New Ransomware Offers The Decryption Keys If You Infect Your Friends

Slashdot - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 8:34am
MalwareHunterTeam has discovered "Popcorn Time," a new in-development ransomware with a twist. Gumbercules!! writes: "With Popcorn Time, not only can a victim pay a ransom to get their files back, but they can also try to infect two other people and have them pay the ransom in order to get a free key," writes Bleeping Computer. Infected victims are given a "referral code" and, if two people are infected by that code and pay up -- the original victim is given their decryption key (potentially). While encrypting your files, Popcorn Time displays a fake system screen that says "Downloading and installing. Please wait" -- followed by a seven-day countdown clock for the amount of time left to pay its ransom of one bitcoin. That screen claims that the perpetrators are "a group of computer science students from Syria," and that "all the money that we get goes to food, medicine, shelter to our people. We are extremely sorry that we are forcing you to pay but that's the only way that we can keep living." So what would you do if this ransomware infected your files?

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Categories: Science

Jewel Clouds? Exotic Weather Sweeps Across Giant Alien Planet

Space.com - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 8:30am
Powerful winds sweep sparkling, gem-bright clouds through the upper atmosphere of the huge alien planet HAT-P-7b, a new study suggests.
Categories: Science

Remembering John Glenn: Q&A with Former NASA Astronaut Stephen Robinson

Space.com - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 8:00am
Former NASA astronaut Stephen Robinson shares his thoughts about the late John Glenn, his crewmate on the space shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in 1998.
Categories: Science

'Brightest Supernova Ever' Was Actually Monster Black Hole's Violent Star Slashing

Space.com - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 6:00am
What astronomers had thought might have been the brightest supernova yet may actually have been the explosive death of a star torn apart by a giant black hole, scientists say.
Categories: Science

Why Did Japan Just Ratify The TPP?

Slashdot - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 4:34am
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership can't go into effect without U.S. approval, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has acknowledged. Yet despite president-elect Trump's promise to withdraw from the agreement -- Friday Japan's parliament voted to approve it. An anonymous reader quotes the Business Times. Was last Friday's vote simply a Quixotic tribute to a dying cause or -- as some are asking -- does Mr. Abe know something that others don't? They note that he is the only foreign leader to have met with the anointed heir to the U.S. presidency since the election result was announced. What went on in New York's Trump Tower during that "informal" meeting is unknown but some speculate that there may have been some equally informal -- but nonetheless significant -- dealmaking between the two men on the TPP. This seems quite possible, analysts say, because the TPP is of great importance to Japan and to Mr. Abe's grand design for Japan to remain a pivotal Asia-Pacific power. The EFF has decried "the intense push to ram Internet issues into international law through the TPP," and complained Friday that Japan's newly-passed law "includes the extension of Japan's copyright term from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author, which makes today a very sad day for Japan's public domain." And in addition, "There remains a risk that other TPP countries such as Singapore -- and even countries that weren't part of the original deal, such as Taiwan -- will soon also bring their domestic legislation into conformity with the requirements of this dead agreement."

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IBM's Watson Used In Life-Saving Medical Diagnosis

Slashdot - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 2:34am
"Supercomputing has another use," writes Slashdot reader rmdingler, sharing a story that quotes David Kenny, the General Manager of IBM Watson: "There's a 60-year-old woman in Tokyo. She was at the University of Tokyo. She had been diagnosed with leukemia six years ago. She was living, but not healthy. So the University of Tokyo ran her genomic sequence through Watson and it was able to ascertain that they were off by one thing. Actually, she had two strains of leukemia. They did treat her and she is healthy." "That's one example. Statistically, we're seeing that about one third of the time, Watson is proposing an additional diagnosis."

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Natural gas and wind are the lowest-cost generation technologies for much of the U. S.

