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Submission + - USA uses TPP-like trade-court to kill massive Indian solar project (boingboing.net) 2

AmiMoJo writes: The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to deliver deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 ("more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar-producing countries combined") but because India specified that the solar panels for it were to be domestically sourced, the USA sued it in WTO trade court and killed it. The USA has its own domestic solar initiatives that generally have "buy local" rules, but those are permissible under the WTO. The WTO court ruled that India's buy-local rules were not. The Trans Pacific Partnership, a secretly negotiated trade agreement, expands the sorts of powers the WTO creates to allow multinationals to sue governments to repeal policies that undermine their profitability. Expect lots more of this in the future if the TPP passes.

Submission + - Hacking Team Uses UEFI BIOS Rootkit (trendmicro.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The dissection of the data from the Hacking Team leak has yielded another critical discovery: Hacking Team uses a UEFI BIOS rootkit to keep their Remote Control System (RCS) agent installed in their targets’ systems. This means that even if the user formats the hard disk, reinstalls the OS, and even buys a new hard disk, the agents are implanted after Microsoft Windows is up and running.

Submission + - CUER unveils its Evolution solar-powered car (techienews.co.uk)

hypnosec writes: The Cambridge University Eco-Racing (CUER) team has finally unveiled its latest solar-powered car dubbed Evolution that weighs about a third of the weight of a small car. The team intends to have Evolution race at the 3,000km Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October in Australia. Evolution will be pitched against 50 cars at the event. Weighing at 180kg, the car gains energy via a solar panel of 2.36 square metres and is capable of speeds of up to 110km per hour, or 68 mph with a battery that can last up to 500km.

Submission + - Japan falsified whale hunting data in 1960s, according to study (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Like fishermen, whale hunters sometimes alter the details of their catch. In the 1960s, Soviet Union (USSR) whalers illegally killed almost 180,000 cetaceans, but reported taking far lower numbers. Now, it seems that Japanese whalers in the North Pacific also manipulated their numbers around this time, according to a new study. The finding, which comes as Japan is readying to hunt whales for what it says are research purposes, raises new concerns about the country’s current endeavors; it also may invalidate several past studies on whale demographics and conservation, the authors say.

Submission + - Apple Loses Ebook Price Fixing Appeal, Must Pay $450 Million (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 today that Apple indeed conspired to with publishers to increase ebook prices. The ruling puts Apple on the hook for the $450 million settlement reached in 2014 with lawyers and attorneys general from 33 states. The Justice Dept. contended that the price-fixing conspiracy raised the price of some e-books from the $10 standard set by Amazon to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because Amazon held 90% of the market at the time. Apple is unhappy with the ruling, but they haven't announced plans to take the case further. They said, "While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps."

Submission + - Is Safari the new IE? (nolanlawson.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple. "It’s hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin’ Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year’s WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he’ll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately." He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it’s time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings."

Submission + - Unofficial devolper preview of Haiku Beta1 has been released (tunetrackersystems.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unofficial preview version of the Haiku Operatating System has been released. The release demonstrates the considerable changes that have been made since the last official release back in November of 2012.

The preview includes a number of bundled open source software, as well as a few preparatory applcations which are owned by the publisher of the unofficial preview. The unofficial preview is being published by TuneTracker Systems and not by Haiku Inc (www.haiku-inc.org), who are the publishers of the offical Haiku releases.

Haiku Inc is planing to officially release Beta1 later this year and the preview will allow the user to upgrade to the official beta1 when the release is finished.


Blurb from publishers website: (http://www.tunetrackersystems.com/discoverhaiku.html)

Most people are are aware of Windows, Mac, maybe even Linux. But did you know there's another operating system, every bit as exciting, called HAIKU? HAIKU is a fun, easy-to-use operating system that lets you accomplish the same sorts of things as the others, but without the wait."

"Discover HAIKU" is your gateway to the world of HAIKU. Delivered to you on a high-capacity USB stick, you can boot to it directly, or install it to an empty hard drive volume on your computer. It comes with a new, up-to-date version of HAIKU, introductory videos, and a mile-long list of tested, proven programs and tools that will make your adventure exciting.

Submission + - Australian researchers create world's first 3D-printed aircraft engines

stephendavion writes: Researchers from the Monash University, CSIRO and Deakin University in Australia have created two 3D-printed aircraft engines. One of the 3D-printed engines is being showcased at the ongoing International Air Show in Avalon, while the other is at Microturbo (Safran) in Toulouse, France. Monash and its subsidiary Amaero Engineering attracted interests from tier one aerospace companies to produce components at the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM) in Melbourne. Researchers used an old gas turbine engine from Microturbo to scan components and print two versions. The engine is an auxiliary power unit equipped in aircraft such as the Falcon 20 business jet.

