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Updated: 12 min 22 sec ago

Silicon Valley's Legendary 'Coach' Bill Campbell Has Died

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 4:20pm
Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Bill Campbell, who garnered the name "The Coach" for the sage advice and counsel he gave numerous tech leaders from Apple's Steve Jobs to Google's Larry Page to Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has died. He was battling with cancer. News of his passing popped up on Facebook early this morning and many prominent tech players also confirmed the death to me, which came after a long battle with cancer. It is a big loss for Silicon Valley, given the impact a man who said he did not even know how to do HTML had by virtue of wisdom alone. But he was not without tech chops. Campbell ran companies like Intuit and worked in key jobs at Apple, Claris and Go, and also served on a plethora of boards, including Columbia University, Intuit and Apple. He has been a longtime adviser to Google execs including Page and Eric Schmidt -- and really just about every major tech executive you could think of at some point.VentureBeat interviewed Campbell in 2011, in which he shared coaching tips.

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Your Phone Number Is All a Hacker Needs To Read Texts, Listen To Calls and Track You

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 3:40pm
Samuel Gibbs, reporting for The Guardian: Hackers have again demonstrated that no matter how many security precautions someone takes, all a hacker needs to track their location and snoop on their phone calls and texts is their phone number. The hack, first demonstrated by German security researcher Karsten Nohl in 2014 at a hacker convention in Hamburg, has been shown to still be active by Nohl over a year later for CBS's 60 Minutes. The hack uses the network interchange service called Signalling System No. 7 (SS7), also known as C7 in the UK or CCSS7 in the US, which acts as a broker between mobile phone networks. When calls or text messages are made across networks SS7 handles details such as number translation, SMS transfer, billing and other back-end duties that connect one network or caller to another. By hacking into or otherwise gaining access to the SS7 system, an attacker can track a person's location based on mobile phone mast triangulation, read their sent and received text messages, and log, record and listen into their phone calls, simply by using their phone number as an identifier.Also from the report, "60 Minutes contacted the cellular phone trade association to ask about attacks on the SS7 network. They acknowledged there have been reports of security breaches abroad, but assured us that all U.S. cellphone networks were secure." Update: 04/18 16:51 GMT by M :Reader blottsie writes: U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Cali.) on Monday called for a full congressional investigation into the aforementioned widespread flaw in global phone networks.

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MIT Reveals AI Platform Which Detects 85 Percent of Cyberattacks

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 2:40pm
An anonymous reader writes: MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) says that while many 'analyst-driven solutions' rely on rules created by human experts and therefore may miss attacks which do not match established patterns, a new artificial intelligence platform changes the rules of the game. The platform, dubbed AI Squared (AI2), is able to detect 85 percent of attacks -- roughly three times better than current benchmarks -- and also reduces the number of false positives by a factor of five, according to MIT. The latter is important as when anomaly detection triggers false positives, this can lead to lessened trust in protective systems and also wastes the time of IT experts which need to investigate the matter. AI2 was tested using 3.6 billion log lines generated by over 20 million users in a period of three months. The AI trawled through this information and used machine learning to cluster data together to find suspicious activity. Anything which flagged up as unusual was then presented to a human operator and feedback was issued.Fast Co Design has an interesting take on this.

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Music Industry Sees First Big Gains in 20 Years Thanks to Streaming Services

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 2:00pm
Thanks to subscription-based music streaming services, the music industry is seeing a significant growth for the first time in nearly two decades. According to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an industry trade group, the global music sales rose 3.2 percent last year, also surpassing those from all physical music formats. The important tipping point in 2015 saw digital services account for 45 percent of recorded music revenue. According to the report, Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming services brought in about $2.9 billion in revenue. The findings are in line with Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)'s estimates from last month. IFPI also noted that music on free streaming services such as YouTube has also grown quickly, creating a panic among record labels and artists alike. Billboard elaborates that aspect: In criticizing ad-supported services, the IFPI joined a growing list of trade bodies and music company executives to criticize YouTube for paying royalties that are relatively low when considering its popularity. The report argues YouTube distorts its negotiations with labels by hiding behind the DMCA "safe harbor" rules that limit the liability of online intermediaries from the infringing actions of their users. The result, the IFPI argues, is YouTube can use an "act first, negotiate later" that "fundamentally distort[s] the negotiation process."

