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  1. Colorful's first laptop is an RTX 3060-powered machine inspired by Chinese mythology What just happened? Chinese manufacturer Colorful has been making headlines recently with some interesting projects and products. Joining the latter list is the Colorful X15-AT, an RTX 3060-powered gaming laptop with a design inspired by ancient Chinese mythology. Known chiefly for its graphics cards, motherboards, and storage solutions, Colorful is adding gaming laptops to its repertoire with the X15-AT, a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. It comes with some impressive specs for the price, including a 144Hz display with 100% sRGB coverage, 300 nits peak brightness, and an 86% screen-to-body ratio. No mention of the resolution, but it’s presumably Full HD. Internally, the laptop features an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H with 8 cores/16 threads and a 4.6GHz boost clock. It also has 16GB of DDR4 3200MHz memory that can be upgraded to 64GB and a 512GB NVMe SSD rated with up to 2,400MB/s speeds. Elsewhere, there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port with up to 40Gbps transfer speeds, a card reader, an anti-skid RGB backlit keyboard with 1.8mm travel and a full Numpad, and a trackpad that Colorful says is 30% larger than what most rivals offer. It also uses the company’s new Storm Blade 3.0 cooling setup that comes with dual turbo fans, 10nm Superfins, and a high-performance heatsink with five heat pipes. The CNC-milled aluminum chassis, which is 23.9mm (0.94 inches) thick and weighs 1.93kg (4.2 pounds), features a design inspired by Leizhenzi—a powerful thunder god from ancient Chinese mythology. The Colorful X15-AT gaming laptop has an MSRP of $1,199 and is coming to partner resellers in APAC in July 2021. Other regions will follow. That’s quite competitively priced for a thin and light RTX 3060 laptop with all those features, assuming you can find one for the MSRP. Last month saw Colorful launch a limited edition—only 1,000 are being made—iGame GeForce RTX 3090 Kudan for $4,999. It also unveiled the world’s first GPU museum alongside Nvidia. Source
    6 points
  2. Early one New Year's Eve morning in Minnesota, back in 1980, a man named Wally Nelson stumbled across the body of his friend, lying in the snow just a few meters from his door. Nineteen-year-old Jean Hilliard's car had stalled while returning to her parents' house after a night out. Dressed in little more than a winter coat, mittens, and cowboy boots, she set out into the minus 30 Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit) night air to seek her friend's assistance. At some point, she tripped and lost consciousness. For six hours, Hilliard's body lay in the cold, warmth draining away to leave her – by several accounts – "frozen solid". "I grabbed her by the collar and skidded her into the porch," Nelson would report years later in a Minnesota Public Radio interview. "I thought she was dead. Froze stiffer than a board, but I saw a few bubbles coming out of her nose." If not for Nelson's prompt response, Hilliard might have just become one of the thousands of deaths chalked up to hypothermia each year. Instead, her tale has become a part of medical lore and a scientific curiosity. How could a body survive being frozen solid? Stories of people surviving freezing temperatures are unusual enough to be newsworthy but aren't exactly rare either. In fact, medical specialists in cold climates have a saying: "Nobody is dead until warm and dead". The realization that extreme hypothermia isn't necessarily the end of a life has become the basis of therapy in itself. Under controlled conditions, lowering body temperature can cool down the metabolism and reduce the body's insatiable hunger for oxygen. In medical settings, or on rare occasions elsewhere, a chilled body can put the brakes on the whole dying process long enough to deal with a low pulse, at least for a while. Where Hilliard's account stands out is the extreme nature of her state of hypothermia. Forget the fact her body temperature was barely 27 degrees Celsius, a full 10 degrees below that of a healthy human. She was – apparently – frozen. Her face was ashen, eyes solid, and her skin reportedly too hard to be punctured by a hypodermic needle. In the words of George Sather, the physician who treated her, "The body was cold, completely solid, just like a piece of meat out of a deep freeze." Yet within just a few hours, warmed by heating pads, Hilliard's body returned to a state of health. She was talking by noon, and with little more than some numb, blistered toes, was soon discharged to live an unremarkable life unaffected by her night as a human popsicle. To friends and family in her community, it was all thanks to the power of prayer. But where does biology stand on the matter? Unlike many materials, water takes up a greater volume as a solid than it does as a liquid. This expansion is bad news for body tissues caught in the cold, as their liquid contents risk swelling to the point of rupturing their containers. Even a few stray ice crystals blooming in the wrong place can pierce cell membranes with their needle-like shards, reducing extremities to blackened patches of dead skin and muscle, or what we commonly know as frostbite. Some animals have evolved some nifty adaptations to deal with the dangers of sharp, expanding ice crystals in sub-freezing conditions. Deep-sea fish known as Antarctic blackfin icefish produce glycoproteins as a kind of natural antifreeze, for instance. The wood frog turns the contents of its cells into a syrup by flooding its body with glucose, thus resisting freezing and dehydration. Outside of their cells, water is free to turn into a solid, encasing tissues in ice and making them look, for all purposes, as solid as frog-shaped ice cubes. Without anything more to go on than external observations, it's hard to say for sure how Hilliard's body withstood being frozen. Was there something unique about her body chemistry? Or even the make-up of her tissues? Maybe. A far more important question is what exactly 'frozen' means in this case. Although low, Hilliard's core body temperature was reportedly still far above freezing. There's a world of difference between a metaphorical 'chilled to the bone' and literal solidified water in the veins. The fact Hilliard's body felt solid is a common sign of severe hypothermia, as muscle rigidity increases to such an extent, it can even resemble rigor mortis, the stiffening that happens to a dead body. That the surface of her body was cold and white, and even her eyes appeared glassy and 'solid', might also be less than surprising. The body will close off channels to blood vessels under the skin to keep organs functioning, to the point a body will look ashen and remain remarkably cold to the touch. For medical staff persistent enough to try their luck using a smaller gauged hypodermic on heavily constricted veins, especially if they're covered by thin layers of dehydrated skin pressed tight against rigid muscles, we might even imagine a bent needle or two could result. With little to go on other than a few surprised accounts, we can only speculate whether Hilliard's 'frozen' body was typical, if shocking, or indeed strangely unique in its ability to withstand such an extreme change of state. There can be no doubt, however, that she was fortunate. The more we learn about the amazing things the human body can achieve, the less we might rely on good fortune to save lives like hers in the future and more on advances in medicine and rapid responses. Source
    5 points
  3. A brain mechanism that automatically links objects in our minds When people see a toothbrush, a car, a tree—any individual object—their brain automatically associates it with other things it naturally occurs with, allowing humans to build context for their surroundings and set expectations for the world. By using machine-learning and brain imaging, researchers measured the extent of the "co-occurrence" phenomenon and identified the brain region involved. The findings appear in Nature Communications. "When we see a refrigerator, we think we're just looking at a refrigerator, but in our mind, we're also calling up all the other things in a kitchen that we associate with a refrigerator," said corresponding author Mick Bonner, a Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist. "This is the first time anyone has quantified this and identified the brain region where it happens." In a two-part study, Bonner and co-author, Russell Epstein, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, used a database with thousands of scenic photos with every object labeled. There were pictures of household scenes, city life, nature—and the pictures had labels for every mug, car, tree, etc. To quantify object co-occurrences, or how often certain objects appeared with others, they created a statistical model and algorithm that demonstrated the likelihood of seeing a pen if you saw a keyboard, or seeing a boat if you saw a dishwasher. With these contextual associations quantified, the researchers next attempted to map the brain region that handles the links. While subjects were having their brain activity monitored with functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, the team showed them pictures of individual objects and looked for evidence of a region whose responses tracked this co-occurrence information. The spot they identified was a region in the visual cortex commonly associated with the processing of spatial scenes. "When you look at a plane, this region signals sky and clouds and all the other things," Bonner said. "This region of the brain long thought to process the spatial environment is also coding information about what things go together in the world." Researchers have long-known that people are slower to recognize objects out of context. The team believes this is the first large-scale experiment to quantify the associations between objects in the visual environment as well as the first insight into how this visual context is represented in the brain. "We show in a fine-grained way that the brain actually seems to represent this rich statistical information," Bonner said. Source
    5 points
  4. Nintendo says not to upgrade to the new Switch OLED model if you don't care about the screen A hot potato: Nintendo finally unveiled the long-rumored next version of the Nintendo Switch on Monday, and quite a few fans were disappointed. While it does use OLED technology and comes with more storage, the expected 4K support and inclusion of DLSS is missing—even a Nintendo marketer thinks people shouldn’t upgrade if they don’t care about the new display. The new hybrid device, imaginatively named the Nintendo Switch OLED model, does offer a few upgrades over the current version: the 6.2-inch LCD is now a 7-inch OLED; the 32GB of storage has increased to 64GB; there’s an adjustable stand; improved audio; and a new dock with a wired Ethernet jack. Where the latest Switch doesn’t differ from its predecessor is the internals. We’d seen reports of support for 4K resolutions, the addition of Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), a new custom-designed SoC with improved CPU, and more RAM, but all are missing from the Switch OLED model. Replying to a tweet asking if the new Switch offers improved performance, Nintendo of America Manager of product marketing JC Rodrigo wrote: “Nope. Not what’s for. Stick with the current one if you’re not digging the screen.” Given the number of reports of an upgraded 4K Switch Pro, there’s always the chance Nintendo could release the more powerful model next year when the global chip shortage has alleviated, though such a move would doubtlessly anger those who buy a Switch OLED model when it releases on October 8 for $349.99. Source
    5 points
  5. A long-lost piece of Stonehenge that was taken by a man performing restoration work on the monument has been returned after 60 years, giving scientists a chance to peer inside a pillar of the iconic monument for the first time. In 1958, Robert Phillips, a representative of the drilling company helping to restore Stonehenge, took the cylindrical core after it was drilled from one of Stonehenge's pillars – Stone 58. Later, when he emigrated to the United States, Phillips took the core with him. Because of Stonehenge's protected status, it's no longer possible to extract samples from the stones. But with the core's return in 2018, researchers had the opportunity to perform unprecedented geochemical analyses of a Stonehenge pillar, which they described in a new study. They found that Stonehenge's towering standing stones, or sarsens, were made of rock containing sediments that formed when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Other grains in the rock date as far back as 1.6 billion years. Related: In photos: A walk through Stonehenge "We have CT-scanned the rock, zapped it with X-rays, looked at it under various microscopes and analyzed its sedimentology and chemistry," said study lead author David Nash, a professor of physical geography at the University of Brighton in England. "With the exception of thin-section analyses and a couple of the chemical methods, all of the techniques we used in the study were new both to Stonehenge and the study of sarsen stones in the UK," Nash told Live Science in an email. Stonehenge's central circle of pillars was erected during the Neolithic period, about 2,500 years ago, according to English Heritage, a nonprofit organization that manages historic monuments in England. "Sarsens were erected in two concentric arrangements – an inner horseshoe and an outer circle – and the bluestones [smaller monument stones] were set up between them in a double arc," English Heritage said on its website. When the scientists peered through a microscope at thin slices of sarsen rock from Stone 58, they were surprised to discover that the stone was 99.7 percent quartz. A quartz "cement" held fine-to-medium quartz grains and formed "an interlocking mosaic of crystals," Nash said. That made the rock more durable, and it may have been why the builders chose that type of rock for their massive monument thousands of years ago. "These cements are incredibly strong. I've wondered if the builders of Stonehenge could tell something about the stone properties, and not only chose the closest, biggest boulders, but also the ones that were most likely to stand the test of time," Nash said. Above: Microscope image from the sarsen sample showing the tightly interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals that cement the rock together. The outlines of quartz sand grains are indicated by arrows. Older than dinosaurs The researchers' analysis also revealed clues about the ages of sediments in the rock, Nash said in the email. "The sandy sediments within which the stone developed were deposited during the Paleogene period, 66 [million] to 23 million years ago, so the sarsens can be no older than this," he explained. However, when the scientists compared ratios of neodymium isotopes – or atoms of the element with a different number of neutrons in the nucleus – in the samples, they found that certain sediments in the sarsen stone were even more ancient. Some grains were likely eroded from rocks dating to the Mesozoic era (252 million to 66 million years ago), when they may have been trodden upon by dinosaurs. And some of the sand grains formed as long ago as 1 billion to 1.6 billion years ago, Nash said. While this analysis answered some questions about Stonehenge, other unresolved puzzles remain, among them the whereabouts of two more cores that were drilled from Stone 58 during the 1958 restoration, and which also vanished from the record. Workers at the Salisbury Museum in England discovered part of one of those cores in their collection in 2019, the researchers reported. Museum director Adrian Green contacted a representative at English Heritage, reporting the discovery of a portion of a core from Stone 58 "in a box marked '3x Stonehenge Stones from 'Treasure Box,'" according to the study. The scientists investigated the Salisbury fragment alongside the Phillips core, and recorded its data in their study. However, "how and when it came to be at the museum was unknown," the authors wrote. The location of the third core (and the rest of the core found at the Salisbury Museum) "is similarly unknown," the scientists said. The findings were published August 4 in the journal PLOS One. This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here. Source
    4 points
  6. Watch Tower Can’t Identify Defendant in ‘Dubtown’ Copyright Suit, Court Declines to Help The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has run into problems in its copyright lawsuit against the pseudonymous creator of the animation series 'Dubtown'. The videos, which portray a fictional Jehovah's Witness town depicted in Lego, are created by 'Kevin McFree', but Watch Tower doesn't know who he is or where he lives, and nobody wants to help, including the court. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group, wants to put an end to the activities of a defendant known only as ‘Kevin McFree’. ‘McFree’ (which is presumably not his real name) is the creator of the ‘Dubtown’ series of stop-motion Lego animations that take place in a fictitious Jehovah’s Witness town. In the summer of 2018, Watch Tower filed an application for a DMCA subpoena at a New York court, demanding that YouTube/Google should hand over his personal details based on allegations of copyright infringement. The video was removed by YouTube but McFree also mounted a defense, challenging the subpoena. Arguments centered around the fair use provisions of the DMCA but three years later the matter remains unsettled. As reported in May, Watch Tower followed up with a full-blown copyright infringement complaint but that too has run into difficulties. Who is McFree? Watch Tower Has No Idea In a request for conference filed with the Court, Watch Tower says McFree “obtained purloined copies” of then-published videos and placed clips of those works in his video posted to YouTube. This amounts to copyright infringement and warrants a permanent injunction, Watch Tower says, but the road to that currently remains uncertain. According to Watch Tower, it cannot ascertain the real identity of McFree. “The true identity and physical address of Defendant are not presently known to Plaintiff. The Infringing Video and YouTube account associated therewith identify Defendant only by the pseudonym ‘Kevin McFree’ and do not provide any physical address,” Watch Tower writes. According to the religious group, it has made numerous attempts to discover McFree’s personal details. Referencing the 2018 DMCA subpoena application to YouTube/Google that requested access to McFree’s real name, address, telephone number and other personal information, Watch Tower notes that the process didn’t lead anywhere useful. Via pro bono counsel and without identifying himself beyond being a “British citizen residing in the United Kingdom”, McFree sought to quash the DMCA subpoena. Two years later, Judge Román issued an order allowing him that opportunity. Since the motion to quash is still pending, YouTube is refusing to hand over any information. New Corresponence Proving Fruitless After filing the copyright infringement lawsuit in May, Watch Tower said it contacted the pro bono counsel representing ‘McFree’ in the DMCA subpoena action to see if they are representing the YouTuber in this matter too. Watch Tower also asked whether McFree was prepared to waive service. Counsel advised that they are not involved in this matter so aren’t in a position to waive service. McFree, for his part, refuses to disclose his identity, counsel added. This presents a problem for Watch Tower. Google has already refused to hand over any information in the DMCA subpoena matter pending the motion to quash, so the religious group believes it would be futile to make a similar request in this matter. Furthermore, it appears the Clerk of the Court will not issue a summons in the name of Kevin McFree (or John Doe) and will only issue one once the defendant’s real name is known. “Plaintiff believes it has strong grounds to request the Court allow service on Defendant via email and would like to file a motion therefor. However, even if the Court grants a motion to allow service via email, because the Clerk will not issue a summons in the name of John Doe or in the fictitious name ‘Kevin McFree,’ Plaintiff will have no summons to serve,” Watch Tower informs the Court. Watch Tower Seeks Advice on How to Proceed, Court Declines In its request, Watch Tower seeks a conference to determine “the best way for the case to proceed”. Unfortunately, Judge Cathy Seibel doesn’t believe it’s her place to issue advice and has denied the request. “The Court is not clear on what good a conference would do. If Plaintiff has a proposal for moving the case forward, it can put it in writing,” Judge Seibel writes. “The Court is not inclined to give advice on that subject, nor does it have any particular ideas other than awaiting the decision from Judge Roman.” After more than three years, that decision is still pending. These matters usually take just a few days to conclude. Watch Tower’s (denied) request for conference can be found here (pdf) Watch Tower Can’t Identify Defendant in ‘Dubtown’ Copyright Suit, Court Declines to Help
    4 points
  7. Russia says it successfully tested hypersonic missile praised by Putin MOSCOW, July 19 (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it had successfully tested a Tsirkon(Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin has touted as part of a new generation of missile systems without equal in the world. The defence ministry said in a statement that the missile had been fired from the Admiral Gorshkov, a warship located in the White Sea, and travelled at around seven times the speed of sound before hitting a ground target on the coastline of the Barents Sea more than 350 km (217 miles) away. "The tactical and technical characteristics of the Tsirkon missile were confirmed during the tests," the ministry said. Some Western experts have questioned how advanced Russia's new generation of weapons is, while recognising that the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept. Russia plans to fit the Tsirkon missile system to its submarines and surface ships. Putin announced an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a U.S.-built missile shield. The following year, he threatened to deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines that could lurk outside U.S. territorial waters if the United States moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Washington has not deployed such missiles in Europe, but Moscow is worried it might. Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn Source
    4 points
  8. If you upgrade to Windows 11, you will only have 10 days to roll back to Windows 10 Windows 11 is a big change from Windows 10, particularly in terms of the user interface, which some may love and some may hate. Starting either late this year or early next, Microsoft will be offering the free Windows 11 upgrade to existing Windows 10 users, and according to a recently released FAQ by MSI, new Windows 11 users will only have 10 days to decide if they like it or not, before the ability to easily roll back to Windows 10 will be removed. The FAQ says: Can I go back to Windows 10 after I upgrade if I don’t like Windows 11? Yes. After you have installed the Windows 11 upgrade there is a 10 day period where you can move back to Windows 10 while keeping files and data that you brought along with you. After the 10 days you will need to back up your data and do a “clean install” to move back to Windows 10. This presumably means the windows.old folder will be automatically deleted after 10 days. The 10 day grace period is down from 30 days for the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, which in some ways was a smaller visual change. Do our readers think 10 days is long enough? Let us know below. via Hothardware If you upgrade to Windows 11, you will only have 10 days to roll back to Windows 10
    4 points
  9. Microsoft removes Window 11 hack to enable Windows 10 Start Menu Microsoft removed a registry hack in the latest preview build that allowed Windows 11 users to revert to the "Classic" Windows 10 Start Menu. When the Windows 11 preview build was leaked in June, one of the most significant and most controversial changes was a new floating Start Menu centered in the middle of the Taskbar. This new Start Menu was taken from the now-shelved Windows 10X and includes a redesigned interface with the removal of app groups and Live Tiles. Windows 11 Start Menu For those who did not like the new Start Menu, it was possible to use a Registry hack to revert to a "Classic Mode," the Windows 10 Start Menu. To switch to the Windows 10 Start Menu, users could create the 'Start_ShowClassicMode' value and set it to 1 under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced registry key. Once you created the registry value and restarted the Windows Explorer process, the old Start Menu would be available again, as shown below. Windows 10 Start Menu in Windows 11 On Thursday, Microsoft released Windows 11 build 22000.65 to Insiders on the 'Dev' channel. Unfortunately, after installing the new cumulative update, users could no longer use the Registry hack to bring back the old Start Menu. BleepingComputer has also independently confirmed that the Registry hack no longer works, but it is unclear whether Microsoft will enable it again in the future. BleepingComputer has reached out to Microsoft to learn more about this change but has not heard back at this time. Thx to Jacob for the tip. Microsoft removes Window 11 hack to enable Windows 10 Start Menu
    4 points
