Invisible Touch
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 11:50 PM
From Penny Arcade:
New Comic: Invisible Touch

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Slashdot Asks: Does Anyone Still Like Godzilla?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 11:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's long-live-the-king department:
There's now a new $175 million remake of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I loved it, Msmash walked out of it, and BeauHD didn't bother to go see it. The movie performed poorly at the box office, but I'm not the only person who still likes Godzilla. There's also a new anime version on Netflix. And critic Matt Zoller Seitz (once a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism) is calling the new film "a frequently astounding movie... its imperfections are compensated by magnificence."

For all its crash-and-bash action, this is a real science fiction movie that goes to the trouble of not merely creating a world, but thinking about the implications of its images and predicaments. It cares what the people in it must feel and think about their situation, and how it might weigh on them every day even when they aren't talking about it amongst themselves. It's also suffused with a spiritual or theological awareness, and takes it all as seriously as recent DC films took their comparisons of caped wonders to figures from the Old Testament and ancient mythology...

[A]t the level of image, sound and music, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" is a frequently brilliant film that earnestly grapples with the material it presents... It deploys state-of-the-art moviemaking tools to try to return audiences to a stage of childlike terror and delight. Arthur C. Clarke famously observed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. This movie is magic.

< article continued at Slashdot's long-live-the-king department >

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Why New York's Subway Still Uses OS/2
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 09:00 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Microsoft-meets-IBM department:
Every day 5.7 million people ride the subway in New York City -- and are subjected to both "the whims of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the unheard-of reliability of a marginally successful operating system from the early 1990s."

martiniturbide shared this report from Tedium:
OS/2 and MTA consultant Neil Waldhauer said in an email, "For a few years, you could bet your career on OS/2." To understand why, you need to understand the timing. Waldhauer continues, "The design is from a time before either Linux or Windows was around. OS/2 would have seemed like a secure choice for the future." So for a lack of options, the MTA went with its best one. And it's worked out for decades, as one of the key software components of a quite complex system...

Despite the failure of OS/2 in the consumer market, it was hilariously robust, leading to a long life in industrial and enterprise systems -- with one other famous example being ATMs. Waldhauer said, "Thinking about all the operating systems in use [in the MTA], I'd have to say that OS/2 is probably the most robust part of the system, except for the mainframe." It's still in use in the NYC subway system in 2019. IBM had long given up on it, even allowing another company to maintain the software in 2001. (These days, a firm named Arca Noae sells an officially supported version of OS/2, ArcaOS, though most of its users are in similar situations to the MTA.)

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Upgrade Your Memory With A Surgically Implanted Brain Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 06:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's just-like-Johnny-Mnemonic department:
Bloomberg reports on a five-year, $77 million project by America's Department of Defense to create an implantable brain device that restores memory-generation capacity for people with traumatic brain injuries.

A device has now been developed by Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the medical technology company Medtronic Plc, and successfully tested with funding from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Connected to the left temporal cortex, it monitors the brain's electrical activity and forecasts whether a lasting memory will be created. "Just like meteorologists predict the weather by putting sensors in the environment that measure humidity and wind speed and temperature, we put sensors in the brain and measure electrical signals," Kahana says. If brain activity is suboptimal, the device provides a small zap, undetectable to the patient, to strengthen the signal and increase the chance of memory formation.

In two separate studies, researchers found the prototype consistently boosted memory 15 per cent to 18 per cent. The second group performing human testing, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., aided by colleagues at the University of Southern California, has a more finely tuned method. In a study published last year, their patients showed memory retention improvement of as much as 37 per cent. "We're looking at questions like, 'Where are my keys? Where did I park the car? Have I taken my pills?'â" says Robert Hampson, lead author of the 2018 study...

< article continued at Slashdot's just-like-Johnny-Mnemonic department >

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Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Wave 3 Voyager Springer Found At US Retail
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 06:10 PM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="450" height="600" src="" alt="" />

Attention to all Siege collectors! Via a post in The Hardcore Collectors Facebook group we can report that the Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Wave 3 Voyager Springer has been found At US Retail. According to the information shared, Siege Springer was spotted at Walmart in Branford, Connecticut.  It’s time to dash to your local Walmart to try to find Springer for your growing Siege collection. Happy hunting!