Submission + - Alaska allows recreational marijuana as campaign spreads (reuters.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Smoking, growing and owning small amounts of marijuana became legal in Alaska on Tuesday, as a growing decriminalization movement reached the United States' wild northwest frontier.

Alaska narrowly passed the measure in November. It followed Colorado and Washington state in allowing recreational use, reflecting a rapidly shifting legal landscape for the drug, which remains illegal under federal law.

Anyone aged 21 or older can now possess up to an ounce of marijuana in Alaska and can grow up to six marijuana plants, three of which can be flowering.

Smoking in public and buying and selling the drug remains illegal — though private exchanges are allowed if money is not involved.

I wonder how or if this affects the dry counties in Alaska.

Submission + - Gemalto Hack Could Compromise Contactless And ID Cards 1

dkatana writes: A recent article published by The Intercept reports that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) stole millions of encryption keys used in SIM cards manufactured by Gemalto. While the article focuses on the possibility that those keys could be used by the agencies to monitor communications and possibly hack mobile devices using the SIM cards, it also gives some room to the possibility that other IC security modules based on Gemalto technology could be compromised.

Gemalto not only manufacturers Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) cards for cellular providers, it is also the world’s largest manufacturer of contactless credit card ICs and a leading provider of identity modules used in government documents such as passports, driving licenses and ID cards.

Submission + - ACLU-Obtained Documents Reveal Breadth of Secretive Stingray Use in Florida (aclu.org)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The results should be troubling for anyone who cares about privacy rights, judicial oversight of police activities, and the rule of law. The documents paint a detailed picture of police using an invasive technology — one that can follow you inside your house — in many hundreds of cases and almost entirely in secret. The secrecy is not just from the public, but often from judges who are supposed to ensure that police are not abusing their authority. Partly relying on that secrecy, police have been getting authorization to use Stingrays based on the low standard of “relevance,” not a warrant based on probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment.

Submission + - Meet Babar, a New Malware Almost Certainly Created by France (vice.com)

sarahnaomi writes: The NSA, GCHQ, and their allies in the Five Eyes are not the only government agencies using malware for surveillance. French intelligence is almost certainly hacking its targets too—and now security researchers believe they have proof.

On Wednesday, the researchers will reveal new details about a powerful piece of malware known as “Babar,” which is capable of eavesdropping on online conversations held via Skype, MSN and Yahoo messenger, as well as logging keystrokes and monitoring which websites an infected user has visited.

Babar is “a fully blown espionage tool, built to excessively spy” on its victims, according to the research, and which Motherboard reviewed in advance. The researchers are publishing two separate but complementary reports that analyze samples of the malware, and all but confirm that France’s spying agency the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) was responsible for its creation.

Submission + - Russia seeking to ban Tor, VPNs and other anonymising tools (thestack.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Three separate Russian authorities have spoken out in favour of banning online anonymising tools since February 5th, with particular emphasis on Tor, which — despite its popularity with whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and with online activists — Russia's Safe Internet League describes as an 'Anonymous network used primarily to commit crimes'. The three authorities involved are the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, powerful Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor and the Safe Internet League, comprising the country's top three network providers, including state telecoms provider Rostelecom. Roskomnadzor's press secretary Vadim Roskomnadzora Ampelonsky describes the obstacles to identifying and blocking Tor and VPN traffic as 'difficult, but solvable'.

Submission + - Firefox to mandate extension signing (mozilla.org)

x0ra writes: In a recent blog post, Mozilla announced its intention to require extension to be signed in Firefox, without any possible user override. Only Nightly, Developer Edition, and unbranded build will be able to run unsigned add-on.

With this move, Mozilla is joining Apple and Google in the realm of walled-garden ecosystem.

Submission + - US Nuclear Weapons Laboratory Discovers How to Suppress the Casimir Force (medium.com)

KentuckyFC writes: One of the frustrating problems with microelectromechanical devices or MEMs is that the machinery can sometimes stick fast, causing them to stop working. One of the culprits is the Casimir effect--an exotic force that pushes metallic sheets together when they are separated by tiny distances. Now physicists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have worked out and demonstrated how to suppress the Casimir force. The trick is to create a set of deep grooves and ridges in the surface of one sheet so that the other only comes close to the tips of the ridges. These tips have a much smaller surface area than the flat sheet and so generate much less force. That could help prevent stiction in future MEMs devices. But why would a nuclear weapons lab be interested? MEMs devices are invulnerable to electromagnetic pulse weapons that fry transistor-based switches.and so could be used as on-off switches for nuclear devices.

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