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Dissecting The AVR Debugwire

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 09:51 AM PDT

Anyone who’s ever written more than a dozen or so lines of code knows that debugging is a part of life in our world. Anyone who’s written code for microcontrollers knows that physical debugging is a part of our life as well. Atmel processors uses a serial communications protocol called debugWire, which is a simpler version of JTAG and allows full read/write access to all registers and allows one to single step, break, etc. [Nerd Ralph], a prominent fixture here at Hackaday has dug into the AVR debugWire protocol and enlightened us with some valuable information.

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Facebook Releases Internal Moderation Guidelines

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 08:13 AM PDT

Facebook reveals 25 pages of takedown rules for hate speech and more

Facebook has never before made public the guidelines its moderators use to decide whether to remove violence, spam, harassment, self-harm, terrorism, intellectual property theft, and hate speech from social network until now. The company hoped to avoid making it easy to game these rules, but that worry has been overridden by the public's constant calls for clarity and protests about its decisions. Today Facebook published 25 pages of detailed criteria and examples for what is and isn't allowed.

Facebook is effectively shifting where it will be criticized to the underlying policy instead of individual incidents of enforcement mistakes like when it took down posts of the newsworthy "Napalm Girl" historical photo because it contains child nudity before eventually restoring them. Some groups will surely find points to take issue with, but Facebook has made some significant improvements. Most notably, it no longer disqualifies minorities from shielding from hate speech because an unprotected characteristic like "children" is appended to a protected characteristic like "black".

Nothing is technically changing about Facebook's policies. But previously, only leaks like a copy of an internal rulebook attained by the Guardian had given the outside world a look at when Facebook actually enforces those policies. These rules will be translated into over 40 languages for the public. Facebook currently has 7500 content reviewers, up 40% from a year ago.

Also at MarketWatch.

Facebook Reports BBC for Reporting Child Porn Images Found on Facebook
Facebook Blocks Users from Sharing World Socialist Web Site Promotional Video
Facebook-Owned Instagram Removes Opioid-Related Posts

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Securing Wireless Neurostimulators

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 06:47 AM PDT

A team of academic security researchers from KU Leuwen, Belgium, have discovered that medical implants like electrical brain implants are quite insecure devices because these have defected [sic] wireless interfaces.

Researchers identified that the security factor of these devices is pretty weak; the defects in their wireless interfaces can allow attackers obtain sensitive neurological data, administer shocks and intercept confidential medical data, which gets transmitted between the implant and the connected devices that are responsible for controlling, updating and reading it.

[...] By hacking neurostimulators, an attacker can cause irreversible damage to the patients by preventing them from speaking or moving. The hacking may also prove to be life-threatening, wrote the Belgian researchers in their paper that provide details about the research findings.

Source: Hackread

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Shellebrating Christmas Island's Extraordinary Nature With Street View and Google Earth

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 05:10 AM PDT

From Google's blog, The Keyword:

In December, we took the Street View trekker to Christmas Island, a remote tropical territory of Australia just south of Indonesia. With Parks Australia, we joined the island's red crabs as they marched in the millions from the forest to the sea for their annual migration.

Now it's time to shellebrate. Starting today on Google Maps Street View and Google Earth, you can explore Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands' unique wildlife, dazzling ocean vistas and lush rainforests, including the grand finale of the red crab migration—the spawning. The red crabs wait all year for this very moment—and the precise alignment of the rains, moon and tides—to release their eggs at the coastal waters.

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Saudi Arabia Restricts Drones After Palace Incident

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 03:40 AM PDT

Saudi issues drone restrictions following palace incident

Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry on Sunday instructed drone enthusiasts to obtain permission to fly the devices until regulations were finalised, a day after security forces shot down a recreational drone near the king's palace in Riyadh.

Amateur online videos of heavy gunfire in the capital's Khozama district on Saturday sparked fears of possible political unrest in the world's top oil exporter. A senior Saudi official told Reuters there were no casualties when the drone was shot down and that King Salman was not in the palace at the time.

A security screening point had noticed the flying of a small unauthorized recreational drone, leading security forces to deal with it "according to their orders and instructions", state news agency SPA had said.

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Swaziland's King Renames Country to "eSwatini"

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 02:16 AM PDT

Swaziland is no more:

A landlocked, rural nation in southern Africa, Swaziland has significant problems. Nearly a third of the country's population lives in extreme poverty, and about as many are infected with H.I.V., one of the world's highest prevalence rates for the virus. Life expectancy is low, around 50. A recent drought and an infestation of armyworms, an invasive species, devastated crops.

So the kingdom's 1.4 million residents might have been surprised on Thursday when King Mswati III, one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchs, announced the news: The country will henceforth be known as eSwatini, the kingdom's name in the local language. (It means "land of the Swazis" in the Swazi — or siSwati — tongue.)

The king, who has reigned since 1986, announced the name change — an adjustment, really — during a ceremony in the city of Manzini on Thursday to mark his 50th birthday.

