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New York AG Orders Two Unregistered Crypto Lenders To Shut Down (axios.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the moving-forward dept.)

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday ordered two unregistered cryptocurrency lending platforms to [1]cease operating in the state within 10 days and requested three other platforms to send her office information about their activities and products. From a report:

> Due in part to a lack of clear regulations, crypto companies have been making various moves -- and finding out that not all regulators agree with them. James' office argued that virtual currency lending products are considered securities under the state's Martin Act, which requires companies offering such financial services to register with the attorney general's office in order to do business with New Yorkers.



[1] https://www.axios.com/new-york-attorney-general-james-crypto-lenders-28f42ed4-c4d0-4613-bd40-f3149d218ee2.html



US Treasury Says It Tied $5.2 Billion in BTC Transactions To Ransomware Payments (therecord.media)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the closer-look dept.)

The financial crimes investigation unit of the US Treasury Department, also known as FinCEN, said last week it identified approximately [1]$5.2 billion in outgoing Bitcoin transactions potentially tied to ransomware payments. From a report:

> FinCEN officials said the figure was compiled by analyzing 2,184 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by US financial institutions over the last decade, between January 1, 2011, and June 30, 2021. While the initial SAR reports highlighted $1.56 billion in suspicious activity, a subsequent FinCEN investigation of the Top 10 most common ransomware variants exposed additional transactions, amounting to around $5.2 billion just from these groups alone.



[1] https://therecord.media/treasury-said-it-tied-5-2-billion-in-btc-transactions-to-ransomware-payments/



Apple Introduces M1 Pro and M1 Max (apple.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the moving-forward dept.)

Apple today [1]announced M1 Pro and M1 Max , its new chips for the Mac. Apple:

> M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time. The chips feature fast unified memory, industry-leading performance per watt, and incredible power efficiency, along with increased memory bandwidth and capacity. M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory. M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth -- 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 -- and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. And while the latest PC laptops top out at 16GB of graphics memory, having this huge amount of memory enables graphics-intensive workflows previously unimaginable on a notebook. The efficient architecture of M1 Pro and M1 Max means they deliver the same level of performance whether MacBook Pro is plugged in or using the battery. M1 Pro and M1 Max also feature enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators specifically for pro video processing. M1 Pro and M1 Max are by far the most powerful chips Apple has ever built.

>

> Utilizing the industry-leading 5-nanometer process technology, M1 Pro packs in 33.7 billion transistors, more than 2x the amount in M1. A new 10-core CPU, including eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, is up to 70 percent faster than M1, resulting in unbelievable pro CPU performance. Compared with the latest 8-core PC laptop chip, M1 Pro delivers up to 1.7x more CPU performance at the same power level and achieves the PC chip's peak performance using up to 70 percent less power. Even the most demanding tasks, like high-resolution photo editing, are handled with ease by M1 Pro. M1 Pro has an up-to-16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than M1 and up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip.1 Compared to a powerful discrete GPU for PC notebooks, M1 Pro delivers more performance while using up to 70 percent less power. And M1 Pro can be configured with up to 32GB of fast unified memory, with up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth, enabling creatives like 3D artists and game developers to do more on the go than ever before.

>

> M1 Max features the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro and adds a massive 32-core GPU for up to 4x faster graphics performance than M1. With 57 billion transistors -- 70 percent more than M1 Pro and 3.5x more than M1 -- M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built. In addition, the GPU delivers performance comparable to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop while consuming up to 40 percent less power, and performance similar to that of the highest-end GPU in the largest PC laptops while using up to 100 watts less power.2 This means less heat is generated, fans run quietly and less often, and battery life is amazing in the new MacBook Pro. M1 Max transforms graphics-intensive workflows, including up to 13x faster complex timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro compared to the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro. M1 Max also offers a higher-bandwidth on-chip fabric, and doubles the memory interface compared with M1 Pro for up to 400GB/s, or nearly 6x the memory bandwidth of M1. This allows M1 Max to be configured with up to 64GB of fast unified memory. With its unparalleled performance, M1 Max is the most powerful chip ever built for a pro notebook.



[1] https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/10/introducing-m1-pro-and-m1-max-the-most-powerful-chips-apple-has-ever-built/



Apple Introduces New Polishing Cloth For All Devices, Sold Separately for $19 (9to5mac.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Alongside the new MacBook Pros, Apple has added a new first party polishing cloth to the Apple Store. The new polishing cloth is a soft white with an embossed Apple logo. From a report:

> Apple does not specify what material it is made out of. It's [1]priced at $19.00 and Apple says it's compatible with every single device they make.



