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+ - Bitcoin exec to spend two years behind bars for Silk Road transactions

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Charlie Shrem, former Bitcoin Foundation board member and CEO of the now-defunct exchange BitInstant, has been sentenced to two years in prison for helping Silk Road users anonymously swap cash for digital currency. Silk Road, as you know, was the online marketplace infamous for hosting anonymous drug and gun sales that was busted by the FBI back in 2013. A version 2.0 went up shortly after that, but it suffered the same fate as its predecessor this November. Based on evidence gathered during the crackdown, Shrem agreed to partner with Robert M. Faiella to trade over $1 million in cash from buyers. Faiella was the one with direct contact to buyers, hiding behind the name BTCKing to post ads promoting his dollar-to-Bitcoin business on the marketplace."

+ - Apple 'failing to protect Chinese factory workers'

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation. Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple's promises to protect workers were routinely broken. It found standards on workers' hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories. Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme's conclusions. Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai. One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off. Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: "Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn't want to move. "Even if I was hungry I wouldn't want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress.""

+ - Google Proposes to Warn People About non-SSL web sites

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The proposal was made by the Google developers working on the search firm's Chrome browser. The proposal to mark HTTP connections as non-secure was made in a message posted to the Chrome development website by Google engineers working on the firm's browser. If implemented, the developers wrote, the change would mean that a warning would pop-up when people visited a site that used only HTTP to notify them that such a connection "provides no data security". Currently only about 33% of websites use HTTPS, according to statistics gathered by the Trustworthy Internet Movement which monitors the way sites use more secure browsing technologies. In addition, since September Google has prioritised HTTPS sites in its search rankings."

+ - China officially became the world's largest economy, ahead of the United States

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "For the first time in 150 years, the USA has lost its title of the largest economy in the world to China. China officially became the world’s largest economy, ahead of the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the latest figures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just released in December 8th, 2014, China has come ahead the United States as the world’s largest economy. China’s GDP will indeed reach 17600 billion in 2014 against 17400 billion for the United States. These data are calculated using the method known as “purchasing power parity”, which is economically significant. It measures the purchasing power of different currencies in a common unit as opposed to changes in exchange rates. Now China represents 16.5% of the global economy in terms of real purchasing power, ahead of the US, 16.3%. According to IMF estimates, the gap should continue to widen in the coming years. By 2019, China would reach more than 26,800 billion of national wealth, against just 22,000 billion for the United States. The United States had become the leading economic power in 1872 after overtaking Britain."

+ - Jaguar Announce 'Ghost Car' Navigation and Invisible Pillars

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Jaguar just unveiled a proposed new navigation system that's unlike anything we've ever seen. Most modern navigation systems instruct drivers using a series of arrows or at best a pictographic representation of a highway exit. However, Jaguar's new experimental system abandons the arrows and instead projects an image of a "Ghost Car" for the driver to follow. Officially known as "Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation," the system uses the heads-up-display technology to project an illuminated "ghost car" that looks to be driving right in front of the actual vehicle. A new virtual-reality cockpit that will make blind spots a thing of the past. Called the "360 Urban Virtual Windscreen," Jaguar's newest assistance technology will allow the driver to see straight through the car's pillars. In urban conditions, this will allow those behind the wheel of a Jag to enjoy a complete view of their surroundings. A Jag turning at an intersection will have "virtually" transparent "A" pillars so the driver can see if there are oncoming cars, bicyclists, or pedestrians. For particularly dangerous obstacles or perilously close pedestrians, the system will automatically flag the interloper and project a warning on the windshield using the car's heads-up-display."

+ - Study: Your all-electric car may not be so green ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.

"It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean ... are not better than gasoline."

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas. Ethanol isn't so green, either."

Link to Original Source

+ - French Cabbies Say They're Going To Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Parisian taxi drivers have vowed to block roads leading into the French capital on Monday to protest a court's refusal to ban urban ridesharing service UberPOP. Like their counterparts in large cities across the globe, Parisian taxi drivers are fed up with what they see as unfair competition from Uber's popular smartphone taxi service. UberPOP, which uses non-professional drivers using their own cars to take on passengers at budget rates, has 160,000 users in France, according to the company. A commercial court in Paris ruled on Friday that a new law making it harder for Uber drivers to solicit business could not be enforced until the government had published full details of the restrictions. "It's the straw that breaks the camel's back," said Ibrahima Sylla, president of France Taxis, whose organisation has joined several others in calling for the early morning protest on Monday. They have urged taxi drivers to gather at the northern Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport and the southern Orly airport at 05:00 am before slowly converging on the city in a bid to block arterial highways. "This is a fight against Uber. We're fed up. Allowing UberPOP means leaving 57,000 French taxis high and dry, and thus 57,000 families. And that is out of the question," said Sylla."

