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Submission + - Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police ( 1

schwit1 writes: More than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies around the world help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.

All of them have confidentiality agreements barring Google, YouTube’s parent company, from revealing their participation to the public, a Google representative told The Daily Caller on Thursday.

A handful of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech, a European organization focused on combatting intolerance, have chosen to go public with their participation in the program, but the vast majority have stayed hidden behind the confidentiality agreements. Most groups in the program don’t want to be publicly associated with it, according to the Google spokesperson, who spoke only on background.

Submission + - RocketLab achieves first successful orbital mission. (

Hairy1 writes: RocketLab launched it's second test Electron rocket today, successfully inserting an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet and two Lemur-2 satellites for Spire for weather and ship tracking into orbit. The aim of RocketLab is to substantially reduce the cost of launches through using new technologies such as lithium ion batteries to run turbo pumps, 3D printing of engine parts and new construction materials. It also represents New Zealand becoming the eleventh country to achieve spaceflight.

Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, says the test is an important next step in democratizing access to space to empower humanity. “Increased access to space will vastly improve humanity’s ability to build out orbital infrastructure, such as constellations of weather and Earth-imaging satellites. These will provide better data about our planet and enable us as a species to make informed decisions about how we better manage our impact. This test launch is a crucial next step in gathering more data about the Electron launch vehicle so we can deliver on this future,” he says.

Submission + - Apple, Microsoft: Give Us Tax, Immigration Reform and We'll Teach Kids to Code

theodp writes: In the press release explaining how it's going to spend some of the billions in offshore profits it's repatriating, Apple indicated that one way it'll be thanking Americans for its tax break windfall is by teaching less-than-tech-savvy U.S. kids how to code Swift programs (Apple CEO Tim Cook believes "coding should be a requirement in every public school" for children aged 9-and-up). Claiming "that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants qualified to fill them" and citing tech-bankrolled's estimate that "there are currently 503,338 open computing jobs nationwide" (interestingly, a infographic suggests Apple's 1.4M job applicant shortfall forecast is overstated), Apple announced it will be taking on the task of 'Preparing Students for the App Economy': "To address the coding skills gap and help prepare more people for jobs in software development, Apple created a powerful yet easy-to-learn coding language called Swift, the free Swift Playgrounds app and a free curriculum, App Development with Swift, which are available to anyone and are already being used by millions of students at K-12 schools, summer camps and leading community colleges across the country. Over 100,000 students and teachers have also attended coding classes at Apple retail stores. Apple will expand these initiatives and add new programs to support teachers and teacher training." You're welcome. Also eager to teach America's youngsters to code — but in exchange for immigration reform — is Microsoft. "While there are many issues to solve, we believe the country can and should take effective steps that will accelerate much-needed changes," explained Microsoft President Brad Smith in a recent Microsoft on the Issues blog post. "One such step would be implementing new fees on green cards to fund more STEM education programs for Americans — an idea we have been supporting and first proposed in 2012 with our call for A National Talent Strategy. We believe steps like this are in the nation’s interest, and we’ve engaged with the administration, leaders on Capitol Hill and regulators to share our ideas. We will continue pressing for these types of reforms and the introduction of new legislative fixes." For students of history, Mother Jones reported in 2013 on a similar immigration-reform-for-K12-STEM-education Microsoft deal that over-promised and under-delivered.

Submission + - Microsoft: Still engaging in patent extortion, just hiding behind patent trolls (

JustNiz writes: Well who woulda guessed. The ‘new’ Microsoft under Nadella is actually no different from the old company, they just spend more on marketing/PR and payoff third parties to do their dirty work for them. At least Ballmer was honest about Microsoft’s views about GNU/Linux. Nadella just shamelessly lies about those things.

Submission + - Red Hat Will Revert Spectre Patches After Receiving Reports of Boot Issues (

An anonymous reader writes: Red Hat is releasing updates for reverting previous patches for the Spectre vulnerability (Variant 2, aka CVE-2017-5715) after customers complained that some systems were failing to boot.

"Red Hat is no longer providing microcode to address Spectre, variant 2, due to instabilities introduced that are causing customer systems to not boot," the company said yesterday. "The latest microcode_ctl and linux-firmware packages are reverting these unstable microprocessor firmware changes to versions that were known to be stable and well tested, released prior to the Spectre/Meltdown embargo lift date on Jan 3rd," Red Had added.

Instead, Red Hat is recommending that each customer contact their OEM hardware provider and inquire about mitigations for CVE-2017-5715 on a per-system basis. Besides Red Hat Enterprise Linux, other RHEL-based distros like CentOS and Scientific Linux are also expected to be affected by Red Hat's decision to revert previous Spectre Variant 2 updates, so these users will also have to contact CPU/OEM vendors.

Submission + - How To Tame The Tech Titans - Google, Facebook, Amazon (

dryriver writes: The Economist has published an interesting opinion piece: "Not long ago, being the boss of a big Western tech firm was a dream job. As the billions rolled in, so did the plaudits: Google, Facebook, Amazon and others were making the world a better place. Today these companies are accused of being BAADD—big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy. Regulators fine them, politicians grill them and one-time backers warn of their power to cause harm.

Much of this techlash is misguided. The presumption that big businesses must necessarily be wicked is plain wrong. Apple is to be admired as the world’s most valuable listed company for the simple reason that it makes things people want to buy, even while facing fierce competition. Many online services would be worse if their providers were smaller. Evidence for the link between smartphones and unhappiness is weak. Fake news is not only an online phenomenon."