[1] https://9to5mac.com/2021/10/18/apple-introduces-new-polishing-cloth-for-all-devices-sold-separately-for-19/



A New Credit Card Arrives -- With a Silicon Valley Twist (wired.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

An anonymous reader [1]shares a Wired report :

> When Deepak Rao founded his first startup, in 2011, he put all of his business expenses on two personal credit cards, with a combined credit limit of about $3,000. "They were totally maxed out all the time," he says. "To this date, my credit score has never recovered." Even after four years of working at Twitter with a product manager's salary, Rao still couldn't qualify for credit cards with the kinds of perks he wanted: ones that paid for vacations, or gave him points at the places he liked to shop. With his second startup, Rao is trying to solve that problem. The X1, a new credit card, is designed for people who want premium perks -- with or without premium credit scores. It uses a novel underwriting process, which links with a user's bank account to determine credit limits based on cash flow. The card promises up to five times higher credit limits than the average card.

>

> The card itself is made of stainless steel -- the kind of objet d'art that's advertised as making a pleasant clang when you drop it -- but it's meant to be used digitally, like the Apple Card. It has a sleek app that gives users the ability to create disposable "virtual" cards, cancel subscriptions with one click, and make anonymous transactions without giving out a real name or card number. Its points are redeemable at a list of merchants frequented by the stereotypical tech bro: Peloton, Patagonia, Allbirds, and Airbnb. Perhaps for that reason, the X1 has become something of a Silicon Valley darling, with a waitlist of more than 350,000 people, the startup says. Its investors include Affirm CEO Max Levchin, Box CEO Aaron Levie, and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. "I think of it as Silicon Valley's answer to American Express, which is really for the old guard at this point," says David Sacks, the venture capitalist and PayPal alumnus, who sits on the X1's board and uses the card himself.



[1] https://www.wired.com/story/x1-new-credit-card-with-silicon-valley-twist/



Apple's MacBook Pro Models Get a Redesign, New Chips and MagSafe Charging (techcrunch.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the new-gadgets dept.)

Apple just [1]dropped a new version of the MacBook Pro that draws a much clearer line between the system and its perennial favorite thin-and-light sibling. From a report:

> The new system is powered by the new M1 Pro and Max, souped up versions of the chip the company unveiled at today's event. The company says the 10-core chip is capable of allowing up to 3x the memory bandwidth and up to of the M1, coupled with a 16 core GPU. The Max, meanwhile, bumps the GPU up to 32 cores. What's clear is that the company is targeting its bread and butter creative pro demographic in ways it didn't with last year's models. Unlike last year's model, the new models, which are available in 14- and 16-inch models offer entirely new redesigns. They also feature built-in fans for high-performance applications, though the company says it will rarely turn on. The system also marks the end of the middling-received Touchbar, with a full function key in its place.

>

> As one feature leaves, an old favorite returns. Magsafe is back. The third-gen charger sports a proprietary port, but users will be able to continue charging via the Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. And, yes, this thing has ports. Three thunderbolt 4, HDMI and an SDXC card slot, to be exact. The bezel has been reduced, instead opting for an iPhone-style notch at the top to house the webcam. The camera has -- thankfully -- been upgraded for these teleconferencing days at 1080p (no 4k, sadly, but an improvement over the long-standing model) with a larger sensor and wider aperture.

The 14-inch starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch runs $2,499. The Max version of the M1 is available as an upgrade, adding an additional $200 for the 24-core GPU and $400 for the 36-core version.



[1] https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/18/apples-macbook-pro-get-a-redesign-new-chips-and-magsafe-charging/



At Amazon, Some Brands Get More Protection From Fakes Than Others (bloomberg.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the closer-look dept.)

There are two classes of merchant on Amazon.com: those who [1]get special protection from counterfeiters and those who don't . From a report:

> The first category includes sellers of some big-name brands, such as Adidas, Apple and even Amazon itself. They benefit from digital fortifications that prevent unauthorized sellers from listing certain products -- an iPhone, say, or eero router -- for sale. Many lesser-known brands belong to the second group and have no such shield. Fred Ruckel, inventor of a popular cat toy called the Ripple Rug, is one of those sellers. A few months ago, knockoff artists began selling versions of his product, siphoning off tens of thousands of dollars in sales and forcing him to spend weeks trying have the interlopers booted off the site.