+ - GCHQ to help tackle 'dark net' child abuse images

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Intelligence experts and organised crime specialists will join forces to tackle child abuse images on the "dark net", David Cameron has said. The prime minister said a joint GCHQ and National Crime Agency unit would hunt online paedophiles with the same "effort" used to track terrorists. He said online child exploitation existed on an "almost industrial scale" worldwide. Mr Cameron said the new unit was part of a drive to remove millions of "sickening and depraved" images from the internet. Mr Cameron said it would also be made illegal to possess material offering guidance on abusing children — what he called "paedophile training manuals"."

+ - CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The CIA carried out "brutal" interrogations of terror suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US, a US Senate report has said. The summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report said the CIA misled Americans on the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation". The interrogation was poorly managed and unreliable, the report said. President Obama has previously said that in his view the techniques amounted to torture. The Senate committee's report runs to more than 6,000 pages, drawing on huge quantities of evidence, but it remains classified and only a 480-page summary is being released. Publication had been delayed amid disagreements in Washington over what should be made public."

+ - Physicist Has Groundbreaking Idea About Why Life Exists

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Why does life exist? Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life."

+ - IBM Researchers: Old Laptop Batteries Can Power Slums

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Old laptop batteries still have enough life in them to power homes in slums, researchers have said. An IBM study analysed a sample of discarded batteries and found 70% had enough power to keep an LED light on more than four hours a day for a year. Researchers said using discarded batteries is cheaper than existing power options, and also helps deal with the mounting e-waste problem. The concept was trialled in the Indian city of Bangalore this year. The adapted power packs are expected to prove popular with street vendors, who are not on the electric grid, as well as poor families living in slums. The IBM team created what they called an UrJar — a device that uses lithium-ion cells from the old batteries to power low-energy DC devices, such as a light. The researchers are aiming to help the approximately 400 million people in India who are off grid."

+ - How Astronomers Will Take 'Image Of The Century': A Black Hole

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Researchers studying the universe are ramping up to take the "image of the century" — the first ever image of a supermassive black hole. While the evidence for the existence of black holes is compelling, Scientists will continue to argue the contrary until physical, observational evidence is provided. Now, a dedicated team of astrophysicists armed with a global fleet of powerful telescopes is out to change that. If they succeed, they will snap the first ever picture of the monstrously massive black hole thought to live at the center of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. This ambitious project, called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), is incredibly tricky, but recent advances in their research are encouraging the team to push forward, now. The reason EHT needs to be so complex is because black holes, by nature, do not emit light and are, therefore, invisible. In fact, black holes survive by gobbling up light and any other matter — nearby dust, gas, and stars — that fall into their powerful clutches. The EHT team is going to zoom in on a miniscule spot on the sky toward the center of the Milky Way where they believe to be the event horizon of a supermassive black hole weighing in at 4 million times more massive than our sun. We can still see the material, however, right before it falls into eternal darkness. The EHT team is going to try and glimpse this ring of radiation that outlines the event horizon. Experts call this outline the "shadow" of a black hole, and it's this shadow that the EHT team is ultimately after to prove the existence of black holes."

+ - Ultrasound used to create Haptics, that can be touched and felt

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Bristol University use ultrasound focused to create 3d objects out of the thin air. The research, led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah and Tom Carter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, could change the way 3D shapes are used. The new technology could enable surgeons to explore a CT scan by enabling them to feel a disease, such as a tumour, using haptic feedback. The method uses ultrasound, which is focussed onto hands above the device and that can be felt. By focussing complex patterns of ultrasound, the air disturbances can be seen as floating 3D shapes. Visually, the researchers have demonstrated the ultrasound patterns by directing the device at a thin layer of oil so that the depressions in the surface can be seen as spots when lit by a lamp. “In the future, people could feel holograms of objects that would not otherwise be touchable, such as feeling the differences between materials in a CT scan or understanding the shapes of artefacts in a museum.”"

+ - Apple Deleted Users' Non-iTunes Music->

Submitted by KatchooNJ
KatchooNJ (173554) writes "Engadget is reporting that Apple deleted users' non-iTunes music and didn't tell them about it. From the article:

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You grabbed Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster from Amazon MP3 in 2009, threw it in your iTunes library, went to sync your 160GB iPod classic and got an error message saying you needed to restore the device's factory settings. According to The Wall Street Journal, upon restoring, non-iTunes music would disappear. In the courtroom for the anti-trust case, prosecuting attorney Patrick Coughlin said that Apple directed the software to not tell users about their now-missing songs, too. Cupertino countered by saying that its actions were to thwart any attempts at hacking into iTunes and that users were kept in the dark for a reason. As security director Augustin Farrugia testified:

"We don't need to give users too much information... We don't want to confuse users.""

Link to Original Source

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