  10. Here are all the different SKUs of Windows 11, according to the Bluetooth SIG Microsoft is regularly making changes to how they offer Windows to home and enterprise users. Today the Bluetooth SIG revealed all the different names for the SKUs of Windows 11 Microsoft will be offering. Microsoft will be offering Windows 11 as Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro Education, Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 11 Education, Windows 11 Mixed Reality. It is not known yet what the differences between the different flavours are, but we assume these will mirror Windows 10, with features such as native support for Bitlocker in Windows 10 Pro which is missing in Windows 11 Home. Microsoft is still actively developing the operating system, and reportedly will still be adding many features between now and its release, which is currently rumoured for around October 2021, at least for new hardware. via MySmartPrice Here are all the different SKUs of Windows 11, according to the Bluetooth SIG
    4 points
  11. New fabric passively cools whatever it’s covering—including you Structured fabric reflects most light, still radiates in the IR. Rising temperatures around the world run the risk of creating a dangerous cycle where more people get air conditioning, which causes energy demand to surge and leads to higher carbon emissions, which makes temperatures rise even more. Renewable power is one option for breaking that cycle, but people have also been studying materials that enable what's called passive cooling. Without using energy, these materials take heat from whatever they're covering and radiate it out to space. Most of these efforts have focused on building materials, with the goal of creating roofs that can keep buildings a few degrees cooler than the surrounding air. But now a team based in China has taken the same principles and applied them to fabric, creating a vest that keeps its users about 3º C cooler than they would be otherwise. Built to chill Whenever something's out in the sunlight, it's going to absorb some of those photons, which will get converted into heat. That heat can then be radiated back out in infrared wavelengths. The problem is that this doesn't actually cool things down much. Lots of the gasses in the atmosphere immediately absorb the infrared light, trapping the energy as heat in the immediate vicinity of the object. If the object is a person, there's the added issue of heat generated by their metabolism, which is also getting radiated away in the infrared at the same time. The secret to passive cooling is the existence of what's called the atmospheric window. This is an area of the infrared spectrum that none of the gasses found in our atmosphere can absorb. Photons in this area of the spectrum are likely to make their way to space, effectively allowing the heat to escape permanently. A passive cooling material is designed so that it reflects most of the incoming light, keeping stray photons from heating the object it covers. At the same time, the material will absorb some heat by contact with whatever it covers—either directly or via the intervening air. But the material is designed so that this heat is radiated away in the mid-infrared, allowing the photons to escape through the atmospheric window. No materials do all of this on their own. But with our growing ability to structure multiple materials on small scales, it's possible to find combinations of materials that do the trick. The result is a covering that cools things without requiring any energy beyond what's needed for its manufacture and installation. Now do clothes Clothes obviously add a few complications to this task. They have to be flexible and washable to start with. And, if the goal is to keep someone cool, they have to deal with the body's built-in cooling system: sweat. To make the clothing reflective, the researchers used a titanium dioxide powder, which is highly reflective and often used to turn things like paint white. Obviously, a powder on its own wouldn't make good clothing. But the researchers took titanium dioxide nanoparticles and embedded them in polymer fibers, choosing the size of the particles based on computer modeling to maximize reflection. The polymer used, polylactic acid, emits in the mid-infrared, which is exactly what's needed to send photons out to space via the atmospheric window. The researchers also proudly announce that the polymer is biodegradable, though I'd like to see some long-term data on how well that works out after a few years of spending time brushing up against the bacterial population of human skin. This material is woven so that there are pores large enough for air exchange. It's then coated with a thin layer of another polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene. That serves two purposes. The polymer reflects UV light efficiently, handling some wavelengths that titanium dioxide doesn't. It's also hydrophobic, meaning it will repel water. Combine that with a carefully chosen pore size, and it allows breathability while keeping things waterproof. This last feature handles the sweat issue. As sweat evaporates from our skin, it goes into the vapor phase, allowing it to pass through the pores of the material. That works even as the fabric rejects liquid water due to its hydrophobic nature. Do all the demos The researchers did their best to put their wonder-fabric through a whole bunch of tests and demonstrations. They showed that the breathable/waterproof combination worked by using the fabric to seal the bottom of a container of water and then pumping air through it. (Oddly, the image of this in the paper shows that they put fish in the water for... I'm not entirely sure what.) The fabric also reflected well over 90 percent of incoming sunlight. They also made a large roll of the fabric and showed that you could do the things you'd normally expect to do to clothes, including embroidering it with patterns and sending it through the washing machine. And, critically, the researchers showed that the fabric managed heat as expected. They placed a variety of fabrics over a copper plate and stuck them in direct sunlight. To get this test to reflect normal fabric use, they also injected the amount of heat normally dissipated by the human body (somewhat disturbingly, they called this a "skin simulator"). The plate ended up 5º C cooler than cotton and nearly 7º C cooler than spandex. As their final test, the researchers made a vest that was half-covered with this fabric, stuck it on one of their students, and sat the student out in the sun. Registering the person's temperature with an infrared camera, they found that the half that was covered in their structured material was typically about 3º C cooler than the one that wasn't. This material has some obvious limitations, most notably that dyeing it would immediately eliminate much of its function. But as someone who suffers badly in summertime heat, I'd be more than happy to accept a "you can have any color you want as long as it's white" situation for my shirt if it would keep me a few degrees cooler. So here's hoping that there aren't too many barriers to commercialization on this one. Science, 2021. DOI: 10.1126/science.abi5484 (About DOIs). New fabric passively cools whatever it’s covering—including you
    4 points
  12. Hollyood & Netflix Sue Repeat Pirate IPTV Operator For Massive Copyright Infringement In 2020, the operator of pirate IPTV service Area 51 shut down under pressure from the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment. After the service was resurrected several times in breach of a settlement agreement, a coalition of Hollywood studios, with the addition of Amazon and Netflix, have now filed a massive copyright infringement and breach of contract lawsuit. Last summer, customers of pirate IPTV service Area 51 began receiving emails indicating the service would be shutting down. “We have been forced to make this very difficult decision, and close Area 51. We had quite a run, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without customers like you,” the email began. While this initially sounded like bad news for subscribers, customers of the shuttered service soon began receiving emails from a service called Singularity Media informing them that their account had been taken over and all logins would work as before. Soon after, however, Singularity shut down too. Last August, TorrentFreak revealed that Area 51 had been shut down by the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment. That event was accompanied by a settlement agreement, which included a clause that the operator of Area 51 couldn’t launch any new infringing services. That agreement appears not to have been honored, with potentially devastating consequences. Hollywood Giants File Massive Copyright Infringement Lawsuit In a California court yesterday, Warner Bros., several Universal companies, Amazon, Columbia, Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and other content creators filed a lawsuit against Jason Tusa, the alleged operator of Area 51 and three other pirate IPTV services. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs first discovered that Tusa was infringing their rights through Area 51, a service that reportedly received three million visits between June 2019 to June 2020, making it the “then-largest stand-alone” pirate IPTV service by traffic in the United States. After identifying Tusa, his sister, and now-deceased wife as Area 51 operators, the plaintiffs issued a cease-and-desist that demanded a halt to their infringing activities. While the settlement was being negotiated via an attorney, it’s alleged that Jason Tusa was already working on a replacement. On July 1, 2020, Tusa reportedly registered the Singularitymedia.net domain and created a close mirror of the Area 51 websites. As we reported earlier, Area 51 customers received emails stating that Singularity would be taking over. On July 8, the plaintiffs contacted Tusa again, demanding a halt to Singularity, which later went down. Months later on October 12, a confidential settlement agreement was reached in respect of the Area 51 and Singularity services which contained promises from Tusa to never run or assist in the running of another infringing service. According to the plaintiffs, that wasn’t honored. Tusa Allegedly Launched Two More Services Before the agreement was signed, Tusa allegedly launched his third infringing service. Digital UniCorn Media (DUM) offered similar pricing and programming to its predecessors but despite trying to hide his connections to the service, the studios were able to link Tusa to the platform by spotting several of his mistakes. A domain for the new service carried an unredacted email linked to Tusa and it was noted that he uploaded a video containing an inflatable unicorn to YouTube and commented to that using his personal and UniCorn Media accounts. The plaintiffs contacted Tusa’s counsel to report a breach of the settlement agreement and while Tusa denied the connection, he also deleted the video. DUM subsequently went offline, with Tusa posting to Instagram that the service was gone forever. According to the lawsuit, Tusa then launched a new service called Altered Carbon but despite taking a number of steps to distance himself from the platform, the studios say they were able to link him to it in a number of ways. Tusa’s Alleged Links to Altered Carbon While one piece of circumstantial evidence wouldn’t be enough to determine that Tusa controls Altered Carbon, the studios reveal a laundry list of points that together appear to do just that. Altered Carbon uses the same logo as DUM and the plaintiffs have seen him discussing the service on Telegram. The IP addresses used by the service are close to those used by DUM since they use the same host but the complaint goes further still, particularly when it comes to activity and signaling on social media. Some other pieces of evidence are even more problematic. Tusa Uses Legitimate Cable Operations to Source Streams “Tusa’s public internet postings show him obtaining the streams that power Altered Carbon through a process of redirecting licensed transmissions from legitimate cable services,” the complaint reads. “A video posted to Tusa’s social media account shows him stringing together a series of cable boxes, indicating that Tusa is using the signals routed through those cable boxes as the source for his infringing streams.” “Altered Carbon is almost identical to DUM, except for its name and superficial design changes. Like DUM, many of Altered Carbon’s American channels contain advertisements localized to Tusa’s home town of Naples, Florida,” the complaint adds, suggesting that the services use the same capture setup. Altered Carbon Has an Affiliate Program According to the complaint, Tusa runs a program that enables Altered Carbon to reach a wider audience. By selling “bulk credits” to affiliates at a lower-than-retail price, they are then able to sell the service to their own customers at a profit. For example, 70 credits (each worth a month of service) are sold at $6.42 each while 150 credits are sold at $4.66. These are sold on at whatever rate the reseller chooses. “Tusa’s Affiliate network increases his customer base and his profits. More Affiliates means more customers buying illegal access to the Copyrighted Works, more money flowing into Tusa’s pockets, and an ever greater number of infringements of the Copyrighted Works,” the studios write. “Tusa infringes and profits from exploiting Plaintiffs’ Copyrighted Works, and he refuses to stop. When Plaintiffs have confronted Tusa with proof that he is operating an infringing service, Tusa just shuts it down and starts another one, leading to repetitive games of cat-and-mouse. Plaintiffs are irreparably harmed by Tusa’s brazen infringement in ways that cannot easily be calculated or remedied by monetary damages.” Claims For Copyright Infringement and Breach of Contract While the studios are clearly unhappy with the Altered Carbon service, they are also concerned by Tusa’s breaches of his settlement agreement. The plaintiffs say that he has made a “mockery of their rights” and by continuing to start new services, it sends a message to other pirate services that they do not need to take the plaintiffs’ rights seriously. As a result, the lawsuit is already shaping up to be a lesson in compliance. The plaintiffs say that Tusa breached their rights by distributing at least 110 copyrighted works including the movies Dunkirk, Harry Potter, Joker, Tenet, The Hulk, plus many other mainstream titles. They also allege breaches related to TV shows including The Office, Law & Order, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory. Claiming direct and willful copyright infringement, the complaint demands the maximum $150,000 in damages for each title. Claiming contributory copyright infringement in respect of the 24/7 channels offered by the service, the studios demand $150,000 in damages per title. For intentionally inducing infringement of the copyrighted works by customers (and by encouraging affiliates to promote the service for infringement), the complaint also demands $150,000 per work. According to the studios, the settlement agreement previously signed by Tusa required him to cease-and-desist and since he has failed to do so, he is in breach of contract. The finer details of the agreement aren’t public but it appears it may have come with a clause for Tusa to pay a settlement sum in the event of a breach. Demands For Injunctions, Domain Seizures In advance of any trial, the complaint demands preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent Tusa from continuing his operations. The studios also want his hardware to be impounded along with any and all documents relating to the infringement of their rights. There are also demands for the Altered Carbon services domains to be handed over to the studios, a common request in such cases. The complaint and list of copyright works can be found here and here (pdf) Source
    4 points
  13. If you're wondering just how advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems are getting, then know this: the US military is testing an experimental AI network tasked with identifying likely future events worthy of closer attention, and days before they occur. The series of tests are called the Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE), and they combine data from a huge variety of sources, including satellite imagery, intelligence reports, sensors in the field, radar, and more. Cloud computing also plays an important part in this setup, making sure that vast chunks of data collected from all over the world can be processed efficiently, and then accessed by whichever military officials and agencies need them. "GIDE, the Global Information Dominance Experiments, embodies a fundamental change in how we use information and data to increase decision space for leaders from the tactical level to the strategic level – not only military leaders, but [it] also gives opportunity for our civilian leaders," US Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck explained in a press briefing last week. The idea is to anticipate the moves of other nations way ahead of time, which means deterrents and precautions can be put in place before the fighting starts, or before hostilities have a chance to ramp up. In fact, the jumps in logic aren't as huge as you might think – if preparations are being made for a submarine to leave port, for example, then it's fairly obvious it's on its way out to sea. Where the AI really helps is in using machine learning to spot and collate all this information much more quickly than human operatives can. Another example is the number of cars in a car park, at a military base or research station perhaps. If the AI sees increased activity, it can flag this to other parts of the system, where it's then analyzed as part of a massive data set. "The data exists," said VanHerck. "What we're doing is making that data available, making that data available and shared into a cloud where machine learning and artificial intelligence look at it. And they process it really quickly and provide it to decision-makers, which I call decision superiority." "This gives us days of advanced warning and ability to react. Where, in the past, we may not have put eyes on with an analyst of a GEOINT satellite image, now we are doing that within minutes or near real-time." Understandably, the US isn't giving too much away about how exactly these new AI systems work, or how they process the information they're gathering, but the end result is more data processed in a quicker time. This third set of GIDE testing was recently completed, and a fourth is planned. While the experiments sound a bit Minority Report at the moment – people being arrested for crimes before they've been committed – officials are framing them as a form of supercharged information gathering, rather than ways to actually see into the future. VanHerck stresses that humans are still making all the decisions based on the data that the machine-learning systems produce – and says the AI under development will likely end up de-escalating situations, rather than the opposite. "The ability to see days in advance creates decision space," said VanHerck. "Decision space for me as an operational commander to potentially posture forces to create deterrence options to provide that to the secretary or even the President." Source
    3 points
  14. University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have determined the location of natural blood-pressure barometers inside our bodies that have eluded scientists for more than 60 years. These cellular sensors detect subtle changes in blood pressure and adjust hormone levels to keep it in check. Scientists have long suspected that these barometers, or "baroreceptors," existed in specialized kidney cells called renin cells, but no one has been able to locate the baroreceptors until now. The new findings, from UVA Health's Dr. Maria Luisa S. Sequeira-Lopez and colleagues, finally reveal where the barometers are located, how they work and how they help prevent high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension). The researchers hope the insights will lead to new treatments for high blood pressure. "It was exhilarating to find that the elusive pressure-sensing mechanism, the baroreceptor, was intrinsic to the renin cell, which has the ability to sense and react, both within the same cell," said Sequeira-Lopez, of UVA's Department of Pediatrics and UVA's Child Health Research Center. "So the renin cells are sensors and responders." Sensing blood pressure The existence of a pressure sensor inside renin cells was first proposed back in 1957. It made sense: The cells had to know when to release renin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure. But even though scientists suspected this cellular barometer had to exist, they couldn't tell what it was and whether it was located in renin cells or surrounding cells. Sequeira-Lopez and her team took new approaches to solving this decades-old mystery. Using a combination of innovative lab models, they determined that the baroreceptor was a "mechanotransducer" inside renin cells. This mechanotransducer detects pressure changes outside the cell, then transmits these mechanical signals to the cell nucleus, like how the cochlea in our ear turns sound vibrations into nerve impulses our brain can understand. The researchers have unlocked exactly how the baroreceptors work. They found that applying pressure to renin cells in lab dishes triggered changes within the cells and decreased activity of the renin gene, Ren1. The scientists also compared differences in gene activity in kidneys exposed to lower pressure and those exposed to higher pressure. Ultimately, when the baroreceptors detect too much pressure outside the renin cell, production of renin is restricted, while blood pressure that is too low prompts the production of more renin. This marvelous mechanism is vital to the body's ability to maintain the correct blood pressure. And now, after more than 60 years, we finally understand how and why. "I feel really excited about this discovery, a real tour de force several years in the making. We had a great collaboration with Dr. [Douglas] DeSimone from the Department of Cell Biology," Sequeira-Lopez said. "I am also excited with the work to come, to unravel the signaling and controlling mechanisms of this mechanotransducer and how we can use the information to develop therapies for hypertension." Source
    3 points
  15. Progress on the regulatory side of things remains murky, though. Image of 29 Raptor rocket engines installed on a Super Heavy booster. Elon Musk/Twitter Sometimes it is difficult to write objectively about the rate at which SpaceX makes progress. The advancements we're seeing at the company's Starbase site in South Texas are unprecedented. Like, seriously unprecedented. On Sunday, SpaceX finished stacking what it is calling "Booster 4," the first of its Super Heavy rocket boosters expected to take flight. This is a massive, single-core rocket that is approximately 70 meters tall, with a diameter of 9 meters. It has a thrust approximately double that of the Saturn V rocket that launched NASA astronauts to the Moon. Then, overnight, something remarkable happened. Technicians and engineers at the SpaceX build facility near Boca Chica Beach attached 29 Raptor rocket engines to the rocket. Twenty-nine engines. Each with intricate plumbing lines and connections. This is the number of engines that Super Heavy will fly with for initial flight tests, although the final configuration is likely to have 33 engines. I'm not really sure what to write or say about all this, because typically in the rocket business it takes a few days to install a single engine. After some initial checkouts in the assembly area, Booster 4 will roll to the launch site a couple of kilometers down the road. This may happen as early as Tuesday. After this, there likely will be pressure tests and a series of static fire tests. With this many valuable Raptor engines on the line, we can probably expect SpaceX to be fairly cautious with the test program for this vehicle. SpaceX has also nearly completed "Ship 20," the latest Starship upper-stage prototype that will be placed on top of Booster 4 for a full-stack launch of the Starship system. While SpaceX has made substantial progress on hardware, the company's movement on the regulatory side of things remains murky. It appears as though the rapid assembly of Starship, its Super Heavy booster, and the orbital launch complex in South Texas will set up yet another high-stakes showdown between the FAA and SpaceX. The company is going to be ready to fly, but there's no clarity on when the Federal Aviation Administration will complete its environmental review of the Starbase location and approve orbital launches from the site. For months, SpaceX has been working with the FAA on an environmental assessment. After a "draft" of this assessment is published, there will be a minimum of a 30-day period for public comments. This will be followed by other steps, including a determination by the FAA on whether SpaceX's proposed environmental mitigations will be enough, or if more work is required. More information about this process is available on the FAA's website. Given all of that, it is difficult to see SpaceX receiving the required regulatory approvals to launch Starship on an orbital test flight before this fall, if not later. Even so, SpaceX has reportedly been staffing up in South Texas, bringing hundreds of employees in from its California-based headquarters and elsewhere in order to complete assembly of Booster 4 and the launch site facilities. Why would it be doing this if regulatory approval is not coming for months? It seems like a calculated effort to induce the FAA to move more quickly with the regulatory process. The optics of a completed rocket, by far the largest and most powerful in the world, sitting on a launch pad waiting for paperwork is not great. And with both NASA and the US Department of Defense now having a vested interest in Starship's success, SpaceX may find allies elsewhere in the US government. SpaceX installed 29 Raptor engines on a Super Heavy rocket last night
    3 points
  16. aum

