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Submission + - SPAM: Satellite Abandoned In 1967 Mysteriously Comes Back Online

schwit1 writes: An American satellite abandoned in 1967 suddenly came back online and began transmitting again for the first time in 50 years.

Amateur astronomers first suspected that they’d found the satellite in 2013, but needed years to confirm that it was still occasionally transmitting. The satellite, dubbed LES1, was built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and launched into space in 1965.

A mistake in the satellite’s circuitry caused it to never leave its circular orbit, and it eventually stop transmitting in 1967. The satellite’s signal now fluctuates widely in strength, meaning that it’s likely only transmitting when its solar panels are in direct sunlight. Scientists expect that the satellite’s onboard batteries have disintegrated.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Groundbreaking Paper on arXiv derives Gravity from Holographic Principle (arxiv.org)

vikingpower writes: Dutch prodigy and Amsterdam University Professor Erik Verlinde published a paper on arXiv, yesterday November 7, titled "Emergent Gravity and the Dark Universe". In the paper, Verlinde derives gravity from the so-called Holographic Principle, which — simply put — states that gravity emerges from the interplay between and entropy re-arrangement of sub-atomic "strings" that live in a negatively curved space-time. At that level, "...spacetime and gravity are emergent from an underlying microscopic description in which they have no a priori meaning" . Most importantly, Verlinde's paper has as a consequence that Dark Matter, nemesis of many an astronomer, is nothing more than an illusion. Verlinde, who was awarded the Dutch national Spinoza science prize in the recent past, already completed the tour de force of deriving Newtonian gravity from the same principles in a 2010 paper, also on arXiv. We are probably looking at Nobel-prize material here, as Verlinde is acknowledged by his peers to "go one better than Einstein's General Theory of Relativity".

Submission + - NSA Front Equation Group May In Fact Be Russian (blogspot.com)

badger.foo writes: The well-known NSA front or hackers-for-hire The Equation Group may in fact be Russian, or at least operating out of a 'forward base' close to Russian networks, if Peter Hansteen reads subtle hints in the recent Shadow Brokers data dump correctly. The clue: Several Russian hosts identified by RFC1918 local net addresses. You can read the whole story, with links to the data, here.

Submission + - The City That Was Saved By the Internet

Jason Koebler writes: At a time when small cities, towns, and rural areas are seeing an exodus of young people to large cities and a precipitous decline in solidly middle class jobs, Chattanooga's government-built fiber network has helped it thrive and create a new identity for itself.

Chattanooga's success is beginning to open eyes around the country: If we start treating the internet not as a product sold by a company but as a necessary utility, can the economic prospects of rural America be saved?

Submission + - Clinton Foundation works with Big Pharma to keep the price of US AIDS drugs high (reddit.com)

Okian Warrior writes: A newly released Podesta E-mail explains how the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) works to keep the price of AIDS medicines high in the US.

CHAI contracted with Big Pharma companies for AIDS drugs to be distributed in developing countries. In return, the group agreed to resist efforts to bring similarly lower cost and generic drugs to the US.

The email is a reaction to "comments President Clinton made on lowering domestic AIDS drugs prices at the World AIDS day event":

We have always told the drug companies that we would not pressure them and create a slippery slope where prices they negotiate with us for poor countries would inevitably lead to similar prices in rich countries.

[...] If we do try to do something in this area, we suggest that we approach the innovator companies that can currently sell products in the US with the idea of making donations to help clear the ADAP lists. For a variety of reasons, the companies will likely favor a donation approach rather than one that erodes prices across the board.

[...] I would guess that they would also likely favor a solution that involved their drugs rather than an approach that allowed generic drugs from India to flood the US market at low prices or one that set a precedent of waiving patent laws on drugs. ... We can go to war with the US drug companies if President Clinton would like to do so, but we would not suggest it.


Submission + - "Most serious" Linux privilege-escalation bug ever is under active exploit (arstechnica.com)

operator_error writes: Lurking in the kernel for nine years, flaw gives untrusted users unfettered root access.

By Dan Goodin — 10/20/2016

A serious vulnerability that has been present for nine years in virtually all versions of the Linux operating system is under active exploit, according to researchers who are advising users to install a patch as soon as possible.

While CVE-2016-5195, as the bug is cataloged, amounts to a mere privilege-escalation vulnerability rather than a more serious code-execution vulnerability, there are several reasons many researchers are taking it extremely seriously. For one thing, it's not hard to develop exploits that work reliably. For another, the flaw is located in a section of the Linux kernel that's a part of virtually every distribution of the open-source OS released for almost a decade. What's more, researchers have discovered attack code that indicates the vulnerability is being actively and maliciously exploited in the wild.

"It's probably the most serious Linux local privilege escalation ever," Dan Rosenberg, a senior researcher at Azimuth Security, told Ars. "The nature of the vulnerability lends itself to extremely reliable exploitation. This vulnerability has been present for nine years, which is an extremely long period of time."

The underlying bug was patched this week by the maintainers of the official Linux kernel. Downstream distributors are in the process of releasing updates that incorporate the fix. Red Hat has classified the vulnerability as "important."

Submission + - Filmmaker Arrested At Pipeline Protest Facing 45 Years In Felony Charges (huffingtonpost.com)

walterbyrd writes: The lengths that the oil industry, and their puppet politicians, will go to suppress information is amazing. 45 years is way more than most people get for murder.

Deia Schlosberg, the producer of the upcoming documentary “How to Let Go of the World and Love All Things Climate Can’t Change,” was detained while filming a protest against TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline in Walhalla, North Dakota. Activists at the event, associated with the group Climate Direct Action, shut down the pipeline, which carries oil from Canadian tar sands to the U.S, for about seven hours.

