Interview With A Craigslist Scammer

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 10:00am
snydeq writes: Ever wonder what motivates people who swindle others on Craigslist? Roger Grimes did, so he set up a fake Harley Davidson ad on Craigslist and requested an interview with each scammer who replied to the ad. One agreed, and the man's answers shed light on the inner world of Craigslist scamming: "If you mean how often I make money from Craigslist, it depends on the day or week. Many weeks I make nothing. Some weeks I can get five people sending me money. But I respond to a lot of ads to get one email back. I'm not only doing Craigslist -- there are many similar places. I haven't counted, but many. It takes many emails to get paid. That's what I mean. Some weeks I lose money. It's harder than most people think. But I don't have to go into a place at a certain time and deal with bosses and customers. I can make my own time." Grimes asked the scammer a number of questions ranging from "How do you know when you have a good victim?" to "What country do you originate from?" and everything in-between. He ended the interview asking the scammer for any words of advice for readers. The scammer responded: "It's getting harder for business people like me to be successful, but if they [the victims] follow the rules it would be very hard for me to be successful. That's one of the surprises. My friends and I thought we would not be successful for so long, especially with how Craigslist is different now. But there is always someone looking to sell something who doesn't know the game."

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Categories: Science

New Recipe for Gravitational Waves Calls for Early Double Stars

Space.com - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 7:10am
Stir two massive stars into black holes, bake for 10 billion years, and combine. That's the recipe scientists have cooked up to produce the first detected gravitational waves spotted last September, and one that produces the most recent detection,too.
Categories: Science

Black Hole Shreds Star - Light Echoes Map The Gas Flow | Video

Space.com - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 7:06am
On March 28, 2011, NASA's Swift satellite detected X-rays produced by a black hole that devoured a star, roughly 3.9 billion years ago.
Categories: Science

Australian 'Bitcoin Founder' Quietly Bidding For Patent Empire

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 7:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Craig Wright, the Australian who claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, is attempting to build a large patent portfolio around the digital currency and technology underpinning it, according to associates of his and documents reviewed by Reuters. Since February, Wright has filed more than 50 patent applications in Britain through Antigua-registered EITC Holdings Ltd, which a source close to the company confirmed was connected to Wright, government records show. Interviews with sources close to EITC Holdings Ltd, which has two of Wright's associates as directors, confirmed it was still working on filing patent applications and Britain's Intellectual Property Office has published another 11 patent applications filed by the company in the past week. The granting of even some of the patents would be significant for banking and other industries that are trying to exploit bitcoin technologies, as well as dozens of start-ups scurrying to build business models based around it. Patents that Wright has applied for range from a mechanism for paying securely for online content to an operating system for running an "internet of things" on blockchain. A patent schedule, one of a number of documents relating to the applications shown to Reuters by a person close to the EITC Holdings, outlines plans to apply for about 400 in total.

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Categories: Science

60 Black Holes And 500 Stars 'Mosh' To Form Black Hole Binary | Simulation

Space.com - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 6:07am
Astrophysicists have theorized that the violent interaction in between stars and black holes in a core of a globular cluster created the black holes from LIGO's first gravitational waves discovery.
Categories: Science

Earth's New Battle Against Aliens: Photos from 'Independence Day: Resurgence'

Space.com - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 6:01am
A hostile alien race returns to Earth in the upcoming move "Independence Day: Resurgence," which picks up the story that started in the 1996 blockbuster, "Independence Day." Check out these photos from the new movie.
Categories: Science

Sleeping Black Hole Awakens to Devour Doomed Star

Space.com - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 5:13am
A sleeping giant at the center of a galaxy has awoken: A normally dormant, monster black hole has been found shredding a star that ventured too close to the cosmic beast.
Categories: Science

MSI and ASUS Accused of Sending Reviewers Overpowered Graphics Cards

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: TechPowerUp discovered that the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X card they were sent for review was running at faster GPU and memory clock speeds than the retail version. This was because the review card was set to operate in the OC (overclocking) mode out of the box, whereas the retail card runs in the more regular Gaming mode out of the box. This may result in an unobservant reviewer accidentally misrepresenting the OC performance numbers as the stock results from the card, lending MSI's product an unearned helping hand. The site found this was a recurring pattern with MSI stretching back for years. Fellow Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS, in spite of having better global name recognition and reputation, has also show itself guilty of preprogramming review cards with an extra overclocking boost. Needless to say, the only goal of such actions is to deceive -- both the consumer and the reviewer -- though perhaps some companies have felt compelled to follow suit after the trend was identified among competitors. The Verge notes that TechPowerUp revealed its finding on Thursday of last week, and has not received any official response from either MSI or ASUS. They did update their story to note that MSI addressed the matter, in a comment provided to HardOCP Editor-in-Chief Kyle Bennett, back in 2014.

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Categories: Science

Real-time robot-motion planning

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 1:54am

New computer processor allows for fast, energy-efficient robot motion planning in cluttered environments (credit: Duke Robotics)

Duke University researchers have designed a new computer processor that’s optimized for robot motion planning (for example, for quickly picking up and accurately moving an object in a cluttered environment while evading obstacles). The new processor can plan an optimal motion path up to 10,000 times faster than existing systems while using a small fraction of the required power.

