Tech News

Electric Cars 'Will Be Cheaper To Produce Than Fossil Fuel Vehicles By 2027'

technology - Posted On:2021-05-10 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Electric cars and vans will be cheaper to produce than conventional, fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2027, and tighter emissions regulations could put them in pole position to dominate all new car sales by the middle of the next decade, research has found. By 2026, larger vehicles such as electric sedans and SUVs will be as cheap to produce as petrol and diesel models, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF, with small cars reaching the threshold the following year. The falling cost of producing batteries for electric vehicles, combined with dedicated production lines in carmarkers' plants, will make them cheaper to buy, on average, within the next six years than conventional cars, even before any government subsidies, BloombergNEF found. The new study, commissioned by Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based non-profit organization that campaigns for cleaner transport in Europe, predicts new battery prices will fall by 58% between 2020 and 2030 to $58 per kilowatt hour. A reduction in battery costs to below $100 per kWh, is viewed as an important step towards greater take-up of fully electric vehicles, and would largely remove the financial appeal of hybrid electric vehicles, which combine a battery with a conventional engine. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Thousands of Tor Exit Nodes Attacked Cryptocurrency Users Over the Past Year

it - Posted On:2021-05-10 14:59:59 Source: slashdot

For more than 16 months, a threat actor has been seen adding malicious servers to the Tor network in order to intercept traffic and perform SSL stripping attacks on users accessing cryptocurrency-related sites. From a report: The attacks, which began in January 2020, consisted of adding servers to the Tor network and marking them as "exit relays," which are the servers through which traffic leaves the Tor network to re-enter the public internet after being anonymized. But since January 2020, a threat actor has been inserting thousands of malicious servers into the Tor network to identify traffic heading to cryptocurrency mixing websites and perform an SSL stripping attack, which is when traffic is downgraded from an encrypted HTTPS connection to plaintext HTTP. The belief is that the attacker has been downgrading traffic to HTTP in order to replace cryptocurrency addresses with their own and hijack transactions for their own profit. The attacks are not new and were first documented and exposed last year, in August, by a security researcher and Tor node operator known as Nusenu. At the time, the researcher said the attacker managed to flood the Tor network with malicious Tor exit relays on three occasions, peaking their attack infrastructure at around 23% of the entire Tor network's exit capacity before being shut down by the Tor team on every occasion. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Voice Social Network Clubhouse Arrives on Android

technology - Posted On:2021-05-10 13:00:00 Source: slashdot

Clubhouse finally has an Android app that you can download from the Play Store -- provided you live in the U.S. From a report: The voice-based social network launched its beta Android app on Play Store for users in the U.S. on Sunday, and said it will gradually make the new app available in other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world. The social network, valued at about $4 billion in its most recent fundraise, launched as an iPhone-only app last year. The app quickly gained popularity last year, attracting several high-profile celebrities, politicians, investors, and entrepreneurs. Clubhouse began developing the Android app early this year and started to test the beta version externally this month. In a town hall earlier Sunday, the startup said availability on Android has been the most requested product feature. "Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly," the team wrote. As Clubhouse struggles to maintain its growth -- data from mobile insight firms including AppMagic suggests that Clubhouse installs have drastically dropped in recent months -- the Android app could prove pivotal in boosting the startup's reach across the globe. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Should Halt Instagram Kids Plan, Attorneys General Say

technology - Posted On:2021-05-10 11:30:00 Source: slashdot

Forty-four attorneys general sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to abandon plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13. From a report: "Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms," according to the letter, signed by attorneys general from New York and Massachusetts, among others. "The attorneys general have an interest in protecting our youngest citizens, and Facebook's plans to create a platform where kids under the age of 13 are encouraged to share content online is contrary to that interest." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Are We Now Experiencing 'a Great Reassessment of Work'?