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UK Hosting Provider 123-Reg Accidentally Deletes Customer Sites

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 1:00pm
Richard Chirgwin, writing for The Register: UK hosting and domains provider 123-Reg has been struck by a weekend issue that knocked an unspecified number of VPS customers offline. The company posted a status message saying that the unspecified issues arose on April 16. 123-reg customer, software company INNmaster, contacted The Register directing our attention to its post on the topic, claiming a rogue script had deleted customer sites (such as this one). Slashdot has independently received several tips for this incident. Here's a copy of the email that Richard Winslow, Director of 123-Reg sent to the affected customers.

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Sanders Campaign Accused of Trademark Bullying By Web Site

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 9:30am
An anonymous reader writes: Buzzfeed is reporting that "An online merchant has accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of 'trademark bullying'. after a Bernie 2016, Inc. attorney sent him a cease and desist letter regarding t-shirts, mugs, and sweatshirts depicting the candidate with historic communist leaders..." The t-shirt's designer tells Buzzfeed "He didn't seem to be the type of candidate, the type of guy, who would do something like this... I would think Bernie, or one of his staff members will step in and put an end to it. It appears to be pretty silly." In January Ars Technica reported that lawyers for the Sanders campaign had demanded their logo be removed from pages on Wikipedia -- before later withdrawing that DMCA notice.

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Two-Year Delay for SpaceX's Private Spaceport

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 5:31am
MarkWhittington writes: About a year and a half ago, with then Texas Governor Rick Perry and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in attendance, ground was broken on the first private spaceport designed to launch rockets vertically near Brownsville, Texas. At the time, SpaceX announced that it expected to launch a rocket a month, either a Falcon 9 or a Falcon Heavy in the skies over South Texas starting in 2016. But then, the Texas spaceport story fell off the face of the Earth, as it were. Fortunately, the Valley Morning Star has an explanation as to why things are taking so long.

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Jet Strikes Drone Near Heathrow Airport

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 3:30am
smooth wombat writes: "A British Airways flight Sunday appears to have collided with a drone on a flight bound for London's busy Heathrow Airport in what may be the first such incident involving a major airline," according to MarketWatch. "The flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, is believed to have struck a drone, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The plane landed safely following the incident, which occurred around 12:50 p.m. local time. 'It was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don't understand the risks and the rules,' said BALPA flight safety specialist Steve Landells... 'Much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat'."

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Keurig Spends 10 Years Developing A Recyclable Coffee Cup

Mon, 18/04/2016 - 1:29am
Last year Keurig Green Mountain sold over 9 billion single servings of its coffee in plastic "K-Cups" -- none of which could be recycled. "Placed end to end, the pods sold in a year would circle the globe roughly 10 times," reports the New York Times News Service, noting the company spent the last 10 years developing a backwards-compatible cup that could actually be recycled. In the mid-1990s, "Keurig began buying the containers -- made from a blend of plastic that is tough to recycle -- in bulk, never expecting that it would one day sell billions a year. But because Keurig machines were designed specifically for the pods, changing course soon seemed virtually impossible." One environmental advocate complained "There are a lot of ways to make coffee that don't use so much packaging. Making coffee wasn't something that needed to be reinvented." But the company may still face criticism because their new cups can be recycled -- but not composted.

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Viable Mammal Embryos In Space Demonstrated by Chinese Experiment

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 11:30pm
hackingbear writes: "The latest experiment results from China's SJ-10 recoverable satellite have been sent back with some groundbreaking news. For the first time in human history, it has been proven that the early stages of embryos in mammals can be developed completely in a space environment," according to China Daily. "High-resolution photographs sent back by SJ-10 show that the mouse embryos carried by the return capsule completed the entire developing process within 96 hours from the launch, the first reported successful development of mammalian embryos in space." The U.S. conducted similar experiment on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1996 and China conducted one abroad its SJ-8 in 2006, neither was able to show any viable embryos back then. "The human race may still have a long way to go before we can colonize the space. But before that, we have to figure out whether it is possible for us to survive and reproduce in the outer space environment like we do on Earth. Now, we finally proved that the most crucial step in our reproduction – the early embryo development -- is possible in the outer space," said Duan Enkui, Professor of the Institute of Zoology affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and principle researcher of the experiment.