The new processor is fast enough to plan and operate in real time, and power-efficient enough to be used in large-scale manufacturing environments with thousands of robots, according to George Konidaris, assistant professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Duke.

“When you think about a car assembly line, the entire environment is carefully controlled so that the robots can blindly repeat the same movements over and over again,” said Konidaris. “The car parts are in exactly the same place every time, and the robots are contained within cages so that humans don’t wander past.”

But for uncontrolled environments (such as homes), robot motion planning has to be a lot smarter and able to learn in real time. That would save the time and expense of custom-engineering the environment around the robot, said Konidaris, who presented the new work yesterday (June 20) at a conference called Robotics: Science and Systems in Ann Arbor, Mich.


Duke Robotics | Robotic Motion Planning

Collision detection in real time

Most existing approaches for robot motion planning rely on general-purpose CPUs or computationally faster but more power-hungry graphics processors (GPUs). Instead, the Duke team specifically designed a new processor for motion planning.

“While a general-purpose CPU is good at many tasks, it cannot compete with a processor specially designed for just a single task,” said Daniel Sorin, professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Duke.

Konidaris and Sorin’s team designed their new processor to perform collision detection — the most time-consuming aspect of motion planning — requiring thousands of collision checks in parallel. “We streamlined our design and focused our hardware and power budgets on just the specific tasks that matter for motion planning,” Sorin said.

The key was to use an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) integrated circuit, which can be configured by a designer for customized uses.

The robot-motion processor selects the set of voxels swept by the robot arm and this set is used to build specialized circuits in an FPGA integrated circuit to detect collisions and optimize motions in real time during operation (credit: Duke Robotics)

The technology works by breaking down the arm’s operating space into thousands of 3D volumes called voxels (volume pixels). The algorithm then determines whether or not an object is present in one of the voxels contained within pre-programmed motion paths. Thanks to the specially designed hardware, the technology can check thousands of motion paths simultaneously, and then stitch together the shortest motion path possible using the “safe” options remaining.

Game-changer

“The state of the art prior to our work used high-performance, commodity graphics processors that consume 200 to 300 watts,” said Konidaris. “And even then, it was taking hundreds of milliseconds, or even as much as a second, to find a motion plan. We’re at less than a millisecond, and less than 10 watts. Even if we weren’t faster, the power savings alone will add up in factories with thousands, or even millions, of robots.”

Konidaris also notes that the technology opens up new ways to use motion planning. “Previously, planning was done once per movement, because it was so slow,” he said, “but now it is fast enough that it could be used as a component of a more complex planning algorithm, perhaps one that sequences several simpler motions or plans ahead to reason about the movement of several objects.”

The new processor’s speed and power efficiency could create many opportunities for automation. So Konidaris, Sorin and their students have formed a spinoff company, Realtime Robotics, to commercialize the technology. “Real-time motion planning could really be a game-changer for robotics,” said Konidaris.

This research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.

Abstract of Robot Motion Planning on a Chip

We describe a process that constructs robot-specific circuitry for motion planning, capable of generating motion plans approximately three orders of magnitude faster than existing methods. Our method is based on building collision detection circuits for a probabilistic roadmap. Collision detection for the roadmap edges is completely parallelized, so that the time to determine which edges are in collision is independent of the number of edges. We demonstrate planning using a 6-degree- of-freedom robot arm in less than 1 millisecond.

Categories: Science

Indie Dev TinyBuild Lost $450K To Fraudulent Sales Facilitated By G2A

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 1:25am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Paste Magazine: Indie developer TinyBuild, the studio behind Punch Club, Party Hard and SpeedRunners, had thousands of their game codes stolen through fraudulent credit card purchases, which then wound up on G2A.com, a site that allows people to resell game codes. The basic idea behind G2A is straightforward and pretty harmless: with the amount of game codes sold through Steam, the Humble Store/Bundle, and more, the site gives consumers a place to sell unwanted game codes. However, in doing so, G2A has created a huge black market for game codes sales. As TinyBuild described in their blog post on the matter, the common practice for scammers is to "get ahold of a database of stolen credit cards on the dark web. Go to a bundle/3rd party key reseller and buy a ton of game keys. Put them up onto G2A and sell them at half the retail price." This allows scammers to make thousands of dollars while preventing any profit from reaching the game developers because, once the stolen credit cards are processed, the payments will be denied. G2A states that TinyBuild's retail partners are the ones selling the codes on G2A, not scammers, despite the thousands of codes they lost through their online store to fraudulent credit card purchases. In 2011, TinyBuild was in the news for uploading their own game, a platformer called No Time To Explain, to the Pirate Bay.

