Submission + - Vitamin B3 supplement stops some birth defects & miscarriages

brindafella writes: The landmark finding about vitamin B3, made by the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney, Australia, has been described as "the most important discovery for pregnant women since folate". The report has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "This historic discovery, which is believed to be among Australia’s greatest ever medical breakthroughs, is expected to forever change the way pregnant women are cared for around the globe. Every year 7.9 million babies are born with a birth defect worldwide and one in four pregnant women suffer a miscarriage in Australia. In the vast majority of cases the cause of these problems has remained a mystery. Until now. This breakthrough, led by Professor Sally Dunwoodie from the Victor Chang Institute, has identified a major cause of miscarriages as well as heart, spinal, kidney and cleft palate problems in newborn babies"

Submission + - New AI algorithm monitors sleep with radio waves (

techlog360 writes: Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed an artificial intelligence system that's capable of monitoring a person's sleep cycle by analyzing the radio signals surrounding him/her.

The new AI engine extracts relevant data from ambient radio waves and translates them into sleep stages such as light, deep, or rapid eye movement (REM).

Submission + - gpg 2.1 leaves deleted secret keys intact, hidden

KiloByte writes: There's a quite severe bug in secret key management in GnuPG that has been WONTFIXed. If you have ever generated or imported a secret key using gpg 1 or 2.0 (on Debian this means until Stretch, less than two months ago), and have since upgraded to gpg 2.1, then either --delete-secret-key or changing the passphrase will leave an old copy of the key intact on the disk.

Even worse, if you query whether the key has indeed been deleted, all user-facing gpg commands will tell you that the key indeed is gone.

Expect fun when your machine is examined at a border, imaged, seized, etc.

Mitigation is to use a smartcard if the key never touched your regular keyring, or to delete ~/.gnupg/secring.gpg after upgrading.

The response (from a private report) is that a piece of documentation already says "The old secring.gpg is kept for use by older versions of gpg." Not only it doesn't say a word that this unobvious copy is ignored by deletion and passphrase changes, but also it's not humanly possible to read the changelog on every single of thousands of packages you update on a major dist-upgrade.

To me, this is a Lennart-level misdesign. Am I overreacting?

Even if the latter, users should be warned, by, for example, a Slashdot story.

Submission + - Google Employees Are Being Targeted by Alt-Right Racists ( 3

Lauren Weinstein writes: Now I’m hearing from Googlers — Google employees, some of whom I’ve known for years — who feel physically threatened by the escalating situation triggered by the sexist proclamations of now fired Googler James Damore, who has allied himself with alt-right racists and apparently is now comparing the well-paid, perk-rich jobs at Google with Soviet-era forced labor (at least if we judge from his newly featured “Goolag” t-shirt).

But it’s not this twisted clown that is of primary concern. Alt-right superstars are latching onto this situation in ways that threaten actual physical violence — which is of course in keeping with their Nazi heritage.

Submission + - Why Amazon's UK Tax Bill Has Dropped 50% (

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has seen a 50% fall in the amount of UK corporation tax it paid last year, while recording a 54% increase in turnover for the same period. This snippet of news raised eyebrows this morning when it was revealed. So what's going on? Taxes are paid on profit not turnover. It paid lower taxes because it made lower profits. Last year it made 48 million British Pounds (BP) or ~$62 million U.S. dollars (USD) in profit — this year it made only 24 million BP or ~$311 million USD so it paid 7 million BP (~$9 million USD) tax compared to 15 million BP (~$19 million USD). What is more interesting is WHY its profits were lower. Part of the reason is the way it pays its staff. Amazon UK Services is the division which runs the fulfillment centers which process, package and post deliveries to UK customers. It employs about 16,000 of the 24,000 people Amazon have in the UK. Each full-time employee gets given at least 1,000 BP (~$1,297 USD) worth of shares every year. They can't cash them in immediately — they have to hold them for a period of between one and three years.

If Amazon's share price goes up in that time, those shares are worth more. Amazon's share price has indeed gone up over the past couple of years — a lot. In fact, in the past two years the share price has nearly doubled, so 1,000 BP (~$1,297 USD) in shares granted in August 2015 are now worth nearly 2,000 BP (~$2,595 USD). Staff compensation goes up, compensation is an expense, expenses can be deducted from revenue — so profits are lower and so are the taxes on those profits.

Submission + - North Korea Says It Might Fire Missiles Into Waters Near Guam (

bsharma writes: North Korea said Thursday that it was drawing up plans to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles into waters near Guam in the Western Pacific to teach President Trump a lesson, after the president warned of “fire and fury” against the North if it persisted in threatening the United States.