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Online Voters Name British Vessel 'Boaty McBoatface'

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 10:30pm
Britain's Natural Environment Research Council conducted an online poll to select the name for their new advanced polar research vessel. Though it cost more than 200 million pounds and represents their fleet's largest and most advanced research vessel, when the voting closed yesterday the clear winner, was the name 'Boaty McBoatface'. The name received over 124,000 votes, while the nearest runner-up -- Poppy-Mai -- received just 34,371, and the fourth-most popular suggestion, "RRS It's Bloody Cold Here," received just 10,679 votes. "I am grateful to everyone who has participated in the competition," Britain's science minister told The Daily Telegraph, though he added "You won't be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavor." The Telegraph takes this as a signal that the ministers "were unlikely to endorse the result."

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James Cameron Announces Four Sequels to 'Avatar'

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 9:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: In a surprise appearance at CinemaCon, James Cameron announced plans for "a truly massive cinematic process" -- four new sequels to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar, plus a Disney theme park. "It's going to be a true epic saga," Cameron told the audience, promising that Avatar 2 would be released in Christmas of 2018, followed by three additional sequels, for a total of five Avatar-themed movies. Cameron's original sci-fi blockbuster earned $2.8 billion, though at least one Slashdot user argued that its overall message was that technology is bad, "strange because the movie is among most technically sophisticated ever."

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Flying Jet-Powered Hoverboard Now a Reality

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 8:30pm
Zapata Racing has begun testing prototypes of a new jet-powered hoverboard called the "Flyboard Air". The Verge published a new interview with the company's CEO, who confirms that a backpack full of kerosene-grade fuel powers the flying hoverboard's four 250-horsepower turboengines, with two more engines used for stabilizaton. Capable of flying up to 100 miles per hour, the jet-powered hoverboard uses an internal algorithm to adjust the thrust and angle of each turboengine, so "It's like we have six systems working together plus my brain and my legs." The company hopes to ultimately interest the military and security sectors in the technology, but they're also working on a smaller version that could be piloted while sitting, which the CEO describes as "extremely small, extremely stable, and something that you can take to go and buy your bread in the morning."

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Google's Android N OS Will Support Pressure-Sensitive Screens

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 7:31pm
An anonymous reader writes: In the latest Developer Preview 2 of Android N, Google introduced new "Launcher shortcuts" to the beta OS. It allows developers to "define shortcuts which users can expose in the launcher to help them perform actions quicker." It's reminiscent of Apple's "3D Touch" feature found in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which can allow for specific parts of an app to be displayed in a pop-up menu when users forcefully press on an icon or other miscellaneous piece of information developed with the feature. As mentioned in Phandroid's report testing the "setDynamicShortcuts(List)" feature, Google offered four different scenarios where Launcher Shortcuts make sense: Navigating users to a particular location in a mapping app, sending messages to a friend in a communication app, playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app, or loading the last save point in a gaming app. "Google says that the manufacturers who build Android devices wanted this use case addressed by the OS itself," according to The Verge, so that developers "can code for all Android devices instead of reinventing the pressure-sensitive wheel for each OEM."

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Some Tumors Are Responding to A New Cancer Therapy

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 6:30pm
A new cancer therapy in an early-stage trial by the U.S. National Cancer Institute "continued to be safe and show durable responses against solid tumors for some patients," reports Bloomberg. "In a trial of 14 patients who received different doses, three patients' cancers have shrunk partially, according to a study presented Sunday... The researchers had presented initial positive data in November, and the updated study shows that the three partial responses were durable, with one cervical cancer patient's response continuing at 15 months." Kite Pharma Inc. licensed the therapy, and by the end of the year will file an "investigational new drug" application with the FDA to begin the next round of testing. The therapy involves genetically engineered T cells, targeted to the solid tumors using the MAGE-A3 protein as a unique marker expressed in up to 30 percent of cancers.

