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Gap Exposed by Iceberg Breaking Off the Larsen Ice Shelf to be Studied

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 09:31 AM PST

The ecosystem in between the Larsen Ice Shelf and a giant iceberg is due to be studied:

Scientists will set out in the next week to study an Antarctic realm that has been hidden for thousands of years.

A British Antarctic Survey-led team will explore the seabed ecosystem exposed when a giant iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017.

The organisation has also released the first video of the berg, which covers almost 6,000 sq km.

[...] British Antarctic Survey marine biologist Dr Katrin Linse, who is leading the mission, said that the calving of the iceberg, which has been named A68, provides researchers with "a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change". "It's important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonise," she explained, adding that the mission was "very exciting".

Also at Live Science.

Related: Antarctic Larsen C Ice Shelf to Calve; Halley VI Research Station Plans Move
Larsen C Rift Branches as it Comes Within 5 km of Calving
Larsen C Calves Trillion Ton Iceberg
That Huge Iceberg Should Freak You Out. Here's Why

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Facebook Promotes Onavo, Its Privacy-Killing VPN

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 07:57 AM PST

Facebook's mobile app is promoting a VPN service from a company that it acquired in 2013. The hard-to-find privacy policy and non-disclosure of Facebook's ownership are setting off alarm bells:

Facebook is now offering some mobile app users a wireless-networking app without first disclosing that it's owned by Facebook, or that it collects information for the social networking company.

The app, Onavo Protect, provides users with a virtual private network, or VPN. Typically, a VPN cloaks the user's identity and adds other security features, making it a more secure way to get online, particularly when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Yet the Onavo app also tracks data that it shares with Facebook and others, "including the applications installed on your device, your use of those applications, the websites you visit and the amount of data you use," according to its own privacy policies.

Also at TechCrunch and Gizmodo.

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Watch Netflix in 1080p on Linux and Unsupported Browsers

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:24 AM PST

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Netflix 1080p is a new browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox (a fork). It should work in other browsers that support Chrome's extensions system.

The extension enables support for 1080p on Netflix in the browsers. Netflix customers can use Chrome or Firefox, on any supported operating system, to watch streams in 1080p using those browsers.

This overrides Netflix's -- seemingly artifical -- streaming quality limitation. The extension is especially useful for Linux users as it unlocks 1080p video streams on Netflix on Linux machines since that is not supported officially by Netflix.

Source: https://www.ghacks.net/2018/02/12/watch-netflix-in-1080p-on-linux-and-unsupported-browsers/

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Thousands of Websites Hijacked by Hidden Crypto-Mining Code After Popular Plugin Pwned

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 04:51 AM PST

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Thousands of websites around the world – from the UK's NHS and ICO to the US government's court system – were today secretly mining crypto-coins on netizens' web browsers for miscreants unknown.

The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind or partially sighted people.

This technology was compromised in some way – either by hackers or rogue insiders altering Browsealoud's source code – to silently inject Coinhive's Monero miner into every webpage offering Browsealoud.

For several hours today, anyone who visited a site that embedded Browsealoud inadvertently ran this hidden mining code on their computer, generating money for the miscreants behind the caper.

Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/11/browsealoud_compromised_coinhive/

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How Close are we to Peak Social Media?

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 03:18 AM PST

According to The Guardian, one of world's biggest advertisers — Unilever — says it will avoid platforms that 'create division'. It further threatens to take its ad purchases off Facebook and Google, if they cannot reign in hate and protect children. Their chief marketing officer says their online spending sometimes is "little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency".

If this finally is it, I say good riddance to surveillance capitalism.

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Photograph of a Single Illuminated Atom Awarded Top Prize at Science Photography Competition

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 01:41 AM PST

Picture of a Single Atom Wins Science Photo Contest

A remarkable photo of a single atom trapped by electric fields has just been awarded the top prize in a well-known science photography competition. The photo is titled "Single Atom in an Ion Trap" and was shot by David Nadlinger of the University of Oxford.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK today announced the winning photos of its national science photography competition. Nadlinger's grand prize photo shows an atom as a speck of light between two metal electrodes placed about 2mm (0.078in) apart.


When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph. The winning picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the ion trap.

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Apple, Valve, and LG Invest in OLED Manufacturer eMagin

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 12:04 AM PST

A number of companies, including Apple, Valve, and LG, have invested in the OLED display manufacturer eMagin:

According to documents filed last month with SEC, a new stock issuance of some $10 million by OLED microdisplay maker eMagin will be bought up by Apple, Valve, and LG, among others.

