Submission + - 75 British Highrise Buildings Fail Fire Safety Tests, 600 More To Be Tested (

dryriver writes: The catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in London killed 79 people, injured many others and made headlines around the world. After the national shock and mourning caused by this tragic event, the British government has hastily implemented a program where building cladding samples taken from highrise buildings thought to be at risk of fire are sent to a testing laboratory and subjected to a "combustibility test". The result: 75 buildings in 26 council areas have failed fire safety tests — every one tested so far. Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has said all hospitals and schools had also been asked to carry out "immediate checks". He has said the fact all tested samples had failed the so-called combustibility test underlined the "vital importance of submitting samples urgently". "The testing facility can analyse 100 samples a day and runs around the clock. I am concerned at the speed at which samples are being submitted". "I would urge all landlords to submit their samples immediately," Mr Javid told the House of Commons. Cladding from as many as 600 tower blocks across England is being tested for safety.

Submission + - Do Cyber Attacks Against Political Targets Constitute an Act of War (

SciFiTurboGeek writes: This blog mentions the recent rise of cyber attacks and the shift to political targets in recent years and suggests they may be acts of war (in absence of any cyber treaties). Then it suggests that an ongoing stealth cyber war combined with reports of IT vendors giving source code to Russia may accelerate the migration of legacy apps to the cloud.

Submission + - Zillow threatens architecture blogger with lawsuit 2

Theaetetus writes: McMansion Hell (link goes to Google cache) is an architecture blog, with hilarity and education in a rarely found combination. Author Kate Wagner posts critiques of large, ostentatious modern houses (frequently called "McMansions") using annotated photos from real estate aggregators. Or at least, she used to, until recent threats from Zillow forced her to shut the site down.

In an interview with The Verge, Wagner said, “this blog is my entire livelihood and I am at risk of losing everything." It's tough to see how fair use (codified at 17 U.S.C. 107) does not apply to this sort of educational criticism, but easy to imagine how these threats could have chilling effects on any public commentary.

Submission + - UW study finds Seattle's $15/hr minimum wage is costing jobs (

RoccamOccam writes: Seattle Washington decided to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour. Supporters of the hike promised an effective model for cities around the United States. The results are in. From the study:

"The city’s escalating minimum wage has meant a slight increase in pay among workers earning up to $19 per hour, but the hours worked in such jobs have shrunk, a study commissioned by the city found. It estimates there would be 5,000 more such jobs without the Seattle law."

Submission + - Fake online stores reveal gamblers' shadow banking system

randomErr writes: A network of dummy online stores offering household goods has been used as a front for internet gambling payments. The seven sites in Europe to sell items including fabric, DVD cases, and maps are fake outlets. The faux store fronts are a multinational system to disguise payments for the $40 billion global online gambling industry. Online gambling is illegal in many countries and some U.S. states. The dummy sites underline a strategy which regulators, card issuers and banks have yet to tackle head-on.

Submission + - Linux is running on almost all of the top 500 supercomputers ( 1

linuxnew writes: Linux is still running on more than 99% of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. Same as last year, 498 out of top 500 supercomputers run Linux while remaining 2 run Unix.

No supercomputer dared to run Windows (pun intended). And of course, no supercomputer runs macOS because Apple has not manufactured the ‘iSupercomputer’ yet.

Submission + - HyperThreading Flaw In Intel 6th And 7th Gen Processors Requires BIOS Update Fix (

MojoKid writes: A new flaw has been discovered that impacts Intel 6th and 7th Generation Skylake and Kaby Lake-based processors that support HyperThreading. The issue affects all OS types and is detailed by Intel errata documentation and points out that under complex micro-architectural conditions, short loops of less than 64 instructions that use AH, BH, CH or DH registers, as well as their corresponding wider register (e.g. RAX, EAX or AX for AH), may cause unpredictable system behavior, including crashes and potential data loss. The OCaml toolchain community first began investigating processors with these malfunctions back in January and found reports stemming back to at least the first half of 2016. The OCaml team was able pinpoint the issue to Skylake's HyperThreading implementation and notified Intel. While Intel reportedly did not respond directly, it has issued some microcode fixes since then. That's not the end of the story, however, as the microcode fixes need to be implemented into BIOS/UEFI updates as well and it is not clear at this time if all major vendors have included these changes in their latest revisions.

