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North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un Says He'll Give Up Weapons if US Promises Not to Invade
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
Several readers have shared a report: North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, told President Moon Jae-in of South Korea when they met that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States would agree to formally end the Korean War and promise that it would not invade his country, a South Korean government spokesman said Sunday. In a faith-building gesture ahead of a summit meeting with President Trump, Mr. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country's only known underground nuclear test site. The comments by Mr. Kim were made on Friday when the leaders of the two Koreas met at Panmunjom, a village on their shared border, the spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, said on Sunday, providing additional details of the meeting. "I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us, but when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific or at the United States," Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon, according to Mr. Yoon's account of the meeting. It was another dramatically conciliatory statement by Mr. Kim, whose country threatened to do exactly those things during the height of nuclear tensions last year.

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A Mass of Copyrighted Works Will Soon Enter the Public Domain
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's take-note department:
For the first time in two decades, a huge number of books, films, and other works will escape U.S. copyright law. From a report: The Great American Novel enters the public domain on January 1, 2019 -- quite literally. Not the concept, but the book by William Carlos Williams. It will be joined by hundreds of thousands of other books, musical scores, and films first published in the United States during 1923. It's the first time since 1998 for a mass shift to the public domain of material protected under copyright. It's also the beginning of a new annual tradition: For several decades from 2019 onward, each New Year's Day will unleash a full year's worth of works published 95 years earlier. This coming January, Charlie Chaplin's film The Pilgrim and Cecil B. DeMille's The 10 Commandments will slip the shackles of ownership, allowing any individual or company to release them freely, mash them up with other work, or sell them with no restriction. This will be true also for some compositions by Bela Bartok, Aldous Huxley's Antic Hay, Winston Churchill's The World Crisis, Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Pigeons, E.E. Cummings's Tulips and Chimneys, Noel Coward's London Calling! musical, Edith Wharton's A Son at the Front, many stories by P.G. Wodehouse, and hosts upon hosts of forgotten works, according to research by the Duke University School of Law's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. Throughout the 20th century, changes in copyright law led to longer periods of protection for works that had been created decades earlier, which altered a pattern of relatively brief copyright protection that dates back to the founding of the nation. This came from two separate impetuses. First, the United States had long stood alone in defining copyright as a fixed period of time instead of using an author's life plus a certain number of years following it, which most of the world had agreed to in 1886. Second, the ever-increasing value of intellectual property could be exploited with a longer term. But extending American copyright law and bringing it into international harmony meant applying "patches" retroactively to work already created and published. And that led, in turn, to lengthy delays in copyright expiring on works that now date back almost a century.

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Microsoft Attempts To Spin Its Role in Counterfeiting Case
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Eric Lundgren, who has spent his life working on e-waste recycling programs, was arrested and charged with "counterfeiting" Microsoft restore discs earlier this week, part of a controversial, years-long legal fight that ended when an appeals court declined to overturn a lower court's decision. Lundgren argued that what he was offering is only recovery CDs loaded with data anyone can download for free. In an interview with The Verge, he said, "Look, these are restore CDs, there's no licenses, you can download them for free online, they're given to you for free with your computer. The only way that you can use them is [if] you have a license, and Microsoft has to validate it.?" Lundgren was going to sell them to repair shops for a quarter each so they could hand them out to people who needed them. Shortly after the Lundgren's was arrested, Microsoft published a blog post which stridently disagrees with Lundgren's characterization of the case. From a report: "We are sharing this information now and responding publicly because we believe both Microsoft's role in the case and the facts themselves are being misrepresented," the company wrote. But it carefully avoids the deliberate misconception about software that it promulgated in court. That misconception, which vastly overstated Lundgren's crime and led to the sentence he received, is simply to conflate software with a license to operate that software. [...] Hardly anyone even makes these discs any more, certainly not Microsoft, and they're pretty much worthless without a licensed copy of the OS in the first place. But Microsoft convinced the judges that a piece of software with no license or product key -- meaning it won't work properly, if at all -- is worth the same as one with a license. [...] Anyway, the company isn't happy with the look it has of sending a guy to prison for stealing something with no value to anyone but someone with a bum computer and no backup. It summarizes what it thinks are the most important points as follows, with my commentary following the bullets. Microsoft did not bring this case: U.S. Customs referred the case to federal prosecutors after intercepting shipments of counterfeit software imported from China by Mr. Lundgren. This is perfectly true, however Microsoft has continually misrepresented the nature and value of the discs, falsely claiming that they led to lost sales. That's not possible, of course, since Microsoft gives the contents of these discs away for free. It sells licenses to operate Windows, something you'd have to have already if you wanted to use the discs in the first place. Lundgren went to great lengths to mislead people: His own emails submitted as evidence in the case show the lengths to which Mr. Lundgren went in an attempt to make his counterfeit software look like genuine software. They also show him directing his co-defendant to find less discerning customers who would be more easily deceived if people objected to the counterfeits. Printing an accurate copy of a label for a disc isn't exactly "great lengths." Early on the company in China printed "Made in USA" on the disc and "Made in Canada" on the sleeve, and had a yellow background when it should have been green -- that's the kind of thing he was fixing.

