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Updated: 15 min 49 sec ago

French Drug Trial Leaves One Brain Dead and Five Critically Ill

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 4:45pm
jones_supa writes: One person is brain dead and five others are seriously ill after taking part in a phase one drug trial for an unnamed pharmaceutical firm at the Biotrial clinic in France. In medicine, phase one entails a small group of volunteers, and focuses only on safety. Phase two and three are progressively larger trials to assess the drug's effectiveness, although safety remains paramount. The French health ministry said the six patients had been in good health until taking the oral medication. It did not say what the new medicine was intended to be used for, but a source close to the case told AFP that the drug was a painkiller containing cannabinoids, an active ingredient found in cannabis plants. Mishaps like this are relatively rare, but in 2006 six men fell ill in London after taking part in a clinical trial into a drug developed to fight auto-immune disease and leukaemia. All trials on the drug at the French clinic have been suspended and the state prosecutor has opened an inquiry.

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Governments Don't Do Enough to Protect Nuclear Facilities From Cyberattacks

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 4:03pm
mdsolar writes: Twenty nations with significant atomic stockpiles or nuclear power plants have no government regulations requiring minimal protection of those facilities against cyberattacks, according to a study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. The findings build on growing concerns that a cyberattack could be the easiest and most effective way to take over a nuclear power plant and sabotage it, or to disable defenses that are used to protect nuclear material from theft. The countries on the list include Argentina, China, Egypt, Israel, Mexico and North Korea.

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Use Code From Stack Overflow? You Must Provide Attribution

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 3:19pm
An anonymous reader writes: Have you ever used Stack Overflow to answer a question about some code you're working on? Most people who write code on a regular basis have done so, and this sometimes involves copying code snippets. Well, starting on March 1, copying code from Stack Overflow will require you to attribute that code. Code published by contributors to SO will be covered by the MIT license. Users copying that code don't have to include the full license in their code, as it usually requires, but they do have to provide a URL as a comment in their code, or some similar level of attribution. This change applies to other sites in the Stack Exchange network, as well. The SO community is widely criticizing the change, citing problems with the decision-making process that led to it and complications that may arise from mandating attribution. Why did SO make the change in the first place? They say "it's always been a little ambiguous how CC-BY-SA covers code. This has led to uncertainty among conscientious developers as they've struggled to understand what (if anything) the license requires of them when grabbing a few lines of code from a post on Stack Exchange. Uncertainty is a drag on productivity, for you and for us, and we feel obligated to make code use more clear."

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Big Trouble for Bitcoin

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 2:36pm
TheCoop1984 writes: A blog post by ex-Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn has highlighted dysfunctional management right at the top of Bitcoin development. He says it is clear Bitcoin is on the verge of collapse, and lays out several compelling reasons why. Quoting: "What was meant to be a new, decentralized form of money that lacked 'systemically important institutions' and 'too big to fail' has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse. The mechanisms that should have prevented this outcome have broken down, and as a result there’s no longer much reason to think Bitcoin can actually be better than the existing financial system." Is the end of Bitcoin on the horizon?

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Obama Proposes $4 Billion Investment In Self-Driving Cars

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 1:55pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Obama Administration has unveiled a proposal for a 10-year, $4 billion investment in the adoption of autonomous car technology. The money would fund pilot projects to, among other things, "test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles." The administration says it has an interest in cutting the death toll — over 30,000 people each year in the U.S. — associated with traffic accidents. The proposal also calls for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work with industry to resolve regulatory issues before they inhibit development of self-driving cars. "This is the right way to drive innovation," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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World Bank Says Internet Technology May Widen Inequality