    HTML Smuggling is a New Threat Targetting Browsers

    HTML Smuggling is a New Threat Targetting Browsers The ingenious method abuses browser components, circumventing security and making it difficult to catch smugglers Menlo Security evaluated HTML Smuggling or ISOMorph attacks, revealing that it can transmit malicious files to users while avoiding network security technologies, such as antiquated proxies and sandboxes. The new method entails that threat actors are overcoming security measures to inject dangerous payloads directly into their victims' web browser. HTML Smuggling is a sophisticated technique that uses JavaScript to create the malicious payload on the HTML page instead of sending an HTTP request to obtain a web server resource. The technique is not a vulnerability or a design flaw in browser technology, but rather a tool web developers routinely use to optimize file downloads. ISOMorph attackers use JavaScript code to create the payload directly in the browser. Essentially, the JavaScript code creates an element "a", sets the HREF on the blob, and programmatically clicks it to start the download. The user must open it to execute the malicious malware once the payload is downloaded to the endpoint. ISOMorph can infect a victim's system through the web browser To efficiently bypass various network security mechanisms such as sandboxes, legacy proxies, and firewalls, HTML Smuggling employs malware. To put it simply, HTML Smuggling is used to send down payloads, as the browser cannot block payloads from network solutions. Because the payload is built directly into the target browser, it is nearly impossible for traditional security solution systems to detect. SecureTeam points out that while the first instinct would be to disable JavaScript, it is not feasible since it is connected to many legitimate web apps and systems.While scary, it's not difficult to protect against HTML attacks.SecureTeam recommends an intelligent network security design that includes many layers given by various technologies to create a "Defense in Depth" environment. Even if malware manages to cross network boundaries, other defenses within the network can detect and combat the infection. Source
    3 points
  17. Malwarebytes 4.4.4 adds RDP Brute Force Protection among other things Our last look at the security software Malwarebytes dates back to 2019 when Malwarebytes 4.0 was released. The release had its fair share of issues that included incompatibilities with other programs, high memory usage among other things. Malwarebytes for Windows 4.4.4 was released this week, and it is the latest of many releases of the program's 4.x branch. The release is already available via the security program's built-in updating functionality. Users who download the offline installer won't get version 4.4.4 at this point but version 4.4.3. The online installer, which requires an Internet connection, will install the latest version. Malwarebytes 4.4.4's memory usage changed significantly between states. Minimized, the program used about 150 Megabytes on a Windows 10 system; this went up when the GUI was shown and during scanning activity. Malwarebytes 4.4.4 Malwarebytes 4.4.4 includes several feature additions. One of the main new features of this release is that it may protect against remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) brute force attacks. The feature is available for all Malwarebytes for Windows and Teams customers, and was disabled by default on our test system. Select Settings > Security to enable the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) brute force protection. Blocks Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks from hackers attempting to access your computer over a network connection by guessing the username and password. Once enabled, an advanced options button becomes available. The options allow you to change the port and trigger rules for the protection. By default, IP addresses are blocked if five failed attempts are made within 5 minutes. Remote Desktop Protocol attacks have risen during the Covid-19 pandemic due to an increase in remote work environments, usually work from home. Administrators may reduce attack vectors through various means, including requiring strong passwords, using custom ports, monitoring logs or limiting access to certain IP addresses. The second new feature in version 4.4.4 of Malwarebytes for Windows adds protection against unauthorized uninstallation of the program to all Windows and Teams customers. Select Settings > General an enable the User access feature on the page that opens. You may prevent access to settings and reports here, and the uninstallation or shutdown of the Malwarebytes application. Once activated, users need to supply a password that is set during setup of the protective feature. Malwarebytes displays a threat summary notification every 30 days by default. You could disable the notification entirely already, but have now a new option to hide it if no threats were detected in the period. Select Settings > Notifications and select the "Only show if threats were detected" option at the top of the page. The new version fixed several issues that users experienced in previous versions. Several address issues of the Browser Guard extension, including one that caused high memory usage in Google Chrome when Chrome was reopened on Windows. You may check out the entire changelog on Malwarebytes support website. Malwarebytes 4.4.4 adds RDP Brute Force Protection among other things Frontpaged: Malwarebytes 4.4.4.126
    3 points
  18. C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break through protections afforded by the vaccines and may cause more severe disease than all other known versions of the virus, according to an internal presentation circulated within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the agency, acknowledged on Tuesday that vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant carry just as much virus in the nose and throat as unvaccinated people, and may spread it just as readily, if less often. But the internal document lays out a broader and even grimmer view of the variant. The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox, according to the document, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. The immediate next step for the agency is to “acknowledge the war has changed,” the document said. Its contents were first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday evening. The document’s tone reflects alarm among C.D.C. scientists about Delta’s spread across the country, said a federal official who has seen the research described in the document. The agency is expected to publish additional data on the variant on Friday. “The C.D.C. is very concerned with the data coming in that Delta is a very serious threat that requires action now,” the official said. There were 71,000 new cases per day on average in the United States, as of Thursday. The new data suggest that vaccinated people are spreading the virus and contributing to those numbers — although probably to a far lesser degree than the unvaccinated. Dr. Walensky has called transmission by vaccinated people a rare event, but other scientists have suggested it may be more common than once thought. The agency’s new masking guidelines for vaccinated people, introduced on Tuesday, were based on the information presented in the document. The C.D.C. recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public settings in communities with high transmission of the virus. But the internal document hints that even that recommendation may not go far enough. “Given higher transmissibility and current vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential,” the document said. The agency’s data suggest that people with weak immune systems should wear masks even in places that do not have high transmission of the virus. So should vaccinated Americans who are in contact with young children, older adults, or otherwise vulnerable people. There are roughly 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans, according to data collected by the C.D.C. as of July 24 that was cited in the internal presentation. But the agency does not track all mild or asymptomatic infections, so the actual incidence may be higher. Infection with the Delta variant produces virus amounts in the airways that are tenfold higher than what is seen in people infected with the Alpha variant, which is also highly contagious, the document noted. The amount of virus in a person infected with Delta is a thousandfold more than what is seen in people infected with the original version of the virus, according to one recent study. The C.D.C. document relies on data from multiple studies, including an analysis of a recent outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., which began after the town’s Fourth of July festivities. By Thursday, that cluster had grown to 882 cases. About 74 percent were vaccinated, local health officials have said. Detailed analysis of the spread of cases showed that people infected with Delta carry enormous amounts of virus in their nose and throat, regardless of vaccination status, according to the C.D.C. document. “This is one of the most impressive examples of citizen science I have seen,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. “The people involved in the Provincetown outbreak were meticulous in making lists of their contacts and exposures.” Infection with the Delta variant may be more likely to lead to severe illness, the document noted. Studies from Canada and Scotland found that people infected with the variant are more likely to be hospitalized, while research in Singapore indicated that they are more likely to require oxygen. Still, the C.D.C.’s figures show that the vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death in vaccinated people, experts said. “Overall, Delta is the troubling variant we already knew it was,” said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “But the sky isn’t falling and vaccination still protects strongly against the worse outcomes.” The post C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox appeared first on New York Times. Source
    3 points
  19. Karlston

    Amazon fined massive $888 million by EU Privacy Regulator

    Amazon fined massive $888 million by EU Privacy Regulator The Luxembourg data protection authority, the CNPD, has fined Amazon a massive $888 million for violating GDPR regulations, reports Bloomberg. Amazon is based in Luxembourg in the EU and the regulator has the power to fine Amazon for up to 4% of its global revenue. The fine is based on a 2018 complaint by French privacy rights group La Quadrature du Net who accused Amazon of processing the data of EU citizens without their consent. They wrote: Amazon is criticized for announcing that it is carrying out certain processing operations personal data concerning the persons in whose name the this complaint is lodged (2.2) without, however, basing this processing on one of the legal bases required by law (2.1), rendering therefore these illicit (2.3). The news was not announced by CNPD but was confirmed by Amazon who disclosed it in a regulatory filing today, saying it was “without merit.” “We strongly disagree with the CNPD’s ruling, and we intend to appeal. The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation.” The original complainant is not running a victory lap either yet. “It’s a first step to see a fine that’s dissuasive, but we need to remain vigilant and see if the decision also includes an injunction to correct the infringing behaviour,” said Bastien Le Querrec, a member of La Quadrature’s litigation team, adding the group hadn’t received the decision yet. Amazon fined massive $888 million by EU Privacy Regulator
    3 points
  20. Karlston

    New games 2021: upcoming game release dates for console and PC

    New games 2021: upcoming game release dates for console and PC All the new games in 2021 you won't want to miss If you're looking for a list of all the new games coming out in 2021, we’ve got you covered. The first few months of 2021 were relatively quiet for new games releases. But that’s all changed now we’re halfway through the year. More and more big hitters are being confirmed for release sometime in 2021, including the likes of Deathloop, Dying Light 2 and Halo Infinite, as well as many more. It’s already proved to be an exciting year for gaming as developers are pushing the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, it's not only the next-gen console owners who will have all the fun this year. The Nintendo Switch is likely to have another strong year, with some highly-anticipated releases on the way to the handheld console - and to the updated Switch OLED too. What’s more, streaming services like Amazon Luna are also set to improve in 2021, and of course, let’s not forget about PC gaming, which continues to set the standard in both hardware power and flexibility. We know it can be challenging to keep track of which upcoming games are being released and when you can expect them. That’s why we've created this guide – which we regularly update – filled with the new games coming out in 2021 and beyond, so you always know what's on the horizon. Make sure you check out our dedicated release date lists too, which cover the new PS5 games and new Xbox Series X games, as well as our best PC gaming list. If you’re on a budget and desperate for a new game, take a look at our best free games on Steam, and best free PC games picks. New games 2021: most-anticipated upcoming games (Image credit: Playground Games) The Ascent – July 29 (PC, XSX, Xbox One) Hades - August 13 (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, XSX) Madden 22 – August 20 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One) Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut – August 20 (PS4, PS5) Kena: Bridge of Spirits - August 24 (PS5, PC, PS4) Psychonauts 2 - August 25 (XSX, Xbox One, PC, PS4) Sonic Colors: Ultimate – September 7 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) LiS: True Colors - September 10 (XSX, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, Switch) Deathloop - September 14 (PS5, PC) Rainbow Six Extraction – September 16 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, XSX) Diablo 2 Resurrected - September 23 (PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX) Death Stranding: Director's Cut – September 24 (PS5) FIFA 22 – October 1 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC) Far Cry 6 - October 7 (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, Stadia) Metroid Dread - October 8 (Switch) Nintendo Switch OLED - October 8 Back 4 Blood - October 12 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, PC) Battlefield 2042 - October 22 - (XSX, PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One) Guardians of the Galaxy - October 26 (PS5, PS4, XSX, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Age of Empires 4 – October 28 (PC) Forza Horizon 5 - November 9 (XSX, Xbox One, PC) GTA 5 – November 11 (PS5, XSX) GTA Online – November 11 (PS5, XSX) Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl - November 19 (Switch) Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker – November 23 (PS5, PS4, PC) Dying Light 2 - December 7 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, PC) Steam Deck - December TBC New games coming out in July 2021 (Image credit: Curve Digital) The Ascent – July 29 (PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Eldest Souls – July 29 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Little Devil Inside - July TBC (PS5, PC, PS4) Chernobylite – July TBC (PS4, Xbox One) New games coming out in August 2021 (Image credit: Ember Labs) Lemnis Gate - August 3 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One) Hunter's Arena Legends – August 3 (PS4, PS5) The Falconeer: Warrior Edition – August 5 (PS5, PS4, Switch) The Falconeer: Edge of the World – August 5 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Godfall – August 10 (PS4) Lawn Mowing Simulator – August 10 (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Foreclosed – August 12 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) Hades - August 13 (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Humankind - August 17 (PC, Stadia) RiMS Racing – August 19 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One Switch, PC) Twelve Minutes - August 19 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Madden 22 – August 20 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One) Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut – August 20 (PS4, PS5) Kena: Bridge of Spirits - August 24 (PS5, PC, PS4) Aliens: Fireteam Elite – August 24 (PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Psychonauts 2 - August 25 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, PS4) Hotel Life – August 26 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch) No More Heroes 3 – August 27 (Switch) KeyWe – August 31 (PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch) Rustler – August 31 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Maneater: Truth Quest – August 31 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One) ExoMecha - August TBC (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Soup Pot - August TBC (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) New games coming out in September 2021 (Image credit: Arkane) Lake - September 1 (PC, Xbox Series X/S) WRC 10 – September 2 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One) Kitaria Fables – September 3 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) The Medium - September 3 (PS5) Bus Simulator 21 – September 7 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) FIST: Forget In Shadow Torch – September 7 (PS4, PS5) Sonic Colors: Ultimate – September 7 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Life is Strange: True Colors - September 10 (Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, Switch) Tales of Arise – September 10 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC PS4, Xbox One) WarioWare: Get It Together! - September 10 (Nintendo Switch) Deathloop - September 14 (PS5, PC) Rainbow Six Extraction – September 16 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Prince's Edition – September 17 (Switch) Aragami 2 – September 17 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC) NBA 2K22 – September 22 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Sable - September 23 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Diablo 2 Resurrected - September 23 (PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Lost Judgment – September 24 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S) Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – September 24 (Switch) Death Stranding: Director's Cut – September 24 (PS5) Ghostrunner – September 28 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S) In Sound Mind – September 28 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch) Hot Wheels Unleashed – September 30 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Astria Ascending - September 30 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS4, PS5) Life is Strange Remastered Collection - September 30 (Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, Switch) Blood Bowl 3 – September TBC (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) New games coming out in October 2021 (Image credit: Ubisoft) FIFA 22 – October 1 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC) Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania - October 5 (Nintendo Switch) Far Cry 6 - October 7 (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Stadia) Metroid Dread - October 8 (Nintendo Switch) Nintendo Switch OLED - October 8 Back 4 Blood - October 12 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles - October 15 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC_) Battlefield 2042 - October 22 - (Xbox Series X, PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One) The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes – October 22 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC) Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - October 26 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Age of Empires 4 – October 28 (PC) Mario Party Superstars - October 29 (Nintendo Switch) Riders Republic - October 28 (PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Stray - October TBC 2021 (PS5, PC) New games coming out in November 2021 (Image credit: Visai Games) Just Dance 2022 - November 4 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia) Forza Horizon 5 - November 9 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) GTA 5 – November 11 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S) GTA Online – November 11 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S) Shin Megami Tensei V - November 12 (Nintendo Switch) Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl - November 19 (Switch) Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker – November 23 (PS5, PS4, PC) Venba - November TBC (PC) New games coming out in December 2021 (Image credit: Techland) Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp - December 3 (Nintendo Switch) Dying Light 2 - December 7 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Shredders – December TBC (Xbox Series X/S) Steam Deck – December TBC New games 2021: TBC 2021 and beyond (Image credit: 343 Industries) Outer Wilds - Summer 2021 (Switch) Fracked - Summer 2021 (PSVR) The Big Con - Summer 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) After the Fall (VR) - Summer 2021 (PSVR, PC) Omno - Summer 2021 (Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch) Halo Infinite – Fall 2021 (PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X) Cruis’n Blast - Fall 2021 (Nintendo Switch) Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl – Fall 2021 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Anacrusis - Fall 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, PC, Xbox One) Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals – Fall 2021 (PC, Switch) New Call of Duty 2021 - Late 2021 Abandoned – Q4 2021 (PS5) Jett: The Far Shore – TBC 2021 (PC, PS5, PS4) Among Us - TBC 2021 (PS4, Xbox One) Adios - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) The Artful Escape - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC – TBC 2021 (PC, Xbox One and Switch) Scorn – TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X) Call of Duty: Warzone – TBC 2021 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S) Fall Guys - TBC 2021 (Xbox One, Switch) SIFU - TBC 2022 (PS4, PS5) Demon Turf - TBC 2021 (Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X/S) Song in the Smoke - TBC 2021 (PSVR) Deadly Premonition 2 – TBC 2021 (PC) I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy And The Liar - TBC 2021(PCVR) Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach - TBC 2021 (PS5, PS4, PC) The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe – TBC 2021 (PC) Horizon Forbidden West - TBC 2021 (PS5) Chorus - TBC 2021 (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Stadia) Dustborn - TBC 2021 (PS5, PS4, PC) CrossfireX - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Little Witch in the Woods - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Dead Static Drive - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Echo Generation - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Exo One - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) FATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water - TBC 2021 (Nintendo Switch) She Dreams Elsewhere - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Warhammer 40K: Darktide - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S) Song of Iron - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) RPG Time - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S) Danganronpa Decadence - TBC 2021 (Nintendo Switch) Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp - TBC 2021 (Nintendo Switch) Art of Rally - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Tunic - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Total Warhammer 3 - TBC 2021 (PC) Moonglow Bay - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Way to the Woods - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) Hello Neighbor 2 - TBC 2021 ( Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) The Gunk - TBC 2021 (Xbox Series X/S) Arcadegeddon - TBC 2022 (PS5, PC) Moss: Book II - TBC 2022 Ghostwire: Tokyo - TBC 2022 (PS5, PC) Forspoken - January 2022 (PS5, PC) Elden Ring - January 21, 2022 (PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) Pokémon Legends: Arceus - January 28, 2022 (Switch) S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl - April 28 2022 (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Starfield - November 11, 2022 (Xbox Series X/S, PC) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 - TBC 2022 (Nintendo Switch) Hogwarts Legacy - TBC 2022 (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC) Gran Turismo 7 - TBC 2022 (PS5) Gotham Knights - TBC 2022 (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC) Voidtrain - TBC 2022 (PC) Two Point Campus - TBC 2022 (PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) God of War: Ragnarok - TBC 2022 (PS5, PS4) The Lord of the Rings: Gollum - TBC 2022 (PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC) Kerbal Space Program 2 – TBC 2022 (PC, PS4 and Xbox One) Lost Eidolons - TBC 2022 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice - TBC 2022 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC) Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope - TBC 2022 (Nintendo Switch) Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - TBC 2022 ( PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Stadia and Amazon Luna) Pragmata - 2023 TBC (PS5) Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga – TBC (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Skull & Bones – TBC Everwild - TBC (Xbox Series X, PC) State of Decay 3 - TBC (Xbox Series X, PC) Zenith (VR) - TBC (PSVR) Forza Motorsport 8 - TBC (PC, Xbox Series X/S) Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – TBC (PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X and Switch) Diablo Immortal - TBC (Android and iOS devices confirmed so far) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake - TBC (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC) The Elder Scrolls 6 - TBC Loot River - TBC (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Dragon Age 4 - TBC Indiana Jones - TBC Overwatch 2 - TBC Nobody Saves the World - TBC (Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC) Diablo 4 - TBC (Xbox One, PS4, PC) Fable - TBC (Xbox Series X/S, PC) Final Fantasy 16 - TBC (PS5) BioShock 4 - TBC Beyond Good and Evil 2 - TBC Avowed - TBC (Xbox Series X/S, PC) The Sims 5 - TBC New games 2021: upcoming game release dates for console and PC
    3 points
  21. Amazon reportedly has a ‘key’ to thousands of apartment buildings in US Said to be using gift cards to incentivise buildings to install its Key for Business system Amazon’s Key for Business, a system that allows its delivery drivers to gain access to apartment buildings without having to be buzzed in, has been installed in thousands of buildings across the US, according to the Associated Press. The company is reportedly pushing to get the system installed in more buildings, using a combination of free installations and $100 gift cards as incentives. The system is designed to make it easier for Amazon’s drivers to make deliveries to apartment buildings. Rather than having to be buzzed in by residents or a concierge, a driver can use the system to gain temporary access to lobbies via the Amazon Flex app. Then packages can be delivered directly to residents or safely left behind in a mail room or with a doorman. In a technical breakdown of the system published in 2019, Amazon says in a pilot program the system increased the success of first time deliveries from 96 to around 98 percent. The technology arrived as a pilot in 2018 before getting an official launch the following year. But unlike a similar system from Amazon for homeowners to install in private properties, Key for Business is installed by building managers who reportedly aren’t under any obligation to tell their tenants when the system is in use. This raises potential security concerns for residents about an internet-connected entry device that gives drivers, vetted by Amazon, easy access to their buildings. Amazon is reportedly pushing hard to expand the number of buildings the system is installed in. According to the Associated Press, it’s pitching Key for Business to building managers and partnering with locksmiths to offer installations, sometimes free of charge. A spokesperson from Amazon was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from The Verge, and declined to confirm a total number of installations to AP. As well as making deliveries easier and potentially quicker, the system may give Amazon’s delivery drivers a competitive advantage over its rivals. Buildings are unlikely to install similar systems for multiple delivery companies, ultimately incentivizing their residents to use Amazon. Source
    3 points
  22. Mach1

