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Submission + - Chinese Scientist Found Breakthrough Vaccine/Cures for All Viral Infections (scmp.com)

hackingbear writes: Chinese scientists may have found the key to creating effective vaccines for the world’s deadly viruses including bird flu, SARS, Ebola, and HIV. An experiment by a research team at Beijing University was hailed as “revolutionary” in the field in a paper published in the latest issue of Science magazine on Friday. The live virus used in the vaccine used by the researchers had its genetic code tweaked to disable the viral strains’ self-replication mechanism. But it was kept fully infectious to allow the host animal cells to generate immunity. Using live viruses in their fully infectious form was considered taboo, as viruses spread rapidly. Vaccines sold and used widely today generally contain either dead or weakened forms of viruses. The animals infected with virus were cured after receiving the injection, according to the paper. This breakthrough promises to simplify the process of producing vaccines, which may help scientists develop effective vaccines or even cures for various viruses – such bird flu, SARS, Ebola and HIV – within weeks of an outbreak.

Submission + - Virginia spent over half a million on cell surveillance that mostly doesn't work (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: In 2014, the Virginia State Police spent $585,265 on a specially modified Suburban outfitted with the latest and greatest in cell phone surveillance: The DRT 1183C, affectionately known as the DRTbox. But according to logs uncovered by public records website MuckRock, the pricey ride was only used 12 times — and only worked 7 of those times. Read the full DRTbox documents at MuckRock.

Submission + - Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI Is Going To Decimate Middle Class Jobs (businessinsider.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a column in The Guardian, the world-famous physicist wrote that "the automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining." He adds his voice to a growing chorus of experts concerned about the effects that technology will have on workforce in the coming years and decades. The fear is that while artificial intelligence will bring radical increases in efficiency in industry, for ordinary people this will translate into unemployment and uncertainty, as their human jobs are replaced by machines. Automation will, "in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world," Hawking wrote. "The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive." He frames this economic anxiety as a reason for the rise in right-wing, populist politics in the West: "We are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent." Combined with other issues — overpopulation, climate change, disease — we are, Hawking warns ominously, at "the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity." Humanity must come together if we are to overcome these challenges, he says.

Submission + - Alien life could thrive in the clouds of failed stars (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: There’s an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home – and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts.

The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. “You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,” says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study.

Submission + - House Science Committee Tweets Climate-Change Denying Breitbart Article (businessinsider.com)

xtsigs writes: On Thursday, The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tweeted a misleading article published by Breitbart about the state of the global climate.

"Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists," the tweet read, citing an article from The Daily Mail. Apparently, the portions of our government responsible for overseeing public funding for science are getting their information from tabloids.

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the tweet, asking, "Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?"

Submission + - AMD Zen SR7 CPU Allegedly Will Offer Core i7 5960X Performance At Half The Price (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD needs a win in the high-end processor category badly and if the latest leak turns out to be accurate, AMD could get its much needed victory when its unreleased Zen SR7 processor hits the market sometime in Q1 with eight cores in tow. The octal-core Zen part is said to perform better than Intel's muscular Core i7-5960X, a Haswell-E chip with eight cores clocked at 3GHz to 3.5GHz, 16 threads, and 20MB of cache. Not for the faint of wallet, the Core i7-5960X tops $1,000 in street pricing even when it's on sale. AMD's competing SR7 Summit Ridge part is said to cost half as much at $499. New engineering samples of the potentially game changing Zen chip have been popping up in the wild. These latest revisions feature a 3.2GHz core clockspeed and 3.5GHz turbo frequency. These are noticeable jumps in frequency compared to the previous version AMD showed, which had the core and turbo clockspeeds running at 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively.

Submission + - The Inside Story of MakerBot and the 3D Printing Revolution That Wasn't (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: MakerBot promised to revolutionize society, letting us 3D print anything we needed right from home. That never happened. At Backchannel, Andrew Zaleski has the definitive, investigative account of why the 3D printing revolution hasn't yet come to pass, culled from interviews with industry observers, current MakerBot leadership, and a dozen former MakerBot employees. As he tells it, "In the span of a few years, MakerBot had to pull off two very different coups. It had to introduce millions of people to the wonders of 3D printing, and then convince them to shell out more than $1,000 for a machine. It also had to develop the technology fast enough to keep its customers happy. Those two tasks were too much for the fledgling company."

Submission + - British Film Institute To Digitize 100,000 Old TV Shows Before They Disappear (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Thousands of British TV programs are to be digitized before they are lost forever, the British Film Institute says. Anarchic children's show Tiswas and The Basil Brush Show are among the programs in line for preservation. The initiative was announced as part of the BFI's five-year strategy for 2017-2022. "Material from the 70s and early 80s is at risk," said Heather Stewart, the BFI's creative director. "It has a five or six-year shelf life and if we don't do something about it will just go, no matter how great the environment is we keep it in. "Our job is make sure that things are there in 200 years' time." The BFI has budgeted $14.3 million of Lottery funding towards its goal of making the UK's entire screen heritage digitally accessible. This includes an estimated 100,000 of the "most at-risk" British TV episodes and clips held on obsolete video formats. The list includes "early children's programming, little-seen dramas, regional programs and the beginnings of breakfast television." The issue for the BFI, Ms Stewart added, was also to do with freeing up storage space. "We have a whole vault which is wall-to-wall video. If we digitized it, it would be in a robot about the size of a wardrobe," she said.

