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Facebook Says It Aims To Power Itself With 100% Renewable Energy by 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
Facebook says it is aiming to buy renewable energy to cover 100 percent of its electricity use by the end of 2020, joining companies such as Citigroup and Ikea in setting that deadline for achieving its goal. From a report: By 2020, Facebook plans to power its global operations with 100% renewable energy, and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. It's the next step in ramping up the company's work to move to renewables over the last several years. "There's the expectation that we have as a company that we think this is good for communities and this is good for the world as a whole, but it's also good business sense," says Bobby Hollis, the company's head of global energy. "We really integrate this into our entire business planning process to make sure that we go into places where renewables make sense." In 2017, the company's carbon footprint was 979,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent -- roughly as much as the emissions from more than 100,000 homes, according to an EPA calculator. The company's data centers, which were supporting the data of 2.1 billion people a month by the end of 2017, account for nearly two-thirds of that footprint (other business activities, including construction and employee commutes and travel, account for 38%).

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California Moves To Require 100% Clean Electricity by 2045
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
California's assembly has voted to move the state's electricity completely off fossil fuels. The state assembly this week passed S.B. 100, a proposal to transition California to 100 percent emissions-free electricity sources by 2045. A report adds: The Assembly voted 43-32 in favor of the legislation Tuesday. It would eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels to power homes, businesses and factories in the world's fifth-largest economy, accelerating a shift already under way. The state currently gets about 44 percent of its power from renewables and hydropower. California has positioned itself to lead the battle against climate change by cutting emissions even as the Trump administration has worked to roll back the state's stringent auto pollution standards and prop up ailing coal-fired power plants. Earlier this year, California became the first U.S. state to mandate solar rooftop panels on almost all new homes. It would be the second state to require 100 percent carbon-free power after Hawaii.

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Microsoft Obliquely Acknowledges Windows 0-day Bug Published on Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
A privilege escalation flaw in Windows 10 was disclosed earlier this week on Twitter. From a report: The flaw allows anyone with the ability to run code on a system to elevate their privileges to "SYSTEM" level, the level used by most parts of the operating system and the nearest thing that Windows has to an all-powerful superuser. This kind of privilege escalation flaw enables attackers to break out of sandboxes and unprivileged user accounts so they can more thoroughly compromise the operating system. Microsoft has not exactly acknowledged the flaw exists; instead it offered a vague and generic statement: "Windows has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues, and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible. Our standard policy is to provide solutions via our current Update Tuesday schedule." So, if the flaw is acknowledged (and it's certainly real!) then the company will most likely fix it in a regular update released on the second Tuesday of each month.

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How Many Days Americans Waste Commuting In The Course Of A Lifetime, Mapped By City
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 10:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
An anonymous reader writes: Have you ever stopped to think that over the course of your lifetime, you will likely spend hundreds of days commuting back and forth from home and work? If not, we've got a great map that's sure to make you question what you're doing with your life. The good folks over at Educated Driver used Census Bureau data on average daily roundtrip commute times in hundreds of cities nationwide to calculate how much time Americans spend traveling to and from work over the course of their lives. (They assumed a 45-year career working 250 days a year.) The results, mapped by city, are pretty horrifying.

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FCC Can Define Markets With Only One ISP as 'Competitive', Court Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 10:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An appeals court has upheld a Federal Communications Commission ruling that broadband markets can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider. From a report: The FCC "rationally chose which evidence to believe among conflicting evidence," the court ruling said. The FCC voted last year to eliminate price caps imposed on some business broadband providers such as AT&T and Verizon. The FCC decision eliminated caps in any given county if 50 percent of potential customers "are within a half mile of a location served by a competitive provider." This is known as the "competitive market test." Because of this, broadband-using businesses might not benefit from price controls even if they have just one choice of ISP.