    More and more malware is using Discord's CDN for abuse

    More and more malware is using Discord's CDN for abuse The would-be IRC successor proves just as useful for hackers A hot potato: When talking about "abuse" in relation to popular instant messaging service Discord, it'd usually be about the group chat platform being used by trolls or for hateful and NSFW content. But Discord's content delivery network (CDN) is now increasingly being used to host malicious files and hand out malware through links that seem legitimate. A report by Sophos has exposed the scale and variety of malware using the Discord's CDN: "Sophos products detected and blocked, just in the past two months, nearly 140 times the number of detections over the same period in 2020," said authors Sean Gallagher and Andrew Brandt, with 17,000 unique URLs found pointing to malware in the second quarter of 2021. And those 17,000 URLs are only counting malware hosted by the service, which keeps files on Google Cloud and uses Cloudflare as a frontend. The vast figure excludes malware hosted elsewhere that makes use of the infrastructure provided by the CDN; Discord's chatbot APIs have been used for command-and-control of malware in infected targets, as well as for exfiltrating stolen data into private servers. Malware using the platform varies, but according to the authors the majority of it is centered around data theft, either through direct credential-stealing or remote access trojans (RATs). Threats targeting Android platforms were also seen, ranging from ad-clickers to banking Trojans, as well as expired ransomware that lacked any way to pay the attackers. Visualization of a small portion of malicious (red) and benign (black) files hosted on Discord's CDN. Discord is a popular messaging platform that was originally targeted at gaming communities, and they continue to have a substantial presence on the platform, so it's not surprising that a lot of the malicious files hosted and distributed on it are tied to gaming. For example, researchers identified a modified Minecraft installer that also captured keystrokes, screenshots, and camera images, as well as a "multitool for FortNite" (sic) that infected systems with a Meterpreter backdoor. Others targeted Discord itself, stealing credentials and authentication tokens, or disguised themselves as software ranging from private browsers to cracked Adobe applications. Social engineering was also often a factor, with the promise of generating keys for Discord's premium Nitro service commonly used to bait users. One example immediately attempted to find and kill off processes for dozens of security tools, as well as built-in Windows protection features -- although if it's any consolation, like the aforementioned ransomware, many of these trojans were old enough that they were trying to phone home to servers that weren't around to respond. Ultimately, the freemium model that Discord relies on for its accessibility works against it here. While many quality-of-life features desirable to benign users are paywalled behind Nitro, free accounts are still fully able to upload files (albeit with a size limit) and communicate with its APIs. This allows threats to pop up time and time again with new accounts; while Discord took down much of what was identified by the researchers, they found that new malware was continually being uploaded or communicating with Discord. Source
    3 points
  23. Panpsychism, the idea that inanimate objects have consciousness, gains steam in science communities An expanding notion of what "consciousness" is could have profound repercussions Dr. Martin Picard is an associate professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, specializing in both psychiatry and neurology. Together, expertise in these two fields suits one well to understanding the essence of what makes one human. Picard is particularly knowledgable about mitochondria, a structure found within nearly all cells that have a nucleus. They provide most of the chemical energy that cells use in their various biochemical tasks, and are sometimes likened to batteries. Picard sees something else in mitochondria, too. Last year, he and a Swiss scientist named Dr. Carmen Sandi published a paper in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, which posited that mitochondria do not merely keep us alive, but in many ways, have lives of their own. And, perhaps, are even "social" creatures. "Sociality has profound evolutionary roots and is observed from unicellular organisms to multicellular animals," Picard and Sandi write. "In line with the view that social principles apply across levels of biological complexity, a growing body of data highlights the remarkable social nature of mitochondria." They continue: "Similar to individuals among social networks, mitochondria communicate with each other and with the cell nucleus, exhibit group formation and interdependence, synchronize their behaviors, and functionally specialize to accomplish specific functions within the organism. Mitochondria are social organelles." Of course, if mitochondria are conscious beings, that would mean we have trillions and trillions of these brainless beings chilling out in literally every cell of our bodies. That idea may seem absurd until you consider a scientific concept which could explain it: Panpsychism, or the idea that consciousness is inextricably linked to all matter and simply grows stronger as a physical object become more complex. This, emphatically, is not what Picard and Sandi had in mind when they wrote their article (Picard told Salon that "I do not know enough about panpsychism to make an informed comment.") At the same time, their discovery is just one more piece of fascinating scientific trivia that could be explained by this revolutionary theory. Panpsychism's appeal may stem partly from the fact that scientists currently can not explain what consciousness – the thing that gives you a mind and makes you self-aware — actually is. During the 17th century Enlightenment, philosopher René Descartes famously argued for a so-called "dualist" approach to explaining how our mind interacts with our body. He argued the physical matter of our bodies and whatever substance creates a mind are separate entities (perhaps connected by the pineal gland), with our flesh essentially serving as a house for our souls. This argument holds that if science could explain everything, it should be able to quantify a mind/soul — visually describe it, hear it, feel it, measure and record it. None of that has happened; indeed, the very notion of it happening seems nonsensical. This may be partly why, although most scientists and philosophers today are monists (meaning they believe our mind directly comes from our physical bodies), dualistic ideas are still quite prevalent in our culture. "The problem is a lot of regular people, who are not philosophers, are dualists, because they believe in the mind or the soul as a separate entity from their physical being, their physical body," David Skrbina, a philosopher and author of the book "Panpsychism in the West," told Salon. "And so a lot of people for religious reasons, and just 'common sense' reasons, tend to think in dualist or Cartesian terms without really even understanding it. And so when we talk to the public at large, we are sort of stuck dealing with the Cartesian question, even though most philosophers, I think, do not give it much credibility at all." That said, those who believe our minds come directly from our bodies are also facing some logical challenges. "They have to accommodate mind and consciousness within a physicalist framework, which is arguably quite difficult," Skrbina explained. "And that's been sort of one of the central challenges today, is to figure out how to not be a dualist, but still explain the reality, the evident reality of mind and consciousness." In other words, there is no equation, no theory that would account nor explain our conscious feelings, the everyday state of awareness and thought that constitute life and existence. There is nothing in physics or chemistry or biology that accounts what it is like to be. That's not to say that scientists haven't tried to explain consciousness through science. The most obvious approach would be to find physical features that correspond to states of consciousness. For instance, if you could figure out which parts of the brain are associated with feeling happy, sad, inspired or bored, you could in theory follow that lead to ultimately learn about how the brain itself "produces" consciousness. "It has not been successful," Skrbina pointed out. "This has been one of the major frustrations, I think, in the scientific community, is to actually find the physical correlate of the various states of consciousness. As far as I can tell, and the latest research I've seen, they have been unable to do this, which suggests that consciousness is either a deeper or a more complex phenomenon than most of our scientists have thought and maybe are willing to admit." This is where panpsychism fills in the void. It offers an explanation for consciousness that doesn't try to do an end run around the known laws of the physical world, but assumes consciousness is an intrinsic part of it. Besides — as Luke Roelofs, a philosopher of mind at NYU's Centre for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, told Salon — the most popular framework for explaining consciousness does not hold up to scrutiny. "The biggest motivation is dissatisfaction with the mainstream approach to explaining consciousness, which is to identify it with some sort of complex information processing structure," Roelofs explained by email. "Panpsychists generally think that structure alone can't do the job: taking completely non-conscious ingredients and arranging them in a complicated way seems compatible with the whole system remaining completely non-conscious." Because the human brain is made up of the same basic matter as everything else in existence, "the most natural view seems to be that [consciousness] is a general feature of matter." Hence, panpsychism — and hence the idea that matter, in general, is conscious, regardless of whether it is an organism or not. As for the opposition to panpsychism? One problem is that skeptics feel it is ludicrous at face value. "I think that mostly comes from more basic differences in how people think about consciousness," Roelofs told Salon. "Panpsychists think that thought, reasoning, decision-making, vision and hearing and smell and all of our cognitive complexity: none of those are the same thing as consciousness. Consciousness is just subjectivity, just 'is there something it's like to exist right now?' And so they think it makes sense for consciousness to exist in simple forms without thought, without reasoning, without vision or hearing or smell. A lot of critics think that's just a mix-up: they think that once you take away thought, reasoning, etc. that's it, there's nothing left to talk about." The obvious next question, then, is: what is conscious? And how does it separate itself? Would a rock or a table have a single unified conscious — or perhaps something bigger, like a planet, or even a solar system? For those questions, too, panpsychists have ideas. "Panpsychism typically does not take all things to be conscious as a whole, or to have their own unified consciousness," Hedda Hassel Mørch, a philosopher and associate professor at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, told Salon by email. "Fundamental particles would have simple, unified consciousness. Sometimes, this simple consciousness 'combines' or unifies into more complex forms. This happens in the human brain—we have unified consciousness as whole. But it probably doesn't happen in e.g. tables and chairs—these things are mere collections of independently conscious particles." Another criticism, which Roelofs acknowledged at least addresses the idea on its own terms, is that panpsychism does not necessarily answer all of the questions that it poses. "Panpsychists think you can't explain human consciousness by putting together lots of non-conscious things in the right structure; okay, but is it actually easier to explain it by putting lots of conscious things in the right structure?" Roelofs asked. "Does it even make sense for a group of minds to combine into one bigger mind?" He added that he has written extensively on this subject, "investigating why combining minds seems so puzzling, and whether we can make sense of it anyway. But it remains a genuinely difficult challenge to panpsychism as a view." On the other hand, science is equally stuck when it comes to explaining the subjective experiences that we can embrace when we listen to music, enjoy delicious food, watch a movie or fall in love. There is something unquantifiable about the joys of life, a reality that is not encompassed when we try to reduce emotions to hormones. This brings us to Philip Goff, associate professor of philosophy at Durham University, who told Salon that there is another philosopher whose ideas we must challenge, one who lived in the same period as Descartes — Galileo Galilei. "What Descartes was making very rigorous was the philosophy of Galileo," Goff explained, citing his book "Galileo's Error." He argued that because consciousness could not be explained in the qualitative and mathematical terms that Galileo's deemed essential for something to be scientific, the great scientist concluded it had to be decoupled from the scientific process and explained through other intellectual disciplines. "Consciousness involves quality — the redness of a red experience, the smell of coffee, the taste of mint," Goff said. "These qualities that can't be captured in a purely quantitative vocabulary of mathematics. So Galileo said that if we want mathematical science, we need to take consciousness out of the domain of science. In Galileo's worldview, there is this radical division in nature between the quantitative mathematical domain of science and the physical world, and the qualitative domain of consciousness with its colors, and sounds, and smells and tastes." Panpsychism, by its very premise, would make it possible to merge the two disciplines. Panpsychism also has radical implications for religions, since so many focus on questions of what happens after we die. It is likely that our brains still comprise the bulk of our identity (so when the neurons which store your memories die, the memories most likely die forever along with them), but panpsychism allows for the possibility that your conscious "self" lives on in some form. It does not even entirely preclude the possibility that we take some of our identity with us; to paraphrase Stanley Kubrick when he directed "The Shining," the seemingly horrifying prospect of ghosts existing at least means that death is not final. If true, panpsychism would raise questions about other substances and the degree to which non-human things are self-aware. Does that mean inanimate objects are also self-aware? Do a chair, a pair of pants and a rock have the capacity to think as a human, a dog and a pig? What about more primitive organisms like bacteria and viruses? "Panpsychism does suggest that there may well be some level of consciousness everywhere in nature," Roelofs explained. "Panpsychists all accept dog-consciousness, but some might not want to accept chair-consciousness: they might say that each particle making up the chair is conscious, but it's not constructed the right way for these to 'add up' to anything. Others might think that chairs have consciousness, but of an incredibly diffuse sort: because there's no brain or nervous system, there's no order or structure to the chair's experience, just an undifferentiated blur." Ultimately, he added, "The impact of panpsychism isn't so much to answer these questions, but to suggest continuity: don't expect to find a discontinuous boundary somewhere between the simplest animal that is conscious and the most complex animal that isn't." Roelofs says there isn't a line that one could draw: "even if some sorts of consciousness are so simple that it's more useful for us, in practice, to treat them as 'mindless', nevertheless the differences are ultimately just matters of degree." In the end, it may prove impossible to ever definitively ascertain whether panpsychism holds water. After all, without some way to visually or otherwise physically identify consciousness, we can't precisely say whether an inanimate object has any rudimentary "consciousness" in it. It's not like you can ask a virus or chair if they are self-aware. "Scientifically speaking, we're in quite a bind with consciousness in particular and with the mind in general, just because of the nature of what it is," Skrbina told Salon. "It is not the kind of thing that is really, like I say, subject to scientific analysis." Source
    3 points
  24. Karlston

    Fake Windows 11 installer only installs ads and trojans

    Fake Windows 11 installer only installs ads and trojans Windows 11 leaked unofficially before Microsoft actually released it to Insiders 3 weeks ago, and unfortunately, this created a ready market for downloading Windows 11 ISOs from unofficial sources, which Kaspersky reports often contains malware. Kaspersky reports on one example, the 1.75 GB 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe. With a file size as large as 1.75GB, it certainly looks plausible, but in fact, the bulk of that space consists of one DLL file that contains a lot of useless information. Opening the executable starts the installer, which looks like an ordinary Windows installation wizard. However, its main purpose is to download and run another, more interesting executable. The second executable is an installer as well, and it even comes with a license agreement (which few people read) calling it a “download manager for 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator” and noting that it would also install some sponsored software. If you accept the agreement, a variety of malicious programs will be installed on your machine. Kaspersky says they have detected several hundred infection attempts that used similar Windows 11–related schemes. A large portion of that malware consists of downloaders, whose task is to download and run other programs. Those other programs can be very wide-ranging — from relatively harmless adware, which our solutions classify as not-a-virus, to full-fledged Trojans, password stealers, exploits, and other nasty stuff. Given that Microsoft is making Windows 11 freely available, the best way to acquire the software is to join the Window 11 Insider program, which can be done by simply visiting the Update and Security tab in the Windows 10 Setting app and scrolling down to Windows Insider Program. Fake Windows 11 installer only installs ads and trojans
    3 points
  25. Karlston

    Seagate set to launch mass-market 20TB HDDs

    Seagate set to launch mass-market 20TB HDDs Seagate offers multiple technologies in its 20TB drive portfolio Seagate has confirmed plans to launch a 20TB disk based on the cost-effective perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology, in the second half of the current year. The announcement was made by Seagate’s CEO Dave Mosley during the company’s Q2 2021 earnings call. PMR along with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technologies, are the more cost effective solutions than the heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology that Seagate is using in its current line of 20TB drives that it ships to select partners. “We extended our HDD technology leadership, as evidenced by Seagate being the first company to commercialize HAMR technology and the first to deliver dual actuator performance drives, which are now shipping in high volume to support multiple customers,” Mosley said during the call. 20TB battleground In response to a question, Mosley said the company is “very aggressive” with the 20 terabyte qualification and is in fact using all the tools in its arsenal to work on different products for different segments of users. “We have a number of different 20 terabyte platforms coming - PMR, SMR, HAMR. There’s a lot of different flavors of them, and they are targeted to different customers so different qualification schedules for each,” noted Mosley. He added that the company is already producing PMR-based 18TB drives in high volumes, and is ramping up to mass produce PMR-based 20TB drives for delivery in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, Mosley noted that the rise of Chia cryptocurrency, which demands more storage for its mining, rather than processing prowess, did increase demand for HDDs. Via Tom’s Hardware Seagate set to launch mass-market 20TB HDDs
    3 points
  26. Archaeologists find ancient Egyptian warship sunk near Alexandria The fast galley probably sank during an earthquake in the 100s BCE. Enlarge Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Twenty-four hundred years ago, Heraklion was ancient Egypt’s largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. Today, the ancient city lies submerged beneath Abu Qir Bay, a few kilometers off the coast of Alexandria. Archaeologists recently discovered the wreck of a warship from the city’s final years buried in the seabed for 2,100 years beneath five meters of clay and crumbled pieces of an ancient temple to the Egyptian god Amun. A fast but unlucky warship The outline of the wrecked ship suggests speed. Its 25 meter-long hull is about six times longer than it is wide, meaning that it was a long, sleek vessel built to race through the water. Clearly, this was no cargo vessel; ships built to haul cargo or passengers tend to be wider, built for capacity rather than speed and agility. The archaeologists from the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology who discovered the wreck say it was probably a warship, and its captain picked an unlucky day to tie up in the channel that flowed along the south side of the Temple of Amun in Heraklion. Some of the city’s inhabitants called the place Heraklion; others called it Thonis, and archaeologists have found stone monuments inscribed with both names together. Coins and bits of pottery found among the city’s submerged ruins suggest that Thonis-Heraklion flourished from the 500s to the 300s BCE. When Alexander the Great founded Alexandria 32 kilometers to the southeast in 331 BCE, the new city replaced Thonis-Heraklion as Egypt’s largest Mediterranean port, and the older city began to decline. By the 100s BCE, a series of earthquakes and tsunamis had battered the once-great city. One particularly severe quake caused the hard clay beneath Thonis-Heraklion to behave more like a liquid, and buildings all over the city collapsed. At the entrance to one canal, a cluster of Greek mortuary temples that had stood since the 300s crumbled. And the great Temple of Amun collapsed into the channel, raining huge blocks of carved stone onto the long, sleek warship tied up at a nearby wharf, according to Mustafa Waziri, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Archaeologists recently discovered the shipwreck using a sub-bottom profiler—a sonar instrument designed to look for objects buried beneath the sea floor, sort of like an acoustic version of ground-penetrating radar. It lay beneath five meters of clay and debris from the ruined Temple of Amun at the bottom of what was once a deep channel running through the ancient city. Now the channel is just a deeper, mud-filled area on the bottom of Abu Qir Bay, but the clay helped preserve the remains of the ancient warship. Enlarge / Divers examined the wreck after a sonar survey rediscovered it buried in mud and debris. Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Two ancient shipbuilding traditions join forces “Finds of fast galleys from this period remain extremely rare,” said IEASM archaeologist Frank Goddio, who led the project. The Abu Qir Bay ship is only the second warship ever found from the last few centuries BCE—the Ptolemaic Period in Egypt and the era of the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. The other example is a Carthaginian warship dated to around 235 BCE. And the details of the Abu Qir Bay ship’s construction reveal one aspect of how Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures mixed in Ptolemaic Egypt. Some of the techniques used in building the warship are clearly Greek, like the mortise-and-tenon joints (ones in which a tab from one piece of wood fits into a slot cut into the adjoining piece) that hold many of its timbers together. But other aspects of the ship’s design and construction are distinctly ancient Egyptian. Those clues, combined with some timbers that had evidently been salvaged and re-used from older ships, suggest that the warship was built somewhere in Egypt. And the warship was clearly built for the Nile and the shallow channels of the river delta. Its flat bottom and keel (a heavy timber that runs the ship's length) are perfect for shallow water. Other details of the shipwreck reinforce the notion that it was built for speed. Archaeologists found the ship’s mast step—the wooden structure that holds the base of a ship’s mast—still lying atop the keel, and they say it was clearly built for a large mast, capable of supporting a large sail. Rowers would have propelled the ship swiftly through the water anytime the wind wasn’t cooperating. A sunken city Archaeologists studying the sunken ruins of Thonis-Heraklion rely on ancient coins and distinctive types of pottery for information about the age of the layers they excavate. Most of those coins and ceramics date to the 500s to 300s BCE, but archaeologists almost never find anything newer than the 100s CE. Eerily, it’s like life here just stopped after the earthquake. Historical records suggest that a few people stuck around through the next several centuries, although Thonis-Heraklion never regained anything like its former life. But by the 700s CE, sea-level rise and land subsidence had drowned the ruins of the ancient city, leaving it submerged in the shadow of the city that replaced it. Thonis-Heraklion lay forgotten beneath Abu Qir Bay until 1933, when a Royal Air Force pilot flying over the bay looked down and saw ruins and debris beneath the water. In 1999, Goddio and his team relocated those ruins and began to survey and excavate them. So far, archaeologists have explored less than five percent of the ancient city. Archaeologists find ancient Egyptian warship sunk near Alexandria
    3 points
  27. Apologetic Audacity rewrites privacy policy after 'significant lapse in communication' Of course kids are allowed. Whatever gave you the impression they weren't? Open-source audio editor Audacity this week posted an apology on GitHub in response to the entirely predictable furore over the platform's privacy policy. An updated privacy policy accompanied the apology, in which the team insisted it had just been misunderstood, and that a look at the source would have shown its intentions. "We are deeply sorry for the significant lapse in communication caused by the original privacy policy document," it said. The fact that it didn't regret the actual document itself seemed to alarm a good many users. The update removes phrasing that "discourages children under 13 years old from using Audacity." The wording has also been updated to emphasise that no additional data is being collected for law enforcement purposes and that no personally identifiable information is being stored. We'd wondered if the age restriction was perhaps related to consent for data collection and, indeed, the company said: "After extensive further consultation with our lawyers, we have determined that this provision is unnecessary given the actual mechanics of data transmission and storage. The provision had been included out of an abundance of caution, but in the end turned out not to be required." It sounds like somebody got a bit too handsy with the copy and paste buttons, popped in some boilerplate text and sent it out into the wild world of GitHub without first considering the implications. Coming so soon after the telemetry fiasco, one would have hoped that Audacity's new owner, Muse Group, might have paused before poking an already angry open-source bear. Alas, it seems not. The company said: "We are now taking steps to improve our processes for releasing any information related to Audacity in the future to ensure that users are appropriately informed." It has taken a while for the change to occur, and at least one user observed it was "too little, too late," although the majority opinion on the update appears to be positive. New boss Martin Keary (aka Tantacrul) apologised for the tardiness and laid the blame on the time-consuming process of getting legal teams involved. "What we want more than anything else," he said, "is for people to see clearly what we are doing." Which, we suspect, might be the problem in the eyes of many of Audacity's users. ® Source
    3 points
  28. Karlston

    Windows 11: Déjà vu all over again?

