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Submission + - "Deaths in 2017" was Wikipedia's Most Popular Article in 2017 (wikipedia.org)

westand writes: Wikipedia's top 5000 articles have been compiled, with "Deaths in 2017" gaining the top spot at 37.4M views. Last year's most popular page, "Donald Trump", fell to #2 with 29.6M views, down 46.4M compared to 2016. The Wikipedia community also has produced commentary and insights into what drove traffic to the top 50 articles.

While individual deaths like those of "Charles Manson" (#39), "Chester Bennington" (#60), and "Tom Petty" (#99) contributed to the morbid interests of readers in the aggregate, it was instead pop-culture that broadly dominates the 2017 list: British royalty (aided by "The Crown"), Game of Thrones, superhero movies, and Bollywood cinema all feature prominently.

The height of popularity was achieved on November 27 by the "Megan Markle" article, per the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, earning it 3.3M views. Mobile devices accounted for 46% of traffic, and it is interesting to see how this fluctuates based on the topic and its target demographic. The top 5000 articles account for 19.5 billion impressions and provide a fascinating look into viewership patterns.

Submission + - Firefox Prepares to Mark All HTTP Sites "Not Secure" After HTTPS Adoption Rises (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The increased adoption of HTTPS among website operators will soon lead to browsers marking HTTP pages as "Not Secure" by default, and Mozilla is taking the first steps. The current Firefox Nightly Edition (version 59) includes a secret configuration option that when activated will show a visible visual indicator that the current page is not secure. In its current form, this visual indicator is a red line striking through a classic lock that's normally used to signal the presence of encrypted HTTPS pages.

According to Let’s Encrypt, 67% of web pages loaded by Firefox in November 2017 used HTTPS, compared to only 45% at the end of last year.

Submission + - Apple Confirms iPhone With Older Batteries Will Take Hits On Performance (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Reddit users have noticed that Apple appears to be slowing down old iPhones that have low-capacity batteries. While many iPhone users have experienced perceived slowdowns due to iOS updates over the years, it appears that there’s now proof Apple is throttling processor speeds when a battery capacity deteriorates over time. Geekbench developer John Poole has mapped out performance for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time, and has come to the conclusion that Apple’s iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2.0 updates introduce this throttling for different devices. iOS 10.2.1 is particularly relevant, as this update was designed to reduce random shutdown issues for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Apple’s fix appears to be throttling the CPU to prevent the phone from randomly shutting down. Geekbench reports that iOS 11.2.0 introduces similar throttling for low iPhone 7 low-capacity batteries.

When reached for comment, Apple basically confirmed the findings to The Verge, but disputes the assumed intention: "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components. Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future."

Submission + - Installing Ubuntu Linux 17.10 Is Now Bricking Lenovo Laptop

An anonymous reader writes: It seems that there is a bug in specific models of Lenovo laptops. These systems are bricked when users are trying to install one of the most popular Linux distros. Canonical the company behind Ubuntu Linux currently is not allowing anyone to download Ubuntu 17.10 and posted a message that read as, "The download of Ubuntu 17.10 is currently discouraged due to an issue on certain Lenovo laptops. Once fixed this download will be enabled again." The detailed bug report is here. This is not the first Linux with poor bios implementation caused bricked system. Back in 2016, running "rm -rf /" caused the same problem and was bricking many Linux based system.

Submission + - Facebook Facial Recognition Gets Even Creepier

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook announced new facial recog settings for uploaded images:
https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2...
Naturally it is"opt out" not "opt in". Plus no way for a non-Facebook user to opt-out unless you sign up for Facebook first. You can be a face in the background of a photo taken at a restaurant and now your face is scanned along with any others in the photo just waiting for you to sign up and acknowledge it is your face.

Submission + - 12 Days in Xinjiang - China's surveillance state (wsj.com)

b0s0z0ku writes: China has turned Xinjiang, the Northwestern part of the country surrounding Urumqi, into one of the most advanced surveillance states in the world. Officially, the purpose is to prevent terrorism and control resistance to the government in one of the few parts of China where ethnic Chinese are a minority.