If the North were to follow through on its threat to launch an “enveloping strike” in the vicinity of Guam, it would be the first time that a North Korean missile landed so close to an American territory. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that, according to the plan, four of the country’s Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles would fly over the three southern Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi before hitting the ocean about 19 to 25 miles from the coast of Guam.

Submission + - 'Anti-Drone' Products Being Put To the Test (Exclusive Footage) (

tastic007 writes: Check out some exclusive video footage ( of our testing of some 'anti-drone' defensive products (e.g. net guns, air-to-air combat counter-drones, drone net shotgun shells, etc), where we attempt to separate viable solutions from snake-oil. This was part of our research released at this past Black Hat USA 2017 / DEF CON 25 in Vegas (29July2017). More info, including links to our slides, talk videos, blog posts, etc.:

WIRED Article/Videos:
YouTube — Shooting Down A Drone: What's Most Effective? | WIRED — 25July2017:

DEF CON & Black Hat 2017 Abstract Links:

Project Related Pages:


Talk Video:
YouTube — DEF CON 25 (2017) — Game of Drones — 29July2017

Submission + - Hearing loss of US diplomats in Cuba is blamed on covert device (

bsharma writes: The two-year-old U.S. diplomatic relationship with Cuba was roiled Wednesday by what U.S. officials say was a string of bizarre incidents that left a group of American diplomats in Havana with severe hearing loss attributed to a covert sonic device.

In the fall of 2016, a series of U.S. diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation into the case. Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of former President Barack Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Some of the diplomats’ symptoms were so severe that they were forced to cancel their tours early and return to the United States, officials said. After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the diplomats had been exposed to an advanced device that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other purpose.

Submission + - DNA as Malware: a Fascinating Demonstration (

omaha393 writes: Researchers at the University of Washington demonstrated for the first time that">a synthetic strand of DNA can encode malware when sequenced and read out on sequencing software. Due to DNA being made up of bases (A, T, G and C), the unique sequence could be translated into an executable malware program when sequenced. While this threat is not readily relevant, it could be a security flaw that could compromise medical, consumer, and forensic databases. From the Atlantic: 'âoeThe present-day threat is very small, and people donâ(TM)t need to lose sleep immediately,â says Tadayoshi Kohno, a computer security expert who led the team.'

Submission + - Google Hosts Town Hall To Discuss Diversity In Its Ranks (

An anonymous reader writes: Google employees will gather for a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the tensions ignited by a memo circulated inside the company that claimed to explain why more women are not engineers. Town hall meetings are nothing new at Google, but this one will likely be different after the so-called "Google Manifesto" went viral over the weekend, adding fresh fuel to the debate around gender bias in Silicon Valley. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in an email earlier this week that he would cut his family vacation short in order to facilitate the forum. "The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree — while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct," he wrote. "I'd encourage each of you to make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own. I will be doing the same." The town hall comes amid a report from The Guardian that as many as 60 women are considering filing a class action lawsuit against Google, alleging sexism and wage disparity.

Submission + - How to Suck Carbon from the Air (

Wholehawg writes: new method for taking carbon dioxide directly from the air and converting it to oxygen and nanoscale fibers made of carbon could lead to an inexpensive way to make a valuable building material—and may even serve as a weapon against climate change.

Submission + - Trump Data Firm Worked On Kenyan Election Flooded With Fake News (

tedlistens writes: As Kenya's tense election wrapped up, the opposition leader Raila Odinga called the results “a complete fraud,” claiming the voting system had been hacked to manipulate the outcome. (Hackers used a password taken from a leading election technology official who was found tortured to death last week, he claimed.) Amid concerns about the rampant spread of “fake news”—more than any other election in history, according to one study—and fearful memories of scores of deaths during the 2007 election, it was another seismic development in a fraught election.

Last weekend, staffers at Aristotle, an American data firm working for the opposition party, were deported from the country after what a spokesperson described as an aggressive detention. Among the other foreign companies working on the election is Cambridge Analytica, the data firm behind Donald Trump’s victory, which the ruling party's campaign hired to do polling and data analytics. Their involvement has raised concerns about the safety of personal data after the election, and worries that viral rumors could ignite powder kegs of violence in a country where politics is tied up in ethnic identities.

Submission + - Reactions to My Own "Google Manifesto" ( 1

Lauren Weinstein writes: We can leave aside for now the majority of these reactions — which agree with me that Google not only was correct to fire that jerk, but really had no ethical alternative to doing so. I appreciate these of course, but they don’t provide us with the really interesting data.

