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Linux 4.14 & 4.15 Get KPTI Protection For 64-bit ARM

Phoronix - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 2:29pm
Greg Kroah-Hartman released a slew of stable point releases today to supported Linux kernel series. For the 4.14 and 4.15 branches this includes Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) for AArch64 hardware...

Twitter Kills Its Mac App

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 2:00pm
BrianFagioli writes: Twitter has announced that it is killing its Mac app. Without warning, the company pulled the app from the Mac App Store and issued the following tweet. "We're focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that's consistent across platforms. So, starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download, and in 30 days will no longer be supported.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

VESA X.Org Driver Sees First Update In Three Years

Phoronix - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 1:38pm
Should you find yourself using the xf86-video-vesa DDX for one reason or another, a new release is now available and it's the first in three years...

OpenIndiana Has Upgraded To The GCC 6 Compiler

Phoronix - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 1:22pm
The OpenSolaris/Illumos-based OpenIndiana operating system has finally moved past GCC 4.9 as its base user-land compiler and is now using GCC 6.4...

NBC Publishes 200,000 Tweets Tied To Russian Trolls

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 1:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: NBC News is publishing its database of more than 200,000 tweets that Twitter has tied to "malicious activity" from Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. These accounts, working in concert as part of large networks, pushed hundreds of thousands of inflammatory tweets, from fictitious tales of Democrats practicing witchcraft to hardline posts from users masquerading as Black Lives Matter activists. Investigators have traced the accounts to a Kremlin-linked propaganda outfit founded in 2013 known as the Internet Research Association (IRA). The organization has been assessed by the U.S. Intelligence Community to be part of a Russian state-run effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential race. And they're not done. At the request of NBC News, three sources familiar with Twitter's data systems cross-referenced the partial list of names released by Congress to create a partial database of tweets that could be recovered. You can download the streamlined spreadsheet (29 mb) with just usernames, tweet and timestamps, view the full data for ten influential accounts via Google Sheets, download tweets.csv (50 mb) and users.csv with full underlying data, and/or explore a graph database in Neo4j, whose software powered the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations. NBC News' partners at Neo4j have put together a "get started" guide to help you explore the database of Russian tweets. "To recreate a link to an individual tweet found in the spreadsheet, replace 'user_key' in https://twitter.com/user_key/status/tweet_id with the screenname from the 'user_key' field and 'tweet_id' with the number in the 'tweet_id' field," reports NBC News. "Following the links will lead to a suspended page on Twitter. But some copies of the tweets as they originally appeared, including images, can be found by entering the links on webcaches like the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine and archive.is."

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Global security crackdown, a host of code nasties, Brit cops mocked, and more

El Reg - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 11:52am
It's the week in security

Roundup  Here's a summary of this week's security news beyond what we've already reported.…

Reinforcement learning woes, robot doggos, Amazon's homegrown AI chips, and more

El Reg - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 10:04am
Why machines aren't really superhuman at all

Roundup  Hello! Here's a brief roundup of some interesting news from the AI world from the past two weeks, beyond what we've already reported.…

73 Percent of Fish In the Northwestern Atlantic Have Microplastics In Their Guts

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 10:00am
According to a new study published today in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, microplastics have been found in the stomachs of nearly three out of every four mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic. "These findings are worrying, as the affected fish could spread microplastics throughout the ocean," reports Phys.Org. "The fish are also prey for fish eaten by humans, meaning that microplastics could indirectly contaminate our food supply through the transfer of associated microplastic toxins." From the report: Microplastics are small plastic fragments that have accumulated in the marine environment following decades of pollution. These fragments can cause significant issues for marine organisms that ingest them, including inflammation, reduced feeding and weight-loss. Microplastic contamination may also spread from organism to organism when prey is eaten by predators. Since the fragments can bind to chemical pollutants, these associated toxins could accumulate in predator species. Mesopelagic fish serve as a food source for a large variety of marine animals, including tuna, swordfish, dolphins, seals and sea birds. Typically living at depths of 200-1,000 meters, these fish swim to the surface at night to feed then return to deeper waters during the day. The researchers caught mesopelagic fish at varying depths, then examined their stomachs for microplastics back in the lab. They used a specialized air filter so as not to introduce airborne plastic fibers from the lab environment. The team found a wide array of microplastics in the fish stomachs -- with a whopping 73% of the fish having ingested the pollutants.

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Would You Fear Alien Life or Welcome It?