The post Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Wave 3 Voyager Springer Found At US Retail appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Transformers Cyberverse: Power Of The Spark 1-Step Sky-Byte Packaging Stock Images
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 06:10 PM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="768" height="768" src="" alt="" />

Via we have some new stock images showing the packaging of the Transformers Cyberverse: Power Of The Spark 1-Step Sky-Byte. Power Of The Spark Sky-Byte is part of the upcoming Wave 5 1-Step Changers together with Shockwave and Jazz. A simple and fun rendition of fan-favorite robotic shark featuring a “Spinfin” Action Attack in robot mode. Click on the bar to see the mirrored images on this news post and then share your impressions on the 2005 Boards!

The post Transformers Cyberverse: Power Of The Spark 1-Step Sky-Byte Packaging Stock Images appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Twitch Sues Troll Streamers Who Flooded Site With Violent Videos and Pornography
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 05:00 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's war-on-bots department:
An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg:
Twitch Interactive, the livestreaming platform owned by, has sued anonymous trolls who flooded the site last month with pornography, violent content and copyrighted movies and television shows...

Twitch says it works to remove offensive posts and ban the accounts of the users who post them, but that the videos quickly reappear, apparently posted by bots, while other bots work to drive users to the impermissible content. Twitch temporarily suspended new creators from streaming after a May 25 attack by trolls.

The company said that if it learns the identities of the anonymous streamers who have abused its terms of service -- named in the lawsuit as "John and Jane Does 1-100" -- it will ask the court to prohibit their using the platform and order them to pay restitution and damages.

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A New Hidden Way of Web Browser Profiling, Identification and Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 03:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's JavaScript-template-attack department:
Researchers from Austria's Graz University of Technology "have devised an automated system for browser profiling using two new side channel attacks that can help expose information about software and hardware," reports The Register.

The researchers recently presented a paper titled "JavaScript Template Attacks: Automatically Inferring Host Information for Targeted Exploits," which The Register says "calls into question the effectiveness of anonymized browsing and browser privacy extensions... "

Long-time Slashdot reader Artem S. Tashkinov shared their report:
One of the side-channel attacks developed for JavaScript Template Attacks involve measuring runtime differences between two code snippets to infer the underlying instruction set architecture through variations in JIT compiler behavior. The other involves measuring timing differences in the memory allocator to infer the allocated size of a memory region.

The boffins' exploration of the JavaScript environment reveals not only the ability to fingerprint via browser version, installed privacy extension, privacy mode, operating system, device microarchitecture, and virtual machine, but also the properties of JavaScript objects. And their research shows there are far more of these than are covered in official documentation. This means browser fingerprints have the potential to be far more detailed -- have more data points -- than they are now.

The Mozilla Developer Network documentation for Firefox, for example, covers 2,247 browser properties. The researchers were able to capture 15,709. Though not all of these are usable for fingerprinting and some represent duplicates, they say they found about 10,000 usable properties for all browsers.

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Researcher Publishers 7 Million (Still Public) Venmo Transactions on GitHub
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 02:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's peeking-on-payments department:
Remember the outrage last year when a researcher discovered that for Venmo's 40 million users, all transactions are "public" by default and broadcast on Venmo's API?
More than a year later, computer science student Dan Salmon has demonstrated that it's still incredibly easy to download millions of transactions through Venmo's developer API without obtaining user permissions (without even using the Venmo app).

He proved this by downloading 7 million of them," TechCrunch reports:

Dan Salmon said he scraped the transactions during a cumulative six months to raise awareness and warn users to set their Venmo payments to private... Using that data, anyone can look at an entire user's public transaction history, who they shared money with, when, and in some cases for what reason -- including illicit goods and substances.