>

> Amazon's marketplace has long been plagued with fakes, a scourge that has made household names like Nike leery of putting their products there. While most items can be uploaded freely to the site, Amazon by 2016 had begun requiring would-be sellers of a select group of products to get permission to list them. The company doesn't publicize the program, but in the merchant community it has become known as "brand gating." Of the millions of products sold on Amazon, perhaps thousands are afforded this kind of protection, people who advise sellers say. Most merchants, many of them small businesses, rely on Amazon's algorithms to ferret out fakes before they appear -- an automated process that dedicated scammers have managed to evade.



[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-18/at-amazon-com-some-brands-get-more-protection-than-others



Amazon May Have Lied To Congress About Its Business Practices, Lawmakers Say (techcrunch.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Five members of the Congressional Committee have accused Amazon's top executives of [1]either misleading or blatantly lying to it about its business practices and said they are considering an investigation following publication of two damning reports last week. From a report:

> Reuters and the Markup reported last week that Amazon uses the data of third-party sellers on its platform to inform and create its private-label products. Both the outlets also noted that Amazon then gives preference to its own portfolio over those of the rivals when customers look up for products. The letter, addressed to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy, says it's offering Jassy "a final opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence to corroborate the prior testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the Committee." In the letter, the lawmakers also said the committee is considering whether it would be appropriate to refer the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation into the subject.



[1] https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/18/lawmakers-accuse-amazon-executives-of-misleading-or-lying-to-congress-about-its-business-practices/



Sinclair TV Stations Disrupted Across the US After Ransomware Attack (therecord.media)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the security-woes dept.)

TV broadcasts for Sinclair-owned channels [1]went down Sunday across the US in what the stations have described as technical issues, but which multiple sources told The Record to be a ransomware attack. From the report:

> The incident occurred in the early hours of the day and took down the Sinclair internal corporate network, email servers, phone services, and the broadcasting systems of local TV stations. As a result of the attack, many channels weren't able to broadcast morning shows, news segments, and scheduled NFL games, according to a barrage of tweets coming from viewers and the TV channels themselves. "Internally, it's bad," a source who had to call Sinclair employees on their personal numbers to get more details about the attack, told The Record earlier today in a private conversation.



[1] https://therecord.media/sinclair-tv-stations-disrupted-across-the-us-in-apparent-ransomware-attack/



Intel CEO Blames Predecessors For Manufacturing Woes (axios.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

When it comes to Intel's recent manufacturing problems, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger places the [1]blame squarely on his predecessors -- many of whom he notes were not engineers deeply steeped in chip technology, as he is. Axios:

> Gelsinger has announced a broad plan to reinvigorate Intel by doubling down on manufacturing. However, the strategy depends on the venerable semiconductor giant recovering from recent stumbles. Gelsinger told me that the company had grown so successful that leaders wanted to move the strategy away from what had made Intel a chip juggernaut. Especially lacking, he said was the "maniacal" focus on manufacturing that had been a hallmark since Intel's founding. Gelsinger returned to Intel as CEO earlier this year, spent three decades at the company after joining it at age 18.



[1] https://www.axios.com/pat-gelsinger-blame-intels-manufacturing-woes-9ffec484-6b6f-45da-a986-e5d499d84e91.html



Canon Sued For $5 Million For Disabling Scanner When Printer Runs Out of Ink (techspot.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the new-lows dept.)

[1]couchslug writes:

> Canon, best nown for manufacturing camera equipment and printers for business and home users, is being sued for [2]not allowing customers to use the scan or fax functions in multi-function devices if the ink runs out on numerous printer models. David Leacraft filed a class action lawsuit against Canon USA, alleging the company engaged in deceptive marketing and unjust enrichment practices.



[1] https://slashdot.org/~couchslug

[2] https://www.techspot.com/news/91790-canon-sued-5-million-disabling-scanner-when-printers.html



Bitcoin Comes To the Big Board (nytimes.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent weeks, approaching record high prices above $60,000, as crypto enthusiasts anticipate history in the making. Tomorrow morning, ProShares will launch a long-awaiting [1]exchange-traded fund on the New York Stock Exchange linked to Bitcoin futures , the firm and the exchange told DealBook. From a report:

> The E.T.F. will give investors exposure to Bitcoin without having to hold the cryptocurrency directly, via any ordinary brokerage account. "2021 will be remembered for this milestone," said Michael Sapir, the C.E.O. of ProShares. Investors who are curious about crypto but hesitant to engage with unregulated crypto exchanges want "convenient access to Bitcoin in a wrapper that has market integrity," he said. For nearly a decade, crypto entrepreneurs and traditional finance firms have sought permission to launch a Bitcoin E.T.F. in the U.S., but their applications have been delayed or denied by the S.E.C. Many remain pending.