Submission + - Firefox Zero-Day Can Be Used To Unmask Tor Browser Users (computerworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Firefox zero-day being used in the wild to target Tor users is using code that is nearly identical to what the FBI used in 2013 to unmask Tor-users. A Tor browser user notified the Tor mailing list of the newly discovered exploit, posting the exploit code to the mailing list via a Sigaint darknet email address. A short time later, Roger Dingledine, co-founder of the Tor Project Team, confirmed that the Firefox team had been notified, had “found the bug” and were “working on a patch.” On Monday, Mozilla released a security update to close off a different critical vulnerability in Firefox. Dan Guido, CEO of TrailofBits, noted on Twitter, that “it’s a garden variety use-after-free, not a heap overflow” and it’s “not an advanced exploit.” He added that the vulnerability is also present on the Mac OS, “but the exploit does not include support for targeting any operating system but Windows.” Security researcher Joshua Yabut told Ars Technica that the exploit code is “100% effective for remote code execution on Windows systems.” “The shellcode used is almost exactly the shellcode of the 2013 one,” tweeted a security researcher going by TheWack0lian. He added, “When I first noticed the old shellcode was so similar, I had to double-check the dates to make sure I wasn't looking at a 3-year-old post.” He’s referring to the 2013 payload used by the FBI to deanonymize Tor-users visiting a child porn site. The attack allowed the FBI to tag Tor browser users who believed they were anonymous while visiting a “hidden” child porn site on Freedom Hosting; the exploit code forced the browser to send information such as MAC address, hostname and IP address to a third-party server with a public IP address; the feds could use that data to obtain users’ identities via their ISPs.

Submission + - Reddit To Crack Down on Abuse By Punishing Hundreds of 'Toxic Users' (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Social media website Reddit, known for its commitment to free speech, will crack down on online harassment by banning or suspending users who target others, starting with those who have directed abuse at Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Huffman said in an interview with Reuters that Reddit's content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced. "Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry," he said. "Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it's easy to start with me." As well as combing through Huffman's inbox, Reddit will monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and take a more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators. Reddit said it had identified hundreds of the "most toxic users" and will warn, ban or suspend them. It also plans to increase staff on its "trust and safety" team. On Reddit, a channel supporting the U.S. Republican party's presidential candidate Donald Trump, called r/The_Donald, featured racist and misogynistic comments, fake news and conspiracy theories about his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, along with more mainstream expressions of support for Trump. Many of those supporting Trump were very active, voting up the r/The_Donald conversations so that they became prominent across Reddit, which is the 7th-most-visited U.S. internet site, according to web data firm Alexa. Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor, after it posted personal information in violation of Reddit policy. Huffman then used his administrative privileges to redirect abuse he was receiving on a thread on r/The_Donald to the community's moderators — making it look as if it was intended for them. Huffman said it was a prank, and that many Reddit users, including some Trump supporters, told him they thought it was funny, but it inflamed the situation.

Submission + - Matt Taibbi: 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting (rollingstone.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: From the article:

Most high school papers wouldn't touch sources like these. But in November 2016, both the president-elect of the United States and the Washington Post are equally at ease with this sort of sourcing.

Even worse, the Post apparently never contacted any of the outlets on the "list" before they ran their story. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says she was never contacted. Chris Hedges of Truthdig, who was part of a group that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times once upon a time, said the same. "We were named," he tells me. "I was not contacted."

Hedges says the Post piece was an "updated form of Red-Baiting."

"This attack signals an open war on the independent press," he says. "Those who do not spew the official line will be increasingly demonized in corporate echo chambers such as the Post or CNN as useful idiots or fifth columnists."


Submission + - researchers develop artificial leaf that turns CO2 into fuel (chicagotribune.com)

managerialslime writes: University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed a way to mimic plants’ ability to convert carbon dioxide into fuel, a way to decrease the amounts of harmful gas in the atmosphere and produce clean energy. The artificial leaf essentially recycles carbon dioxide. And it’s powered entirely by the sun, mimicking the real photosynthesis process.

Submission + - Backdoor encryption sneaks into UK law (theregister.co.uk)

Coisiche writes: Seems that all the US companies that said any encryption backdoors would undermine global competitiveness, when such a thing was recently mooted there, can now find out if they were correct or not by watching the UK. Meanwhile various TLA agencies will be wondering if it could be as easily slipped into law in their jurisdiction.

Submission + - More Than 1 Million Android Devices Rooted by Gooligan Malware

Trailrunner7 writes: A new version of an existing piece of malware has emerged in some third-party Android app stores and researchers say it has infected more than a million devices around the world, giving the attackers full access to victims’ Google accounts in the process.

The malware campaign is known as Gooligan, and it’s a variant of older malware called Ghost Push that has been found in many malicious apps. Researchers at Check Point recently discovered several dozen apps, mainly in third-party app stores, that contain the malware, which is designed to download and install other apps and generate income for the attackers through click fraud. The malware uses phantom clicks on ads to generate revenue for the attackers through pay-per-install schemes, but that’s not the main concern for victims.

The Gooligan malware also employs exploits that take advantage of several known vulnerabilities in older versions of Android, including Kit Kat and Lollipop to install a rootlet that is capable of stealing users’ Google credentials.Although the malware has full remote access to infected devices, it doesn’t appear to be stealing user data, but rather is content to go the click-fraud route. Most users are being infected through the installation of apps that appear to be legitimate but contain the Gooligan code, a familiar infection routine for mobile devices.

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