"There's truly no reason to have this API open to unauthenticated requests," he told TechCrunch. "The API only exists to provide like a scrolling feed of public transactions for the home page of the app, but if that's your goal then you should require a token with each request to verify that the user is logged in."
He published the scraped data on his GitHub page.

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'Genius' Site Said It Used Morse Code To Catch Google Stealing Song Lyrics
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 01:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's whose-line-is-it-anyway department:
" says its traffic is dropping because, for the past several years, Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, with some of them lifted directly from the music site," reports the Wall Street Journal:

Google denies doing anything nefarious. Still, Genius's complaints offer a window into the challenges small tech companies can face when the unit of Alphabet Inc. starts offering competing services on its platform... Genius said it notified Google as far back as 2017, and again in an April letter, that copied transcriptions appear on Google's website. The April letter, a copy of which was viewed by the Journal, warned that reuse of Genius's transcriptions breaks the terms of service and violates antitrust law.

"Over the last two years, we've shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius," said Ben Gross, Genius's chief strategy officer, in an email message.... Genius said it found more than 100 examples of songs on Google that came from its site. Starting around 2016, Genius made a subtle change to some of the songs on its website, alternating the lyrics' apostrophes between straight and curly single-quote marks in exactly the same sequence for every song. When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words "Red Handed."

Genius is a privately held company, and its investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Emagen Investment Group and the rapper Nas... Genius clients include the music streaming website Spotify Technology SA and Apple Inc.
The article also notes March study from web-analytics firm Jumpshot Inc. which found 62% of mobile searches on Google now don't result in the user clicking through to a non-Google web site.

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History of Elite Beat Agents / Ouendan Series - Game History Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 12:21 PM
By DidYouKnowGaming? from DidYouKnowGaming?:

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Google's Login Chief: Apple's Sign-In Button Is Better Than Using Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 11:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's swordfish department:
After Apple announced a single sign-on tool last week, The Verge interviewed Google product management director Mark Risher. Though Google offers its own single sign-on tool, The Verge found him "surprisingly sunny about having a new button to compete with. While the login buttons are relatively simple, they're much more resistant to common attacks like phishing, making them much stronger than the average password -- provided you trust the network offering them."

RISHER: I honestly do think this technology will be better for the internet and will make people much, much safer. Even if they're clicking our competitor's button when they're logging into sites, that's still way better than typing in a bespoke username and password, or more commonly, a recycled username and password...

Usually with passwords they recommend the capital letters and symbols and all of that, which the majority of the planet believes is the best thing that they should do to improve their security. But it actually has no bearing on phishing, no bearing on password breaches, no bearing on password reuse. We think that it's much more important to reduce the total number of passwords out there...

People often push back against the federated model, saying we're putting all our eggs into one basket. It sort of rolls off the tongue, but I think it's the wrong metaphor. A better metaphor might be a bank. There are two ways to store your hundred dollars: you could spread it around the house, putting one dollar in each drawer, and some under your mattress and all of that. Or you could put it in a bank, which is one basket, but it's a basket that is protected by 12-inch thick steel doors. That seems like the better option!

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Michigan Town Approves Fiber Internet Despite Intense Lobbying
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 11:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's consuming-more-fiber department:
Long-time Slashdot reader Proudrooster writes:
Fiber Internet is coming to Traverse City, Michigan in the hopes of attracting high tech startups and helping the city become a high-tech hub. Even in the face of intense lobbying by [commercial high-speed internet provider] Charter, The Mackinaw Center for Public Policy, and a barrage of pop up ads opposing it, the project is moving ahead into phase one.

It was more than apparent that Charter did everything it could to try and sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt to try and kill this project as other incumbent providers have done across the USA. [Citation needed -- though Traverse City officials did report high-powered anonymous lobbying.] Kudos to the board of Traverse City Light and Power and the residents of Traverse City for being brave and making this investment in their community. Even though the decision is not finalized, the network may be an open network, allowing customers to purchase from a variety of providers.

This project will undoubtedly be watched nationwide and possibly serve as a new model for other community fiber builds.