Science Daily - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 2:31am
Natural gas and wind are the lowest-cost technology options for new electricity generation across much of the U.S. when cost, public health impacts and environmental effects are considered, according to new research.
Categories: Science

Japan Sends Its New Space Junk-Fighting Technology To The ISS

Slashdot - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 12:34am
What floats 249 miles in the sky, stretches 2,300 feet, and took over 10 years to develop? An anonymous reader quotes Phys.org: Japan launched a cargo ship Friday bound for the International Space Station, carrying a "space junk" collector that was made with the help of a fishnet company... Researchers are using a so-called electrodynamic tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminum... The electricity generated by the tether as it swings through the Earth's magnetic field is expected to have a slowing effect on the space junk, which should, scientists say, pull it into a lower and lower orbit. Eventually the detritus will enter the Earth's atmosphere, burning up harmlessly long before it has a chance to crash to the planet's surface. Bloomberg has some interesting background: The experiment is part of an international cleanup effort planning to safeguard astronauts and about $900 billion worth of space stations, satellites and other infrastructure... Satellite collisions and testing of anti-satellite weapons have added thousands of debris fragments in the atmosphere since 2007, according to NASA... With debris traveling at up to 17,500 miles an hour, the impact of even a marble-size projectile can cause catastrophic damage.

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The New The Fate of the Furious Trailer Will Get Your Motor Running

Wired News - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 12:30am
When it comes to ludicrous, long-running car-chase franchises, it's Vin for the win. The post The New The Fate of the Furious Trailer Will Get Your Motor Running appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Twitter Reinstates White Nationalist Leader's Account

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 11:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes BuzzFeed: On Saturday evening, Twitter reinstated -- with verification -- the account of Richard Spencer, a leading figure of the so-called alt-right movement, and the head of the white nationalist think tank, The National Policy Institute. Spencer's account was suspended mid-November as part of a larger cull of prominent alt-right accounts... However, according to Twitter, Spencer was banned on a technicality: creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses. Twitter's multiple account policy was put in place as a safeguard to help curb dog piling and targeted harassment. [Twitter] offered to reinstate one of Spencer's accounts if he agreed to follow the company's protocols. Vox says the move "raises the question of to what extent Twitter intends to enforce the 'hateful conduct' policy." But the suspension had also been criticized by David Frum, a senior editor at the Atlantic, who wrote that "The culture of offense-taking, platform-denying, and heckler-vetoing...lets loudmouths and thugs present themselves as heroes of free thought. They do not deserve this opportunity... today, a neo-Nazi has more right to build an arsenal of weapons and drill a militia than to speak on Twitter." But BuzzFeed points out that though the account's been reinstated, Spencer "is now tip-toeing around the company's three strike policy, which carries a permanent suspension."

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Robots Are Already Replacing Fast-Food Workers

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 10:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes Recode: Technology that replaces food service workers is already here. Sushi restaurants have been using machines to roll rice in nori for years, an otherwise monotonous and time-consuming task. The company Suzuka has robots that help assemble thousands of pieces of sushi an hour. In Mountain View, California, the startup Zume is trying to disrupt pizza with a pie-making machine. In Shanghai, there's a robot that makes ramen, and some cruise ships now mix drinks with bartending machines. More directly to the heart of American fast-food cuisine, Momentum Machines, a restaurant concept with a robot that can supposedly flip hundreds of burgers an hour, applied for a building permit in San Francisco and started listing job openings this January, reported Eater. Then there's Eatsa, the automat restaurant where no human interaction is necessary, which has locations popping up across California.

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Linux Kernel 4.9 Officially Released

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 9:34pm
"As expected, today, December 11, 2016, Linus Torvalds unleashed the final release of the highly anticipated Linux 4.9 kernel," reports Softpedia. prisoninmate shares their article: Linux kernel 4.9 entered development in mid-October, on the 15th, when Linus Torvalds decided to cut the merge window short by a day just to keep people on their toes, but also to prevent them from sending last-minute pull requests that might cause issues like it happened with the release of Linux kernel 4.8, which landed just two weeks before first RC of Linux 4.9 hit the streets... There are many great new features implemented in Linux kernel 4.9, but by far the most exciting one is the experimental support for older AMD Radeon graphics cards from the Southern Islands/GCN 1.0 family, which was injected to the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver... There are also various interesting improvements for modern AMD Radeon GPUs, such as virtual display support and better reset support, both of which are implemented in the AMDGPU driver. For Intel GPU users, there's DMA-BUF implicit fencing, and some Intel Atom processors got a P-State performance boost. Intel Skylake improvements are also present in Linux kernel 4.9. There's also dynamic thread-tracing, according to Linux Today. (And hopefully they fixed the "buggy crap" that made it into Linux 4.8.) LWN.net calls this "by far the busiest cycle in the history of the kernel project."

