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Submission + - Google starts live testing of Android Instant Apps (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: A key obstacle that mobile users encounter is clicking a link only to be greeted by the offer to install an app. The relatively slow process of visiting Google Play to download and install an app means that many people simply don't bother — and this is something that Instant Apps should help with.

The Instant Apps feature was announced last year at Google I/O, and there was much excitement at the prospect of 'streaming' apps on demand. Now Google has started live tests of Instant Apps for Android so you can try out the feature with the likes of BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki.

Instant Apps works by breaking down apps into small chunks so they can be downloaded and run on-the-fly — only those components that are needed have to be downloaded, meaning that with a reasonable connection speed the process should be all but seamless

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 + - Japanese Spacecraft Spots Massive Gravity Wave In Venus' Atmosphere (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Japanese probe Akatsuki has observed a massive gravity wave in the atmosphere of Venus. This is not the first time such a wave was observed on the Solar System’s second planet, but it is the largest ever recorded, stretching just over 6,000 miles from end to end. Its features also suggest that the dynamics of Venus’ atmosphere are more complex than previously thought. An atmospheric gravity wave is a ripple in the density of a planet’s atmosphere, according to the European Space Agency. Akatsuki spotted this particular gravity wave, described in a paper published today in Nature Geoscience, when the probe arrived at the planet on December 7th, 2015. The spacecraft then lost sight of it on December 12th, 2015, because of a change in Akatsuki’s orbit. When the probe returned to a position to observe the bow-shaped structure on January 15th, 2016, the bright wave had vanished. What sets the huge December wave apart from previously discovered ones is that it appeared to be stationary above a mountainous region on the planet’s surface, despite the background atmospheric winds. The study’s authors believe that the bright structure is the result of a gravity wave that was formed in the lower atmosphere as it flowed over the planet’s mountainous terrain. It’s not clear how the wave exactly propagates to the planet’s upper atmosphere, where clouds rotate faster than the planets itself — four days instead of the 243 days it takes Venus to rotate once.

Submission + - Next-Gen Samsung EV Battery Gets 300+ Miles of Range From 20-Minute Charge (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung’s SDI battery subsidiary announced a new battery cell designed for use in electric vehicles that offers improved density to manage a max range of up to 372 miles on a full charge, with a quick charge capacity that will help it regain 310 miles or so of charge on just 20 minutes of charging. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show for the first time, the new battery tech come with a 10 percent decrease in the number of units and weight required vs. current production battery units made by Samsung SDI. Mass production isn’t set to begin until 2021, but the tech should arrive in time to supply the first crop of autonomous cars, which are also targeting street dates sometime within that year from a range of manufacturers. A 20-minute charge delivering that kind of range would help considerably with making EVs more practical for more drivers; it’s around the time you’d spend at a rest stop using the restroom and grabbing coffee or a snack, after all. By comparison, Tesla’s superchargers currently manage to provide around 170 miles of range on a half-hour charge, so Samsung’s planned tech could approximately double that.

Submission + - President Obama Signs Legislation Establishing Information Control Agency

stephenmac7 writes: President Obama has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which "authorizes FY2017 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), military construction, and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE)." Perhaps more notably, it establishes a new Department of State agency, the Global Engagement Center, that some claim may be the beginning of an Orwellian propaganda agency. Its task is to “understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation aimed at undermining United States national security interests" and support “the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and” its partners and allies. It is also authorized to gather information from intelligence agencies and financially support various groups, apparently of its own choosing, including “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Submission + - Drudge Report DDOSed for second time in a week (dailymail.co.uk)

alternative_right writes: The popular Drudge Report website was hit last night in an apparent Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) for the second time in a week, knocking it temporarily off the internet.

Readers were unable to log onto the site last night amid fears it had been targeted by cyber criminals.

Submission + - Ford: We're Canceling $1.6B Mexico Facility, Investing In Electric, US Plant (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Today at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields unveiled a large-scale electric vehicle initiative that will run through the company's next five years. Ford plans to invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicle production by 2020, and the company said it will produce 13 new electric vehicles, including a Mustang, an F-150, police cars, and a Transit Custom van. Additionally, Fields revealed that Ford would be canceling a previously announced $1.6 billion-production facility in Mexico. Instead, the company wants to invest $700 million in the existing Flat Rock facility, generating 700 new jobs focused on EV and autonomous initiatives at that location, according to Ford. Ford described seven of the 13 upcoming EVs during its press conference today. The F-150 Hybrid will be available by 2020 in North America and the Middle East, and Fields noted it'll be powerful enough to stand-in for on-site generators in a pinch. The Mustang Hybrid will deliver "V8 power and even more low-end torque" according to Ford; it too is intended for a 2020 release. Generally, electric motors are well suited to applications where you want a lot of immediate torque, so their presence should work well in a light duty truck like the F-150. Among the other notable vehicles highlighted, Ford is planning a fully electric small SUV that can "deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles" by 2020. The company also wants to produce an autonomous vehicle "designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing" in North America by 2021.

Submission + - WikiLeaks: 2017 will 'blow you away' and, no, Russia didn't hack the US election (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The hatred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feels towards Hillary Clinton is far from being a secret. During the election campaign, the non-profit organization leaked Clinton emails in the hope that it would destroy her presidential hopes — and we all know the result of the election.

As we slide gently into 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has turned on the ignition and is about to hit the accelerator. The tweet says: "If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year 2017 will blow you away". On top of this, Assange himself is due to appear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, denying Russia's involvement in hacking DNC emails.