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Foxconn Will Drain 7 Million Gallons of Water Per Day From Lake Michigan to Make LCD Screens
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 07:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's genuine-concerns department:
Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources granted permission to Taiwanese tech manufacturer Foxconn, best known for assembling Apple's iPhones, to siphon off seven million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, despite protests from conservation groups. From a report: The massive diversion of water from the lake will be used to produce LCD screens at the company's planned $10 billion, 20 million square foot manufacturing plant set to be built in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. Nearly 2.7 million gallons of the water -- about 39 percent of the daily intake from the factory -- will be lost in the process, primarily from evaporation. The remaining water will be treated and returned to the lake basin. Wisconsin's DNR noted in a statement that the requested withdrawal will "only amount to a 0.07 percent increase in the total surface water withdrawals from Lake Michigan." For environmentalists in the region, the issue is not so much the diversion for the Foxconn factory itself but rather the precedent it will set for how the lake water can be used. "If we allow this to happen, it's going to happen all over the basin, with other states and then it's going to be the thirsty states and nations to come," Jennifer Giegerich, the government affairs director for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, warned during a public hearing about the diversion, according to the Wisconsin Gazette.

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Can A New HIV Drug Kill The Virus That Causes AIDS?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 04:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's seeking-a-silver-bullet department:
"A team led by scientists from the University of Hong Kong has developed a new antibody drug that will not only protect people from contracting HIV but also serve as a long-acting treatment for the virus, unlike current medication that must be taken daily." Slashdot reader hackingbear shared this article from the South China Morning Post:
There will need to be a further battery of tests before the drug, named "BiIA-SG", can be part of the global battle against the virus, which causes Aids. The research team has so far only tested the drug on mice but is now looking to experiment on larger animals such as monkeys, before conducting clinical trials on humans. Still, Professor Chen Zhiwei, the team leader and director of HKU's Aids Institute, stressed the scientific discovery had yielded "one of the most potent and effective antibody drugs". This is because the study showed that mice given the drug before being infected with HIV were protected from the virus for about a week.

In addition, the experiments, which also involved experts from mainland medical and research institutions, found that when mice were infected with HIV before being treated, 42 per cent had an "undetectable level" of the virus for at least four weeks after one injection of antibodies... The tests found that the drug was effective against 124 strains of HIV, including those that are commonly found in infected people from Hong Kong and mainland China.

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The Pentagon's Ray Gun Can Stall Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '18 at 12:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Illudium-Q-36-Space-Modulator department:
john of sparta quotes Defense One: The Defense Department's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, or JNLWD, is pushing ahead with a new direct energy weapon that uses high-powered microwaves to stop cars in their tracks without damaging the vehicle, its driver, or anyone else.

The jammer works by targeting the car's engine control unit causing it to reboot over and over, stalling the engine. Like an invisible hand, the microwaves hold the car in place. "Anything that has electronics on it, these high-powered microwaves will affect," David Law, who leads JNLWD's technology division, said in March. "As long as the [radio] is on, it holds the vehicle stopped."
It weighs 400 pounds -- it's the size of a large copy machine -- and uses 300 kilowatts of power that's generated by a gasoline-powered turbine. "To deploy it, the driver would pull out in front of the attacker and turn it on."