>

> A Bitcoin futures E.T.F. falls short of what some purists want: a fund that holds crypto directly. Gary Gensler, the S.E.C. chair, recently suggested that the agency might allow crypto E.T.F.s based on futures -- bets on Bitcoin's price fluctuations rather than the underlying crypto itself -- that trade on a highly regulated exchange. Approval for the ProShares E.T.F., which is based on Bitcoin futures that trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, won't be announced by the S.E.C., but the firm's final prospectus met with no opposition ahead of its effective deadline, and the N.Y.S.E. is readying for launch tomorrow.



[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/business/dealbook/bitcoin-etf-proshares.html



You Can Now Play 'Doom' Via Twitter (kotaku.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (EditorDavid) from the first-person-tweeter dept.)

" [1]Why not play Doom using Twitter via short commands and videos? " Kotaku asks bored internet users.

" [2]Tweet2Doom is a new Twitter bot that started up in September of this year and which lets folks play through the original game using a series of commands."

> Those commands are translated to the bot and you are sent back a video showing you what happened, then you can continue to send more commands and progress through levels. [3]The full list of commands and how it works can be found in this pinned tweet from the account ...

>

> Tweet2Doom now joins a long and ever-growing list of "Ways To Play Doom." That list includes [4]a pregnancy test , [5]unreleased indie console , [6]cash registers and much, [7]much more .



[1] https://kotaku.com/you-can-now-play-doom-via-twitter-1847881209

[2] https://twitter.com/tweet2doom

[3] https://twitter.com/tweet2doom/status/1444355917160534024

[4] https://www.kotaku.com.au/2020/09/doom-kinda-running-on-a-pregnancy-test/

[5] https://kotaku.com/handheld-doom-lets-you-manually-crank-the-chaingun-1843836489

[6] https://kotaku.com/guy-gets-doom-running-on-a-mcdonalds-cash-register-1838680691

[7] https://www.destructoid.com/the-maniacs-went-and-got-doom-running-on-a-game-watch/



£1M Inaugural 'Earthshot' Prize Recognizes Creative Solutions to Climate Problems (msn.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (EditorDavid) from the better-than-moonshots dept.)

"Five innovators on Sunday won 1 million pounds each at the inaugural awards ceremony for Prince Williams's Earthshot Prize," reports the Washington Post, calling the award "a kind of Oscars for green projects that the British royal hopes will [1]highlight creative solutions to the world's most pressing environmental challenges ."

> William founded the environmental prize — self-styled as the "most prestigious global environment prize in history" — after becoming disappointed with world leaders' lackluster efforts to combat climate change, he has said in his book on the initiative...

>

> The winners included a green hydrogen technology that can be used as a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels; an India-based outfit that makes low-cost smokeless machines that convert agricultural waste into fuels and fertilizers; and a team from the Bahamas that grows coral farms on land that can be replanted in oceans. The Republic of [2]Costa Rica also won for reversing deforestation by paying its citizens to protect its forests, and the city of Milan won for its system of food hubs that collect and redistribute surplus supplies to the city's needy.

>

> The winners were selected from a pool of more than 750 candidates chosen by a panel of more than 200 experts... Every year, for the next decade, winners of the Earthshot award will be selected in five categories: protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and fix our climate.

The Post reports that the ceremony included a [3]performance by the band Coldplay which was said to be powered "by 60 people manically pedaling on bicycles next to the stage."

Coldplay later [4]reportedly plans to use batteries from BMW's electric cars to help power its 2022 world tour, "storing energy from a variety of sources, like solar panels, power bikes inside the venue itself, a kinetic floor, and recycled cooking oil from local restaurants."



[1] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/costa-rica-city-of-milan-among-winners-of-prince-william-e2-80-99s-inaugural-earthshot-prize/ar-AAPDxC1

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/interactive/2021/costa-rica-andrea-meza-climate-change/

[3] https://twitter.com/BBC/status/1449814065468018689

[4] https://www.autoevolution.com/news/used-bmw-i3-batteries-power-bikes-and-kinetic-floor-make-coldplays-tour-the-greenest-yet-171801.html



New Internal Documents Contradict Facebook's Claims that AI Can Enforce Its Rules (livemint.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @05:25PM (EditorDavid) from the status-update dept.)