Many African countries upon independence "reverted to their ancient, native names," The Associated Press quoted the king as saying. "We no longer shall be called Swaziland from today forward."

According to Reuters, Mswati argued that the kingdom's name had long caused confusion. "Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland," the king said, according to Reuters.

Also at BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43821512.

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Students Learn Italian Playing Video Games

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 12:39 AM PDT

In a paper published in Profession, the Modern Language Association's journal about modern languages and literatures, a Saint Louis University professor discusses how he uses video games to teach Italian, allowing his students to master two semesters worth of language acquisition through one intensive class for students new to the Italian language.

[...] Though [Simone] Bregni has used Final Fantasy, Trivial Pursuit, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Heavy Rain and Rise of the Tomb Raider in his classrooms, one of the most useful games to teach Italian is Assassin's Creed II.

"In my Italian Renaissance literature course, for example, students explore Florence as it flourished under the Medici by playing Assassin's Creed II," Bregni says in the paper. "My 21st-century American students partake in the life of Ezio Auditore, a 20-something man from an affluent family, by wandering around a cultural and historical re-creation of 1476 Florence."

[...] In a class called Intensive Italian for Gamers, all students made progress equal to two semesters of Italian over the course of a single fall semester. By the final, students were 3 to 5 points ahead of students in a traditional Italian course.

Source: https://www.slu.edu/news/2018/april/learning-italian-through-gaming.php

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Aliens on 'Super-Earth' Planets May be Trapped by Gravity

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 11:02 PM PDT

"Super-Earth" planets are giant-size versions of Earth, and some research has suggested that they're more likely to be habitable than Earth-size worlds. But a new study reveals how difficult it would be for any aliens on these exoplanets to explore space.

To launch the equivalent of an Apollo moon mission, a rocket on a super-Earth would need to have a mass of about 440,000 tons (400,000 metric tons), due to fuel requirements, the study said. That's on the order of the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

"On more-massive planets, spaceflight would be exponentially more expensive," said study author Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany. "Such civilizations would not have satellite TV, a moon mission or a Hubble Space Telescope."


[Also Covered By]: GIZMODO

[Paper]: Spaceflight from Super-Earths is difficult

[Related]: 10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life

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New Exascale System for Earth Simulation Introduced

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 09:44 PM PDT

After four years of development, the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) will be unveiled today and released to the broader scientific community this month. The E3SM project is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science in the Biological and Environmental Research Office. The E3SM release will include model code and documentation, as well as output from an initial set of benchmark simulations.

[...] The goal of the project is to develop an earth system model (ESM) that has not been possible because of limitations in current computing technologies. Meeting this goal will require advances on three frontiers: 1) better resolving earth system processes through a strategic combination of developing new processes in the model, increased model resolution and enhanced computational performance; 2) representing more realistically the two-way interactions between human activities and natural processes, especially where these interactions affect U.S. energy needs; and 3) ensemble modeling to quantify uncertainty of model simulations and projections.

E3SM will provide insights on earth system interactions in the Arctic and their influence on mid-latitude weather. In this E3SM model simulation, winter storm clouds, represented here by outgoing longwave radiation, or OLR, affect sea ice coverage as the clouds move across the Arctic.

The full press release can be found online.

Source: https://www.hpcwire.com/2018/04/23/new-exascale-system-for-earth-simulation-introduced/

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Johns Hopkins Performs the First Total Penis and Scrotum Transplant

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 08:16 PM PDT

The first US penis transplant was successfully performed in 2016. Last year, a uterus transplant recipient gave birth for the first time in the US, too. Now, doctors at Johns Hopkins University have successfully transplanted an entire penis and scrotum to a young serviceman who sustained injuries in Afghanistan resulting in the loss of his genitals.

"We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man," said Johns Hopkins' W.P. Andrew Lee, M.D. in a statement. Nine plastic surgeons and two urological specialists took 14 hours to transplant a deceased donor's entire penis and scrotum (minus testicles), along with a partial abdominal wall, to the young man, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/23/johns-hopkins-penis-scrotum-transplant/

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How Many Piracy Warnings Would Get You to Stop?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:23 PM PDT

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

For the past several years, copyright holders in the US and Europe have been trying to reach out to file-sharers in an effort to change their habits.

Whether via high-profile publicity lawsuits or a simple email, it's hoped that by letting people know they aren't anonymous, they'll stop pirating and buy more content instead.

Traditionally, most ISPs haven't been that keen on passing infringement notices on. However, the BMG v Cox lawsuit seems to have made a big difference, with a growing number of ISPs now visibly warning their users that they operate a repeat infringer policy.

But perhaps the big question is how seriously users take these warnings because – let's face it – that's the entire point of their existence.

Sixty-five thousand five hundred thirty-five but if they sent one more I'd start again.