On the other hand, the negative reactions are most telling.

Submission + - Scientists create DNA-based exploit of a computer system. (

Archeron writes: It seems that scientists at UW-Seattle have managed to encode malware into genomic data allowing them to gain full access to a computer being used to analyze the data. While this may be a highly contrived attack scenario, it does ask the question whether we pay sufficient attention to data-driven exploits, especially where the data is instrument-derived. What other systems could be vulnerable to a tampered raw data source? Perhaps audio and RF analysis systems?

Submission + - Making a living for 20 years hacking MMOs (

sqorbit writes: Known as Manfred, hiding his real name, this man explains how for 20 yrs he has been using exploits to gain inventory in popular MMOs starting with Ultima Online. He refuses to say the exact amount he eared but claims to have made a good living. Manfred also states ""I don't like to call them hacks.. "It's more like finding unintended features in the protocol."

Submission + - Facebook Now Out to Squish Even Newbie Potential Competitors

Presto Vivace writes: Facebook Now Out to Squish Even Newbie Potential Competitors

Mind you, Facebook isn’t doing anything illegal. the story, focuses on a plucky company called Houseparty that recently got $50 million from venture capitaliss led by Sequoia. Houseparty has developed an app that allows users to share one-minute video clips and chat about them on their smartphones. ... ... Even though this would seem to be a narrow enough business so as to be able to co-exist with Facebook, Facebook thinks otherwise. The fact that Housebook has one million monthly users, a mere 0.1% of Facebook’s 2 billion members, is seen as a threat.

Submission + - Microsoft Surface reliability problems (

gmfeier writes: Reuters reports that Consumer Reports has pulled its "recommended" designation from Microsoft Surface products due to a significantly higher rate of problems reported by users. The article describes the Surface products as a "statistical outlier" compared to other brands.

Submission + - Password Power Rankings: A Look At The Practices Of 40+ Popular Websites (

Orome1 writes: Nothing should be more important for these sites and apps than the security of the users who keep them in business. Unfortunately, Dashlane found that that 46% of consumer sites, including Dropbox, Netflix, and Pandora, and 36% of enterprise sites, including DocuSign and Amazon Web Services, failed to implement the most basic password security requirements. Most troubling? Researchers created passwords using nothing but the lowercase letter “a” on Amazon, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Venmo, and Dropbox, among others.

Submission + - AMD Ryzen Threadripper Launched: Performance Benchmarks Vs Intel Skylake-X (

MojoKid writes: AMD continues its attack on the desktop CPU market versus Intel today, with the official launch of the company's Ryzen Threadripper processors. Threadripper is AMD's high-end, many-core desktop processor, that leverages the same Zen microarchitecture that debuted with Ryzen 7. The top-end Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is a multi-chip module featuring 16 processor cores (two discrete die), with support for 32 threads. The base frequency for the 1950X is 3.4GHz, with all-core boost clocks of up to 3.7GHz. Four of the cores will regularly boost up to 4GHz, however, and power and temperature permitting, those four cores will reach 4.2GHz when XFR kicks in. The 12-core Threadripper 1920X has very similar clocks and its boost and XFR frequencies are exactly the same. The Threadripper 1920X's base-clock, however, is 100MHz higher than its big brother, at 3.5GHz. In a litany of benchmarks with multi-threaded workloads, Threadripper 1950X and 1920X high core-counts, in addition to strong SMT scaling, result in the best multi-threaded scores seen from any single CPU to date. Threadripper also offers massive amounts of memory bandwidth and more IO than other Intel processors. Though absolute power consumption is somewhat high, Threadrippers are significantly more efficient than AMD's previous-generation processors. In lightly-threaded workloads, Threadripper trails Intel's latest Skylake-X CPUs, however, which translates to lower performance in applications and games that can't leverage all of Threadripper's additional compute resources. Threadripper 1950X and 1920X processors are available starting today at $999 and $799, respectively. On a per-core basis, they're less expensive than Intel Skylake-X and very competitively priced.

Submission + - Japanese company develops new battery that will double electric car range 2

SmartAboutThings writes: According to a recent report from Nikkei business daily, it would seem that Japan's GS Yuasa Corp will begin mass-producing as early as in 2020 a new lithium-ion battery that would double the range of electric vehicles while keeping prices at the same level.

The new battery will be developed by a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. For instance, Mitsubishi Motors' i-MiEV compact, has a scope of around 170km per charge. The new battery would extend the range to some 340km, comparable to that of a large electric vehicle which can hold a bigger battery.

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