    Windows 11: Déjà vu all over again? Microsoft's Windows 11 documentation tells PC buyers to look for computers with 'Free upgrade to Windows 11' stickers. Where have we heard something like that before? For longtime Microsoft watchers, there might have been a moment of déjà vu last month as the Redmond, Wash. developer announced its upcoming Windows 11 operating system. The moment? When they read this line in the company's official Windows 11 FAQ: "If you're currently shopping for a new PC look for 'Free upgrade to Windows 11' on the fact tag." A decade and a half ago, Microsoft used something similar to market the PCs that were supposed to run its then-impending Windows Vista, with stickers at retail and labels online stating which machines were "Vista Capable." That 2006 campaign was a disaster for Microsoft. A lawsuit charged Microsoft with deceiving consumers with the Vista Capable program, which led to the release of embarrassing internal emails in which executives blasted the campaign and expressed frank opinions about the OS itself. The company created the Vista Capable program to maintain PC sales momentum, notably during the holiday season of 2006, as the January 2007 launch of Vista neared. As revealed in court documents, Microsoft had bent to pressure from Intel, which needed to unload inventory, by lowering system requirements to include a bottom-level Intel graphics chipset. Internally, some at Microsoft balked at the change in system requirements, calling Vista Capable PCs "junk" and telling personal tales of spending thousands on a system that, in the end, couldn't run Vista or couldn't deal with Vista's advanced features, including the new Aero UI (user interface). The lawsuit, which was awarded class-action status — dramatically expanding the pool of plaintiffs and, thus, the amount Microsoft might have to pay in damages assuming a loss — also revealed other bits of interest. An expert for the plaintiffs, for instance, estimated that Microsoft had made $1.5 billion from the sale of licenses for PCs marked as "Vista Capable" in the months leading up to OS launch. Other estimates pegged Microsoft's potential liability at $8.5 billion if a settlement was reached. There was no link between the Vista Capable debacle and the operating system's later ultimate failure. (Vista was adopted by about one in five Windows users at its peak, less than a third reached by the precursor Windows XP or the successor Windows 7.) But the disclosures couldn't have helped; they reinforced the reputation already being built for Vista, that it was an over-ambitious effort that needed a higher-horsepower PC. Huge numbers of users decided to stick with XP and ride that pony until it dropped in early 2014, then switch to Windows 7, skipping Vista. Security drives the bus Windows 11 could experience similar headwinds because, like Vista, its system requirements are more exacting than its antecedent. "This next generation of Windows will raise the security baseline by requiring more modern CPUs, with protections like virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot built-in and enabled by default to protect from both common malware, ransomware, and more sophisticated attacks," Microsoft said in a post on the operating system's approach to security. Windows 11's system requirements can be found here and here. The stumbling block will be the processor requirement, which Microsoft said — after some initial dissembling — would definitely put Intel's 8th-generation (and AMD's Zen 2) on the Windows 11-compatible side, with the possibility that 7th-generation (and Zen 1) will be as well. Anything earlier, and the device will be out in the cold. Bottom line: Some PCs sold relatively recently, say in the last three years, may not run the new OS. Microsoft couched the harsher requirements — relative to previous OS upticks, anyway — as necessary for security purposes. That's the case, too, with the requirement of TPM, or "Trusted Platform Module," version 2.0, for its ability to securely store encryption keys and the like. Microsoft called TPM 2.0 "a critical building block" for security and contended that "PCs of the future need this modern hardware root-of-trust to help protect from both common and sophisticated attacks like ransomware and more sophisticated attacks from nation-states." All this led to confusion right from the start. Which PCs would run Windows 11? Which might? Microsoft botched the opening round so badly that it yanked a compatibility checker and rewrote (or clarified, your pick) pieces and posts about requirements multiple times, sometimes with acknowledgements that it was doing so, sometimes, well, without. Free upgrade to Windows 11 Microsoft will not want to repeat the Vista Capable mistake with an official declaration on each PC. Instead, sellers will mark such systems with the "Free upgrade to Windows 11" phrase. Microsoft may clarify this, but if that's all the company will do for available PCs, it smacks of an obtuse and opaque maneuver meant to avoid responsibility. A label reading "Free upgrade to Windows 11" guarantees nothing about compatibility. The simplest solution would be to mark devices "Will run Windows 11," but something that straightforward would risk a repeat of Vista Capable. No surprise — that's not the direction Microsoft went. OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) don't have the luxury of dodging the question. They're using an if-we-have-it-then-it-will-run-11 tactic to inform potential customers that their wares are capable of running Windows 11. Some have already done so. HP, for example, tells customers "Our current Windows-based PCs will be upgradeable to Windows 11 when it's available later this year," albeit with a caveat that some features require specific hardware. Likewise, Dell states, "All Dell PCs with Windows 10 currently being sold on dell.com will be able to upgrade to Windows 11" on its website. Ironically, Microsoft hasn't followed the lead of Dell and HP; pages touting its own Surface line do not make the same claim that all will run the new OS. There is some copy about the compatibility checker, however, the one Microsoft withdrew and is reworking. Older devices can still 'run' Windows 11 It's no coincidence that Microsoft announced Windows 11 and the "Cloud PC" concept dubbed "Windows 365" within three weeks of each other. Unlike in previous OS turnovers, Microsoft has an end-around it can offer customers — commercial customers initially, but you can expect it to filter down to very small businesses/consumers later — who find themselves with hardware that can't meet the operating system's system requirements. According to Microsoft, the virtualized instances of Windows 11 that Windows 365 will create, store, and maintain on the firm's Azure service will stream to any device equipped with a browser and connected to a sufficiently fat pipe to the internet. The local PC, if that's what it is, could be powered by a not-suitable-for-Windows-11 6th-generation Intel processor, and it wouldn't matter. Computerworld expects that Microsoft will use this to pitch Windows 365 to organizations that want to move to Windows 11 but that have a heterogeneous collection of desktops and laptops, some able to run the OS natively, some unable to as much as boot up 11. While Windows 11 could be deployed to the former, the latter would need to be physically replaced with newer devices or set up with Windows 365 licenses. Even if the organization intended to replace the aged PCs with newer, physical devices, Windows 365 could be used until their replacement cycles come around. Windows 11: Déjà vu all over again? (May require free registration to view)
    3 points
  29. Karlston

    Here are the known issues in Windows 11 build 22000.100

    Here are the known issues in Windows 11 build 22000.100 Microsoft today rolled out Windows 11 build 22000.100 to Insiders running Dev channel builds. The cumulative update brings with it - among other things - improvements to the taskbar UI and the system tray, adding subtle design improvements, in line with the Windows 11 experience. The improvements include a better UI for the system tray, along with a new visual cue for when an app requires attention on the taskbar thanks to a background task. However, the ability to run Android apps, something that the firm announced during the Windows 11 unveil event, is yet to be added. When it does make it to the OS, it will happen through the Amazon Store that will be housed within the Microsoft Store. The firm isn't bringing any huge changes to the OS, as it is still addressing bugs and reliability concerns that are being reported by users running the Dev channel builds, while prepping the builds for the Beta channel. However, along with the list of bugs fixes, there are still a bunch of known issues that are being tracked. Here is the complete list of issues in Windows 11 build 22000.100: [REMINDER] When upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 or when installing an update to Windows 11, some features may be deprecated or removed. See details here. Start: In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System and Windows Terminal is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). Taskbar: The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. Settings: When launching the Settings app, a brief green flash may appear. When using Quick Settings to modify Accessibility settings, the settings UI may not save the selected state. Settings will crash when clicking “Facial recognition (Windows Hello)” under Sign-in Settings if Windows Hello is already set up. File Explorer: Explorer.exe crashes in a loop for Insiders using the Turkish display language when battery charge is at 100%. The context menu sometimes doesn’t render completely and ends up truncated. Clicking a desktop icon or context menu entry may result in the wrong item being selected. Search: After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. When you hover your mouse over the Search icon on the Taskbar, recent searches may not be displayed. To work around the issue, restart your PC. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. Widgets: Widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Launching links from the widgets board may not invoke apps to the foreground. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. Store: We are working to improve search relevance in the Store including resolving an issue where in some cases the ordering of search results is inaccurate. The install button might not be functional yet in some limited scenarios. Rating and reviews are not available for some apps. Windows Security “Automatic sample submission” is unexpectedly turned off when you restart your PC. Windows Hello (Face) may show an error saying “Something went wrong” when attempting to sign in after upgrading. To work around this, sign in with your password or PIN and: Open Device Manager. Uninstall “Windows Hello Face Software Device” under “Biometric devices”. Localization There is an issue where some Insiders may be some missing translations from their user experience for a small subset of languages running the latest Insider Preview builds. To confirm if you have been impacted, please visit this Answers forum post and follow the steps for remediation. Issues such as the File Explorer bug might make it difficult for users to run apps reliably, so it is best to be aware of the problems before considering these builds for your daily driver. Additionally, there are some Windows Hello issues that have workarounds. Windows 11 build 22000.100 is rolling out via Windows Update to Dev channel users running the latest version of the OS. The release to the Beta channel should happen soon as the firm skipped releasing the latest 21H1 updates, citing the impending release of Windows 11 builds. Currently, there aren't any official ISOs available either for those hoping to perform a clean install of these builds. Here are the known issues in Windows 11 build 22000.100
    3 points
  30. One of the biggest myths about EVs is busted in new study Even EVs that plug into dirty grids emit fewer greenhouse gases than gas-powered cars A new study lays to rest the tired argument that electric vehicles aren’t much cleaner than internal combustion vehicles. Over the life cycle of an EV — from digging up the materials needed to build it to eventually laying the car to rest — it will release fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gas-powered car, the research found. That holds true globally, whether an EV plugs into a grid in Europe with a larger share of renewables, or a grid in India that still relies heavily on coal. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis. So governments from California to the European Union have proposed phasing out internal combustion engines by 2035. But there are still people who claim that EVs are only as clean as the grids they run on — and right now, fossil fuels still dominate when it comes to the energy mix in most places. “We have a lot of lobby work from parts of the automotive industry saying that electric vehicles are not that much better if you take into account the electricity production and the battery production. We wanted to look into this and see whether these arguments are true,” says Georg Bieker, a researcher at the nonprofit research group the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) that published the report. The ICCT’s analysis found that those arguments don’t hold true over time. The report estimates the emissions from medium-sized EVs registered in 2021 in either India, China, the US, or Europe — countries that make up 70 percent of new car sales globally and are representative of other markets across the world, the ICCT says. Lifetime emissions for an EV in Europe are between 66 and 69 percent lower compared to that of a gas-guzzling vehicle, the analysis found. In the US, an EV produces between 60 to 68 percent fewer emissions. In China, which uses more coal, an EV results in between 37 to 45 percent fewer emissions. In India, it’s between 19 to 34 percent lower. It’s important to note that the study assumes that the vehicle was registered in 2021 and will be on the road for around 18 years. Study authors ended up with a range of potential emissions reductions for each region by looking at the energy mix under existing policy, as well as projections from the International Energy Agency for what the future electricity mix will look like as climate policies develop. But it’s difficult to predict how much the world’s energy infrastructure will actually change. For example in the US, President Joe Biden has set a goal of getting 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 — but still needs to pass the policies to make that happen. The study also doesn’t take into account other non-climate related environmental effects that constructing the cars might have from things like mining and waste. Actually building an EV is still a little more carbon-intensive than building a traditional vehicle. Recycling EV batteries could eventually bring that carbon intensity down. But for now, EV drivers start to reap the climate benefits after driving their car for a year or so, according to Bieker. That’s when the car passes the threshold when the emissions that it saves by running on cleaner electricity make it a better option for the climate than a traditional car. Bieker hopes the ICCT’s findings will help policymakers make more informed decisions about the future of transportation. Climate experts are rushing to bring global greenhouse gas emissions down to near zero by the middle of the century to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Electric vehicles are necessary to make those cuts happen, and even hybrid-electric vehicles aren’t clean enough to meet that goal. The report recommends against allowing any new internal combustion vehicles on the road by the 2030s. “Combustion engine vehicles of any kind are not able to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions we need to live with climate change,” Bieker says. “That’s a global finding, therefore we need globally to phase out combustion engine cars.” One of the biggest myths about EVs is busted in new study
    3 points
  31. This New Malware Hides Itself Among Windows Defender Exclusions to Evade Detection Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday lifted the lid on a previously undocumented malware strain dubbed "MosaicLoader" that singles out individuals searching for cracked software as part of a global campaign. "The attackers behind MosaicLoader created a piece of malware that can deliver any payload on the system, making it potentially profitable as a delivery service," Bitdefender researchers said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "The malware arrives on target systems by posing as cracked installers. It downloads a malware sprayer that obtains a list of URLs from the C2 server and downloads the payloads from the received links." The malware has been so named because of its sophisticated internal structure that's orchestrated to prevent reverse-engineering and evade analysis. Attacks involving MosaicLoader rely on a well-established tactic for malware delivery called search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning, wherein cybercriminals purchase ad slots in search engine results to boost their malicious links as top results when users search for terms related to pirated software. Upon a successful infection, the initial Delphi-based dropper — which masquerades as a software installer — acts as an entry point to fetch next-stage payloads from a remote server and also add local exclusions in Windows Defender for the two downloaded executables in an attempt to thwart antivirus scanning. It's worth pointing out that such Windows Defender exclusions can be found in the registry keys listed below: File and folder exclusions - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions\Paths File type exclusions - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions\Extensions Process exclusions - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions\Processes One of the binaries, "appsetup.exe," is conceived to achieve persistence on the system, whereas the second executable, "prun.exe," functions as a downloader for a sprayer module that can retrieve and deploy a variety of threats from a list of URLs, ranging from cookie stealers to cryptocurrency miners, and even more advanced implants like Glupteba. "prun.exe" is also notable for its barrage of obfuscation and anti-reverse techniques that involve separating code chunks with random filler bytes, with the execution flow designed to "jump over these parts and only execute the small, meaningful chunks." Given MosaicLoader's wide-ranging capabilities, compromised systems can be co-opted into a botnet that the threat actor can then exploit to propagate multiple and evolving sets of sophisticated malware, including both publicly available and customized malware, to obtain, expand, and maintain unauthorized access to victim computers and networks. "The best way to defend against MosaicLoader is to avoid downloading cracked software from any source," the researchers said. "Besides being against the law, cybercriminals look to target and exploit users searching for illegal software," adding it's essential to "check the source domain of every download to make sure that the files are legitimate." Source
    3 points
  32. Open Source video converter Handbrake 1.4.0 released with many changes The developers of the open source cross-platform video converter Handbrake have released Handbrake 1.4.0 just a moment ago (if you are reading this on July 18, 2021). The new version updates many included third-party libraries, adds support for 10bit and 12bit, new filters, hardware encoding improvements and more. Windows users face several compatibility changes. Handbrake is available as a portable version and installer, but the new graphical user interface version of Handbrake requires the Microsoft .NET 5.0 Desktop Runtime. If it is not installed, users are prompted to install it before the program can be run. The prompt opens the download page of the runtime on Microsoft's website (make sure you download the desktop version of the runtime). Another compatibility change is that Windows 10 is the only version of the software that is supported officially by the application when it comes to the Windows platform. Handbrake 1.4.0 will run on Windows 7 and 8.1 devices, but a message is displayed twice that the app is no longer support. The developers note in the changelog that some features may not work on older versions of Windows. As far as new features and improvements are concerned, a lot has changed since the release of Handbrake 1.3.0 in November 2019. Besides the already mentioned support for 10bit and 12bit, Handbrake supports passing HDR10 metadata if present in the source file. The static previews that the program generates during file scans are stored as compressed jpeg and no longer as YUV420, which reduces disk space usage and disk writes significantly. In the hardware encoding department, Media Foundation is available as a new encoder for arm64 powered Windows devices. The AMD VCN and the Intel QuickSync encoder received updates, which include optimizations and performance improvements. Handbrake 1.4.0 introduces support for the three new filters Chroma Smooth, Colourspace Selection, and Crop/Scale, which benefits from QuickSync hardware acceleration. The new version supports Mp2 Audio Passthru and new general purpose subtitle decoders. All version of Handbrake 1.4.0 come with a redesigned Dimensions tab; rotate and flip have been moved to the filters tab, and support for padding, resolution limits and upscaling were added. Most operating system specific changes are found in the Mac and Linux versions. The Mac version supports Apple Silicon hardware and running multiple simultaneous jobs. UI navigation has been improved and eyetv packages with .ts enclosed media files are now also supported. Windows users benefit from a number of changes as well. Users may enable process isolation, which runs encoding jobs in their own process. The separation protects the main user interface from crashes caused by the file processing and ensures that queued jobs can still be processed. Another benefit is that it is now possible to run multiple jobs simultaneously, which improves CPU utilization on systems with many cores. You can check out the full changelog on the official site. There you find download links for all versions as well. Open Source video converter Handbrake 1.4.0 released with many changes Frontpaged: HandBrake 1.4.0
    3 points
  33. Karlston

