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Submission + - Meet Kubo, the robot that teaches kids to code (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: "Kubo comes with its own programming language called TagTile. The language consists of puzzle pieces that fit together to give Kubo instructions. For example, you could connect three pieces together – forward, turn, then another forward. Kubo then drives over these pieces oncer to “learn” the command, then can remember and perform it without needing the pieces.

Kubo reads the puzzle pieces using an RFID technology – each piece has an individual embedded RFID tag, and Kubo itself has a reader built in." — TechCrunch

Submission + - How the Human Brain Decides What Is Important and What's Not (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: A new study in Neuroscience News sheds light on how we learn to pay attention in order to make the most of our life experiences.

"The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” in an effort to distract her, but a new Princeton University study sheds light on how people learn and make decisions in real-world situations.

The findings could eventually contribute to improved teaching and learning and the treatment of mental and addiction disorders in which people’s perspectives are dysfunctional or fractured."

Submission + - Quimitchin: The First Mac Malware of 2017 Arrives

wiredmikey writes: Security researchers have a uncovered a Mac OS based espionage malware they have named "Quimitchin". The malware is what they consider to be "the first Mac malware of 2017" which appears to be a classic espionage tool. While it has some old code and appears to have existed undetected for some time, it works.

It was discovered when an IT admin noticed unusual traffic coming from a particular Mac, and has been seen infecting Macs at biomedical facilities.

Submission + - Robotic Sleeve Mimics Muscles to Keep a Heart Beating

randomErr writes: 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure each year with about 41 million worldwide. Currently treatment involves surgically implanting a mechanical pump, called a ventricular assist device (VAD), into the heart.The VAD helps maintains the heart's function. But patients with VADs are at high risk for getting blood clots and having a stroke. Researchers at Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital have created a soft robotic sleeve that doesn't have to be implanted. The robotic sleeve slips around the outside of the heart, squeezing it in sync with their natural rhythm..

Submission + - SPAM: New Automotive Software Released: Find the Flaws Before Hackers Do

santiago torres writes: Today researchers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute unveiled a software security framework called Uptane, designed specifically to ensure security of over-the-air delivery of software updates to automobiles. Uptane is notable because 1) It is intended to remain secure even if a hacker or insider steals a number of keys or compromises some of the servers, 2) the automotive industry is taking this seriously, with dozens of suppliers and OEMs participating, and 3) the design is open with the researchers providing implementation, deployment scenarios, and other documentation. "Allowing the public to scrutinize Uptane’s security will ultimately improve and validate the design," said NYU Tandon Professor Justin Cappos, who leads the project. The researchers are openly inviting security reviews / questions from the public. You can see a demonstration of the technology at Reuters' Facebook page here. Given that the security community will have input into Uptane so that issues can be fixed before the system is deployed, will this make you feel safer about riding around in a 2 ton car controlled by 100 million lines of code?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - CIA Releases 13 Million Declassified Documents Online (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: The BBC reports: About 13 million pages of declassified documents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have been released online. The records include UFO sightings and psychic experiments from the Stargate programme, which has long been of interest to conspiracy theorists. The move came after lengthy efforts from freedom of information advocates and a lawsuit against the CIA. Among the more unusual records are documents from the Stargate Project, which dealt with psychic powers and extrasensory perception. Those include records of testing on celebrity psychic Uri Geller in 1973, when he was already a well-established performer. Memos detail how Mr Geller was able to partly replicate pictures drawn in another room with varying — but sometimes precise — accuracy, leading the researchers to write that he "demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner".

Submission + - Pwn2Own 2017 Takes Aim at Linux (eweek.com)

darthcamaro writes: For the first time in its ten year history, the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition is taking direct aim at Linux. Pwn2Own in the past has typically focused mostly on web browsers, running on Windows and macOS. There is a $15,000 reward for security researchers that are able to get a local user kernel exploit on Ubuntu 16.10. The bigger prize though is a massive $200,000 award for exploiting Apache Web Server running on Ubuntu.

Submission + - Apple removes Finder for Airpods app from its store

Ecuador writes: There was a $3.99 app that helped you find your Airpod if it was within bluetooth range. Even though it had a limited range, it might have been useful for some people to avoid Apple's $69 replacement fee. But Apple has apparently pulled the app with no explanation. According to the developer's reddit post:
"Yeah, just got off the phone with them. They didn't find anything wrong with the app itself, but rather they they didn't like the 'concept' of people finding their Airpods and hence was deemed 'not appropriate for the App Store'."
What is interesting, if what the developer is saying is true (it is a Reddit post after all), is that Apple does allow similar apps (from the same developer) for finding other devices (Fitbit, Jawbone), so they don't like the concept specifically as it applies to the Airpods. The speculation is that they either have similar functionality planned, or they really like that $69 replacement fee.

Submission + - Obamacare repeal has gig economy worried (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement leaves some 18 million without health insuance in the first year alone, the Congressional Budget Office warned Tuesday. Millions more will lose insurance later on. The estimate includes independent, or gig, workers who use Fiverr's job marketplace. "The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is incredibly important," said Brent Messenger, Fiverr's global head of community. A wholesale repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare, will not only "negatively impact our marketplace but the gig economy as a whole," he said. Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump are promising an Obamacare replacement, but so far they haven't delivered it. That is making people nervous, because some of the ACA's provisions — including coverage for pre-existing conditions — are very important, especially to older independent workers, Jane Langeman, an independent management consultant and president of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), "Many of us are on our second-career as independent business owners and have a lot of life and pre-existing conditions under our belts," said Langeman. "The Affordable Care Act made it easier for business owners to even get health insurance, especially when faced with pre-existing health conditions," she said.

Submission + - EFF sets out privacy and security plans for the first 100 days under Trump (betanews.com) 1

Mark Wilson writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has set out its plans for the first 100 days under Trump, during which time it says it will continue to fight for the rights of internet and technology users.

The digital rights group has already drawn up a wishlist for covering its privacy and security dreams for 2017, but the 100-day plan sees the EFF setting out its agenda for the first few months under Trump. Having claimed that "our civil liberties need an independent defense force" and that "free speech and the rights to privacy, transparency, and innovation won’t survive on their own", EFF is prepared to go to court — again — to hold the new administration to account when necessary.

The group plans to continue its fight against "wrongful surveillance and censorship orders", and says that it will make full use of Freedom of Information Act requests to "force transparency on our secretive government". This is something that will be happening right from the get-go: "we intend to wield this tool from the earliest days of Trump's presidency".

Submission + - President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence 1

bbsguru writes: From NBC News:
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.

The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Submission + - After MuckRock FOIA suit, CIA puts declassified database online (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: For the first time ever, the CIA has posted its database of declassified documents online for anyone to view. The publication of the approximately 12 million pages of historical documents was in response to a lawsuit by FOIA site MuckRock, which had won a court order for the documents to be put on the Internet. Previously, the documents had been technically public, but only accessible to those willing to drive to a few federal facilities, where usage was closely monitored via CCTV. You can search the database here.

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