it - Posted On:2021-05-09 20:14:59 Source: slashdot

The Washington Post reports on "growing evidence — both anecdotal and in surveys — that a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic." In a piece titled "It's not a 'labor shortage.' It's a great reassessment of work," they argue that "The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home or some hybrid combination." A Pew Research Center survey this year found that 66 percent of the unemployed had "seriously considered" changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession. People who used to work in restaurants or travel are finding higher-paying jobs in warehouses or real estate, for example. Or they want a job that is more stable and less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus — or any other deadly virus down the road... Economists describe this phenomenon as reallocation friction, the idea that the types of jobs in the economy are changing and workers are taking awhile to figure out what new jobs they want — or what skills they need for different roles... Even among those who have jobs, people are rethinking their options. Front-line workers are reporting high levels of burnout, causing some to seek a new career path. There's also been a wave of retirements as workers over 50 quit because they don't want to return to teaching, home health care or other front-line jobs. More affluent Americans say they are retiring early because their retirement portfolios have surged in the past year and the pandemic has taught them that life is short. They don't want to spend as much time at a desk, even if it is safe... [I]t's notable that the manufacturing sector has bounced back strongly, yet the industry has only added back about 60 percent of the jobs lost. This suggests many factories are ramping up automation in a way that allows them to do more with fewer workers. The overall expectation is still for hiring to pick up this summer as the economy reopens fully and more people are vaccinated. But the past year has fundamentally changed the economy and what many Americans want in their working life. This big reassessment — for companies and workers — is going to take awhile to sort out and it could continue to pop up in surprising ways. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Electric Vehicles May Drive a Lithium Supply Crunch

technology - Posted On:2021-05-09 17:44:59 Source: slashdot

A carbon-free future "will require many millions of batteries, both to drive electric vehicles and to store wind and solar power on the grid," reports IEEE Spectrum. Unfortunately, today's battery chemistries "mostly rely on lithium — a metal that could soon face a global supply crunch." Recently, Rystad Energy projected a "serious lithium supply deficit" in 2027 as mining capacity lags behind the EV boom. The mismatch could effectively delay the production of around 3.3 million battery-powered passenger cars that year, according to the research firm. Without new mining projects, delays could swell to the equivalent of 20 million cars in 2030. Battery-powered buses, trucks, ships, and grid storage systems will also feel the squeeze... [T]he solution isn't as simple as mining more hard rock — called spodumene — or tapping more underground brine deposits to extract lithium. That's because most of the better, easier-to-exploit reserves are already spoken for in Australia (for hard rock) and in Chile and Argentina (for brine). To drastically scale capacity, producers will also need to exploit the world's "marginal" resources, which are costlier and more energy-intensive to develop than conventional counterparts... Concerns about supply constraints are driving innovation in the lithium industry. A handful of projects in North America and Europe are piloting and testing "direct lithium extraction," an umbrella term for technologies that, generally speaking, use electricity and chemical processes to isolate and extract concentrated lithium... In southwestern Germany, Vulcan Energy is extracting lithium from geothermal springs that bubble thousands of meters below the Rhine river. The startup began operating its first pilot plant in mid-April. Vulcan said it could be extracting 15,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide — a compound used in battery cathodes — per year. In southern California, Controlled Thermal Resources is developing a geothermal power plant and lithium extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The company said a pilot facility will start producing 20,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, also by 2024. Another way to boost lithium supplies is to recover the metal from spent batteries, of which there is already ample supply. Today, less than 5 percent of all spent lithium-ion batteries are recycled, in large part because the packs are difficult and expensive to dismantle. Many batteries now end up in landfills, leaching chemicals into the environment and wasting usable materials. But Sophie Lu, the head of metals and mining for BloombergNEF, said the industry is likely to ramp up recycling after 2028, when the supply deficit kicks in. Developers are already starting to build new facilities, including a $175 million plant in Rochester, N.Y. When completed, it will be North America's largest recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries. The Economic Times also argues that electric cars and renewable energy "may not be as green as they appear. Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people. "That environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Twitter and TikTok are Losing the War Against COVID Disinformation