Today [1]in the Wall Street Journal , Facebook's head of integrity, Guy Rosen, admitted that from April to June of this year, one in every 2,000 content views on Facebook still contained hate speech. ( [2]Alternate URL here , with shorter versions [3]here and [4]here .)

Head of integrity Rosen was calling that figure an improvement over mid-2020, when one in every 1,000 content views on Facebook were hate speech. But at that same moment in time Mark Zuckerberg was [5]telling the U.S. Congress that "In terms of fighting hate, we've built really sophisticated systems!" "Facebook Inc. executives have long said that artificial intelligence would address the company's chronic problems keeping what it deems hate speech and excessive violence as well as underage users off its platforms," reports the Wall Street Journal.

"That future is farther away than those executives suggest, according [6]to internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal . Facebook's AI can't consistently identify first-person shooting videos, racist rants and even, in one notable episode that puzzled internal researchers for weeks, the difference between cockfighting and car crashes."

> On hate speech, the documents show, Facebook employees have estimated the company removes only a sliver of the posts that violate its rules — a low-single-digit percent, they say. When Facebook's algorithms aren't certain enough that content violates the rules to delete it, the platform shows that material to users less often — but the accounts that posted the material go unpunished.

>

> The employees were analyzing Facebook's success at enforcing its own rules on content that it spells out in detail internally and in public documents like its community standards. The documents reviewed by the Journal also show that Facebook two years ago cut the time human reviewers focused on hate-speech complaints from users and made other tweaks that reduced the overall number of complaints. That made the company more dependent on AI enforcement of its rules and inflated the apparent success of the technology in its public statistics.

>

> According to the documents, those responsible for keeping the platform free from content Facebook deems offensive or dangerous acknowledge that the company is nowhere close to being able to reliably screen it. "The problem is that we do not and possibly never will have a model that captures even a majority of integrity harms, particularly in sensitive areas," wrote a senior engineer and research scientist in a mid-2019 note. He estimated the company's automated systems removed posts that generated just 2% of the views of hate speech on the platform that violated its rules. "Recent estimates suggest that unless there is a major change in strategy, it will be very difficult to improve this beyond 10-20% in the short-medium term," he wrote.

>

> This March, another team of Facebook employees drew a similar conclusion, estimating that those systems were removing posts that generated 3% to 5% of the views of hate speech on the platform, and 0.6% of all content that violated Facebook's policies against violence and incitement.

Facebook does also take some other additional steps to reduce views of hate speech (beyond AI screening), they told the Journal — also arguing that the internal Facebook documents the Journal had reviwed were outdated. But one of those documents showed that in 2019 Facebook was spending $104 million a year to review suspected hate speech, with a Facebook manager noting that "adds up to real money" and proposing "hate speech cost controls."

Facebook told the Journal the saved money went to better improving their algorithms. But the Journal reports that Facebook "also introduced 'friction' to the content reporting process, adding hoops for aggrieved users to jump through that sharply reduced how many complaints about content were made, according to the documents."

Facebook told the Journal that "some" of that friction has since been rolled back.



[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-ai-enforce-rules-engineers-doubtful-artificial-intelligence-11634338184

[2] https://www.livemint.com/industry/media/facebook-says-ai-can-enforce-its-rules-but-the-company-s-own-engineers-are-doubtful-11634484622857.html

[3] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-is-counting-on-ai-to-clean-up-its-platform-but-its-own-engineers-have-doubts-11634512872

[4] https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/facebook-ai-will-clean-up-the-platform-engineers-doubt

[5] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-116hhrg41317/html/CHRG-116hhrg41317.htm

[6] https://archive.ph/o/7Zdqg/https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-facebook-files-11631713039?mod=article_inline



A Meteorite Crashed Through Somebody's Ceiling and Landed on Their Bed (chicagotribune.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the not-the-tooth-fairy dept.)

The New York Times reports:

> Ruth Hamilton was fast asleep in her home in British Columbia when she awoke to the sound of her dog barking, followed by "an explosion." She jumped up and turned on the light, [1]only to see a hole in the ceiling . Her clock said 11:35 p.m.

>

> At first, Hamilton thought that a tree had fallen on her house. But, no, all the trees were there. She called 911 and, while on the phone with an operator, noticed a large charcoal gray object between her two floral pillows.

>

> "Oh, my gosh," she recalled telling the operator, "there's a rock in my bed."

>

> A meteorite, she later learned.

