessors described as "earthy, musty or cheesy."

They also found two steroids in the teen sweat not present in the baby sweat, one of which resulted in "musk or urine-like" emanations—the other, the assessors suggested, smelled more like "musk and sandalwood." Without such chemicals, the sweat of babies smelled much sweeter.

The researchers suggest that study of the chemical compounds in teen sweat could prove fruitful for makers of odor-control products. They also suggest that more work could [be] done to better understand the impact of such odors on parents.

Journal Reference:
Diana Owsienko et al, Body odor samples from infants and post-pubertal children differ in their volatile profiles, Communications Chemistry (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s42004-024-01131-4

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @10:01AM   Printer-friendly


I would like to thank you all for your patience during the recent outages. Something is causing a problem with the database itself. It appears to be running out of room and thus having problems when creating backups. This is not a new phenomenon - NCommander observed that the database was corrupted in Nov/Dec 2022, and he fixed the corruptions that were present at that time. I know that others have done similar 'repairs' over the years. Those of you who have been with us a while will know that we have had various site outages since the site's inception in 2014. We try to get the site up as quickly as possible but we currently have a single active sys-admin who has to find the time to fix the site in between running his own business and having a decent work/life balance. The cause of these corruptions has not been identified despite speculation by some individuals.

New Site

The administration associated with creating a business continues and we think that we are now at the final stage. The paperwork has to be signed by several people and this means sending mail around the USA in order to get real signatures from specific individuals. However, we think that this should only take a week or two.

Deleting Spam

For the last month or so we have been deleting Spam from the Polls and journals. Deleting content is not new. Spam, doxxing, abusive material, CEOS, inappropriate ASCII art etc has often been deleted in the last 10 years. In fact, most of our registered community have the ability to delete some material (their own journals for example), and this has happened from time to time in the past. We also delete outdated submissions on a daily basis. The site software provides a means of making such deletions and it can cope with them. The software that is being used is not new - it has been in Rehash since the site became active. We have received some positive feedback regarding this measure - the Polls and journals are looking much tidier as a result. Unfortunately, we are going to temporarily suspend this measure to simplify the investigations into the database corruption problems. So, as unsightly as they are, we will be returning to the use of Spam moderations on a hopefully temporary basis. We have, of course, also received some negative feedback but it only seems to have come from a couple of Anonymous Cowards, one of whom is our most prolific spammer.


Finally, I would like to thank the staff for their continued efforts in keeping the site online and active. The participating user count continues to climb, as does the number of pages served each day. Many usernames that have existed for a long time but appear to have been inactive for a while are reappearing and participating in the discussions. I hope that we will soon be able to restructure our site in an affordable yet more robust structure in the very near future.


posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @07:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the Condé-Nast-strikes-again dept.

Two months ago, Condé Nast bought and folded the music site Pitchfork. For many music fans that marked the end of an era of music criticism and pop culture. Slate magazine has an oral history of the late, great Pitchfork and how it started, what made it unique, and about its demise.

In January, Condé Nast announced that it was folding Pitchfork into GQ, laying off much of the staff of the influential, independent-minded music publication. The outcry was immediate. Why was one album-review website, founded nearly three decades ago in a suburban Minnesota bedroom, loved by so many music fans—and hated by so many others? Pitchfork transformed indie rock, but did pop transform Pitchfork? And does the Condé news really mean that Pitchfork is dead?

Over the past two months, Slate spoke to more than 30 Pitchfork writers, editors, and executives, past and present—as well as critics, industry luminaries, and some of the musicians whose careers Pitchfork made and destroyed—to tell the story behind the raves, the pans, the festivals, the fights, the indie spirit, the corporate takeover, and, of course, the scores. This is the complete oral history of Pitchfork.