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Japanese City Tags Elderly Dementia Sufferers With Barcodes

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 8:34pm
"The Japanese city of Iruma has introduced scannable adhesive barcodes to tag fingernails of senior citizens with dementia who are prone to getting lost as a way to help concerned families find missing loved ones," writes HughPickens.com, citing this article from Japan Times: The adhesive QR-coded seals for nails -- part of a free service launched last month and a first in the country -- measure just 1 cm (0.4 inches) in size. "Being able to attach the seals on nails is a great advantage," says a city worker. "There are already ID stickers for clothes or shoes but dementia patients are not always wearing those items." If an elderly person becomes disorientated, police will find the local city hall, its telephone number and the wearer's ID all embedded in the QR code. Japan is grappling with a rapidly aging population, with senior citizens expected to make up a whopping 40 percent of the population around 2060. The article describes Japan as "a country where 4.8 million people aged 75 or older hold a license... Last month, police started offering discounts for noodles at local restaurants to elderly citizens who agreed to hand in their driving licenses."

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Categories: Science

Google Global Cache Is Coming to Cuba

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 7:34pm
"The Associated Press reports that on Monday Eric Schmidt will be in Havana to sign a deal bringing Google Global Cache to Cuba," writes lpress. Here's some details from the AP's report on the deal. Cuba suffers from some of the world's slowest internet speeds due to a range of problems that include the convoluted, and thus slower, paths that data must travel between Cuban users and servers that are often in the U.S... home internet connections remain illegal for virtually all Cubans, forcing them to use public WiFi spots that are often shared by dozens of people at a time and run at achingly slow speeds... Both pro-detente forces and those arguing for a hard line on President Raul Castro's single-party government have been pushing for Cubans to have better access to information. The article cites Slashdot reader Larry Press as "a California-based expert on the Cuban internet," who also shares some more thoughts on his blog. "I'd love to see a country -- even a small one -- in which Google Plus was more popular than Facebook."

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Categories: Science

Vulnerability Prompts Warning: Stop Using Netgear WiFi Routers

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 6:34pm
"By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted web site, a remote attacker may execute arbitrary commands with root privileges on affected routers," warns a new vulnerability notice from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT. Slashdot reader chicksdaddy quotes Security Ledger's story about certain models of Netgear's routers: Firmware version 1.0.7.2_1.1.93 (and possibly earlier) for the R7000 and version 1.0.1.6_1.0.4 (and possibly earlier) for the R6400 are known to contain the arbitrary command injection vulnerability. CERT cited "community reports" that indicate the R8000, firmware version 1.0.3.4_1.1.2, is also vulnerable... The flaw was found in new firmware that runs the Netgear R7000 and R6400 routers. Other models and firmware versions may also be affected, including the R8000 router, CMU CERT warned. With no work around to the flaw, CERT recommended that Netgear customers disable their wifi router until a software patch from the company that addressed the hole was available... A search of the public internet using the Shodan search engine finds around 8,000 R6450 and R7000 devices that can be reached directly from the Internet and that would be vulnerable to takeover attacks. The vast majority of those are located in the United States. Proof-of-concept exploit code was released by a Twitter user who, according to the article, said "he informed Netgear of the flaw more than four months ago, but did not hear back from the company since then."

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Categories: Science

Magic Leap CEO Promises Production Tests Have Begun For 'Mixed Reality' Headsets

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 5:34pm
"[A]fter a particularly critical report earlier this week, the notoriously secretive company appears to be in damage control mode," writes Mashable. An anonymous reader summarizes their report: Thursday a reporter "highlighted the company's first promotional video as more Weta Workshop special effects than a direct example of Magic Leap technology," and announced on Reddit that "employees in the company were concerned about [the first video] being misleading to the public" -- which apparently provoked a response Friday from the company's CEO. "The message at first appears to be a simple status update, but then Abovitz gets more specific, indicating that the blog post is almost certainly an indirect response to the previous day's critical story. 'The units we are building now are for engineering and manufacturing verification/validation testing, early reliability/quality testing, production line speed, and a bunch of other important parameters. There is also a lot more going in our development of software, applications, cool creative experiences and overall operational readiness. Stay tuned -- the fun is just beginning.'" Mashable adds that when reached for a comment, "the company gave a similarly short 'stay tuned' message, hinting that something may finally be about to be revealed. Or not... [W]ith billions on the line, it's beginning to look like the secretive, NDA-fueled, hype-framed honeymoon is over."

