Submission + - Women Soccer | USWNT | NCAA | NWSL | - Weekend Round-Up (

wademill writes: While the NWSL took their last week off before the regular season ends and playoffs begin, conference play kicked off for many soccer programs in the NCAA. A lot of attention also turned to international headlines, including an exciting win for the USWNT against New Zealand. Be sure to read up on everything you missed in women's soccer last week.

Submission + - NASA's Hubble Captures Blistering Pitch-Black Planet (

schwit1 writes: The oddball exoplanet, called WASP-12b, is one of a class of so-called “hot Jupiters,” gigantic, gaseous planets that orbit very close to their host star and are heated to extreme temperatures. The planet’s atmosphere is so hot that most molecules are unable to survive on the blistering day side of the planet, where the temperature is 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, clouds probably cannot form to reflect light back into space. Instead, incoming light penetrates deep into the planet’s atmosphere where it is absorbed by hydrogen atoms and converted to heat energy.

“We did not expect to find such a dark exoplanet,” said Taylor Bell of McGill University and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, lead researcher of the Hubble study. “Most hot Jupiters reflect about 40 percent of starlight.”

Submission + - This app collects women's stories to fight harassment in developing countries (

yazzed writes: After a 23-year-old woman died from being brutally gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi, India back in 2012, ElsaMarie D'Silva — an aviation professional turned social entrepreneur — was compelled to join the global conversation surrounding sexual violence against women.

In hopes of making cities safer for women, D'Silva and a group of friends developed Safecity — an app that crowdsources and documents incidents of sexual harassment and assault that occur in public spaces.

Submission + - Breitbart's FBI file details how site accidentally DDoS'd itself (

v3rgEz writes: On January 17, 2016, the alt-right news site Breitbart found itself under siege: A number of IP addresses were sending a large amount of traffic its way, straining its servers. Writing to the FBI two days later with the subject line “Request for assistance,” someone (identity redacted) shared the source of the IP addresses and asked that the FBI “explore the possibility that the identity of the criminal be identified from this fingerprint.” It turns out, documents FOIA'd by MuckRock show, it was an inside job.

Submission + - Memorial set for Pi Day creator

linuxwrangler writes: In 1988 at retreat for San Francisco Exploratorium staff, Larry Shaw proposed linking the digits of pi, which begins 3.14, with the date March 14. Initially the "holiday" was only celebrated by museum staff but it didn't take long for the idea to spread and Pi Day was born.

For 38 years, Mr. Shaw donned a red cap emblazoned with the magic digits and led a parade of museum goers, each of them holding a sign bearing one of the digits of pi.

Shaw died August 19 at age 78 and a memorial is planned for Sunday September 24.

Submission + - Potentially deadly bomb ingredients are 'frequently bought together' on Amazon (

schwit1 writes: Amazon’s algorithm guides users to the necessary chemical combinations for producing explosives and incendiary devices. Ingredients which are innocent on their own are suggested for purchase together as “Frequently bought together” products, as it does with all other goods.

Ingredients for black powder and thermite are grouped together under a “Frequently bought together” section on listings for specific chemicals.

Steel ball bearings often used as shrapnel in explosive devices, ignition systems and remote detonators are also readily available; some promoted by the website on the same page as these chemicals as products that “Customers who bought this item also bought”.

Submission + - Electronic Frontier Foundation resigns from Web Consortium (

Frobnicator writes: Four years ago the W3C began standardizing Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME. Several organizations, including the EFF, have argued against DRM within web browsers. Earlier this year, after the W3C leadership officially recommended EME despite failing to reach consensus, the EFF filed the first-ever official appeal that the decision be formally polled for consensus. That appeal has been denied, and for the first time the W3C is endorsing a standard against the consensus of its members. In response the EFF published their resignation from the body:

The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. ... Today, the W3C bequeaths an legally unauditable attack-surface to browsers used by billions of people.

Effective today, EFF is resigning from the W3C.

