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Thursday, November 23, 2017

#Conspiracy

#Conspiracy


Belgium Moving to Ban "Loot Boxes" Throughout Europe, Hawaii Could Restrict Sale to Minors

Posted: 23 Nov 2017 08:53 AM PST

Video game gambling schemes known as "loot boxes" or "loot crates" could be banned or restricted by regulators:

We learned last week that Belgium's gambling authority was investigating loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront II over concerns that they constitute gambling. Now, the decision is in, and the answer is a resounding yes, according to Dutch-language publication VTM Nieuws. The commission claims that purchasable add-on boxes, the contents of which are randomized, mix "money and addiction" and thus are a form of gambling.

Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens added: "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child." The commission will now reportedly work through the European Union's process to execute a total ban. We've reached out to Belgium's Gaming Commission for more details on its next steps and the legal implications of the ruling.

The country isn't alone in its stance on loot boxes. Just hours ago, Rep. Chris Lee (D) from Hawaii denounced EA's "predatory behavior" in a speech uploaded to YouTube (first spotted by Kotaku). In the clip, Lee also talks of the detrimental affect micro-transactions have on children, with specific reference to Battlefront II, which he describes as a a "Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money".

What Are Loot Boxes? Gaming's Big New Problem, Explained

Press 'F' to pay respects.

Related: Why Call of Duty WW2 Bosses Won't 'Shy Away' from History
Star Wars Game in U-Turn After Player Anger


Original Submission

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Plant Spies: DARPA’s Plan to Create Organic Surveillance Sensors

Posted: 23 Nov 2017 06:32 AM PST

Soon, the trees will be listening.

There are plenty of gardeners that talk to their plants in the belief that it helps them grow. While plants aren't likely to be eavesdropping on our conversations anytime soon, they could be gathering different types of intelligence if a new DARPA program bears fruit. The agency is pursuing research into genetically modifying plants to turn them into self-sustaining surveillance sensors.
...
The aim of the program is to genetically modify certain plants so that specific response mechanisms are triggered when they are presented with specific stimuli. It is suggested that existing hardware can be used to remotely monitor these responses so the plants could essentially be used as organic sensors. As such, the program won't seek to develop new hardware for this purpose, but rely on existing technologies that can already measure such things as a plants' temperature, chemical composition and reflectance.

If this tech is successful, we'll need Aeon Flux.


Original Submission

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Intel Management Engine Critical Firmware Update

Posted: 23 Nov 2017 04:09 AM PST

It's time to update your Management Engine:

Intel has issued a security alert that management firmware on a number of recent PC, server, and Internet-of-Things processor platforms are vulnerable to remote attack. Using the vulnerabilities, the most severe of which was uncovered by Mark Ermolov and Maxim Goryachy of Positive Technologies Research, remote attackers could launch commands on a host of Intel-based computers, including laptops and desktops shipped with Intel Core processors since 2015. They could gain access to privileged system information, and millions of computers could essentially be taken over as a result of the bug. Most of the vulnerabilities require physical access to the targeted device, but one allows remote attacks with administrative access.

The company has posted a detection tool on its support website for Windows and Linux to help identify systems that are vulnerable. In the security alert, members of Intel's security team stated that "in response to issues identified by external researchers, Intel has performed an in-depth comprehensive security review of its Intel® Management Engine (ME), Intel® Trusted Execution Engine (TXE), and Intel® Server Platform Services (SPS) with the objective of enhancing firmware resilience."

Intel® Management Engine Critical Firmware Update (Intel SA-00086)

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Lightning Can Cause Nuclear Reactions and Generate Antimatter

Posted: 23 Nov 2017 01:48 AM PST

Lightning can transmute nitrogen into carbon-14 and cause the emission of a positron, the antimatter counterpart of the electron:

Lightning can accelerate some electrons to almost the speed of light, and the electrons can then produce γ-rays. [Leonid] Babich proposed that when one of these γ-rays hits the nucleus of a nitrogen atom in the atmosphere, the collision can dislodge a neutron. After briefly bouncing around, most of the neutrons get absorbed by another nitrogen nucleus. This adds energy to the receiving nucleus and puts it in an excited state. As the receiving nucleus relaxes to its original state, it emits another γ-ray — contributing to the giveaway γ-ray glow.

Meanwhile, the nitrogen nucleus that has lost one neutron is extremely unstable. It decays radioactively over the next minute or so; in so doing, it emits a positron, which almost immediately annihilates with an electron, producing two 511-keV photons. This was the third signal, Enoto says. He suspects that his detectors were able to see it only because the briefly radioactive cloud was low, and moving towards the detectors. This combination of circumstances might help to explain why the photonuclear signature has been seen so rarely. Enoto says that his team has observed a few similar events, but that the one described in the paper is the only clear-cut event so far.