[...] The gutting of Pitchfork is not just a loss for writers and editors, but all music fans. Spotify's algorithm can introduce you to new music but it can't contextualise it or tell its stories. Replacing media "gatekeepers" with AI ones has not enriched the culture. There are new formats for music journalism – the YouTuber Anthony Fantano is perhaps the world's most influential music critic, while Cole Cuchna's podcast Dissect is a masterclass in analysis – but like any art form, popular music deserves a thriving critical culture in the written word. While some music websites survive, notably the defiantly left-field digital magazine, the Quietus, it is striking that the alleged dinosaurs of print, led in the UK by Mojo and Uncut, have outlasted most of their supposed successors.

Condé Nast is the media company which owns one of the highly censorious, anti-FOSS "orange sites".

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @03:10AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

While it doesn't have the same relevance to public consciousness as safety problems with commercial airliners, a successful test flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft in May would be welcome news for the beleaguered aerospace company.

This will be the first time the Starliner capsule flies into low-Earth orbit with humans aboard. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are in the final stages of training for the so-called Crew Flight Test (CFT), a milestone running seven years behind the schedule Boeing said it could achieve when it won a $4.2 billion commercial crew contract from NASA a decade ago.

If schedules hold, Wilmore and Williams will take off inside Boeing's Starliner spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket after midnight May 1, local time, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. They will fly Starliner to the International Space Station for a stay of at least eight days, then return the capsule to a parachute-assisted, airbag-cushioned landing in the western United States, likely at White Sands, New Mexico.

The first human spaceflight with Starliner will launch under a lame-duck Boeing CEO. Dave Calhoun, who took the helm at Boeing in 2020, announced Monday he will step down at the end of the year. Boeing's chairman, Larry Kellner, will not seek reelection at the company's next shareholder meeting. Effective immediately, Boeing is also replacing the head of its commercial airplanes unit.

The last few years have not been good for Boeing. A spate of safety shortcomings in the company's commercial airline business has shattered the company's reputation. Two crashes of Boeing's 737 Max 8 airplanes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people, and investigators blamed Boeing's design and software for the accidents.

[...] In a report released by the Federal Aviation Administration last month, a panel of experts found that Boeing's safety culture was "inadequate and confusing." The panel also noted a "lack of pilot input in aircraft design and operation."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @10:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the beatings-shall-continue-until-morale-improves dept.

American workers who have more flexibility and security in their jobs also have better mental health, according to a study of 2021 survey data from over 18,000 nationally representative working Americans.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Network Open, may not be surprising to those who have faced return-to-office mandates and rounds of layoffs amid the pandemic. But, it offers clear data on just how important job flexibility and security are to the health and well-being of workers.

[...] Overall, the study's findings indicate "the substantive impact that flexible and secure jobs can have on mental health in the short-term and long-term," the researchers conclude.

They do note limitations of the study, the main one being that the study identifies associations and can't determine that job flexibility and security directly caused mental health outcomes and the work absence findings. Still, they suggest that workplace policies could improve the mental health of employees.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @08:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-didn't-know-that-... dept.

Last week I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole: why do regular expressions use $ and ^ as line anchors?1

This talk brings up that they first appeared in Ken Thompson's port of the QED text editor. In his manual he writes: b) "^" is a regular expression which matches character at the beginning of a line.

c) "$" is a regular expression which matches character before the character (usually at the end of a line)

QED was the precursor to ed, which was instrumental in popularizing regexes, so a lot of its design choices stuck.

Okay, but then why did Ken Thompson choose those characters?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @05:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-welcoming-our-corporate-overlords dept.

Dr Andy Farnell at The Cyber Show writes about motivations behind dropping use of generative AI for graphics and moving back to manual design and editing of images. The show had been using generative AI to produce images since its first episode, but now find that it is time to rethink that policy. As the guard rails for generative AI are set up and the boundaries restricted, it gets more racist, more gendered, and less able to output edgy ideas critical of its corporate owners and its potential as an equalizing force seems dead already. So, while the show could set up its own AI instance to generate the images they desire, there is the matter of association and the decision to stop using it has been made.