technology - Posted On:2021-05-09 16:45:00 Source: slashdot

America's leading social media companies "pledged to put warning labels on COVID-19 and COVID vaccines posts to stop the spread of falsehoods, conspiracy theories and hoaxes that are fueling vaccine hesitancy in the USA," reports USA Today. "With the exception of Facebook, nearly all of them are losing the war against COVID disinformation." That's the conclusion of a new report shared exclusively with USA TODAY. As the pace of the nation's immunizations slows and public health agencies struggle to get shots in arms, Advance Democracy found that debunked claims sowing unfounded fears about the vaccines are circulating largely unfettered on Twitter and TikTok, including posts and videos that falsely allege the federal government is covering up deaths caused by the vaccines or that it is safer to get COVID-19 than to get the vaccine. Twitter began labeling tweets that include misleading or false information about COVID-19 vaccines in March. It also started using a "strike system" to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules. Yet none of the top tweets on Twitter using popular anti-vaccine hashtags like #vaccineskill, #novaccine, #depopulation and #plandemic had labels as of May 3, according to Advance Democracy, a research organization that studies disinformation and extremism. What's more, when USA TODAY searched these hashtags on Twitter, unlabeled posts were served up along with advertisements for major consumer brands including Cheetos, Volvo, CVS, even Star Wars... After coming under fire for its slow response to COVID-19 misinformation, Facebook has made significant progress in labeling COVID-19 posts, according to Daniel Jones, president of Advance Democracy... As of May 3, all of the top 10 posts discussing COVID-19 vaccines that used the #vaccineskill hashtag were labeled, compared to only two of the top 10 on March 28, Advance Democracy found... Facebook told USA TODAY it has removed more than 16 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram for violating its COVID and vaccine policies since the beginning of the pandemic.... As of May 3, TikTok failed to consistently apply labels to anti-vaccination hashtags used in videos with millions of views, the report said. Nine of the top 10 videos related to COVID-19 vaccines using the hashtag #NoVaccine did not have a label. Videos with the #NoVaccine label racked up 20.5 million views... The Advance Democracy research did not look at vaccine-related content on Facebook-owned Instagram or Google's YouTube. "Promises to address public health misinformation online are only consequential if there is action and follow through..." Jones told USA Today. "This pandemic is not over, and with the rate of vaccinations on the decline, directing users to reliable information on vaccines is more important than ever," Jones said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Emails, Text Messages Can Be Retrieved From Smartphones Synced to Vehicles

technology - Posted On:2021-05-08 18:45:02 Source: slashdot

Slashdot reader ytene writes: As reported by The Intercept, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have just spent $456,063 for a package of technology specifically designed to access smartphone data via a motor vehicle. From the article: "...part of the draw of vacuuming data out of cars is that so many drivers are oblivious to the fact that their cars are generating so much data in the first place, often including extremely sensitive information inadvertently synced from smartphones." This data can include "Recent destinations, favorite locations, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages, emails, pictures, videos, social media feeds, and the navigation history of everywhere the vehicle has been, when and where a vehicle's lights are turned on, and which doors are opened and closed at specific locations" as well as "gear shifts, odometer reads, ignition cycles, speed logs, and more. This car-based surveillance, in other words, goes many miles beyond the car itself." Perhaps the most remarkable claim, however, was, "We had a Ford Explorer we pulled the system out, and we recovered 70 phones that had been connected to it. All of their call logs, their contacts and their SMS." Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is quoted as saying, "Whenever we have surveillance technology that's deeply invasive, we are disturbed," he said. "When it's in the hands of an agency that's consistently refused any kind of attempt at basic accountability, reform, or oversight, then it's Defcon 1." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ransomware Cyberattack Forces Major US Pipeline Company to Halt Operations