    Hubble is back, thanks to backup hardware

    Hubble is back, thanks to backup hardware Next up is getting the scientific instruments back out of safe mode. NASA announced on Friday that it has switched to backup computing hardware on the Hubble Space Telescope, potentially ending over a month of uncertainty regarding the telescope's future. The success came just two days after the agency indicated that it had narrowed down the source of the original fault. The iconic telescope has been offline since mid-June, when the payload computer started failing in attempts to write data to memory. This computer is responsible for both managing the scientific instruments and ensuring that the data they produce is sent back to Earth. While its failure didn't pose any dangers to the hardware itself, it left the telescope unable to perform any observations. The telescope is equipped with backups for all its computing hardware (and in the case of the memory, backups for the backups). But every attempt to switch to one of these resulted in the same errors, suggesting that the problem wasn't with the memory or processing hardware but rather part of the hardware that supports the entire system. Attention eventually focused on the power supply. As NASA put it: A series of multi-day tests, which included attempts to restart and reconfigure the computer and the backup computer, were not successful, but the information gathered from those activities has led the Hubble team to determine that the possible cause of the problem is in the Power Control Unit (PCU). The PCU... ensures a steady voltage supply to the payload computer’s hardware. The PCU contains a power regulator that provides a constant five volts of electricity to the payload computer and its memory. A secondary protection circuit senses the voltage levels leaving the power regulator. If the voltage falls below or exceeds allowable levels, this secondary circuit tells the payload computer that it should cease operations. The team’s analysis suggests that either the voltage level from the regulator is outside of acceptable levels (thereby tripping the secondary protection circuit) or the secondary protection circuit has degraded over time and is stuck in this inhibit state. On Thursday, NASA announced that it was starting the process of switching to backup hardware that would replace the potentially faulty power control unit. This process included commands that forced everything that exchanges data with the payload computer to switch targets to the backup hardware. And on Friday, NASA saw success. The payload computer was brought back online and loaded the software needed for normal operations. The agency says it is monitoring the performance of the payload computer while taking various scientific instruments out of safe mode. If everything goes well, the instruments will be put through calibration procedures tomorrow, and scientific observations can start again once those are complete. Hubble is back, thanks to backup hardware
    3 points
  34. Israeli Firm Helped Governments Target Journalists, Activists with 0-Days and Spyware Two of the zero-day Windows flaws patched by Microsoft as part of its Patch Tuesday update earlier this week were weaponized by an Israel-based company called Candiru in a series of "precision attacks" to hack more than 100 journalists, academics, activists, and political dissidents globally. The spyware vendor was also formally identified as the commercial surveillance company that Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) revealed as exploiting multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in Chrome browser to target victims located in Armenia, according to a report published by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab. "Candiru's apparent widespread presence, and the use of its surveillance technology against global civil society, is a potent reminder that the mercenary spyware industry contains many players and is prone to widespread abuse," Citizen Lab researchers said. "This case demonstrates, yet again, that in the absence of any international safeguards or strong government export controls, spyware vendors will sell to government clients who will routinely abuse their services." Founded in 2014, the private-sector offensive actor (PSOA) — codenamed "Sourgum" by Microsoft — is said to be the developer of an espionage toolkit dubbed DevilsTongue that's exclusively sold to governments and is capable of infecting and monitoring a broad range of devices across different platforms, including iPhones, Androids, Macs, PCs, and cloud accounts. Citizen Lab said it was able to recover a copy of Candiru's Windows spyware after obtaining a hard drive from "a politically active victim in Western Europe," which was then reverse engineered to identify two never-before-seen Windows zero-day exploits for vulnerabilities tracked as CVE-2021-31979 and CVE-2021-33771 that were leveraged to install malware on victim boxes. The infection chain relied on a mix of browser and Windows exploits, with the former served via single-use URLs sent to targets on messaging applications such as WhatsApp. Microsoft addressed both the privilege escalation flaws, which enable an adversary to escape browser sandboxes and gain kernel code execution, on July 13. The intrusions culminated in the deployment of DevilsTongue, a modular C/C++-based backdoor equipped with a number of capabilities, including exfiltrating files, exporting messages saved in the encrypted messaging app Signal, and stealing cookies and passwords from Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browsers. Microsoft's analysis of the digital weapon also found that it could abuse the stolen cookies from logged-in email and social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo, Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki, and Vkontakte to collect information, read the victim's messages, retrieve photos, and even send messages on their behalf, thus allowing the threat actor to send malicious links directly from a compromised user's computer. Separately, the Citizen Lab report also tied the two Google Chrome vulnerabilities disclosed by the search giant on Wednesday — CVE-2021-21166 and CVE-2021-30551 — to the Tel Aviv company, noting overlaps in the websites that were used to distribute the exploits. Furthermore, 764 domains linked to Candiru's spyware infrastructure were uncovered, with many of the domains masquerading as advocacy organizations such as Amnesty International, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as media companies, and other civil-society themed entities. Some of the systems under their control were operated from Saudi Arabia, Israel, U.A.E., Hungary, and Indonesia. Over 100 victims of SOURGUM's malware have been identified to date, with targets located in Palestine, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain (Catalonia), United Kingdom, Turkey, Armenia, and Singapore. "These attacks have largely targeted consumer accounts, indicating Sourgum's customers were pursuing particular individuals," Microsoft's General Manager of Digital Security Unit, Cristin Goodwin, said. The latest report arrives as TAG researchers Maddie Stone and Clement Lecigne noted a surge in attackers using more zero-day exploits in their cyber offensives, in part fueled by more commercial vendors selling access to zero-days than in the early 2010s. "Private-sector offensive actors are private companies that manufacture and sell cyberweapons in hacking-as-a-service packages, often to government agencies around the world, to hack into their targets' computers, phones, network infrastructure, and other devices," Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) said in a technical rundown. "With these hacking packages, usually the government agencies choose the targets and run the actual operations themselves. The tools, tactics, and procedures used by these companies only adds to the complexity, scale, and sophistication of attacks," MSTIC added. Source
    3 points
  35. Karlston

    Microsoft unveils Windows 11's beautiful new context menus

    Microsoft unveils Windows 11's beautiful new context menus Windows 11 preview build 22000.71 is now live in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program and it comes with visual improvements for the context menu and various right-click menus. As part of the latest update, Microsoft is refreshing the right-click menu within File Explorer and other apps with Fluent Design acrylic effect. For those unaware, acrylic is a Fluent Design System component that adds physical texture and depth (i.e blur effect) to the operating system. Windows 11 context menu Microsoft is also enabling rounded corners for taskbar previews (the preview that appears when you mouse-over open apps on the taskbar). These changes have been implemented to reflect the new visual design of Windows 11. Taskbar preview Windows widgets pane gets a new "Entertainment" widget Microsoft is adding a new entertainment widget to the Windows widgets menu. Windows widgets The entertainment widget, which can be downloaded via Microsoft Store, allows you to see new and featured movie titles available in the Microsoft Store. If you click on a movie in the widget, it will direct you to the Microsoft Store so you see more information about that movie. To download the preview update, you need to check for updates after joining the Windows Insider Program's Dev Channel. Microsoft unveils Windows 11's beautiful new context menus
    3 points
  36. Firefox 90 launches with SmartBlock 2.0 and Windows improvements Mozilla has announced the launch of Firefox 90 today, bringing with it improvements to Firefox on Windows, software WebRender, and SmartBlock’s handling of Facebook trackers. Those on Windows also receive a new Firefox menu that helps identify compatibility issues being caused by third-party applications which could help boost Firefox’s reliability on your system. Perhaps the feature which will affect most users is the introduction of SmartBlock 2.0 which enhances private browsing. In this update, Facebook scripts are blocked to stop tracking you around the web but if you decide to log in with Facebook on any website the scripts are loaded in a just-in-time fashion to make your browsing experience smoother. People on Windows will also gain some nice features in this update. From now on, Firefox doesn’t need to be running to download new browser updates, instead, they can be applied in the background while Firefox is closed. Firefox for Windows also includes about:third-party (accessible from the URL bar) which helps identify any compatibility issues caused by third-party programs which could be causing issues in Firefox. Since Firefox 67, Mozilla has been rolling out WebRender to more and more Firefox installs. With Firefox 90, users without hardware-accelerated WebRender will now be switched to software WebRender which has seen improved performance in this update. With software WebRender, even browsing with Firefox on a less powerful computer should be better. Firefox should automatically update on Windows and macOS systems but you can force the update by going to Menu > About Firefox > Help. Those on Linux will have to wait for their package manager to update before being allowed to download the update. If you do not have Firefox, you can download it from the Firefox website. Firefox 90 launches with SmartBlock 2.0 and Windows improvements Frontpaged: Mozilla Firefox Browser 90.0
    3 points
  37. A Neanderthal carved a geometric design in bone 51,000 years ago Here's more evidence that Neanderthals were as creative and cultured as us. Leder et al. 2021 During the Middle Ages, people ventured into the cave now called Einhornhohle to collect unicorn bones. It’s tempting to wonder whether those medieval cryptid hunters would be disappointed or fascinated to learn that the bones they unearthed from the cave actually belonged to ancient bison, deer, cave lions, bears, and other animals that died 50,000 years ago. Archaeologists began excavating the cave in 2017, and while cleaning and sorting their trove of non-unicorn bones, they discovered the handiwork of a long-dead Neanderthal artisan. Around 51,000 years ago, someone carved a geometric design into the second phalanx, or toe bone, of a giant deer. The carver was almost certainly a Neanderthal, based on the bone’s radiocarbon-dated age, because no one but Neanderthals lived in Europe until around 45,000 years ago. As archaeologist Dirk Leder of the Lower Saxony State Service for Cultural Heritage and his colleagues put it, Einhornhohle is “situated along the northern boundary of the world known to be inhabited by Neanderthals,” in the Harz Mountains of northern Germany. Three parallel lines cut diagonally across the surface of the bone. Another of set of parallel lines cross the first three at a more-or-less right angle; the carver was a few degrees off, but that’s still respectably precise for someone eyeballing their measurements and working with a flint blade. At the base of the bone (the end closer to the leg), the carver added four short lines, roughly parallel but not lined up quite as precisely as the others. Leder and his colleagues describe the resulting pattern as “offset chevrons.” Neanderthal arts and crafts Whatever you call the geometric design, carving it would have taken planning, effort, and a good supply of small, sharp flint blades. Leder and his colleagues can vouch for that because they tried it themselves, using cow phalanges and hand-knapped blades of Baltic flint, the stone a north German Neanderthal bone-carver would most likely have had access to. They examined the carvings under a microscope, looking for tiny tool marks that could reveal how the carver’s blade moved across the bone surface to create each line. Then they tried to replicate what they saw. Each line in the relatively simple pattern took several steps—and about 10 minutes—to carve. The whole pattern represents about 1.5 hours of work, not counting preparation time. If you want to create your own Neanderthal bone art, here are step-by-step instructions: First, boil the bone. Leder and his colleagues found that boiled bone was soft enough to carve without cracking and clean enough to firmly grip. Now, hold the edge of your blade vertically and cut across the bone with a sawing motion, which should etch the beginnings of a line into the surface. Next, hold the blade horizontally against the bone and scrape the surface, moving toward the cut you just made. That makes a long, straight cut with one steep side and one wide, shallow side. Repeat those steps in order until the engraving is about 2 mm deep. Then do the same thing nine more times. Be prepared to replace your blade every five minutes or so. “Two blades were used to make each incision, as their edges became dull within just a few minutes,” wrote Leder and his colleagues. You’ll need at least 20 flint blades for this project, which means you’ll either need to make them yourself or convince someone with the right skills to make art supplies for you. Summing all this up, the Neanderthal who etched this pattern into a deer bone 51,000 years ago wasn’t just making an idle doodle. This was a legitimate project; it took imagination to plan the design and figure out that a few individual lines would add up to a more complex pattern. It took resources and planning to assemble the tools, and it took time and effort to actually carve the pattern. Giant deer, also called Irish elk, lived across most of Eurasia during the Paleolithic, but they were rare north of the Alps at the time of the carving, 50,000 years ago. This diagram shows the cutting and scraping motions used to carve the lines into the bones, along with close-up views of the results. This diagram highlights the pattern etched into the bone, the angles at which the lines intersect, and the length of each line. What was the point? Of course, we have no way to know what, if anything, the pattern of intersecting lines meant to the person who carved it; we can only speculate. Perhaps the lines were a counter, a mnemonic, or a symbol with spiritual or cultural meaning. Or perhaps someone just enjoyed carving, really liked diagonal lines, and wanted to spend some time creating something pretty. That’s a very human impulse, after all. The bone itself may offer a few clues, albeit vague ones. A deer phalanx is too small to make a useful tool, but any bone from a giant deer might have been considered valuable or important. Giant deer, now extinct, once stood about 2 meters (6 feet) tall at the shoulders and weighed between 450 and 700 kilograms (1 and 1.5 tons). The males boasted antlers about 3.5 meters (11 feet) wide. “The use of a giant deer phalanx—a very impressive herbivore—as raw material emphasizes the special character of the modified item, particularly given the paucity of giant deer at 55,000 to 35,000 years ago north of the Alps,” wrote Leder and his colleagues. Sometimes, microscopic examination of an artifact like this one can reveal faint traces of rubbing or polishing, which might suggest that someone had worn the object as a pendant or tied onto clothing. But in this case, Leder and his colleagues say it’s hard to tell if a few slight polish marks and chips are the result of wear, damage done during carving, or damage from thousands of years of being buried in the cave. Leder and his colleagues suggest one possibility, though. “The base of the phalanx, on the other hand, is suitable as a platform on which the item stands upright, with the chevrons pointing upwards,” they wrote. (Please appreciate the subtle beauty of “the base of the phalanx, on the other hand” while also noting that your faithful correspondent can take neither blame nor credit for it.) Credit for the artists But the carved deer bone from Einhornhohle clearly tells us that Neanderthals were creative, abstract thinkers who could, and did, make art. Evidence that Neanderthals could think symbolically, create art, and plan a project like this one has been piling up for the last few years. Neanderthals in Spain painted the walls of caves and made shell jewelry painted with ocher pigment around 64,000 years ago. About 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals in France spun plant fibers into thread. And in central Italy, between 55,000 and 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals used birch tar to hold their hafted stone tools in place, which required a lot of planning and complex preparation. And archaeologists have found several pieces of bone and rock from the Middle Paleolithic—the time when Neanderthals had most of Europe to themselves—carved with geometric patterns like cross-hatches, zigzags, parallel lines, and circles. The common factor in many of these finds is that they predate the arrival of our species in what was previously the Neanderthals’ world—in this case, by at least 5,000 years. “The cultural influence of Homo sapiens as the single explanatory factor for abstract cultural expressions in Neanderthals can no longer be sustained,” wrote Leder and his colleagues. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-021-01487-z (About DOIs). A Neanderthal carved a geometric design in bone 51,000 years ago
    3 points
  38. Just 25 mega-cities produce 52% of the world's urban greenhouse gas emissions In 2015, 170 countries worldwide adopted the Paris Agreement, with the goal limiting the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Following the agreement, many countries and cities proposed targets for greenhouse gas mitigation. However, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020 shows that, without drastic and strict actions to mitigate the climate crisis, we are still heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the 21st century. A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities presents the first global balance sheet of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) emitted by major cities around the world. The aim was to research and monitor the effectiveness of historical GHG reduction policies implemented by 167 globally distributed cities that are at different developmental stages. While only covering 2% of the Earth's surface, cities are big contributors to the climate crisis. But current urban GHG mitigation targets are not sufficient to achieve global climate change targets by the end of this century. "Nowadays, more than 50% of the global population resides in cities. Cities are reported to be responsible for more than 70% of GHG emissions, and they share a big responsibility for the decarbonization of the global economy. Current inventory methods used by cities vary globally, making it hard to assess and compare the progress of emission mitigation over time and space," says co-author Dr. Shaoqing Chen, of Sun Yat-sen University, China. The biggest polluters First, the authors conducted sector-level GHG emission inventories of the 167 cities—from metropolitan areas such as Durban, South Africa, to cities such as Milan, Italy. Then, they analyzed and compared the carbon reduction progresses of the cities based on the emission inventories recorded in different years (from 2012 to 2016). Lastly, they assessed the cities' short-, mid-, and long-term carbon mitigation goals. The cities were chosen from 53 countries (in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania) and were selected based on representativeness in urban sizes and regional distribution. The degree of development was distinguished based on whether they belonged to developed and developing countries according to the UN classification criteria. The results showed that both developed and developing countries have cities with high total GHG emissions, but that megacities in Asia (such as Shanghai in China and Tokyo in Japan) were especially important emitters. The inventory of per capita emissions showed that cities in Europe, the US, and Australia had significantly higher emissions than most cities in developing countries. China, classified here as a developing country, also had several cities where per capita emissions matched those of developed countries. It is important to note that many developed countries outsource high carbon production chains to China, which increases export-related emissions for the latter. The researchers also identified some of the most important sources of greenhouse gas emissions. "Breaking down the emissions by sector can inform us what actions should be prioritized to reduce emissions from buildings, transportation, industrial processes and other sources," says Chen. Stationary energy—which includes emissions from fuel combustion and electricity use in residential and institutional buildings, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings—contributed between 60 and 80% of total emissions in North American and European cities. In one third of the cities, more than 30% of total GHG emissions were from on-road transportation. Meanwhile, less than 15% of total emissions came from railways, waterways, and aviation. Lastly, the findings show that the levels of emissions increase and decrease varied between the cities over the study period. For 30 cities, there was a clear emission decrease between 2012 and 2016. The top four cities with the largest per capita reduction were Oslo, Houston, Seattle, and Bogotá. The top four cities with the largest per capita emissions increase were Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Johannesburg, and Venice. Policy recommendations Of the 167 cities, 113 have set varying types of GHG emission reduction targets, while 40 have set carbon neutrality goals. But this study joins many other reports and research that show that we are a long way off achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement. Chen and colleagues make three key policy recommendations. First: "Key emitting sectors should be identified and targeted for more effective mitigation strategies. For example, the differences in the roles that stationary energy use, transportation, household energy use, and waste treatments play for cities should be assessed." Second, development of methodologically consistent global GHG emission inventories is also needed, to track the effectiveness of urban GHG reductions policies. Lastly: "Cities should set more ambitious and easily-traceable mitigation goals. At a certain stage, carbon intensity is a useful indicator showing the decarbonization of the economy and provides better flexibility for cities of fast economic growth and increase in emission. But in the long run, switching from intensity mitigation targets to absolute mitigation targets is essential to achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050." Source
    3 points
  39. Karlston

    Outlook for Android gets updated with a new feature

    Outlook for Android gets updated with a new feature Microsoft has pushed a new update to the Outlook app on Android. Taking the app to version 4.2125.2, the update improves the way you send feedback by revamping the feedback experience. Courtesy of the new feedback experience, your feedback will now go directly to the product team. You can read the full official changelog below. Changelog Tell us what you think! In order to hear straight from you, we’re updating our send feedback experience so that everything you say goes directly to our product team. Just go to Settings > Help & feedback > Send feedback. You can download and install the Microsoft Outlook app on your Android smartphone from the below link, or you can go to the Google Play Store and search for the app. Microsoft Outlook: Secure email, calendars & files Developer: Microsoft Corporation Price: Free Outlook for Android gets updated with a new feature
    3 points
  40. Karlston

    Toomics Reports Its Own Website for Copyright Infringements

    Toomics Reports Its Own Website for Copyright Infringements Popular webtoon subscription service Toomics is quite active on the anti-piracy front. Unfortunately, the Korean company is not very accurate as its takedown notices target perfectly legal content on Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest and Netflix. Even more bizarrely, Toomics has repeatedly asked Google to remove 'infringing' URLs on its own website. Every other week we take a casual look at the various takedown requests companies such as Google and Twitter receive. The vast majority of the notices are valid and point to pirated material, but mistakes are certainly not hard to find. These errors come in different shapes and sizes. One wrongly identified URL in a list of thousands is somewhat understandable. However, there are also instances where it’s hard to find legitimate claims to begin with. Toomics’ Takedown Mess The latter applies to some of the DMCA notices that webtoon publisher Toomics has sent to Google. The company, which recently teamed up with other publishers to counter piracy, is building a terrible track record. We don’t even have to dive deeply into the individual takedowns to show that’s something’s not quite right. The overview of the domains that are most targeted by the company, which includes Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest and Wikipedia, speaks for itself. There are plenty of errors we can choose from to illustrate that something’s wrong. For example, in a notice where Toomics attempts to remove ‘pirated’ copies of the webtoon ‘Sweet Bitter Love,’ it targets a film, a BBC series, a book, and a song which happen to share the same name. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You Have The Wrong Person… In another takedown request, Toomics tries to go after pirated copies of the webtoon “You Have The Wrong Person”. Instead, it asks Google to remove unrelated URLs including the Wikipedia entry of The Magic Flute, various posts about being in love or married to the wrong person, and dozens of other errors. We could go on to highlight hundreds of mistakes, but the data speak for themselves. The same can be said for Google’s response, as the company wisely refused to take any action in response to some of Toomic’s takedown notices. Toomics Targets Its Own Site Too There is one other thing that stands out in the notices, which we surely want to highlight. Toomics also asked Google to remove dozens of URLs from its own website, Toomics.com. For example, in the previously mentioned “You Have The Wrong Person” notice there are 14 Toomics.com links that point to the official cartoon. As a bonus, the companies also tried to have the URLs of their own tweets removed. This pattern reappears in several notices and shows that Toomics hasn’t even whitelisted its own website. The good news for the webtoon publisher is that Google is good at spotting mistakes. This means that most legitimate links, including the Toomics.com ones, have not been removed from Google’s search results. However, Toomics is not always that lucky. We also spotted instances where Google did remove Toomic.com URLs. This Jeopardy webtoon, for example, was self-flagged and no longer appears in search results. But they had that one coming. Let’s hope it’s a wake-up call. Toomics Reports Its Own Website for Copyright Infringements
    3 points
  41. Accused Pirate Asks Court to Freeze Assets of ‘Copyright Troll’ Malibu Media Malibu Media, the adult entertainment company that has demanded hefty settlements from thousands of pirates over the years, is sailing rough waters. The company has been suspended over tax troubles and now a wrongfully accused pirate has asked a Texas court to freeze Malibu's assets, to secure potential attorneys' fees. In recent years, adult entertainment outfit Malibu Media has often been described as a copyright-trolling operation. The company, known for its popular “X-Art” brand, has gone after thousands of alleged file-sharers in U.S. courts, collecting millions of dollars in settlements. Accused Pirate Fight Back Most accused pirates don’t put up a fight, but occasionally one does. This includes a “John Doe” who filed a countersuit accusing Malibu Media of abuse of process, among other things. If the accused pirate wins this case, he hopes to recoup tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. However, whether Malibu is able and willing to pay this is rather uncertain, as it appears to be in trouble. Up until a year or two ago, the adult content company was one of the most active copyright trolls in the United States. In recent months, however, it hasn’t filed any new cases. The Doe’s attorney previously discovered that Malibu’s corporate status had been suspended over tax deficiencies, which is still the case today. To stay ahead of any problems, the attorney then asked if the company’s CEO Colette Pelissier could be added as a defendant as well. John Doe Wants to Freeze Malibu’s Assets This week, “John Doe” is back in court looking for more guarantees. The accused pirate and his lawyer fear that Malibu could try to transfer assets elsewhere to avoid paying, and they request a preliminary injunction to prevent this from happening. “Absent injunctive relief, Doe will suffer irreparable harm. He has incurred over $80,000.00 dollars in attorney’s fees and costs defending himself. And the evidence shows Malibu and its single member, Colette Pelissier, have a history of obscuring assets and ignoring judgments,” they write. According to earlier testimony from Malibu’s CEO, the company only serves as a “pass-through” asset. The subscriptions for X-art.com go directly to Brigham Field, the husband of Pelissier, who recently filed for bankruptcy. ‘Flounting Court Orders’ In addition, John Doe’s attorney also highlights the problematic legal history of the adult entertainment company and its CEO. “Pelissier has a history of flouting court orders and rules, spurring one judge to hold her in contempt,” the attorney writes, adding that “Malibu and Pelissier have several other judgments against them.” These accusations are backed up with testimonies and references to other cases where Malibu ran into trouble. And in a separate filing this week, Malibu itself confirms that the tax issues have not yet been resolved. Imminent Risk According to the accused pirate, this is sufficient evidence to issue an injunction and temporarily freeze all assets. “All in all, this evidence reveals a sizeable and imminent risk that Malibu will not pay any fee award to Doe, that Pelissier will conceal or move Malibu’s assets, or both.” This injunction should cover all subscription fees from the x-art.com website, as well as the domain itself. In addition, Malibu should not be allowed to transfer any settlement funds it receives, nor should it transfer any copyrights to other entities. At the time of writing, Malibu Media hasn’t responded to this request, but the company will likely object. — A copy of John Doe’s motions for a preliminary injunction to freeze assets is available here (pdf) Accused Pirate Asks Court to Freeze Assets of ‘Copyright Troll’ Malibu Media
    3 points
  42. Karlston