Founded in 1993, Emagin is a producer of OLED microdisplays which have seen deployments in military, medical, industrial, and other sectors. With the rise of AR and VR in the consumer market, Emagin has recently marketed their display technology toward companies building consumer headsets.

The company's flagship product in this space is a 2,048 × 2,048 OLED microdisplay with a ~70% fill factor, which the company claims will eliminate the 'screen door effect' seen on today's consumer VR headsets.

[...] As for Valve, the company's chief, Gabe Newell, said back in 2017 that he expected VR display technology to make great strides in 2018 and 2019; a timeline which may have been guided by the company's involvement with Emagin:

"We're going to go from this weird position where VR right now is kind of low res, to being in a place where VR is higher res than just about anything else, with much higher refresh rates than you're going to see on either desktops or phones. You'll see the VR industry leapfrogging any other display technology. You'll start to see that happening in 2018 and 2019 when you'll be talking about incredibly high resolutions."

2,048 × 2,048 at a 9.3 µm pixel pitch suggests a 19 mm × 19 mm (0.75 in × 0.75 in) panel, with about 2,730 pixels per inch.

Also at CNET.

Update (2/12/18): An earlier version of this article stated that Apple, LG, and Valve had participated in Emagin's new stock offering; according to a press release issued by Emagin today, the companies ultimately didn't participate in the deal. While the company had filed documents with SEC on the 25th of January listing the companies as "specified investors" in the deal, none of those companies took part in the deal by the time it had closed on January 29th, according to Emagin. We've reached out to the company for additional information surrounding the deal and Emagin's involvement with Apple, Valve, and LG.

According to a report from Bloomberg, "Emagin listed those companies in the filing because it had discussions with [the companies] at industry events," the company reportedly told the publication.

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Google Renting Access to Tensor Processing Units (TPUs)

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:27 PM PST

Google has announced that its custom-made tensor processing units (TPUs) have been made available for rent on the Google Cloud Platform:

A few years ago, Google created a new kind of computer chip to help power its giant artificial intelligence systems. These chips were designed to handle the complex processes that some believe will be a key to the future of the computer industry. On Monday, the internet giant said it would allow other companies to buy access to those chips through its cloud-computing service. Google hopes to build a new business around the chips, called tensor processing units, or T.P.U.s.

[...] In addition to its T.P.U. chips, which sit inside its data centers, the company has designed an A.I. chip for its smartphones.

Right now, Google's new service is focused on a way to teach computers to recognize objects, called computer vision technology. But as time goes on, the new chips will also help businesses build a wider range of services, Mr. Stone said. At the end of last year, hoping to accelerate its work on driverless cars, Lyft began testing Google's new chips. Using the chips, Lyft wanted to accelerate the development of systems that allow driverless cars to, say, identify street signs or pedestrians. "Training" these systems can take days, but with the new chips, the hope is that this will be reduced to hours. "There is huge potential here," said Anantha Kancherla, who oversees software for the Lyft driverless car project.

T.P.U. chips have helped accelerate the development of everything from the Google Assistant, the service that recognizes voice commands on Android phones, to Google Translate, the internet app that translates one language into another. They are also reducing Google's dependence on chip makers like Nvidia and Intel. In a similar move, it designed its own servers and networking hardware, reducing its dependence on hardware makers like Dell, HP and Cisco.

Also at The Next Platform, TechCrunch, and CNBC.

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Hacking Group Fail0verflow Shows Linux Running on the Nintendo Switch

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:50 PM PST

Nintendo hopes that "every single person" will own a Nintendo Switch, and that it can prolong the life cycle of the console to beyond 5-6 years.

Maybe Linux on Switch could help?

[Hacker] group Fail0verflow has claimed to have found a Nintendo Switch hack.

The group has posted the picture of Switch booting a Debian GNU/Linux installation. The picture also shows a serial adapter connected to one Joy-Con docks. Notably, Fail0verflow is the same group that hacked Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.

What makes this Nintendo Switch hack special is that it can't be patched in the currently released consoles. This is because the exploit was found in the boot ROM process of Nvidia Tegra X1 chips that can't be patched with software or firmware updates.

That's not all. This hack to run Linux doesn't even need a mod chip to run.

Also at TechCrunch.