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 1:13pm
HughPickens.com writes: Somini Sengupta writes in the NY Times that a new report from the World Bank concludes that the vast changes wrought by Internet technology have not expanded economic opportunities or improved access to basic public services but stand to widen inequalities and even hasten the hollowing out of middle-class employment. "Digital technologies are spreading rapidly, but digital dividends — growth, jobs and services — have lagged behind," says the bank in a news release announcing the report. "If people have the right skills, digital technology will help them become more efficient and productive, but if the right skills are lacking, you'll end up with a polarized labor market and more inequality," says Uwe Deichmann. Those who are already well-off and well-educated have been able to take advantage of the Internet economy, the report concludes pointedly, but despite the expansion of Internet access, 60 percent of humanity remains offline. According to the report, in developed countries and several large middle-income countries, technology is automating routine jobs, such as factory work, and some white-collar jobs. While some workers benefit, "a large share" of workers get pushed down to lower-paying jobs that cannot be automated. "What we're seeing is not so much a destruction of jobs but a reshuffling of jobs, what economists have been calling a hollowing out of the labor market. You see the share of mid-level jobs shrinking and lower-end jobs increasing." The report adds that in the developing world digital technologies are not a shortcut to development, though they can accelerate it if used in the right way. "We see a lot of disappointment and wasted investments. It's actually quite shocking how many e-government projects fail," says Deichmann. "While technology can be extremely helpful in many ways, it's not going to help us circumvent the failures of development over the last couple of decades. You still have to get the basics right: education, business climate, and accountability in government."

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Google Has Toughest Interview Process For Developers, But Not the Worst

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 12:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: A casual survey of candidates' reactions to the interview processes of the biggest tech companies in the world shows Google as having one of the most grueling hiring gauntlets in the sector — but Twitter's is perceived as the worst. The survey measured the amount of time candidature took, as well as the number of stages and the methods involved at each stage, and additionally estimated whether the job-seekers felt positive or negative about the procedure.

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Netflix Decides To Crack Down On VPN Users

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 10:33am
An anonymous reader writes: Netflix have announced they'll be taking further steps to ensure users are not circumventing geo-restrictions. David Fullagar, Vice President of Content Delivery and Architecture at Netflix says "Some members use proxies or "unblockers" to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. This announcement comes just days after Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said that a VPN blocking policy might be impossible to enforce."

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"DDoS-For-Bitcoin" Blackmailers Arrested

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 8:07am
An anonymous reader writes: The DDoSing outfit that spawned the trend of "DDoS-for-Bitcoin" has been arrested by Europol in Bosnia Herzegovina last month. DD4BC first appeared in September 2015, when Akamai blew the lid on their activities. Since then almost any script kiddie that can launch DDoS attacks has followed their business model by blackmailing companies for Bitcoin.

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Kite Power: The Latest In Green Technology

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 5:31am
New submitter Dan Drollette writes: The solution to producing energy without contributing to global warming may be to go fly a kite. Literally. Researchers in Switzerland and Italy — high-altitude places where the winds are strong, steady and predictable — have been working on ways to generate electricity from kites that fly hundreds or thousands of meters high. The scientists already have a prototype cranking out 27 megawatts; they expect to have a 100-megawatt plant big enough to power 86,000 households. And they say that they can produce electricity for less that 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is better than fossil fuel. Plus, the kites look really cool (as does the "Darrieus rotor vertical axis wind turbine" at the base of the St Bernard Pass, on the Swiss side, which I've seen in operation in person).

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NASA Awards Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser an ISS Commercial Resupply Contract

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 3:09am
MarkWhittington writes: The Verge reported that NASA has awarded the second round of contracts for the commercial resupply program. Two companies, SpaceX, and Orbital Sciences, which have been hauling cargo to the International Space Station in the first phase of the program, will receive contracts to fly at least six flights each to the ISS through 2024, the anticipated end of operations year for the space station. But Sierra Nevada has also gotten a six flight commitment, using a cargo version of its Dream Chaser spacecraft.

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Urban Death Project Aims To Rebuild Our Soil By Composting Corpses

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 1:21am
An anonymous reader writes: The Urban Death Project utilizes the process of composting to safely and gently turn our deceased into soil-building material, creating a meaningful, equitable and ecological urban alternative to existing options for the disposition of the dead," said Katrina Spade, a designer based in Seattle. "The project is a solution to the overcrowding of city cemeteries, a sustainable method of disposing of our dead, and a new ritual for laying our loved ones to rest."

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Yahoo Releases Largest Ever Machine Learning Dataset To Researchers

Fri, 15/01/2016 - 12:40am
An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo Labs has released a record-breaking dataset containing 110 billion interactions from 20 million Yahoo News users in 1.5TB of zipped data. The anonymized data is intended for research initiatives in artificial intelligence, including user-behavior modeling, collaborative filtering techniques and unsupervised learning methods.