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Is Julia the Next Big Programming Language? MIT Thinks So, as Version 1.0 Lands
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Julia, the MIT-created programming language for developers "who want it all", hit its milestone 1.0 release this month -- with MIT highlighting its rapid adoption in the six short years since its launch. From a report: Released in 2012, Julia is designed to combine the speed of C with the usability of Python, the dynamism of Ruby, the mathematical prowess of MatLab, and the statistical chops of R. "The release of Julia 1.0 signals that Julia is now ready to change the technical world by combining the high-level productivity and ease of use of Python and R with the lightning-fast speed of C++," says MIT professor Alan Edelman. The breadth of Julia's capabilities and ability to spread workloads across hundreds of thousands of processing cores have led to its use for everything from machine learning to large-scale supercomputer simulation. MIT says Julia is the only high-level dynamic programming language in the "petaflop club," having been used to simulate 188 million stars, galaxies, and other astronomical objects on Cori, the world's 10th-most powerful supercomputer. The simulation ran in just 14.6 minutes, using 650,000 Intel Knights Landing Xeon Phi cores to handle 1.5 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point operations per second).

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The Linux Foundation Is Changing The Fabric Of Networking
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's credit-where-it-is-due department:
Will Townsend, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy research firm, writes: As it relates to networking, the Linux Foundation is currently focused on a number of projects that are bringing top networking vendors, operators, service providers, and users together. Among the top initiatives are the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). In this article, I would like to dive into both of these initiatives and share my perspective on how each is transforming the nature of networking [Editor's note: the website may have auto-playing videos; an alternative link was not available]. It makes sense that ONAP's releases are named after global cities, considering the platform's growing global footprint. ONAP is aimed at bringing real-time automation and orchestration to both physical and virtualized network functions. The first release in the fall of 2017, named Amsterdam, delivered a unified architecture for providing closed-loop networking automation. The underlying framework ensured a level of modularity to facilitate future functionality as well as standards harmonization and critical upstream partner collaboration. Initial use cases centered on Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) services as well as Virtualized Consumer Premise Equipment (vCPE). Both are extremely cost disruptive from a deployment and management perspective and deliver enhanced service provider agility. What I find extremely compelling is that Amsterdam was only an eight-month development cycle from start to release. That's an amazing feat even in the fast-paced technology industry. [...] DPDK was an effort initially led by Intel at its inception nearly eight years ago, but became a part of the Linux Foundation back in 2017. At a high level, the technology accelerates packet processing workloads running on a variety of CPU architectures. DPDK is aimed at improving overall network performance, delivering enhanced encryption for improved security and optimizing lower latency applications that require lightning-fast response time. The transformative power of 5G networks lies in their potential to deliver low latency for applications such as augmented/virtual reality and self-driving cars -- DPDK will further extend that performance for next-generation wireless wide area networks. I had the opportunity recently to speak to project chair Jim St. Leger after the fifth DPDK release, and I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the open source project. Over 25 companies and 160 technologists are involved in advancing the effort. With the proliferation of data, cord cutting at home, and growing consumption of video over wired and wireless networks, high-quality compression techniques will dramatically improve performance and reliability. DPDK appears to be poised to contribute significantly to that effort.

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'It Is a Challenging Time for the Internet: We Must Not Let It Be Undermined'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Andrew Sullivan, CEO and President of Internet Society, a decades old nonprofit organization which works on internet-related standards, education, access, and policy, writes: It is a challenging time for the Internet Society, because it is a challenging time for the Internet. For most of the Internet Society's history, the expansion and development of the Internet could be regarded as an obvious good. There were always those who simply opposed technological development. There were always those who wanted their own interests protected from the Internet. But Internet users historically benefited so much, so obviously, that skepticism about the value of the Internet itself was rare. Things have changed. Every technology can be used for negative ends. The Internet still, plainly, brings gains in efficiency, convenience, and communications. Yet in the recent past, some of the negative uses have become apparent, which leads some people to ask whether the Internet is just too dangerous. This environment has produced a golden opportunity for those who always preferred a sanitized, tightly-controlled utility to the generative, empowering Internet. These forces claim that only national governments, treaties, laws, regulations, and monopolies can protect us from the problems we face. They do not want the extraordinary collaboration of the Internet. They think there is some mere political choice to be made between the Internet we have known on the one hand, and a tidy, regulated network on the other. If these forces are successful, we will all lose. The Internet connects people because of its basic design. Each network that joins the Internet does its own thing, but together they are all richer and more reliable. A network of networks cannot be centrally controlled because it has no centre. This is not some accidental design choice we could alter: without this essential feature, we do not have the Internet at all. For that very reason, we -- all humanity -- must not let this technology be undermined. We must face, realistically, the challenges that the Internet produces for us all; but we must face them collaboratively and together. The Internet is for everyone, because only everyone can make the global network of networks.