Doubts emerged late last year after Helen battled with many of the generative platforms to get less racist and gendered cultural assumptions. We even had some ideas for an episode about baked bias, but other podcasters picked up on that and did a fine job of investigating and explicating.

Though, maybe more is still to be said. With time I've noticed the "guardrails" are staring to close in like a pack of dogs. The tools seem ever less willing to output edgy ideas critical of corporate gangsters. That feels like a direct impingement on visual art culture. Much like most of the now enshitified internet there seems to be an built-in aversion to humour, and for that matter to hope, love or faith in the future of humaity. The "five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four" are devoid of anything human.

Like the companies that make them, commercial AI tools seem to have blind-spots around irony, juxtaposition and irreverence. They have no chutzpah. Perhaps we are just bumping into the limits of machine creativity in its current iteration. Or maybe there's a "directing mind", biasing output toward tepid, mediocre "acceptability". That's not us!

As Schneier writes;

"The increasingly centralized control of AI is an ominous sign. When tech billionaires and corporations steer AI, we get AI that tends to reflect the interests of tech billionaires and corporations, instead of the public."

Of course we have the technical chops to put a few high end graphics cards in a rack and run our own uncensored models. But is that a road we want to go down? Do we want to adopt the technology of the enemy when it might turn out to be their greatest weakness, and our humanity our greatest strength?

The Cyber Show is a long-form, English language podcast based in the UK which does deep dives into information communication technology, how it effects society, and various aspects of those effects.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @12:52PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The inaugural Beacon Awards has handed three prizes to projects working on safer software for CHERI-enabled hardware running on the CheriBSD operating system. For the unitiated, CHERI is an abbreviation of Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions.

The Beacon Awards is a fresh scheme from the FreeBSD Foundation, in partnership with the UK government's Digital Security by Design initiative, to reward efforts at safer software. The Digital Security by Design initiative has been around for some six years now, and it funds multiple projects in the broader security R&D field. The Register reported on Arm jumping on board in early 2019. It worked: It was awarded £36 million ($45.43 million) at the gongs last week. Naturally, there were talks about much more money… but it's good to know that some real technological developments have come out of this.

One grand prize went to the Mojo JVM. This is a memory-secure Java runtime that "can run existing Java applications with no or minimal code changes," according to the awards page. Java isn't trendy any more and applets in web pages disappeared years ago, but it remains very significant in internal business-process apps in many large companies. Its development is sponsored by The Hut Group, an etailer which occasionally pops up on the Register. The team has a 17-minute Youtube video explaining how CHERI can bring greater memory-safety to the OpenJDK JVM.

Another grand prize went to Intravisor, a new form of virtualization host for cloud software, which can run various kinds of VMs with greater isolation on CHERI-enabled hardware. This includes its own lightweight ones and unmodified Linux environments. There's more info on the GitHub page, and there was a talk about Intravisor at the 2022 FOSDEM conference.

The third grand prize went to the appropriately named Capabilities Limited for its work refactoring 1.7 million lines of existing C++ web services software to CheriBSD on Morello.

Honorable mentions went to two pieces of research by the University of Glasgow's Jeremy Singer. One is Morello Micropython, a research project that's produced a CHERI-enabled Micropython interpreter. He has also been studying adapting the Boehm garbage collector to CHERI, which he terms Capability Boehm [PDF].

[...] in the course of developing inexpensive mass-market microcomputers, a lot of the security systems of earlier generations of computers were simply discarded, either for being too expensive or too much hard work. Capabilities were just one of them.

The CHERI research is looking for ways to restore these to existing systems running current software, with minimal modifications. If they're successful, the resulting hardware and software will be slightly slower – but also immune, or at least far more robust against, all kinds of software vulnerabilities and exploits.

