Programming

More Than Half of GitHub Is Duplicate Code, Researchers Find (theregister.co.uk) 8

Richard Chirgwin, writing for The Register: Given that code sharing is a big part of the GitHub mission, it should come at no surprise that the platform stores a lot of duplicated code: 70 per cent, a study has found. An international team of eight researchers didn't set out to measure GitHub duplication. Their original aim was to try and define the "granularity" of copying -- that is, how much files changed between different clones -- but along the way, they turned up a "staggering rate of file-level duplication" that made them change direction. Presented at this year's OOPSLA (part of the late-October Association of Computing Machinery) SPLASH conference in Vancouver, the University of California at Irvine-led research found that out of 428 million files on GitHub, only 85 million are unique. Before readers say "so what?", the reason for this study was to improve other researchers' work. Anybody studying software using GitHub probably seeks random samples, and the authors of this study argued duplication needs to be taken into account.
The Internet

Ajit Pai and the FCC Want It To Be Legal for Comcast To Block BitTorrent (theverge.com) 164

Nilay Patel, reporting for The Verge: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released his proposal to kill net neutrality this week, and while there's a lot to be unhappy with, it's hard not to be taken with the brazenness of his argument. Pai thinks it was a mistake for the FCC to try and stop Comcast from blocking BitTorrent in 2008, thinks all of the regulatory actions the FCC took after that to give itself the authority to prevent blocking were wrong, and wants to go back to the legal framework that allowed Comcast to block BitTorrent.
Math

Devs Working To Stop Go Math Error Bugging Crypto Software (theregister.co.uk) 38

Richard Chirgwin, writing for The Register: Consider this an item for the watch-list, rather than a reason to hit the panic button: a math error in the Go language could potentially affect cryptographic libraries. Security researcher Guido Vranken (who earlier this year fuzzed up some bugs in OpenVPN) found an exponentiation error in the Go math/big package. Big numbers -- particularly big primes -- are the foundation of cryptography. Vranken posted to the oss-sec mailing list that he found the potential issue during testing of a fuzzer he wrote that "compares the results of mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, ...) across multiple bignum libraries." Vranken and Go developer Russ Cox agreed that the bug needs specific conditions to be manifest: "it only affects the case e = 1 with m != nil and a pre-allocated non-zero receiver."
Science

Why Do Left-Handers Excel at Certain Elite Sports But Not Others? (theguardian.com) 59

Nicola Davis, writing for The Guardian: From cricketer Wasim Akram to baseball pitcher Clayton Kershaw and table tennis star Ding Ning, the world of sport has no shortage of left-handed players. But now researchers say they've worked out why lefties are overrepresented in some elite sports but not others. The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that being left-handed is a particular advantage in interactive sports where time pressures are particularly severe, such as table tennis and cricket -- possibly because their moves are less familiar to their mostly right-handed opponents, who do not have time to adjust. "The data suggests that the heavier the time constraints are operating in a sport, the larger the proportion of left-handers," said the study's author, Dr Florian Loffing of the University of Oldenburg in Germany. "We are less used to playing lefties, and [so] might end up in not developing the optimal strategies to compete with them." While it is thought that about 10-13 percent of the population is left-handed, it has long been noted that in certain interactive sports there is often a surprisingly high proportion of left-handers playing at elite levels.
Security

Uber Hackers May Have Been Russian (thetimes.co.uk) 39

Mark Bridge, reporting for The Times: Thousands of Uber customers are believed to have had their accounts hacked by Russians after users of the app (Editor's note: the link is paywalled; alternative source) reported being billed in roubles for taxi journeys they had not taken in Moscow and St Petersburg. More than 800 people in Britain and the United States have complained on Twitter that their accounts were taken over in the past year, The Times found, with the number of reports spiking in April and May. Experts said this number of Twitter reports suggested that the true figure would be much higher.
Canada

Justin Trudeau Is 'Very Concerned' With FCC's Plan to Roll Back Net Neutrality (vice.com) 165