But big tech platforms, particularly Facebook, Google and Amazon, do indeed raise a worry about fair competition. That is partly because they often benefit from legal exemptions. Unlike publishers, Facebook and Google are rarely held responsible for what users do on them; and for years most American buyers on Amazon did not pay sales tax. Nor do the titans simply compete in a market. Increasingly, they are the market itself, providing the infrastructure (or “platforms”) for much of the digital economy. Many of their services appear to be free, but users “pay” for them by giving away their data. Powerful though they already are, their huge stockmarket valuations suggest that investors are counting on them to double or even triple in size in the next decade.

There is thus a justified fear that the tech titans will use their power to protect and extend their dominance, to the detriment of consumers (see article: The tricky task for policymakers is to restrain them without unduly stifling innovation.

Submission + - You May Be Able to Use Google's 2-Step Verification After All! (

Lauren Weinstein writes: Yesterday, I was approached by a long-time reader who told me that he had long been trying — without success — to use 2-factor, had been unable to get assistance from Google in this regard, and wondered if I could help. Perhaps you’ve had the same problem.

This Google user needed to make use of various non-Google applications via his Google account, that seemingly would only function when his Google account had 2-factor disabled.

Submission + - Electric Black Hole Jets Are Electric Universe Confirmation

Chris Reeve writes: The previously controversial claim that "astrophysical jets are fundamentally electromagnetic structures" is becoming accepted by some astrophysicists. A summary of recent publications on the subject by Don Scott in particular notes the common presence of counter-rotating cylinders in black hole jets, a feature not expected by conventional models, yet a hallmark feature of Birkeland currents which was mathematically described in a 2015 paper. Counter-rotating cylinders are considered an important prediction for the Electric Universe claim that large-scale electric currents travel through space over plasmas. This recent acknowledgement offers additional vindication for the historical claim that the history of Birkeland Currents appears to be mired in politics. A 2007 Slashdot post titled "Astronomers Again Baffled by Solar Observations" elicited a number of hostile reactions by Slashdot readers that the Electric Universe is obviously a "crackpot theory," but what happens if astrophysicists start to widely acknowledge that large-scale electric currents do indeed flow through space?

Submission + - Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer OnePlus Annouces Credit Card Breach (

sqorbit writes: OnePlus, a manufacturer of an inexpensive smartphone meant to compete with the iPhone, states that data from 40,000 customers credit card information was stolen while purchasing phones. Although only recently announcing the breach OnePlus states the the script stealing information had been running since November. It is not clear whether this was a remote attack or the attack happened from within the company. Credit purchases on the OnePlus site have been suspended and will remain that way while an investigation takes place.

Submission + - New Blood Test That Screens For Presence Of Cancer Already 70% Effective (

dryriver writes: Scientists have taken a step towards one of the biggest goals in medicine — a universal blood test for cancer. A team at Johns Hopkins University has trialled a method that detects eight common forms of the disease. Their vision is an annual test designed to catch cancer early and save lives. UK experts said it was "enormously exciting". However, one said more work was needed to assess the test's effectiveness at detecting early-stage cancers. Tumours release tiny traces of their mutated DNA and proteins they make into the bloodstream. The CancerSEEK test looks for mutations in 16 genes that regularly arise in cancer and eight proteins that are often released. It was trialled on 1,005 patients with cancers in the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung or breast that had not yet spread to other tissues. Overall, the test found 70% of the cancers. In some cases, the test also provided information about the tissue-of-origin of the cancer — a feat that has been difficult in past. Dr Cristian Tomasetti, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the BBC: "This field of early detection is critical. "I think this can have an enormous impact on cancer mortality." The earlier a cancer is found, the greater the chance of being able to treat it. Five of the eight cancers investigated have no screening programmes for early detection. Pancreatic cancer has so few symptoms and is detected so late that four in five patients die in the year they are diagnosed. Finding tumours when they could still be surgically removed would be "a night and day difference" for survival, said Dr Tomasetti.

Submission + - Is It OK for Mark Zuckerberg to Use His Facebook Powers to Influence Government?

theodp writes: "Any attempted interference is a serious issue," stated Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last September as he discussed Russian use of the Facebook platform to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. So, how does this square with Zuck's own use of Facebook to influence government? On Wednesday, as Facebook launched an investigation into whether Russia used its platform to influence the Brexit vote, Zuckerberg posted a call to action to his 101+ million Facebook followers, urging them to pressure their congressional representatives to pass legislation to protect DREAMers, and pointing them to information and lobbying tools provided at, the website of Zuck's less-than-transparent PAC, which is funded by the likes of Bill Gates and other tech billionaires. By linking DACA legislation to the government's Friday spending bill deadline, Zuckerberg and America's top CEOs have helped create a high-stakes game of chicken, which could end in another U.S. government shutdown. "Our representatives need to bring the bill to the floor by January 19th," warned in a dire Wednesday e-mail blast, "or massive chaos will be unleashed on Dreamers, our communities, our economy, and the United States as a whole."

Submission + - Update to story: Apple Is Blocking an App That Detects Net Neutrality Violation

sl3xd writes: The linked article in the story Apple Is Blocking an App That Detects Net Neutrality Violation has been updated:

After this article was published, Apple told Dave Choffnes that his iPhone app, designed to detect net neutrality violations, will be allowed in the iTunes App Store. According to Choffnes, Apple contacted him and explained that the company has to deal with many apps that don't do the things they claim to do. Apple asked Choffnes to provide a technical description of how his app is able to detect if wireless telecom providers throttle certain types of data, and 18 hours after he did, the app was approved. "The conversation was very pleasant, but did not provide any insight into the review process [that] led the app to be rejected in the first place," Choffnes told us in an email.

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