By EditorDavid from Slashdot's you're-fired department
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares this article from the Verge:
An autonomous food delivery robot burst into flames on a Berkeley, California walkway, as first reported by The Daily Californian. Kiwi, the startup that makes and manages the one hundred-strong fleet of robots, issued a statement to say that the fire was quickly extinguished by a passerby before the city's fire department arrived and doused the machine in foam.... It said that it believed the fire was caused by human error, when a faulty battery was manually inserted into the robot, eventually causing thermal runaway -- the same issue that resulted in the recall of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phones. Kiwi says that a new piece of software will "rigorously monitor the state of each battery" to prevent anything like this from happening again.
Kiwi said the incident resulted in "some smoke and minor flames." But video captured of the event shows the robot engulfed in the kind of fiercely burning fireball typically associated with battery fires.
Though no one was hurt, Kiwi's fleet of 100 delivery robots was still deactivated while the company investigated the fiery wreck.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's downs-and-ups department
A Bloomberg columnist asks whether this week's rise in bitcoin's price is a turning point -- or just a "dead cat bounce"?
After hitting a year's low of about $3,143, down about 80 percent from January highs, Bitcoin has risen 27 percent this week. Short-sellers are closing their positions, while fans smell fresh opportunity. Even more eye-watering market moves are happening elsewhere in the digital currency's ecosystem. Bitcoin Cash, a spin-off intended to be more usable as a payments mechanism, has almost tripled this week from about $80 to $225. That this is happening at the same time as a U.S. stock-market selloff will no doubt warm the hearts of crypto-evangelists, who believe their currencies offer genuine alternatives for where to put money in times of trouble....
A cursory glance at the price of Bitcoin Cash over the past year shows that it has fallen about 95 percent from its December 2017 record. So, anyone refusing to crystallize their losses this year has seen their 98-percent loss narrow over the past few days to, well, 95 percent. Celebrating now is like the Monty Python knight calling it a draw after losing all his limbs. It's not entirely clear either what kind of investor has the appetite, let alone the resources, to make meaningful bets on digital currencies today after a boom-and-bust cycle driven entirely by speculative hype rather than the adoption of Bitcoin in the real world. The long-awaited wave of money from Wall Street looks as far away as ever. So we're probably getting back to more natural territory for crypto: True believers and small-time gamblers.
Their conclusion? "One still can't rule out that these particular crypto-cats are dead."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sad-news department
Tim May, co-founder of the influential Cypherpunks mailing list and a significant influence on both bitcoin and WikiLeaks, passed away in mid-December at his home in Corralitos, California. The news was announced last Saturday on a Facebook post written by his friend Lucky Green. Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes Reason:
In his influential 1988 essay, "The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto," May predicted that advances in computer technology would eventually allow "individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each other" anonymously and without government intrusion. "These developments will alter completely the nature of government regulation [and] the ability to tax and control economic interactions," he wrote... Running 497 words, it was his most influential piece of writing... May became convinced that public-key cryptography combined with networked computing would break apart social power structures...
In September 1992, May and his friends Eric Hughes and Hugh Daniels came up with the idea of setting up an online mailing list to discuss their ideas. Within a few days of its launch, a hundred people had signed up for the Cypherpunks mailing list. (The group's name was coined by Hughes' girlfriend as a play on the "cyberpunk" genre of fiction.) By 1997, it averaged 30 messages daily with about 2,000 subscribers. May was its most prolific contributor. May and Hughes, along with free speech activist John Gilmore, wore masks on the cover of the second issue of Wired magazine accompanying a profile by journalist Steven Levy, who described the Cypherpunks as "more a gathering of those who share a predilection for codes, a passion for privacy, and the gumption to do something about it...."
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was an active reader and participant on the list, contributing his first posts in 1995 under the name "Proff."
