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Submission + - SpaceX makes aerospace history with successful launch/landing of a used rocket (theverge.com)

Eloking writes: After more than two years of landing its rockets after launch, SpaceX finally sent one of its used Falcon 9s back into space. The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, this evening, sending a communications satellite into orbit, and then landed on one of SpaceX’s drone ships floating in the Atlantic Ocean. It was round two for this particular rocket, which already launched and landed during a mission in April of last year. But the Falcon 9’s relaunch marks the first time an orbital rocket has launched to space for a second time.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared on the company’s live stream shortly after the landing and spoke about the accomplishment. “It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” he said.

Submission + - Your Save Data Is Not Safe On the Nintendo Switch (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a post-launch update to our initial Nintendo Switch review, we noted that there is no way to externally back up game save data stored on the system. A recent horror story from a fellow writer who lost dozens of hours of game progress thanks to a broken system highlights just how troublesome this missing feature can be. Over at GamesRadar, Anthony John Agnello recounts his experience with Nintendo support after his Switch turned into a useless brick for no discernible reason last week (full disclosure: I know Agnello personally and have served with him on some convention panels). After sending his (under warranty) system to Nintendo for repair, Agnello received a fixed system and the following distressing message from the company two days later: "We have inspected the Nintendo Switch system that was sent to us for repair and found that the issue has made some of the information on this system unreadable. As a result, the save data, settings, and links with any Nintendo Accounts on your system were unable to be preserved." Agnello says he lost 55 hours of progress on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as more progress on a few other downloadable games. While he was able to redownload the games that were deleted, he'd have to start from scratch on each one (if only all that progress was easily, instantly unlockable in some way...)

Submission + - #DialUp campaign has people phoning Tim Berners-Lee about DRM on the Web (defectivebydesign.org)

zkrrms writes: It remains to be seen whether the inventor of the Web will listen to feedback from the users of his invention, but they are certainly trying. The Free Software Foundation today launched a calling campaign asking Berners-Lee not to allow DRM standards to be added to the Web, arguing that the move would be bad for security and computer user freedom. The campaign follows years of effort by the FSF and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to convince Berners-Lee.

"The wave of DRM will come from the W3C's ratification of a proposed technical standard, EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), which willmake it cheaper and easier for streaming video companies to build DRM into Web sites. That will invite more abuses of users like the Sony DRM rootkit, caught dismantling the security of users' operating systems, and more digital locks preventing important, legal things that people do with media, like accessibility modifications, translation, commentary, and archiving."


Submission + - Minnesota Senate Votes to Bar Selling ISP Data (twincities.com)

Kagato writes: St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: "In a surprise move, the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday voted to bar internet service providers from selling their users’ personal data without express written consent."

Adding: "The move was a reaction to a Tuesday vote in Congress to lift a ban on that practice imposed in 2016 by the Federal Communication Commission."

Submission + - Privacy Advocates Pay for Politicians Browsing Histories

lazarus writes: In a protest movement that we can all hope will get the attention of US lawmakers Salon reports that multiple fund-raising campaigns have sprouted up to buy the browsing histories of politicians.

"Angry internet users have targeted Republican lawmakers in Congress who passed a bill this week that would allow internet service providers to sell customer data without obtaining consent. Viral GoFundMe campaigns have cropped up to return the apparent invasion of privacy, seeking to buy politicians’ web histories and publish them online for all to see."

Max Temkin of "Cards Against Humanity" fame has pledged to purchase the browsing histories of everyone in Congress if the bill gets signed. However he has cautioned people on Reddit and Twitter that because this data is not yet publicly available that they should be suspicious of any funding campaigns to collect it, and has also said that it will take a long time to actually do. Without the funding campaigns, however, it seems unlikely that the folks in Washington and Trump in particular will get the message.

Submission + - Publish Georgia's state laws, you'll get sued for copyright and lose 2

Presto Vivace writes: If you publish Georgia’s state laws, you’ll get sued for copyright and lose

Malamud thinks reading the law shouldn't cost anything. So a few years back, he scanned a copy of the state of Georgia's official laws, known as the Official Georgia Code Annotated, or OCGA. Malamud made USB drives with two copies on them, one scanned copy and another encoded in XML format. On May 30, 2013, Malamud sent the USB drives to the Georgia speaker of the House, David Ralson, and the state's legislative counsel, as well as other prominent Georgia lawyers and policymakers. ... ... Now, the case has concluded with US District Judge Richard Story having published an opinion (PDF) that sides with the state of Georgia. The judge disagreed with Malamud's argument that the OCGA can't be copyrighted and also said Malamud's copying of the laws is not fair use. "The Copyright Act itself specifically lists 'annotations' in the works entitled to copyright protection," writes Story. "Defendant admits that annotations in an unofficial code would be copyrightable."