it - Posted On:2021-05-08 18:29:59 Source: slashdot

"Colonial Pipeline, which accounts for 45% of the East Coast's fuel, said it has shut down its operations due to a cyberattack," reports ZDNet. "The attack highlights how ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasingly a threat to real-world infrastructure. "The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. Military." UPDATE: Saturday the company confirmed that the attack involved ransomware. The Associated Press reports: Colonial Pipeline said the attack took place Friday and also affected some of its information technology systems. The Alpharetta, Georgia-based company said it hired an outside cybersecurity firm to investigate the nature and scope of the attack and has also contacted law enforcement and federal agencies. "Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue," the company said in a late Friday statement. "At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline." Oil analyst Andy Lipow said the impact of the attack on fuel supplies and prices depends on how long the pipeline is down. An outage of one or two days would be minimal, he said, but an outage of five or six days could causes shortages and price hikes, particularly in an area stretching from central Alabama to the Washington, D.C., area. Lipow said a key concern about a lengthy delay would be the supply of jet fuel needed to keep major airports operating, like those in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. The precise nature of the attack was unclear, including who launched it and what the motives were... Mike Chapple, teaching professor of IT, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business and a former computer scientist with the National Security Agency, said systems that control pipelines should not be connected to the internet and vulnerable to cyber intrusions. "The attacks were extremely sophisticated and they were able to defeat some pretty sophisticated security controls, or the right degree of security controls weren't in place," Chapple said... The article also points out the U.S. government says it's "undertaking a new effort to help electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries protect against potentially damaging cyberattacks....to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more Americans have the core technology to detect and block malicious cyber activity. The White House has announced a 100-day initiative aimed at protecting the country's electricity system from cyberattacks by encouraging owners and operators of power plants and electric utilities to improve their capabilities for identifying cyber threats to their networks. It includes concrete milestones for them to put technologies into use so they can spot and respond to intrusions in real time. The Justice Department has also announced a new task force dedicated to countering ransomware attacks... Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Cyberattack Forces Major US Pipeline Company to Halt Operations

it - Posted On:2021-05-08 13:45:00 Source: slashdot

"Colonial Pipeline, which accounts for 45% of the East Coast's fuel, said it has shut down its operations due to a cyberattack," reports ZDNet. "The attack highlights how ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasingly a threat to real-world infrastructure. "The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. Military." The Associated Press reports: Colonial Pipeline said the attack took place Friday and also affected some of its information technology systems. The Alpharetta, Georgia-based company said it hired an outside cybersecurity firm to investigate the nature and scope of the attack and has also contacted law enforcement and federal agencies. "Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue," the company said in a late Friday statement. "At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline." Oil analyst Andy Lipow said the impact of the attack on fuel supplies and prices depends on how long the pipeline is down. An outage of one or two days would be minimal, he said, but an outage of five or six days could causes shortages and price hikes, particularly in an area stretching from central Alabama to the Washington, D.C., area. Lipow said a key concern about a lengthy delay would be the supply of jet fuel needed to keep major airports operating, like those in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. The precise nature of the attack was unclear, including who launched it and what the motives were. A Colonial Pipeline spokeswoman declined to say whether the company had received a ransom demand, as is common in attacks from cyber criminal syndicates... Mike Chapple, teaching professor of IT, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business and a former computer scientist with the National Security Agency, said systems that control pipelines should not be connected to the internet and vulnerable to cyber intrusions. "The attacks were extremely sophisticated and they were able to defeat some pretty sophisticated security controls, or the right degree of security controls weren't in place," Chapple said... The article also points out the U.S. government says it's "undertaking a new effort to help electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries protect against potentially damaging cyberattacks....to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more Americans have the core technology to detect and block malicious cyber activity. The White House has announced a 100-day initiative aimed at protecting the country's electricity system from cyberattacks by encouraging owners and operators of power plants and electric utilities to improve their capabilities for identifying cyber threats to their networks. It includes concrete milestones for them to put technologies into use so they can spot and respond to intrusions in real time. The Justice Department has also announced a new task force dedicated to countering ransomware attacks... Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Criticized For 'Arbitrary' Suspension of Trump -- by Its Own Oversight Board