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New Book Describes 'Bluffing' Programmers in Silicon Valley
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 08:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's calling-your-methods department:
Long-time Slashdot reader Martin S. pointed us to this an excerpt from the new book Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Portland-based investigator reporter Corey Pein.
The author shares what he realized at a job recruitment fair seeking Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes, "and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialities."
I wasn't the only one bluffing my way through the tech scene. Everyone was doing it, even the much-sought-after engineering talent. I was struck by how many developers were, like myself, not really programmers, but rather this, that and the other. A great number of tech ninjas were not exactly black belts when it came to the actual onerous work of computer programming. So many of the complex, discrete tasks involved in the creation of a website or an app had been automated that it was no longer necessary to possess knowledge of software mechanics. The coder's work was rarely a craft. The apps ran on an assembly line, built with "open-source", off-the-shelf components. The most important computer commands for the ninja to master were copy and paste...
< article continued at Slashdot's calling-your-methods department >

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Can We Fight Climate Change With Carbon-Absorbing Rocks?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 05:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rocking-the-world department:
The New York Times reports on rocks in the country of Oman that react naturally with carbon dioxide, turning it into stone.

Scientists say that if this natural process, called carbon mineralization, could be harnessed, accelerated and applied inexpensively on a huge scale -- admittedly some very big "ifs" -- it could help fight climate change. Rocks could remove some of the billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the air since the beginning of the Industrial Age. And by turning that CO2 into stone, the rocks in Oman -- or in a number of other places around the world that have similar geological formations -- would ensure that the gas stayed out of the atmosphere forever...
Capturing and storing carbon dioxide, is drawing increased interest. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that deploying such technology is essential to efforts to rein in global warming... At a geothermal power plant in Iceland, after several years of experimentation, an energy company is injecting modest amounts of carbon dioxide into volcanic rock, where it becomes mineralized. Dutch researchers have suggested spreading a kind of crushed rock along coastlines to capture CO2. And scientists in Canada and South Africa are studying ways to use mine wastes, called tailings, to do the same thing.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports an alternate perspective from 86-year-old social scientist Mayer Hillman: "We're doomed." He's predicting the end of most life on the planet, citing the lack of any way to reverse the process that's already melting the polar ice caps.
"Optimism about the future is wishful thinking, says Hillman. He believes that accepting that our civilization is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognizes he is terminally ill. Such people rarely go on a disastrous binge; instead, they do all they can to prolong their lives."

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Oracle Sets End Date for Business Java 8 Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 04:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's eights-and-aces department:
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
Further clarifying its ongoing support plans for Java SE 8, Oracle will require businesses to have a commercial license to get updates after January 2019. In an undated bulletin about the revision, Oracle said public updates for Java SE 8 released after January 2019 will not be available for business, commercial, or production use without a commercial license. However, public updates for Java SE 8 will be available for individual, personal use through at least the end of 2020.
Oracle advises enterprises to review the Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap to assess support requirements to migrate to a later release or obtain a commercial license... Oracle advises developers to review roadmaps for Java SE 8 and beyond and take appropriate action based on their application and its distribution model.

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Scientists Confirmed a New DNA Structure Inside Human Cells
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 03:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's new-pair-of-genes department:
Trax3001BBS quotes Science Alert:
For the first time, scientists have identified the existence of a new DNA structure never before seen in living cells. The discovery of what's described as a "twisted knot" of DNA in living cells confirms our complex genetic code is crafted with more intricate symmetry than just the double helix structure everybody associates with DNA -- and the forms these molecular variants take affect how our biology functions...
"It seems likely that they are there to help switch genes on or off," according to Garvan's Mahdi Zeraati, the first author of the new study, "and to affect whether a gene is actively read or not."

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Code Published for Triggering a BSOD on Windows Computers -- Even If They're Locked
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 01:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crash-courses department:
"A Romanian hardware expert has published proof-of-concept code on GitHub that will crash most Windows computers within seconds, even if the computer is in a locked state," writes BleepingComputer. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The code exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft's handling of NTFS filesystem images and was discovered by Marius Tivadar, a security researcher with Bitdefender. The expert's proof-of-concept code contains a malformed NTFS image that users can take and place on a USB thumb drive. Inserting this USB thumb drive in a Windows computer crashes the system within seconds, resulting in a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). "Auto-play is activated by default," Tivadar wrote in a PDF document detailing the bug and its impact...
Tivadar contacted Microsoft about the issue in July 2017, but published the PoC code today after the OS maker declined to classify the issue as a security bug. Microsoft downgraded the bug's severity because exploiting it requires either physical access or social engineering (tricking the user).