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 7:00am
If you've ever watched a science fiction movie about aliens, you'll know that humans tend to freak out and destroy everything when faced with incontrovertible proof of the existence of alien life. But a new analysis from Arizona State University psychology professor Michael Varnum and his colleagues suggests that humans might actually remain pretty calm and collected when that big news breaks. CNET reports: Varnum makes this conclusion based on an analysis of newspaper articles covering past potential discoveries of extraterrestrial life. Specifically, he and his colleagues looked at articles about the weird dimming of so-called "Tabby's Star," Earth-like planets around the star Trappist-1, and the potential discovery of Martian microbe fossils from 1996. They found language in the stories demonstrated much more positive emotion than fear or other negative emotions. In a second study, the team also surveyed over 500 people, asking them to guess how they and humanity would react to an announcement that alien microbial life had been discovered. In the case of both their own reaction and everyone else's, the participants hypothesized responses that were more positive than negative. The research was published last month in Frontiers in Psychology.

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Distracted Driving: Everyone Hates It, But Most of Us Do It, Study Finds

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Insurance company Esurance has a new study out on distracted driving, and it makes for interesting reading. Almost everyone agrees distracted driving is bad, yet it's still remarkably prevalent. Even drivers who report rarely driving distracted also report that they engage in distracting behaviors. The study also raises some questions about the growing complexity of modern vehicles, particularly the user interfaces they confront us with. The Esurance report includes survey data from more than a thousand participants. More than 90 percent said that browsing for apps, texting, and emailing were distracting. Yet more than half of daily commuters admitted to doing it. The survey also found that the longer your commute, the greater the chance is you'll get distracted, probably by your phone. Even participants who reported they were "rarely distracted" admitted to distracting behavior like talking on the phone or even viewing GPS Navigation data. (Any task performed while driving should be able to be performed in under two seconds to avoid becoming a distraction.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Coffee Beans Are Good For Birds, Fancy Brew Or Not

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 2:03am
Zorro shares a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source ): Birds are not as picky about their coffee as people are. Although coffee snobs prefer arabica beans to robusta, a new study in India found that growing coffee does not interfere with biodiversity -- no matter which bean the farmer chooses. In the Western Ghats region of India, a mountainous area parallel to the subcontinent's western coast, both arabica and robusta beans are grown as bushes under larger trees -- unlike in South America, where the coffee plants themselves grow as large as trees, said Krithi Karanth, who helped lead the study, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports. Arabica and robusta farms proved equally good for these creatures. "Some birds do better with arabica than robusta, but overall, they're both good for wildlife," she said. The difference is important, because data shows that more farmers in the area have been shifting to robusta in recent years, as prices rise for the variety, which is easier to grow. The researchers counted 106 species of birds on the coffee plantations, including at-risk species, such as the alexandrine parakeet, the breyheaded bulbul and the nilgiri woodpigeon. The findings show that farming is not incompatible with wildlife protection, said Jai Ranganathan, a conservation biologist and senior fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the research.

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James Damore's labor complaint went over about as well as his trash diversity manifesto

El Reg - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 1:39am
When the lawyer thinks you're cruel, that's Damore. When you're thrown on the street with a cloud at your feet...

Google was well within its rights when it dumped controversial bro-grammer James Damore in mid-2017.…

Phishing Attack Scores Credentials For More Than 50,000 Snapchat Users

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 1:25am
An anonymous reader quotes an exclusive report from The Verge: In late July, Snap's director of engineering emailed the company's team in response to an unfolding privacy threat. A government official from Dorset in the United Kingdom had provided Snap with information about a recent attack on the company's users: a publicly available list, embedded in a phishing website named klkviral.org, that listed 55,851 Snapchat accounts, along with their usernames and passwords. The attack appeared to be connected to a previous incident that the company believed to have been coordinated from the Dominican Republic, according to emails obtained by The Verge. Not all of the account credentials were valid, and Snap had reset the majority of the accounts following the initial attack. But for some period of time, thousands of Snapchat account credentials were available on a public website. According to a person familiar with the matter, the attack relied on a link sent to users through a compromised account that, when clicked, opened a website designed to mimic the Snapchat login screen.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Future of Free and Open-Source Maps

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 12:45am
Grady Martin writes: Former OpenStreetMap contributor and Google Summer of Code mentor Serge Wroclawski has outlined why OpenStreetMap is in serious trouble, citing unclear usage policies, poor geocoding (address-to-coordinate conversion), and a lack of a review model as reasons for the project's decline in quality. Perhaps more interesting, however, are the problems purported to stem from OpenStreetMap's power structure. Wroclawski writes: "In the case of OpenStreetMap, there is a formal entity which owns the data, called the OpenStreetMap Foundation. But at the same time, the ultimate choices for the website, the geographic database and the infrastructure are not under the direct control of the Foundation, but instead rest largely on one individual, who (while personally friendly) ranges from skeptical to openly hostile to change."