>

> The 2.8-pound rock the size of a large man's fist had barely missed Hamilton's head, leaving "drywall debris all over my face," she said. Her close encounter on the night of Oct. 3 left her rattled, but it captivated the internet and handed scientists an unusual chance to study a space rock that had crashed to Earth.

>

> "It just seems surreal," Hamilton said in an interview Wednesday. "Then I'll go in and look in the room and, yep, there's still a hole in my ceiling. Yep, that happened."

The Times reports that Peter Brown, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, places the odds of a meteor crashing into someone's bed at 1 in 100 billion.



[1] https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-aud-nw-nyt-meteorite-womans-bed-20211014-24gluwkodfa7rbxth346nv7w5e-story.html



International 'US Cyber Games' Competition Seeks Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts (washingtonpost.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the capturing-the-flag dept.)

"As the United States seeks to shore up its defenses against cyberattacks, the country is seeking to harness the skills of some of the country's most promising young minds," reports the Washington Post, " [1]using a model that mirrors competitive video gaming, also known as esports ."

Though it's a partnership between the federal government, academia and the private sector, it's being run by Katzcy, a northern Virginia-based digital marketing firm, the Post reports:

> [2]U.S. Cyber Games , a project founded in April and funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, has assembled a team of 25 Americans, ages 18 to 26, who will compete against other countries in the inaugural International Cybersecurity Challenge, scheduled to be held in Greece in June 2022.

>

> The cyber games consist of two broad formats, with the competitions organized and promoted to appeal to a generation raised on video gaming. The goal is to identify and train candidates for careers in cybersecurity. There are king-of-the-hill-type games where one team tries to break into a network while the other team tries to defend it. There are also capture-the-flag-type games where teams must complete a series of puzzles that follow the basic tenets of cybersecurity programs, like decrypting an encrypted file or analyzing secret network traffic...

>

> The U.S. cyber team's head coach, retired Lt. Col. TJ O'Connor who served as a communications support officer with special forces, noted the unique platform presented by cybersecurity competitions. Unlike other forms of computer science education, O'Connor said, staying up to date on the latest developments in cybersecurity is difficult, with hackers constantly iterating on and developing new tactics to break through cyberdefenses. "Understanding the most likely attack is one thing you gain through Cyber Games. It's an attack-based curriculum, and then you can plan the most appropriate strategies when they occur," said O'Connor, who helped create and now chairs Florida Tech's cybersecurity program.



[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2021/10/15/cybersecurity-hacks-esports/

[2] https://www.uscybergames.com/



'Dirty Servers': The Untold Story of The Great Twitch Breach of 2014 (vice.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the urgent-pizza dept.)

A 2014 breach at Twitch "was so bad that Twitch essentially had to rebuild much of its code infrastructure because the company eventually [1]decided to assume most of its servers were compromised ," reports Vice. "They figured it would be easier to just label them 'dirty,' and slowly migrate them to new servers, according to three former employees who saw and worked with these servers."

Slashdot reader [2]em1ly shares Vice's report (which Vice based on interviews with seven former Twitch employees who'd worked there when the breach happened):

> The discovery of the suspicious logs kicked off an intense investigation that pulled nearly all Twitch employees on deck. One former employee said they worked 20 hours a day for two months, another said he worked "three weeks straight." Other employees said they worked long hours for weeks on end; some who lived far from the office slept in hotel rooms booked by the company. At the time, Twitch had few, if any, dedicated cybersecurity engineers, so developers and engineers from other teams were pulled into the effort, working together in meeting rooms with glass windows covered, frantically trying to figure out just how bad the hack was, according to five former Twitch employees who were at the company at the time...

>

> Twitch's users would only find out about the breach six months after its discovery, on March 23, 2015, when the company published a [3]short blog post that explained "there may have been unauthorized access to some Twitch user account information," but did not let on nearly how damaging the hack was to Twitch internally.... When Twitch [4]finally disclosed the hack in March of 2015 , security engineers at Twitch and Amazon, who had come to help with the incident response, concluded that the hack had started at least eight months before the discovery in October of 2014, though they had no idea if the hackers had actually broken in even earlier than that, according to the former employee. "That was long enough for them to learn entirely how our whole system worked and the attacks they launched demonstrated that knowledge," the former employee said...

>

> For months after the discovery and public announcement, several servers and services were internally labeled as "dirty," as a way to tell all developers and engineers to be careful when interacting with them, and to make sure they'd get cleaned up eventually. This meant that they were still live and in use, but engineers had put restrictions on them in the event that they were still compromised, according to three former employees. "The plan apparently was just to rebuild the entire infra[structure] from known-good code and deprecate the old 'dirty' environment. We still, years later, had a split between 'dirty' services (servers or other things that were running when the hack took place) and 'clean' services, which were fired up after," one of the former employees said. "We celebrated office-wide the day we took down the last dirty service!"