It could have been worse, at least he was not criminally charged liked Aaron Schwartz.

Submission + - Study Reveals Bot-On-Bot Editing Wars Raging On Wikipedia's Pages (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years. Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots," that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks. In the early days, the bots were so rare they worked in isolation. But over time, the number deployed on the encyclopedia exploded with unexpected consequences. The more the bots came into contact with one another, the more they became locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing the links they had added to other pages. Some conflicts only ended when one or other bot was taken out of action. The findings emerged from a study that looked at bot-on-bot conflict in the first ten years of Wikipedia’s existence. The researchers at Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute in London examined the editing histories of pages in 13 different language editions and recorded when bots undid other bots’ changes. While some conflicts mirrored those found in society, such as the best names to use for contested territories, others were more intriguing. Describing their research in a paper entitled Even Good Bots Fight in the journal Plos One, the scientists reveal that among the most contested articles were pages on former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, the Arabic language, Niels Bohr and Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the most intense battles played out between Xqbot and Darknessbot which fought over 3,629 different articles between 2009 and 2010. Over the period, Xqbot undid more than 2,000 edits made by Darknessbot, with Darknessbot retaliating by undoing more than 1,700 of Xqbot’s changes. The two clashed over pages on all sorts of topics, from Alexander of Greece and Banqiao district in Taiwan to Aston Villa football club.

Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 1) 273

>The blast of sterilizing radiation at that distance, combined with being tidally locked >and probably wracked with catastrophic earthquakes at that distance would make >life on these planets an unlikely impossibility. ____ For the X-ray blasts you need a tendril or a root or something that goes deep enough down into the dirt/water to survive and regrow. UV tolerance is easy if you can accept the loss of your photosynthesizing bits and regrow them from the opaque parts. Most living things are really not troubled by earthquakes (Trappist quakes?) We have trouble with them because we build things that are rigid. The main effect from being tidally locked is that you don't need to move your leaves around to follow the sun, you just grow and aim them once and leave them. You might even get concentric rings of plants with different brightness requirements growing all the way along the sunny edge. I don't know if life would be easy, but let's not give up yet.

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.

Submission + - 'Lost continent' found under Mauritius in the Indian Ocean (cnn.com)

schwit1 writes: Found — one lost continent, hiding underneath a tropical holiday destination.

It might sound implausible, but deep at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, a research team, led by South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, has found pieces of an ancient continent.

The lava-covered piece of continent, dubbed 'Mauritia,' was found under the popular island of Mauritius.

According to the report published this week in the journal Nature Communications, the piece of crust is left over from the breakup of Gondwanaland, a super-continent that existed more than 200 million years ago.


Submission + - Scientists Find 'Oldest Human Ancestor' (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have discovered the earliest known ancestor of humans — along with a vast range of other species. They say that fossilized traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are "exquisitely well preserved." The microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and — eventually — to humans. Details of the discovery from central China appear in Nature journal. The research team says that Saccorhytus is the most primitive example of a category of animals called "deuterostomes" which are common ancestors of a broad range of species, including vertebrates (backboned animals). Saccorhytus was about a millimeter in size, and is thought to have lived between grains of sand on the sea bed. The researchers were unable to find any evidence that the animal had an anus, which suggests that it consumed food and excreted from the same orifice. The study was carried out by an international team of researchers, from the UK, China and Germany. Among them was Prof Simon Conway Morris, from the University of Cambridge. The study suggests that its body was symmetrical, which is a characteristic inherited by many of its evolutionary descendants, including humans. Saccorhytus was also covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin and muscles, leading the researchers to conclude that it moved by contracting its muscles and got around by wriggling. The researchers say that its most striking feature is its large mouth, relative to the rest of its body. They say that it probably ate by engulfing food particles, or even other creatures. Also interesting are the conical structures on its body. These, the scientists suggest, might have allowed the water that it swallowed to escape and so might have been a very early version of gills.

Submission + - Hacktivists: How to Hack Donald Trump's Smartphone (techworm.net)

schwit1 writes: The hacktivist group Anonymous on Friday attached a screenshot in a tweet explaining how the newly elected U.S. President, Donald Trump’s smartphone is vulnerable to a potentially devastating hack attack as the device runs on Android 4.4 OS, which is out-of-date with existing security requirements.

Anonymous posted the hacking guide after the New York Times disclosed that the President still uses an“old, unsecured Android phone”, which is believed to be a Samsung Galaxy S3. In their tweet, they warned Trump of the dangers and mentioned that software bug called ‘Stagefright’ could be used to crack into his smartphone by any potential hacker.

They wrote: “A Galaxy S3 does not meet the security requirements of a teenager, let alone the purported leader of the free world.

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Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce

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