    Mystery Solved: How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing

    Mystery Solved: How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing The discovery could have a profound effect on cell research for many species of plants and animals, as well as the future of crops. Photograph: Ed Reschke/Getty Images It’s been a longstanding enigma in biology: How do cells know how big they are? The answer, it turns out, was hidden inside Robert Sablowski’s computer files, collecting virtual dust since 2013. “I had the data for years and years, but I wasn’t looking in the right way,” says Sablowski, a plant cell biologist at the John Innes Center in Norwich, England. He had, for an earlier project, been investigating a protein called KRP4. By fusing it with a fluorescent jellyfish protein to make it shine, Sablowski could study it inside a plant cell, but he had no idea that it would be key to understanding cell size regulation. For organisms to develop, their cells must undergo a pattern of growth, DNA replication, and division. But scientists who study this process, known as the cell cycle, have long noticed that the divisions aren’t necessarily identical—cells often split asymmetrically, and their size is somehow corrected later. In a study published in Science last month, Sablowski and his colleagues revealed just how plants are doing this: The cells use their own DNA as a sort of measuring cup. While the discovery was made by studying a plant called Arabidopsis, it could have broad implications for understanding cell size regulation in animals and humans, and may even influence the future of crop production. Identifying how cells assess their own size has been complicated, because most cellular proteins scale with the size of the cell itself. Sablowski compares the situation to trying to measure yourself with your own arm. “You can’t do it, because your arm grows in proportion to your body,” he says. “You need an external reference to know how big you are.” What doesn’t change as the cell grows, however, is its DNA. Scientists have long speculated that a cell could use its DNA as some kind of indicator to gauge its size, but Sablowski’s team is the first to show proof of this process. “It’s been a profound mystery for many, many decades in biology, how cells are able to accomplish this task of almost magically knowing what their size is,” says Martin Howard of the John Innes Center, who helped develop the mathematical models needed for the breakthrough. Shape and size regulation are important because they are closely tied to how a cell functions: Too large and it can be difficult for the cell to quickly retrieve information contained in its own DNA; too small and the cell doesn’t have enough space to split properly, causing errors in division and growth that could lead to disease. Arabidopsis is actually a weed, according to Sablowski, but it’s considered a model organism in plant biology because it’s easy to grow and matures quickly. That means it’s already been well studied by other researchers in the field. “The community for Arabidopsis has been critical,” says Marco D'Ario, a graduate student at the John Innes Center who designed and helped perform the experiment. “The same experimental setup that took us three or four years—without the community, it easily would have taken 10 to 15.” The team grew Arabidopsis in pots for about six weeks, then chopped off the plants’ tiny growing tip, the part where new leaves and flowers emerge, to observe its continued growth under a microscope. They could track, at about 1,000X magnification, the location and size of each cell in the growing tip at different stages of the cell cycle. Sablowski and D’Ario traded shifts, checking on the cells every other hour over two days. “We had the equipment, we had the material. We just needed to roll up our sleeves and do the 48-hour experiment to get the data that nobody else had,” Sablowski says. Three-dimensional view of the growing tip (group of cells at the center of the image) magnified about 1000 times. The magenta shows the amount of KRP4 protein in each cell, whilst the green was used to reveal cells that are about to replicate their DNA, after KRP4 has been sufficiently diluted. Illustration: Robert Sablowski/JIC Sablowski and D’Ario were specifically watching the behavior of KRP4, a protein that controls how long it takes the cell to grow before moving on to the next stage of its cycle: DNA replication. (This is the same protein Sablowski saw fluorescing eight years prior in a separate experiment.) During the growth phase, the pair saw KRP4 floating freely in the nucleus of the cell, preventing it from replicating too early. Just before division, however, Sablowski and D’Ario noticed that the KRP4 was no longer free-floating, but had attached itself to the cell’s own DNA—ensuring that each of the two daughter cells it would split into would receive an equal amount of the protein. “The DNA would act as a measuring cup,” Sablowski says, “which is used to take a fixed amount of KRP4 out of the pool that exists in the cell.” Any KRP4 left in the pool would be wiped away by another protein before the division. Then the cycle would begin once again with the new daughter cells. The secret to cell size regulation, the scientists realized, lies in the concentration of KRP4 in each new cell. Though the daughter cells inherit an equal amount of KRP4, because they might be different sizes, the concentration of this protein in each cell isn’t necessarily the same. As the scientists observed under the microscope, smaller cells started with a higher concentration of KRP4 and spent more time growing. For bigger cells, the concentration was diluted, so they grew less. Overall, this balanced out any asymmetries in cell size across the plant’s growing tip. Mystery solved. The team attributes much of this success to good luck, thanks to the old files on Sablowski’s computer. In those images, “we could see the chromosomes shining with KRP4, and the small cells shining more than the bigger cells,” Sablowski remembers. “And then we had our initial concept.” Why has this taken so long to figure out? Sablowski says it’s a tricky phenomenon to research because it requires studying proteins that are absolutely necessary for growth and division. Any experiments that remove or mutate them can be lethal—killing the cell before scientists get the chance to study it. But this time, in addition to observing the normal cell cycle under the microscope, the researchers were able to tweak the process without a mutation in a follow-up experiment. They destroyed the function of the protein that normally controls KRP4 levels in the nucleus. Without it, the cells in the growing tip stayed alive—but they became abnormally variable in size, confirming the role KRP4 plays in regulating it. For some scientists, the answer to this mystery is satisfyingly straightforward. “I find it beautiful that biology can rely, in such an ingenious way, on components that are already in the cell for an entirely different purpose,” says Ariel Amir, a biophysicist at Harvard University who studies cell size in yeast and bacteria. Amir is particularly interested in whether this process translates to the bacterial cell cycle. “Clearly, the molecular players are going to be different—the proteins are going to be different—but the core idea of using DNA as a template could, in principle, translate to other species,” he says. While current research mostly focuses on cell size, Amir believes the bigger question is really about cell cycle control, or how the phases of growth, DNA replication, and division occur in just the right order and with the right timing to produce a healthy cell. “One dramatic example where cell growth goes berserk is in the case of cancer,” he says, noting the importance of understanding how cells “tick.” Neelima Sinha, a botanist at the University of California, Davis, is intrigued by how this discovery might eventually lead to increased yields for food production. In the process of crop domestication and breeding, humans have inadvertently selected plants with bigger cells, since they often correspond to bigger fruits and grains. Understanding how cell size is regulated, Sinha says, is a first step to learning how to more intentionally influence this relationship ourselves. She also thinks that larger plants could help with the mass production of biofuel, which consists of growing crops, like switchgrass, on marginal lands and converting them into a renewable fuel called ethanol. “The ultimate source of all energy on this planet is the sun,” she says. “And most of the energy we use is being transduced through plants.” Even our fossil fuels, like oil and coal, come from the remains of ancient plants. “So why not use current photosynthesis?” Sinha asks. Growing larger vegetation might also help with carbon sequestration, a climate change mitigation strategy in which people plant greenery to intentionally trap excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With the right conditions, bigger plants could store more carbon underground in their roots and in the soil. “It’s all about how much mass you create,” Sinha says. “And that is all related to cell growth and cell size and cell division.” While their focus was on plants, the scientists at the John Innes Center are aware of the broader effects this discovery could have. “Knowing what’s happening in plants guides what you should ask next to understand this mechanism in humans,” Sablowski says. He has seen recent work suggesting a similar size regulation process in human cells, where a tumor-suppressor protein—one that, when inactivated, causes many cancers—is inherited in equal amounts to control cell growth. The solution to cell size in plants, Sinha agrees, is much too elegant not to be applicable to other life kingdoms. “Just like scientists say they stand on the shoulders of giants, all research stands on the shoulders of basic pieces of discovery,” she says. “And it’s these basic pieces of discovery that then become the foundation for knowledge to be built upon.” Mystery Solved: How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing (May require free registration to view)
    3 points
  43. mRNA vaccine technology moves to flu: Moderna says trial has begun Moderna aims for one seasonal shot for flu, COVID-19, respiratory viruses RSV and HMPV. Moderna has given out the first doses of an mRNA-based influenza vaccine to participants in an early-phase clinical trial, the company announced Wednesday. Moderna ultimately plans to test the vaccine on about 180 people in the Phase 1/2 randomized, stratified, observer-blind trial. The trial will look at safety, different doses, and immune responses. The vaccine, called mRNA-1010, is designed to target four lineages of influenza viruses that circulate seasonally each year, just like the current quadrivalent flu vaccines on the market. The four virus lineages are those identified by the World Health Organization as the ones to target for disease prevention each year—seasonal influenza type A lineages H1N1 and H3N2 as well as influenza type B lineages Yamagata and Victoria. If mRNA-1010 is shown to be effective against the yearly plague in later-stage trials, Moderna aims to eventually bundle it with three other mRNA-based vaccines to create a yearly, one-stop shot. In addition to influenza, this envisioned combination shot would target two other common, respiratory viruses that circulate alongside influenza—respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV)—as well as the COVID-19 coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, which some experts have speculated could become seasonal. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines against either RSV or hMPV. And it's unclear if SARS-CoV-2 will become seasonal and/or if annual booster vaccines will be necessary. "We believe that the advantages of mRNA vaccines include the ability to combine different antigens to protect against multiple viruses and the ability to rapidly respond to the evolution of respiratory viruses, such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. "Our vision is to develop an mRNA combination vaccine so that people can get one shot each fall for high efficacy protection against the most problematic respiratory viruses." Vaccine design While the company is aiming high with its seasonal megashot, the influenza component alone stands to offer a significant improvement over current shots. To humanity's chagrin, available quadrivalent and trivalent annual flu vaccines tend to have low efficacy, generally in the range of only 40 percent to 60 percent. Some years, the vaccines' efficacy is even lower. Moderna expects it can beat those numbers. Soaring on the success of its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine—which had a remarkable 94 percent efficacy in late-stage clinical trials—Moderna will aim its more advanced, targeted mRNA vaccine platform to fight influenza. The company currently has three mRNA-based vaccine candidates in development. After mRNA-1010, there's mRNA-1020 and mRNA-1030. In general, mRNA vaccines work by delivering to human cells a snippet of a virus's genetic code, which is in the form of messenger RNA (mRNA). This type of RNA generally acts as an intermediary, communicating coded instructions from DNA to the cell's molecular machinery that translates the code into proteins. The mRNA snippets in the vaccines, however, communicate the blueprints for viral proteins, which the immune system can use for target practice. Once the cell's machinery translates the vaccine's mRNA code into a viral protein, the immune system uses that protein to train virus-targeting antibodies and cellular defenses. To prevent COVID-19, the mRNA vaccines include the code for a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Copies of this protein jut from the virus's spherical body and help the virus break into human cells. As such, they're an easy and effective target for antibodies and other immune responses. To prevent flu, mRNA vaccines could target key proteins that similarly jut from the influenza virus, namely hemagglutinin (HA or H) and neuraminidase (NA or N). Like spike, these proteins are critical for the flu virus's ability to invade human cells. But HA and NA come in different forms, which are represented in flu viruses' names as H and N (as in H1N1 and H3N2). mRNA advantages The mRNA-based vaccine strategy offers a highly precise way to target influenza viruses' HA and NA compared with current flu vaccines, which often rely on presenting whole viruses, weakened or inactivated, to the immune system. And the mRNA-based design makes the vaccines easy to tweak. If, for instance, a flu virus appears one season with a slightly different version of HA—as it very often does—the vaccine's coding would potentially take just an update to tailor that year's shot. This is a change that could be potentially be done swiftly, too. When variants of SARS-CoV-2 began raising concern earlier this year, the CEO of BioNTech—which co-developed an mRNA-based COVID-19 with Pfizer—said the company could adjust its mRNA vaccine in just six weeks, if needed. Perhaps the biggest advantage the mRNA-based strategy has over current flu vaccine, though, is that it doesn't involve eggs. Current flu vaccines are most often manufactured using fertilized hen eggs. Vaccine makers inject the virus into the eggs and allow the virus to create legions of clones. Then, vaccine makers harvest the viruses, purify them, weaken or kill them, and use them for vaccines. It's cheap and simple, and it's a method that has been used for decades. But it's also time consuming, it requires a lot of eggs, and it may not produce high-efficacy vaccines. Weak or inactivated virus vaccines lack the precision of other vaccine strategies, like mRNA or recombinant proteins. With a whole virus, the immune system may try to attack many different features of the virus, some of which may not be very useful for thwarting the invader. Flu toll Moreover, humans are, well, different from chickens. And sometimes in the manufacturing process, flu viruses can begin to adapt to their fowl conditions. This appeared to be a problem in the 2017-2018 flu season, when a circulating H3N2 flu virus strain seemed to pick up a mutation in its HA during egg-based vaccine manufacturing. The mutation may have made the virus better at infecting chicken eggs, but in the vaccine, the mutation seemed to result in people developing antibodies that weren't as good at defeating the H3N2 virus circulating in humans. That flu season, the influenza vaccine was estimated to have an overall efficacy of just 38 percent. The efficacy against type A influenza viruses specifically, which include H3N2, was just 30 percent. The 2017-2018 flu season ended up being the worst in the decade, with estimates of hospitalizations up to 810,000 and deaths up to 61,000. Still, health experts urge everyone, every year, to get their flu shot. The flu, however benign it may sometimes seem, is a devastating infectious disease. Even a low-efficacy vaccine can help. The CDC estimates that influenza has sickened between 9 million and 45 million people every year since 2010. And in each of those years, it sent between 140,000 to 810,000 people to the hospital and killed between 12,000 to 61,000 people. In addition to the human costs, the economic burden of all of that is estimated to be $11 billion per year. mRNA vaccine technology moves to flu: Moderna says trial has begun
    3 points
  44. Spiders eating snakes, oh my! Here are the photographs to prove it Some species of spider can conquer snakes that are 10 to 30 times their size. Enlarge / A brown widow spider feeding on a Brahminy blindsnake in a garden house in Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico. Matias Martinez What's a spider with a discriminating palate to do when it gets tired of chowing down on its usual insect-heavy fare? A few nibbles of fresh snake might do the trick. Yes, some species of spider do indeed occasionally feast on snakes, according to a recent paper published in the American Journal of Arachnology. And that paper is chock-full of pictures to prove it. Scientists had previously believed that spiders consumed live insects or other arthropods almost exclusively, but more recent research has shown their diets are more diverse. According to co-authors Martin Nyffeler (an arachnologist at the University of Basel) and J. Whitfield Gibbons (a herpetologist at the University of Georgia), various spider species have been found to feed on earthworms, velvet worms, bristle worms, slugs, snails, shrimp, crayfish, freshwater crabs, bats, mice, voles, rats, shrews, frogs, fish, newts, and salamanders, among other prey. There have also been multiple observed instances of spiders overpowering and feeding on snakes—usually baby or juvenile snakes. Nyffeler and Gibbons decided to conduct the first synthesis of the various documented cases, poring through published reports, Google pictures, Google books, social media sites, scientific journals, and relevant academic dissertations and theses. The team ultimately found 319 individual reports of spiders preying on snakes, most of them naturally occurring incidents, although about seven percent were laboratory feeding trials or staged field experiments. Nearly 80 percent of those reports included photos or videos documenting the gruesome acts for posterity. Out of more than 49,000 known species of spider, the authors found 30 that had been observed to eat snakes in the wild, plus 11 other species shown to do so in captivity or staged field experiments. About half of all the documented cases involved widow spiders (exclusively females) of the Theridiid family, some of which appear to be "expert snake catchers," most notably the Australian feedback spider, the African button spider, Israeli and Iranian widow spiders, and four North American species. Tarantulas (Theraphosidae family) are the second most common spider family to feed on snakes, as these spiders hunt them in trees or on the ground. Large orb-weaving spiders (Araneidae and Nephilidae families) are the third most common to target snakes. These three spider families accounted for 80 percent of all reported instances of feeding on snakes to date. As for their serpentine victims, the documented cases in the wild involved 86 species of snake from seven families, with another five species involved in captivity or staged incidents. These included brown snakes, crayfish snakes, garter snakes, green snakes, king snakes, ringneck snakes, racers, scarlet snakes, and rat snakes. Juvenile scarlet snake entrapped on web of <em>Latrodectus geometricus</em>, observed in a private residence in Georgia First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Different families of spiders kill their snake-y prey in different ways. For instance, black widows rely on their strong, tough webs to ensnare the snake in the web's vertical viscid threads. Then the widow will cover the snake in more sticky silk and bite it one or more times to release its neurotoxin venom. Once the snake has been immobilized, the widow raises its prey off the ground—a process that can take several hours—and kills and feeds at its leisure. Tarantulas don't spin webs, but their bites also administer a powerful neurotoxin venom that can quickly immobilize a snake. A 1926 report described how a tarantula will grab a snake by the head and bite, holding on as the snake tries to shake it off. Once the venom kicks in, the tarantula will crush the snake and suck out all the yummy soft parts, leaving behind a "shapeless mass." Orb-weaving spiders also catch the occasional small snake in their webs, and like the widow, they will wrap its prey in silk and administer a few venomous bites. The spider then "extracts the dissolved tissue from its victim by the process of extra-intestinal digestion," the authors wrote. (That is, the spider expels digestive enzymes from its intestinal tract, which break down the tissues into liquid for easy slurping.) Spiders typically only eat part of the snake, leaving the rest to scavengers like ants, wasps, and flies. "While the effect of black widow venom on snake nervous systems is already well researched, this kind of knowledge is largely lacking for other groups of spiders," said Nyffeler. "A great deal more research is therefore needed to find out what components of venoms that specifically target vertebrate nervous systems are responsible for allowing spiders to paralyze and kill much larger snakes with a venomous bite." Nyffeler and Gibbons also found that some black widow spiders can overpower snakes 10 to 30 times their own size. They cited one particularly extreme example documented by National Geographic in 1933, in which an 8-gram garter snake was trapped in the web of a cobweb spider weighing just 0.0225 grams. "Hence this snake was 355 times heavier than the spider," they wrote. Similarly, tarantulas (which can weigh as much as 50 grams) have been documented killing much larger and heavier pit vipers. DOI: American Journal of Arachnology, 2021. 10.1636/JoA-S-20-050 (About DOIs). Spiders eating snakes, oh my! Here are the photographs to prove it (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
    3 points