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University of Texas is Getting a $60 Million Supercomputer
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-moves department:
The University of Texas at Austin, will soon be home to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. From a report: The National Science Foundation awarded a $60 million grant to the school's Texas Advanced Computing Center, UT Austin and NSF said Wednesday. The supercomputer, named Frontera, is set to become operational roughly a year from now in 2019, and will be "among the most powerful in the world," according to a statement. To be exact, it will be the fifth most powerful in the world, third most powerful in the US, and the most powerful at a university.

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US Court of Appeals: An IP Address Isn't Enough To Identify a Pirate
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
A judge has ruled that copyright trolls need more than just an IP address if they want to go after copyright infringement. An IP is not enough proof to tie a person to a crime. From a report: In a win for privacy advocates and pirates, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an IP address alone is not enough to go after someone for alleged copyright infringement. They ruled that being the registered subscriber of an infringing IP address does not create a reasonable inference that the subscriber is also the infringer. The case began back in 2016 and has been playing out in the legal system ever since. The creators of the film "The Cobbler" alleged that Thomas Gonzales had illegally downloaded their movie and sued him for it. Gonzales was a Comcast subscriber and had set up his network with an open Wi-Fi access point. At some point, someone had used his network to download the movie and the film creators captured Gonzales's IP address. The judge stated that in order for a proper case, the copyright owners would need more than just an IP address.

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How Do Things Stick To Us in a Culture Where Information and Ideas Are Up So Quickly That We Have No Time To Assess One Before Another Takes Its Place?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
David L. Ulin, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the California Book Award, shares an excerpt from his book "The Lost Art of Reading", to The Paris Review: This is the conundrum, the gorilla in the midst of any conversation about literature in contemporary culture, the question of dilution and refraction, of whether and how books matter, of the impact they can have. We talk about the need to read, about reading at risk, about reluctant readers, but we seem unwilling to confront the fallout of one simple observation: literature doesn't, can't, have the influence it once did. For Kurt Vonnegut, the writer who made me want to be a writer, the culprit was television. "When I started out," he recalled in 1997, "it was possible to make a living as a freelance writer of fiction, and live out of your mailbox, because it was still the golden age of magazines, and it looked as though that could go on forever ... Then television, with no malice whatsoever -- just a better buy for advertisers -- knocked the magazines out of business." For new media reactionaries such as Lee Siegel and Andrew Keen, the problem is technology, the endless distractions of the internet, the breakdown of authority in an age of blogs and Twitter, the collapse of narrative in a hyperlinked, multi-networked world. What this argument overlooks, of course, is that literary culture as we know it was the product of a technological revolution, one that began with Johannes Gutenberg's invention of movable type. We take books and mass literacy for granted, but in reality, they are a recent iteration, going back not even a millennium. Less than four hundred years ago -- barely a century and a half after Gutenberg -- John Milton could still pride himself without exaggeration on having read every book then available, the entire history of written thought accessible to a single mind.