< article continued at Slashdot's sad-news department
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's work-smarter-not-harder department
Companies around the world have cut their work week down to just four days and found that it leads to higher productivity, more motivated staff and less burnout. Reuters highlights some of those companies: "It is much healthier and we do a better job if we're not working crazy hours," said Jan Schulz-Hofen, founder of Berlin-based project management software company Planio, who introduced a four-day week to the company's 10-member staff earlier this year. In New Zealand, trust company Perpetual Guardian reported a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement after it tested a 32-hour week earlier this year. Lucie Greene, trends expert at consultancy J. Walter Thompson, said there was a growing backlash against overwork, underlined by a wave of criticism after Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted that "nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week. People are starting to take a step back from the 24-hour digital life we have now and realize the mental health issues from being constantly connected to work," Greene said.
Schulz-Hofen, a 36-year-old software engineer, tested the four-day week on himself after realizing he needed to slow down following a decade of intense work launching Planio, whose tools allowed him to track his time in detail. "I didn't get less work done in four days than in five because in five days, you think you have more time, you take longer, you allow yourself to have more interruptions, you have your coffee a bit longer or chat with colleagues," Schulz-Hofen said. "I realized with four days, I have to be quick, I have to be focused if I want to have my free Friday." Schulz-Hofen and his team discussed various options before settling on everybody working Monday to Thursday. They rejected the idea of flexible hours because it adds administrative complexity, and were against a five-day week with shorter hours as it is too easy for overwork to creep back in.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sharing-is-caring department
Four months after a mysterious group was outed for a digital espionage operation that used novel techniques to target Mac users, its macOS malware samples continued to go undetected by most antivirus providers, a security researcher reported on Thursday. Ars Technica reports: Windshift is what researchers refer to as an APT -- short for "advanced persistent threat" -- that surveils individuals in the Middle East. The group operated in the shadows for two years until August, when Taha Karim, a researcher at security firm DarkMatter, profiled it at the Hack in the Box conference in Singapore. Slides, a brief description, and a report from Forbes are here, here and here, respectively.
On Thursday, Mac security expert Patrick Wardle published an analysis of Meeting_Agenda.zip, a file Karim had said installed the rare Mac malware. To Wardle's surprise, results from VirusTotal at the time showed that only two antivirus providers -- Kaspersky and ZoneAlarm -- detected the file as malicious. Wardle then used a feature that searched VirusTotal for related malicious files and found four more. Three of them weren't detected by any AV providers, while one was detected by only two providers. The reason the findings were so surprising is that Apple had already revoked the cryptographic certificate the developers used to digitally sign their malware. That meant Apple knew of the malware. In fairness, the control servers the malware contacts are no longer available on the Internet. That means any infected computers aren't in danger of being surveilled. Also in fairness, the number of detections has slowly risen in the day since Wardle published his analysis.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's evidence-lacking department
In September, JD.com's billionaire founder, Richard Liu, was accused of rape nearly four months ago by a young Chinese student at the University of Minnesota. He was reportedly in Minneapolis for his studies since he is a doctoral student at the university. According to The New York Times, "the Hennepin County attorney's office said that it did not find enough evidence to pursue a sexual assault case against Mr. Liu (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source)." From the report: The office of the Hennepin County Attorney said that it did not find enough evidence to pursue a case against Mr. Liu, a 45-year-old internet tycoon who was arrested by Minneapolis police in the early morning of Sept. 1 but was released within hours and allowed to return to China. The decision could bring Mr. Liu, who founded and leads the e-commerce behemoth JD.com, back to a more visible role at the company. JD.com's stock has slumped since the accusations were revealed, and Mr. Liu, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, has skipped several public engagements.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's further-scrutiny department
A day after the US Department of Justice charged two Chinese nationals for being members of a state-sponsored hacking group and accused the Chinese government of orchestrating a string of hacks around the world, five other governments have stepped in with similar accusations. From a report: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK have published official statements today formally blaming China of hacking their government agencies and local companies. All statements are in regards to the supposed involvement of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) in supporting the activity of a hacking group known as APT10. In a DOJ indictment yesterday, the US says this group hacked companies in 12 countries, and later breached cloud service providers, wormed through their infrastructure, and hacked even more companies. US officials said the primary purpose of these hacks was to steal trade secrets and intellectual property that the Chinese government later passed to local Chinese companies, helping create an unfair advantage for local firms on the global market.Read Replies (0)