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While More People Switch To Streaming TV, Cable Stocks are Plummetting
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 01:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cutting-the-cords department:
An anonymous reader quotes Investor's Business Daily:

Shares in Charter Communications plunged after the cable TV firm reported first quarter earnings and lost more video subscribers than expected, also sparking a sell-off in Comcast and Altice USA... Charter said it lost 122,000 video subscribers, nearly triple analyst predictions for a fall of 43,000. Comcast on Wednesday said it lost 96,000 video subscribers, exceeding estimates for a drop of 75,000.... With Friday's sell-off, Comcast stock is down 20% in 2018, with Charter falling more than 24%...
Cable TV firms aren't the only losers. AT&T this week said it lost 187,000 pay-TV customers, including satellite TV subscribers and its U-verse landline business. AT&T's DirecTV Now internet streaming service added 312,000 customers. But AT&T garners much lower profit margins from video streaming.

Cable companies are now raising prices on broadband services to compensate, according to the article.
MarketWatch notes that Charter also lost 100,000 customers in the same three-month period in 2017, calling the ongoing trend "a fundamental shift in consumer behavior."

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Tesla Driver Banned From Driving For 18 Months For Sitting in Passenger Seat
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 12:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's staying-in-your-lane department:
A 39-year-old motorist pointed his Tesla S60 down a highway at 40 mph -- while sitting in its passenger seat, leaning back with his hands behind his head. Another motorist spotted the empty driver's seat and filmed the car. Now (nearly a year later) the Tesla's owner "has been banned from driving for 18 months," the Guardian reports.
The driver, from Nottingham, pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving after admitting he switched seats when he turned on the car's autopilot mode, leaving the car's brakes and steering wheel unmanned. The driver admitted that the stunt in May last year had been silly, but insisted that he was simply "the unlucky one who got caught" trying out the "amazing" feature on the car.
As well as the 18-month driving ban he was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also put on a 10-day rehabilitation programme and will have to pay £1,800 in costs.
A police officer called the behavior "reckless," adding that autopilot controls like the ones on Teslas "are in no way a substitute for a competent motorist in the driving seat who can react appropriately to the road ahead."

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Facebook Warns Investors They Expect To Find 'Additional Incidents' of User Data Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 11:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's status-updates department:
Facebook earned $4.99 billion in the first three months of 2018 (on sales of $11.97 billion). But their quarterly report included some new warnings, according to the Bay Area Newsgroup:
In its 141-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Facebook -- like all public companies -- warned of risk factors, the official version of what might keep CEO Mark Zuckerberg up at night. Chief among them is the possibility of other Cambridge Analyticas. "We anticipate that our ongoing investments in safety, security, and content review will identify additional instances of misuse of user data or other undesirable activity by third parties on our platform," Facebook said in its 10-Q filing. It is a point that Zuckerberg made again and again during his Congressional testimony earlier this month.
What's more, Facebook knows it won't catch everything, even though the company is investigating and auditing away after revelations that political data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the information of up to 87 million Facebook users without permission... "We may also be notified of such incidents or activity via the media or other third parties."

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Bill Gates: U.S. Education Harder to Improve Than Infant Mortality Rates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 09:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's general-protection-faults department:
gthuang88 writes:
In a Q&A with Harvard students, Bill Gates said his foundation's work on K-12 education in the U.S. has had little impact, at least compared to its success in reducing infant mortality in developing countries. The challenge with education, he said, is that it is "essentially a social construct" that depends on creating the right culture of accountability and interactions -- and funding, of course. Gates said if he had a magic wand for the U.S., he would fix education, and for the rest of the world, nutrition.

He also said if he were a college student now, he would study artificial intelligence -- and that he was jealous that someone in the room could solve the problem of creating an AI that can read a book and pass an AP exam.

Gates predicted this generation of graduates will "solve" cancer, as well as the pesky problem of infectious diseases.
And even though his foundation's 20-year effort has failed to improve educaion -- "we'll keep going."

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Will GDPR Kill WHOIS?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 09:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Yes-ICANN department:
Slashdot reader monkeyzoo shares the Register's report on a disturbing letter sent to ICANN:
Europe's data protection authorities have effectively killed off the current service, noting that it breaks the law and so will be illegal come 25 May, when GDPR comes into force... ICANN now has a little over a month to come up with a replacement to the decades-old service that covers millions of domain names and lists the personal contact details of domain registrants, including their name, email and telephone number. ICANN has already acknowledged it has no chance of doing so... The company warns that without being granted a special temporary exemption from the law, the system will fracture. ["Registries and registrars would likely implement varying levels of access to data depending on their interpretations of the law," ICANN warns.]

"ICANN had made the concept of a moratorium the central pillar of its effort to become compliant with the law," writes the Register. "But its entire strategy was built on a fantasy."
Thursday the EU's data protection advisory group told the site that there's no provision in the GDPR for an "enforcement moratorium", and the Register adds that the EU's data protection advisory group "is clearly baffled by ICANN's repeated requests for something that doesn't exist."