Previously: Nintendo Switch Homebrew Mode Coming Soon Due to NVIDIA Tegra X1 Exploit

Related: Nintendo to More Than Double Production of Switch; Success Rooted in Wii U's Failure
Nintendo Switch is Fastest-Selling US Home Console

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Predictive Algorithms Are No Better at Telling the Future Than a Crystal Ball

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:17 PM PST

An increasing number of businesses invest in advanced technologies that can help them forecast the future of their workforce and gain a competitive advantage. Many analysts and professional practitioners believe that, with enough data, algorithms embedded in People Analytics (PA) applications can predict all aspects of employee behavior: from productivity, to engagement, to interactions and emotional states.

Predictive analytics powered by algorithms are designed to help managers make decisions that favourably impact the bottom line. The global market for this technology is expected to grow from US$3.9 billion in 2016 to US$14.9 billion by 2023.

Despite the promise, predictive algorithms are as mythical as the crystal ball of ancient times.

[...] To manage effectively and develop their knowledge of current and likely organisational events, managers need to learn to build and trust their instinctual awareness of emerging processes rather than rely on algorithmic promises that cannot be realised. The key to effective decision-making is not algorithmic calculations but intuition.


What do you people think about predictive algorithms ? Mumbo jumbo or ??

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‘Internet Shouldn't be Accessible to Just Anyone:’ Russian Nobel Prize Winner

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:34 PM PST

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Russian Communist Party MP and Nobel Prize-winner Zhores Alferov has urged restrictions on internet access, saying unlimited access to information can harm people's morals and mental health.

"The internet must have limitations and it must not be available to everyone," Alferov stated in a recent interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily. He went on to explain that in his opinion the total lack of control and restrictions of the net can affect people's behavior and damage publicly-accepted moral guidelines.

"By making fools of our population today we will have a lot of problems," he said.

In the same interview, Alferov said he personally did not expect any conflicts between humanity and artificial intelligence in future, but stated that it was wrong to "fully trust a machine."

Alferov is a world-renowned physicist, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is also a State Duma MP representing the largest opposition party, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF).

But... Who will I argue with if there aren't any commies on the Internet?

Source: https://www.rt.com/politics/418544-internet-should-not-be-accessible/

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AMD Launches Two Ryzen Desktop APUs

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 04:02 PM PST

AMD has launched two desktop APUs with Ryzen CPU cores and Vega graphics. The $169 Ryzen 5 2400G is a 4 core, 8 thread APU with 11 graphics compute units. The $99 Ryzen 3 2200G has 4 cores, 4 threads, and 8 graphics compute units. Both have a 65 W TDP and support dual-channel DDR4-2933 RAM:

Despite the Ryzen 5 2400G being classified as a 'Ryzen 5', the specifications of the chip are pretty much the peak specifications that the silicon is expected to offer. AMD has stated that at this time no Ryzen 7 equivalent is planned. The Ryzen 5 2400G has a full complement of four cores with simultaneous multi-threading, and a full set of 11 compute units on the integrated graphics. This is one compute unit more than the Ryzen 7 2700U Mobile processor, which only has 10 compute units but is limited to 15W TDP. The 11 compute units for the 2400G translates as 704 streaming processors, compared to 640 SPs on the Ryzen 7 2700U or 512 SPs on previous generation desktop APUs: an effective automatic 25% increase from generation to generation of desktop APU without factoring the Vega architecture or the frequency improvements.

The integrated graphics frequency will default to 1250 MHz and the total chip TDP is 65W. Maximum supported memory frequency will vary depending on how much memory is used and what type, but AMD lists DDR4-2933 as the support for one single-sided module per channel. Aside from the full set of hardware, the CPU frequency of the 2400G is very high, similar to the standard Ryzen 7 desktop processors: a base frequency of 3.6 GHz and a turbo of 3.9 GHz will leave little room for overclocking. (Yes, that means these chips are overclockable.)

The Ryzen 5 2400G somewhat replaces the Ryzen 5 1400 at the $169 price point. Both chips will continue to be sold, but at this price point AMD will be promoting the 2400G over the 1400. The 2400G has a higher set of frequencies (3.6G vs 3.2G base frequency, 3.9G vs 3.4G turbo frequency), higher memory support (DDR4-2933 vs DDR4-2666), no cross-CCX latency between sets of cores, but has less L3 cache per core (1 MB vs 2 MB). In virtually all scenarios, even if a user does not use the Ryzen 5 2400G integrated graphics, the Ryzen 5 2400G seems the better option on paper.