technology - Posted On:2021-05-08 10:44:57 Source: slashdot

"It never occurred to me that a Facebook-appointed panel could avoid a clear decision about Donald Trump's heinous online behavior," writes a New York Times technology reporter. "But that is what it's done..." They call the board's decision "kind of perfect, actually, since it forces everyone's hand — from the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to our limp legislators in Congress..." The editor of the conservative National Review adds: If Facebook had set out to demonstrate that it has awesome power over speech in the United States, including speech at the core of the nation's political debate, and is wielding that power arbitrarily, indeed has no idea what its own rules truly are or should be, it wouldn't have handled the question any differently... The oversight board underlines the astonishing fact that in reaching its most momentous free-speech decision ever in this country, in determining whether a former president of the United States can use its platform or not, Facebook made it up on the fly. "In applying this penalty," the board writes of the suspension, "Facebook did not follow a clear, published procedure." This is like the U.S. Supreme Court handing down decisions in the absence of a written Constitution, or a home-plate umpire calling balls and strikes without an agreed-upon strike zone... John Samples, a member of the Oversight Board, has even said explicitly that their decision was not about former president Trump — but about Facebook itself. The Washington Post reports: Samples said the board found that Facebook enforced a rule that didn't exist at the time. Trump was suspended indefinitely, rather than permanently or for a specific period of time, as defined by the company's own rules. "In a sense we were being tough with them," Samples said. Other members said the board's call should reassure anyone concerned that Facebook wields too much control over online speech. "Anyone who's concerned about Mark Zuckerberg's power and his company's power over our speech online should actually praise this decision," Julie Owono, executive director of Internet Sans Frontières, said at a virtual event hosted by the Stanford Cyber Policy Center. "The board refused to support an arbitrary suspension..." The flurry of media appearances marked a critical moment in the board's existence, as it tries to prove its legitimacy, define its powers and establish its relationship with Facebook. NPR notes that Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a board co-chair, even called Facebook "a bit lazy" for failing to set a specific penalty in the first place... "What we are telling Facebook is that they can't invent penalties as they go along. They have to stick to their own rules," Thorning-Schmidt said in an interview with Axios. The board's criticism didn't stop at Facebook's imposing what it called a "vague, standardless penalty." It slammed the company for trying to outsource its final verdict on Trump. "Facebook has a responsibility to its users and to its community and to the broader public to make its own decisions," Jamal Greene, another board co-chair and constitutional law professor at Columbia, said Thursday during an Aspen Institute event. "The board's job is to make sure that Facebook is doing its job," he said. Tensions between the board's view of the scope of its role and Facebook's were also evident in the board's revelation that the company wouldn't answer seven of the 46 questions it asked about the Trump case. The questions Facebook refused to answer included how its own design and algorithms might have amplified the reach of Trump's posts and contributed to the Capitol assault. "The ones that the company refused to answer to are precisely related to what happened before Jan. 6," Julie Owono, an oversight board member and executive director of the digital rights group Internet Sans Frontières, said at the Aspen Institute event. "Our decision says that you cannot make such an important decision, such a serious decision for freedom of expression, freedom of speech, without the adequate context." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Honeywell Admits Sending F-35, F-22 Technical Drawings To China

