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Submission + - Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years (independent.co.uk)

campuscodi writes: Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.

The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification. In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia's forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. One of the main reasons is to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Submission + - 20% of Scientific Papers On Genes Contain Conversion Errors Caused by Excel (winbeta.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A new report from scientists Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article, titled “Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature,” article’s abstract section, the scientists explain: “The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.” It’s easy to see why Excel might have problems with certain gene names when you see the “gene symbols” that the scientists use as examples: “For example, gene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to ‘2-Sep’ and ‘1-Mar’, respectively. Furthermore, RIKEN identifiers were described to be automatically converted to floating point numbers (i.e. from accession ‘2310009E13’ to ‘2.31E+13’). Since that report, we have uncovered further instances where gene symbols were converted to dates in supplementary data of recently published papers (e.g. ‘SEPT2’ converted to ‘2006/09/02’). This suggests that gene name errors continue to be a problem in supplementary files accompanying articles. Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem.”

Submission + - FBI Authorized Informants To Break The Law 22,800 Times In 4 Years

blottsie writes: Over a four-year period, the FBI authorized informants to break the law more than 22,800 times, according to newly reviewed documents.

Official records obtained by the Daily Dot under the Freedom of Information Act show the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave informants permission at least 5,649 times in 2013 to engage in activity that would otherwise be considered a crime. In 2014, authorization was given 5,577 times, the records show.

USA Today previously revealed confidential informants engaged in “otherwise illegal activity,” as the bureau calls it, 5,658 times in 2011. The figure was at 5,939 the year before, according to documents acquired by the Huffington Post. In total, records obtained by reporters confirm the FBI authorized at least 22,823 crimes between 2011 and 2014.

Submission + - NASA crunchtime: 2 minutes or less to fix lost satellite 189 million miles away (businessinsider.com)

bongey writes: NASA may have only 2 minutes or less to fix a STEREO-B satellite before the computer causes it to lose contact again. NASA lost contact with their STEREO-B satellite nearly 22 months ago when performing a routine test. NASA scientist are afraid to turn on the computer at this point because it may cause them to lose contact again. A more detail techincal summary can be found here http://www.nasa.gov/feature/go...

Submission + - The Neuroscience Behind Bad Decisions (quantamagazine.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Economists have spent more than 50 years cataloging irrational choices like these. Nobel Prizes have been earned; millions of copies of Freakonomics have been sold. But economists still aren’t sure why they happen. “There had been a real cottage industry in how to explain them and lots of attempts to make them go away,” said Eric Johnson, a psychologist and co-director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia University. But none of the half-dozen or so explanations are clear winners, he said.

In the last 15 to 20 years, neuroscientists have begun to peer directly into the brain in search of answers. “Knowing something about how information is represented in the brain and the computational principles of the brain helps you understand why people make decisions how they do,” said Angela Yu, a theoretical neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego.

Submission + - French government removed evidence of emissions cheating by Renault from report (ft.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In the past year, there was a steady flow of evidence for various forms of trickery in automobile emissions controls, prompting, among others, the French government to investigate the behaviour of a number of popular cars certified to conform to Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards.

While the report concluded that some Renault models emitted many times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) on the road than during the official emissions test, it did not mention that a Renault Captur SUV was observed to perform a cleaning procedure on its lean NOx trap (LNT) five times in a row when the prescribed preparations for emissions testing where made, rendering it much more effective in the test than under normal conditions.

Three members of the enquiry commission told the Financial Times that the French state, which owns a 20% interest in Renault, decided that these findings should remain confidential. A spokesperson of the French environment ministry denies that facts where hidden on purpose. Meanwhile, the anti-fraud agency in France continues its investigations into Renault's emissions practices.

Renault has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but it has agreed to voluntarily recall 15,000 cars to perform a software update that should reduce NOx emissions.

Comment Re:Whining about what, exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 392

It's the all or nothing approach. Previously, you could read the patch notes (such as they were) and make an informed decision as to whether to "patch ASAP", "test thoroughly, then patch", "whenever", or "not required (e.g. telemetry/GWX crap)" on a patch by patch basis. Other than the paucity of real data and Microsoft's far too frequent attempts to slip a turd in there, that's really not all that different from any other patch system, on any other OS - unless you are compiling from source that you have looked personally diff'd and examined the changes, you are still trusting your patch provider to do the right thing; binary packages on *nix are no different from binary .msu or .exe files on Windows Update in that respect.