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Moving To a Chromebook
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 05:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
VC Fred Wilson writes: I've been thinking about moving from a Mac to a Chromebook as my primary computing device. I have not used desktop software for probably a decade now. The browser is how I do all of my desktop computing. Paying up for a full blown computer when all I need is a browser seems like a waste. And there are some security things that appeal to me about a Chromebook. I like the ability to do two factor authentication on signing into the device, for example. I am curious what advice those of you who use Chromebooks have for me. In the comments section, Kevin C Tofel, a long time journalist and an ex-Googler writes: I'm all on in Chromebooks, currently using a Pixelbook. Base model is fine for my needs, which sound very similar. I am taking some CompSci classes but even from a programming standpoint, the addition of Linux running in containers -- available in Dev and Beta channels now, coming to Stable v. 69 in the coming weeks -- fills that need easily and securely. I don't do a bunch of video editing but I can do audio edits in Audacity for Linux once audio support arrives for Linux on Chrome OS. I actually use Google for my password management. It's built in to Chrome / Chrome OS and syncs to all devices. Plus, you can always log in and look up passwords at passwords.google.com. Sure if Google is hacked, someone has my passwords, but same can be said for any cloud-based password manager or (if you run 1Password, etc... locally) if someone gains access to your device. I use Google's 2FA to log in to my Google account and even to log in to my Pixelbook - can be done with an authenticator app, SMS or -- my preferred method -- a Yubikey. I'l be buying a Google Titan Security key to replace my Yubikey once they go on sale.

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What Dropbox Dropping Linux Support Says
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 04:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's upon-further-reflection department:
Jack Wallen, writing for TechRepublic: For a company to support Linux, they have to consider supporting: Multiple file systems, multiple distributions, multiple desktops, multiple init systems, multiple kernels. If you're an open source developer, focusing on a single distribution, that's not a problem. If you're a company that produces a product (and you stake your living on that product), those multiple points of entry do become a problem. Let's consider Adobe (and Photoshop). If Adobe wanted to port their industry-leading product to Linux, how do they do that? Do they spend the time developing support for ext4, btrfs, Ubuntu, Fedora, GNOME, Mate, KDE, systemd? You see how that might look from the eyes of any given company? It becomes even more complicated when companies consider how accustomed to the idea of "free" (as in beer) Linux users are. Although I am very willing to pay for software on Linux, it's a rare occasion that I do (mostly because I haven't found a piece of must-have software that has an associated cost). Few companies will support the Linux desktop when the act of supporting means putting that much time and effort into a product that a large cross-section of users might wind up unwilling to pay the price of admission. That's not to say every Linux user is unwilling to shell out the cost for a piece of software. But many won't.

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Yahoo, Bucking Industry, Scans Emails for Data To Sell Advertisers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 02:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's never-gonna-give-you-up department:
The U.S. tech industry has largely declared it is off limits to scan emails for information to sell to advertisers. Yahoo still sees the practice as a potential gold mine. From a report: Yahoo's owner, the Oath unit of Verizon Communications has been pitching a service to advertisers that analyzes more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes and the rich user data they contain, searching for clues about what products those users might buy, said people who have attended Oath's presentations as well as current and former employees of the company. Oath said the practice extends to AOL Mail, which it also owns. Together, they constitute the only major U.S. email provider that scans user inboxes for marketing purposes.

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Silicon Valley Takes a (Careful) Step Toward Autonomous Flying
Posted by News Fetcher on August 29 '18 at 12:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's another-crack-at-it department:
Last week, at a tiny airport in the dusty flatlands east of San Francisco, a red-and-white helicopter lifted gently into the air, hovering a few feet over the tarmac. It looked like any other helicopter, except for the small black cube attached to its nose. From a report: Local officials spent the week testing this aircraft for a new emergency service, due for launch in January, that will respond to 911 calls via the air. But as this helicopter moves police officers and medical workers over the San Joaquin Valley, it will feed a more ambitious project. That black cube is part of a growing effort to build small passenger aircraft that can fly on their own. Today, the helicopter is flown by seasoned pilots. But the new emergency service will be operated by SkyRyse, a Silicon Valley start-up that intends to augment small helicopters and other passenger aircraft with hardware and software that allow for autonomous flight, leaning on many of the same technologies that power driverless cars. These include the 360-degree cameras and radar sensors built into the nose of the aircraft. "There are many things that must come to fruition before autonomous aircraft start flying people," said Mark Groden, a co-founder and the chief executive of SkyRyse. "But we are developing the technology that can take us there." Sikorsky, a subsidiary of the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and Xwing, another Silicon Valley start-up, are fashioning similar technology. Others, including Aurora, a company now owned by Boeing, are exploring autonomous flight as they build a new kind of electrical aircraft for "flying taxi services." The initial business plan for Uber's air taxi service, which it hopes to start in five to 10 years, said it would eventually remove pilots from the aircraft.