technology - Posted On:2021-05-08 09:14:56 Source: slashdot

schwit1 shares a report from UPI: The State Department announced it has reached a $13 million settlement with U.S. defense contractor Honeywell International over allegations it exported technical data concerning fighter jets and other military vehicles to foreign countries, including China. The settlement resolves 34 charges the State Department leveled against the company for disclosing dozens of engineering prints showing dimensions, geometries and layouts for manufacturing parts for aircraft, gas turbine engines and military electronics. Honeywell voluntarily informed the department in two disclosures that it had violated arms export control laws by sending the technical drawings to foreign countries, the State Department said in a statement. Honeywell had identified 71-controlled drawings that it had exported to Canada, Ireland, China and Taiwan between July 2011 and October 2015. "The U.S. government reviewed copies of the 71 drawings and determined that exports to and retransfers in the PRC of drawings for certain parts and components for the engine platforms for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-1B Lancer Long-Range Strategic Bomber and the F-22 Fighter Aircraft harmed U.S. national security," the document said. In a statement emailed to UPI, Honeywell explained it "inadvertently shared" the technology that was assessed as impacting national security during "normal business discussions" but remarked that the schematics were commercially available worldwide. "No detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise was shared," it said. The company has agreed to pay the fine and have an external compliance officer oversee the consent agreement for at least 18 months as well as conduct an external audit of its compliance program. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bayer Loses Fight Over Chemicals EU Blamed For Killing Bees

technology - Posted On:2021-05-08 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

Bayer AG lost its fight to topple a European Union ban on controversial insecticides that regulators blame for killing honeybees. Bloomberg reports: The EU Court of Justice dismissed the appeal, finding there were no legal errors in the European Commission's decision to impose restrictions on the substances' use, based on concerns that the chemicals posed "high acute risks for bees" and "the survival and development of colonies in several crops." Bayer and Syngenta AG in 2018 already lost a first round in court after telling judges that the EU ban on three so-called neonicotinoids forced farmers to revert to potentially more harmful chemicals. Bayer appealed one more time. The EU's decision five years earlier imposed limits on the use of three neonics -- clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam -- saying they were "harmful" to Europe's honeybee population when used to treat flowering plants with nectar that attracts the insects. The court ruled on Thursday the commission "is entitled to consider that a risk to the colonies could not be ruled out" even if there is "scientific uncertainty at this stage as to the rate of mortality of individual bees." EU governments in 2018 voted in favor of widening the ban of neonicotinoids to apply everywhere, except for greenhouses. The commission has described the chemicals as "systemic," causing the entire plant to become toxic to bees. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Elon Musk's Own Engineers Say He Exaggerates Autopilot Capabilities

technology - Posted On:2021-05-07 19:44:59 Source: slashdot

boudie2 writes: According to his own employees, Elon Musk has been exaggerating the capabilities of Tesla's Autopilot system. Documents obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles show that despite Musk's tweets to the contrary, "Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ. Tesla is at Level 2 currently." CJ Moore is the company's director of Autopilot software. "Level 2 technology refers to a semi-automated driving system, which requires supervision by a human driver," reports The Verge. "Tesla is unlikely to achieve Level 5 (L5) autonomy, in which its cars can drive themselves anywhere, under any conditions, without any human supervision, by the end of 2021, Tesla representatives told the DMV. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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LiveLeak, the Internet's Font of Gore and Violence, Has Shut Down

technology - Posted On:2021-05-07 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

Video site LiveLeak, best known for hosting gruesome footage that mainstream rivals wouldn't touch, has shut down after fifteen years in operation. In its place is "ItemFix," a site that bans users from uploading media containing "excessive violence or gory content." The Verge reports: In a blog post, LiveLeak founder Hayden Hewitt did not give an explicit reason for the site's closure, saying only that: "The world has changed a lot over these last few years, the Internet alongside it, and we as people." In a video posted on his YouTube channel Trigger Warning, Hewitt offered no further details, but said that maintaining LiveLeak had become a struggle, and that he and his team "just didn't have it in us to carry on fighting." "Everything's different now, everything moves on," says Hewitt, before adding in an aside to the camera: "I don't fucking like it. I liked it much better when it was the Wild West." LiveLeak has been a mainstay of internet culture for many years, its name synonymous with footage of murder, terrorism, and everyday incidents of crime and violence. A sinister doppelganger to sites like YouTube, LiveLeak was founded in 2006 and grew out of a culture of early internet "shock sites" like Ogrish, Rotten.com, and BestGore: websites that hosted violent and pornographic content with the express aim of disgusting visitors. [D]emand for such extreme content will always exist, even if individual sites like LiveLeak come and go. In his farewell blog post, the site's founder Hayden Hewitt emphasized the importance of the site's community. "To the members, the uploaders, the casual visitors, the trolls and the occasionally demented people who have been with us. You have been our constant companions and although we probably didn't get to communicate too often you're appreciated more than you realize," he writes. "On a personal level you have fascinated and amused me with your content. Lastly, to those no longer with us. I still remember you." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Goes Nuclear Against Roku By Adding YouTube TV To the Main YouTube App

