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Submission + - Reading the Unreadable: Inside the PSoC4 SROM (hackaday.com) 1

dmitrygr writes: This article explains how I figured out how Cypress's jury-rigged "supervisor" mode in the PSoC4 family works, dumped the secret unreadable SROM, exploited it, and found a way to unlock extra flash in the PSoC4 as well as how you can develop scary rootkits for touchpads and touchscreens that use Cypress chips. I provide the code to do this yourself as well as as much guidance as I possibly can, for now. Along the way I explain how this was all done and what steps it took. This article encompasses a work of about a month.

Submission + - Strong tail muscles helped dinosaurs to go bipedal (topexaminer.com)

hypnosec writes: Strong tail muscles are the reason why proto-dinosaur ancestors became bipedal and this bipedalism was inherited by dinosaurs over the course of millions of years, says a new study by scientists in Canada. University of Alberta scientists have revealed through their study [PDF] published in Journal of Theoretical Biology that dinosaurs didn’t just start walking on their two back feet overnight, but it was strong tails of their proto-dinosaur ancestors that played a huge role in enabling the dinosaurs stand on their two feet and move about. This is by far one of the most plausible explanations behind the bipedalism of dinosaurs.

Submission + - Pumped-storage hydroelectricity project StEnSEA completes first practial test (fraunhofer.de)

nachtkap writes: The first 1:10 scale prototype of the Pumped-storage hydroelectricity system StEnSEA has completed it's practical test on Friday. It was retrieved from Lake Constance, where it was submerged at a depth of 100m since November. The System was developed by the Fraunhofer-Institut IWES in Kassel, Germany in collaboration with its inventors, the physicists Prof. Schmidt-Böcking and Dr. Luther from the universities in Frankfurt and Saarbrücken respectively. The German Trade Department and Department of Education and Research as well as the German construction company Hochtief are also involved with the Project.(Press release, Pictures and detailed project information in German)
The prototype was used to test details of the construction, installation, powertrain setup, electrical systems, operation management and regulation, system state monitoring and the dynamic modelling and simulation of the whole system.
The system's hollow concrete spheres are intended to be used in conjunction with off-shore wind-farms to serve as energy storage for peak hours. The spheres are ultimately supposed to be submerged near off-shore wind-farms and pumped free of water with excess energy. When additional energy is needed during peak hours the system goes into reverse and water rushes in driving a turbine. To be economical the full scale 30m spheres with 3m thick walls need depths of 600 — 800m. At 700m the system's has a capacity of 20MWh, with a linear capacity increase as depth increases. Good locations for these spheres would be coastal areas with high population density that feature such depths, such as Norway, Japan, the US and Spain.
Summary and translation from German are my own.

Submission + - U.S. to Temporarily Suspend Expediting for H-1B Visas (uscis.gov) 1

elrous0 writes: According to an U.S. Immigration Services press release:

Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.

While the ostensible reason given for this suspension is to "help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times," there is little doubt that this move is tied to President Trump's ongoing efforts to curb abuses in the controversial H-1B program.

Submission + - FCC Chair Wants Carriers To Block Robocalls From Spoofed Numbers (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The FCC in 2015 made it clear that voice service providers can offer call blocking tools to customers, but commissioners said at the time that more needed to be done about Caller ID spoofing. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has now scheduled a preliminary vote for March 23 on new rules designed to solve the problem. "One particularly pernicious category of robocalls is spoofed robocalls—i.e., robocalls where the caller ID is faked, hiding the caller’s true identity," the proposal says. "Fraudsters bombard consumers’ phones at all hours of the day with spoofed robocalls, which in some cases lure consumers into scams (e.g., when a caller claims to be collecting money owed to the Internal Revenue Service) or lead to identity theft." The proposed rules would let providers "block spoofed robocalls when the spoofed Caller ID can’t possibly be valid." Providers would be able to block numbers that aren't valid under the North American Numbering Plan and block valid numbers that haven't been allocated to any phone company. They'd also be able to block valid numbers that have been allocated to a phone company but haven't been assigned to a subscriber. The proposal would also codify the FCC's previous guidance that phone companies can block calls when requested by the spoofed number’s subscriber. The upcoming vote on March 23 is for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which means the rules won't take effect immediately. The FCC uses NPRMs to seek comment on proposals before issuing final rules.

Comment Happy with less (Score 1) 137

Two years untouched, I returned and saw its screen had gone blank. Linux distro, booted from DVD, in-RAM, quite a chore to bring everything back after shutdown and reboot. But it wasn't needed: ctrl-alt-F2, init 2 to be sure, init 5 and presto the desktop was back. Singing along. Whatever the issue it didn't take my old Linux down. Happy for life's little joys.

Submission + - Why Windows hack is being blamed on Russia-linked group

bestweasel writes: BBC News summarizes the evidence for the Russian state being behind a whole host of cyber-attacks since 2007, via the Fancy Bears hacking group. There is no smoking gun but the article and those linked within it suggest evidence of Russian involvement in the language and timestamps of the malware as well as the list of targets: the Georgian, German, Romainian and Polish governments, Ukraine, Russian dissidents, NATO, the MH17 investigation team, as well as the US Democratic Party, US media and US athletes' drug testing records and more generally targets of interest to governments rather than those after money. The same hackers also shut down a French TV station and a Ukrainian power station, probably just to see if they could.

The article is based on Microsoft's accusation that the group is exploiting the still unpatched flaw in Windows but it's probably no co-incidence that this comes just after the head of MI5 warned about Russia's increased aggression.

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