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Hands up who HASN'T sued Intel over Spectre, Meltdown chip flaws

El Reg - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 12:42am
Chipzilla says class-action lawsuit tally stands at 32

Intel says it is facing 32 separate class-action lawsuits following the revelations it shipped millions of processors with security design flaws dubbed Meltdown and Spectre.…

Oi! Verizon leaked my fiancée's nude pix to her ex-coworker, says bloke

El Reg - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 12:04am
Intimate photos somehow ended up on some other guy's mobe, lawsuit claims

A bloke is suing Verizon Wireless in the US because, he claims, personal pictures from his Verizon phone, including intimate snaps of his fiancée, turned up on the phone of another subscriber – who happened to know her.…

The Slow Demise of Barnes & Noble

Slashdot - Sat, 17/02/2018 - 12:03am
John Biggs via TechCrunch reports of the slow demise of Barnes & Noble, which he has been chronicling for several years now. There have been many signs of trouble for the bookseller chain over the years, but none have been more apparent than the recent layoffs made earlier this week. From the report: On Monday the company laid off 1,800 people. This offered a cost savings of $40 million. [...] In fact, what B&N did was fire all full time employees at 781 stores. Further, the company laid off many shipping receivers around the holidays, resulting in bare shelves and a customer escape to Amazon. In December 2017, usually B&N's key month, sales dropped 6 percent to $953 million. Online sales fell 4.5 percent. It is important to note that when other big box retailers, namely Circuit City, went the route of firing all highly paid employees and bringing in minimum wage cashiers, stockers, and salespeople it signaled the beginning of the end.

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Labor Board Says Google Could Fire James Damore For Anti-Diversity Memo

Slashdot - Fri, 16/02/2018 - 11:20pm
According to a recently disclosed letter from the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, Google didn't violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company's diversity program. "The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB's division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according to Law.com," reports The Verge. "Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore's memo was legally protected by workplace regulations, 'the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected.'" From the report: Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo opposing Google's diversity efforts. Sophir recommends dismissing the case; Bloomberg reports that Damore withdrew it in January, and that his lawyer says he's focusing on a separate lawsuit alleging discrimination against conservative white men at Google. NLRB records state that its case was closed on January 19th. In her analysis, Sophir writes that employers should be given "particular deference" in trying to enforce anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, since these are tied to legal requirements. And employers have "a strong interest in promoting diversity" and cooperation across different groups of people. Because of this, "employers must be permitted to 'nip in the bud' the kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a 'hostile workplace,'" she writes. "Where an employee's conduct significantly disrupts work processes, creates a hostile work environment, or constitutes racial or sexual discrimination or harassment, the Board has found it unprotected even if it involves concerted activities regarding working conditions."

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Vermont becomes fifth US state to boot up its own net neutrality rules

El Reg - Fri, 16/02/2018 - 11:04pm
Governor Phil Scott signs executive order as battle lines are drawn

Vermont has become the fifth US state to adopt net neutrality regulations, joining Montana, New Jersey, Hawaii, and New York.…

Apple Says That All New Apps Must Support the iPhone X Screen

Slashdot - Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:40pm
Today, Apple emailed developers to inform them that all new apps that are submitted to the App Store must support the iPhone X's Super Retina display, starting this April. What this means is that developers of new applications must ensure they accommodate the notch and go edge-to-edge on the 5.8-inch OLED screen. 9to5Mac reports: Apple has not set a deadline for when updates to existing apps must support iPhone X natively. From April, all new apps must also be built against the iOS 11 SDK. In recent years, Apple has enforced rules more aggressively when it comes to supporting the latest devices. Apple informed the news in an email today encouraging adoption of the latest iOS 11 features like Core ML, SiriKit and ARKit. Requiring compilation with the iOS 11 SDK does not necessarily mean the apps must support new features. It ensures that new app developers are using the latest Apple development tools, which helps prevent the App Store as a whole from going stale, and may encourage adoption of cutting edge features. The rules don't mean that much until Apple requires updates to also support iPhone X and the iOS 11 SDK, as updates represent the majority of the App Store. Most developers making new apps already target iPhone X as a top priority.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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