Another former employees tells Vice that the breach came as a surprise, even though the company hadn't invested in keeping itself secure. "Security efforts kept getting cancelled or deprioritized with the argument that 'everyone loves Twitch; no one wants to hack us.'" The Twitch engineer who'd first stumbled onto the breach described his reaction to Vice. " 'Oh fuck.' But I remember thinking that there was so much 'I told you so' here."

One former employee added later that a [5]more recent incident just this month "demonstrates that they didn't learn anything from the incident in 2014." But not everyone agrees.

> Other former employees, however, said that the damage of this new data breach appears to be less severe than the 2014 hack. And that it's likely thanks to Twitch taking security more seriously since then.



[1] https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkb7qg/urgent-pizza-untold-story-of-the-largest-twitch-hack-in-history

[2] https://slashdot.org/~em1ly

[3] https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:L-h6u_fc7iwJ:https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2015/03/23/important-notice-about-your-twitch-account-aaa876745856/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

[4] https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:L-h6u_fc7iwJ:https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2015/03/23/important-notice-about-your-twitch-account-aaa876745856/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

[5] https://yro.slashdot.org/story/21/10/06/1710201/twitch-source-code-and-business-data-leaked



New Study Finds Ridesharing Actually Increases Pollution, Congestion (nytimes.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the Uber-Eats-and-Pollutes dept.)

Greg Bensinger of the New York Times editorial board argues ridesharing companies haven't delivered on their promises of well-paying driver jobs with less traffic congestion (let alone their predictions of an end to car ownership — or even of a sustainable, profitable, business model).

And he adds that now a new study "is punching [1]a hole in another of Uber and Lyft's promised benefits: curtailing pollution ."

> The companies have long insisted their services are a boon to the environment in part because they reduce the need for short trips, can pool riders heading in roughly the same direction and cut unnecessary miles by, for instance, eliminating the need to look for street parking. It turns out that Uber rides do spare the air from the high amount of pollutants emitted from starting up a cold vehicle, when it is operating less efficiently, [2]researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found . But that gain is wiped out by the need for drivers to circle around waiting for or fetching their next passenger, known as deadheading. Deadheading, Lyft and Uber estimated in 2019, is equal to about [3]40 percent of rideshare miles driven in six American cities.

>

> The researchers at Carnegie Mellon estimated that driving without a passenger leads to a roughly 20 percent overall increase in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared with trips made by personal vehicles.

>

> The researchers also found that switching from a private car to on-demand rides, like an Uber or Lyft, increased the external costs of a typical trip by 30 percent to 35 percent, or roughly 35 cents on average, because of the added congestion, collisions and noise from ridesharing services. "This burden is not carried by the individual user, but rather impacts the surrounding community," [4]reads a summary of the research conducted by Jacob Ward, Jeremy Michalek and Constantine Samaras. "Society as a whole currently shoulders these external costs in the form of increased mortality risks, damage to vehicles and infrastructure, climate impacts and increased traffic congestion."



[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/opinion/uber-lyft.html

[2] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.1c01641

[3] https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1133756_study-taking-uber-or-lyft-costs-society-and-environment-more-than-driving-yourself

[4] https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2021/october/emissions-study.html



Surprising US Intelligence, China Tested a Hypersonic Missile (livemint.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the playing-defense dept.)

"China [1]tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August ," reports Reuters, "showing a capability that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise, the Financial Times reported, citing five unnamed sources."

AFP explains what's [2]uniquely threatening about hypersonic missiles :

> Ballistic missiles fly high into space in an arc to reach their target, while a hypersonic flies on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching a target more quickly. Crucially, a hypersonic missile is maneuverable (like the much slower, often subsonic cruise missile), making it harder to track and defend against. While countries like the United States have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, the ability to track and take down a hypersonic missile remains a question.

Business Insider highlights this [3]assessment from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the US/Canada organization providing North America's aerospace warnings:

> In August, General Glen VanHerck, head of NORAD, said that China's advanced hypersonic capability would "provide significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning and attack assessment," the Financial Times said... Sources also told the paper that the Chinese weapon could theoretically fly over the South Pole, another cause for concern for the US military, whose missile systems focus on the northern polar route.