Justin Ling, reporting for Motherboard: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says President Donald Trump's plan to roll back net neutrality protections for the internet "does not make sense" and that he'll be looking into what he can do to defend net neutrality for the whole internet. "I am very concerned about the attacks on net neutrality," Trudeau said in Toronto, in response to a question from Motherboard about Trump's plans. "Net neutrality is something that is essential for small businesses, for consumers, and it is essential to keep the freedom associated with the internet alive." Motherboard asked specifically what Trudeau planned to do in response to the plan put forward on Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission, which could pave the way for tiered internet service and pay-for-play premium access to internet consumers. "We need to continue to defend net neutrality," Trudeau added. "And I will."
Google

Google's Eric Schmidt Says People Want Dish-Washing Robots To Clean Up the Kitchen More Than Any Other Kind (cnbc.com) 181

There is nothing that people want robots to be able to do more than to wash the dishes, according to Alphabet Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. From a report: "When you ask a person what they would like a robot to do, the thing that they would like more than anyone else, is clean up the dishes in the kitchen," the billionaire Google executive says speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum. "That is literally the number one request. And I say this having done this exhaustively," he says. Though you may dream of a robot dishwasher, don't hold your breath for it to happen in the immediate future. "That turns out to be an extraordinarily difficult problem," says Schmidt.
Businesses

Singapore To Use Driverless Buses 'From 2022' (bbc.com) 23

Singapore plans to introduce driverless buses on its public roads by 2022. From a report: The government says they will be piloted in three new neighbourhoods which will have less-crowded roads designed to accommodate the buses. The buses will be used to help residents travel in their communities, and to nearby train and bus stations. Densely-populated Singapore hopes driverless technology will help the country manage its land constraints and manpower shortages. "The autonomous vehicles will greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile," the Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said. The autonomous buses are expected to complement existing manned bus services, and will initially operate during off-peak hours. Additionally, the government plans to let commuters hail on-demand shuttles using their mobile phones.
Businesses

Workers at Amazon's Main Italian Site To Hold First Strike on Black Friday (reuters.com) 79

An anonymous reader shares a report: Workers at Amazon's main distribution hub in Italy are planning their first ever strike for Friday, trade unions said, threatening to disrupt one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Like the rest of Europe, Italians in recent years have embraced the U.S. tradition of Black Friday, a day of heavy discounting by retailers on the day after Thanksgiving. Unions said in a statement more than 500 Amazon workers at the Piacenza site in northern Italy had agreed to strike following a failure to negotiate bonuses with the company. Workers have also decided not to do any overtime until Dec. 31, covering the peak season for the online retailer which hires temporary workers during this period.
Firefox

Firefox Will Warn Users When Visiting Sites That Suffered a Data Breach (bleepingcomputer.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla engineers are working on a notifications system for Firefox that shows a security warning to users visiting sites that have suffered data breaches. The notifications system will use data provided by Have I Been Pwned?, a website that indexes public data breaches and allows users to search and see if their details have been compromised in any of these incidents. Work on this project has only recently started. The code to show these warnings is not even in the Firefox codebase but managed separately as an add-on available (on GitHub). The alert also includes an input field. In the add-ons current version this field doesn't do anything, but we presume it's there to allow users to search and see if their data was exposed during that site's security breach. Troy Hunt, Have I Been Pwned's author has confirmed his official collaboration with Mozilla on this feature.
The Internet

Cloudflare Might Be Exploring a Way To Slow Down FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's Home Internet Speeds (twitter.com) 240

Late Wednesday night, TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine pleaded to tech billionaires to purchase local ISPs near FCC chairman Ajit Pai's home and slow down his Internet speeds. One of the responders to that tweet was Matthew Prince, co-founder and chief executive of Cloudflare, who said: I could do this in a different, but equally effective, way. Sent note to our GC to see if we can without breaking any laws. In a statement to Slashdot, Mr. Prince said: Probably the easiest thing would be to slow down requests from the FCC's IP ranges. Or put up an interstitial whenever someone from those IPs visits a site behind us. I think it's less likely we'd do it across the board ourselves, more likely we'd implement it as an option our customers could opt in to. Basically taking this a step further.
The Internet