Submission + - A U.S. election-system vendor who uses developers in Serbia (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Voting machines are privately manufactured and developed and, as with other many other IT systems, the code is typically proprietary. The use of proprietary systems in elections has its critics. One Silicon Valley group, the Open Source Election Technology Foundation, is pushing for an election system that shifts from proprietary, vendor-owned systems to one that that is owned "by the people of the United States." One major election technology company, Dominion Voting Systems (DVS), develops its systems in the U.S. and Canada but also has an office in Belgrade, Serbia. It was recently advertising openings for four senior software developers in Belgrade. "Like many of America's largest technology companies — which develop some of the software for their products in places like Asia, India, Ireland and the Mideast — some of our software development is undertaken outside the U.S. and Canada, specifically, in Serbia, where we have conducted operations for 10 years," said firm spokesman Chris Riggall.

Submission + - SPAM: Dark matter unnecessary?

schwit1 writes: A new analysis of the infrared data from 153 galaxies using the Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that dark matter might not be necessary to explain the rotation of galaxies.

First, this concise and nicely written explanation from the link of why dark matter has been proposed:

Newton’s laws of motion predict that planets that revolve closer to a star move faster than those that are farther away. In principle this should also hold true for stars circling the cores of galaxies, but for nearly a century, astronomers have seen that stars near the outskirts of galaxies orbit at nearly the same velocities as ones near galactic centers.

To explain why these outlying stars travel as quickly as they do without flying out into the void beyond, researchers came up with the idea of dark matter, a substance whose gravitational pull is thought to keep whirling stars in check. Scientists have largely ruled out all known particles as possible explanations for dark matter, and the consensus is that dark matter must be a kind of invisible, intangible material that is only detectable via its gravitational influence.

However, despite decades of trying, researchers have failed to capture a single mote of dark matter, even though it is supposed to make up roughly five-sixths of all matter in the universe. This raises the possibility that dark matter might not be real.


Link to Original Source

Submission + - New formula massively reduces prime number memory requirements.

grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's Weak Conjecture, which every odd number greater than 5 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the Sieve of Erasthones:

In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm.

But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm:

Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N.

So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks?

Submission + - Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs (theregister.co.uk)

kruug writes: Several users noted certain new Lenovo machines' SSDs are locked in a RAID mode, with AHCI removed from the BIOS. Windows is able to see the SSD while in RAID mode due to a proprietary driver, but the SSD is hidden from Linux installations — for which such a driver is unavailable.

Speaking to The Register today, a Lenovo spokesperson claimed the Chinese giant "Does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems on its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of products."

Complaints on Lenovo's forums suggest that users have been unable to install GNU/Linux operating systems on models from the Yoga 900S to the Ideapad 710S, with one 19-page thread going into detail about the BIOS issue and users' attempts to work around it.

Submission + - Code.org Touts Apple's Swift Playgrounds, Disses Wolfram Language

theodp writes: Tech-backed Code.org, one of the leaders of the new CSforAll Consortium that was announced at the White House on Wednesday, took to its blog Thursday to say "Thanks, Tim [Cook], for supporting the effort to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science," giving a shout out to Apple for providing "resources for teachers who want to put Swift Playgrounds in their classrooms (a day earlier, the White House said Apple developed Swift Playgrounds "in support of the President’s call to action" for CS for All). Curiously, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi argued Friday that "the Wolfram Language has serious shortcomings for broad educational use" in an EdSurge op-ed that was called a "response to a recent blog post by Stephen Wolfram" on Wolfram's ambitious plan to teach computational thinking in schools. Partovi's complaints? "It requires login for all but the simplest use cases, but doesn’t provide any privacy safeguards for young children (required in the U.S. through legislation such as COPPA). Also, a serious user would need to pay for usage, making implementation inaccessible in most schools. Lastly, it’s a bit difficult to use by students who struggle with English reading or writing, such as English language learners or early elementary school students." So, if you were a teacher trying to teach computational thinking skills to the 11-and-older set, would you be inclined to embrace Wolfram's approach, Apple's Swift Playgrounds, Microsoft TEALS' Java-centric AP CS curriculum, or something else (e.g., R, Tableau, Excel+VBA)?

Submission + - Microsoft Weaponizes Minecraft in the War over Classrooms (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: In the two years since Microsoft acquired Minecraft's parent company, its discovered a brilliant new direction to take the game: it's turning it into a tool for education, creating both an innovative approach to classroom technology and an inspired strategy for competing with Google and Apple in the ed-tech market. "I actually never believed there would be a game that would really cross over between the commercial entertainment market and education in a mainstream way,” says cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito—but Minecraft has managed to do just that.

Submission + - Android-x86 6.0 Released to Let You Run Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Your PC

prisoninmate writes: Android-x86 6.0 has been in the works since early this year, and it received a total of two RC (Release Candidate) builds during its entire development cycle, one in June and another in August. After joining the Remix OS team, Chih-Wei Huang now has all the reasons to update and improve its Android-x86 system for the latest Android releases. Therefore, as you might have guessed already, Android-x86 6.0 is the first stable version of the project to be based on Google's Linux kernel-based Android 6.0 Marshmallow mobile operating system, and includes the most recent AOSP (Android Open Source Project) security updates too. Under the hood, Android-x86 6.0 is using the long-term supported Linux 4.4.20 kernel with an updated graphics stack based on Mesa 12.0.2 3D Graphics Library, and offers support for Samsung's F2FS file system for SSD drives, better Wi-Fi support after resume and suspend, and initial HDMI audio support.

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