Now, while you can still defer the installation, you don't have that per-patch flexibility. That could potentially mean that you have to choose between breaking something critical to you (e.g. the USB webcam borkage of the recent Windows 10 update) and leaving your system exposed to some critical and remotely exploitable vulnerability instead of just patching the critical hole and waiting for Microsoft to fix the USB webcam issue. Yes, when it works, the new approach will be simpler, easier for everyone to manage, and will no doubt help alleviate some of the problems with Windows Update's seriously broken version control mechanisms, but Microsoft's track record on "when it works", has been pretty dire lately. It's also much easier for Microsoft to slip something nasty in there, again something their track record on has been pretty dire of late.

Frankly, I'm all for this latest brain dead move by Microsoft. Those that have a bit of technical nous can figure out some viable approach to patch management and additional security layers easily enough (they shouldn't have to, but still), while many of those that don't are inevitably going fall foul of a series of future USB webcam style screw-ups in the future. Same result in both cases; more pain for using Windows and a greater chance that alternatives will be considered, and anything that disrupts the Microsoft monoculture is fine by me.

Submission + - 'Pokemon Uranium' Fan Game Shut Down By Nintendo After 1.5 Million Downloads (thewrap.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The fan-made “Pokemon Uranium” game took a pair of programmers more than nine years to develop. Nintendo needed just about nine days to kill it. “After receiving more than 1,500,000 downloads of our game, we have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America,” the creators of “Pokemon Uranium” said in a statement. “While we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply. Therefore, we will no longer provide official download links for the game through our website,” they continued. “We have no connection to fans who re-upload the game files to their own hosts, and we cannot verify that those download links are all legitimate. We advise you to be extremely cautious about downloading the game from unofficial sources.” The role-playing game was free, though creators @JVuranium and Involuntary Twitch were open to suggested PayPal donations of $2-$10. Set in the tropical Tandor region, “Uranium” players can encounter more than 150 all-new species of Pokemon in their quest to collect all eight Gym Badges and triumph over the Tandor League, per the official description. Along the way, the players must battle against a sinister threat that’s causing Nuclear Meltdowns.

Submission + - People Ignore Software Security Warnings Up To 90% of the Time, Says Study (phys.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly — while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc. — results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them. Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking. For example, 74 percent of people in the study ignored security messages that popped up while they were on the way to close a web page window. Another 79 percent ignored the messages if they were watching a video. And a whopping 87 percent disregarded the messages while they were transferring information, in this case, a confirmation code. For example, Jenkins, Vance and BYU colleagues Bonnie Anderson and Brock Kirwan found that people pay the most attention to security messages when they pop up in lower dual task times such as: after watching a video, waiting for a page to load, or after interacting with a website. For part of the study, researchers had participants complete computer tasks while an fMRI scanner measured their brain activity. The experiment showed neural activity was substantially reduced when security messages interrupted a task, as compared to when a user responded to the security message itself. The BYU researchers used the functional MRI data as they collaborated with a team of Google Chrome security engineers to identify better times to display security messages during the browsing experience.

Submission + - Companies Can't Legally Void the Warranty for Jailbreaking or Rooting Your Phone

Jason Koebler writes: Manufacturers that threaten to void the warranties of consumers who jailbreak or root their phones are violating federal law.
Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware warranty simply because you altered the software of an electronic device. In order to void the warranty without violating federal law, the manufacturer must prove that the modifications you made directly led to a hardware malfunction.
“They have to show that the jailbreak caused the failure. If yes, they can void your claim (not your whole warranty—just the things which flowed from your mod),” Steve Lehto, a lemon law attorney in Michigan, wrote in an email. “If not, then they can’t.”