Submission + -, Adafruit Partner on CS Discoveries Course for 30,000+ 7th-9th Graders

theodp writes: On Friday, tech-bankrolled announced it has partnered with Adafruit to create a classroom kit of the Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic boards and accessories, based on the Arduino platform, for use with its new CS Discoveries course, which the nonprofit said will be taught to 30,000+ students in grades 7-9 this year. will subsidize a $325 Circuit Playground Educators' Pack for every teacher participating in its 2017-18 CS Discoveries professional learning program, picking up the full bill for teachers from schools with half the students on free or reduced meal plans, and 70% of the tab for all other teachers., which enjoys the backing of tech billionaires and their corporations/foundations, coincidentally came out of stealth in February 2013, less than two weeks after Adafruit CEO Limor Fried asked President Obama during a Google-curated post-State of the Union "fireside chat" if a national effort should be made to add a programming language requirement for high school students. "I think it makes sense, I really do," replied the President (YouTube). Another question posed by Fried during the Google+ hangout — "What are you planning to do to limit the abuses of software patents?" — prompted speculation from an Oracle-supported nonprofit that "Google appears to have helped select the questions posed to President Obama, even inserting questions on topics important to the company's business." In its ongoing series examining how Silicon Valley is gaining influence in public schools, the NY Times recently took note of Google's and's growing influence.

Submission + - Fired Employee Hacks and Shuts Down Smart Water Readers in Five US Cities (

An anonymous reader writes: A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for hacking and disabling base stations belonging to water utility providers in five cities across the US East Coast. Called TGB, these devices collect data from smart meters installed at people's homes and relay the information to the water provider's main systems, where it is logged, monitored for incidents, and processed for billing. Before he was fired by the unnamed TGB manufacturing company, Flanagan's role was to set up these devices.

After he was fired, Flanagan used former root account passwords to log onto the devices and disable their ability to communicate with their respective water utility providers' upstream equipment. He wasn't that careful, as the FBI was able to trace back the attacks to his home. Apparently, the guy wasn't that silent, leaving behind a lot of clues. Flanagan's attacks resulted in water utility providers not being able to collect user equipment readings remotely. This incurred damage to the utility providers, who had to send out employees at customer premises to collect monthly readings. He was arrested in Nov 2014, and later pleaded guilty.

Submission + - Ubuntu Phone project failed because it was a mess: claim (

troublemaker_23 writes: A developer who worked with the Ubuntu Phone project has outlined the reasons for its failure, painting a picture of confusion, poor communication and lack of technical and marketing foresight. Simon Raffeiner stopped working with the project in mid-2016, about 10 months before Canonical owner Mark Shuttleworth announced that development of the phone and the tablet were being stopped.

Submission + - Does US have right to data on overseas servers? We're about to find out ( 2

tychoS writes:

The Justice Department on Friday petitioned the US Supreme Court to step into an international legal thicket, one that asks whether US search warrants extend to data stored on foreign servers. The US government says it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world's servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored. The request for Supreme Court intervention concerns a 4-year-old legal battle between Microsoft and the US government over data stored on Dublin, Ireland servers. The US government has a valid warrant for the e-mail as part of a drug investigation. Microsoft balked at the warrant, and convinced a federal appeals court that US law does not apply to foreign data.

Submission + - Why So Many Top Hackers Come from Russia (

tsu doh nimh writes: Brian Krebs has an interesting piece this week on one reason that so many talented hackers (malicious and benign) seem to come from Russia and the former Soviet States: It's the education, stupid. Krebs's report doesn't look at the socioeconomic reasons, but instead compares how the US and Russia educate students from K-12 in subjects which lend themselves to a master in coding and computers — most notably computer science. The story shows that the Russians have for the past 30 years been teaching kids about computer science and then testing them on it starting in elementary school and through high school. The piece also looks at how kids in the US vs. Russia are tested on what they are supposed to have learned.

Submission + - Cool Pavement Works in LA

mikeebbbd writes: As reported in the LA Daily News, during the current heatwave various officials swooped down on streets coated with an experimental light-gray sealer that makes the old asphalt into a "cool street" — and it works, with average temperature differences between coated streets and adjacent old asphalt around 10F. At a large parking lot, the temperature reduction was over 20F. If the material holds up and continues to meet other criteria, LA plans to use it on more pavement rehab projects, which could eventually make a difference in the heat island effect.

The "CoolSeal" coating is apparently proprietary to a company named GuardTop LLC, costs $25-40K/mile, and lasts 5-7 years. At that price, it's might not be used a lot, at least at first; typical slurry seals run $15-30K/mile.

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