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Categories: Science

Forget Doomsday AI—Google Is Worried about Housekeeping Bots Gone Bad

Wired News - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 1:17am
Artificially intelligent machines are starting to make decisions that the real world—which is why it's important to stay on top of how they think. The post Forget Doomsday AI—Google Is Worried about Housekeeping Bots Gone Bad appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

3 Million Strong Botnet Grows Right Under Twitter's Nose

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 12:45am
An anonymous reader writes: Somebody created a botnet of three million Twitter accounts in one single day, and Twitter staff didn't even flinch -- even if the huge 35.4 registrations/second should have caught the eye of any IT staffer. Another weird particularity is that the botnet was also synchronized to use Twitter usernames similar to Twitter IDs. Couple this with a gap of 168 million IDs before and after the botnet's creation, it appears that someone specifically reserved those IDs. The IDs were reserved in October 2013, but the botnet was registered in April 2014 (except 2 accounts registered in March 2014). It's like Twitter's registration process skipped 168 million IDs, and someone came back a few months later and used them. [Softpedia reports:] "The botnet can be found at @sfa_200xxxxxxx, where xxxxxxx is a number that increments from 0 000 000 to 2 999 999. All accounts have a similar structure. They have "name" instead of the Twitter profile handle, display the same registration date, and feature the text "some kinda description" in the profile bio field. Additionally, there are also two smaller botnets available as well. One can be found between @cas_2050000000 and @cas_2050099999. Sadbottrue says it was registered between March 3 and March 5, 2015. The second is between @wt_2050100000 and @wt_2050199999, and was registered between October 23 and November 22, 2014." Both have 100,000 accounts each. Theoretically, these types of botnets can be used for malware C and C servers, Twitter spam, or to sell fake Twitter followers. At 3 million bots, the botnet accounts for 1% of Twitter's monthly active users.

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Categories: Science

DNC Hacker Releases Clinton Foundation Documents

Slashdot - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 12:05am
An anonymous reader writes: Following a report that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC's database, a hacker, who identifies himself as "Guccifer 2.0" after a popular Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures, most notably Hillary Clinton and her private server, has published documents on Tuesday that he says came from the party's digital files. The documents detail Clinton's weaknesses as a candidate, and include a collection of negative press clips about the Clinton Foundation and a list of defenses against attacks on her private email use. Washington Examiner reports: "Another document, titled '2016 Democrats Positions Cheat Sheet,' listed major policy issues and indicated where Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chaffee, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden -- all former or possible rivals for the Democratic nomination -- stood on each issue." The documents contain information ranging from how the Clinton Foundation and its allies should respond to criticisms of the Clinton Foundation's revenue sources to how Chelsea Clinton wasn't able to answer questions about Clinton Foundation donations and other instances in which Bill Clinton was called a "sexual predator" for his past indiscretions. Even though the cybersecurity breach was blamed on the Russian government, the Kremlin has denied any involvement. The DNC also has yet to confirm or deny the authenticity of the leaked documents.

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Categories: Science

New research important to atmospheric photochemistry

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:32pm
A photochemical sciences research team has shown that a new and unusual reaction path in chemistry occurs not only in the gas phase, but also in solution. According to the researchers, the finding also establishes the direct link between chemical reactivity in the gas phase and in solution.
Categories: Science

Male general practitioners more likely to consider heart disease a 'man’s issue'

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:31pm
Male general practitioners (GPs) are more likely to consider heart disease a “man’s issue” and neglect to assess cardiovascular risk in female patients, reports a study of 52 GPs and more than 2200 patients.
Categories: Science

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:31pm
A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised.
Categories: Science

'Coral zombies' may spell doom for coral reefs around world

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:31pm
Scientists have known for a while that coral reefs around the world are dying, and in a worst-case scenario they were counting on large, healthy-looking corals to repopulate. But a new study shows that these seemingly healthy colonies are 'Coral Zombies' with no reproductive ability, which makes them useless in a recovery effort.
Categories: Science

New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:31pm
Spikes in neuronal activity in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow -- a discovery that stands in stark contrast to the adult mouse brain. This new study raises questions about how the growing human brain meets its energy needs, as well as how best to track brain development with fMRI, which relies on blood-flow changes to map neuronal activity. The research could also provide critical insights for improving care for infants.
Categories: Science

Eliminating blood test may increase availability of donor hearts

Science Daily - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:30pm
A blood test that results in donor hearts being rejected may be unnecessary in predicting the success or failure of heart transplants. If transplant centers placed less emphasis on the test, more hearts would be available to treat patients with end-stage heart failure. Currently, only one in three donor hearts are accepted for transplant, say authors of a new report.
Categories: Science

Taking the Headphone Jack Off Phones Is User-Hostile and Stupid

Slashdot - Tue, 21/06/2016 - 11:25pm
A WSJ report on Tuesday claimed that the next iPhone won't have the 3.5mm headphone port. A handful of smartphones such as LeEco's Le 2, Le 2 Pro, and Le Max 2 that have launched this year already don't have a headphone jack. The Verge's Nilay Patel has an opinion piece in which he argues that smartphone companies shouldn't ditch headphone ports as it helps no consumer. He lists six reasons: 1. Digital audio means DRM audio :Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on "unauthorized" playback and recording devices anyway.2. Wireless headphones and speakers are fine, not great. 3. Dongles are stupid, especially when they require other dongles.4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility.:The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone.5. Making Android and iPhone headphones incompatible is incredibly arrogant and stupid.6. No one is asking for this.

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Categories: Science