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Categories: Science

NSA's Best Are 'Leaving In Big Numbers,' Insiders Say

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 4:34pm
schwit1 quotes CyberScoop: Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency's most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity executives Tuesday. The retired general and other insiders say a combination of economic and social factors including negative press coverage -- have played a part... "I am honestly surprised that some of these people in cyber companies make up to seven figures. That's five times what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes. Right? And these are people that are 32 years old. Do the math. [The NSA] has great competition," he said. The rate at which these cyber-tacticians are exiting public service has increased over the last several years and has gotten considerably worse over the last 12 months, multiple former NSA officials and D.C. area-based cybersecurity employers have told CyberScoop in recent weeks... In large part, Alexander blamed the press for propagating an image of the NSA that causes people to believe they are being spied on at all times by the U.S. government regardless of their independent actions. "What really bothers me is that the people of NSA, these folks who take paltry government salaries to protect this nation, are made to look like they are doing something wrong," the former NSA Director added. "They are doing exactly what our nation has asked them to do to protect us. They are the heroes."

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Categories: Science

Researchers Successfully Fight Colon Cancer Using Immunotherapy

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 3:34pm
Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes the New York Times: The remarkable recovery of a woman with advanced colon cancer, after treatment with cells from her own immune system, may lead to new options for thousands of other patients with colon or pancreatic cancer, researchers are reporting. (Shorter non-paywalled version of the article here). Her treatment was the first to successfully target a common cancer mutation that scientists have tried to attack for decades... so resistant to every attempt at treatment that scientists have described it as "undruggable"... The researchers analyze tumors for mutations -- genetic flaws that set the cancer cells apart from normal ones. They also study tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, looking for immune cells that can recognize mutations and therefore attack cancerous cells but leave healthy ones alone. The patient, a 50-year-old database programmer in Michigan, is now cancer-free, according to the article. "Researchers twice denied her request to enter the clinical trial, saying her tumors were not large enough, she said. But she refused to give up and was finally let in." The treatment ultimately eliminated six of her seven tumors, and because it targeted a cell mutation that's common in colon cancer patients, "Researchers say they now have a blueprint that may enable them to develop cell treatments for other patients as well."

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Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week, But Supermoon Full Moon Interferes

Space.com - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 2:35pm
The most reliable of the annual meteor displays — December's Geminids — will be reaching their peak this week exactly at the same time as the full moon. But there are still ways to see the Geminids despite the moon.
Categories: Science

Does The 'Snoopers Charter' Also Enshrine Lying In Court?

Slashdot - Sun, 11/12/2016 - 2:34pm
The U.K.'s newly-based Investigatory Powers Act (the Snoopers' Charter) "allows the State to tell lies in court," according to The Register, saying it enshrines into law "the practice where prosecutors lie about the origins of evidence to judges and juries." Jigsy shares their report: The operation of the oversight and accountability mechanisms...are all kept firmly out of sight -- and, so its authors hope, out of mind -- of the public. It is up to the State to volunteer the truth to its victims if the State thinks it has abused its secret powers. "Marking your own homework" is a phrase which does not fully capture this... Section 56(1)(b) creates a legally guaranteed ability -- nay, duty -- to lie about even the potential for State hacking to take place, and to tell juries a wholly fictitious story about the true origins of hacked material used against defendants in order to secure criminal convictions. This is incredibly dangerous. Even if you know that the story being told in court is false, you and your legal representatives are now banned from being able to question those falsehoods and cast doubt upon the prosecution story. Potentially, you could be legally bound to go along with lies told in court about your communications -- lies told by people whose sole task is to weave a story that will get you sent to prison or fined thousands of pounds.

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Categories: Science