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Submission + - A Debate Over the Physics of Time (quantamagazine.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Einstein once described his friend Michele Besso as “the best sounding board in Europe” for scientific ideas. They attended university together in Zurich; later they were colleagues at the patent office in Bern. When Besso died in the spring of 1955, Einstein — knowing that his own time was also running out — wrote a now-famous letter to Besso’s family. “Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Einstein’s statement was not merely an attempt at consolation. Many physicists argue that Einstein’s position is implied by the two pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s masterpiece, the general theory of relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics. The laws that underlie these theories are time-symmetric — that is, the physics they describe is the same, regardless of whether the variable called “time” increases or decreases. Moreover, they say nothing at all about the point we call “now” — a special moment (or so it appears) for us, but seemingly undefined when we talk about the universe at large. The resulting timeless cosmos is sometimes called a “block universe” — a static block of space-time in which any flow of time, or passage through it, must presumably be a mental construct or other illusion.

Submission + - It's a federal crime to visit a website after being told not to vis (washingtonpost.com)

Okian Warrior writes: he U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has handed down a very important decision on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Facebook v. Vachani which decision is quite troubling. Its reasoning appears to be very broad — it says that if you tell people not to visit your website, and they do it anyway knowing you disapprove, they’re committing a federal crime of accessing your computer without authorization.

Submission + - Researchers Discover 100+ Tor Nodes Designed To Spy On Hidden Services (schneier.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two researchers have discovered over 100 Tor nodes that are spying on hidden services. Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing reports: "These nodes — ordinary nodes, not exit nodes — sorted through all the traffic that passed through them, looking for anything bound for a hidden service, which allowed them to discover hidden services that had not been advertised. These nodes then attacked the hidden services by making connections to them and trying common exploits against the server-software running on them, seeking to compromise and take them over. The researchers used 'honeypot' .onion servers to find the spying computers: these honeypots were .onion sites that the researchers set up in their own lab and then connected to repeatedly over the Tor network, thus seeding many Tor nodes with the information of the honions' existence. They didn't advertise the honions' existence in any other way and there was nothing of interest at these sites, and so when the sites logged new connections, the researchers could infer that they were being contacted by a system that had spied on one of their Tor network circuits. No one knows who is running the spying nodes: they could be run by criminals, governments, private suppliers of "infowar" weapons to governments, independent researchers, or other scholars (though scholarly research would not normally include attempts to hack the servers once they were discovered)." The Tor project is aware of the attack and is working to redesign its system to try and block it.

Submission + - Micron Announces 9100 MAX NVMe PCIe Enterprise Solid State Drives (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Micron just launched its new 9100 Series NVMe solid state drives which come in a number of capacities, configurations and form factors. The Micron 9100 PRO series targets read-centric environments, while the 9100 MAX targets mixed workloads. Capacities for the drives range from 800GB on up to 3.2TB, though all of the drives are outfitted with a similar Microsemi 16-core / 16-channel controller and 16nm Micron MLC NAND flash memory. The fastest drives in the series are rated for peak sequential read and write throughput of 3GB/sec and 2GB/sec, respectively. In testing, the drives generally outpace Intel's DC 3700 series drive, but can't catch Intel's higher-end SSD DC P3608 in some read tests, though the Micron drives did outpace Intel's flagship in some write tests and can hit their peak 3GB/sec specified bandwidth number easily.

Submission + - SPAM: New mid-infrared laser system could detect atmospheric

cithotelservice writes: (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) MIT researchers have found a way to use mid-infrared lasers to turn molecules in the open air into glowing filaments of electrically charged gas, or plasma. The method could make possible remote environmental monitoring to detect chemicals with high sensitivity.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Earth's "second moon" is more like our fifth!

StartsWithABang writes: Earlier this week, NASA announced the discovery of Asteroid 2016 HO3, calling it Earth’s second moon. And it turns out that this is an object in a stable orbit, the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, that can be found revolving around our world at a distance between 38 and 100 times the distance from us to the Moon. But that isn’t exactly the same as having a second Moon! In order to be considered not just a natural satellite but a stable one, you need to remain orbiting your parent world for a long period of time, not just tens, hundreds or thousands of years, like a transient quasi-satellite. Despite its current orbital characteristics, this object is much more akin to the multiple Trojan asteroids orbiting with our world than anything we’d consider moon-like.

Submission + - SPAM: Russian bot escaped again, may be scrapped

Taco Cowboy writes: As previously mentioned in [spam URL stripped]... regarding a Russian robot IR77 which escaped the research lab, it elude, again

The story goes that an engineer working at Promobot Laboratories, in the Russian city of Perm, had left a gate open. Out trundled Promobot, traveling some 150 feet into the city before running out of juice. There it sat, batteries mostly dead, in the middle of a Perm street for 40 minutes, slowing cars to a halt and puzzling traffic cops

A researcher at Promobot’s facility in Russia said that the runaway robot was designed to interact with human beings, learn from experiences, and remember places and the faces of everyone it meets. Other versions of the Promobot have been docile, but this one just can’t seem to fall in line, even after the researchers reprogrammed it twice

Despite several rewrites of Promobot’s artificial intelligence, the robot continued to move toward exits. “We have changed the AI system twice,” Kivokurtsev said. “So now I think we might have to dismantle it”

Although there are other versions in development, this malfunctioning Promobot’s days look numbered. Unless, however, its fans have any sway. Maxim reports that the Promobot YouTube comment sections are filling up with supporters asking the Russian roboticists to keep the wandering robot out of the junk heap (See [spam URL stripped]... )

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Black Hole Imager Gets First View of Galactic Core (seeker.com)

astroengine writes: A powerful new instrument at one of the world's most powerful observatories is now online and capturing its first deep views of the environment surrounding the black hole behemoth center of our Milky Way. The GRAVITY instrument is currently undergoing commissioning at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometer at the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile and it's prime mission is to ultimately probe the region immediately surrounding Sagittarius A*, the 4 million solar mass supermassive black hole that lurks in the center of our galaxy, around 25,000 light-years from Earth. This sophisticated instrument collects light from the four main 8.2 meter diameter telescopes of the VLT Interferometer, combining it as one.