From routine use of facial recognition cameras, to police checkpoints where people's cell phones randomly are checked for unauthorized software, to needing to swipe an ID card and be photographed to buy gasoline and other necessities, the level of technology — and control — is frightening and awe-inspiring.

Submission + - FDA Just Approved The First-Ever Gene Therapy For an Inherited Disease (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: In a historic move, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a pioneering gene therapy for a rare form of childhood blindness, the first such treatment cleared in the United States for an inherited disease.

The approval signals a new era for gene therapy, a field that struggled for decades to overcome devastating setbacks but now is pushing forward in an effort to develop treatments for haemophilia, sickle-cell anaemia, and an array of other genetic diseases.

Yet the products, should they reach patients, are likely to cost as much as US$1 million for both eyes.

Submission + - Facebook is giving the US government more and more data (qz.com) 2

schwit1 writes: Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide, including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. According to a new report released by the company on Dec. 18, these requests are increasing.

In the US, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising—it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.

Submission + - Youbit Shuts Down Crypto-Currency Exchange After 2nd Hack, Files For Bankruptcy (bbc.com)

phalse phace writes: After experiencing another hack, South Korean crypto-currency exchange Youbit has closed their doors and is filing for bankruptcy.

Youbit, which lets people buy and sell bitcoins and other virtual currencies, has filed for bankruptcy after losing 17% of its assets in the cyber-attack.

It did not disclose how much the assets were worth at the time of the attack.

In April, Youbit, formerly called Yapizon, lost 4,000 bitcoins now worth $73m (£55m) to cyberthieves.

South Korea's Internet and Security Agency (Kisa) which investigates net crime, said it had started an enquiry into how the thieves gained access to the exchange's core systems.

Kisa blamed the earlier attack on Youbit on cyber-spies working for North Korea. Separate, more recent, attacks on the Bithumb and Coinis exchanges, have also been blamed on the regime.

No information has been released about who might have been behind the latest Youbit attack.

In a statement, Youbit said that customers would get back about 75% of the value of the crypto-currency they have lodged with the exchange.

Submission + - Protestors Hit the Streets to Fight the Gutting of Network Neutrality (freezenet.ca)

Dangerous_Minds writes: As the battle to save network neutrality rages on online, many are now hitting the streets. Freeznet is reporting that many are turning out during a national day of action to stop the gutting of network neutrality. The protests are being organized by Battle for the Net who also set up a website called Verizon Protests to monitor the ongoing day of action.

Submission + - The US Is Testing a Microwave Weapon To Stop North Korea's Missiles (vox.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to an NBC News report, the weapon — which is still under development — could be put on a cruise missile and shot at an enemy country from a B-52 bomber. It’s designed to use microwaves to target enemy military facilities and destroy electronic systems, like computers, that control their missiles. The weapon itself wouldn’t damage the buildings or cause casualties. Air Force developers have been working with Boeing on the system since 2009. They’re hoping to receive up to $200 million for more prototyping and testing in the latest defense bill. There’s just one problem. It’s not clear that the weapon is entirely ready for use — and it’s not clear that it would be any more effective than the powerful weapons the U.S. already possesses. The weapon, which has the gloriously military-style name of Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, isn’t quite ready for action, but it could be soon. Two unnamed Air Force officials told NBC that the weapon could be ready for use in just a few days.

Submission + - What It Looks Like When You Fry Your Eye In An Eclipse (npr.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Doctors in New York say a woman in her 20s came in three days after looking at the Aug. 21 eclipse without protective glasses. She had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was only partially covered by the moon. Four hours later, she started experiencing blurred and distorted vision and saw a central black spot in her left eye. The doctors studied her eyes with several different imaging technologies, described in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, and were able to observe the damage at the cellular level.

"We were very surprised at how precisely concordant the imaged damage was with the crescent shape of the eclipse itself," noted Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, in an email to NPR. He says this was the most severely injured patient they saw after the eclipse. All in all, 22 people came to their urgent care clinic with concerns about possible eclipse-related damage, and most of them complained of blurred vision. Of those, only three showed some degree of abnormality in the retina. Two of them had only mild changes, however, and their symptoms have gone away. The young woman described in this case report, at last check, still has not recovered normal vision.