WikiLeak's tweet comes as part of a plea for donations, but it promises that this will be the year of a 'showdown'.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Are Some Great Games Panned And Some Inferior Games Praised? (soldnersecretwars.de) 2

dryriver writes: A few years ago I bought a multiplayer war game called Soldner that I had never heard of before. (The game is entirely community maintained now and free to download and play at www.soldnersecretwars.de) The professional reviews completely and utterly destroyed Soldner — buggy, bad gameplay, no singleplayer mode, disappointing graphics, server problems and so on. For me and many other players who did give it a chance beyond the first 30 minutes, Soldner turned out to be THE most fun, addictive, varied, sattisfying and multi-featured multiplayer war game ever. It had innovative features that AAA titles like Battlefield and COD did not have at all at the time — fully destructible terrain, walls and buildings, cool physics on everything from jeeps flying off mountaintops to Apache helicopters crashing into Hercules transport aircraft, to dozens of trees being blown down by explosions and then blocking an incoming tank's way. Soldner took a patch or three to become fully stable, but then was just fun, fun, fun to play. So much freedom, so much cool stuff you can do in-game, so many options and gadgets you can play with. By contrast, the far, far simpler — but better looking — Battlefield, COD, Medal Of Honor, CounterStrike war games got all the critical praise, made the tens of millions in profit per release, became longstanding franchises and are, to this day, not half the fun to play that Soldner is. How does this happen? How does a title like Soldner that tried to do more new stuff than the other war games combined get trashed by every reviewer, and then far less innovative and fun to play war games like BF, COD, CS sell tens of millions of copies per release and get rave reviews all around?

Submission + - Facebook Developing Copyright ID System To Stem Music Rights Infringement (billboard.com)

An anonymous reader writes: As Facebook continues to grapple with its role in proliferating "fake news" amidst the heated U.S. election this year, it has another showdown looming on the horizon — this one with the music industry. In the wake of NMPA president/CEO David Israelite's op-ed in Billboard in October, in which he called out the social media giant for hosting videos with copyrighted music without securing licensing deals or paying creators, Facebook is working to develop a copyright identification system — similar to YouTube's Content ID — that would find and remove videos containing copyrighted music, a source tells Billboard. The story was first reported by the Financial Times. One music industry source, confirming Facebook's plans to develop a copyright ID system, says the company has a massive infringement problem in regards to music on the site. "They see the huge amount of traffic music content is responsible for on their platform and don’t want to be on the wrong end of an artist fight," the person says. "They also see that there’s a potential opportunity to position themselves as friendly to content creators as opposed to YouTube, so they are working fast to get this right." Talks between Facebook and the major labels are underway to license content moving forward, Billboard has learned, though they are still in the preliminary stages. In its report, the Financial Times referenced a source saying a deal would not be done before the spring.

Submission + - Nevada Website Bug Leaks Thousands of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Nevada's state government website has leaked the personal data on over 11,700 applicants for dispensing medical marijuana in the state. Each application, eight pages in length, includes the person's full name, home address, citizenship, and even their weight and height, race, and eye and hair color. The applications also include the applicant's citizenship, their driving license number (where applicable), and social security number. Security researcher Justin Shafer found the bug in the state's website portal, allowing anyone with the right web address to access and enumerate the thousands of applications. Though the medical marijuana portal can be found with a crafted Google search query, we're not publishing the web address out of caution until the bug is fixed. A spokesperson for the Nevada Dept. Health and Human Services, which runs the medical marijuana application program, told ZDNet that the website has been pulled offline to limit the vulnerability. The spokesperson added that the leaked data was a "portion" of one of several databases.

Submission + - Watership Down author Richard Adams died on Xmas Eve, aged 96 (theguardian.com)

haruchai writes: In addition to his much-beloved story about anthropomorphic rabbits, he penned 2 fantasy books set in the fictional Beklan Empire, first Shardik (1974) about a hunter pursuing a giant bear he believes to be imbued with divine power, and Maia (1984) , a peasant girl sold into slavery who becomes entangled in a war between neighboring countries

Submission + - Google responds on skewed Holocaust search results

AmiMoJo writes: Google has said it is "thinking deeply" about ways to improve search, after criticism over how some results — including ones discussing the Holocaust — were ranked. Searching for "did the Holocaust happen?" returned a top result from white supremacist site Stormfront, that claimed it did not. "This is a really challenging problem, and something we're thinking deeply about in terms of how we can do a better job," said a Google spokesman. "Search is a reflection of the content that exists on the web. The fact that hate sites may appear in search results in no way means that Google endorses these views." Search Engine Land has some more detailed analysis suggesting that people are actively trying to influence search result rankings on controversial topics.

Submission + - SPAM: "Jet streams" in Earth's core

Coisiche writes: Most will know of the atmospheric jet streams, the bands of fast moving air circling the globe, and now it seems something similar has been discovered down below. There's evidence of a faster moving belt around the northern pole of the Earth's core. Moving at 50km per year it's definitely a bit slower than its atmospheric counterpart but still much faster than anything else down there is moving.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Wine now running on Intel ChromeBooks

grungy writes: The first Intel ChromeBooks have access to the Play Store now, and the Android version of Wine apparently runs on them. Phoronix reports that CodeWeavers CrossOver is running on Intel ChromeBooks. Pictures show the Steam client running, and a clip of a D3D game. Of course, the Play Store is only available on the ChromeOS developer channel so far, but that should change later this year.

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