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America Planted Malware In Russia's Power Grid, Says NYT
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 10:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's power-plays department:
"The U.S. military's Cyber Command has gotten more aggressive than ever against Russia in the past year, placing 'potentially crippling malware' in systems that control the country's electrical grid," according to CNET, citing a report in the New York Times:

Made possible by little-noticed legal authority granted last summer by Congress, Cyber Command's strategy shift from a defensive to offensive posture is meant in part as a warning shot, but it's also designed to enable paralysing cyberattacks in the event of a conflict, The New York Times said Saturday, quoting unnamed officials... [T]he recent moves appear to have taken place under a military authorization bill Congress passed in 2018 that gives the go-ahead for "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States...."

The Times said Cyber Command is concerned Russia could trigger selective power outages in key states during the 2020 election and that it needs a way to discourage such attacks. But the agency and the U.S. have to consider their moves carefully in this international game of cyberchess. "The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia," the Times report says. "While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target...."

In related news, Bloomberg reported Friday that a Russia-linked hacking group that shut down an oil and gas facility in Saudi Arabia in 2017 has been probing utilities in the U.S. since late last year.

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Why 'Ambient Computing' Is Just A Marketing Buzzword -- For Now
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 09:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's all-around-you department:
An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld columnist Mike Elgan:
Ambient computing is real. It's the next megatrend in computing.... To interact in an "ambient computing" context means to not care and not even necessarily know where exactly the devices are that you're interacting with. When IoT devices and sensors are all around us, and artificial intelligence can understand human contexts for what's happening and act accordingly and in our interests, then ambient computing will have arrived...

As with many technology revolutions, including augmented reality and AI, the buzzword ambient will precede the actual technology by many years. In fact, the marketing buzzword is suddenly here in full force. The actual technologies? Not so much. Instead, we're on the brink of a revolution in what you might call "semi-ambient computing...."

Rumors are circulating that Google's next smartphones, the Pixel 4 line, may come with Soli built in. I told you in January about Google's Project Soli, which may be called the "Aware" sensor or feature in the Pixel 4 -- again, according to unconfirmed rumors. Soli or Aware capability means the Pixel 4 may accept in-the-air hand gestures, such as "skip" and "silence" during music playback. The new Google "wave" is a hand gesture. The ability to wave away music with a hand gesture brings the smartphone into the semi-ambient computing era. It basically adds natural hand gestures to natural-language processing.... Google also briefly talked last year about a healthcare assistant called Dr. Liz., which was described by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an ambient computing virtual assistant for doctors. We'll see if Google ever ships a Dr. Liz product...
< article continued at Slashdot's all-around-you department >

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Massive Electrical Failure Cuts Power To Nearly All Of Argentina On Election Day -- and Uruguay
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 07:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's lights-out department:
Iwastheone quotes the BBC:

A massive electrical failure has left almost all of Argentina and Uruguay without power, according to a major Argentine electricity provider. Authorities say the cause of the blackout is still unclear. Argentine media said the power cut occurred shortly after 07:00 [03:00 PST, 11:00 BST], causing trains to be halted and failures with traffic signalling.

It came as people in parts of Argentina were preparing to go to the polls for local elections.

"A massive failure in the electrical interconnection system left all of Argentina and Uruguay without power," electricity supply company Edesur said in a tweet. Alejandra Martinez, a spokeswoman for the company, described the power cut as unprecedented. "This is the first time something like this has happened across the entire country." Argentina's energy secretary, Gustavo Lopetegui, said the cause of the power failure had not yet been determined. The Ministry of Civil Protection estimated that parts of the service could be restored in about seven or eight hours.

Edesur said that power had been restored over 75,00 clients in parts of Buenos Aires and local media reported that two airports were operating on generators in the capital. Uruguay's energy company, UTE, said in a series of tweets that power had been restored to coastal areas and to areas north of Rio Negro.
The combined population of Argentina and Uruguay is about 48 million people.... Tierra del Fuego in the far south is the only area that remains unaffected because it is not connected to the power grid.

