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Comment Re:Reminder: "Hacking" was mere illumination (Score 1) 312

I think the term "hacking" for the election fits perfectly... in the context of the tech audience here. Because hacking does not have, for us, the same meaning that it acquired through the media : that of breaching electronic systems, most often for criminal gain (note the extra negative connotation).
Instead, here its meaning is about finding and implementing a subversive approach to work around the limitations or rules of a system : all the news manipulation, polls, fact-checking wars are the expressions of that hack to attract the voters one way or another.

Submission + - From Earth to orbit using a single-stage rocket and aerospike engine (newatlas.com)

Eloking writes: New Mexico-based ARCA Space Corporation has announced that it is developing the world's first Single Stage to Orbit (SSTO) launch vehicle that can deliver both a small payload and itself into low Earth orbit, at a cost of about US$1 million per launch. Dubbed the Haas 2CA after the 16th century rocket pioneer Conrad Haas, the new booster uses a linear aerospike engine instead of conventional bell-shaped rocket engines to do away with multiple stages.

Comment Re:NO ONE is anywhere close (Score 0) 87

Is it really? Are all of these events caused by improper decision of the AI or is it more slight over-corrections imposed by the humans?
Also, I guess Uber's vehicles operates mostly in the dense, chaotic traffic of the inner-cities rather than say speedway. 0.8 miles between take-over on speedway would be much more alarming.

Submission + - ASK SLASHDOT: Which VR system is worth the investment? 1

Quantus347 writes: Straightforward question: I held off for a year to let the various manufacturers shake out the bugs, but now it's down to either a VR system or a new gen console. So I ask you, the Slashdot community, what are your personal experiences with any of the various VR systems out there? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What little things annoy you the most? What features make a given product the best (or worst) option?

"Sprinkle us with Wisdom from your Mighty Brain!"

Submission + - Prenda Saga Update: John Steele Pleads Guilty, Admits Entire Scheme

Freshly Exhumed writes: Ken White at Popehat has updated the Prenda Law saga today with news of the downfall of one of the principals: 'Back in December the feds charged Steele and Hansmeier with an array of federal crimes arising from a scheme that has now been identified and decried by federal courts across the country. And today John Steele pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of that indictment — mail fraud in violation of 18 USC 1341 and money laundering in violation of 18 USC 1956(h). Upon entry of judgment after his sentencing, John Steele will be a convicted felon with a federal fraud conviction. His career as a lawyer — or, more generally, as a gainfully employed person — is over.' Still to come is the case of Steele's colleague and partner, Paul Hansmeier.

Submission + - Valve release SteamVR for Linux (gamingonlinux.com)

JustNiz writes: Valve have put up SteamVR for Linux officially in Beta form and they are keen to stress that this is a development release.
You will need to run the latest Steam Beta Client for it to work at all, so be sure to opt-in if you want to play around with it.
VR on Linux will exclusively use Vulkan, so it's going to be a pretty good push for Vulkan if VR becomes more popular.

Submission + - Google has demonstrated a successful practical attack against SHA-1 (googleblog.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Ten years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, Google has announced the first practical technique for generating an SHA-1 collision. It required two years of research between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. As a proof of the attack, Google has released two PDF files that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content. The amount of computations required to carry out the attack is staggering: nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) SHA1 computations in total which took 6,500 years of CPU computation to complete the attack first phase and 110 years of GPU computation to complete the second phase.

Google says that people should migrate to newer hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and SHA-3, however it's worth noting that there are currently no ways of finding a collision for both MD5 and SHA-1 hashes simultaneously which means that we still can use old proven hardware accelerated hash functions to be on the safe side.

Comment Re:preposterous! (Score 1) 264

You are right in the lottery sense : if your particular phone or app crashes, it is very unlikely that it is due to cosmic rays. However, it might be likely that it happens fairly often around the world. This is similar to the lottery : it is unlikely that you will win, but it is likely that someone will win.

It's all a matter of cross-section of the devices actually. If we want to compare, the IPhone 4 (an old baseline, smaller than today's generation but close to most of the low-cost devices) measures 0.007 m^2, while the top 10 largest data centers (from this random link) combined measure about 1.7 x 10^6 m^2. I am going to assume only 1% of the surface is occupied by sensitive chips (?). You would need about 2.4 millions IPhone 4 to cover the same area. Thus, it is very possible that mobile hardware is victim of more high energy burps than immobile hardware.

Submission + - ISIS using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on the west (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: The New York Times published a story by Rukmini Callimachi today which explains how ISIS handlers are using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on western nations, including the United States. The attackers, who are often mistaken for lone wolves, have sometimes been trained and guided by ISIS handlers right up to the moment of the attack. One example: The attackers who opened fire on the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Remote terror planners have been behind a number of attacks that made international news and which, at first glance, appeared to be the work of lone wolves. For instance:

In Germany, a man who set off a bomb outside a concert and a teenager who assaulted train passengers with an ax were both chatting with handlers until minutes before their attacks. The teenager's handler urged him to use a car instead of an ax — “The damage would be much greater,” the handler advised — but the young man said he did not have a driving permit. “I want to enter paradise tonight,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by a German newspaper.

In northern France, a pair of attackers who had been guided by an Islamic State cybercoach slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest. The pair had not known each other, and according to the investigative file, the handler introduced them, organizing for them to meet days before the attack. Intelligence records obtained by The Times reveal that the same handler in Syria also guided a group of young women who tried to blow up a car in front of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

The NY Times story describe how just one ISIS planner, out of perhaps a dozen, was working with several potential attackers in Britain, Canada and America all at once:

One of the Islamic State's most influential recruiters and virtual plotters was known by the nom de guerre Abu Issa al-Amriki, and his Twitter profile instructed newcomers to contact him via the encrypted messaging app Telegram ...

Amriki was grooming attackers in Canada and Britain, as well as at least three other young men in suburbs across America, according to court records. They included a former member of the Army National Guard living in Virginia; a warehouse worker from Columbus; and Emanuel L. Lutchman, a 25-year-old in Rochester.

Amriki and his wife were killed by a U.S. airstrike last April.

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