Babich also predicted that not all of the neutrons dislodged from nitrogen by a γ-ray are absorbed. Some of them instead will trigger the transmutation of another nitrogen nucleus into carbon-14, a radioactive isotope that has two more neutrons than ordinary carbon. This isotope can be absorbed by organisms; it then decays at a predictable rate long after the organism's death, which makes it a useful clock for archaeologists.

The main source of the carbon-14 in the atmosphere has generally been considered to be cosmic rays. In principle, lightning could also contribute to the supply. But it is not clear yet how much of the isotope is produced in this way, says Enoto, in part because it's possible that not all bolts initiate photonuclear reactions.

Photonuclear reactions triggered by lightning discharge (DOI: 10.1038/nature24630) (DX)


Original Submission

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Tweaked With "Socialist Values" for China Release

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:27 PM PST

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is one of 2017's most popular video games, and it's getting a makeover for the Chinese market:

Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is bringing "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds", the world's hottest video game, to China, but with a twist. The gory, battle royale-style game will get a socialist makeover to meet stringent Chinese rules. The move comes after China's content regulator slammed the South Korean-made game, PUBG for short, last month for being too violent and said it would likely be blocked because it "severely deviates from socialist core values".

The PUBG game where players fight for survival on a deserted island is currently the world's top-selling videogame, having shipped more than 20 million copies since its launch in March. It has been developed by South Korean firm Blue Hole.

Tencent, which recently outstripped Facebook Inc in market value, said it had won the exclusive rights to the game in China, and that it would modify the game in order to meet the requirements of China's regulators and censors. "(Tencent) will make adjustment to content ... and make sure they accord with socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture and moral rules," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Also at Engadget.


Original Submission

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Trial of Inauguration Protesters is a Comedy of Tech N00bs

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 09:06 PM PST

The Center for American Progress reports

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have only just begun to wrestle over the facts in an unprecedented series of felony trials stemming from the mass round-up arrest of hundreds of protesters on Inauguration Day. The federal government is arguing that everyone charged was an active participant, provoking alarming notions of collective punishment, but video evidence and media reports indicate that many caught in the mass arrest were not organized Antifa disrupters but rather onlookers caught in a dragnet.

[...] Lawyers from each side struggled [November 21, the second day of the trial of 6 defendants] to work up any kind of rhythm in their questioning because of the repeated interruptions necessary to navigate the gigantic pile of video evidence the government is relying upon. One might expect a serious felony trial involving thousands of gigabytes of video data covering hours of chaos in the streets to have some state-of-the-art system for playback--or at least the kind of pre-cut clips common on sports highlights shows.

But the law and order playing out in Courtroom 203 of the D.C. Superior Court has no such handy facilitation.

"I'm just going to back it up and--oops too far", Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Rizwan Qureshi said while trying to examine one government witness Tuesday.

The system befuddled defense attorneys just as much during their attempts at cross-examination. When one of the six defendants' lawyers sought to play back video for a Metropolitan Police Department officer, her colleague's computer froze up and only played sound. As the team tried to figure it out, Judge Lynn Leibovitz leaned toward their table and suggested they all "might want to get a tech person."

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Flat Earther Plans Manned Steam-Powered Rocket Launch

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:45 PM PST

"Mad" Mike Hughes plans to ascend to 1800 feet in a $20,000 steam-powered rocket.

He has flown in rockets before, mostly successfully, but was injured by the acceleration.

Despite that he claims "science is science fiction", he used documented engineering formulas because they are known to work, despite that the science behind them is bogus.

It will be live-streamed on Hughes' YouTube channel, possibly also on Pay-Per-View.


Original Submission

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Meg Whitman Resigns

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 04:24 PM PST

"Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE) said on Tuesday that Meg Whitman was stepping down as chief executive officer, sending its shares down 7.4 percent in trading after the bell.

Whitman engineered the biggest breakup in corporate history during her 6 year tenure at the helm, creating HPE and PC-and-printer business HP Inc from parent Hewlett Packard Co in 2015."

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/11/21/hp-enterprise-ceo-meg-whitman-steps-down.html


Original Submission

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Bird Carcass Strangely Intact After Impact With Landing Plane

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 02:03 PM PST

The intact carcass of a bird dangles from a plane after colliding with the aircraft approaching Miami International Airport.

This would seem to defy the laws of physics, or that just the bird's neck is Kryptonian. It's name is being witheld until the next of kin is notified....


Original Submission

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Why "man -w" will Sometimes Print "gimme gimme gimme"

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:42 AM PST

Spotted at Lobsters is a thread about a stackoverflow question on man; why does running "man -w" report "gimme gimme gimme" when run at 00:30?

This gets this response:

Pretty much the whole story is in the commit. The maintainer of man is a good friend of mine, and one day six years ago I jokingly said to him that if you invoke man after midnight it should print "gimme gimme gimme", because of the Abba song called "Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight":

Well, he did actually put it in. A few people were amused to discover it, and we mostly forgot about it until today.

The commit in question, and more commentary over at HackerNews.

Anyone know of other good easter eggs that have cropped up unexpectedly and caught users out?


Original Submission

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