Source: https://torrentfreak.com/how-many-piracy-warnings-would-get-you-to-stop-180422/

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Notes on a More Privacy-Friendly Blog

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:33 PM PDT

Vincent Bernat writes in his blog about recent steps he took to increase privacy for his visitors and efficiency for the blog. He started out with excluding privacy-hostile modifications like Google Analytics, Disqus, third-party fonts, and much more. After reflection, he pared back and found the results better all around.

He addresses the following technologies one by one:

  • Analytics
  • Fonts
  • Videos
  • Comments
  • Search engine
  • Newsletter
  • Java­Script
  • Memento: CSP

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Bloomberg: Amazon Working on a Home Robot

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:55 PM PDT

Amazon is reportedly working on a home robot that would follow users around and provide access to Alexa:

Amazon is reportedly developing its first robot for the home, according to Bloomberg. The project has been given the internal codename "Vesta," named after the Roman goddess of the hearth. It's being developed by Lab126, the Amazon hardware R&D center that previously built the Kindle, Fire Phone, and Echo.

There are no firm details on what Amazon's robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of "mobile Alexa" — following users around their house to places where they can't speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees' homes by the end of the year. Bloomberg notes that the general public might be able to test such robot prototypes "as early as 2019."

From such scant details, it's difficult to know exactly what Amazon is planning, but it's safe to say that a home robot in this case does not mean some sort of "robot butler able to perform a variety of household chores." The technology needed for this sort of device just doesn't exist yet in the commercial sphere (although companies like Boston Dynamics are working on it).

The company's Amazon Robotics subsidiary, formerly Kiva Systems, makes robots for Amazon warehouses.

Amazon's Prometheans are going to kill your family from inside the comfort of your own home.

Also at TechCrunch.

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Ad-Blocking Brave Browser Will Offer Free Cryptocurrency to All Users

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:21 PM PDT

The Brave browser's basic attention token (BAT) technology is designed to let advertisers pay publishers. Brave users also will get a cut if they sign up to see ads.

Brave developed the basic attention token (BAT) as an alternative to regular money for the payments that flow from advertiser to website publishers. Brave plans to use BAT more broadly, though, for example also sending a portion of advertising revenue to you if you're using Brave and letting you spend BAT for premium content like news articles that otherwise would be behind a subscription paywall.

Most of that is in the future, though. Today, Brave can send BAT to website publishers, YouTubers and Twitch videogame streamers, all of whom can convert that BAT into ordinary money once they're verified. You can buy BAT on your own, but Brave has given away millions of dollars' worth through a few promotions. The next phase of the plan, though, is just to automatically lavish BAT on anyone using Brave, so you won't have to fret that you missed a promotional giveaway.

"We're getting to the point where we're giving users BAT all the time. We don't think we'll run out. We think users should get it," CEO and former Firefox leader Brendan Eich said. "We're going to do it continually."

The BAT giveaway plan is an important new phase in Brave's effort to salvage what's good about advertising on the internet -- free access to useful or entertaining services like Facebook, Google search and YouTube -- without downsides like privacy invasion and the sorts of political manipulations that Facebook partner Cambridge Analytica tried to enable.

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Last Known Person Born in the 19th Century Dies

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:00 PM PDT

World's oldest person, last survivor of 19th century, dies in Japan at 117

The century of Lincoln, Darwin and Van Gogh has quietly passed into history with the death of the world's oldest known person and last survivor of the 19th century.

Nabi Tajima, 117, died in a hospital Saturday in Kikai, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan's Kyodo News reported. Tajima had been mostly bedridden at a nursing home in recent years. She was hospitalized about a month ago, family members told the news service.

Also at The Washington Post.

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Researchers Illuminate the Path to a New Era of Microelectronics

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 10:18 AM PDT

A new microchip technology capable of optically transferring data could solve a severe bottleneck in current devices by speeding data transfer and reducing energy consumption by orders of magnitude, according to an article published in the April 19, 2018 issue of Nature.

Researchers from Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California Berkeley and University of Colorado Boulder have developed a method to fabricate silicon chips that can communicate with light and are no more expensive than current chip technology.

The electrical signaling bottleneck between current microelectronic chips has left light communication as one of the only options left for further technological progress. The traditional method of data transfer–electrical wires–has a limit on how fast and how far it can transfer data. It also uses a lot of power and generates heat. With the relentless demand for higher performance and lower power in electronics, these limits have been reached. But with this new development, that bottleneck can be solved.

"Instead of a single wire carrying around 10 gigabits per second, you can have a single optical fiber carrying 10 to 20 terabits per second—so a thousand times more in the same footprint," says Assistant Professor Milos Popovic (ECE), one of the principal investigators of the study, whose team was previously at University of Colorado Boulder where part of the work was done.

"If you replace a wire with an optical fiber, there are two ways you win," he says. "First, with light, you can send data at much higher frequencies without significant loss of energy as there is with copper wiring. Second, with optics, you can use many different colors of light in one fiber and each one can carry a data channel. The fibers can also be packed more closely together than copper wires can without crosstalk."

Source: http://www.bu.edu/eng/2018/04/18/a-new-era-of-microelectronics/

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