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Android Banking Malware SlemBunk Part of Well-Organized Campaign

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 11:59pm
itwbennett writes: Researchers from FireEye first documented the SlemBunk Android Trojan that targets mobile banking users in December. Once installed, it starts monitoring the processes running on the device and when it detects that a mobile banking app is launched, it displays a fake user interface on top of it to trick users into inputting their credentials. The Trojan can spoof the user interfaces of apps from at least 31 banks from across the world and two mobile payment service providers. The attack is more complicated than it appears at first glance, because the APK (Android application package) that users first download does not contain any malicious functionality, making it hard for antivirus apps and even Android's built-in app scanner to detect it.

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Grisly Find Suggests Humans Inhabited Arctic 45,000 Years Ago

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 11:15pm
sciencehabit points out this story which may rewrite the early history of humans in North America. From the Sciencemag story: "In August of 2012, an 11-year-old boy made a gruesome discovery in a frozen bluff overlooking the Arctic Ocean. While exploring the foggy coast of Yenisei Bay, about 2000 kilometers south of the North Pole, he came upon the leg bones of a woolly mammoth eroding out of frozen sediments. Scientists excavating the well-preserved creature determined that it had been killed by humans: Its eye sockets, ribs, and jaw had been battered, apparently by spears, and one spear-point had left a dent in its cheekbone—perhaps a missed blow aimed at the base of its trunk. When they dated the remains, the researchers got another surprise: The mammoth died 45,000 years ago. That means that humans lived in the Arctic more than 10,000 years earlier than scientists believed, according to a new study. The find suggests that even at this early stage, humans were traversing the most frigid parts of the globe and had the adaptive ability to migrate almost everywhere."

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Zero-Day Vulnerability Discovered In FFmpeg Lets Attackers Steal Files Remotely

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 10:31pm
prisoninmate writes: A zero-day vulnerability in the FFmpeg open-source multimedia framework, which is currently used in numerous Linux kernel-based operating systems and software applications, also for the Mac OS X and Windows platforms, has been discovered recently by Russian programmer Maxim Andreev in the current stable builds of the software. It appears to let anyone with the necessary skills hack a computer to read local files on a remote machine and send them over the network using a specially crafted video file. Arch Linux devs already rebuilt their FFmpeg packages without the AppleHTTP and HLS demuxers.

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Service Provider Builds National Network of Unmanned Data Centers

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 9:50pm
1sockchuck writes: Colocation and content delivery specialist EdgeConneX is operating unmanned "lights out" data centers in 20 markets across the United States, marking the most ambitious use to date of automation to streamline data center operations. While some companies have operated prototypes of "lights out" unmanned facilities (including AOL) or deployed unmanned containers with server gear, EdgeConneX built its broader deployment strategy around a lean operations model. The company uses software to remotely control the generators and UPS systems at each data center, and can dispatch techs when on-site maintenance is needed.

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More People In Europe Are Dying Than Are Being Born

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 9:08pm
jones_supa writes: More people in Europe are dying than are being born, according to a new report co-authored by a Texas A&M University demographer. In contrast, births exceed deaths, by significant margins, in Texas and elsewhere in the United States, with few exceptions. The researchers find that in Europe, deaths exceeded births in most of the counties of Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, as well as in Sweden and the Baltic States. Further south, natural decrease is found occurring in the majority of the counties of Greece, Portugal and Italy. More births than deaths (natural increase) is widespread in Ireland, Cyprus, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg. "Natural decrease is much more common in Europe than in the U.S because its population is older, fertility rates are lower and there are fewer women of child-bearing age," the researchers explain. "Natural decrease is a major policy concern because it drains the demographic resilience from a region diminishing its economic viability and competitiveness."

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OpenSSH Patches Bug That Leaks Private Crypto Keys

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 8:08pm
msm1267 writes: OpenSSH today released a patch for a critical vulnerability that could be exploited by an attacker to force a client to leak private cryptographic keys. The attacker would have to control a malicious server in order to force the client to give up the key, OpenSSH and researchers at Qualys said in separate advisories. Qualys' security team privately disclosed the vulnerability Jan. 11 and the OpenSSH team had it patched within three days. The vulnerability was found in a non-documented feature called roaming that supports the resumption of interrupted SSH connections. OpenSSH said client code between versions 5.4 and 7.1 are vulnerable as it contains the roaming support. OpenSSH said that organizations may disable the vulnerable code by adding 'UseRoaming no' to the global ssh_config(5) file. Researchers at Qualys said organizations should patch immediately and regenerate private keys.

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