Bloomberg [4]reports that the missile missed its target (by over 32 kilometers — about 20 miles), "and the test doesn't necessarily mean China will deploy such a weapon, the Financial Times said..."

They also point out that "Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology." (Reuters [5]adds that "last month North Korea [6]said it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile .")



[1] https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/china-surprises-us-with-hypersonic-missile-test-ft-reports/ar-AAPCAPB

[2] https://www.livemint.com/news/world/china-tested-nuclear-capable-hypersonic-missile-in-august-report-11634428521172.html

[3] https://news.yahoo.com/chinas-hypersonic-missile-demonstrated-advanced-113947780.html

[4] https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/china-tested-an-earth-circling-hypersonic-missile-ft-reports/ar-AAPCv5x

[5] https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/china-surprises-us-with-hypersonic-missile-test-ft-reports/ar-AAPCAPB

[6] https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/north-korea-says-it-test-fired-new-hypersonic-missile-kcna-2021-09-28



5G Lobbyist Argues It May Be a Long Time Before Autonomous Vehicles Reach Cities (eetimes.com)

(Monday October 18, 2021 @11:25AM (EditorDavid) from the your-way-or-the-highway dept.)

Slashdot reader [1]dkatana shares IoT Times [2]interview with Dr. Johannes Springer, Director General for the 5G Automotive Association , an EU lobbying group pushing for the inclusion of short-range 5G wireless technology in autonomous vehicles for vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Springer describes some of the services already being tested (like in Hamburg, Germany, where even traffic lights can communicate with vehicles for "optimal speed advisories" for avoiding red lights):

> We have, for instance, an initiative in Europe called a European Data Task Force, or data task force for world safety. And in this activity, millions of vehicles are already sharing safety-related data between the different car manufacturers. Of course, this data sharing exists via cellular networks. One vehicle that detects, for instance, a black ice warning, or produces a black ice warning, sends this warning via the cellular networks to other vehicles. And this consensus, the data sharing via the cellular networks, creates a lot of benefits for other traffic participants, not, by the way, just the vehicles, but also to other vulnerable road users, cyclists, pedestrians, and so on...

But they also discuss the prospects for automous vehicles beyond highway/intercity driving — and the idea of restricting them in cities to dedicated "safe corridors":

> Of course, the whole thing starts on a broad scale with restricted areas... And also, the private car industry is going heavily in this direction. If you take, for instance, the example of valet parking, automated parking. So, the automated driving task is restricted to a parking spot, to a parking garage: you can leave your car in front of the parking garage, and the car finds the free parking space by itself. And the same upon returning the vehicle. So this is something which takes place in the city but within a restricted area.

>

> Suppose it goes, for instance, to buses or something like that. In that case, you can also see two examples during the ITS World Congress, two different, let's say, technical setups, where automated driving buses happen in the city. One is in a, let's say, non-controlled environment, and the vehicle drives entirely on its own, yeah? So this is shown by Easy Drive, part of Continental, a company that produces these types of systems. Of course, there is still the need to have a backup driver in the bus, which directly destroys the business case for the bus operator. And secondly, the driving speed is relatively low; I think 30 kilometers per hour or something like that.

>

> The second example is, which is shown by Siemens, called the [3]Heat Project , where the whole environment is completely controlled by roadside infrastructure. You have cameras and all these things equipped at the road to assess the situation and things around the bus. Personally, I don't believe that it can happen in cities or other open urban areas. Maybe, of course, if you have an airport, it might be different. But we cannot afford the necessary infrastructure, let's say, for monitoring the situation around the vehicle in real-time, whether it's a bus or another vehicle. No city is willing to pay for such an infrastructure just for the benefit of autonomous driving. So I'm pretty sure that this will not happen.

In the comments on the original submission, long-time Slashdot reader [4]Gravis Zero [5]discounts this as the opinion of a lobbying group advocating for specific 5G technologies (rather than using WiFi for direct vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication).

But for what it's worth, the IoT Times interviewer also says "I've been talking to some experts in smart cities and some vehicle manufacturers... They say that certain types of autonomous driving have been going around for some time... But they are mainly focusing on motorways and intercity driving. We still have many problems allowing full autonomous driving in cities because of the number of different things that can happen."



[1] https://slashdot.org/~dkatana

[2] https://iot.eetimes.com/5gaa-argues-c-v2x-technology-as-the-way-to-secure-transport-at-the-its-world-congress/

[3] https://www.heatproject.eu/

[4] https://slashdot.org/~Gravis+Zero

[5] https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?cid=61888377&sid=20003067&tid=384



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