technology - Posted On:2021-05-07 14:15:00 Source: slashdot

A week after their broken-down negotiations spilled into the public, Google and Roku still haven't been able to reach a deal to renew YouTube TV's presence on the huge streaming platform. But Google has come up with a workaround in the meantime: it's going to let people access YouTube TV directly from the main YouTube app. From a report: YouTube users will start seeing a "Go to YouTube TV" option in the main YouTube app over the next few days. When they select that, they'll then be switched over to the standard YouTube TV user experience. This option is coming to Roku devices first -- where it's currently most needed -- but will also come to YouTube on other platforms as well. [...] Google also said today that it's "in ongoing, long-term conversations with Roku to certify that new devices meet our technical requirements," yet more confirmation that the company is insisting hardware makers implement support for AV1 decoding Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Shelves Windows 10X, It is not Shipping in 2021

technology - Posted On:2021-05-07 11:30:00 Source: slashdot

In late 2019, Microsoft announced Windows 10X, a new flavor of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen PCs. Windows 10X, Microsoft said at the time, will power dual-screen PCs from Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and of course Microsoft. But it appears Microsoft has changed its plans about what it wants to do with this version of Windows 10. Microsoft-focused news outlet Petri reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Microsoft will not be shipping Windows 10X this year and the OS, as was described by the company in 2019, will likely never arrive. From the report: The company has shifted resources to Windows 10 and 10X is on the back burner, for now. For about a decade, Microsoft has been trying to modernize Windows in various ways. We have seen Windows RT, Windows 10S, and now Windows 10X. The question becomes if there really is a future for anything other than traditional Windows 10? Microsoft said during their last earnings call that there were 1.3 billion active devices are running the OS each month and with that context in mind, does there really need to be a 'lite' version of the OS? It's a fair question at this point because Microsoft's history of trying to overhaul Windows is a journey down a road with many headstones along the way to 2021. The reality is that if Microsoft is going to invest heavily in a modern version of Windows 10, it should be to run Windows 10 on ARM. A watered-down version of the OS to compete against Chromebooks is not working out today, much like it has not worked out in the past and it may never work out either but the future is hard to predict. While Windows 10 was put in the backseat for the past couple of years and many looked at 10X as a possible revival of excitement for the OS, all eyes should now be focused on Sun Valley -- the next major update to Windows 10. If something is going to return the limelight to Windows, it has to be Sun Valley because that's the only thing left. But just because 10X isn't coming to market anytime soon, the technologies that were built for 10X are migrating to Windows 10. Not everything from 10X will show up in 10 but I would expect to see things like UI updates, app containers, and more arrive in Windows 10. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US Physics Lab Fermilab Exposes Proprietary Data For All To See