Submission + - Volkswagen Executive Sentenced To Maximum Prison Term For His Role In Dieselgate (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: On Wednesday, a U.S. District judge in Detroit sentenced Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive, to seven years in prison for his role in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015. Schmidt was also ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000, according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. The prison term and the fine together represent the maximum sentence that Schmidt could have received under the plea deal he signed in August. Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January. In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to making a false statement under the Clean Air Act. Schmidt’s plea deal stated that the former executive could face up to seven years in prison and between $40,000 and $400,000 in fines.

Last week, Schmidt’s attorneys made a last-minute bid requesting a lighter sentence for Schmidt: 40 months of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. Schmidt also wrote a letter to the judge, which surfaced over the weekend, in which the executive said he felt “misused” by his own company and claimed that higher-ranked VW executives coached him on a script to help him lie to a California Air Resources Board (CARB) official. Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal. Only one other VW employee has been sentenced in connection with the emissions scandal: former engineer James Liang, who received 40 months in prison and two years of supervised release as the result of his plea deal. Although six other VW Group executives have been indicted, none is in U.S. custody.

Submission + - Toyota's New Power Plant Will Create Clean Energy from Manure (usatoday.com)

schwit1 writes: Japanese automobile giant Toyota is making some exciting moves in the realm of renewable, clean energy. The company is planning to build a power plant in California that turns the methane gas produced by cow manure into water, electricity, and hydrogen. The project, known as the Tri-Gen Project, was unveiled at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show. The plant, which will be located at the Port of Long Beach in California, will be "the world’s first commercial-scale 100% renewable power and hydrogen generation plant," writes USA Today. Toyota is expecting the plant to come online in about 2020.

The plant is expected to have the capability to provide enough energy to power 2,350 average homes and enough fuel to operate 1,500 hydrogen-powered vehicles daily. The company is estimating the plant to be able to produce 2.35 MW of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen each day. The facility will also be equipped with one of the largest hydrogen fueling stations in the world. Toyota's North America group vice president for strategic planning, Doug Murtha, says that the company "understand[s] the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society."

Submission + - Google, Chance The Rapper Host $1.5M 'Hour of Code' for Chicago Public Schools

theodp writes: In case you didn't notice the 'Coding for Carrots' Google Doodle (or get $100 for steering kids to Google's 'Hour of Code' lesson), this week is Computer Science Education Week. And on the third day of CsEdWeek, Google announced it was teaming up with Chance The Rapper to bring computer science to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). From the Official Google Blog: "Today, 5th grade students at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Academy in Chicago got a surprise. It was cool enough that they were doing a coding activity with Chicago Googlers as a part of Computer Science Education Week-but then another Chicago native joined the fun. When Chance The Rapper arrived, there were shouts of excitement and delight, and Chance even gave coding a try. SocialWorks, a non profit co-founded by Chance, is on a mission to expose youth across the city to programming and to ensure they have the support necessary to reach their full potential-with access to arts, music, and coding as a means to express themselves. Today’s visit reinforced that computer science is a part of that mission. Shortly after Chance made his coding debut, Alphabet Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, David Drummond, announced that Google.org is donating $1.5 million to to bring computer science education to students in Chicago, with $500,000 going to Chicago Public Schools’ CS4All Initiative and $1 million to SocialWorks." Chance tweeted, "Today @Google funded coding classes for 20 schools on the south and west sides. God bless everyone involved. Thank you." In 2016, less than 48 hours after the Chicago Public Schools hosted a three-hour "soiree" at Google's brand-new Chicago HQ, the CPS Board of Education voted unanimously to make CS a graduation requirement for all high school students in the nation's third largest school district. A comprehensive K-12 CS program for Chicago Public School students — including a partnership with then-nascent Code.org — was announced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to kick off the first Hour of Code in December 2013.

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