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Go Programming Language Gets A New Logo and Branding
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 08:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's do-not-pass-Go department:
After an "extensive design process," the Go programming language has a "new look and logo," according to Google's lead for Go developer relations, product, and strategy. (Promising that this won't affect Go's gopher mascot.)
Our logo follows the brand's core philosophy of simplicity over complexity... The circular shape of the letters hints at the eyes of the Go gopher, creating a familiar shape and allowing the mark and the mascot to pair well together... In addition to our brand guide we have also developed a presentation theme. This presentation theme will enable us to have a consistent representation of Go in person at meetups and conferences as well as online.
Go community members are welcome to use this theme for their own presentations. The presentations are available as Google Slides presentations. We chose Google Slides as it is easy to share and maintain updates. People are welcome to port them to keynote, PowerPoint, etc. Like this blog and all our gopher images, the slide themes are Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licensed... The brand guide, logo and themes are copyrighted by the Go authors. The brand guide contains the guidelines for acceptable logo use.

It's been more than eight years since the language's launch, and "we wanted the Go brand to reflect where we have been and convey where we are going."

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Bookmark Syncing Service Xmarks Closes For Good On May 1
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 07:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's X-marks-the-spot department:
Remember that popular browser extension that let you sync your bookmarks on multiple devices?
Launched in 2006 by Foxmarks (a company created by EFF co-founder Mitch Kapor), it was saved from death in 2010 when it was acquired by the password-management service LastPass. But now BetaNews reports:
If you're a user of Xmarks, there's some bad news for you -- the service is closing down... The bookmark syncing tool, which is available as an addon for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, is to be shuttered on May 1... Emails have also been sent out to registered users notifying them of the impending closure.
"On May 1, 2018, we will be shutting down Xmarks... After this date, your bookmarks should remain available in any previously accessed browser, but they will no longer sync and your Xmarks account will be deactivated... After careful consideration and evaluation, we have decided to discontinue the Xmarks solution so that we can continue to focus on offering the best possible password vaulting to our community."

It was apparently especially popular with long-time Slashdot reader vm, who writes "I have held on to my Xmarks account over the years because I can always get to them despite changes in operating systems, browsers, employers, etc.
"What do other folks use that may also have a mobile option?"

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100 US Mayors Sign Pledge To Defend Net Neutrality Against Crooked ISPs
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 05:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's checks-and-balances department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: More than 100 U.S. mayors have signed a pledge to hold internet service providers accountable for net neutrality violations, despite the FCC's vote to repeal the regulations late last year. The pledge, initiated by Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City, Steve Adler of Austin, and Ted Wheeler of Portland, promises that cities will refuse to do business with ISPs that violate net neutrality standards. The mayors, brought together by a coalition of open internet advocates, including Free Press, Demand Progress, and Daily Kos, have accused FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of caving to corporate interests by giving companies such as AT&T and Verizon the power to "block, throttle and slow access to sites and services at will." A complete list of the cities taking the pledge is available on the campaign's website. At time of writing, nearly 80,000 letters have been sent urging mayors across the country to participate.

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Russia Is Attacking US Forces With Electronic Weapons In Syria, General Says
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '18 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's changing-battlefield department:
john of sparta shares a report from Yahoo: American forces in Syria are increasingly facing attacks from Russian and Syrian electronic warfare weapons, as Moscow uses the conflict to test its future arsenal. General Raymond Thomas, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said that Syria has become "the most aggressive electronic warfare environment on the planet," Breakingdefense.com reported. Speaking at a geospatial intelligence conference in Florida, Gen. Thomas said that Russian and Syrian regime forces "are testing us everyday, knocking our communications down, disabling our [EC-130 aircraft]."

The Lockheed Martin EC-130 Compass Call is one of America's most advanced electronic warfare weapons. Based on the C-130 Hercules, the plane was developed to disrupt enemy communications, radar and command operations. The craft's presence in Syrian skies gives Russia the chance to test its weapons against the best the U.S. has to offer, whether directly or through its Syrian allies. Earlier this month, four anonymous officials told NBC News that Russia has also been regularly targeting smaller U.S. surveillance drones. One of those quoted said Russian operations were having a significant impact on U.S. capabilities. The sophisticated attacks were even successful against encrypted signals and anti-jamming devices, the official said. Slashdot reader john of sparta adds, "Well, it's war; not a surprise..."

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