Submission + - Are "AI" data based assessments out of control? (

endercase writes: No doubt you have heard about the "AI" that can "guess if a white man in a photograph was gay with 81 percent accuracy" and the controversy surrounding it. The team that made it has of course received death threats (per norm). But, there are far more "big data" style "AI" that are using probability to make judgments that inept users view as definite that have yet to receive their 15 minutes of societal review. The question has been proposed by WIRED 'Do we 'need' some kind of 'ethical' authority 'watchdog' group to help use save us from ourselves?'

Submission + - Stack Overflow Launches Salary Calculator For Developers 1

An anonymous reader writes: Stack Overflow today launched Salary Calculator, a tool that lets developers check out typical salaries across the industry. The calculated results are based on five factors: location, education, years of professional coding experience, developer type, and technologies used professionally. Stack Overflow is releasing the tool because it believes developers should be empowered with more information around job searches, careers, and salary. The company noticed ads on Stack Overflow Jobs that include salary information get 75 percent more clicks than ads without salary information. Even in cases when the salary range is below average, the ads still get 60 percent more clicks.

Submission + - President Obama Pledges Continued Support for K-12 CS Education

theodp writes: "Join us Sep.18 for a National Briefing Call on #CSforALL w/ a special guest you won't want to miss!" teased tweets from the CS for All Consortium, which is trying to keep a K-12 CS initiative from the Obama administration alive by promoting computer science education throughout the country. The surprise guest? President Obama, who pledged his personal support for the initiative as well as that of the Obama Foundation, and later took to Twitter to offer the group "thanks for your work to make sure every kid can compete in a high-tech, global economy." The President added that he wanted to be kept abreast of next month's CS for All Conference, which Edscoop reported will see a number of Obama-era policy wonks report progress on the former President's unfunded-but-still-ticking CS for All initiative. The President's continued commitment to K-12 CS may surprise some, since Michelle Obama indicated at WWDC17 that the First Family's teenage daughters were "done" with tech and science.

Submission + - Why Didn't Florida Power & Light Do More To Prepare For Irma? (

schwit1 writes: FPL's workers on the ground seem to be doing all they can to fix downed lines and restore power to homes, and they deserve huge credit for working around the clock in awful conditions.

But the company's corporate and government-relations wings have serious questions to answer this week after quashing regulations that could have made the energy grid stronger at a slight expense to FPL's billion-dollar bottom line.

Hurricane Wilma, the last 'cane to hit South Florida, tore through the area in 2005 and killed power to 3.24 million of FPL's then-4.3 million customers (75 percent of the grid). Many of those customers had to wait up to two weeks for power to return. Since then, the company has spent more than $2 billion supposedly girding itself against the next storm, according to a Sun Sentinel piece published before Irma hit.

But after Irma — which by most reports brought only Category 1-strength winds to South Florida — by some measures the company did even worse. Despite all of those upgrades, an even larger percentage of FPL's customer base — 4.4 of 4.9 million customers, almost 90 percent — lost electricity this past weekend.


Thanks to power-company rules, it's impossible across Florida to simply buy a solar panel and power your individual home with it. You are instead legally mandated to connect your panels to your local electric grid.

More egregious, FPL mandates that if the power goes out, your solar-power system must power down along with the rest of the grid, robbing potentially needy people of power during major outages.

"Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outage," the company's solar-connection rules state. "The system must shut down when FPL's grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL's grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid."

Astoundingly, state rules also mandate that solar customers include a switch that cleanly disconnects their panels from FPL's system while keeping the rest of a home's power lines connected. But during a disaster like the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, FPL customers aren't allowed to simply flip that switch and keep their panels going. (But FPL is, however, allowed to disconnect your panels from the grid without warning you. The company can even put a padlock on it.)

Submission + - Diving Deep into Wild & Wacky Open Source Licenses (

hleclairblackduck writes: Copyleft terms seemed pretty strange to many seasoned attorneys familiar with commercial software licenses when they first encountered the GPL, but it is far from the weirdest license out there. The GPL-2.0 remains the most popular license and the choice for millions of open source components available today, but there is a long, long tail of over 2700 licenses in the Black Duck KnowledgeBase — many of which are one-offs. While the GPL has come to be reasonably well-understood, a number of licenses on the lunatic fringe will surprise and perhaps amuse.