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New Lithium Collection Method Could Boost Global Supply

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:35 PM PST

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

With continual technological advancements in mobile devices and electric cars, the global demand for lithium has quickly outpaced the rate at which it can be mined or recycled, but a University of Texas at Austin professor and his research team may have a solution.

Benny Freeman, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and his colleagues at the Monash University Department of Chemical Engineering and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. They published their findings in the Feb. 9 issue of Science Advances.

The team's technique uses a metal-organic-framework membrane that mimics the filtering function, or "ion selectivity," of biological cell membranes. The membrane process easily and efficiently separates metal ions, opening the door to revolutionary technologies in the water and mining industries and potential economic growth opportunities in Texas.

[...] In addition, the team's process could help with water desalination. Unlike the existing reverse-osmosis membranes responsible for more than half of the world's current water desalination capacity, the new membrane process dehydrates ions as they pass through the membrane channels and removes only select ions, rather than indiscriminately removing all ions. The result is a process that costs less and consumes less energy than conventional methods.

See also: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaq0066

Source: https://news.utexas.edu/2018/02/09/new-lithium-collection-method-could-boost-global-supply

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What's Coming In KiCAD Version 5

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:02 PM PST

KiCAD is a GPL'd Electronics Design Automation (EDA) suite with schematic capture and printed circuit board layout abilities. Its capabilities continue to expand.

Hackaday reports

[...] five years ago, if you wanted to design a printed circuit board, your best option was [Cadsoft's Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (EAGLE)]. [These days], EAGLE is an Autodesk property, the licensing model has changed, [...] and the Open Source EDA suite KiCAD is getting better and better. New developers are contributing to the project and, by some measures, KiCAD is now the most popular tool to develop Open [Design] hardware.

At FOSDEM last week, Wayne Stambaugh, project lead of KiCAD laid out what features are due in the upcoming release of version 5 [Video]. KiCAD just keeps improving, and these new features are really killer features that will make everyone [who is] annoyed with EAGLE's new licensing very happy.

Although recent versions of KiCAD have made improvements to the way part and footprint libraries are handled, the big upcoming change is that footprint libraries will be installed locally. The Github plugin for library management--a good idea in theory--is no longer the default.

SPICE [Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis] is also coming to KiCAD. The best demo of the upcoming SPICE integration is this relatively old video demonstrating how KiCAD turns a schematic into graphs of voltage and current.

The biggest news, however, is the new ability to import EAGLE projects. Wayne demoed this live on stage, importing an EAGLE board and schematic of an Arduino Mega and turning it into a KiCAD board and schematic in a matter of seconds. It's not -quite- perfect yet, but it's close and very, very good.

There are, of course, other fancy features that make designing schematics and PCBs easier. Eeschema is getting a better configuration dialog, improved bus and wire dragging, and improved junction handling. Pcbnew is getting rounded rectangle and complex pad shape support, direct export to STEP files, and you'll soon be able to update the board from the schematic without updating the netlist file. Read that last feature again, slowly. It's the best news we've ever heard.

The author is tolerant of subtractive changes to proprietary licenses; other hardware hackers/tool users, in the comments there, not so much.

Previous: A Tool to Export EAGLE Projects for Use With FOSS ECADs
Cadsoft EAGLE is Now Subscription-Only
Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier
FOSS Printed Circuit Software KiCAD 4.0 Released
CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits

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That Mega-Vulnerability Cisco Dropped is Now Under Exploit

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:29 AM PST

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Hackers are actively trying to exploit a high-severity vulnerability in widely used Cisco networking software that can give complete control over protected networks and access to all traffic passing over them, the company has warned.

When Cisco officials disclosed the bug last week in a range of Adaptive Security Appliance products, they said they had no evidence anyone was actively exploiting it. Earlier this week, the officials updated their advisory to indicate that was no longer the case.

"The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is aware of public knowledge of the vulnerability that is described in this advisory," the officials wrote. "Cisco PSIRT is aware of attempted malicious use of the vulnerability described in this advisory."

The update didn't say how widespread the attacks are, whether any of them are succeeding, or who is carrying them out. On Twitter on Thursday, Craig Williams, a Cisco researcher and director of outreach for Cisco's Talos security team, wrote of the vulnerability: "This is not a drill..Patch immediately. Exploitation, albeit lame DoS so far, has been observed in the field."

Source: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/02/that-mega-vulnerability-cisco-dropped-is-now-under-exploit/

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