  45. 5-minute breathing exercise lowers blood pressure better than working out, medication BOULDER, Colo. — A five-minute workout that scientists call “strength training for your breathing muscles” is proving to lower blood pressure as well as or even better than traditional exercise and prescription drugs. Researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder say this groundbreaking exercise makes use of a hand-held device which provides resistance as the user breathes. Simply put, as you suck in air, the tube tries to suck it back in. Researchers call this technique High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST). Although doctors in the past have recommended patients with breathing disorders use these devices at low power for about 30 minutes, the new study finds a five-minute, high-intensity burst can improve cardiovascular health among older adults. In the United States, estimates show nearly two-thirds of people over age 50 have elevated blood pressure. This puts many of them at risk of suffering from heart disease, heart attacks, or a stroke. Moreover, researchers say less than half of these Americans are getting enough exercise to improve their condition. “There are a lot of lifestyle strategies we know can help people maintain cardiovascular health as they age. But the reality is, they take a lot of time and effort and can be expensive and hard for some people to access,” says lead author Daniel Craighead in a university release. “IMST can be done in five minutes in your own home while you watch TV.” Blood pressure exercise better than walking every day Scientists originally developed IMST in the 1980s to help critically ill patients deal with respiratory diseases. By inhaling vigorously through the device, a patient can strengthen their diaphragm and other breathing muscles thanks to the resistance the IMST creates in the body. Unlike the low-level workouts for sick patients, study authors examined a group of 36 healthy adults between 50 and 79 years-old. These participants all had a systolic blood pressure (the top number) above the normal level of 120 mm/Hg. During the study, half of these adults did 30 inhalations per day at high resistance six days a week for six weeks. The other half did a “placebo” exercise, featuring a much lower resistance setting on the device. Results show participants in the IMST group saw their systolic blood pressure fall by an average of nine points. That kind of improvement, researchers say, is generally better than what high blood pressure patients see from walking 30 minutes a day five days a week. The study finds the IMST results are even on par with certain blood pressure-lowering drugs prescribed to patients. Perhaps more importantly, study authors find people doing IMST saw their blood pressure continue to stay low even after they stopped the breathing workouts for six weeks. “We found not only is it more time-efficient than traditional exercise programs, the benefits may be longer lasting,” Craighead adds. Additionally, IMST patients experienced a 45-percent improvement in vascular endothelial function — or the ability for the arteries to expand. Participants also had a significant increase in their levels of nitric oxide, which is key to the arteries dilating and preventing plaque from building up. The team adds markers for inflammation and oxidative stress decreased as well. A better alternative for older women? The study finds this quick breathing workout may be a great alternative to exercise for one group in particular — postmenopausal women. Senior author Doug Seals’ lab discovered that postmenopausal women taking supplemental estrogen don’t reap the benefits of aerobic exercise as much as older men do. This is especially true for vascular endothelial function. The new report finds using IMST helps these women just as much as male participants. “If aerobic exercise won’t improve this key measure of cardiovascular health for postmenopausal women, they need another lifestyle intervention that will,” Craighead says. “This could be it.” On top of strengthening a patient’s breathing, researchers say the early results show IMST also impacts a user’s brain function and overall fitness too. “If you’re running a marathon, your respiratory muscles get tired and begin to steal blood from your skeletal muscles,” Craighead, an assistant research professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology, explains. “The idea is that if you build up endurance of those respiratory muscles, that won’t happen and your legs won’t get as fatigued.” For now, it’s still unclear how exactly IMST directly contributes to lowering blood pressure. The team suspects this kind of resistance training sparks the cells lining blood vessels to produce more nitric oxide. This enables a user to relax. “It’s easy to do, it doesn’t take long, and we think it has a lot of potential to help a lot of people,” Craighead concludes. The findings appear in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Source
    3 points
  46. Stream-Ripping Can be Perfectly Legal, French Ministry of Culture Says Downloading music via stream-ripping tools can be perfectly legal, the French Ministry of Culture has confirmed. The resulting copies fall under the private copying exemption. However, this only applies if the stream-ripping service doesn't circumvent technical protection measures, which is a widely contested issue. Free music is easy to find nowadays. Just head over to YouTube and you can find millions of tracks including many of the most recent releases. While the music industry profits from the advertisements on many of these videos, it doesn’t like the fact that some people use external tools to download music tracks. Various record labels are countering this threat with DMCA notices, lawsuits, and website blocking requests. YouTube itself is chiming in as well and actively blocks stream-rippers, which is an ongoing battle. Legal or Not? Copyright holders are convinced that stream-ripping sites break the law but, in most countries, legal uncertainties remain. In the US, for example, popular stream-ripper Yout.com has sued the RIAA in an effort to have its site declared legal. This case, which remains ongoing, could set an important precedent. In France, the Ministry of Culture was recently questioned on the stream-ripping issue. Philippe Latombe, a member of the MoDem party, asked the Government whether copies downloaded through these services are considered illegal. The question was part of a broader inquiry into the private copying rules and regulations. These allow people to copy music and movies in exchange for a tax that’s paid on storage media and devices including blank CDs, hard disks, and smartphones. Stream-Ripping is Legal If… Responding to the question, the Ministry of Culture confirmed that, under the right conditions, it’s perfectly legal to use stream-ripping services to download music and other media. “[Stream-ripping] is legal and the resulting copy falls under the exception for private copying as provided by law, if several conditions are met: it must be made from a lawful source at the request of the user, without being stored by the converter, and no circumvention of technical protection measures must be carried out.” If these three boxes are ticked, stream-ripping is in the same league as ripping or copying an old-fashioned CD or DVD. Ticking Boxes The big question, however, is in what situation all these conditions would apply? With regard to YouTube ripping, the “source” could be considered legal, as artists and labels often upload the videos themselves. The second box is also ticked by many stream-rippers as they don’t permanently store music. The operator of the stream-rippers FLVto and 2Conv recently said that his site doesn’t even store basic logs as that would involve significant costs. This brings us to the third and final condition; whether the stream-ripper circumvents technical protection measures. This is a crucial question and the answer largely depends on who you ask. Rolling Cipher… The major music labels, represented by the RIAA, argue that these download tools circumvent YouTube’s ‘rolling cipher’ technology. This was backed up in at least one lawsuit in Germany. But not everyone agrees. Backed by the German court ruling, the RIAA asked GitHub to remove the stream-ripping tool youtube-mp3. This request was initially granted but was later reversed, with GitHub stating that the project isn’t circumventing technical protection measures. The circumvention ‘question’ is also at the heart of the legal battle between Yout.com and the RIAA in US federal court. This is a high-profile case and the outcome is expected to have broad consequences for other stream-ripping tools. For now, this means that the French Ministry of Culture’s clarification is not very helpful. Most people simply don’t know whether a stream-ripper stores content. And they can’t possibly decide whether any technical protection measures are circumvented if that’s still an open question for legal experts. Stream-Ripping Can be Perfectly Legal, French Ministry of Culture Says
    3 points
  47. The thorny ethics of displaying Egyptian mummies to the public Exhibits are popular, but curators must grapple with issues of cultural, racial sensitivity. Enlarge / A visitor looks at displayed artifacts at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) during its official reopening a day after the Pharaohs' Golden Parade ceremony, a procession held to transport the mummified bodies of 22 ancient Egyptian kings and queens from the Egyptian Museum to their new resting place at the NMEC. Gehad Hamdy/picture alliance via Getty Images In 1823, the chief surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, John Warren, prepared to autopsy a 2,500-year-old corpse. Warren figured examining the Egyptian mummy—a gift from a patron that had been placed in the hospital’s surgical ward to collect quarters from gawkers—would advance knowledge of the ancients. He carefully began cutting through the old linen, and then stopped. He had exposed a blackened but exquisitely preserved head: high cheekbones, wisps of brown hair, gleaming white teeth. As Warren later recounted, this was a person, and “being unwilling to disturb” him further, he stopped there. Fast forward to last October, when the press was on hand as Egyptian archaeologists opened the first of a cache of 59 recently discovered mummies for the whole world to see, revealing a perfectly wrapped body. Video of the event went viral, and the Twitter pushback followed: “Even in death POC can’t escape the prying and opportunistic advances of white people,” wrote one user, in a tweet that gained nearly a quarter-million likes. The question of whether it is unseemly, ghoulish, disrespectful, or even racist to display ancient corpses, or whether it's a noble contribution to science and education, has nagged mummy displays since Warren took up his scalpel nearly 200 years ago. And the Black Lives Matter movement’s focus on issues of cultural ownership and appropriation has only added fuel to a persistent ethical dilemma for museums and experts who study mummies. The issue is the topic of academic forums and scholarly papers, but the implications are real, both in Egypt and abroad. “It's a huge subject of debate in our field right now,” said Pamela Hatchfield, the former president of the American Institute for Conservation, a professional association of art conservators. In April, onlookers watched as 22 mummies were transported to a new museum in a lavish parade through the streets of Cairo. By one estimate, at least 350 institutions around the world display Egyptian mummies, and the abiding fascination with the ancient kingdom of the pharaohs has made those displays a vital draw for museums, leaving scientists and curators to weigh increasingly fraught questions: Should mummies whose linen wrappings have been removed be re-wrapped for sensitivity? Ought the body, linens and all, be placed back in its coffin? And should that coffin be open, closed, or removed from display altogether? For Heba Abd el Gawad, an Egyptologist in Cairo, the idea of displaying human remains is “disturbing.” But, she said, she cannot speak for all Egyptians and that different perspectives should be considered. “Being an expert or a specialist,” she said, “doesn't mean I have to dictate to people how they should feel about their ancestors, and even if they see them as their ancestors or not.” Among the American museums that have reconsidered how they display mummies in recent years is the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence. The museum had a 2,100-year-old mummified priest named Nesmin in residence since 1938. Lying wrapped next to his coffin, he was a hit with sixth-grade field trips. But in April 2014, he was moved to a more conspicuous central hall and soon became the focus of a debate over how to treat racial and cultural histories. Some critics called the display disrespectful, or even offensive. In 2016, the museum held a public discussion. One researcher with Egyptian roots said she was “struck at having to see one of my ancestors on display this way.” She offered hymns and moments of silence, and said she “wanted to bring flowers” to the old mummy. After long reflection, the museum staff gently lifted Nesmin back into his coffin in August 2018. Then, they shut the lid, returning the mummy to eternal darkness. A crocodile Advocates for greater modesty say mummies did not agree to have their bodies put on public display, and that cultural respect demands they be removed from view. Other experts argue that ancient Egyptians embraced the union of death and life, and that the dead were mummified to give the spirit a body, and thus would have welcomed some modern interaction with the living. But those arguments fly against the current demand for greater cultural sensitivity. “Everyone is afraid to speak up,” said Jasmine Day, a scholar and president of the Ancient Egypt Society of Western Australia in Perth, who said objections to displaying mummies are coming from “the fashionably offended.” She said she is “alarmed to hear about the wave of conservatism and risk aversiveness sweeping through the world of museums.” Some critics maintain that racism infused the White-dominated collection of antiquities. White explorers, collectors, and archaeologists brought mummies by the hundreds back from Egypt in the 1800s and early 1900s, though many of them were dug up by Egyptian tomb raiders or bought from Egyptian authorities. A French tourist reported in 1833 that “it would be hardly respectable” to return from Egypt “without a mummy in one hand and a crocodile in the other.” At the entrance to the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum in Baltimore lies a partially unwrapped female called the Goucher mummy, with her arms crossed on her chest. In 2008, Sanchita Balachandran, associate director and conservator at the facility, said she worked for weeks to try to stabilize the condition of the mummy. “I spent a lot of time with just her,” Balachandran said, and developed “a personal relationship with a human being, with a person.” As a result, she said that her feelings about public exposure of the mummy have evolved. “I think people are very disturbed by encountering a real person just lying there,” she said. Balachandran said she is conflicted about the display and has gradually become more protective of the Goucher mummy. Before the pandemic closed the museum, “people used to come in and take selfies of her, right? And I would say, ‘You know what, she doesn't give you her consent to be photographed. So you can't do that.’” Activists and scholars calling for change say mummies have long been objectified by museums, which treat them as artifacts. Indeed, despite Warren’s 19th-century epiphany that the mummy in his care, named Padihershef, was a human being, the corpse remains under a glass case at the old surgical ward of the hospital, his head still unwrapped, staring forever skyward. The ethical view of mummies began changing in the United States after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, and its echoes for Indigenous Americans. In 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act required the return of Indigenous remains to tribes in the U.S. Afterward, museum officials began to look uncomfortably at the Egyptians in their holdings. “When you begin to think about it, you know, what is the difference between Native American remains and Egyptian remains?” said Gina Borromeo, chief curator and curator of ancient art at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. “Do mummified human remains belong in an art museum? He's not an art object. He's a human being,” said Ingrid Neuman, a senior conservator who agonized alongside Borromeo when students began raising objections to the display of Nesmin during a packed meeting in 2016. “I think that a human body is different than a painting on the wall in a museum.” The clash of opinions brackets the dilemma for museums. In choosing how to display mummies, whose voice counts: The perceived wishes of the ancients? Modern Egyptians? Scientists and scholars? Or museum patrons? In a Skype interview, Abd el Gawad said the views of modern Egyptians like herself are too often ignored because of the “racist colonial misperception” that “the human remains coming from ancient Egypt are unclaimed and uncontested.” “We are not seen as the ancestors of the ancient Egyptians,” she said. Others argue it is far from obvious what the ancient Egyptians—who desperately sought immortality—would have wanted, or who should speak for them now. Day, the Australian researcher, agrees that mummies deserve respect, but thinks removing them panders to a modern aversion to seeing the dead. Museums should “display mummies in a way that presents them as people, not ‘here is an object in an art museum,’” she said via Skype. But museums can humanize ancient Egyptians, she added, by using “Human Remains” warning signs, hushed rooms, darkened lighting, and limited access to mummy displays. Peter Lacovara, a former senior curator at the Carlos Museum in Atlanta and currently the director of the Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund in New York, calls objections to the display of mummies “uninformed” about the ancient Egyptian religion. “More than anything, Egyptians wanted to be seen, they wanted their likenesses to be seen. They wanted to be remembered,” Lacovara said. “They wanted to be part of the world of the living. And of course, this is what museum displays do.” Mimi Leveque, a Boston consulting conservator who has inspected or preserved more than 40 mummies, suggested that, handled correctly, mummies can be deeply edifying. “If treated with respect," she said, "a body has a tremendous amount to tell us." Leveque said she often worked on mummies in museum labs open to public view, which invariably boosted the number of visitors to the museum. “People wanted to see it." Leveque also said she believes the old Egyptians would have approved, and that museums are in fact helping to deliver on an ancient desire to be well-remembered into posterity. “From the point of view of the person who was excavated, what they wanted was to have their personality remembered, their name repeated," she said. "The ancient Egyptians said that if your name is remembered, even if your body doesn't make it, you will have an eternity.” In that light, where better for a mummy to end up, she suggested, than in a museum? "[Mummies] are in, what is in effect, a glorious tomb," she said. "Isn't that what these museums are?” Even if that's true, however, Abd el Gawad suggests that at least some of the wishes of the ancients are known, and not open for interpretation. There are very clear instructions on what ancient Egyptians wanted to happen to their bodies after death, she said, "and that doesn't include unwrapping mummies or displaying mummies out of the coffin." The thorny ethics of displaying Egyptian mummies to the public
    3 points
  48. Audacity fans are absolutely furious right now - here’s why Audacity privacy policy changes have ruffled more than a few feathers An update to the privacy policy for audio editor Audacity has raised concerns the open source software may be used to siphon off a wealth of user data under its new ownership. Audacity was purchased earlier this year by a company called Muse Group, which owns various music and audio software, such as Ultimate Guitar, MuseScore and Tonebridge. When the acquisition was announced, Muse Group promised the software would remain free and open source. However, sections of the community believe the new privacy policy runs counter to philosophies and ambitions of the open source movement; some have gone as far as to call Audacity “spyware”. Under the new privacy policy, Audacity will collect information such as OS version, CPU and error codes, but also the location of the user. According to the policy, this information is required for analytics purposes and to improve the application, although it’s unclear where location data slots into this picture. The policy goes on to state that Audacity will collect “data necessary for law enforcement, litigation and authorities’ requests”, but does not expand on what type of information this clause might cover, leading to speculation it could be used to justify an unacceptable breach of user privacy. Audacity outcry Ever since the Audacity acquisition, relations between Muse Group and the open source community have been strained. The company ruffled feathers with a new Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for Audacity, which contributors were required to sign if they wanted to continue to work on the project. This new agreement also stipulated that Muse Group must be given unrestricted rights to all contributions. A significant portion of the community felt the new CLA compromised the values of the open source ecosystem, built around the concepts of transparency and collaboration, by allowing Muse Group to use code submitted by contributors in other non-open source projects. For others, the privacy policy update was the final straw. Contributors have taken to both GitHub and Reddit to call for a fork of the software, which would see developers break away to develop a new audio editor, using Audacity code as the backbone. TechRadar Pro asked Muse Group for specific details about the data collection activities covered by the privacy policy and for a perspective on the community outcry, but the company has not yet responded. Source
    3 points
  49. Not for children: Audacity fans drop the f-bomb after privacy agreement changes 'Fork.' What did you think we meant? A few more litres of accelerant were poured onto Audacity critics' fire late last week as an update to the sound editor's privacy agreement seeped out to the consternation of users. Eyebrows began rising on 2 July, and continued skywards with an update on 3 July as the implications of the refeshed privacy policy became clear. Gems such as the collection of "Data necessary for law enforcement, litigation and authorities' requests (if any)" on the grounds of "Legitimate interest of WSM Group to defend its legal rights and interests" set teeth a-gnashing within the application's community of users. A ban on the use of the app by the under-13s (more to do with consent to data collection than audio pr0n, we'd wager) is also in the terms as well as "All your personal data is stored on our servers in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, we are occasionally required to share your personal data with our main office in Russia and our external counsel in the USA." The Russia-based WSM Group, owner of Audacity did, however, insist: "We have put in place appropriate safeguards (which includes the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses) to ensure that whenever your Personal Data is transferred outside the EEA to countries that are not deemed adequate by the European Commission, your Personal Data receives an adequate level of protection in accordance with the GDPR." Oh, and that data might also be shared with a potential buyer (or its advisors) as part an acquisition. The Audacity: Audio tool finds new and exciting ways to annoy contributors with a Contributor License Agreement Audacity's new management hits rewind on telemetry plans following community outrage Audacity 'scared and excited' to be bought and brought under Muse Group's roof, promises to stay free and open source 'A massive middle finger': Open-source audio fans up in arms after Audacity opts to add telemetry capture The Audacity app itself does not yet require the creation of an account, nor the input of personal or contact information and such terms will not come as a surprise to users of other apps in the group (such as MuseScore, which insists on parental consent for "data processing" for the under 13s.) Audacity fans, already jumpy about the whole telemetry fiasco and Contributor License Agreement (CLA) have reacted in predictable fashion to the change. The words "GPL violations" and "unacceptable" have been bandied around, as well as the inevitable f-bomb: "fork". Indeed, this latest change to the world of Audacity may be an indicator of the direction of travel. While the company did not respond to The Register's request for comment, it would seem that users unhappy with the alterations being made by the app's new owners have little alternative but to consider alternatives. ® Bootnote The Register this morning ran a profile feature looking at the music software before we, or the writer of that feature, became aware of the changes made. As we pointed out this morning, "if Muse Group's stewardship takes a wrong turn, there's always the fork button." Source
    3 points
  50. Hidden option brings cool 3D Parallax effect to Windows 11 lock screen New Windows 11 features are still being discovered, and the latest is a hold-over from Windows 10 Mobile. Windows hacker ADeltaX has discovered that Windows 11 will have a cool 3D parallax effect on the lock screen if your device has the right hardware. Animated lock screen background (Windows 11) cc @thebookisclosed pic.twitter.com/BQMmKk8yMy — ADeltaX (@ADeltaXForce) July 4, 2021 In particular, your device needs to have an accelerometer, which is not common hardware in laptops but does show up in Windows tablets such as the Surface. The feature is still somewhat hidden and is available via an unnamed toggle in the lock screen settings page. We first became aware that Microsoft was working on this feature in December 2020 and it is good to see it finally make its way to regular users. via TheWinCentral Hidden option brings cool 3D Parallax effect to Windows 11 lock screen
    3 points
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