Submission + - Why You Shouldn't Use Texts For Two-Factor Authentication (

An anonymous reader writes: A demonstration video posted by Positive Technologies (and first reported by Forbes) shows how easy it is to hack into a bitcoin wallet by intercepting text messages in transit. The group targeted a Coinbase account protected by two-factor authentication, which was registered to a Gmail account also protected by two-factor. By exploiting known flaws in the cell network, the group was able to intercept all text messages sent to the number for a set period of time. That was enough to reset the password to the Gmail account and then take control of the Coinbase wallet. All the group needed was the name, surname and phone number of the targeted Bitcoin user. These were security researchers rather than criminals, so they didn’t actually steal anyone’s bitcoin, although that would have been an easy step to take. At a glance, this looks like a Coinbase vulnerability, but the real weakness is in the cellular system itself. Positive Technologies was able to hijack the text messages using its own research tool, which exploits weaknesses in the cellular network to intercept text messages in transit. Known as the SS7 network, that network is shared by every telecom to manage calls and texts between phone numbers. There are a number of known SS7 vulnerabilities, and while access to the SS7 network is theoretically restricted to telecom companies, hijacking services are frequently available on criminal marketplaces.

Submission + - Equifax Stock Sales Are the Focus of US Criminal Probe (

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into whether top officials at Equifax Inc. violated insider trading laws when they sold stock before the company disclosed that it had been hacked, according to people familiar with the investigation. U.S. prosecutors in Atlanta, who the people said are looking into the share sales, said in a statement they are examining the breach and theft of people’s personal information in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Securities and Exchange Commission is working with prosecutors on the investigation into stock sales, according to another person familiar with the matter. Investigators are looking at the stock sales by Equifax’s chief financial officer, John Gamble; its president of U.S. information solutions, Joseph Loughran; and its president of workforce solutions, Rodolfo Ploder, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the probe is confidential. Equifax disclosed earlier this month that it discovered a security breach on July 29. The three executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million in early August. The company has said the managers didn’t know of the breach at the time they sold the shares. Regulatory filings don’t show that the transactions were part of pre-scheduled trading plans.

Submission + - 8 IT Hiring Trends — And 8 Going Cold

snydeq writes: Recruiting and retaining tech talent remains IT’s biggest challenge today, writes Paul Heltzel, in an article on what trends are heating up and what’s cooling off when it comes to IT staffing. 'One thing hasn’t changed this year: Recruiting top talent is still difficult for most firms, and demand greatly outstrips supply. That’s influencing many of the areas we looked at, including compensation and retention. Whether you’re looking to expand your team or job searching yourself, read on to see which IT hiring practices are trending and which ones are falling out of favor.' What are you seeing companies favoring in the hiring market these days?

Submission + - Is AI Dangerous? Would you believe a billionaire or a hacker? (

An anonymous reader writes: Hackaday says that AI isn't going to become a menace in the way that Elon Musk and other high-profile people claim--at least, not soon. Is Musk and others really saying that AI is going to take over? Or are they saying it is going to make us lazy and stupid and the media is recasting it? Or is Hackaday right and the parlor tricks being passed off as AI today really of no consequence?

Submission + - HTML5 DRM standard is a go (

Artem Tashkinov writes: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

EME provides a standard interface for DRM protection of media delivered through the browser. EME is not itself a DRM scheme; rather, it defines how Web content can work with third-party Content Decryption Modules (CDMs) that handle the proprietary decryption and rights-management portion. The principal groups favoring the development of EME have been streaming media companies such as Netflix and Microsoft, Google, and Apple, companies that both develop browsers and operate streaming media services.

Submission + - Amazon's Ageing Nomadic Workforce (

nightcats writes: It's a story about corporate culture, tech old and new, retail, growing older, and the continuing fallout of the Great Recession. A somewhat long read for the tl;dr set, but eminently worth the time and attention of all those for whom words still have meaning.

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