As it is today, Linux has a bunch of performance-killing security features, whose impact you can see if you just turn them off temporarily. We're already paying the speed penalty for this stuff. CHERI could do better. It's a price worth paying.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday March 27, @08:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the perhaps-it's-still-better-to-see-the-USA-in-your-Chevrolet dept.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to step down as part of management shakeup at embattled plane maker:

Boeing Co CEO Dave Calhoun will step down by year-end, in a broad management shakeup brought on by the plane maker's sprawling safety crisis stemming from a January mid-air panel blowout on a 737 Max plane.

The plane maker also said that Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, would retire, and Stephanie Pope would lead that business. Steve Mollenkopf has been appointed the new chair of the board.

The leadership change caps weeks of turmoil at Boeing, after the mid-air incident involving an Alaska Airlines-operated Max 9 jet carrying 171 passengers turned into a full-blown safety and reputational crisis for the iconic plane maker.

The company is facing heavy regulatory scrutiny and U.S. authorities curbed production while it attempts to fix safety and quality issues. The company is in talks to buy its former subsidiary Spirit AeroSystems to try to get more control over its supply chain.

[...] Since Calhoun took the reins, the company has endured ongoing delays to production. Still, in October, Calhoun was upbeat over how fast Boeing could raise output of its Max jets, saying Boeing would get back to 38 jets a month and was "anxious to build from there as fast as we can."

But weeks after the mid-air cabin panel blowout in January, Calhoun said it's time to "go slow to go fast."

The company's crisis has frustrated airlines already struggling with delivery delays from both Boeing and its rival Airbus, and the plane maker has been burning more cash than expected in this quarter than expected.

"For years, we prioritized the movement of the airplane through the factory over getting it done right, and that's got to change," West said last week.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday March 27, @03:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-the-brightest-bulb-in-the-pack dept.

Scientists are predicting a once-in-a-lifetime nova explosion before September:

A sharp-eyed star gazer in Wyoming might catch a new star in the night sky this spring or summer. Beginning at any time now through the end of September, astronomers are expecting we can see the aftermath of a spectacular celestial event that happened 3,000 years ago.

Astronomers are awaiting a nova from T Coronae Borealis in the Northern Crown constellation, which is located between the constellations of the Boötes and Hercules. A nova is a brief moment when a flash of light from a binary star system shines brightly in the night sky.

The new light is so bright that T Coroane Borealis, ordinarily not visible to the naked eye, can potentially be spotted by Wyomingites. It won't look like much, but it's unusual to experience it from our small spot in the universe.

"Novas are a little subtle compared to supernovas," said Max Gilbraith, the planetarium coordinator for the University of Wyoming Physics and Astronomy Department. "They are called new stars because they will briefly appear as a new light in the sky for a couple of months."

Novas might be called new stars, but that's not what Wyomingites will see when it happens sometime in the next few months. Gilbraith said the bright light of a nova is a "momentary flare" from the outside of a dying star interacting with what's left of the inside of a dead star.

[...] The light of the distant nova will reach Earth sometime in the next seven months. Astronomers won't know for sure until it gets here.

[...] Gilbraith said the nova will have a similar brightness to Polaris, the North Star. People might believe that the North Star is the brightest in the sky, but it doesn't hold a candle to the truth.

Astronomers don't know when we'll see the nova, but they know where. It'll be visible in the constellation Corona Borealis, shining like a jewel in the Northern Crown. It's a U-shaped constellation behind Hercules' back and under Boötes the Herdman's elbow.

[...] While not as spectacularly dramatic as a supernova, Gilbraith hopes Wyomingites will be curious enough to seek out Corona Borealis and observe the impending nova. Once its light gets here, it should be visible for several weeks, at least.

[...] The nova might not be the brightest or most exciting sight in the night sky, but it's quite important for science. Gilbraith said novae help astronomers measure precise distances in space, revealing our distance from other galaxies with much greater accuracy.