'We Are Disappointed': Tech Companies Speak Up Against the FCC's Plan To Kill Net Neutrality (businessinsider.com) 150

An anonymous reader shares a report from Business Insider: The FCC is planning to kill net neutrality -- and some tech companies are starting to speak out. Pro-net neutrality activists, who argue the principle creates a level playing-field online, are up in arms about the plan. And some tech companies are now speaking out in support of net neutrality as well, from Facebook to Netflix. Business Insider reached out to some of the biggest tech firms in America today to ask for their reaction to the FCC's plan. Their initial responses are below, and we will continue to update this post as more come in.
Youtube

YouTube To Implement New Guidelines To Protect Minors From Disturbing Content (cnet.com) 67

YouTube will be implementing five new rules to protect minors from disturbing content. They include removing ads from inappropriate videos and blocking predatory comments from videos that feature minors. CNET reports: The new guidelines are as follows:

-Tougher application of Community Guidelines and faster enforcement through technology
-Removing ads from inappropriate videos targeting families
-Blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors
-Providing guidance for creators who make family-friendly content
-Engaging and learning from experts

These rules follow recent reports that expose fundamental flaws in YouTube algorithms and screening protocol, which fail to recognize or pull down videos that feature disturbing imagery but are aimed at children for monetization purposes. Videos featuring children doing innocuous activities like exercising are also riddled with predatory or sexual comments from viewers, something YouTube is attempting to curb with its new guidelines.

Mars

Flowing Water On Mars' Surface May Just Be Rolling Sand Instead (theverge.com) 69

Two years ago, NASA made a big splash when it announced the discovery of flowing water on the surface of Mars. Unfortunately, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey, the surface features that NASA thought were made up of liquid water may actually be flowing grains of sand instead. The Verge reports: The features in question are dark streaks that show up periodically on Martian hills, known as recurring slope lineae, or RSLs. When one of NASA's spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, studied these lines more closely, it found that the RSLs were made up of hydrated salts -- meaning they were mixed with water molecules. At the time, NASA thought that was significant evidence that flowing liquid water caused these bizarre streaks. But researchers at the USGS say these features look identical to certain types of slopes found on sand dunes here on Earth. Those slopes are caused by dry grains of sand flowing downhill, without the help of any water. It's possible the same thing is happening on Mars, too. Since liquid water is key for life here on Earth, many thought these strange lines of flowing water may help support life on the Martian surface. But now these RSLs may not be the best place to look for life anymore.
Beer

Study Finds Different Types of Alcohol Can Determine Different Moods (bbc.com) 141

A new study published in the journal BMJ Open says different types of alcoholic drinks change and shape your mood in different ways. For example, spirits may make you feel angry, sexy or tearful, while red wine or beer may make you feel relaxed. The researchers questioned nearly 30,000 people aged 18-34 from 21 different countries for the study. BBC reports: The anonymous online survey, which recruited respondents via newspaper and magazine adverts and social media, found:

-Red wine appeared to make people more lethargic than white wine
-Respondents were most likely to report feeling relaxed when drinking red wine or beer
-More than 40% said drinking spirits made them feel sexy
-Over half said drinking spirits also gave them energy and confidence
-But around a third said they felt aggressive when drinking spirits
-Drinking spirits was more likely than all other drink types to be associated with feelings of aggression, illness, restlessness and tearfulness
-Men were significantly more likely than women to associate feelings of aggression with all types of alcohol, particularly heavier drinkers

Prof Bellis from Public Health Wales NHS Trust said the setting in which the alcohol was consumed was an important factor that the study tried to take into consideration by asking about drinking at home and outside of the home. He said the way different drinks are marketed and promoted might encourage people to select certain drinks to suit different moods, but that this could backfire if it triggered negative emotions. He also said the study revealed a difference between men and women's emotional relationship with different alcoholic drinks.

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