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Waymo Self-driving Cars Are Having Problems Turning Around Corners
Posted by News Fetcher on August 28 '18 at 10:50 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Alphabet's Waymo has long been regarded as the leader in autonomous vehicle development and technology, but all might not be as well as it seems at the company, according to a report published Tuesday. From a report: The Information quoted a number of unnamed Waymo insiders who claim the vehicles being used in the Arizona ride-hailing test have numerous problems. The test, which launched in November, is meant to be converted to a full commercial service later this year. The report claimed that the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica struggles to handle a number of driving tasks and even goes as far as annoying human drivers around them. Top among the problems is an apparent issue with turning left. "The Waymo vans have trouble with many unprotected left turns and with merging into heavy traffic in the Phoenix area, especially on highways," the report noted. "Sometimes, the vans don't understand basic road features, such as metered red and green lights that regulate the pace of cars merging onto freeways." If having problems turning left isn't bad enough, they also apparently on occasion have problems turning right. One woman claimed that she almost hit a Waymo vehicle as it suddenly stopped while trying to make a right turn.

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Intel's Latest 8th-Gen Core Processors Focus on Improving Wi-Fi Speeds
Posted by News Fetcher on August 28 '18 at 08:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
IFA 2018 is here, and to go along with the wealth of new laptops that will presumably be announced over the next few days, Intel is taking the wraps off its latest 8th-Gen processors. There are three new Whiskey Lake U-series chips (Intel's midrange line for laptops), and, for the first time, there are three 8th-Gen Amber Lake Y-series processors. From a report: While Intel is still using the same underlying architecture as its previous processors -- making these new chips ostensibly an "8.5-Gen" lineup, at least where the U-series models are concerned -- the big change that the company is highlighting is integrated gigabit Wi-Fi support. Intel promises that this should result in dramatically faster internet speeds, especially apparent on the cheaper, midrange laptops that may not have been able to offer those kinds of speeds before. Also being added to the new Y-series and U-series chips is built-in support for virtual assistants like Cortana and Alexa. So you should expect to see the digital assistants cropping up on more laptops in the near future. Further reading: Intel Launches Whiskey Lake-U and Amber Lake-Y: New MacBook CPUs?

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Data of 130 Million Chinese Hotel Chain Guests Sold on Dark Web Forum
Posted by News Fetcher on August 28 '18 at 06:50 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
A hacker is selling the personal details of over 130 million hotel guests for 8 Bitcoin ($56,000) on a Chinese Dark Web forum. From a report: The breach was reported today by Chinese media after several cyber-security firms spotted the forum ad [1, 2, 3, 4]. The seller said he obtained the data from Huazhu Hotels Group Ltd (Huazhu from hereafter), one of China's largest hotel chains, which operates 13 hotel brands across 5,162 hotels in 1,119 Chinese cities. According to a description the hacker posted online, the stolen data is 141.5GB in size, contains 240 million records, with information on roughly 130 million hotel guests that stayed at one of Huazhu hotels.

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Original Chromebook Pixel Reaches End of Life
Posted by News Fetcher on August 28 '18 at 06:50 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department:
Deathlizard writes: The original 2013 Chromebook Pixel, Google's $1200, Core i5 vision of a high end Chromebook, has reached End of Life. Owners are receiving a message that their device is no longer supported.

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After Court Order, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer Now Sells Pay-What-You-Want CAD Files
Posted by News Fetcher on August 28 '18 at 06:50 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
CaptainDork writes: In a surprising announcement, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson announced Tuesday that while he would continue to comply with a federal court order forbidding him from internationally publishing CAD files of firearms, he would also begin selling copies of his 3D-printed gun files for a "suggested price" of $10 each. The files, crucially, will be transmitted to customers "on a DD-branded flash drive" in the United States and won't be available as downloads.

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