But T Coroane Borealis is special. It's one of only five recurring novae in the night sky, which means it has repeatedly sent flashes of light, usually once every 80 years.

[...] "A nova is a standard candle that always occurs at a characteristic mass," he said. "It's holding onto some mass thrown it from its neighbor, and it will briefly reignite that candle just a little."

A NASA page has a small star map that shows where to look for it.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 26, @10:41PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Google will spend $1 billion to build a new data center in Kansas City. Monique Picou, Google VP of cloud supply chain and operations, announced the initiative at a press conference attended by both Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Missouri governor Mike Parson. The new plant is expected to provide significant benefits for Missouri's Northland economy, while Picou highlighted how Kansas City and Google can work together to bring a brighter future to the region.

Data centers are the backbone of Google's investment strategy, Picou said, especially now that the industry is reaching an important "inflection point" for tech innovation thanks to AI algorithms. Governor Parson said that the data center will support up to 1,300 jobs, a majority of which will be part of construction operations for the new plant.

Mayor Lucas said that one in every ten workers in Kansas City is involved in the technology industry, and thanks to Google, the city will keep growing its appeal for tech companies. The firm is planning to fund the North Kansas City School District's STEAM center with a $100,000 grant, and to bring its Skilled Trades and Readiness program to the area.

Mountain View is also partnering with Ranger Power and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) to acquire a carbon-free energy source for its data center. The plant will seemingly be fed 400 megawatts by the Missouri-based Beavertail Solar farm, an energy station located in a former coal community that will help Google achieve its ambitious goals for an all carbon-free energy consumption by 2030.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 26, @05:52PM   Printer-friendly

In December 2014, North Korea's cyber group Kimsuky conducted an attack on the South Korean Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), leaking personal information of 10,000 employees, reactor blueprints, manuals, electricity charts, radiation methods and more. Despite the impact of the 2014 KHNP hack on South Korea, it has figured minimally in English-language cybersecurity literature.

[...] In 2013, North Korea used the DARKSEOUL malware to paralyze ROK broadcasting stations, banks and government sites after its long-term espionage campaign, Operation Troy. In December 2014, however, despite those precautionary steps, KHNP was hacked. Kimsuky used a Twitter account named "president of anti-nuclear reactor group" to post sensitive documents and blueprints from KHNP and threatened to leak more information unless specific reactors in Gori and Wolseong were shut down by Christmas.

[...] As with most research regarding cyber operations and the DPRK, the scarcity of publicly available information posed a challenge. This was especially true for the period from 2014 to 2022 when the Moon Jae-in administration in South Korea was reluctant to publicly attribute cyber operations to North Korea for political purposes.

[...] The 2014 KHNP hack marked a pivotal turning point for ROK cyber policy. While North Korea's Kimsuky was successful in stealing sensitive information and publicly demonstrating the vulnerabilities of the South Korean nuclear energy industry to cyberattacks.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 26, @02:52PM   Printer-friendly

The US must provide assurances that Julian Assange will not receive the death penalty if convicted, before a UK court rules on whether he can appeal against his extradition.

The court has adjourned its decision by three weeks to give the US government time to comply.

US authorities say the Wikileaks founder endangered lives by publishing thousands of classified documents.

His lawyers have argued that the case is form of "state retaliation".

In a High Court judgment on Tuesday, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson said that Mr Assange would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds, unless assurances were given by the United States.

These assurances are that the 52-year-old would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment - which protects freedom of speech in the US; that he would not be "prejudiced at trial" due to his nationality; and that he would not face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Judges have given the US authorities three weeks to make those assurances, with a final hearing potentially taking place on 20 May.

"If assurances are not given then we will grant leave to appeal without a further hearing," said Dame Victoria in the court's ruling.

"If assurances are given then we will give the parties an opportunity to make further submissions before we make a final decision on the application for leave to appeal."

See also: Julian Assange faces further wait over extradition ruling