Submission + - British Startup Strip Mines Renters' Private Social Media For Landlords

Rick Zeman writes: Creepy British startup Score Assured has brought the power of "big data" to plumb new depths. In order to rent from landlords who use their services, potential renters are "...required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes your site activity, including entire conversation threads and private messages; runs it through natural language processing and other analytic software; and finally, spits out a report that catalogues everything from your personality to your “financial stress level.”"
This "stress level" is a deep dive to (allegedly) determine whether the potential renter will pay their bills using vague indicators like "online retail social logins and frequency of social logins used for leisure activities." To make it worse, the company turns over to the landlords indicators that the landlords aren't legally allowed to consider (age, race, pregnancy status), counting on the landlords to "do the right thing." As if this isn't abusive enough, the candidates are not allowed to see nor challenge their report, unlike with credit reports.
Landlords first, employers next...and then? As the co-founder says, "People will give up their privacy to get something they want" and, evidently, that includes a place to live and a job.

Submission + - Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler secretly inserts telemetry code into binaries (infoq.com) 4

edxwelch writes: Reddit user "sammiesdog" discovered recently that the Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler was inserting calls to a Microsoft telemetery function into binaries.
"I compiled a simple program with only main(). When looking at the compiled binary in Ida, I see a calls for telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger. I can not find documentation for these calls, either on the web or in the options page."
Only after the discovery did Steve Carroll, the dev manager for Visual C++, admit to the feature and posted a work around. The "feature" is to be removed in Update 3 of the product.

Submission + - Hackers Find Bugs, Extort Ransom, Call it a Public Service (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Crooks breaking into enterprise networks are holding data they steal for ransom under the guise they are doing the company a favor by exposing a flaw. The criminal act is described as bug poaching and is becoming a growing new threat to businesses vulnerable to attacks.

Hackers are extorting companies for as much as $30,000 in exchange for details on how hackers broke into their network and stole data. Researchers say once the intruders steal the data, there’s no explicit threat that they will break in again or release data if companies don’t pay. Instead, attackers release a simple statement demanding payment in exchange for details on how to fix the vulnerability

Typical bug poaching incidents start with criminals breaking into a network and stealing as much sensitive data as they can. Next, they post the data to a third-party cloud storage service. Lastly, the attackers email the company links to the data as proof the information was stolen and ask for a wire transfer of money in exchange for how the data was stolen.

During the attack, victims are not threatened with the public release of their data, instead attackers simply send a message that reads: “Please rest assured that the data is safe with me. It was extracted for proof only. Honestly, I do this job for a living, not for fun.”

Submission + - 2000 U.S. Publishers File Complaint With FTC Over Adblocking

An anonymous reader writes: The Washington Post is among approximately 2000 online publishers who have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the damage the adblocking is being allowed to do to their businesses. The filing argues that software such as AdBlock Plus facilitates skirting of paywalls (which it can do, though it's not an intuitive or much-publicised feature), and rather more solidly that Eyeo, which administrates AdBlock Plus's Acceptable Ads system, is effectively extorting (undisclosed) fees from major publishers that want to be whitelisted by the AdBlock system. The Washington Post, along with practically every major news outlet on the internet, seems to have already paid for whitelisting with Eyeo.

Submission + - Panasonic to stop making LCD panels for TVs

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese electronics maker Panasonic says it will stop making LCD panels for televisions, giving way to fierce price competition. The pullout from TV LCD manufacturing follows the company's withdrawal from plasma TV production 3 years ago. They say they will continue to manufacture LCD panels at the plant for products other than televisions, such as medical equipment and cars. They say the company will keep making Panasonic-brand televisions, using panels supplied by other manufacturers. After Panasonic pulls out, Sharp and its Taiwanese parent firm Hon Hai will be the only producer in Japan.

Submission + - Intel Launches 10-Core Broadwell-E Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition Processor (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Intel has taken the wraps off their latest high-end desktop processor series today, known by the code name Broadwell-E. The flagship chip is the Core i7-6950X and it's a 10-Core / 20-thread CPU with 25MB of shared cache, a base frequency of 3GHz with boost to 3.5GHz and support for Intel's latest Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 helps boosts performance for both single and multi-threaded workloads by identifying the fastest core on the processor die at a particular moment and directing critical workloads to that core first. So, not only does the processor's frequency ramp up when needed, but workloads are also directed to the fastest possible core available. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, along with the architectural advantages in Broadwell-E and the platform's support for faster memory, results in significant performance gains over Intel's previous gen Haswell-E chips, across the board. The Core i7-6950X's additional cores give it an obvious edge in multi-threaded workloads, but the processor also significantly outpaces the 8-core Core i7-5960X in single or lightly-threaded workloads as well. There are four new Broadwell-E processors due to arrive soon, including 6, 8, and 10 core chips ranging from $434 to a very pricey $1723 for the 10-core Core i7-6950X.

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