"Local media have been showing voters casting their ballots in the dark, with mobile phones being used as lanterns."

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Facebook's Photorealistic Simulator For AI Runs At 10,000 FPS
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 07:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's open-source-AI-trainers department:
malachiorion writes:
Facebook just open sourced a simulator for testing and training embodied AI systems -- like virtual robots. They worked with AR/VR researchers to release the simulator along with what they say are the most photorealistic 3D reconstructions of real world places available. [Facebook Reality Labs have named this "the Replica data set".]

The crazy part: Because more frames are always better for training computer vision in simulators, it can run at 10,000 FPS!

The simulator's ability to hit 10K frames per second prompted an interesting follow-up on the original submission. "It's a totally useless framerate for humans -- just absolute overkill for our brains/eyeballs -- but it's apparently a benefit for AI systems."

"As more researchers adopt the platform, we can collectively develop embodied AI techniques more quickly," explains Facebook's blog post, "as well as realize the larger benefits of replacing yesterday's training data sets with active environments that better reflect the world we're preparing machine assistants to operate in."

And if you're worried about privacy, Facebook assures readers that "The data used to generate Replica scans was anonymized to remove any personal details (such as family photos) that could identify an individual. The overall reconstruction process was meticulous, with researchers manually filling in the small holes that are inevitably missed during scanning and using a 3D paint tool to apply annotations directly onto meshes."

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Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Battlemasters Wave 3 & Deluxe Wave 3 Out In Australia
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 07:30 AM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="450" height="600" src="" alt="" />

Courtesy of Ozformers on Facebook, we can report that Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Deluxe Wave 3 has been found at Australian Retail. Battlemasters Caliburst and Smashdown together with Deluxe Red Alert, Refraktor and Brunt were spotted at Toyworld in Canberra. Happy hunting to all fellow Australian fans! Keep reporting your sightings around the world on the 2005 Boards!

The post Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Battlemasters Wave 3 & Deluxe Wave 3 Out In Australia appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Uber's Plan To Deliver McDonald's Hamburgers By Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 06:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's billions-and-billions-served department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post:
The company's new initiative -- a collaborative effort between its Uber Eats and Uber Elevate divisions -- began with tests in San Diego using fast food meals from McDonald's, but could expand to include a local fine-dining restaurant called Juniper and Ivy, the company said. Uber intends to roll out commercial food delivery using drones in the same city this summer, with a fee structure that mimics Uber Eats current pricing, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which first reported the company's plan...

"We've been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we're meeting requirements and prioritizing safety," Uber Elevate's Luke Fischer, the company's head of flight operations, said in a statement. "From there, our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button. We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we're able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate."

How will Uber's drone delivery service work? After a restaurant loads a meal into a drone and the robot takes to the air, the company's technology will notify a nearby Uber Eats driver at a designated drop-off location, the company said. The driver will pick up and hand deliver the meal to the customer the same way the service currently operates. But in the future, Uber said, the company would like to land drones atop parked vehicles near delivery locations "through QR code correspondence." Once that happens, the last-mile leg of delivery would be completed by the Uber Eats driver who would hand-deliver the order.

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Banana Force MPL-01 Red Sharpshooter (RID 2001 Optimus Prime/Car Robot Fire Convoy)Test Shot Images
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '19 at 06:10 AM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="507" height="600" src="" alt="" />

New 3P Company Banana Force have uploaded via their Facebook account images of the test shot of their upcoming MPL-01 Red Sharpshooter (RID 2001 Optimus Prime / Car Robot Fire Convoy). Banana Force first entry for the competitive 3P market is an action figure of Optimus Prime from the Robots In Disguise 2001 cartoon (or Fire Convoy as he’s known in Japan). While non-transformable, this action figure features a fresh and stylized design with a wide range of poseability and a generous amount of die-cast parts. Their first test shot looks very promising indeed. Don’t forget that Banana Force is also working on <a » Continue Reading.

The post Banana Force MPL-01 Red Sharpshooter (RID 2001 Optimus Prime/Car Robot Fire Convoy)Test Shot Images appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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