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Why Are We So Bad at Predicting Earthquakes?

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 5:30pm
In the wake of major earthquakes in both Japan and Ecuador, one British newspaper asks: Why are we so bad at predicting earthquakes? In 2015 seismologists told Vice, "The more we study them, the harder they look to predict, and "there's a shortage of instrumenation." But today the Telegraph newspaper concludes that we actually have two problems: first, "science is hopeless at predicting earthquakes and, second, we keep building cities on major fault-lines..." They cite a new book called Earth-Shattering Events which reports that nearly half the world's large cities are in earthquake-prone areas, adding, "we don't just build our cities on fault-lines, we also tend to rebuild them, in the same place, but no more robust, time and time again." In 1976 one quake in China killed more than 750,000 people, while a 2004 quake in Indonesia killed 170,000. "The Earth will move and there's not a thing we can do to stop it," the Telegraph concludes, arguing that we need to learn more from our past.

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Hacker's Account of How He Took Down Hacking Team's Servers

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 4:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: FinFisher, the hacker that broke into Italian firm Hacking Team, has published a step-by-step account of how he carried out the attacks, what tools he used, and what he learned from scouting HackingTeam's network. Published on PasteBin, the attack's timeline reveals he entered their network through a zero-day exploit in an (unnamed) embedded device, accessed a MongoDB database that had no password, discovered backups in the database, found a BES admin password in the backups, and eventually got admin access to the Windows Domain Server. From here, it was easy to reach into their email server and steal all the company's emails, and later access Git repos and steal the source code of their surveillance software.

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US: North Korean Missile Launch a 'Catastrophic' Failure

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 3:31pm
An anonymous reader writes: North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on Friday, multiple news outlets, citing American and South Korean military officials, are reporting. The failure, The Washington Post reports, caused the regime an embarrassing blow on the most important day of the year on the North Korean calendar. For those unaware, North Korea had planned -- and tried -- to launch a missile to mark the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim Il Sung.ABC further reports: "It was a fiery, catastrophic attempt at a launch that was unsuccessful," Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday. U.S. officials are still assessing, but it was likely a road-mobile missile, given that it was launched from a location not usually used for ballistic missile launches, on the country's east coast, he said. The UN Security Council issued a statement saying its members "strongly condemned" the North's firing of a ballistic missile, which it said constituted a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions although the launch was a failure. "We strongly condemn North Korea's missile test in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, which explicitly prohibit North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology," the official said.

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Underwater Sonar Robot Discovers A Real Loch Ness Monster (Prop)

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 2:30pm
A Norwegian oil company is finally performing a sonar scan on the bottom of Loch Ness, creating a high-resolution map of the Scottish lake that's reputed to contain a mysterious lake monster. "Operation Groundtruth" will be using a marine robot named Munin, and they've already identified a 27-foot-long shipwreck and disproved rumors of a 27-foot-long "Nessie trench" where the cryptid creature could be hiding. The Scottish tourism agency has issued a press release about the robot's discovery of a life-sized model of the Loch Ness monster used in a 1970 film, which had sunk during the filming more than 45 years ago. "The agency's statement said 'Nessie found'," reports Discovery News, "with an asterisk at the bottom reading 'replica model'."

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Open Source Headset Enables New Mind-Controlled Devices

Sun, 17/04/2016 - 1:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: "When DARPA funded research into a brain-computer interface, artist and engineer Joel Murphy and his former student Conor Russomanno built a working prototype," reports Popular Science. After a crowdfunding campaign, the team successfully developed an Open Source version -- a $399 headset that can register brain-wave electricity (named Ultracortex), along with a $99 board named Ganglion that can use those signals to control mechanical devices. "We want it to essentially be a Lego kit that you get in the mail, which also just happens to be a brain-computer interface," says Russomanno. Their web site is already accepting pre-orders, though because both the hardware and software are open source, you can also generate your own headset with a 3D printer. And according to the article, two British students are now using the technology to create an app that issues commands to a smartphone by winking.

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