Submission + - Transfer of Internet Governance Planned For Oct. 1 (computerworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. says it will proceed with its plan to hand over insight of the internet's domain name system functions to a multistakeholder body on Oct. 1. Computerworld reports: "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) which enables the operation of the internet domain name system (DNS). These include responsibility for the coordination of the DNS root, IP addressing and other internet protocol resources. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Commerce Department, said in March 2014 that it planned to let its contract with ICANN expire on Sept. 30, 2015, passing the oversight of the functions to a global governance model. NTIA made it clear that it would not accept a plan from internet stakeholders that would replace its role by that of a government-led or intergovernmental organization or would in any way compromise the openness of the internet. The transfer was delayed to September as the internet community needed more time to finalize the plan for the transition. The new stewardship plan submitted by ICANN was approved by the NTIA in June. NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said Tuesday that the agency had informed ICANN that “barring any significant impediment,” NTIA intends to allow the IANA functions contract it has with ICANN to expire as of Oct. 1, said Strickling, who is also assistant secretary for communications and information.

Submission + - AT&T Is Boosting Data Plans, Dropping Overage Fees (go.com)

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T Inc, the No. 2 U.S wireless provider, said on Wednesday that it would roll out a new data plan that does away with overage fees and reduces data speeds for wireless customers who surpass their data allowance. Beginning Sunday, customers can choose the new Mobile Share Advantage plan and pay for extra data, if needed, or work with slower data speeds instead of paying for overages, the company said in a statement. Its current plan includes a $5 data overage charge per 300 megabytes on its 300-megabyte plan and $15 per 1 gigabyte on other plans. AT&T has also revised prices and data bucket sizes. For instance, its larger 25-gigabyte plan now costs $190 per month for four smartphone lines. It previously cost $235. All the new plans include an access charge of $10 to $40 per month for each device, AT&T said. The new plans will continue to have features such as unlimited text and talk and rollover data. Plans above 10 gigabytes also include unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada and no roaming charges in Mexico.

Submission + - Maker of web monitoring software can be sued

Presto Vivace writes: The WebWatcher lawsuit may have broader implications for employee monitoring and software as a service

The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, rejected Awareness' claims that WebWatcher does not intercept communications in real time, in violation of the U.S. wiretap act, but instead allows users to review targets' communications. While plaintiff Javier Luis' lawsuit doesn't address real-time interception of communications, his allegations "give rise to a reasonable inference" of that happening, Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote.

Submission + - Solid-State Battery Could Extinguish Fire Risks (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have designed a new type of battery, that unlike traditional models containing liquid or gel electrolytes, consists purely of solid chemical compounds and is non-flammable – representing a huge boost for improving battery safety. Responding to dangers linked to traditional lithium-ion batteries, the team based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, has built a solid alternative which contains only solid-state electrodes and electrolyte. The battery is constructed with a layer of highly conductive lithium garnet, which works as a solid electrolyte between two electrodes. The researchers applied the material of the negative pole in viscous form, which allowed it to seep through the porous electrolyte layer. The team was able to temper the battery at 100C. ‘With a liquid or gel electrolyte, it would never be possible to heat a battery to such high temperatures,’ the study claims.

Submission + - Windows 10's "all or nothing" cumulative update scheme coming 7, 8.1 (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The shotgun "cumulative" update scheme used in Windows 10 is coming to 7 and 8.1. No longer will updates be offered through Windows Update individually. Instead, you'll grab the latest "cumulative" update for your version of Windows, and take whatever Microsoft gives you.

Of course, Microsoft says it will improve performance of Windows updates on the older versions (and that may very well be true, but so would an actual updated 'security fix only' service pack for them); but you know they will not be able to help themselves with their new method of obfuscating "other" non security updates. We all know that Microsoft does not document their updates well in Windows update (everything simply "resolves issues in Windows"? really? Windows 10 offer updates said that too, what exactly did that resolve?), rarely fully itemizes "cumulative updates, often improperly labels updates as "security update" and "important" when they are, in fact, neither.

This will include things people have begin to take notice of and avoid (such as non-security "important" updates, telemetry and spying updates, etc).

If you use Windows Update to update your systems, you will start to lose control over what updates get installed and what ones you can defer or avoid.

If you're a knowledgeable home or small business user, you may want to look into alternative means of obtaining the actual important security related updates (and only those) from utilities like WSUS Offline Update, as WSUS method will remain unchanged (at least for now, right?).

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