it - Posted On:2021-05-06 22:14:59 Source: slashdot

Multiple unsecured entry points allowed researchers to access data belonging to Fermilab, a national particle physics and accelerator lab supported by the Department of Energy. Ars Technica reports: This week, security researchers Robert Willis, John Jackson, and Jackson Henry of the Sakura Samurai ethical hacking group have shared details on how they were able to get their hands on sensitive systems and data hosted at Fermilab. After enumerating and peeking inside the fnal.gov subdomains using commonly available tools like amass, dirsearch, and nmap, the researchers discovered open directories, open ports, and unsecured services that attackers could have used to extract proprietary data. The server exposed configuration data for one of Fermilab's experiments called "NoVa," which concerns studying the purpose of neutrinos in the evolution of the cosmos. The researchers discovered that one of the tar.gz archives hosted on the FTP server contained Apache Tomcat server credentials in plaintext. The researchers verified that the credentials were valid at the time of their discovery but ceased experimenting further so as to keep their research efforts ethical. Likewise, in another set of unrestricted subdomains, the researchers found over 4,500 tickets used for tracking Fermilab's internal projects. Many of these contained sensitive attachments and private communications. And yet another server ran a web application that listed the full names of users registered under different workgroups, along with their email addresses, user IDs, and other department-specific information. A fourth server identified by the researchers exposed 5,795 documents and 53,685 file entries without requiring any authentication. [...] Fermilab was quick to respond to the researchers' initial report and squashed the bugs swiftly. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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When Autonomous Cars Teach Themselves To Drive Better Than Humans

technology - Posted On:2021-05-06 21:29:59 Source: slashdot

schwit1 shares a report from IEEE Spectrum, written by Evan Ackerman: A few weeks ago, the CTO of Cruise tweeted an example of one of their AVs demonstrating a safety behavior where it moves over to make room for a cyclist. What's interesting about this behavior, though, is that the AV does this for cyclists approaching rapidly from behind the vehicle, something a human is far less likely to notice, much less react to. A neat trick -- but what does it mean, and what's next? In the video [here], as the cyclist approaches from the rear right side at a pretty good clip, you can see the autonomous vehicle pull to the left a little bit, increasing the amount of space that the cyclist can use to pass on the right. One important question that we're not really going to tackle here is whether this is even a good idea in the first place, since (as a cyclist) I'd personally prefer that cars be predictable rather than sometimes doing weirdly nice things that I might not be prepared for. But that's one of the things that makes cyclists tricky: we're unpredictable. And for AVs, dealing with unpredictable things is notoriously problematic. Cruise's approach to this, explains Rashed Haq, VP of Robotics at Cruise, is to try to give their autonomous system some idea of how unpredictable cyclists can be, and then plan its actions accordingly. Cruise has collected millions of miles of real-world data from its sensorized vehicles that include cyclists doing all sorts of things. And their system has built up a model of how certain it can be that when it sees a cyclist, it can accurately predict what that cyclist is going to do next. Essentially, based on its understanding of the unpredictability of cyclists, the Cruise AV determined that the probability of a safe interaction is improved when it gives cyclists more space, so that's what it tries to do whenever possible. This behavior illustrates some of the critical differences between autonomous and human-driven vehicles. Humans drive around with relatively limited situational awareness and deal with things like uncertainty primarily on a subconscious level. AVs, on the other hand, are constantly predicting the future in very explicit ways. Humans tend to have the edge when something unusual happens, because we're able to instantly apply a lifetime's worth of common-sense knowledge about the world to our decision-making process. Meanwhile, AVs are always considering the safest next course of action across the entire space that they're able to predict. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Is Finally Ditching Its Windows 95-Era Icons

technology - Posted On:2021-05-06 18:44:59 Source: slashdot

Microsoft is now planning to refresh the Windows 95-era icons you still sometimes come across in Windows 10. The Verge reports: Windows Latest has spotted new icons for the hibernation mode, networking, memory, floppy drives, and much more as part of the shell32.dll file in preview versions of Windows 10. This DLL is a key part of the Windows Shell, which surfaces icons in a variety of dialog boxes throughout the operating system. It's also a big reason why Windows icons have been so inconsistent throughout the years. Microsoft has often modernized other parts of the OS only for an older app to throw you into a dialog box with Windows 95-era icons from shell32.dll. Hopefully this also means Windows will never ask you for a floppy disk drive when you dig into Device Manager to update a driver. That era of Windows, along with these old icons, has been well and truly over for more than a decade now. These new changes are part of Microsoft's design overhaul to Windows 10, codenamed Sun Valley. "We're expecting to hear more about Sun Valley at Microsoft's Build conference later this month, or as part of a dedicated Windows news event," notes The Verge. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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